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Discussion Starter #1
Tips? What works and what doesn't? Experiences?
How does one not fuck this up?
 

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What sort of abuse? Sexual, physical or emotional? I've got experience with all three. Sadly. I might be able to give some ideas if I know what sort of abuse we are talking about.

That said, it's tricky. They have to heal themselves, there is not a lot you can do about it.
 

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That would be great if you could answer Filo's questions and provide as much input as you can. Also, what are your main concerns?

I am assuming that since you said "survivor" they have worked diligently in counseling on their trauma. Is that the case?
 

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Then again, are you sure you want to put stuff like this on a public forum? I mean, the question, sure, but the details might be too personal. I don't know, it's your call.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm trying to leave it a little open so that others dealing with it can use the thread too, so it's not just about my scenario.

But since you asked - the trifecta of child abuse for him (INFJ) - for me, just verbal/emotional. No more details about it than that - the one person who knows him on the site already knows that but yeah...It feels awkward talking about it at all. He has gone back into therapy, but very recently. I met him about a month after I had run away from home - he told me the way I was coping with it gave him a new perspective and spurred him to get help. And sometimes he tries to make it as if he wants to be healthy for my sake, but I try to discourage too much emphasis on that. He said he might go back on anti-anxiety meds too.

We talk a lot since we're both dealing - him more. I have to tell him it's not whining and that I respect his willingness to be open fairly frequently. He also gives me articles his therapist gave him, & books that were recommended, emphasising this is for me to deal with my parents since he is paranoid about 'burdening' me with his problems. But he does things like try to talk himself out of this relationship by, for example, attempting to convince himself he is gay - which he knows and admits isn't true - and then starts crying about how this would hurt me. Imagining crazy scenarios. I don't really want to play a role in the ways he tortures himself, but it can happen. I feel like just by existing I am pressuring him and I don't know how much of it I can actually affect and help with, and how much is just his fear of intimacy & not my place to manipulate.

I know it is his fight, but I want to be as helpful as I can, especially since he is so used to helping others and not himself. Just to consistently do something right & be there for him so he knows he can trust and has a right to ask me for support and help when he needs it. I think things are ok so far - he sent me a cracked-out e-mail about the love and support I give his inner child when he had a high fever and all - but I want to get an idea of red flags, potential issues, success stories and experiences others have had to see what I may be missing, depending on what people are comfortable sharing. And this is the first serious relationship I have been in - second total - so I have fewer reference points for what is normal and healthy than some, especially given my sorry excuse for a family.
 

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Well as a person who did once date such a person and also had a violent past, i must say you really need to be aware that people who have a history of violence in their childhoods are usually emotionally detached and as such tend to be quite sceptical about relationships in general. As someone put it, they have one finger on the get out button always ready.
As such, i find that in a conversation logic tends to work better than saying what you feel most of the time :)

Hope i made any sense, if not, look at my preety unicorn
 

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I'm trying to leave it a little open so that others dealing with it can use the thread too, so it's not just about my scenario.

But since you asked - the trifecta of child abuse for him (INFJ) - for me, just verbal/emotional. No more details about it than that - the one person who knows him on the site already knows that but yeah...It feels awkward talking about it at all. He has gone back into therapy, but very recently. I met him about a month after I had run away from home - he told me the way I was coping with it gave him a new perspective and spurred him to get help. And sometimes he tries to make it as if he wants to be healthy for my sake, but I try to discourage too much emphasis on that. He said he might go back on anti-anxiety meds too.

We talk a lot since we're both dealing - him more. I have to tell him it's not whining and that I respect his willingness to be open fairly frequently. He also gives me articles his therapist gave him, & books that were recommended, emphasising this is for me to deal with my parents since he is paranoid about 'burdening' me with his problems. But he does things like try to talk himself out of this relationship by, for example, attempting to convince himself he is gay - which he knows and admits isn't true - and then starts crying about how this would hurt me. Imagining crazy scenarios. I don't really want to play a role in the ways he tortures himself, but it can happen. I feel like just by existing I am pressuring him and I don't know how much of it I can actually affect and help with, and how much is just his fear of intimacy & not my place to manipulate.

