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Discovering old abuse

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Discovering old abuse

Postby Islandgirl21 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:25 am

Hello,
first post. I just really needed to ask some advice!

SO a little background is that I've been dating my boyfriend for almost 3 years now and he is a great guy, treats me like gold and is always nice to me. I knew that he had grown up in a rough situation and that he didn't have an amazing childhood but that he had made the best of it and grown into a genuine man. I am in school taking Criminology and landed a perfect summer student job working at Family Services.

This is what happened::
Today at work, I was given the task at re organizing the old filed away cases that are already closed. They are alphabetic and by total accident I stumbled upon a folder that was for my boyfriends mom and my boyfriend ( lets call him Joe) . I read it, and doing so broke no laws or anything at work. I will not say names therefor am not breaching confidentiality, I just need advice.
In the case folder, it described domestic abuse between his parents that he witnessed at a young age and resulted in his father going to jail. This I knew mostly about and was not shocked to read.
In detail described their trailer as a disaster and the boys bedding as filthy and even said "Joe's" kindergarten teacher was concerned at his lack of hygene. ( so sad as a 5 year old is not responsible for this)

The rest was horrible. At the age of 5 my boyfriendwas seeing a counselor about witnessing the domestic abuse but it soon turned into something else. The counselor noted he had VERY negative feelings towards his grandfather and wouldn't talk about him, she suspected sexual abuse right away. It was later disclosed that Joe had a babysitter who forced him to preform sexual acts on a neighbour girl ( actually putting his penis in her vagina) and also performing sexual acts on his younger brother ( age 2 at the time) Being only 5 years old it is horrifying that a babysitter would force him to do such things. Also being vulnerable from previous suspected abuse from grandfather. My boyfriends mother refused to believe about the babysitter so she continued to let her babysit for long after. There was a long questionaire of about 45 questions all answered by him at the age of 5. Indicating that all the sexual acts were pre planned by the babysitter and that he went along with them and someone had done these things to him in the past (Gpa) At one point when 5 year old "Joe" was referring to his 2 year old brother, he said I stick it in his bum.

Now this was all very upsetting as I had stumbled upon this file by accident and I had no idea that "Joe" had been forced to preform sexually as a 4-5 year old and had in turn abused his brother who I know quite well. The thing is, is that I'm not positive the younger brother even knows. The mother stopped counseling because she didn't believe the accusations towards the babysitter so he has had no further help in this matter. I even think "Joe" may have surpressed this and is unaware himself. This took place 23 years ago and "Joe" is now almost 28.

Since we have been dating for about 3 years we know eachother very well and would like to think we feel comfortable telling all. I know this is a touchy subject and need help to organize my thoughts on this. I feel so sad for him and don't want to hurt or upset him but I almost feel obligated to tell him that I know about it. It may be helpful for him to talk about it? i've been doing some reading and learned that it is bound to resurface later in life as a problem if not dealt with. Another catch is that "Joe" works a camp job and is away for 3 weeks at a time. He has his time off coming up very soon and we have a weekend long camping trip planned for just the 2 of us.

Should I gently let him know I am here for him if he wants to talk about it? Or should I live with this rotting gut feeling and wait until it resurfaces later in a negative way?

What if I do let him know that I am aware of some things and if he wants to talk about them I am here and he honestly has no memory or idea of what I'm talking about. Do I then have to retell the entire folder to him? What if finding out he abused his brother is very damaging?
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Re: Discovering old abuse

Postby survivingstill » Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:16 pm

I am not sure if others on here will agree with me or not, but the first thing that comes to my mind is "joe" lives a normal life now and may have buried these long secrets far away from him and is glad that no one else knows. Now the girl in his life that he probably hopes to marry some day is about to shove it right in his face. You have intentionally invaded his privacy in my opinion. You did not have to read what was in that envelope, you were snooping into his very private childhood life and it is very disturbing. I don't think you understand the humiliation he will be faced with. Some secrets people would rather not be known by anyone. He will now be wondering what you think of him from here on out throughout your lives, he will think you will judge him, you will be watching him when he holds his own child, he may not even show his children the love and affection they deserve because he may be worried that you would think the wrong thing. You seriously may send him into depression or worse. You are playing with someones life and possibly his brothers life too and don't seem to even realize it. I am sorry if you think this is harsh but I in vision a great guy that you have described and now you are about to turn his world upside down on him and expose his secrets that he had no control over.

Again, I don't know what others here think, but I think you may have just destroyed your relationship with him. You were spying, plain and clear. Just because you date someone does not give you the right or the keys to view his most sensitive life challenges that he has spent 23 years over coming. If you have been fortunate enough to get through your own life without someone harming you in some way then you are lucky, but if someone did harm you or persuaded you to do the things he did as a child you would not want someone else to know unless you were ready to discuss them with someone.

