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#60885 - 08/17/00 03:18 PM need advice
survivor2 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/17/00
Posts: 3
Hi, all. I am a survivor and went through the most intense part of my healing process a few years ago. What a long road! I am now in the thriving stage. Now I am on the other side -- partner of a survivor.

Last year, I became involved w/another survivor. I was the first person he shared his past with, and he was 39 at the time. We had only been seeing each other a few months, but we already loved each other deeply and had such an amazing connection between us. I spent a lot of time over the next few months just listening to him when he felt like talking about it, trying to comfort him based on my experiences. He told me so much, like the details of what happened him and how he was feeling, etc. He was being very open with me and I felt like we had good communication going on between us. I was careful not to pressure him as I remember how I would have reacted to something like that. I encouraged him to seek professional therapy since there was only so much I could do but gave him what support I could. He got to a point where he was overwhelmed and didn't know what to deal with next. He couldn't handle all of his intense emotions. He didn't seek the guidance that a professional can offer. All of a sudden (not necessarily right after I suggested counseling), it was like a door slammed. He stopped talking about what he was going through. He also told me he needed space, and we have been going back and forth between getting closer then backing off since then. He has cited different reasons for this but seems very confused about why becoming intimate (and I don't mean sexually) with me scares him. He has admitted his feelings for me seem scary for him sometimes. He has never had a relationship this close or deep. I know he loves me very much, and when we do see each other, we have such incredible chemistry on every level -- mentally, physically, even spiritually. Presently, though, he is distancing himself from me -- again. It is such a roller coaster for me, and I wouldn't have hung on this long if I didn't love this man immensely. I understand what he is going through, and I try not to take his actions personally. This is getting more and more difficult, though. How can I stop myself from also being a victim of this? I understand how survivors will "run" from intimacy and comfort. Does anyone have any suggestions about how I can encourage him to avoid this coping mechanism? Or, I fear, is he just not ready to confront his past and the ways it has affected his life? I really love this man and if there is something I can do, I want to help.

Thanks trememdously.

#60886 - 08/25/00 12:16 AM Re: need advice
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA
Hi. Your observation that survivors run from intimacy is quite valid and all too common. Intimacy (as you said, not sexual) is one of the toughest areas in healing. When your early experiences about learning intimacy is contaminated by sexual abuse, it can affect you the rest of your life.

Your suggestion for him to get involved with a therapist is right on. However, it is very scary. You might ask him to talk about what is scary for him. What could happen if he shared this with a neutral, experienced professional? Would he become overwhelmed? Would his coping mechanisms get pushed aside and he would become vulnerable (hence victimized emotionally) again? There are lots of fears about change. Perhaps offering to go with him and make it about a relationship issue rather than one where he perceives that he is somehow damaged or "the problem" might give him some options. You could ask him what would make him more comfortable to talk about this with a professional.

Good luck and hang in there.
Ken Singer, LCSW
President, NOMSV

Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse

#60887 - 08/28/00 11:28 PM Re: need advice
survivor2 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/17/00
Posts: 3
Thank you. \:\) I am hanging in there.

#60888 - 09/12/00 06:01 PM Re: need advice
ILoveDavid Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 1
Loc: Newport News Virginia, USA
I am married to a survivor, he's 38 now, but the effects of the abuse live on. Not just the sexual, but the mental, emotional and physical. I love him and I know I promised to stay by him, even through his last bout of depression and suicide attempt. BUT>..I don't know if I can take it anymore. He seems to almost be fond of the pain and hurt that any other human being has caused him. The current is an X-girlfriend who stole some foreign coins from him....he's totally hung up on it, and this happened about 3+ years ago....he also has this anger that lies just under the surface...I don't know if I can live with him anymore.....
any suggestions?

David's wife


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