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Not Sure What To Do... Trigger
Contemplating24 posted:
I am 24 years old and in a relationship with a wonderful woman. Here is the issue.

She was molested (and raped) by her stepfather from the age of 6 to the age of 17. She has a twin sister who was also raped and molested during the same time frame. My girlfriend got pregnant by the man at the age of 9, and had a child. Now she is 19 with a 9 yr old.

This is the major problem... her mother knew what happened, yet stayed married to the man and tried to pass the lilttle boy off as her own. Her sister still has a relationship with their step-father. When I first met my girlfriend she was the same way... crying because her "father" didn't want to see her. The man is still free, and hasn't been punished at all for what he did. Even though EVERYONE in her family knows what really happened.

Well, lastnight I just sorta broke down. And, I got jumpped on a lil I feel. I am not upset with her, I know something like that has to be extremely tramatizing. But, when I look at her and see how wonderful and sweet, and beautiful she is I hate that it happened to her. And, I get very sad... we've been together for 8 months and she is slowly, but surely pulling herself out of it. She has stopped all communication with her step-father. But, she still lives with her sister and her mother, and of course her son. Now her son (who doesn't know any better) will say things like "I wonder how daddy doing." and I see it hurts her. Her sister and her mother talk of "happy" times with this man like nothing ever happened. And it takes all my power to keep from saying something.

She doesn't have any insurance, and I can't seem to find any free counseling help.

Another issue is our sex life... she wants it "rough" most of the time. And I feel it's because of what she's been thru. She also likes to watch movies that pertain to what she's been thru, but they're very graphic and I feel she shouldn't be watching them (i.e. "I spit on your grave", and "The last house on the left").

This has started really weighing heavy on me, because I see the pain in her eyes. I am in the Navy, and will be deployed soon. That really upsets her, so lately we haven't been on good terms. I love this woman with my soul. And, I just want help for her. I have gone online and tried to find free counseling help, but I haven't had any help...

I guess what I'm on here for is asking do any of you know how I can go about getting free help? I am currently seeing a therapist myself for my issues involving it. I find myself having nightmares about what happened to her, and in each one I'm physically bound so I can't help her. When we spend the night together I have to grab her because she starts to physically fight me because of her dreams.

She gets upset with me when she knows I get sad and/or angry about what happened. She tells me I need to be strong for her to be strong. This is so new to me, and I just can't get over that fact that not only did her mother stay married to this man till she was 17. They (her mother and sister) act as if NOTHING happened.

I just, I'm kinda lost here... I have no idea what to do. I am in love with this woman, and I can't seem to do anyting to help her.

Do anyone of you know how I would go about getting some free legal counseling for her. I know that's the main thing she needs. She tells me that she would go IF I could find some help for her. So, do anyone of you guys know a 1-800 number or something?

And in addition to that is there anything that I can do to help her?

Maybe small gestures? I'm very romantic and surprise her with flowers, gifts, etc atleast 3 times a week. I call just to tell her I love her. I rub her feet, I even have prolonged foreplay (lil joke there bout the foreplay... trying to make myself laugh a bit).

I'm just lost and confused, ANY advice would help. Thank you so much!
awesomelexie responded:
I am so glad she has such a supportive partner in you. And I'm equally glad you're in counseling yourself - this is a huge bomb to deal with.

I know that spouses and family have access to free counseling through Military OneSource (1-800-342-9647, and they're expanding services to bf/gf's, roommates, etc. They may be able to see her.

Also, call your local rape crisis center to see what kind of counseling resources they have available. can help you find what's local (they also do phone counseling and online chat counseling).

Catholic Charities (you don't have to be Catholic to get help) can also often assist with this.

The "Crisis Resources" link on the Sexual Abuse main page has links to other hotlines and such.

Finally, most therapists have a sliding scale for people without insurance.

It's horribly unfortunate, but also common that families go on as if nothing happened. Often it's because it's harder for the family to face the truth than to go on living a lie. They want their stepfather. It's much easier for some people to go on living a lie than it is to face the fact that he's not only not a good dad, but a rapist and child molester. For the mother to face the fact that she failed miserably and did not protect her children.

When they say they want their daddy, they're not saying they want what he did to them, but they want a REAL daddy and that's what they miss. Unfortunately, all they have is that poor excuse for one.

To help her? You can set firm boundaries. Just because she likes it rough, etc, doesn't mean you have to do that. You can't control what she watches but you can control what you do with her. "I'd rather not watch this because it demeans women, because it reminds me of what happened to you and that's hard to watch, etc".

"This makes me uncomfortable, because I want to make love to YOU and be present in the moment with you, and ."

