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#66844 - 06/01/05 08:29 AM The Recovery Process
riviera Offline
Member

Registered: 06/01/05
Posts: 59
Loc: Spain
Hi,

Just last March (after 5 years of relationship) my boyfriend started his personal recovery process. During those 5 years we have been very happy but he had been suffering of 2-3 mild depressive episodes per year (they'd last 2-3 days and he'd never shared them with me) and some alcohol problems (but no alcoholism though). He was sexually abused by a male friend of the family for about 5-6 years when he was just a kid. He disclosed for the first time after a suicide attempt at the age of 21. He went for therapy for about 1-2 years. And now (after 20 years) he has found the courage and the strength to finally face his past, to disclose every emotion and feeling related to it, to mourn the losses and to rebuild himself and his thoughts about the world. I guess cause of our situation of stability both emotionally and professionally. The recovery process is very hard. He is totally against therapy at this moment as he reckons he doesn't need that but the support of the people he loves such as family, friends and me. I have gathered valuable and reliable information about it in order to understand the different situations and feelings he is going through as well as to give him the best possible support. Some info I have shared with him but he is taking it slowly and I understand and respect his pace. Until now this approach has been working beautifully but we are now in a point where he is having some panic attacks and flashbacks as a result of releasing emotions and so on. Some good days and some not as good days. But he is handling them and dealing with them not in a self-destructive way but he is learning and developing new ways to let them out. This means that we talk almost everyday, I listen and try to guide him as good as I possibly can.
My fear is that this whole thing could blow up just cause we are not relying on therapy/therapist. He and I discussed this possibility and at the moment is out of the way. As he is making progress he feels there is no need for therapy.

1. I'd like to know whether anybody has gone through the recovery process by themselves with the support of your partner/friends/family but no via counselling/therapy. I'd like to know your experience.

2. For those who were sceptical of getting some sort of therapy but eventually decided to give it a go, I'd like to know what it is that prompt you to take that decision and how positive has been the experience

Thanks in advance!!
Love
H


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#66845 - 06/01/05 09:52 AM Re: The Recovery Process
sophiesdad Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 462
Loc: Florida
Hello H:

First of all, you may want to consider posting this in the "Friends and Family" and you may get more input from spouses or significant others of SA men.

I personally never considered going it alone because it was all too painful. From everything I've read and heard over the years, I don't think it's IMPOSSIBLE to go it w/out a therapist, but the majority of people ended up getting help. The odd thing about memories and emotional scars is that if we try to ignore them or stuff them away, they'll eventually rear their ugly heads either emotionally or manifest in physical/health problems.

I will say that it's a difficult path and sometimes memories, flashbacks, etc can crop up when you least expect it. But, the sooner that someone gets help, the sooner they are on the way to recovery.

There is a section on this website "find a therapist". See if there is anyone in your area. Or, maybe one of the T on the board can point you in the right direction. I WOULD strongly suggest that you find someone who has experience with CSA. I've been to highly qualified T's in the past who had no experience and I felt they did more damage than good.

If there is a support group for male survivors of CSA in your area, that's a great resource, too. He will be among a group of men who have shared the same feelings, fears, confusions and will understand what he's going through. I personally shied away from a mixed group simply because 1) women and men who have been abused have some VERY different issues to deal with and 2) sometimes women who were SA may be uncomfortable with a man in the group because their abuser may have been a man.

He can also join this forum if he feels comfortable. He will also find a group of caring and supportive men here.

I would also suggest to you to resist the urge to "rescue" him. He will have to go through this at his own pace and the best thing that anyone close to a SA survivor is to simply let him/her know that you are there if they need you and you will respect the boundaries that he may need for a while. For example: when i first became aware of what I went through, I didn't want to be touched by ANYONE including my wife - especially if I didn't see the touch coming. It brought about an immediate reaction of fear and panic attacks. So, be very patient and consider continuing to post on the Friends and Family part of this site.... you'll find some very supportive folks there, also.

I wish you both luck and you're always welcomed here.

Sophiesdad

_________________________
There are no unresolved issues - they just didn't resolve themselves the way we would have liked. "Grinder and Bandler - Neuro-Linguistic Programming"

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#66846 - 06/01/05 10:48 PM Re: The Recovery Process
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Hello H, and welcome to MS.

My boyfriend of eight years avoided therapy for a long time-- he gave several reasons that sound a lot like what your boyfriend is saying, ("I'm handling it" "I've been to therapy in the past" etc) but in the end it was because there were some issues and secrets that he was NOT ready to share or deal with, and once he started therapy they started coming out. I'm not saying that has to be what's going on in your situation, but I'm saying that some emotions and fears can hide under the surface for longer than others. It may be that your boyfriend reaches a point in the future where he's dealing with some different things and does need the therapy... or just someone to talk to who isn't so emotionally attached.

I agree that he needs to recover at his own pace-- for many men, just admitting that they need professional help is a big deal and takes time also. Maybe if you just let him know that you respect his decision at this time and that the option is open and you won't think less of him for making that choice later, it will give him the encouragement he needs to find the therapist when he's ready.

