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#59927 - 01/30/06 12:48 PM How can I help my boyfriend
Melinda Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/30/06
Posts: 2
Loc: California
I am looking for advice on how to help my boyfriend. I just found out tonight that he was abused for most of his childhood by a very close family member. He did not tell me much about it, and I found out that he has never seen a therapist about this, and I am actually only the second person to whom he has mentioned the abuse.

I suggested to him that he should consider seeing a therapist, as it may help him to deal with this, and he just would say there is no point in doing that, and he says that he does not really get upset about things, so there is no need. Anyway, I just wanted some advice for how to help him with this and how I should act. Should I bring it up again and try and get him to talk about it, or wait and see if he brings it up? (It's possible he won't ever bring it up again, as it only got mentioned tonight after I mentioned that I had been molested once). I really think the abuse still affects him a lot... for instance it seems that he has difficulty trusting me and getting emotionally close to me, and I know that in pictures of him as a child he was never smiling after the time that the abuse started, and he is *very* introverted and does not show feelings often, among other things. So probably he should see a therapist to work through his feelings and all... but really he is *very* stubborn, and was insisting he is fine and there is no point in thereapy.

I just don't know how to help him, and it feels even more difficult as I currently live across the country from him. Any advice would be very very much appreciated. Also, I was really upset when he told me... was crying about it, but he told me online so he didn't know I was crying. Should I try to avoid the tears when I'm talking to him about this? I don't know if it would make him feel worse and less likely to talk to me about it.

Thank you so much in advance.

#59928 - 01/31/06 01:17 AM Re: How can I help my boyfriend
susskinsdrew Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 23
Loc: Twin Cities, Minnesota
HI Melinda,

It's so difficult to address how to help, because I think only your b/f knows. The only advice I can offer is to be gentle, kind and as understanding as you can. Realize that if something is done or said by him that seems confusing, what he revealed might be the explaining factor.

If he doesn't bring it up again, yet you feel it is truly impacting your relationship or his actions in other important areas of life, then bring it up, slowing and with a great deal of TLC.

I have a friend who just disclosed and I can only wish for him that he would seek some professional help too, but it can't be forced. Just as anybody else who needs help, they have to want it first.

Be good to yourself too. Don't allow this to become YOUR problem in the sense that it becomes obssessive - that is very easy to do.

I hope this helps. Keep praying and keep the faith.

Seek joy!


#59929 - 01/31/06 01:48 AM Re: How can I help my boyfriend
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA

I am not a professional in this field, but from what you say it seems clear that your boyfriend's abuse history is indeed affecting him. He says he is fine, but in fact what he is doing is denying feelings that are expressing themselves anyway.

Susan is so right: he has to WANT help in order for any progress to occur. That's the sad part: so many survivors just don't see that they need help in the first place.

All this becomes so much more difficult since you are presently so far apart. But once you are back together both the need to do something and the opportunity to do so may become more immediate. If you feel that his abuse issues are affecting your relationship, then you have every right to say so. Sooner or later your bf will have to face the question of whether he really is "just fine", or whether that is an illusion and an issue that is coming between you.

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

#59930 - 02/02/06 12:03 AM Re: How can I help my boyfriend
Born to Resist Offline

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

You may want to read "Victims No Longer" by Mike Lew. (if you make the purchase through this website a percentage goes to malesurvivor). It will help you understand the experience of male survivors. Leave it lying around in your home/apartment for your boyfriend to pick up. When he's ready he'll pick it up. You can also leave your more nuetral trama books lying around. I say this because some of the trauma books written for women tend to male bash and can be counterproductive to a male survivor. You can also mention that you found this website and how beneficial it was for you, explain what you found.



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