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Old 22-06-2018, 10:26 PM   #1
Bellatrix
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Secondary Trauma in partner - How to help.

So I experienced sexual abuse as a kid. I've accepted that, come to terms with knowing I'll probably never know everything and put it behind me. It still affects me, but no longer in a way that is detrimental to my health.

My partner is having a difficult time with it. He says it'd feel like having closure if he knew the full story and could stop imagining things in a 'worst case scenario' type thing. He says he finds it hard to see a young girl around because he immediatly thinks if that's how old or small etc I was when it happened and he gets sad and worried and overhears snippets of probably innocent conversations and worries bad things are happening to them.

How can I help him? He's not a fan of counselling or talking therapy etc. He's done it before and didn't find it helpful. I've recommended online communities and groups and stuff but he says he doesn't need to talk about it, once he knows how bad it was he can put the complete story in a box and it won't affect him as much anymore.

I know I have an unusual way of thinking about things, I think a lot of us who spent most of our adolescence online on forums like this do. We're so normalised to how people talk and feel about abuse we're happy to just go with their flow rather than pressing them for information. But my partner is a relatively 'normal' person, and he's never known anyone with MH problems, of a history of abuse.

I'm not sure what I can do to help.




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Old 23-06-2018, 03:36 PM   #2
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I don't know that his closure is your responsibility - he needs to respect the fact that this happened to you and you have dealt with it in the best way you can. My concern would be this will drag up stuff that maybe is okay where it is currently for you.





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Old 23-06-2018, 09:59 PM   #3
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It's not my responsibility, But I want to help or guide or direct.

I don't need to talk about stuff anymore, and I'd rather not.

I've tried to say that I've dealt with it and moved on, but he's saying I've had years to learn how to do that, and this is the first time he's ever heard about abuse and he's still struggling with it. I said he might just have to learn to come to terms with it, and he said it would always be on his mind.




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Old 24-06-2018, 09:35 AM   #4
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I don't know that you can do any more than you have done then flower. Him telling you it will always be on his mind is kind of manipulative as it isn't your fault what you've been through before. If he wants to feel better about it, it's up to him to do the research and the work into understanding it more and if he's resistant to the idea of talking to a professional then there's not much else you can suggest.

He could maybe have a look at a service like Safeline - a quick Google for support groups brings lots of stuff up.





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Old 25-06-2018, 10:20 PM   #5
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Harsh alert (I'm gonna claim that I'm allowed to be because I have literally been in his shoes!).

He needs to go put on his big boy pants and not offload this on you. I get that it's a lot to get his head around, but to come crying to you about it and even try to make out like you in some way have it easier? Ridiculous. Unless he's worried about something directly related to your wellbeing (like he wants to ask whether there's any words or actions that are particularly triggering for you) then he really needs to find his own way of dealing with this. It isn't your problem and you ought not to be made to feel like it is.

Do you happen to remember my hierarchy of crying? It's a little bit like that I think. You're at the top and so you can cry about it to whoever. He's underneath you in this particular diagram so he can cry about it to people on the same level or below, but not to you because it's Against The Rules.

I can appreciate wanting to know; it's always helped me to know as much as possible about things that worry me, but this is your story and no desire of his trumps your ownership of your past.



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Old 26-06-2018, 02:42 AM   #6
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This is a bit tricky.
I totally agree with people saying it is not your responsibility and that he shouldn't burden you with *his* issues regarding *your* past. I do understand though that you want to help him feel better and I get what you say regarding him being completely new to this. I would also hope that he communicated his worries to you for the sake of being open about how he feels as opposed to trying to make you feel responsible/pressure you into exploring what you don't want to explore.

I don't think there is anything that you can actively do to help him tbh. He refuses to do anything that would be helpful, so he is stuck with less productive ways of dealing with it. He knows his options and decided to not get help. That is on him. Time will probably help a little while he processes this mentally. It is fair that he is struggling with this, it is not so fair that he is adding this to your worries.

The only thing I can think of is to maybe find him some information on why it would be super unhelpful for you to force yourself to uncover what you don't want to uncover. I would surely hope he is accepting of you not wanting to do that and not putting any pressure on you.

To answer your question: there is nothing you can do to help him as he very clearly said he doesn't want any help. And while he will have to deal with not knowing and having this on his mind all the time, you will have to accept that you can't do anything about how he feels about it.



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Old 27-06-2018, 05:42 AM   #7
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Its a hang-up - a guy thing I know well.

Ever know people so identified with their car that they freak-out over anything that happens to it? if their car gets scratched they feel scratched.

Guys can get that way about women. Young guys have a tendency to make a woman the ground of their ego. As they get more involved with a gal they can start to feel spooked/jealous over old boyfriends - often wishing they had been the first one.

BF feels a little haunted by what happened to you because he feels like its happened to him now in a sense. Other people scuffed-up "his car". He cant "forget" because he's hung-up on it. He needs to grow-up a bit. I dont go for the "concern" about other little children. I think that's window dressing - camo for the real bothers imo. I doubt telling him more would help at all - probs just make things worse.

Don't blame yourself either. Even if your childhood had been less traumatic some past trifles would still bother him. He's a bit hang-up prone and shifts things on to you (guys blame the girl for their hang-ups 99% of the time)


Last edited by Isoverity : 27-06-2018 at 05:50 AM.


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Old 27-06-2018, 04:49 PM   #8
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Thank you all for the advise. I'll have a think about what to do next, but I think I'm just going to ignore it until it comes up again. I've told him what support is available and it's up to him if he takes it.




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