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#56994 - 07/19/05 08:48 PM Please help me help someone I love
LeeAnne Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 1
Loc: Columbia, MO
Hello. I'm new to this board, and would really appreciate some friendly guidance from anyone who can offer it.

My boyfriend of two years recently revealed to me that he was a victim of assault while he was in high school. While I'm glad that he felt he could finally confide in me something so personal, something that no one else - not even family - knows, at the same time I felt such pain for him and hatred towards his attacker.

He said such sad things, about not being worth living...and all I could keep telling him was how much he meant to so many people, how loved he is, and how none of it was his fault.

It's been a few days since, and it hasn't been brought up again. And I'm wondering if I should press him to talk about it some more. I know from experience that bottling up these thoughts can be hurtful, but I'm not sure how to get him to talk about something so painful.

I have to admit, my first thought was to catch his attacker, Law & Order style, and make sure that someone so violent would be held responsible for their actions. But I would have no idea how to broach such a subject, or even go about doing so if it was something my boyfriend was interested in.

I suppose all of this boils down to "Where do I go from here?"
Any suggestions or help?

Thank you so much,
LA


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#56995 - 07/19/05 11:14 PM Re: Please help me help someone I love
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
LeeAnne

Quote:
He said such sad things, about not being worth living...and all I could keep telling him was how much he meant to so many people, how loved he is, and how none of it was his fault.
Well you certainly made a good start, these are just the things we need to hear when our self-esteem is in tatters. Getting us to believe it is another matter though.

So keep chipping away and create an environment where he comes to start believing it, once that's there he'll have somewhere safe to talk a bit more.
And I don't think asking him if he'd like to talk some more about will hurt either, but if he says "no" then respect that.
Disclosure to you was possibly the most difficult thing he's ever done in his life, it took me 25 years to tell my wife! So he's probably 'digesting' his disclosure and wondering what to do next.
What he decides is up to him, who he shares his decision with could be up to you.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#56996 - 07/19/05 11:58 PM Re: Please help me help someone I love
Wifey1 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/03/02
Posts: 380
LeeAnne,
Just a quick reply but hope to get back to you more afte bit.
should you open up again with him for discussion it might not hurt to add an assurance to him "that you will NOT disclose to anyone" without his permission.

I found with my own Hubby that this is something I must frequently repeat -- AND if either of us have an issue we need to discuss further with anyone else we ASK Permission first.

Give him sometime, it is very scarey to reveal this info --

Take good care of YOU along the way, YOU are important to you and to him if he should decide to discuss more with you.

Please feel free to post more & questions also as someone usually here can direct us in a good direction for help.

Peace, Sammy


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#56997 - 07/20/05 01:44 AM Re: Please help me help someone I love
medicb4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/07/05
Posts: 71
Loc: Sweden
I revealed for my wife and her response was perfect (as is she).

The important thing is to keep the lines of communication open and remember that you have become involved in something that is upsetting and difficult. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you feel a need & take care of yourself first and foremost. you can't help others if you are a basket case yourself.

_________________________
Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow". -Anonymous

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#56998 - 07/20/05 06:04 PM Re: Please help me help someone I love
dwf Offline
Moderator/BoD Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/24/03
Posts: 1223
Loc: Austin, Texas USA
I think that for me it can be very difficult when the person to whom I choose to share my burden, whether it is the burden of secrecy regarding sexual abuse or any other issue such as irrational fears or chronic illness etc., --the thing that is so hard is when the person to whom I have chosen to reveal this part of myself, then immediately turns to me for help.

I then feel like I need to 'hurry' and get better because I'm causing someone who loves me worry and grief.

It makes me feel like sh*t to put it bluntly.

Part of it is my lack of self-esteem and part of it is I think just human nature. We all want reassurance that everything is 'OK'.

Well, the truth is that everything isn't always 'OK'. Sometimes everything hurts and is painful and sucks.

So when the person I choose to disclose my pain to seems incapable of handling it alone (which I can understand) and then turns to me for reassurance etc., I react very badly. It hurts me again.

Especially when someone says, "Don't worry. It's not that bad. It'll be OK." Those may sound comforting if you're talking about a wrecked car or a damaged house, but when a person is discussing their life, their soul--those kinds of remarks sound minimizing and hollow.

That's why I always say and believe to be true, that the best thing anyone can do for someone in the distress caused by sexual abuse, the very best thing to do is to get some help, comfort and strength for YOURSELF, so that you don't have to come to your loved one and put him in a position where he feels like he's fucked up by telling you something that is too much for you to handle.

And so to you, LeeAnne, I would say that you have done a very good thing by coming here, to MaleSurvivor. Next I would encourage you to come here for yourself. You may be here because of your boyfriend, but I sincerely hope you will come back for yourself.

We cannot share with our loved ones that which we do not have---it just doesn't work that way.

As you learn to deal the effects of sexual abuse in your life, you will gain much valuable experience, strength and hope that you will be very naturally be able to share with your boyfriend.

I would encourage you to read some of the Articles here on the site. Look at the top of the page and click on Professionals, then click on Articles. There is a lot of great information there for you.

I think the most important thing that I can share with you is my experience that it is truly possible for us all to recover from the effects of sexual abuse.

I know that because it is happening to me. I have had lots of love and support from my family and friends. Much of it just the loving hug, arm on the shoulder or simply the words "I'm so sorry that happened to you. You did nothing to deserve it. It is not your fault.".