I know it is his fight, but I want to be as helpful as I can, especially since he is so used to helping others and not himself. Just to consistently do something right & be there for him so he knows he can trust and has a right to ask me for support and help when he needs it. I think things are ok so far - he sent me a cracked-out e-mail about the love and support I give his inner child when he had a high fever and all - but I want to get an idea of red flags, potential issues, success stories and experiences others have had to see what I may be missing, depending on what people are comfortable sharing. And this is the first serious relationship I have been in - second total - so I have fewer reference points for what is normal and healthy than some, especially given my sorry excuse for a family.
It sounds like he is still processing his memories. His triggers may be at the forefront right now. If that is the case, it is a very difficult time for significant others.

The best thing you can do is to put yourself into therapy to get the support you need. He needs a lot of support right now and he needs to feel okay about processing his own stuff. I think it's very easy for him to avoid himself and try to focus on healing you. As you've probably already figured out, this relationship right now has a high tendency for co-dependency if it isn't already there.

A really healthy move is to get yourself some support. In addition to individualized therapy for you, you can find support groups for survivors and even CODA.

Don't try to heal him. He may not even know his triggers yet. Once he does, he may share them with you. But in order for him to get healthy, he does need to be in a safe environment to process all his feelings right now. He needs to feel unjudged. Even talking about being gay is normal for abuse survivors. I see how he also panicked after he opened up and told you his concern. It should be hard for you to deal with this.

You can't fix him. You can't heal him. But you can take the pressure off of him to be something other than where he is at the moment. If he opens up to you, validate him and keep saying he didn't deserve and "that must have been so scary for you." Encourage him to talk through his anger by just being an open ear. Remember- he never asked for this abuse.

I am hoping you do not make statements around him like "cracked out email". Things like that will happen a lot. That is why he is scared. Right now, he is facing some HUGE demons that scared him as a child. They are very real to him right now.

Really, the best thing is for you to take care of yourself. IF you want to continue this relationship on a healthy path, you need individualized counselor. Please try to refrain from making any suggestions or doing any research for him. He has someone looking out for him. Just be there to listen and encourage and to not judge the emotional rollar coaster he is on.

If he knows you have a therapist and that you are getting help, he will stop trying to share his "therapy" with you.

It sounds like you have some issues on your own you need to deal with. And in addition, being with a survivor at this time is very stressful for you. Many times your own emotional needs will be unmet because he is going through his own stuff. Please take care of yourself Lirulin, it's best for the both you.

One more thing: Do know that as rocky as it may seem, someone who is dealing with their childhood trauma in therapy is a lot healthier than someone who has never worked on it. He is extremely courageous for what he is doing right now. But the instability of his emotions may continue for a while.
 
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I'll say some things about this.
-Be non-judgemental, but respect your boundaries. If he wants to send an email to help him vent, that should be OK. If he wants to talk to you, that should be OK. He shouldn't somehow harm you in doing that though, such as by blaming you.
-INFJs are pretty volatile under the best of circumstances. These issues don't make it easier.
-As an INTJ, you are probably not the best person in the world to support him with his emotional issues. You won't understand many of them, probably. An INFJ is wired quite differently. Imagine your Ni/Fi loop times 5. All the time. With a lot of nasty things to think about.
-The fact you were a victim yourself is likely not helpful.
-I suggest you draw boundaries for yourself right now about the amount of yourself you are willing to invest in this. This is to make sure that if it goes wrong, you don't get dragged along. This exit strategy is very important.
-I agree with pinkrasputin that it's still early.
-This may have an impact on your sex life. I'm not sure how big a deal to you that is.

My case was not very comparable, so take this with a grain of salt. FYI, it ended like a nightmare. If I were in your shoes, with the knowledge I have now, I wouldn't do it.
 

