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#220927 - 04/27/08 09:47 PM He says he doesn't want help.
athousandjulys Offline

Registered: 04/27/08
Posts: 1
Hi everyone,

I joined today because I need help.

My boyfriend of three years is a childhood abuse survivor. He was abused by an uncle and neighbor when he was about eight; I don't know how often or any other details. He told no one.

Then, around his 18th birthday, he attempted suicide and ended up in the hospital. At this time, he told his parents. In the hospital, he attended compulsory group sessions and did meet with a therapist individually at least a couple times, but again, he offered few details on this.

I was the first "real" girlfriend that he's had; we started dating when he just turned 19. I think that brought out a lot of confusion and anxiety for him; we fought a lot and he would get angry easily. When I asked him why, he would say I didn't "want to know." Finally, maybe a year later, he told me about his abuse; I became one of maybe five people who know about it. We haven't talked of it since.

I've been asking him to go see a therapist for a long time, I think even before he told me of the abuse. He has issues with control, argues irrationally, and has a tendency to isolate. I'm coming here now because we've been having some issues again, and though he says he loves me (which I believe), the answer to all other questions - do you want to be with me?, what are you feeling?, are you depressed? - are all met with "I don't know." But I know that his depression is coming around again; it's evidenced by growing apathy, isolation, sadness, and black/white thinking.

I feel that it's extremely important that he goes to therapy. Not only for this depression, but to finally sort out his trauma. I know I CAN'T force him, but I almost feel like there's a small part of him that wants to go, but the rest of him is terrified.

I'd really appreciate as much advice as possible. It hurts to see him suffer alone.

#220933 - 04/27/08 10:25 PM Re: He says he doesn't want help. [Re: athousandjulys]
Freedom49 Offline

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 2724
Loc: Washington State
I saw your post and I am glad you found us. Welcome and I hope you will find the answers you need. On thing I thought of is that you may want to make an appointment with a T that specializes in CSA and talk to them first with what you have told us. Then perhaps suggest that you get couples counseling and work with the T to help him disclose and deal with the control, anger and depression.

Another thing is you can print out a few stories or posts from the web site and let him read them and maybe he will come here and talk to us in one of the forums and we can help him that way.

Be careful and don't push too hard as that will only cause him to back away. Your in a tough position but if you love him and want to be with him know that his recover will be bumpy and full of surprises and may take quite a while. Take care of yourself too and seeing a T would not be a bad idea for you.

There is a book by Mike Lew called Victims no longer and that will help both of you understand what you may be dealing with. He really needs to know he is not alone and it was not his fault.

Godd luck and again welcome to MS.

Edited by Freedom49 (04/27/08 10:27 PM)

#220946 - 04/27/08 11:23 PM Re: He says he doesn't want help. [Re: athousandjulys]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
Welcome! It's great you found us!
I wish I had some great words of wisdom for you on the therapy issue. In our case, he's gone to 2, 15 years apart and both for only a limited number of visits.
Pushing him in that direction when he doesn't want to go, will only get him backing up from you. You might want to start by pointing out what you see happening to him, and how the issues are affecting your relationship. Even though to you, they're an 8oo pound gorilla in the room that can't be missed, if he's in another "place", he might not notice them. And he might not be able to put into words exactly what he's feeling in response to being asked, he might not be sure what he feels or he may just feel numb.
In our case, if I ask something too soon, I'll never get the answer. He has to bring it up at least 3 times before I can ask anything or we can talk about it. It's a control thing. If he thinks I want something, he's not giving it up.
All you can do is to calmly point out how he'll benefit from therapy, it is important he go. But he has to get to the point where he can't stand the way things are and be ready and willing to make the investment..
I agree with you, it does hurt to watch this play out. Especially when you have no control over what he does about it. I watch him attempt all kinds of quick fixes that will never work. This is difficult when you love someone. He'll come up with something and I'll be thinking, "You've GOT to be kidding me..." We always end up at the therapy and medication conversation again. Happens all the time.
Depression though, you have to keep alert to. Especially if he's attempted suicide in the past. With us, he never attempted it, but there was a time when he talked about it. I made him promise to call me if he every thought of doing something like that. He promised. (And overall, he promises very little) Pay attention to what he's telling you about feeling sad or depressed, and jump in if you think it's getting away from him.
While there are some things you can't do, i.e. force him into therapy, there are alot of things you can do. The best is to be supportive and consistent.

#221051 - 04/28/08 02:31 PM Re: He says he doesn't want help. [Re: Liv2124]
Brian Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 05/03/01
Posts: 1563
Loc: Upstate NY

Be careful. The more you push for therapy, most likely the more he will pull away from your relationship.

You may want to consider letting him know that you were concerned enough to do some research. You found out that that pushing him to go for counseling will not work and that he must be ready to get help so you will respect that. Also let him know that you found this site and there are many people who deal with the same issues. He can come here anonymously and read the boards when he is ready to do so.

Love him, support him but don't push too hard!


Recovery is Possible!