By the way,
You wouldn't have to live with this rotting gut feeling had you not invaded his privacy. You have done this to yourself and you have already effected this relationship.
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Re: Discovering old abuse

Postby Islandgirl21 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:12 pm

Than you for your opinion, I understand what you're saying. But Our relationship is not ruined or even close. I still love him the same and haven't even said a thing so I appreciate your honesty but I know he will be an amazing father and I would never look at him differently.

Does anyone else have an opinion ? Because of course the reason I posted this was for advice. I have not done anything yet and maybe I won't I just thought having some input would be helpful
Thanks.
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Re: Discovering old abuse

Postby Ashlar » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:11 pm

My opinion actually agrees with survivingstill. You've basically worked yourself into an untenable position.

At this point, you either confront him with the information and take the 90/10 possibility that he reacts negatively/neutral, or you hold back information in the 10/90 chance that you can/can't deal with keeping that information secret without it causing your relationship harm.
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Re: Discovering old abuse

Postby survivingstill » Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:21 pm

islandgirl,
If i were your boyfriend of three years ago and was happy with you and you dropped that bomb on me I would not be the same person any longer that you knew 10 minutes before. Just reading your post has already effected me. I feel horrible for your boyfriend for what happened to him and how he has had to live with the secrets of the past like many of us do. If you confronted me in the same situation my world would literally turn upside down, the humiliation would be unimaginable, I might cry right there and may never be able to look at your eyes again because I would always be afraid of what you are seeing in mine, what you must think of me. My self worth would plummet immediately.

I know I am not your boyfriend and you think he would be ok, but you really don't know this for sure and you may be shocked at the outcome. You may even tell him more things than he remembers. I can only say that you are rolling the dice on this and the odds are not in your favor because he may not be able to stop the flood of emotions that are going to come with this. Right now he is probably proud of himself, has a great girl and is looking forward to great life with you and then....Bam

pretty scary.

I don't know what else to tell you as this information I believe is already effecting you as well which is why you want to speak to him about it. I understand you want to be in a position to help and be there for him, but If you bring it up to him, his reaction may be more than what you are prepared to handle and your relationship may never be the same again. Sometimes abused people keep there secrets because they feel safe that way. People knowing these things exposes you to being hurt again. Are you prepared to keep his secrets for the rest of your life, can you do that and never use them against him? Trust is a big thing and you kind of already pushed that some with the file thing.

I do wish you and "joe" well and hope there is a good answer for you. Maybe someone else here can offer some direction that will yield the least damage to your relationship and to "joe's" sanity.
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Re: Discovering old abuse

Postby Lostandinsecure » Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:02 pm

If its any constellation, I disagree with survivingstill. While I say I think you would be opening up something quite shocking and horrible, it wouldn't necessairly be the end of all for you relationship. It sounds like you two are going really strong, and I personally think you could make it through this. I also think some humiliation is there, and he might be self conscious of how he thinks you perceive him as a parent, but I believe this can be overcome as well. Regardless, there might definitely be some things to work through, what I think matters is why you would bring this up. I conpletely understand why you would want to share this with him, and it might be hard to keep from doing so, but other then that, why would you do it? Do you think these incidences could be adversely affecting him to this day? Or his brother? If you can see that, and he doesn't remember or has kept from telling you, I do think that you would need to bring this up and work through this. It would be better than having a of these problems that dont make any sense. And you have another good point. What if he suddenly remembers an it will be worse in the future? Well, I don't really know, but would it really get worse and worse? If that is the case, again, I would consider telling him. I guess it depends in what Joe is like, but if it were me, at first I would be sort of vague instead of sitting him down and dropping every single detail like nuclear bombs. Something along the lines of I found a file about you at work, and I found some things I am concerned may be affecting you. I dunno. I wouldn't go too fast.

I understand it would suck, but I would want to know if it were me.

And plus, it sounds like he has a much better support team now than he did back then. That's always good.
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Re: Discovering old abuse

Postby Obumbrata » Wed Jul 31, 2013 4:29 am

You should not confront your boyfriend about this. To do so could be very damaging.
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Re: Discovering old abuse

Postby Platypus » Wed Jul 31, 2013 4:39 am

Hi Islandgirl21, my suggestion is to make an appointment with a counsellor (or some other professional you can talk to), to discuss this issue. I think it is a delicate issue and I can understand the concerns that have been raised about your boyfriend's wellbeing. I think your feelings also need to be considered and this may be too big of an issue for you to just 'sweep it under the rug' and pretend it never happened. A counsellor can talk you through the problem and help you work out how you want to respond to discovering this old abuse.
No diagnosis, lots of opinions, and a bunch of issues that I haven't quite figured out.
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