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Each person is different with different abuse combinations and at different levels of healing. To make it more complicated add in the persons emotional and mental maturity or lack of maturity. So no one answer will work for everyone. If you are looking at dating an abuse survivor I would suggest to ask that person these questions. The problem with that is depending on the combination of stage they are in they may not know themselves. So I suggest open communication what at the same time treat the person with the utmost respect and kindness. That is how we should treat each other anyway.
 

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I am a victim of emotional/verbal abuse, as well as been sexually abused once in my life.

That said, it is extremely difficult to carry all these baggage into my personal relationships with others. My sense of perception is a little bit screwed, but I am healing and recovering. It's not easy. That said, OP, I highly recommend to be there for him, but remember that since you are a victim as well, to take care of yourself first foremost.
 

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There is this woman, Alice Sebold. From what I heard, she was a victim of rape. Try to research about her if it's convenient or relevant.

Her quote is quite inspiring ''You save yourself or you remain unsaved."

Having said that, a person can only completely save himself/herself. However it helps to do your role as a supportive and loving partner. A person who's a victim of abuse may experience plenty of conflicting, confusing thoughts and too much guilt. He/she may find it hard to be able to communicate his/her thoughts in words.

Just try to take closer note of ''happy triggers.'' What I mean is that, what are the things that you do which make him feel particularly comforted and happier than usual? Do more of those and assure him that he's important to you, you accept him regardless of what he's going through. That you love him, and you will not judge him for having extremely dark thoughts due to his ordeal.

All the best.
 

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lirulin, you are a remarkable person.
What you are trying to do is not easy, but you already know that. It will take a big investment and commitment and great patience.
You need to have all your senses wide open to read his reactions to everything that is going on. And above all, like everyone else has already said: Do not judge. Make him feel safe. Make it so that when you are together you both feel as if you have come home at last.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
There is a lot, so I think it would be more effective not to respond individually.

First - I didn't call the e-mail cracked out, though he did - had a high fever from mononucleosis and it was interesting...it seemed politic to treat that one seriously and just address the sentiment. There are times when he will joke/dismiss feelings if he feels they are too intense/awkward and I may sometimes play along (we laughingly call each other smarmy bastards, for instance), but not with that one and ones that seem to really need validation.

Taking care of myself...less a priority these days, now I got out. I know they say not to compare experiences, but I can tell my own were less severe and had less impact than many. Not to say that they could be ignored entirely, but that I can manage to deal on my own for a while. I wouldn't mind some therapy to clean house as it were, but I think it will be ok to wait until I have more savings. But yeah, I do get that if I don't do it myself, he will try to do it for me even if I tell him not to - although that hadn't occured to me so much re his therapy, so thank you for that idea. There are definite codependency issues.

I would be more worried if he were less responsible, but as long as I have known him he has been making a concerted effort to get better. Certainly he will trash his previous responses and judge himself on that, but the fact of the matter is he got past that. He might end up back there for a bit as he deals with things, but I'm really not that worried - it'll be part of a process going in the right direction. He has yet to blame anything on me, which is pretty astounding, particularly with NF-NT thrown in there.

It's hard to explicitly state boundaries, but I do defend them by nature and haven't as many issues as some in walking away. Although I really don't want to. You are right- I should probably see if I cannot make them more concrete, though.

Definitely open communication has always been a huge thing with us. We just don't shut up. It helps.
As much as I try to be accepting of him & his feelings, I can't help call him on some things, though. More of the 'that's a double standard that harms yourself' variety. 'You do realise you deserve better, right?' Or sometimes it'll be 'yeah, that's a perfectly normal self-defeating thought.' I cannot say nothing, so I try to be strategic & incline it more positive. It's hard not to say things sometimes. Not judgement, but understanding is equal to analysis for my brain.

Despite everything, it still feels like a healthy relationship. The troubles are all out in the open and in the process of being handled. I don't think being INTJ precludes the ability to give emotional support either - it's not so hard when there is a valid purpose. He has no complaints, anyway. Only person in the world who ever called me warm&caring and said I had a strong human connection...& we have an e-mail thread with enough hearts to make a Care Bear vomit. He has already told me he feels safer than he ever did, feels like he came home, feels like this is what family should be, so many compliments that I am not used to that I paranoically wonder sometimes if he's just being clingy. But I think it means it is on the right track.

