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How Can I support my b/f who was sexually abused as a child?

Published on May 8, 2010 by terphotgirl

I've been in a 3 yr relationship with a man who was sexually abused as a child by another child. At times, he has displayed inappropriate behavior which has caused real issues within our relationship. However, we remained committed to working through the issues. Recently, after falling into a deep depression, I suggested to him that he find someone to talk to. It took him several months to get help but he finally did. Once he started going to therapy he fell into a deeper depression as he started to learn more about the effects of the abuse on him. We decided to take a break from our relationship so that he could fully concentrate on therapy and dealing with his issues. We're scheduled to have another talk to re-evaluate the status of our relationship so I have a few questions. 1. Is he likely to have more breakdowns/bouts with depression as he starts new chapters in his life? (His counselor told him that some of the reasons for his current break down include the death of a family member, the car accident he had as well as iye recent convos about marriage/ring shopping).

  1. When we have our conversation how can I express to him my desire to continue our relationship without making him feel as if I'm trying to control him/make decisions for him. (One thing he's been working through in therapy is being more assertive)

ANSWERS

As someone who has gone through therapy to deal with some issues. Getting face to face with your past can be a dark experience and it can be rough before it gets better again. What your BF is going through sounds completely normal and he does need the space to deal with those issues. The goal of therapy is for him to go back, deal with the issues to get a handle on them so they don't control him in the future. But everyone responds to therapy differently and it won't quite work the same way for him as it did for me.

But you have to be able to accept him for who he is now. Can you accept him as he is right now without the hope of change? If you can do that, I think you should tell him that you are here for him and you want to be his girlfriend, regardless of what he is going through and that you will be waiting for him when he is ready if that's what he wants. Then you will need to let him make the next move.

Thank you for the advice. It has definitely given me some things to think about. I am willing to accept him "as is." I'm just afraid he'll want to give up bc he has a tendency to want things to be "perfect" and if they aren't he beats himself up and then abandons whatever it is (friendship, relationship, job etc). I guess I have to come to terms with the fact that I cannot control his reaction only what I bring to the table.

I have a very close family member who was sexually abused by an adult and a child, it has been very hard for them to move past the abuse & its ramifications . So kudos to your bf for getting as far in life as he has. The fact that he has enough good qualities that you would find yourself attracted to him , is amazing in & of itself , so he's done something right. Also the fact that he is willing to get help is another huge plus. Having to face these flgs. again is NOT easy. He may have more depr. & anxiety thru the yrs. but then again so could any of us for any reason -- job loss, death of a close friend or family member etc... . Sooo if you could see yourself staying w/ him thru thick & thin & any ups or downs stay by his side & let him know you r there for him. A question on the side might be do ever go w/ him to his counseling sessions ? That might b really helpful if your bf & the counselor both r ok w/ it . That might b a place to "safely" bring up wether or not to pursue the relationship @ this time & wether or not the counselor believes it would be good to continue on the break. Maybe even letting the counselor know ahead of time what u want to talk about so they can talk w/ your bf ahead of time as well & help him to be assertive. Hope it helps :) Hang in there !! You r awesome for being willing to take this on & not running away !! Hooray for u !!!

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