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#68088 - 12/24/06 07:06 AM Survivors: What We Would Like You to Know About Us.
Dewey2k Offline

Registered: 08/22/05
Posts: 3069
I'm not sure if this was posted somewhere before, but I read it and thought it should be posted(From Triumph over Darkness by Wendy Ann Wood, M.A.
copyright Wendy Ann Wood 1993):

Adult Survivors of Sexual Abuse:
What We Would Like You to Know About Us.

1. We grew up feeling very isolated and vulnerable, a feeling that continues into our adult lives.

2. Our early development has been interrupted by abuse, which either holds us back or pushes us ahead developmentally.

3. Sexual abuse has influenced all parts of our lives. Not dealing with it is like ignoring an open wound. Our communication style, our self-confidence, and our trust levels are affected.

4. Putting thoughts and feelings related to our abuse "on the back burner" does not make them go away. The only way out is to go through these emotions and process them.

5. Our interest in sexual activity will usually decline while we are dealing with this early trauma. This is because:
we are working on separating the past from the present.
pleasure and pain can sometimes be experienced simultaneously.
it is important for us to be in control, since control is what we lacked as children.
Sometimes we need a lot of space. Pressuring us to have sex will only increase our tension.

6. We often experience physical discomforts, pains, and disorders that are related to our emotions.

7. We often appear to be extremely strong while we are falling apart inside.

8. There is nothing wrong with us as survivors -- something wrong was DONE to us.

9. Sometimes others get impatient with us for not "getting past it" sooner. Remember, we are feeling overwhelmed, and what we need is your patience and support. Right now, it is very important for us to concentrate on the past. We are trying to reorganize our whole outlook on the world; this won't happen overnight.

10. Your support is extremely important to us. Remember; we have been trained to hold things in. We have been trained NOT to tell about the abuse. We did not tell sooner for a variety of reasons: we were fearful about how you would react, what might happen, etc. We have been threatened verbally and/or nonverbally to keep us quiet, and we live with that fear.

11. Feeling sorry for us does not really help because we add your pain to our own.

12. There are many different kinds of people who are offenders. It does not matter that they are charming or attractive or wealthy. Anybody -- from any social class or ethnic background, with any level of education-- may be an offender. Sexual abuse is repetitive, so be aware of offenders with whom you have contact. Do not let them continue the cycle of abuse with the next generation of children.

13. We might not want or be able to talk with you about our therapy.

14. We are afraid we might push you away with all our emotional reactions. You can help by: listening, reassuring us that you are not leaving, not pressuring us, touching (WITH PERMISSION) in a nonsexual way.

15. Our therapy does not break up relationships - it sometimes causes them to change as we change. Therapy often brings issues to the surface that were already present.

16. Grieving is a part of our healing process as we say goodbye to parts of ourselves.

#68089 - 12/24/06 08:52 AM Re: Survivors: What We Would Like You to Know About Us.
outis Offline

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2261
Loc: Maryland USA
  • Quote:
    1. We grew up feeling very isolated and vulnerable, a feeling that continues into our adult lives.
    Yes, everyone has strong feelings from their childhood. But childhood trauma is qualitatively different. CSA, as a trauma purposefully inflicted, has far-reaching effects that are different in kind, not just in degree, from the "baggage" that people carry out of a "normal" childhood.
  • Quote:
    2. Our early development has been interrupted by abuse, which either holds us back or pushes us ahead developmentally.
    Or both. Yes, it can be confusing. No, we don't understand it any better than you do.

I'll stop before I get too preachy. I'd love to see something from the F&F about what they'd like us to know. It can't be easy to be the other half of a relationship with someone like this. (OK, maybe it's easy with the rest of the guys, but it can't be easy to be with me, and that's the case nearest and dearest to my own heart! \:\) )

Thanks, Dwayne, for posting this.


"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbrokenÖ"óThe Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

#68090 - 12/24/06 12:26 PM Re: Survivors: What We Would Like You to Know About Us.
Grunty1967b Offline

Registered: 07/28/05
Posts: 861
Loc: Australia
17. We may not be able to explain to you whatís going on inside of us. Thatís because we donít know whatís going on inside of us either, but we are working through whatever Ďití is and it will get better.

18. We will be scared and fearful in situations that we never used to be before. That will be our younger selves coming to the surface. That too will get better in time. How long? Who knows.

#68091 - 12/24/06 06:13 PM Re: Survivors: What We Would Like You to Know About Us.
beccy Offline

Registered: 05/28/06
Posts: 449
Loc: england
Thankyou for posting this topic,

It was very useful for me to read these things after my bf disclosed. It really did help me to make sense of certain behaviours, both in the present, but also for all the years I'd been so perplexed/confused/frustrated with my bf. It is helpful to read them again now, to be reminded of some of them. I don't have time to go into things us partners might need, but that's a good question and after christmas, when I have some time, I'll try my best to answer that.


#68092 - 12/24/06 07:56 PM Re: Survivors: What We Would Like You to Know About Us.
weepywife Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 57
What we want survivors to know about us

1) We love our survivors sooo much. The abuse does not make us love you less.

2) The fact that physical intimacy is usually a problem is very hard on us. We associate inimacy with love. We feel unwanted/undesirable/ unloved because of the lack of intimacy.

