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#68108 - 01/18/07 10:32 AM Re: Survivors: What We Would Like You to Know About Us.
WalkingSouth Offline

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16270
Loc: Waldport, Oregon
I had a private conversation with one of the members here in F&F the other day and I think a portion of it may fit here. Please, no one, take this as pointed to any one of you. It's just food for thought for you who are needing, wanting, longing to be of assistance to your husband, partner, or boyfriend.
Your desire and willingness to help your partner is laudable. If you can be a support and confidant for him that may be a good thing. I would really urge you to talk with the therapist concerning what your role should be. Once he begins to get seriously into the therapy, he may not want to share some of the, pardon my language, shit with you. It may be enough for him to just get support without having to share the details. He may want you to be his woman, and not share in his therapy other than be his source of comfort when he can't take it anymore.

I guess what I'm saying is that for you to be too closely involved with what's going on may very well bring about unwanted associations for him, ie you equal having to think and talk about the bad stuff and he doesn't want to do that. That's the way many of us men think. I know you're not necessarily wanting or planning to be heavily involved, but I just want to caution you that there may come a time once he's in therapy that he'll pretty much want to keep his life with you somewhat separate from his life in therapy. I don't know that will be a fact, but it's a possibility. Again, try to work closely with the therapist on what your role needs to be.
Just thought I'd throw that into the mix of this conversation since the original point of the thread seems to have drifted in this direction.

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

#68109 - 01/18/07 10:57 AM Re: Survivors: What We Would Like You to Know About Us.
indygal Offline

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439

was simply trying not to be so long-winded as usual....

dwayne, i didn't think it WAS pointed at me; no need to apologize...

i thought (and still do) it was a very good point you made and wanted you to know i, for one, was listening (reading). that's all.

your words are welcome, your advice valuable, priceless even.

it's also helpful for me because much of the communication between my bf and me is written; many times he's totally misconstrued something i wrote - before i was on this board i couldn't ever understand how or why - but just as survivors sometimes misconstrue our verbal words or actions, it seems written ones can be also.

see there, now i've gotten all long-winded again :rolleyes:


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

#68110 - 01/18/07 11:29 AM Re: Survivors: What We Would Like You to Know About Us.
Dewey2k Offline

Registered: 08/22/05
Posts: 3069

I, for one, would rather have a manifesto if it tells me exactly what you are feeling and thinking.

In situations like this, don't let your words be ambiguous: be direct, precise in your verbage, and say exactly what you mean. Leave as little room for interpretation as possible, because if you are not clear you can be guaranteed that he will take what ever you have to say in a negative way. That's just how we survivors are, at least to start with.

This puts an incredible burden on you, but it's the only way I can think of to aid your communications.

Take care,

#68111 - 01/18/07 06:04 PM Re: Survivors: What We Would Like You to Know About Us.
beccy Offline

Registered: 05/28/06
Posts: 449
Loc: england
Wow, this has become an interesting thread!

I think the subject of what the survivor may need, and what the survivor's partner may need is a truly complex and fascinating subject....

I totally see what you're saying here,

"belittling us for not seeking help on your timetable, determining what we need to do to recover, being outright afraid of telling anyone else and demanding we disclose to someone, and so on. "

Although, I don't read what Trish wrote as undermining that issue in any way....

For example, for my own personal situation, it became very necessary that my bf seek some proffessional guidance and I did have to point him (gently) in that direction. The reason for this, is because we have small children and a family unit to look after. With this in mind, there was no choice for me, other than to push in the way I did. If the roles were reversed, I would sincerely hope he would do the same.

Also, as a partner(especially in a family situation), when there has been infidelity/acting out/sexual identity issues, if your survivor partner ceases to communicate, it can become virtually impossible not to express your own concern/anxiety and needs for there to be more talking....I think we need to be careful not to generalise about these things and I agree with Trish about the fact there ARE expectations on both sides in a relationship. What each person does about those expectations dictates the survival/health of the relationship. If I only viewed my bf as an 'invalid', I would be continuing to accept/enable things, which might otherwise have potential to change and grow.

While there is great neccessity for the partner to read/learn in order to gain knowledge/empathy/understanding, we as partners have to be careful not to put ALL the focus on that. Because, a relationship can only ever become healthy, if it's a two way thing.

For example, when my bf does x,y,z, if I only look at it from his side, thinking, "he can't help it though" and feeling sympathy/sorry for him, and never letting him know how hard it is/how hurt i feel. If we all did that, we'd never learn about how the things we do/don't do affect the people we love. That might sound harsh, but it works both ways too.....

