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He was sexually abused as a child, how can I support him?

(51 Posts)
snaplockslags Mon 07-Jan-13 12:39:16

I have been with a lovely man for 4 months, he was quite open with me about his abuse as a child and said that it affects his ability to have close relationships...
He does shut me out a bit in day to day life and seems to go from being ultra vulnerable and loving to basically acting like I'm the last thing on his mind, and last night when I asked him if he was happy with me, he said he was the happiest he has been in his whole life, he's just scared of loosing me. confused
It all started when he said last night that sex for him can be asocicated with violence and power struggles, he said he's deeply disturbed at the idea of us not being equals, he said that he thinks I look up to him, I told him that I don't and that I do feel he sometimes looks down on me.
He said that an unequal relationship disturbs him because he wants us to be two consenting adults (which I thought we were)
All this stuff is a bolt out of the blue for be, I thought that things were great apart from having to grapple with his distance at times.
hmm, I want to help him and be there for him but I don't want to be unhappy myself which I will be if he keeps shutting me out. He told me today that I must tell him when he's shutting down.
Maybe he needs to go back to therapy, I don't know. I just hate being left out in the cold when he's warm and loving and vulnerable its the best thing in the world but I hate the highs and lows.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 07-Jan-13 12:50:37

Four months into a relationship you should be feeling on top of the world 100% of the time, not being left out in the cold, grappling with emotional withdrawal and certainly not pandering to someone's neuroses. Whatever happened to him in his childhood is his challenge to overcome, not yours. I fear that he's using the whole thing in order excuse very poor behaviour.

Walk away from this man

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 07-Jan-13 12:52:57

"he said that he thinks I look up to him, I told him that I don't and that I do feel he sometimes looks down on me."

In fact... run away from him. Jealous, messed up, regards you as his inferior but turns it round to be your failing, swings between hot and cold, .... run, run, RUN.

BrevilleTron Mon 07-Jan-13 14:33:18

Just a question but has this man got a tattoo of a wolf on his arm and a 5 letter girls name on his back?
Alarm bells ringing for me.

AbigailAdams Mon 07-Jan-13 14:38:22

"sex for him can be asocicated with violence and power struggles" Run, and don't look back. That is a threat. Veiled, but it is one. He is telling you what he is like. Believe him.

Jellykat Mon 07-Jan-13 15:00:31

My recent XP was emotionally abusive, his story was almost identical to your partners, and virtually every horrendous thing he did to me was somehow blamed on his childhood. It meant he didn't have to take any responsibility.

Its a natural instinct to want to help, but at what cost? and more often then not, no amount of time, kindness or energy will make a blind bit of difference.

I'm afraid its his problem to sort out, harsh but true, and i agree with what everyone else has said.. He's giving you a warning of things to come, watch out, and good luck!

HansieMom Mon 07-Jan-13 15:10:50

You are not his therapist.

snaplockslags Wed 09-Jan-13 17:10:40

yes your'e right, he has been lovely yesterday, he apologised for how he'd been, he was really nice yesterday and last night he said please don't let me fuck this up, I asked myself, 'am I happy?' then I realised that I have not been really when he gives his cat more attention than me! He asked me to tell him when he's shutting me out I am pleased he is aware of it, as soon as I asked myself whether I'm happy or not I felt empowered, I am 28, at uni, child free (unlike him) sharing a house with my best friend, I have lots of friends am slim, healthy and earning good money why would I worry so much if I'm not happy I can leave at any time.
Anyway I am going to a codependents anon meeting tonight to see if I can get anything out of that I hate feeling at the mercy of someone elses moods and behaviour.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 09-Jan-13 17:32:04

So save yourself the bother and tell him 'adios'....?

ResolutelyCheeky Wed 09-Jan-13 17:37:28

Listen, you are young and fabulous. You are putting your whole future at risk with this man. You cannot 'mend' him, he will be abusive (he can't help it) and children are something that you may not be able to consider with him if you want them so why waste any more of your time?

Jellykat Wed 09-Jan-13 19:36:44

he apologised for how he'd been, he was really nice yesterday and last night he said please don't let me fuck this up

Just because he's aware of his behaviour, and apologises, it will not stop him from doing it again i'm afraid.
His request that YOU dont let him fuck it up, is putting the responsibility on YOU, trouble is his behaviour is his responsibility isn't it ?? You can't control it..

Please don't waste your life with him anymore, go and live it happily with someone more worthy of you.

mcmooncup Wed 09-Jan-13 19:39:59


Massive red flags.
He doesn't make you feel good.
You are too young for all this. Don't let him ruin the prime of your life.