But most of the support has been the strong, silent kind. As people in my life who were not sexually abused, I don't think it is really possible for them to 'understand' why I go to therapy twice a week for over 3 years now. To love me and support me, they don't need to 'understand'. They just accept me for who I am. And love me, not in spite of that, but because of that.

Hope this helps some. Once again, welcome to MaleSurvivor. You are in the right place and I hope you will continue to read and post.

Recovery is not a destination but a journey and here you will find some terrific travel companions.

Regards,

_________________________
"Poke salad Annie, 'gators got you granny
Everybody said it was a shame
'Cause her mama was aworkin' on the chain-gang"

-Tony Joe White

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#56999 - 07/22/05 09:34 PM Re: Please help me help someone I love
vintagefilmlover Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/14/05
Posts: 5
Loc: Virginia
LeeAnne,

I'm so glad I read your message. My boyfriend's sister recently told me he was abused as a child. It happened with several different people, including cousins and a babysitter. Since he did not tell me himself I must remain quiet. I'm just wondering how he revealed this too you. I brought up my own experience with sexual abuse and my boyfriend got very upset. But he did not reveal anything about himself. Please keep posting updates. Thanks.


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#57000 - 07/23/05 12:49 AM Re: Please help me help someone I love
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Oh filmlover , what a dilemma you're in.

And what can any of us say as help or advice? very little, EXCEPT the advice that we so often give to partners to love, trust and believe their survivor partners, and above all create an environment where trust is freely given ( where appropriate, if that makes sense? ) and disclosure is then possible.

I was going to post a new topic tonight about disclosure because my wife and I were talking about this earlier on, but this topic has just become the place for it.

I was saying that I felt compelled to respond to newcomers to this forum because I feel so strongly that if we are lucky enough to have partners that love us, accept what happened to us, and wish to support us, then I for one want to repay all that in any way I can and help you guys that come here seeking help to help us.

My wife said "but isn't it what wives do anyway?"
Don't take that wrong, she isn't a subservient woman by any stretch of the imagination, far from it, she's a smart and educated independant woman.
What she meant, and we came to after some discussion, was "Isn't that what anyone would do for someone they love?"

That's a different thing, and I say "Yes, it is"
Even given Danny's comments above when the person we disclose something to returns with a "but what about me?" comment, that's understandable if both people have 'problems' - but it still shows that disclosure of problems and issues doesn't automatically drive people away, which is possibly the biggest fear we survivors have before disclosing.

Love is way stronger than we ever believe, we can - and do - forgive the most awful behaviours for love. Why do so many people stay in violent relationships? mainly for two reasons, fear and love.

I pushed my wife a bit tonight to find out her reactions to my initial disclosure about my abuse, the fact it took 25 years to tell her, and the reaction to discovering that I acted out sexually with other men?
And her reaction was "I love you, so my first choice is to sort this out WITH you"
And if I'm perfectly honest that isn't the response I would have expected 7 years ago when I first disclosed to her.
At that time my whole mind was so fucked up that I had no comprehension of how she would possibly react, I really disclosed on a wing and a prayer.
Looking back it's incredible that I knew so little about my wife after 25 years of marriage, but I now know that my mind was concentrating on my survival.
I was keeping all the illusions going that I was 'normal' - and that took a great effort.

Disclosure is probably the most difficult thing we ever do, and we must trust someone before we can do it. I didn't recognise that I trusted my wife, but I obviously did. And more importantly she must have created that 'trusting environment' that I needed.

Neither of us knew it, we didn't plan it. But we both took advantage of it.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#57001 - 07/23/05 03:09 PM Re: Please help me help someone I love
Abby Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/18/04
Posts: 36
Dave, I have no words to thank you for this post. It means so much to me. You have maybe given me the key to understand even better my male survivor friend, and some words he told me during his disclosure that were puzzling me since. Thank you from the deep of my heart.

Abby


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#57002 - 07/23/05 10:44 PM Re: Please help me help someone I love
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Abby
go to work, do what I'm sure will come naturally.

Thanks
Dave \:\)

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#57003 - 07/25/05 10:33 PM Re: Please help me help someone I love
Lost Spark Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/04/04
Posts: 73
Loc: Chicago, IL
Hi everyone,
I'm also new to this board. Well, I've been reading a lot and only now do I finally have the courage to actually say something. My boyfriend revealed to me that he was a Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse. I must admit that it had created a real tear in our relationship, but of course, all tears can be repaired with much preparation, care and patience.

Dave, what you just wrote in the last post brought tears to my eyes. My BF has been really struggling the past couple of years to cope with this head on. He's currently in counseling and even though he doesn't talk much to me voluntarily, when he does open up to me, those words mean more to me than gold itself. Because I know it is taking so much out of him to be courageous enough to bring down that wall between us.

I have nothing but love for him despite the horrendous and heartbreaking details that I have learned over the years of his abuse. I get floored. I get shocked. I get paranoid. I get unbelievably angry at the person who did this to him. But, I try to stay calm for him and myself and I just extend my arms to hold him. I know the many, many, many years of extra work we'll have ahead of us, even if we decide to marry. But, I love him enough to put my whole being into making it work and to make him feel 'at home.'

Thank you for your words Dave and I hope this is my first of many posts. I feel like I just found a new sanctuary for me.

_________________________
"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life." - John Lennon

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