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#67207 - 07/31/03 04:52 PM therapy?
newcanuck Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/27/03
Posts: 10
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Hi guys,

I know I have promised my bf I wouldnít check this forum anymore, but I have some questions I think you can help me with. Since my last post here, he has made some progress, and I think he is in the right way for a full recovery. But, I also think he needs professional help, somebody who can help him to understand what he went through and somebody who is not me. I have been trying to convince him to seek a therapist, but he doesnít want to hear anything about it. And the fact is I think that putting his recovery over my shoulder is a tremendous responsibility, something Iím not prepared to deal with.

So, the obvious question is, how can I approach the subject with him, without seeming I am rejecting help him? Itís not like I donít want to help him, itís just I donít think Iím the best person to do it. I can deal with the nightmares, and flashbacks and offer support whenever he wants or needs, but as far as understand and explain him the reasons of it, I donít think I can be much help. I canít help him, he sees Iím not ďhappyĒ, he feels guilty because Iím sad, I feel guilty because he feels guilty Ö itís a never ending cycle.

It seems to me that most (if not all) of you are in therapy Ö have you ever had any doubts about it? He seems very determinate to NOT look for a therapist, and even if I eventually ďconvinceĒ him to do it, itíll be only to not upset me. Which ďargumentsĒ can I use to make him see that therapy is the next step Ö I know he just came to this forum because I asked him, but in the end he saw it as a good thing to him, and now he feels more comfortable with the idea. Can I expect the same with therapy? Also, Iíd like to know if all therapies involve the use of drugs, I think thatís one of the reasons he doesnít want to go to therapy (ďto become a zombieĒ). He already has problems with his sexual ability, and heís not willing to accept the side effects of those drugs.

Itís been very difficult the last days, and although I have been trying to look ďstrongĒ to him, itís obviously not working Ö the scariest thing to me are the flashback attacks (Iím not sure if thatís the correct name). Is offering support the only thing I can do? Sometimes I wonder if they can not result in something even worse Ö Iíve been feeling so useless, and like everything else, offering support doesnít seem enough. I donít care if we wonít be together (sexually speaking) for a long time, what really bothers me that he is in such pain and I can not do anything about it. He looks very depressed, he took some days off from work and spends the whole day in his house, alone, just waiting for me Ö he cries A LOT, call me to talk but doesnít want to talk me Ö I donít know what to do.

Thanks again,

NewCanuck


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#67208 - 07/31/03 05:28 PM Re: therapy?
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
NewCanuck,

I think anyone who endured sexual abuse should at least start therapy and work at it with an open mind.

A therapist is someone who stands outside the situation and offers an objective view, without rejecting me as a person. It's not possible for my wife to be objective like that, and it wouldn't be possible for you to be so objective toward your boyfriend. My wife hates the perp. I still don't think I do.

Your boyfriend would have to be willing to take a chance on making his life, and by extension, your life together better by doing some real hard work. Beating the shame is only the first part, the part that helps the survivor get in the therapist's office and start speaking.

When the stuff starts coming out, and I find more and more of it there, and the feelings start coming with it, it hurts. Like nothing else ever hurt. But slowly I'm feeling better a little at a time, with ups and downs, but slowly better nonetheless. That would not have happened if I hadn't started working with my psychologist.

You know, starting therapy is a big step. It's not one I would advise skipping, but maybe your boyfriend needs a little time to get himself ready for it.

I wish you both all the best as you continue.

Thanks,

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbrokenÖ"óThe Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#67209 - 07/31/03 08:38 PM Re: therapy?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
NewCanuck
Unfortunately dragging your boyfriend through a therapists door kicking and screaming just wont work.

He has to walk through it because he wants to. It's as hard as hell.
How many of knew what therapy is all about ? My vision of therapy came from old Woody Allen films where he lay on couch and got "analyzed"
It's nothing like that, thankfully.

And on top of that there's all the "macho" crap that men are men and sort things out by themselves.
Yeah - right ! I couldn't sort out the days of the week on my own.

