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#62067 - 10/02/04 08:14 AM also a girlfriend of a survivor
dawn0921 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/02/04
Posts: 1
Hi everyone,
I have read Melanie's post and all of of her replies, and the information has been TREMENDOUSLY helpful. I am brand new to this site and it is my first, after searching for someplace I can voice myself and solicit feedback. I feel hopeful and somewhat relieved to have found a site like this.

I am the girlfriend of a survivor, I am the first person he told about his sexual abuse (he is 28, abuse occured age 7/8-18), but within a week he had told his mother, father and therapist. We have yet to determine if his therapist is the right one for his needs, but we'll get there. Everything is still an open wound, as I predict it will be for a while to come. I am having an incredibly difficult time with all of this, and need some encouragment and support.

My boyfriend, we'll call him Chris, was abused for 10 years beginning at age 7-8, he can't remember. He was abused by his babysitter/neighbor as were his two brothers - Chris is in the middle of the two. He is now addicted to homosexual pornographic material, which is disconcerting, yet understandable. I am trying to be compassionate and supportive and think I am fairly successful, but how can I know without having walked in his shoes? I am just looking for any kind of support or advice anyone can contribute.

Chris is pretty stubborn, and while he needs and wants help, doesn't understand the importance of support/involvement of his family (brothers included) and me. He also doesn't understand the profound effect our situation has on me and his loved ones. Just last week I had to attempt an explanation as to how I am affected by his abuse (he believes I am a bystander). I love Chris more than I can describe and would never leave him. I think that he is logically confident in this, but emotionally can't find the self-worth to believe it.

While I am also stubborn, I am beginning to learn that his needs must come first, and I have got to learn to let things go when it comes to an argument or dispute. I believe he has anger that comes out toward me during a petty argument, when it should be directed toward his abuser who he claims to hold no grudge against. He believes that his abuser was most likely abused himself, and therefore has a hard time feeling angry toward him. Meanwhile, Chris's mother (who I openly communicate with) and I want to kill this man. I feel as though I get the brunt of Chris's anger because we are so close, and you feel most comfortable with the ones you are closest to, and I need help coping. Our little arguments turn into larger ones because his first inclination is to push me away - he has told me that he feels as though no one is on his team but himself.

I know he loves me deeply, he has told me I am his savior, he would be devastated if he lost me, and I am his best friend - there are days that I live by these words, I need them. What can I do? He is not interested in group therapy, and hasn't expressed any interest in online support, I can't do this alone, and his mother seems to be looking to me for advice. I feel alone, but I WILL NOT QUIT. Thank you for reading this and for response in advance. I'll be back soon! \:\)

#62069 - 10/02/04 02:31 PM Re: also a girlfriend of a survivor
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
Hi Dawn, and welcome to MS.

Like Marc, I'm a survivor of abuse and don't ordinarily post in F&F, but there is one suggestion I can make that I think will be helpful. There are several books that deal with this subject that would be helpful for both you and Chris. One is "Victim's No Longer" by Mike Lew, and another is "Abused Boys" by Mic Hunter. Both are written for the survivor but I think you would get a lot of understanding from them as well. There are others, as well as ones written primarily for the partner of an abused person. When I first started dealing with all this, these 2 books above were so good at helping me understand my feelings about it and knowing that they weren't crazy.

Thank you for supporting Chris, he's had a hard life. Tell him we support him too if he ever wants to come here and talk.



#62070 - 10/02/04 11:54 PM Re: also a girlfriend of a survivor
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Welcome Dawn,

I'm glad you found us.

I understand where you're coming from, feeling more anger than your boyfriend. When I first found out about my boyfriend's SA the anger was overwhelming, I shook every time I thought about it and how helpless and scared it made him to talk to me. He wasn't nearly as angry-- that came later. In the beginning he was mostly ashamed and a little relieved I think, and my anger was too scary and intense for him to handle.

Marc is right when he says that you have to make a distinction between your boyfriend's needs and your own. YOU need to have an outlet for your anger and sadness, but this may be one time when the person you're closest to is not the best choice--in fact, he might need some distance from your emotions so that he can sort out his own. There's no right or wrong when it comes to how each of us reacts emotionally. Your boyfriend is feeling exactly what is right for him to feel right now, and it's important that his wishes and emotions be validated so that he can get back some of the power in this situation.

If that means, he doesn't want to talk to his brothers, he doesn't want to hear anymore about group therapy or this site, he doesn't care about feeling anger towards his abusers, you don't have to agree with those decisions, but you should accept that they are his decisions. You don't have to accept them for yourself-- you can be as angry as you want, you can use this site or get therapy for yourself if you want. I will be honest with you--from my personal experience, if what you need is for him to really listen to how his abuse is affecting you, you'll probably have to wait a very long time.

Please don't take any of this to mean that you should accept abusive and angry behavior being directed at you-- you shouldn't.

I don't want to get personal, but I am fascinated that you have a relationship with his mother and that the two of you are communicating about your boyfriend and his SA. I'm assuming this is okay with your boyfriend? Have you always been able to talk to her or is this a post-disclosure development? I know that would never be in the realm of possibility for me and my boyfriend's mom.

Dawn, please keep reading and asking questions. We are always here to listen and support you.


#62071 - 10/03/04 11:18 PM Re: also a girlfriend of a survivor
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
you don't sound like a quitter, and that's a big plus for your boyfirend.

One of the things I've come to realise is that we Survivors don't react well to being pushed into anything, the abuse was 'pushed' onto us, we're not easily pushed around any more.
But I get the feeling you know that already.

What it probably means for you though is you're going to have to stick at his pace of doing things.
If he knows therapy is there, then when he's ready he'll go, and it's the same for most help.
It's also something we need to process at our speed and in our own way.

I'm painting a good picture for you here am I?
But don't despair, what he needs is trusting, loving and supporting. He needs to know that when he's ready to talk and needs a shoulder to cry on then someone's there, and "you're it"

We're a difficult bunch of people to deal with, we have many and varied problems. Most of them out of place in a relationship it seems at times.
But love conquers all, or so they say.
I still struggle with gay-porn, but it's maybe once a month tops now, and not a daily obsession.
I also acted out sexually with other men, but I don't anymore.
My wife knows about both things, and we've been married for 30 years now.
Her support is total, I'm a VERY lucky man. Sometimes her understanding of my behaviours gets a bit wobbly, but she asks me and I tell her.
But we didn't get here overnight! It was a long and difficult time for us.

Never underestimate the support you can offer, and if you don't understand ask, ask here if you don't feel he's ready to answer.
But you're doing that aren't you?

Number one thing to remember.
Look after yourself, take no crap and make sure your health, pysically and mentally, don't suffer because of his problems.
If you're strong then he's going to turn to you.

Take care, and come here as often as you need and ask whatever you want.

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


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