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#62275 - 09/09/01 01:08 PM I don't know where to start

I am so lost right now. I have been with my boyfriend for over a year now and feel like I am losing my mind. I have just found out that all of his siblings - two brothers and a sister were abused by an uncle. My boyfriend says he was approached but scared his uncle away. My boyfriend has said it is possible that something happened but if it did he REALLY doesn't remember it. Even his mother thinks something happened to him but the biggest problem is that my boyfriend is so smart - scary IQ - that the few theripist he has seen in his life he has just talked in circles. Due to some strange events - Jeff moved out to try to work on some of his issues - like habitual lying - but ended up getting a job offshore and though we talk daily it is only for five minutes and I haven't seen him for close to two months. He will be coming home soon and I know he wants to make things right with us and himself - he has been coming clean to alot of people and going out of his way to prove that my trust in him can be rebuilt. I want to steer him in the right direction but I am one not his doctor and two I don't want to push him too hard. Does anyone have any advice? I don't know what to do anymore.

#62276 - 09/09/01 02:29 PM Re: I don't know where to start


First of all, you are so courageous, and it is wonderful that you want to help your boyfriend. You are correct that you can't be the one to do it, but you can, of course, steer him toward some folks who maybe can help.

Smart people DO have a difficult time dealing with their issues. I know both from personal experience and from knowing a lot of other artful dodgers! (He would need to find a therapist who is as quick - or quicker - than he is...and they do exist.) There is, I believe, a tendency among guys to intellectualize rather than be in touch with their feelings...or at least to intellectualize in the expression of feelings. It's a guy thing. On top of it all, if there is, in fact, any abusive, shameful, or disturbing stuff rattling around inside, there is a natural tendency to keep it well guarded. That's how we survive.

As you suggested, it sounds to me as though Jeff may be a victim of his uncle's abuse. But as someone who stuffed this kind of abuse down inside for almost fifty years, he isn't going to disclose this to you - or himself - over coffee some morning. But the fact that he is able to acknowledge that his siblings were abused - and that he MAY have been as well - is a crack in the door.

My wife of almost twenty-eight years has been a wonderful support to me...particularly in the last couple of weeks when I finally "got it" that a lot of my life-long behaviors can be directly linked to sexual abuse that occurred when I was not quite five yeas old. She loves me unconditionally, and in no way has she made me feel shameful or dirty or perverted. She has been a steadfast presence in my life and, I think, it is because of the fact that I now feel "safe" that I am finally able to confront those demons....

It appears to me that you love Jeff and that you want to continue to have a relationship with him. In my opinion, knowing this (all the way down to his toes!) is something that will be of enormous comfort and relief to him. But my advice would be not to communicate the message that you think there's something "wrong" with him and that to be in relationship with you he's got to get "fixed." He can recover and become healthier and lead a wonderful life, but from my experience, you never get "fixed," but you do get better.

There must be some wonderful qualities about Jeff that you see and which have attracted you to him. At some point, you may wish to suggest to him that - in addition to individual therapy- you'd like him to go with you for couples therapy. Not with the intention of fixing him - or you - but with the idea that understanding each other's background, family of origin, and "baggage" you can move forward together.

This web site and discussion forum may also be helpful for you both. It has helped me a great deal to discover - much to my amazement - that there are a lot of guys out there like me who are struggling with issues that I thought only I was dealing with and keeping repressed. If you wish, you have my permission to print out this response and give it to Jeff when the time is right.

Hang in there...there's lots of support here.

Dynamite Don

#62277 - 09/10/01 02:53 PM Re: I don't know where to start

Thank you so much! I know I have a tendency to get hung up on seeing Jeff hurt and wanting to do anything to make it stop for him. I get so frustrated seeing him hold everything inside and seeing how easily he can lie to himself and say everything is perfect when I can feel that it is not. After I read your reply I also took some time to read some of the other posts here. Funny but I think the day will come when I just might wish I had left well enough alone. It wasn't until I read what some of the men here have gone through emotionally that I saw how I need to keep my big mouth shut and wait until he is better prepared to deal with what happened when he was a child. I have always tried to see things from the other person's eyes but I see now that as a woman I may come close but I will never truly understand the complexities of abuse for men. I guess I am just too close to this emotionally and needed the support - Thank You - and the bucket of cold water. I have decided to just let this matter drop but to really push for Jeff to seek a therapist. That way I can be supportive and not try to pry wounds open by my - imagined - brute strengh.

#62278 - 09/11/01 01:41 AM Re: I don't know where to start


There's a saying out there....."Once you know something you can't not know it."

In my humble opinion you have done an enormously important thing for you and for Jeff. You have known or sensed that something is amiss with somebody that you love, and it's hard to just stand by and watch someone struggle and/or get in his own way. I hope you can see that even seeking out this site and trying to understand what is going on with him and with you is a tremendous gift. There are hundreds of guys out there (some of them reading this and other posts in this forum) who would feel so fortunate if they had somebody as caring as you try to help and support them.

Your extending your hand (and heart) to Jeff as he struggles with his process is so very powerful. You can't fix it for him, but you can be there for him.....whether or not you end up in a long-term, committed relationship with him.

In the meantime you may wish to see a therapist a means of getting clarity about your own issues and learning how to draw whatever boundaries around your own involvement that are necessary to maintain your own individuality and - in the long run - not get sucked into the dysfunctional patterns.

He may not see this right away, but some day Jeff will come to know just how very fortunate he is to have somebody like you who loves him enough to support him as he navigates these rough waters.

I give you an A+ for your good intentions, for seeking information and support, and for being ready to step up to the plate to help a man you love.

Dynamite Don


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