InNeedOfBrandy Wed 09-Jan-13 19:46:29

God please don't waste your life with this man, my dad was sexually abused and everything you've said so far you could be talking about him. He left us because once we got to old he couldn't handle us and his past plus my mum had had enough dealing with a man who was so stuck in the past. He had loads and loads of help and counselling, he was even sectioned (or maybe was in the MH voluntary I'm not sure but he was there for months), I lived with him for a bit after the split and read his diary which I'm sure scarred me for life. He eventually ran off to another woman and never saw me my siblings or his parents or sister again.

My mum had such an awful time with him, really don't do this to yourself.

InNeedOfBrandy Wed 09-Jan-13 19:48:58

Brevile my dad has a wolf tattoo on his arm/shoulder not sure if he has another one but I could guess what the name would be if that's him. (scary coincidence)

waltermittymistletoe Wed 09-Jan-13 19:56:37

Leave. Now.


Don't let him fuck it up? Don't you see, everything is already your fault even HIS faults are your fault?

Please, please leave.

snaplockslags Wed 09-Jan-13 23:39:12

wow Im glad to see this response I thought I was unjustified in feeling more than a little unsettled by this, I want to carry on with him, I love him and he loves me oh this is so hard sad

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 09-Jan-13 23:57:09

It's only been four months and this man is already laying a lot of problems at your door which are not yours to fix. He's spinning you a sob story. That's not love.... that's manipulating someone to stick around because they feel sorry for you.

waltermittymistletoe Thu 10-Jan-13 00:59:01

I doubt he loves you. Sorry.

InNeedOfBrandy Thu 10-Jan-13 06:28:58

Sorry he doesn't love you sad he from everything you say is incapable of love and intimacy. It's only been 4 months that's nothing don't let this get to 4 years you've wasted.

izzyizin Thu 10-Jan-13 14:33:41

You're 'child free'? FGS stay that way at least as far a this man is concerned,

He is BIIIG BAAAAD NEWS. You will be ground down to a shadow of your former self by this man... and that is what's going to happen if you stay with him - in fact, it's already started.

Please disabuse yourself of the notion that he 'loves' you. Men like him are not capable of loving anyone except themselves.

As for you loving him, you barely know him and, at most, all you are feeling is more akin to infatuation than deep and lasting emotion.

You're going to a codependents anon meeting? WTF is that about? Why are you squandering spending an evening there when you could be out having fun with a capital F?

snaplockslags Fri 11-Jan-13 10:58:56

Coda helped because i realised that ive been putting hom first over my uni studies and frienships i think im going to back off a bit and let him come to me truth is i should feel happy and i dont

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 11-Jan-13 11:01:27

There's no point being with someone that doesn't at least enhance your life. If you're not happy, best to end it rather than simply 'back off' - which a persistent/disrespectful man will take as a cue to simply try a bit harder.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 11-Jan-13 11:21:04

"I want to carry on with him, I love him and he loves me oh this is so hard"

Why do you want to carry on with him, what do you get out of this so called relationship exactly?.

No, he does not love you at all, he does not know the meaning of the word.

You are not his therapist and he is not your project to rescue and or save. He never was, he has likely honed into any rescuer/saviour/codependent tendencies you have (manipulative men can spot these a mile off in even seemingly confident together women) and has exploited these for all he's worth leaving you in the position you are now in.

izzyizin Fri 11-Jan-13 13:35:45

<wipes hand across forehead> What a relief! I'd formed the erroneous impression coda was something he'd got you attending to 'help and understand' him smile

Your evening was not wasted as it seems it's helped you realise the extent to which he's insiduously begun to take over you life and suck the joy out of it -and it can only get worse if you keep putting him first in all things.

Instead of letting him come to you, I suggest you tell him to take a hike in the opposite direction and set yourself free to become all that you can be in your professional and personal life.

Abitwobblynow Fri 11-Jan-13 16:48:14

Well done with the coda meetings, keep on going and keep on keeping on! That you put him above yourself and your best interests is a huge red flag - for YOU. Coda will really help you recognise and learn not to do this, and put your boundaries in place.
Never, ever, ever EVER do this again! YOU are the most important person in your life, and YOU are what counts.

truth is i should feel happy and i dont - is your soul telling you something badly is wrong. You aren't happy because of all the things MN is telling you.

OP, you CANNOT change this person. You can't. You can't love him better, understand him whole, he will hurt you.

Run, run, run, run, run. Intense passion is NOT love. Please read Lundy Bancroft 'Why Does He Do That?'. You will find Mr Wrong in there.


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