What you can do is hard to say.
But I'd maybe do some local research and see if there is a therapist who specialises in SA near you. Give them a call and get some background and advice.
If you have the right and accurate information when he asks, or talks about it you can be positive and ease his fears. You don't have to let him know you've actually asked around.

He's disclosed a pile of stuff here already, he's in a very early stage.
As he progress' he will start to notice more and more that there are guys here who have dealt with so much of their abuse related behaviour, and he'll begin to ask why. And 99% will say "therapy"
I personally think the evidence for therapy is overwhelming and he'll come to see it.
But until then all you can do is what you're doing now, support and love the guy.

Keep coming here, we'll help all we can and answer your questions. Rant and rave if you need to, cry on our shoulders. We know how much pain your feller's in, and the partners here know your pain.

Don't do it alone, it doesn't work.

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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#67210 - 07/31/03 09:32 PM Re: therapy?
stpbb Offline
Member

Registered: 03/03/03
Posts: 103
Hi -- glad to see you come back here. I was a bit worried about your set-up given my own experience with my ex/bf's process. You cannot be his only source of support & have no forum like this for yourself. My bf got into therapy only after falling into a deep depression where he was not funcional & nearly took his own life. I took on far too much caretaking because of that & it was not only hard on me, it also was very hard on our relationship & he wasn't getting the kind of support he needed because I am NOT a professional therapist. I have also been in therapy myself & really feel that I need the help to deal with the relationship stuff that comes up as a product of his abuse.

He (my bf) is not interested in the MS site for himself (well, he is, but technologically challenged & not a big reader) so I have used the family & friends forum as my own support group & read about survivors' issues & experiences & it has been a wonderful help in understanding & dealing with the relationship.

SO I guess I agree with the posts here saying he should be in therapy, but failing that, you need to set your own boundaries for caretaking, find a support system for yourself & perhaps find therapy on your own.

I think that you need to realize how unfair it is to place the burden of helping him through this trauma on your shoulders alone. It isn't that I am saying it isn't right for you to support him through it, but unless you are a therapist yourself you don't ahve the tools to give him the help he needs & you can also very easily become traumatized by the process. I don't want to sound meladramatic, but it is HARD hard stuff that he is dealing with & if he won't consider therapy for himself, perhaps he could do it for your sake, just to prevent overburdening you? Just a thought. Then as you grow and open up to each other within the relationship, you can be there to support and love him, but you aren't becoming responsible for him.

I think part of what has become a confusing dynamic in my relationship is the fact that I became too much of a caretaker & then the fact that this is a sexually intimate relationship starts to become more of a parallel to the abuse situation within the family he grew up in. I'm taking care of him & sexually involved? That is just not healthy. I don't mean to say you shouldn't take care -- but you should take care of each other, your needs should also matter within the relationship, and your caring for him shouldn't be his only source of support because then you can really become overwhelmed by his needs & lose sight of your own.

On the other hand, you also can't force him & he shouldn't do things that he isn't comfortable with. But not seeking out some support is a bit like dealing with cancer on your own. People die from trauma's afteraffects. People take their own lives, they suffer physical & mental ailments that are very painful and make day to day life a huge challenge. There are medications that may help (antidepressants, antianxiety, sleeping aids, etc), there are techniques in therapy that can help (EMDR, cognitive behavioral therapy, etc.), and just having a place to talk that is totally confidential, & where he isn't concerned about protecting the relationship like he is with you can be a huge help in getting by.

So, having told you a lot of what you probably already know & feel since you asked the question yourself! I will tell you that what I did was collect info for my bf/ex & gave it to him to use when he was ready -- i got him names of sliding fee clinics & information on their services, printed articles from the web relating to issues he was dealing with, got referrals to specialists in dealing with sexuality issues, found some support groups he could participate in (though not for SA, unfortunately). I just gave it to him & he ended up using all of the resources once he was ready. I think because of the abuse it was especially important that I didn't pressure him -- every step was his decision & something he did when he was ready to face it.

I offered to go along with him & did take him to his first appointment & met with him & the therapist on a few occaisions.

Feel free to PM me or post here if you have questions.

Best of luck to you both.

-BB.


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