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#57519 - 01/16/04 04:31 AM Not sure if he is a "Survivor" or not...
newomas Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/15/04
Posts: 2
I have been seeing a wonderful man for a few months now. He is charismatic, smart, funny, handsome, just wonderful. He told me early on (maybe even the first date) that his mother had "physically and emotionally" abused him. I didn't think much about it at the time.

I am divorced with two kids. After I divorced I moved back near my family. I have one of those families that everyone dreams of. Two supportive parents, still happily married and a great older brother within a few hours. I invited my new man (let's call him A) to spend Xmas with us due to his not being "close" with his familiy. The actual family part went well, but after he was really freaked out. He was frustrated, couldn't get comfortable. We had a big fight. He went home the next morning. We worked that one out, but since then, he hasn't expressed any of his feelings for me. He says "I think your great" and things like that, but before he had been telling me that he loved me, that I was "the one" for him. Now, if I ask him how he feels, he freaks out and says "I can't conjure up my feelings on demand" and that I am pressuring him. Our relationship is so new, but I can't figure out if he is really not into this relationship, or if his strange behavior is related to the abuse.

The other morning he called me at 5 in the morning (I am not a morning person) to tell me how much he was suffering. I feel horrible writing this, because I promised not to tell anyone. But I am doing this out of my love for him and because I don't know what else to do. I don't want to betray his trust, but I am scared. I told him he shouldn't have to live suffering and that he should go see his doctor, but I guess he has been on all kinds of meds and none seem to help. I told him he needed to be in therapy, and he shut down. Later I explained that I was afriad because I know a few people who committed suicide and it freaked me out, then he was okay with it.

What have I gotten myself into? He is a really wonderful person but I am not sure how to be in this. What about my kids? Will the kind of emotional turmoil he is going through be a bad thing for my kids to be around? They are little.

I don't know if he was sexually abused. He has described feeling like he was "not-connected" like he wasn't really there when we have sex. As well as feeling like being violent with sex (not dangerously, just in a rough kind of way). And that this was related to feeling isolated by the girls growing up.

I want to connect with him. But I don't know if can the kind of relationship that will be meaningful for me. Is there hope? What part of his behavior is related to the abuse?


#57520 - 01/16/04 04:48 AM Re: Not sure if he is a "Survivor" or not...
kolisha54 Offline

Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 475
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
I'd say... proceed with extreme caution!

Your friend is probably a wonderful man in many respects. However, from your brief de>
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now... when? --Hillel

#57521 - 01/16/04 08:01 AM Re: Not sure if he is a "Survivor" or not...
Andrew Offline
Moderator Emeritus

Registered: 07/25/03
Posts: 1192
I know this will sound harsh. Run. Why complicate your life and your children's lives with this man's needs? There are plenty of fish in the sea. You sound like a smart and together lady with a great family ... don't get overly involved with this guy. Peace, Andrew

there is no courage without anxiety

#57522 - 01/16/04 02:06 PM Re: Not sure if he is a "Survivor" or not...
Tribear Offline

Registered: 11/09/03
Posts: 66
Loc: USA
This will be so direct it might be considered blunt, but it is with your best interest at heart. I think it may be the only way I can get my point accross.

The question you asked seems like the wrong one to me. I'd give the guy the benefit of the doubt about truthfully being a survivor. I mean, why not? He probably merits some empathy for that.

But did you ever hear the saying about human phychology, "All behavior is a form of communication"? The emphasis being on the word "all" in this instance.

This man is telling you by words and actions where he is in his life right now. He is also telling you what to expect if you continue being involved with him. Are you ready to walk that walk? It sounds difficult.

Maybe you see so much potential in him, or love him so much, that you can't pull away, and that's your decision to make. But if you stay, be prepared for more of the same from him, in my opinion. In fact, people often show their best side during courtship, if you get my point.

With some therapy, and two years down the road, he may be in a better place. Or he may never get there. Can you afford the price you'll pay to find that out?

It's your call. Best wishes to you in your decision.


Tribear (a guy)

#57523 - 01/16/04 04:32 PM Re: Not sure if he is a "Survivor" or not...
Caetel Offline

Registered: 11/05/03
Posts: 322
Loc: Paris, France
Hey !