It'sj ust, particularly being NT, one gets reminded all the time of one's capacity to cause pain. & then I get this hyperawareness of all the ways I could theoretically screw him over massively without even trying or even knowing. I need to anchor what I am doing somehow outside us two, esp since I know there are things he would let me get away with that shouldn't happen.
 

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There is a lot, so I think it would be more effective not to respond individually.

First - I didn't call the e-mail cracked out, though he did - had a high fever from mononucleosis and it was interesting...it seemed politic to treat that one seriously and just address the sentiment. There are times when he will joke/dismiss feelings if he feels they are too intense/awkward and I may sometimes play along (we laughingly call each other smarmy bastards, for instance), but not with that one and ones that seem to really need validation.

Taking care of myself...less a priority these days, now I got out. I know they say not to compare experiences, but I can tell my own were less severe and had less impact than many. Not to say that they could be ignored entirely, but that I can manage to deal on my own for a while. I wouldn't mind some therapy to clean house as it were, but I think it will be ok to wait until I have more savings. But yeah, I do get that if I don't do it myself, he will try to do it for me even if I tell him not to - although that hadn't occured to me so much re his therapy, so thank you for that idea. There are definite codependency issues.

I would be more worried if he were less responsible, but as long as I have known him he has been making a concerted effort to get better. Certainly he will trash his previous responses and judge himself on that, but the fact of the matter is he got past that. He might end up back there for a bit as he deals with things, but I'm really not that worried - it'll be part of a process going in the right direction. He has yet to blame anything on me, which is pretty astounding, particularly with NF-NT thrown in there.

It's hard to explicitly state boundaries, but I do defend them by nature and haven't as many issues as some in walking away. Although I really don't want to. You are right- I should probably see if I cannot make them more concrete, though.

Definitely open communication has always been a huge thing with us. We just don't shut up. It helps.
As much as I try to be accepting of him & his feelings, I can't help call him on some things, though. More of the 'that's a double standard that harms yourself' variety. 'You do realise you deserve better, right?' Or sometimes it'll be 'yeah, that's a perfectly normal self-defeating thought.' I cannot say nothing, so I try to be strategic & incline it more positive. It's hard not to say things sometimes. Not judgement, but understanding is equal to analysis for my brain.

Despite everything, it still feels like a healthy relationship. The troubles are all out in the open and in the process of being handled. I don't think being INTJ precludes the ability to give emotional support either - it's not so hard when there is a valid purpose. He has no complaints, anyway. Only person in the world who ever called me warm&caring and said I had a strong human connection...& we have an e-mail thread with enough hearts to make a Care Bear vomit. He has already told me he feels safer than he ever did, feels like he came home, feels like this is what family should be, so many compliments that I am not used to that I paranoically wonder sometimes if he's just being clingy. But I think it means it is on the right track.

It'sj ust, particularly being NT, one gets reminded all the time of one's capacity to cause pain. & then I get this hyperawareness of all the ways I could theoretically screw him over massively without even trying or even knowing. I need to anchor what I am doing somehow outside us two, esp since I know there are things he would let me get away with that shouldn't happen.

My first love is an INFJ. In the far past, I could be quite critical towards him even when he was facing a rough time (I kind of regret it, I always wish I treated him much better). The hypocrite that I was, I think I said far worse things than ''yeah, that's a perfectly normal self-defeating thought.'' However, he still said he loved me, even above loving just a family (he said anyway), shot me compliments I wasn't used to....as long as I showed equally intense devotion/loyalty to him.

Even as you call him out on certain things, be sure to also reaffirm to him about the good qualities you see in him. INFJ's are accommodating because they have value in feeling like they can do service for the people they love; they may not often express as much when it comes to needing a confidence boost from their partner, but it's there.

I'm speaking from personal experience anyway.. I hope it helps at least a little.
 
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