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#418503 - 12/08/12 08:42 AM Found out Boyfriend is a Survivor
MasoCA Offline


Registered: 12/08/12
Posts: 2
Hello,

My boyfriend and I have been dating for 3 years now, he is 28 and I am 25.

Throughout the relationship, I've always noticed that he has had trust issues, random outbursts if anger, feeling unworthy to be my boyfriend, and withdrawing from me emotionally. Often times these things will happen when I say or do something which I did not think would be a big deal, such as talking about his family. He also has always had strange demands sexually, he always needs to be in control and on top or else he cannot maintain his erection.

One day, during one of his outbursts, he accidentally mentioned that he was molested by his mother's boyfriend when he was 13. I am apparently the only person he has ever told. Immediately after telling me, I could tell he regretted it. He simply told me that that was what happened and I was not to ask any questions or ever speak of it again. I respected that and have not said anything about it, however after telling me, he has become very withdrawn. He asks me to leave him alone for hours and refuses to even sleep in the same bed as me now and does not seem to care how his behavior is affecting me emotionally. I even expressed to him once how it was affecting me and making me depressed as well, and his response was that he "didn't care" and then proceeded to take jabs at me and try to make it seem like I was attacking him because I expressed that to him.

I've tried reaching out to him about it, I've also tried to ignore what he told me and go on as if nothing was said. Nothing has worked. It seems like no matter what I say to him, it just ends in him getting mad about what he told me.

These last few weeks have been very difficult, and I'm not quite sure what to do. I can't live like this forever, however I also do care for him and want to stay with him and help if I can. I do not want to abandon him, especially because this behavior is most likely because he was a victim... but I don't know how much more I can take. Even though he claims what happened "does not affect him and it doesn't need to be discussed", it is clear that it does, and as a result it affects both him and me.

How do I go about helping him? Is it really better to endure his current behavior and act like he never said anything? Or is there something I can do to help him?





Edited by MasoCA (12/08/12 09:00 AM)

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#418523 - 12/08/12 01:47 PM Re: Found out Boyfriend is a Survivor [Re: MasoCA]
jcm Offline


Registered: 05/26/09
Posts: 36
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I'm sure he does want some form of help. I know myself I have often given the "I don't want to talk about it" and "I don't need help" line's, when in fact all I want and need to do is sit down and talk through it.

When I first told someone, it was difficult and I instantly panicked and thought I had done the wrong thing. It was like I had been exposed for what I really was and I didn't like that after keeping it a secret for a long time.

If your boyfriend is having a hard time discussing it in person, have you thought about writing him a letter so he can just sit and read it. Then there wont be any confrontation about how he 'doesn't need to discuss it' and you can get your point across how you would like to help him.

Deep down, I am sure he appreciates your concerns and it may just be that it's such a difficult thing for him to deal with, he doesn't know how to react now that he has finally spoken up about it.

Please don't give up on him. Tell him that you want to help him. Explore the options for therapy (either for just him or for both of you together). Maybe introduce him to this community? Finding this place was a big step for me, i'm sure he might appreciate it since it would be a place for him to vent to people who understand him.

Good luck!

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#418525 - 12/08/12 02:58 PM Re: Found out Boyfriend is a Survivor [Re: MasoCA]
Candu Offline


Registered: 06/30/12
Posts: 312
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: MasoCA
I've tried reaching out to him about it, I've also tried to ignore what he told me and go on as if nothing was said. Nothing has worked. It seems like no matter what I say to him, it just ends in him getting mad about what he told me.

You can't ignore/forget what he said to you and he knows it. The disclosure has effected your relationship and nothing can change that. Of course he is mad about telling you because this has changed everything as far as he is concerned.

Originally Posted By: MasoCA
I can't live like this forever, however I also do care for him and want to stay with him and help if I can. I do not want to abandon him, especially because this behavior is most likely because he was a victim... but I don't know how much more I can take. Even though he claims what happened "does not affect him and it doesn't need to be discussed", it is clear that it does, and as a result it affects both him and me.

You can't fix him. He needs some professional help. But he has to also want to deal with it. And it wont be easy. It never is. While it would be good (if he decides to deal with it) for him to have support I don't think that this could be the only reason for staying with him.
Whatever you do will be wrong. It always is. But you are already getting that.

Remember that this is just an opinion based on my view and little information.

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#418565 - 12/09/12 03:35 AM Re: Found out Boyfriend is a Survivor [Re: MasoCA]
MasoCA Offline


Registered: 12/08/12
Posts: 2
Thank you for your replies.

