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#143272 - 02/26/07 01:52 PM Another form of acting out?
riviera Offline

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

I have realized that there are other forms of acting out... not necessarily sexual. My boyfriend for example. He repeats a behavioural pattern. Until today I never thought it could be acting out... a form of it....

He goes out with people (always happens when he meets friends on his own), he is funny, extrovert, happy, cracking jokes, enjoying himself, people love him... in one word he is the centre of attention. After few hours he leaves always alone apparently ok, not saying goodbye to anyone just disappearing. And then the whole guilt, feelings of worthless and emptiness take over. Depression kicks in and everything turns black. He goes drinking by himself and becomes detached. He arrives home totally depressed, drunk (old coping mechanism), angry and tired of feeling like that. In the worst case scenario he wants to self-harm/cut.

This pattern he struggles with. It is the most difficult part of his healing journey so far. However he repeats this behaviour knowing what the outcome will be... This to me is acting out.

The explanation is simple if you look at his abuse story. His perp was an adult friend of the family who gained his trust over a year before anything happened. I guess my boyfriend was happy, funny, extrovert around him like any boy will be being the centre of attention. Especially when you are the 5th of 8 children in the family. I guess the association is simple too. My boyf associates being himself and getting credit for it with the abuse. Especially considering that the perp gained his trust by getting him presents, compliments,etc. So when he is himself around people he feels like he does not deserve the credit and that he is not worth it. He immediately goes into punishing and harming himself mode.

This is a terrible thing. Seeing your loved one destroying himself. Last Friday happened again. Until today I thought it was a self-esteem issue. Now I know it is something even deeper.He asked me to always go out with him at least for a while. I am not sure of whether that will help. I know he feels safe around me but I think he hast to work to feel safe regardless me.

But how?


#143280 - 02/26/07 03:59 PM Re: Another form of acting out? [Re: riviera]
Cecilia Offline

Registered: 08/07/06
Posts: 63
Loc: Maine

I read your post thinking I was going to find something that would resemble the way my husband "acts out," because his acting out is not sexual. Our intimate life is wonderful and regular. However, the way your partner acts out is exactly the way that I used to act out. Exactly. Thankfully, I found a therapist who did not try to put my reliance upon substances into a specific box, but instead helped me to see the pattern that you just described.

Before I came to law school, I was an actress. As my therapist recently said to me, part of the way you used to drink, get depressed and behave was part of an old identity (i.e., actress) that you formed in response to your abuse.

Now that I am finding out who I am (including the part of me that is a survivor because it does form part of our path, though it doesn't have to BE the path) I am changing other patterns . . . from the inside out.

I don't know if I am just rambling. I tend to talk more about my husband and children on this site (and in life. . .) than I do about me, but what you wrote just rang SO true to me. I used to think that it was my fault that I was targeted because I was "Me." So I had VERY confused feelings about being loved, well-liked, the center of things . . .

Much love and good thoughts to you.


#143425 - 02/27/07 11:27 PM Re: Another form of acting out? [Re: Cecilia]
Born to Resist Offline

Registered: 09/30/05
Posts: 269
Loc: Southern California, USA

Is he seeing a therapist? You can only support him ... the hard work of effectively coping with this issue can only be done in therapy or support groups. He also needs to understand that it simply isn't feasilbe for you to always be at his side. If you are willing to do this for me as long as it is feasible he needs to be willing to work on this issue in therapy or his suppport group.


#143484 - 02/28/07 07:07 AM Re: Another form of acting out? [Re: Born to Resist]
riviera Offline

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

You are perfectly right and I am aware of that. However there is a main problem in getting outside help for my boyfriend. He is Irish I am Spanish and we live in Madrid...getting a professional who has experience with male sexual abuse in childhood has been impossible due to the language barrier... a big problem that we have not solved yet. We tried with a Spanish psychologist who spoke English but it did not work as not being native and also she was more interested because she had never seen a case like him (male,etc). My boy speaks Spanish however for such a delicate and intimate subject he rather speaks in his mother tongue.

So I am quite alone in supporting and guiding him. Any suggestions on other alternatives will be very appreciated.


#143873 - 03/03/07 05:49 AM Re: Another form of acting out? [Re: riviera]
AshSurvived Offline

Registered: 01/07/07
Posts: 167
Loc: Australia
I'm afraid I can't offer any advice, but I can relate, this was how I used to behave before I started to fail at everything and then I completely isolated myself from society.

To my way of thinking, this is early stage behaviour, get him into therapy quick-smart and maybe he'll avoid all the nasty stuff that comes out when the full impact of all the shit he is suppressing comes crashing down. I very nearly ended up in a mental hospital or dead many times.

If I was to give advice: perhaps there is a rape-crisis service run by the government in Spain. I get my counselling through the government here. It's worth a try, because they may have access to multilingual therapists or at least access to a network of specialist 'front-liners' who are either multilingual or can find workarounds because it's their job to deal with rape against tourists and foriegn nationals. Think about it, there maybe a whole untapped support network there.

I wrote a long post here about it for Compassion:

"It's your world Dave, I'm just livin' in it"

- Harvey Pekar to David Letterman
(American Splendour)

#145444 - 03/15/07 03:34 AM Re: Another form of acting out? [Re: AshSurvived]
Morning Star Offline

Registered: 12/21/04
Posts: 1124
Loc: Home
Seems your boyfriend still blames himself for all his abuse, and he has to realise that - It is not his fault! This becomes the step in his healing, and even you can help him realise for now, and that too at your own pace.

Once done,he would at least stop hurting himself after that gradually.

Theraphy is good but healing is a different realm all togther, it is matter of spirit, of heart.

Do not think that if one is not available, another is not possible, very much so, and even you can initiate healing for him, by becoming a channel for grace for him. Pray for his healing and recovery as that includes the divine in the ientire process and you will guided to aid his healing.

Soon you will start to see the effects of it. Trust and miracles will happen in your life too.

As long as he has a venue to talk it over, he will be fine. If not with you, then on an online/offline diary, and then one day he can join us here and help fellow survivors- Nothing helps a survivor than seeing his experiences become a gift and guiding light for another.

All the best,

The Healing Light Meditation with Louise Hay

~ It's over!...Let go of Thy Past, Remember Thy Self ~

Why Don't People Heal, by Caroline Myss; 30 days to clean up your vibrations - Abraham-Hicks


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