Understanding can facilitate more productive ways to communicate, but shouldn't mean that we choose to out our own feelings second. The other negative result of that would be, if the partner also has (unrealised)problems/dysfuntions/abuse in their past(which isn't that unlikely), but they only ever consider their survivor's feelings, then they won't be sorting out their own issues. Which again means that the relationship can't improve.

I suppose all of this means that there'll be mistakes on both sides. As partners, we can't possibly always get it right. Especially those of us who have our own dysfunctions.

I think the key thing to remember is that neither person can know/understand what the other is experiencing unless both people learn to express those feelings. And also, learning to recogninse when either person is enmeshing. Issues from the past of hatred/anger/being unfairly treated need to be seperated from the present. A personal example of this from my own perspective, is the many occassions(some only recently felt/realised) I have felt powerless/uinfairly treated in situations with my bf. I now realise that the WAY I EXPERIENCED them was a childlike emotion and brought with it childlike reactions/responses. Yes, he may have been being unreasonable, but did I effectively deal with that from a mature perspective? No, I did not. Do I have to take responsibilty for that? Yes I do. I am not beating myself up about this, or being hard on myself, just looking at the facts. He IS NOT my abuser any more than I have ever been his. Anything either of us have ever done which may have conjured up the same feelings for us, is NOT OUR FAULT. Because we are grown adults now. Indeed it's not fair that either of us haven't had the tools to effectively look after ourselves, but I wouldn't want my bf to feel guilty for a thing which was never his fault, or for him to be blaming me for a thing which was never my fault. Should I expect him to feel sorry for me cause there are occassions I have had trouble defending myself emotionally, or any other childlike related difficulty? No, I don't want him to feel sorry for me, or I for him. Empathy/understanding, yes, but if I never know the EFFECTS/IMPACT these things have on him(and vice-versa), there would never be enough incentive for me to look further than my own experience/feelings.

You know what? As a survivor of a kind, I am absolutly sick of people taking sympathy/feeling sorry/assuming I can't do things properly. I realise this has been the pattern of my life and something I have accepted, welcomed even. I see that I have stood by and allowed myself to be abused by people(nothing too terrible!). I realise it's not my fault and I don't put myself down for it either, but I do have to accept personal responsibilty for it.

So, BOTH people's expectations/feelings do count hugely I believe.

Sorry if that got a bit heavy, but it's something I feel strongly about at the moment. I hope I have not said anything that will offend or upset anyone.


#68112 - 01/19/07 08:43 AM Re: Survivors: What We Would Like You to Know About Us.
AshSurvived Offline

Registered: 01/07/07
Posts: 167
Loc: Australia
Hopefully a pertinent example of what I mean:

This morning i went past the bin and thought 'that smells, I should remind Elisa not to put food in there, I bet it's meat again, how many times, must I be the parent as well as the survivor, honestly!'...

But, I decided to do the right thing and I put the rubbish bag out in the wheelie bin, came back inside and decided to be extra thoughtful and bent down to spray some stuff in for the smell.


And there goes my back.

Right now it's been several hours and I'm still sore, I hope it's just a muscle and not another disc.

Now, I can run of scores of injuies, but also I can run off scores of sexual advances I had to endure, and discrimination when I was doing the right thing by working.

All I know for sure is that a lot of things happen to me because of my abuse. I have tremendous body tension, and nothing works (my wife does massage, I have been to chiro's, oteo's, blah blah bloody blah), I behave like a victim. You know why of course, I behave like what I am. I'm a textbook case. Of course for years I pretended i could pull my socks up and be considerate to others, be an adult. Well I have the broken bones and stalkers to prove I tried. I have the no friends and the no job and the no resume to prove I gave it a bloody good shot. And there is so much more to add i would be here all day.

The only time I start to improve is when I stop trying to be like you lot, when I accept myself as a victim. And when I begin to feel right bloody sorry for myself, after a time it passes and I feel better.

I am still learning but I feel that's the whole point. I am learning from scratch. I am undoing, unlearning the attitudes, partly your attitudes, and those of my parents specifically that only served to escalate the damage done to me.

When I was trying so hard to be good and be like my wife, normal, I was completely false. Everything I did was a fraud. Beig a victim, feeling sorry for myself, that's the only real thing I have right now, and I'm starting to feel it's something I'm entitled to. And like I said, i get better when I just let go. I become real because i think I am tesing out behviours and coming out o my shell. otherwise I just retreat into thought as I did as a kid when people talked to me as you partners are, as my wife used to.

And when I retreat I shut down all emotion and I'm part of her game. I play into all her weaknesses and shortcomings and give her all the excuses in the world to not grow up herself. And I think that's what I am pointing out above. It's not the partner that needs to grow and change it's you. You have the capacity, you are fundamentally different. Unless you are a hindu or similar you had total freedom of choice in choosng a partner. Don't try to blame them for your poor choice. To me making demands and being 'reasonable' is just acting out your own resentment.

