My partner won't deal with her past abuse

 
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adam
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:25 am    Post subject: My partner won't deal with her past abuse Reply with quote

My partner of 15 years told me not long after we were together that she was abused as a small child by a close friend of her father's. She also said he older brother was as well. At the time I did not know how to deal with it. I did say we should go to the police. she did not want to as she thought it would destroy her parents relationship.

Sadly i have let it go. I notice how she does not remember much from childhood. Her father past away a few years ago, and I cannot help but want to bring the issue up. I am sure it is in deep insider her so I know she cannot bottle it up. I have anger towards the person who did this to my beautiful partner.

I don't really know what to do. Should I talk to her about it? If I do I am worried what will happen.

hoping others might share their experiences.
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Mae
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my opinion, how she handles or doesn't handle her past abuse is not your business.

If the two of you are doing well, and you are loving one another and dealing with life's ups and downs in a way that feels fine, that's what matters.

If you find her behaving toward you in ways that hurt you or are problematic for the relationship, then you have the right and the responsibility to bring these issues up with her. Whether they are rooted in her abuse history isn't really relevant, asking to be treated as you need to be is what's relevant. Her behaviour, not what drives it, would be the focus of this discussion.

People heal differently, and some don't heal but learn pretty effective ways to navigate the territory and cope with the symptoms. Some don't heal and wreak havoc on those who love them.

Disclosure and accusations long after the fact don't always have a therapeutic outcome.

I would suggest your best bet would be to tell her, "Since you told me so long ago about the abuse in your past, I notice we don't discuss it at all. Is that OK, or would you like to talk about it with me?" and take her answer at face value.
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LoneWing
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have perused this site, or others like it, you may know that healing is not a destination, but a journey.

I did not choose to run from the pain of the abuse, nor did I choose to face it. Both happened in their own time, and of their own volition. When I was in denial, when asked about anything about "it," I denied, denied, denied that it had any effect on me whatsoever. My brain ignored it; put it away in a safe place until I was strong enough, old enough, worldly enough to start putting it in perspective.

On the outside, during denial, I appeared a happy-go-lucky optimist. I thought myself forthright, opinionated, loved children, music and animals. Deeply devoted to my family, a hard worker who sought to improve situations. I thought NO ONE KNEW, but deep inside, I felt like a fraud. Don't get me wrong, I felt love, but I never felt loved.

Now that I'm no longer in denial, I live in the real world, and it is a much uglier, lonelier place than denial was, but what I feel is real. When I am able to accept the love of a friend, my first thought is not, "WHY would she/he do that for me?" My first reach is usually not for suspicion.

All of that may sound paradoxical. My dream world of denial was filled with people and activities of phoniness, to me. Busy busy busy, but I never cried. The real world of real emotion is filled with real risk and an ever-growing acceptance of how things are, rather than of how I want them to be. It's full of real laughter, and real tears. I've lost my family and moved from the region of the world in which I matured.

Best/worst of all, for maybe the first time in my life, I can FEEL it. It's frightening, and I'm light-years behind my peers, emotionally. I still go absolutely numb, and sometimes still lose time.

Oddly enough, denial began to crash when some sweet person pointed out that I had interpreted his written word rather than actually reading them, and taking them at face value. I had never been "accused" of that, and there it was, in black and white, UNdeniable, so to speak. The active filters in my mind, - I never even knew they were there. I was a philosophical infant. The lies of omission and evasion were everywhere, and I was shamed by my lack of insight, branding myself a liar.

I'm kinder to myself, now. I know that my "lies" were of those things hidden from me, by mechanisms of self-preservation, and that my life has played out as it will.

There are no real answers in how a person copes with this, and I have heartfelt compassion for your efforts in wanting to help her heal. It is a very big bite, and you are well-advised to learn all that you can before "pushing" the subject with her.

I'd like to add - thanks for caring, thank you for asking. You sound like a loving, gentle soul.
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Bryley
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From my short time in this situation I have quickly learned that you have to be prepared to listen when needed and just be there for each other.
The healing can take many turns and we have to be ready to deal with whatever comes.... in love.
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Geriberry
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:42 am    Post subject: Hello Reply with quote

Adam,

I can understand your anger but I think its also worth remembering that many people who have been abused in childhood have been raised to deny their own feelings. I am a survivor but I have had a lot of therapy, I hope you dont mind me replying to your post?

I know for me I had very few childhood memories until I went for therapy then when my traumatic memories returned so did the rest of my childhood memories. Also other people kind of felt angry on my behalf when I told them what happened to me which was a shock to me. I think I would tell her how you are feeling but if she chooses not to discuss her past then I think its wise to respect her decision. Survivors heal at their own pace and I wondered if you had thought about therapy to discuss how you are feeling?
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Tierra
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Adam

Although I am a survivor, I can appreciate where you might be coming from. I tend to take a different viewpoint on this issue of partners of survivors. Whereas, your partner has to heal on her own pace, you are entitled as half of the relationship to talk about it and express your feelings. Sounds like you love her so much and are rightfully angry for her. What is wrong with telling her how you feel about her past? If you're concerned to how she may respond, try it with the help and support of a couples therapist. She may also appreciate knowing you are there for her and in her corner. The best way to take care of her is to take care of yourself.

Depending on where she is in her healing will dictate how you proceed. If she won't talk about it with you, find someone who can. Friend, family or therapist. You'll have to take her lead, but after 15 years, I think you've earned the right to be angry and hurt also for what she's been through. Remember that a history of abuse is not a 'person' problem, it is a relationship problem.

That's my 2 cents. So, good luck
Tierra
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Thor
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lonewing, your post was beautiful. I hope my wife will someday have the same awakening and get to enjoy life in reality, not the false world of denial.
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