I guess, I'm just at a loss of what to do. I believe that he does need to talk to someone about it, however I do not feel it is right for me to push him to see a therapist and he needs to make that decision for himself. Even just linking him this site might set him off at this point. It is very clear it was an accident that he told me, and he made me swear not to ever tell another soul about it (even just posting here, I feel as if I am betraying him, but I need advice on what to do) and I was not to EVER talk about it again. Even though it may make him very angry at first, I feel that at some point I may need to recommend therapy or show him this site, even if it means the end of our relationship. However, I also do not want to lose him, I care for him deeply and I want to stick with him through this if he'll let me. I do not think of him any less, if anything I believe this makes him stronger. But, there is a limit to how much I can take as well.

I did not mention this in my first post, but, unknown to my boyfriend, I am also a victim of sexual abuse, as I was raped by several older students during my first year in highschool. Through therapy, I was able to recover from that experience for the most part. However, I would be lying if I said hearing about his experience does not brings back bad memories of my own. But, I feel as if I need to be strong for the both of us and not show any signs of weakness. But I wonder, would telling him about my experience, and how therapy helped me, maybe make him feel not so vulnerable around me since I went through something similar? Or would telling him bring back too many of his bad memories and be more negative?

I realize that there is not a whole lot I can do for him and he needs professional help and maybe to talk to other male survivors. However, I do not know what to do. I really would like to get him help and introduce him to this site, but like I said above I'm 99% sure he would refuse to help and would get angry at me for even suggesting, but I realize it is also a risk I may have to take.

It seems like no matter what I try to do, it is always my fault now and the conversation will revert back to what happened to him. He tells me he NEVER wants to talk about it to anyone ever and telling me was a mistake. I've been trying to respect his wishes about not talking to him about it and trying to make conversation about other things, but it seems like every conversation gets turned into a complete mess because he, the one who supposedly doesn't want to talk about it, keeps bring up his past abuse. I ask him about work... he turns it into a conversation about his past... if I reply to it, it is my fault it was brought up and he gets mad that I broke his promise about never talking about it... but if I do not reply it is my fault for ignoring his feelings and he gets mad. I would be perfectly willing to listen to him and let him vent to me, I would also be perfectly willing to keep quiet about it and hopefully he will talk to a therapist someday. But it seems like none of these strategies work, it is my fault regardless of what I try to do.

JCM, I think I may try your idea of writing a letter to him since no matter how I speak to him right now, he seems to view it as a confrontation. It sounds like that might make it a bit easier for him to listen to me and easier for me to express my thoughts on his situation.

But aside from that, I just am still at a loss of what to do. Any other advice on what to do, or give me some insight on what he is feeling would be greatly appreciated.

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#418589 - 12/09/12 01:25 PM Re: Found out Boyfriend is a Survivor [Re: MasoCA]
Candu Offline


Registered: 06/30/12
Posts: 312
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: MasoCA
I wonder, would telling him about my experience, and how therapy helped me, maybe make him feel not so vulnerable around me since I went through something similar? Or would telling him bring back too many of his bad memories and be more negative?

I would write him a letter. Print it on premium paper. If you have good handwriting (I suck) then write it out. Tell him about your experience. Tell him that you have some idea what he feels. Your experience is different but was similar in how destructive it could be. Tell him that while he says that it "does not affect him and it doesn't need to be discussed" he knows that that is not true. It has and it does effect him. While he may not want to discuss it with you, and you will not bring it up if that is what he wants, but that he still needs someone to help him with this. It will not go away.

I would include a book on CSA. Victims No Longer (Second Edition): The Classic Guide for Men Recovering from Sexual Child Abuse is my first choice. There are some other good books I read but that is one of the better ones. Have a look a http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nnp4MQ5I5Ss

I would not yet suggest a therapist because it may be too much and too threatening to him. Like you are backing him into a corner. Giving him the book with the letter may be too much also. You might get the book, read it yourself without commenting on it but so he will notice, and leave it out so that he might pick it up.

Build yourself a protective shell. Do other things that don't revolve around him. Do what you can that can help him but don't get sucked into the abuse any more than you have to. Do you both go out and have fun anymore since the disclosure? If not then try and change this. If not both of you at least you.

Learn what you can about CSA. Both to help him and to protect you. Recovery will take time and will be difficult.

So the above is what I would do. What you should do you have to decide. You are in it and you have to live with it. Whatever happens I hope things work out for you and him.

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