I must say I disagree with what Andrew says. Running away is NOT a healthy solution ! Why would you run away if you love him and he loves you ? There are always problems in a relationship, running away does not solve anything and does not help to grow. Life is made of failures, successes and risks. Learning is more important than hiding. You are just a leap of faith away. Look into your heart. You will know.
For what I know about V. my friend who has been abused by his mother, he is afraid of sex because he confuses sex drive and violence. He is also afraid of "losing it" and opening up his emotions. Only therapy can help him right now. His reaction with your family might can be understood in a way that your family triggered an emotion, probably anger when he realized what he did not have: love, safety, support and respect.
Give him time, tell him about the research you are doing on the net to be able to understand him better. Believe in him and in his recovery.
As for your kids, just be honest with them. It is healthy for children to know that making a couple work is not easy and that there is suffering in the world that need to be dealt with. They will be proud of their mom. Do not forget to take care of yourself, to process your emotions and also a good thing would be to start therapy for yourself. Cleaning your own life will help you recognize your own dysfunctional behaviours and will show him the way towards healing.
Warmest regards

Mitakuye oyasin ! We are all related !

#57524 - 01/16/04 08:41 PM Re: Not sure if he is a "Survivor" or not...
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA

You have two small kids. They should be your first priority. Before you start dating this guy or anyone else. Yes, having adults in emotional turmoil around them will affect them, however little they have to do with the problem or however you try to keep it from them. As general advice I would suggest keeping ALL the men in your life, in fact any newcomer in your life, away from your kids for at least a couple months while you try to decide if this person is the kind of person you'd like your kids to know. Regardless of whether or not they are the kind of person you'd like to know. Children attach quickly especially if they have already seen one parent leave the house and watching people go in and out of their lives will be hard on them. Even little kids who you might not think have been affected. As a parent I would try to minimize this damage.

If you've been around this site at all you've seen what kind of devastating effects even well-intentioned but selfish parenting can have on children. If you truly come from such a good family the best gift you can give to your children is the one you may have taken for granted as a child. One loving, supportive, relatively happy adult is better than two who are caught up in each other's drama. And (as you may be able to tell from my tone) your children will not easily forgive you these mistakes.


#57525 - 01/17/04 12:24 AM Re: Not sure if he is a "Survivor" or not...
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Living with a survivor isn't easy, and I would think that emotional and physical abuse can be just as devastating as sexual abuse. ( SA )
If he has been SA then he might still be in denial, but that's something you still dont know. If he does disclose SA then things are going to get difficult.

But, if you're determined and he's worth the hard work then stick around and we'll help where we can.
There's one truth that I've seen with every survivor I've known so far - nobody's going to heal for us, or drag us through our healing.
We're the only people who can do it, and we do it at our pace and in our own way.

That's not good news for partners, although I've been married for 29 years now, but it's been close.
I have had complete support from my wife ( bless her \:D ) but I do know she's struggled at times.
I know that I've been a pig at times, I've been selfish and forgotten birthdays - all kinds of stuff.

But her commitment to me was based on my commitment to her. I promised her that I'd tell her everything as I went along, I'd share my healing, my pain, and the good times. She accepted that in the hope that the man she married would one day be back at her side.

We made a deal, she's stuck to her part, and I'm sticking to mine - however hard.


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

#57526 - 01/18/04 10:29 PM Re: Not sure if he is a "Survivor" or not...
newomas Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/15/04
Posts: 2
Thank you all for all of your wise thoughts.

Your words made me realize that I had already made up my mind that I was willing to stick it out, and see what happens. He is a real gem and I want to be with him, despite his occasional rollercoaster of emotions. This point in our relationship is tricky as we both want to move it forward, but also want to take things slowly.

I will be back, as needed. That you again for your support.


#57527 - 01/19/04 08:12 PM Re: Not sure if he is a "Survivor" or not...
PAS Offline

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Hard to say from your info. if he is a SA survivor or not but something is obviously triggering him for some reason..

However I think in all relationships there are points where people pull away and come closer.. all relationships are always a dance of separateness and closeness.

Just be cautious if things escalate.. watch for red flags for potential abusive behaviour - there are a lot of resources on line look them up and read up!!



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