This doesn't mean that you have to be his therapist or sacrifice your own boundaries in the process! It is draining and difficult to handle all the details of someone's recovery-- there's a reason professionals get trained first, and get paid. I understand that you want to support him, but it's okay to draw the line at sitting down with him and talking about the abuse every day. At some point that's going to make everyone involved unhappy.

Stick around and take care,
SAR


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#66847 - 06/02/05 08:05 AM Re: The Recovery Process
riviera Offline
Member

Registered: 06/01/05
Posts: 59
Loc: Spain
Thanks SAR and Sophiesdad for your advice.
Last night something terrible happened. My boyfriend came home very late after work totally lost and devastated inside. He reckons he can't handle it no more and he wants to either go away(from everything and everybody) for few days or go back to the original situation where he'd just have to handle 2-3 mild depressive episodes a year and in that way he'd be the only one suffering and not both (?). He argued that he doesn't want to lose me and this way everything is falling apart inside. He told me that there is something that clicks in and he can't control it. He walks for hours and he can't remember after what happened. He didn't phone me to tell me that he'd be late cause he didn't remember. He is physically and mentally exhausted. He just sees the pain and the anger, and it seems that nothing can ease that feeling. He also feels guilty of making me suffer. Of making me wait last night till 2 o'clock in the morning wondering where he was. The thing is that my reaction/attitude is always open, understanding, listening and supportive. My words wouldn't help him see that he has options.
I feel terrible cause after all the improvements and realization he has made in the last while he seems so sure that giving up is the best solution . He doesn't take it as a failure (and it is not that I take it as such) but as "this is not the right moment". All this cause everything was going ok and then something triggered terrible flashback last Friday and since then he feels that something has died inside. He looks at the photographs from before the SA and can't find that wee happy boy inside.
I mentioned again about therapy to him (just to consider it, maybe not now) and again he is so reluctant. He was full of anger last night. Angry especially with his family. He thinks that they never supported him and never really care. At the moment he hates everybody, humanity, his family.... He said yesterday that he can't trust his family so how could he trust anyone. The truth is that his family at the time of his suicide attempt acted as if nothing happened, when he went for therapy they acted as if he was digging the past. He writes music and poetry, they were never interested, they never went to his gigs, never showed up when he was doing theatre and so on. Last March he told his family about how after many years he still suffers from depression (that's how all this started). Now he regrets that. They have reacted but he thinks it is too late now. According to him they were more worried about what people in their town could have thought than actually him. He has done so many things for them, baby-sat their children, help them out with new houses (painting, etc), phoning them quite regularly(we live in Spain and his family lives in Ireland)...

He just called me from home there now and he is not going to work today. He is vomiting and has stomach aches. I don't know what to do. I know that shutting down is not going to work, I know that the only way is therapy but it seems impossible to make him even consider it. Besides we live in Madrid and as he is Irish, he needs an English native qualified specialist in SA and that it is extremely hard to find, which makes things even more difficult. I've mentioned to him about English/American helplines and forums (like this one) but no reaction.
I'd appreciate any guidance. There is something inside me that is 100% positive that he is going to beat this but today everything seems black.
I am totally in love with him.
Thanks
H


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#66848 - 06/02/05 02:41 PM Re: The Recovery Process
Curtis St. John Offline
Past President
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/20/04
Posts: 1796
Loc: Westchester, N.Y.
Hi H,

You will not be able to do this without a therapist and he will be unhappy until he deals with this, but yes, he needs to decide that he wants to get better and that he needs to get help to do it.

I first found a therapist with my wife so we could deal with our sonís behavior, however, a year later we finally figured out that as our son reached the age at which I was abused I was doing everything I could to distance myself from him. You see, it was easier to make my son angry with me then to let him closer to me.

When I finally told my therapist about my abuse, and asked her if she thought it could have anything to do with our problems, (she said it did :rolleyes: ) she asked me if I wanted to go to a different therapist while I dealt with it. It didnít take me long to decide that I wanted to stay with her because I knew my wife would be able to fill in things I may leave out or help give our therapist another perspective of what life at home was like.

That may not work for you, but going as a couple some days and alone (either my wife or myself) other days really worked for us.

Regardless of what you decide to do, if you want to find a therapist you should read this article- A Consumers Guide To Therapist Shopping

Good luck and take care,


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#66849 - 06/02/05 04:03 PM Re: The Recovery Process
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
You are right that your words will not make him see that he has more options. When he is able to see it for himself, then your words will help him feel validated and encouraged, but there is no magic word that will get him into therapy until he wants to go.

My boyfriend also had days, especially in the beginning, where he wanted to "give up" or just forget it... it could just mean that he needs a break before he can go forward any more, or that he's just overwhelmed by the fear of change. Almost a year after my boyfriend started therapy he still tells me that some days he panics just thinking that other people know his secret. The shame and secrecy had been such a big part of his life that letting go of them really meant changing his entire way of life. It is scary. Eventually the desire to change and heal becomes stronger than the fear... but it is a long battle. Some days the fear gains ground.

Take care of yourself and try to keep things in perspective. Remember that your job is to be his partner and friend, not to heal him or make excuses for him. There is support and then there is getting taken for granted. You are allowed to be upset and angry when his behaviors affect you.

SAR


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