3) We need expressions of love from you. We need reassurance that we are loved and attractive. This doesn't have to be phyiscal. A card. Flowers. A love note will make us melt.

4) We need to be kept in the loop. You don't have to tell us about your therapy or the abuse. But you have to let us know what is going on in your mind occasionally. We worry about you and if we have no idea about what you are feeling we imagine what could be going on in your head. The worry makes us crazy.

#68093 - 12/25/06 04:45 AM Re: Survivors: What We Would Like You to Know About Us.
Dewey2k Offline

Registered: 08/22/05
Posts: 3069
Thank you all for sharing. Maybe we should add to the lists above and then post the two lists together in a separate thread. We might be able to get it all put on the site as a document.

#68094 - 12/28/06 07:48 AM Re: Survivors: What We Would Like You to Know About Us.
WalkingSouth Offline

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16270
Loc: Waldport, Oregon
Dwayne and WW,

Thanks so much for sharing. I've been thinking about this subject for several days now. I appreciate so much what you've shared.

Lots of love,


"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting 'Holy Shit! What a ride!'" ~Hunter S. Thompson

#68095 - 12/28/06 09:11 PM Re: Survivors: What We Would Like You to Know About Us.
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
I need you to understand that I get angry. You might not, but I do. My anger is appropriate because of what was done to you and what is being done to me because of what was done to you. I need to express that anger sometimes. It isn't directed at you, but you are the one I love; you are the one who is there in my life, so you are the one who will hear it. Please understand that it's not you I am angry at. It is the whole situation.

And donít tell me I shouldnít be angry; I should. Just because youíre not, or refuse to acknowledge that you are, doesnít mean that Iím wrong On the emotional and feelings side of things, I going to go out on a limb and say that mine are more appropriate than yours.

At holidays, when we're with my family who I love and who love each other, fake it while weíre there and then talk to me when weíre alone. Donít sulk and disappear. I love my family; I love the holidays; I want to have fun. Do you have any clue how conflicted I am seeing the desperation on your face and wanting to go to you, yet at the same time wanting to just make you go away so I can enjoy myself? Thatís when I feel like I suck!

I'll be your cheerleader 99% of the time, but sometimes I can't because Iím just tired. That's when you need to step up. It wonít take long, most times just a good nightís sleep and Iím recharged, but when Iím down, I need to be able to count on you.

Thereís a lot more, but not now..............


If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

#68096 - 12/31/06 10:04 AM Re: Survivors: What We Would Like You to Know About Us.
indygal Offline

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439
i need you to not try and make the decision for me to stay or go after i know about your past. it's my decision to make, don't assume you know one way or the other. if i go, maybe you are better off for it, and if i stay, it's my decision and it's a conscious, thinking one, don't discredit me for making it.

i need for you not to run away from me after i've learned what happened to you - i can't imagine how hard that is for you to look at me knowing that i know and the fear you must feel thinking it will change things in a bad way - no, i can't imagine that - but change is part of life, and relationships and learning to trust are also. if you can't trust me right now, please can you just say so, or tell me you need some time, just talk to me, just talk to me...

there is so much more, yes, we all have our needs, but not to leave this one out: i need you to seek professional help in dealing with your trauma, to realize help is out there, to understand you've been injured and need assistance in learning to heal; to deny you own pain only creates more pain which spreads to others.

i need you to understand i am not your abuser, and i don't wish to see you as a victim, i see you as a survivor.

i will take your hand and walk beside you through the healing process, pull a little when you lag behind and push a little when you a balk at what's up ahead but i won't, ever, under any circumstances, accept that you cannot be healed, that there is no hope, because there is, it's here, because i love you.


my avatar is one of the Battle Angel characters, fighting the good fight.

#68097 - 01/03/07 09:56 PM Re: Survivors: What We Would Like You to Know About Us.
wantstohelp Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/17/05
Posts: 26
Wow, indygal.. I really liked what your post had to say. I'd have to say my list of needs would be similar.. but the biggest ones are:

1 - Do not push me away after you disclose, or, at the very least, if you have to.. let me know that you love me and you're not going anywhere for good. Do not decide for me that you are too much for me to handle. That's unfair, and it takes my decisions for my life away from me, which leaves me hurt and confused and with no control, and I know that you know how hurtful that can be for a person.

2 - Do NOT lie to me about your feelings for me, or downplay them to push me away, for whatever reason.. even if you feel it's what's best for me. If you need space, just tell me you need space. There is NOTHING in the world that hurts more than having someone you care for minimize their feelings for you as a defense mechanism. Nothing.

3 - Remind me of the things you love about me when you feel you can, so that I can make it through the times when you are harder to manage. I need to hold onto those good times, and have them clearly drawn out in my brain, to get me through the times when you're distant and I miss you.

4 - Don't give up on me, even if I say the wrong thing sometimes. I'm trying, and if you let me know what you want me to do, I will do anything to do whatever it is for you. But mostly, and I think they tie into eachother, don't give up on yourself.. because if you stop trying.. and I see you hurting and stuck in taht hurt.. that will hurt me more than anything else you could ever do.

So I guess that's mostly it! All my best to you all.
Jess xo

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