Believe me, I know a hell of a lot about that, I see it from a skewed angle, granted, because that's my upbrigning in a nutshell, but that doens't necessarily discount my insight.

My parents probably honestly believed they could discipline me out of being a victim. And here I am years later. I t doesn't work, save yourself the effort. Look at what the abuse is hghlighting in you, at what your behaviours are like beccy mentioned above. Force, prompt, prod all you like, but don't please don't encourage me to use analogies of obvious physical disability, because to me it just seems like stating the obvious.

Self help is a philosphy like wealth creation or 'be yourelf' trumpeted to a naive majority because it sells books. People who can apply such lame ideals don't need them: that's why they work. I never set out to disprove them, they managed to do that for themselves over my life so far. We survivors are scientists, we have to falsify and test everything before we trust it because we can't rely on our emotions to survive, we dare not. a lot of what you lot say I'm sure is basically out of love, but that's not a relevent factor that is considered by my survivor brain. I don't understand love.

But because, in my opinion, normal people can trust their emotions, they simply don't have to falsify their beleifs and subject them to scientific scruntiny, because they trust themselves. i can't for example allow myself the indulgence of religion, others can, but it doesn't stand up to my scrutiny. Nor does politics, nor do many things.

At about 11 I decided human realtionships and romance and all that was drivel and I wouldn't have a bar of it. I reasoned my way out of fundamentalist religion and out of right and then left wing politics. What for other people are allowable indulgences are for me obscene. Because i stip it of all feeling. politics and religion are so much feeling, without that what is there? It seems rational but none of it is, but that doesn't matter if it satifies the need for those feelings of belonging and righteousness and love, so on. Take feelings away and.... anyway, I best shut up. This wasn't supposed to be a treatise, just my thoughts. I look forward to your replies.

I'm trying to contrast ideology with practical experience. The ideology of self help with the reality of impairment. Temporary, but still impairment. and an impairment that has it's own rules and will not bend to an ideology, no matter how loving or how forceful.

"It's your world Dave, I'm just livin' in it"

- Harvey Pekar to David Letterman
(American Splendour)

#68113 - 01/19/07 09:38 AM Re: Survivors: What We Would Like You to Know About Us.
GWsurvives Offline

Registered: 01/10/07
Posts: 251
Loc: Atlanta, and here, among othe...
(standing ovation) Wow! I have learned a bunch this evening.. about me and my wife...

Thank you to everyone who contributed!!

(clapping loudly)

"I can see clearly now the rain has gone"

"Some times there just aren't enough rocks" Forrest Gump

#68114 - 01/19/07 10:17 AM Re: Survivors: What We Would Like You to Know About Us.
indygal Offline

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439
The ideology of self help with the reality of impairment. Temporary, but still impairment. and an impairment that has it's own rules and will not bend to an ideology, no matter how loving or how forceful.
i don't know and won't claim to but in my mind, at least, for some time now i no longer see survivors - male or female - as the same as non-survivors, only damaged.

i don't think it's that simple at all.

i think, and again, this is simply my own opinion backed up by nothing more than conjecture, speculation and a great deal of thinking about it - i honestly think that something biochemical takes place during sexual trauma which actually changes that individual's thinking in a fundamental way.

we know how excretion of hormones can change ways of thinking, too much adrenalin, too much epinephrin, others as well, which create long-term differences in brain patterns, reflexes and ways of processing information.

this is entirely separate from actual physical trauma, of course (broken bones, etc.).

as survivors continue to explore their own feelings and share with us their perceptions of our attitudes and behaviors, it's truly as if we are talking about different ways of thinking altogether. different in the concept that even after healing, the survivor will never process information the way a non-sexually abused individual does. it just isn't going to happen.

with that in mind, for me at least, it gives me a sense of what i'm up against in trying to communicate with my bf, and in trying to understand other survivors in my life, both now and in the future.

i also wonder if healing for the survivor may mean something entirely different than what it may mean for his (or her) partner.

all i can say at this point is to reiterate that we do care, we are trying to understand and most of us will not give up.

all the best,

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

#68115 - 01/19/07 08:50 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
The only time I start to improve is when I stop trying to be like you lot, when I accept myself as a victim. And when I begin to feel right bloody sorry for myself, after a time it passes and I feel better.
Iím so confused by this statement. How does feeling sorry for yourself make you feel better? How does it pass and where do you go from there? Iím not being sarcastic, I just really donít understand.

