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#193993 - 12/06/07 08:04 AM New to this situation... how do I help?
SongofJude Offline
New Here

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 6
I am terribly sad and scared. My boyfriend, whom I love very much, feels that he wanted me to know some of his past and told me that he was sexually abused by his step dad. Im stunned because not only did he have a rough childhood... but someone who was suppost to be a parent for him, hurt him in this way. However, Im even more shocked that he told me as if it was nothing. He didnt show any emotion and when I asked him how he feels now, he said he feels nothing and then doesnt want to talk about it anymore.

Im sad because Its hard for me to imagine someone hurting him like that - Especially when he was just a little boy. In pictures you can identify the smiley kid he was... to the kid who no more smiles.

Im scared because I wonder if he is botteling up his feelings or if he really feels nothing. How can you feel nothing about that?? It didnt happen to me but since he told me Ive cried for hours that someone would hurt the man I love this way. When I told him I felt really sad about it... he simply said "dont".

I was online trying to find advice for how to treat this sensitive situation. I have never experienced this before. I was reading a LOT of the posts from F&F and saw a lot of commonalities from the Survivors and my boyfriend. Things like trust issues, closing up at confrontation, moodiness and a few more. I know all people are different and that there are plenty of non-abused that act this way.... but now It makes me wonder if these are not end results? What (If anything) can/should I do?
Im trying just to be supportive... but its not like he talks about it. He doesnt want to talk about it. So... now I feel like I need to talk about it... and help him in some way if it is what is causing the issues stated above.

Other survivors... please advise me. Its the Holidays and this is the time he was abused... so he hates the holidays... and I've always loved the holidays. This is our first Christmas together and Im not sure how to work with this. I, Of course, will be understanding and supportive to him not wanting to participate due to the foul memories the season brings... but is there anything I can do to help encourage him to try to make new memories so that he could one day enjoy the season??

I love him so much and am willing to go the distance to help him... But the truth is, im not even sure he wants to be helped. He seemes almost numb to the topic. Do you think he could have really just let it go? He would be SO T'd off if he even knew I was looking for advice on his personal past... but what else am I suppot to do if he wont talk about it?! I'm doing this because I love him.

Thank you for reading all of that. I didnt mean to make it so long... but there is a lot pouring from my heart and mind right now.

advice extremely appreciated,

#193998 - 12/06/07 09:55 AM Re: New to this situation... how do I help? [Re: SongofJude]
sweet-n-sour Offline

Registered: 10/03/06
Posts: 409
Loc: chicago
Dear Songofjude:

You posed some very interesting questions to survivors and hopefully, you will find some answers you are seeking from them.

All I can say from the perspective of being married to a survivor is that they have ownership of their own issues. After being in this thing for well over a year now, I have concluded that it is a very difficult position to be in. I was forced to look at our relationship from a variety of angles. In the end, in being in a relationship with a survivor we have no say over their course of healing but we do have a say over what decisions they make and how it directly effects us. We have a responsibility to ourselves in this, to our own happiness. What it basically amounts to is that we can not stop living because of someone elses issues.
This may sound harsh but it is the truth. If you enjoy the holidays and it is triggering to your bf, you still have to be true to yourself and enjoy the holidays. Maybe in seeing this time of year through your perspective, it may rewire his feelings surrounding this time of may make him appreciate having this new chance at better.
I hope this makes sense.
Take care and keep your chin up!
Best wishes,

"As long as he continues to try, I will meet him in that determination and commitment."

cm 2007

#194212 - 12/07/07 01:56 PM Re: New to this situation... how do I help? [Re: sweet-n-sour]
indygal Offline

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439

welcome to the fnf - i hope you can find some of the answers you seek here -

one of the ways this forum has helped me is whenever my bf behaves in a way that i feel is directly related to his being a survivor, i come here and read the stories; gently reminding myself his pain is real, and maybe just sometimes everything else in his world is pretty irrelevant; that would include me.

i've learned to be more patient than i ever imagined, just to love him, love myself and try and be there for him however i can.

it's not easy, not at all; sometimes it seems downright intolerable! again, tho, in the dark moments there always seems to be a light over here at ms.

browse the site and maybe read about various books that are available that might help you. there's a lot out there to read and absorb.

as for the holidays, a lot of people aren't terribly fond of them anyway, you may very well learn more about yourself now in this area - maybe more than you ever imagined. i truly hope you won't push him to enjoy himself simply because you feel he must - just let him know you care, and hope he'll take care of himself. i know it's hard, and you might be alone this season more than you planned or would like - so find your friends and start making plans now, if you must.

all the best,

my avatar is one of the Battle Angel characters, fighting the good fight.