#221198 - 04/28/08 11:13 PM Re: He says he doesn't want help. [Re: Brian]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey

I can only echo what has been said above. Your b/f will not seek therapy or even talk to you much if he feels forced. Does he need it, probably, but he won't do it one minute before he's ready because he can't. Until his mind is ready to allow what happened to come to the forefront, he'll fight it with everything he's got and you'll be in the line of fire.

Like Brian said, love him support him but don't push too hard!

ROCK ON............Trish

If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

#221915 - 05/01/08 02:36 PM Re: He says he doesn't want help. [Re: Trish4850]
Therese Offline
New Here

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 24
Dear 1000 Julys,
I'm in the same situation. My husband was molested by his father as a child, but he (my husband) is fine. He says he made peace with it long ago and that he has stuffed away all the "monsters" (feelings and thoughts).Yet when I ask questions about it (I don't ask for details) he goes sort of numb and detached for days. Very isolated. He says it takes him a few days because he has to "put back the monsters behind their doors." To me this indicates that he's not fine. I do think he could benefit from therapy but he won't even talk about it. He says he just doesn't want to deal with all of it and I have to respect that. He may never go to therapy. Maybe keeping the monsters behind their doors works for him. I don't know. I sometimes wonder if this is a bigger deal to me than it is to him. I agree with everyone else, especially Trish. I think you just need to stay cool.

#221935 - 05/01/08 04:08 PM Re: He says he doesn't want help. [Re: Therese]
stefalc1 Offline

Registered: 04/30/08
Posts: 41
Loc: london, uk
if there are any similarities at all to me and my case!
you have to let him be ready , there is a lot of confusion in there and that is probably why he goes quiet , try to understand but until he really ready up it will be hard , you clearly think a lot of him but sometimes these conversations will cause triggers which can make you go into all sorts of thought processes.
i`m just going through a similar thing here , i only let my gf know what i was comfortable with , then things came to a head and i realised by this sort of site what things were affected in my life , and only now am i starting to understand, my gf has been very supportive and it has enabled me to tell everything, share everything within and take away most of my anxiety , but ,it was only because i was ready to face it after 24yrs .
what i`m trying to say is , don`t take it as your fault he`s not talking or take it too personally , my gf was the same and couldn`t understand why .
it is natural to say it is dealt with and buried but there does come a point , you supporting him means more than anything , he knows he is safe around you knowing you know
i hope that helps and i havent caused confusion

#221947 - 05/01/08 04:52 PM Re: He says he doesn't want help. [Re: stefalc1]
Hauser Offline

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2963
Loc: United States
Hello ATJ

Before I get into this, I have a couple questions ok? Where is your BF at in life right now? Is he gainfully employed? Is he a student? Is he working dead-end jobs? What is he doing with his life right now?

What I would also ask is, if he claims that he's miserable or not happy, what is the reasons that he gives?

I wanted to ask these things before I talked about my experiences at his presumed age of his very early 20's.

#221953 - 05/01/08 05:30 PM Re: He says he doesn't want help. [Re: Hauser]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus

Registered: 01/28/08
Posts: 2615
Loc: Central PA
I lived "Stuffing away all the monters" and "putting them back behind their doors", for years and years. There came a time, and I believe there will come a time for him, that the festering that occurs can no longer be kept inside. For me I got to the point where I was angry all the time. I didn't see it, but my wife sure did. I got more and more distant. Once again, I didn't see that either, but yet again, my wife did. Finally the dam broke and it all came out, overwhelmingly so, because once that dam breaks, it ALL comes out. And years and years of pain and anguish landing on top of you if more than anyone can handle.

He needs help for sure, but if he's not ready or not wanting to, it'll just make him angry and irritable and push him away to keep trying to get him to do something about it. My wife did for a long long time. It wasn't until I was ready that I was able to begin to deal with all this.

#222102 - 05/02/08 11:59 AM Re: He says he doesn't want help. [Re: athousandjulys]
Hourglass52 Offline

Registered: 04/16/08
Posts: 59
Loc: New York
If you want to understand more about what is going on with your boyfriend read the book "Wounded Boys, Heroic men" by Daniel Jay Sonkin, Ph.D. It explains why, and how we do things to ourselves, and the ones we love. I wouldn't lay it on him yet, but it will help you allot. It also covers a few ways we can help ourselves.

" This above all: To thine own self be true" (William Shakespeare).

#222149 - 05/02/08 06:16 PM Re: He says he doesn't want help. [Re: Hourglass52]
Therese Offline
New Here

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 24
Would you mind saying more about the "monsters" and the doors" if it doesn't bother you in anyway. I'd love to have a better idea of what my husband's going through and what he's thinking, but he won't say any more. Too difficult and painful, I guess.
Please don't elaborate if it causes you to think about bad things or hurts you in any way. I was just intrigued that you have had a similar experience, and I'd like to know about it so I can be more supportive and helpful.

#222151 - 05/02/08 06:17 PM Re: He says he doesn't want help. [Re: Therese]
Therese Offline
New Here

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 24
Meant to say thanks but I hit submit too soon.
Thanks \:\)

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