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#66632 - 10/30/06 07:45 PM Just found out - what do I do now?
Confused Girlfriend Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/30/06
Posts: 5
My boyfriend got very drunk last night and opened up with the fact that he was abused by a babysitter when he was 7. He is now 37.

There was so much anger there. I've given him a number for a therapist - but what should I do as his girlfriend?

I love him to bits and I want to be there for him but don't know where to start. This has completely knocked me for six!

#66633 - 10/30/06 09:46 PM Re: Just found out - what do I do now?
beccy Offline

Registered: 05/28/06
Posts: 449
Loc: england
Coming here is already a good thing to be doing. It will educate you about this whole thing(unless you already are of course!). Also, it was a very good idea to point him in the direction of a therapist.

So, you've already started \:\) Two of the best things you could have done. These kinds of things mean you're empowering yourself with the knowledge you need which will enable you to be able to be an understanding/compassionate girlfriend. And if he can see a (good) therapist, that should give him the guidance he probably needs. Also though, it can be very confusing/dissorienting for us partners to be with a survivor and so if at any point you feel that things become very difficult for you, it may also be a good idea for you to see a good therapist too.(unless you already do!)

I'm not surprised it's shocked you, it IS very shocking stuff and brings up a tone of emotionally complex feelings when we find out the man we love has been abused in this way. It is a good idea to allow all of those feelings within yourself too. It can be so hard to know how to further approach talking about it together. I'm not sure I'm doing that well with it still :rolleyes: . But I do know that acknowledging all our feelings is a good place to start.

It does sound like you're already doing all the right things...


#66634 - 10/30/06 10:31 PM Re: Just found out - what do I do now?
soapy bubbles Offline

Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 332
Loc: london

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.” --- Eleanor Roosevelt

#66635 - 10/31/06 12:06 AM Re: Just found out - what do I do now?
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

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

As a survivor myself, I can tell you what was most important for me to hear from my wife when I told her.

  • "I believe you." So many survivors felt as boys that if they told, no one would believe that such a terrible thing is happening to them. That fear can easily survive on into adulthood.
  • "It wasn't your fault." It may seem obvious that it can't be the child's fault if he has been abused, but still, many boys do think that. And abusers encourage this feeling, since they know that a boy who feels he is to blame is unlikely to tell anyone what's going on.
  • "This doesn't change how I feel about you. I love you." Survivors often feel ashamed, worthless and defective as men because of what happened to them. They fear what their partners would really think of them if they knew.

There are also a few things a partner shouldn't say to a survivor, or rather, should understand how harmful these things can be:

  • "Why didn't you tell anyone?" The survivor is thinking about this anyway. He doesn't realize that as a scared and confused boy he didn't see that he really had this option. Fear and shame will easily shut him up, especially if the abuser is encouraging his fear and shame.
  • "Why didn't you say no?" A boy being abused for the first time is so often like a deer in the headlights. He is emotionally unprepared for what is happening, and almost always the abuser is someone he knows and trusts. He just freezes, does what he is told, and hopes everything will be okay. After that, that's it - the abuser has him and it's very difficult to break free.
  • "I understand how you feel." No you don't! The abuse of boys isn't worse than the abuse of girls, but the emotional impact is different and no man will be comforted by an assurance that a woman understands how he feels, just as a raped woman would never be comforted by a man saying he understands how she feels.

Just some thoughts. Welcome to the site and I hope it can help you. There's a great circle of understanding partners and girlfriends here, and SAR is such a caring and supportive moderator for the whole group.

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)

#66636 - 10/31/06 05:26 PM Re: Just found out - what do I do now?
Confused Girlfriend Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/30/06
Posts: 5
Thanks guys,

One more thing. We spoke about it in depth last night. One minute we're all tucked in and the next it's midnight and we're up making more coffee.

He said he doesn't want counselling - that won't help him. What he wants to do is ruin this guys life. He knows where he lives and he wants to tell his family, friends, colleagues, everyone. He said he could physically kill him.

I'm starting to worry now - not for my own safety, this doesn't change a thing between us as far as I'm still concerned, but I worry what he will do. He's a big guy and that's probably why I'm so shocked to think of him in such a victim's situation.

He told me what happened 30 years ago. He remembers what was on TV at the time and whenever he sees that programme now he suffers flashbacks.

It all makes sense now, the way that he is and why he sometimes shuts down. To think that he's carried this round with him for 30 years and not told his ex-wife shocks me. I asked him "Why me? Why now?" I think he's finally ready to heal, I'm just worried about what force he will use to achieve this.


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