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12 June, 2012

I noted another search phrase seeking information about living with a sexual abuse survivor.  That’s not an easy path, but love and sincere interest will carry you through.


Read, including all of the posts in this blog! You have internet access or you wouldn’t be here and there is a lot to understand. Fortunately, there is a good deal out there to read. Understanding what she experiences will help you to sort out which of your interactions are personal and which interactions are purely psychological business.  Understanding, along with love and patience are the order of the day.


Survivors can exude copiously a quality of vulnerability and need that can be highly attractive to males, eliciting feelings in that male of being the great, masculine protector.  That feels good but men would be wise to consider that they are taking on a task that will be difficult at times.  If you are that special man, over years of a relationship you can greatly assist the survivor in her healing, but it may be an arduous journey at times.  See Comforting below.  The question is:  Will you still be there when she grows stronger and stronger, perhaps wanting you but needing you less and less … or will you move on?  You will need to love the survivor for more than how she makes you feel.


Most survivors are very special people.  There are two aspects to intelligence:  Verbal I.Q. and performance I.Q.  On average, survivors tend to have a higher performance I.Q. than the average person.  They make great entrepreneurs, fine actresses, unusually good artists, and the like.  Help her take advantage of that and pursue her dreams.


There will be periods when she will be so distant that it will seem you don’t matter and that she doesn’t love you.  Hang back and be patient.  The periods of soulful intimacy are well worth waiting for.  Enjoy the intense closeness fully when it is there. Advice from a poem I wrote:

“I would take your hand when you are uncertain
and move aside when you wish to stand alone.

I would encircle you in tender safety when you would be held
and content myself with the rapture of your presence when you would not.

I would cradle your rage as gently as the tears which lie beyond
and make a necklace of your laughter to wear when we are apart.”


It doesn’t matter how special and devoted you are.  Survivors have several layers of protection.  Though she may let you past a number of them, deep, deep inside there will be a kernel of themselves to which you will never, ever have access.  Let her have that haven.  She needs it.  You’re not being shut out, just forbidden to enter the fortress of solitude.  There is plenty of her to cherish and admire without challenging those walls.


If you’ve gotten deep into a relationship with a survivor, you almost certainly come from a family in which there are survivors.  To help her clean house, yours must be as clean as possible.  Probably without being conscious of it, you’ve already learned how to get along with, and relate to, survivors … but you’ve been doing it intuitively, based on your own immersion into that world.  Make your intuition into conscious understanding.  Finding the survivors in your family and, perhaps, linking them with your loved one can be like mining gold.


Survivors do tend to have terrible taste in men.  The explanation of that would be a long trip into what are called “object relations,” and I’m not up to that at the moment (neither would too many suffer through the theoretical constructs that underpin such an explanation).  Survivors tend to choose men who are marginal and inadequate in the outside world but dominating and controlling in their relationships with survivors themselves.  They can be prone to domestic violence and at risk for sexually abusing the survivor’s own children.  The pairing of survivors with such men is what perpetuates abuse in family lines.  The survivor herself has to do some hard work on self-awareness to avoid the bad guys and tolerate the good guys.

By tolerate, I mean that survivors tend to find truly good men boring … and good men don’t allow them to set up the chess board to solve the problem they are trying to overcome.  Though it really was no joke, I used to joke in doing training (usually with rooms filled with females in the helping professions) that the non-survivors among them were kept more safe by survivors vacuuming up all of the turkeys, leaving a better pool of men behind for them.

Assuming you really are a good guy, you may have to work extra hard at keeping her interest.  Be devoted, treat her like a queen, tolerate her foibles, live for those moments of her pure immersion in you … and wait patiently in between.

  1. goddessnemesis permalink

    So true in so many ways

    • Thank you for the kind words and for visiting this blog. I’ve taken a look at Nemesis Retribution and added it to my links. Godspeed!

      • goddessnemesis permalink

        I have followed your example and created my own “Blogroll” and have included you on my list. I hope that it helps others too. 🙂

      • Thank you ever so much. My blog, and probably yours, are never going to see heavy traffic. A combination of lack of interest and the “ostrich effect” keeps visitors low, but providing the service is more than worth it.

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