Facts are facts - you were a victim of csa - you have to go through life with that. But not everyone you meet will have such a fact in their background. They are us. We probably donít know about it in the beginning and we fall in love with you. You tell us. Do we stop loving you? Do we say, OK, we made a bad choice, this one is damaged beyond repair and I wonít deal with that, see ya? I was in a relationship for 3-1/2 years before I knew. Thereís no way I could walk away. In a perfect world, youíre already aware of what csa has done to you. How it has skewed your thinking and the way you look at life and you seek help. We stand there with you while you do it. Why, because we love you. Why do we love you, because of what you presented to us BEFORE you told us of the csa. Because you showed us a guy we could love. You were Ĺ of the equation that created the relationship that exists now. I wonít take the blame for that and chalk it up to ďmy poor choice.Ē Our later knowledge of the csa turns things upside down and changes the rules for us! You already knew it. I didnít sign up for a guy with problems like that, I fell in love with a guy who didnít tell me anything about it!

I understand, once I learn, why you didnít tell me and I donít blame you for it. But I need the chance to learn and I have to try to understand. If I donít, then Iím a piece of crap who should have said, ďOK, I made a bad choice, this one is damaged beyond repair and I wonít deal with that, see ya. My b/f wants to stay with me, I want to stay with him so I stand by him while he works and I talk to him when he wants to and yes, sometimes I get frustrated and angry and all torn up inside because this is damn hard on me too.

I have a lot of expectations of my b/f. I expect him to do well with his company, itís his livelihood; I expect him to treat me well; I expect him to be faithful to me; I expect him to take care of the dog; I expect him to pay his bills; I expect him to be good to our friends and at least decent to strangers; I expect him to get better because the man I know deserves it.

ROCK ON...........Trish

If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

#68116 - 01/19/07 09:14 PM Re: Survivors: What We Would Like You to Know About Us.
sweet-n-sour Offline

Registered: 10/03/06
Posts: 409
Loc: chicago
Trish, perfectly stated!


"As long as he continues to try, I will meet him in that determination and commitment."

cm 2007

#68117 - 01/20/07 12:39 AM Re: Survivors: What We Would Like You to Know About Us.
beccy Offline

Registered: 05/28/06
Posts: 449
Loc: england

Did you mean something along the lines of perhaps being kind to yourself/less hard on yourself? Kind of like going easy on yourself sometimes? Accepting certain struggles/difficulties, making some allowances and not punishing yourself for them? If that's what you meant, that does make sense to me. I think it ebs and flows......Don't you think though, that there are times to go easy and times to push yourself? That's what I've found personally.

Following the post by Trish,

I certainly did not know my bf had been CSA when we first met....he didn't tell me about his sister till 7 years later, at the same time as telling me he was worried cause he fancied men and wondered if the two were connected.....when(soon after) I fell pregnant he told me he was worried he might be gay....3 years later, after building tensions, arguments, many difficulties and resulting in daughter showing some behavioural problems, I first went to a homeopath, during which time i rebuilt my own mental health, following that, insisted bf do the same. Finally, after realising many of our problems might be related to the CSA by his sister, I soon after discovered(by snooping around/finding xtra safe condoms & lube) he had gone out with the intention of acting out with total strangers. His idea was truck drivers in service stations. Never mind the shock/infidelity/family situation, I cannot tell you how worried I suddenly felt for the safety of the man I love......after telling him I felt he was still hiding things from me, and I didn't feel I could trust him and that maybe we should just be friends, that was when he told me that that very day, he recovered a memory of possible CSA with a teacher......

Well, I don't need to go into the rest of it all. You get the picture. After all this happened, I recovered a memory of my own, which explained many of my own problems too, so as it turns out, we both have shit to sort out, although mine is very minimal compared to his.

Did I make a mistake in choosing him? That is a question I have recently asked myself. I wonder too if he has asked himself the very same question, because in many many ways, I really don;t feel I've been good for him at all. But I love him, I love him, I love him. I believe in love.

I know that line of thinking which goes, "don't expect this/that from me, I can't give you this/that, it's just the way I am....." Been there, thought that myself many many times, but you know what? I have decided I HAVE to get past that. Get past me and my bf are communicating more, we learn the truth of how the things we do/don't do hurt each-other. Some things take longer to change than others, and I suppose the test of time will show if we can be happier together.....

I have been through total hell this past year, and 12 years of a totally dysfunctional relationship. I have been hanging on by a thread to my sanity and desperately trying to hold my family together/take care of the kids. The way I see it, mine and my bf's lives have been blighted through no fault of our own, and now we have the chance to make some changes, so we can BOTH be happier and live the life we are truly entitled to live. That certainly means there'll be expectations from me, as I've never been very good at having them before! Before I was confused, tentative, afraid, careful, followed by hysterical and a mess. Oh well, at least that made me laugh!

peace everyone

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