#194491 - 12/09/07 12:52 AM Re: New to this situation... how do I help? [Re: indygal]
SongofJude Offline
New Here

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 6
S-n-s: I appreciate your positivity. Your right, Im just trying to understand him better in the light of this issue. I guess im just hoping there is something I can do to try and help. Reading some of the other posts I see that a lot of people were non-involved with thinking or dealing with the past. Many, Ive noticed, suddently came to deal with it around their early 30's. (Which is right around the age of my b/f.) Im a little nervous. I undoubtably will be supportive - I have to, I want to, I love him - but that doesnt mean Im not afraid. As far as the holidays go -Your right there too, I hope my positivity about the holidays wont negatively impact him - do you think that is possible? (seeing Im happy in a time of year that he is hurting?) I just feel kinda useless for him right now.

Indy: Thank you for your response. Ive learned a lot about some of his reaction reasons by looking at what others have written on here - even before your suggestion. Your mindset of ultimate patience is great and I'll take your idea to come on here and remind myself what he is dealing with, whenever things get thick and I know it has to do with his past. (Even though he doesnt acknowledge that its something that effects him today.) The more I read on here, there more I see it does effect him. And of course I wont push him to enjoy things because I do - I hope you didnt get that from what I wrote at all! The whole situation is that I want to be there for him no matter what - its just that during this time of year - I realize its a sensitive time for him and I want to know If I can help at all.

Like everyone, I want the person I love to be happy. I just thought maybe because other f&f may be dealing with this as well.. they could maybe provide some ideas for extra support or... I dont know. Maybe ways to help their loved ones get through together and make new memories or things I can say that others have found to be helpful. Im new to this... Im really trying - Im just not sure what it is I can do..if anything.


#195353 - 12/15/07 02:41 PM Re: New to this situation... how do I help? [Re: SongofJude]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
It's great that you're willing to go the distance, but know that it's a long road and you often find yourself going one step forward while he goes 3 steps back! I'm new here, but not new to this. He and I have been together (and apart) for over 20 years.
One thing I've found is that the feelings are there, even when he says he feels nothing. It's a small consolation when you're telling him you feel sad about what happened to you and he's telling you...."Don't". For years, whenever I would say I loved him, his response would be, "I know you do." Does he love me? Yes. He'll do little things to make sure I know, but he'll rarely say it.
You have to be true to who you are. If you feel something, tell him. It's normal to feel sad and angry over what's happened to him, and what's happening to him now. He doesn't trust me because of what someone else did, I can't touch him because of what someone else did..etc. Makes it difficult not to be angry with the "someone else". It takes a long time to come to the realization that you can't fix this. You can't change what happened and you can't force him to deal with something he's not ready to deal with. The best thing to do is just to be there for him and listen if he needs to talk. Patience is the key. It's a painfully slow process and it's monumental that he disclosed to you at all. Telling you put him in a vulnerable position because he couldn't be certain about how you'd react. One thing to remember is that what happened to him does not define who he is as a person, even if he thinks it does. When my SO told me, I remember thinking, "This explains alot..." but it didn't change how I feel about him and it never will.

#195462 - 12/16/07 06:43 AM Re: New to this situation... how do I help? [Re: Liv2124]
MusicMan Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 146
Loc: Elmira, NY
Hi Song of Jude,

From the male survivor perspective, I can say that your boyfriend has walled up his feelings and does not want to talk about it because men need to feel like we are in control of our emotions and we don't want to feel vulnerable.

The abuse completely permeates us, who we are and how we see our world. To be able to continue to function as though there is nothing wrong, we close off our feelings and continue on. Unfortunately, it seems to always catch up with us in one way or another.

Your boyfriend wants to continue to function as normally as possible. I commend him for mentioning it. However, he is not ready to expose his soul yet. That is an extremely difficult task for all of us. It is very emotional and makes us completely vulnerable. We're guys and we're not good at that.

Just let him know that you enjoy the holidays and that you enjoy him, too. Let him know that if he ever wants to talk about it, you are willing to listen, but let him make the choice. When he is ready, he will share. Meanwhile, go on with your lives. You can know that there is a very hurt little boy in there, but that he's yours and making the most of life.

God bless,
John, The Music Man.


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