If she doesn't like it, that's ok - you don't have to conform to what she wants, even if it makes her feel better. That sounds harsh and that's not how it's intended. My husband set firm boundaries with me and it has been amazing. I would start to dissociate during sex (drift away, not be present)and he would stop. I would tell him just to keep on going so he could 'get off' and he would not, because he wanted to make love WITH me, not do sex to a body. There were also times where I wanted intimacy, but associated it with sex - so I'd seek sex. He could usually somehow tell when I was doing that, and he'd refuse and offer to just cuddle on the couch. It made me feel angry and rejected at first, and after a while, I began to realize just what a huge gift he was giving me - a normal, loving relationship, where I was an equal.
Faithfully_recovering responded:
I completely agree with Lexie's advice. There are a lot of resources out there for help and at reasonable rates. RAINN is the best to help you find counseling for her. They will put you in touch with your local crisis center where you can talk with a legal advocate and therapists.

Unfortunately, many women in the mother's place and sister's place try to avoid the true issue. My mother and sister did the same things. Of course, so did I until I was with my former fiance until his death. You said your girlfriend's son is from the abuse of her father? That can be taken to civil and possibly criminal court with DNA testing. The boy does not need to be around his father. Neither does your girlfriend. If it is brought out into the open about who the boy's father is, then the mother and sister will actually have to face what has happened. It is easier for them to try to keep the family image than to face the truth.

About your sex life...she probably says she likes it rough but mainly because that is what she is used to. Some of the things you suggest doing such as rubbing her feet and all are good ways to show her it doesn't have to always be about sex. She was shown "love" through sex and abuse. Unfortunately, that is a difficult belief to break. It is going to take a lot of counseling for her to really get in touch with her true feelings about sex, love, and her father.

I am very sorry that you will be deployed soon. That is going to be difficult on her. I fear she may go back to the only person she knows "love" from besides you. That is the worst thing she can do, but it is very common. I went back to my father after my fiance passed away. Please try to get her into counseling before you leave. Let her know how concerned you are for her and her son.

It is not suggested that you push her into decisions she isn't ready for or telling her this is the way it has to be...that may send her back to her family instead of turning toward you.

Try to get her to come on this board. Let her read your post and some of the others. Everyone on here is very understanding and willing to help anyway we can. We know what it is like.

Best of luck to you. I'll be praying for you and your situation. It hurts me to realize exactly how many more people there are out there than we even want to realize that are just like us. Either those who have been abused or family, friends, and significant others suffering because of what happened to someone they know.

Come back and talk about this anytime you can. We will be here to help as much as we can. Please, check out RAINN 1-800-656-4673 or the military assistance.
Contemplating1985 responded:
I took your advise. When I approached her about theraphy she responded with

"I don't want to see a therapist until me and you move in together, I have to get out of this house with my mother and sister before I can do that. Seeing a therapist then coming back home to them will only set me back."

I have a few issues with that.

1) She's refusing to seek professional help. How can I help her if she doesn't want to help herself?

2) She has never lived on her own, and I believe she should become more independent instead of co-depending on me. Her mother forced her and her sis to drop out of high school to take care of the "child". I want her to go back to school, go to college.

3) I'm leaving in October, heading overseas.

She also got upset with me because I was thinking about what happened to her one day and started crying. She tells me to "get over it" and she wish she hadn't told me...

I'm kinda at a stand still, I don't know what to do. This is putting a strain on our relationship. She wants me around her 24/7, she gets upset when I have to go to the base, or to work.

She also doesn't trust me, she will tell me all her problems. Then later "regret" telling me. I'm very much in love with her, but I'm slowly starting to feel like I should leave her alone. Which I'm afraid to do because she talks about suicide constantly.

I'm just still lost and confused.

So, lately... I've just been silent. Which is never healthy...

I don't know what to do, I feel like my hands are tied.
awesomelexie responded:
First, deep breath.

You sound like a very loving person and a caring, gentle, and compassionate boyfriend. I also hear urgency in your post, since you're leaving in a few months.

Second, do your best to let go. It is not your job to fix her. What she went through, and is still going through, is huge; a tragedy and a horror. You sound frustrated and confused that you cannot help her, because she won't let you and she won't seek professional help. In my opinion, waiting to get help until she's out of the situation is insightful on her part and shows she's thinking about it. Many survivors (I was one of them) could not seek help until it was safe to do so. She's still exposed to the situation that causes her such pain. She's still being abused, in a sense.

Think about it. When you're in combat, you bandaid everything together, everything you see and experience, until it's safe to break down and cry. Breaking down and crying in the middle of the battlefield would only be counterproductive. You do what you need to do until your mission is done and your Soldiers are home and you can finally fall apart and slowly pick up the pieces. In the meantime, you create and maintain a hard shell so that you can function. That's survival. It's crucial for survival.

I think that's what she's doing. Especially with telling you something (which shows she trusts you) and then regretting it (which shows her hard shell, or her wall, coming back up and telling her not to trust anyone, not to break down). It's frustrating and confusing to you as someone who loves her, but it makes a lot of sense that she'd be doing that. She's trying to have a normal relationship but everything she learned as a child is coming up and smacking her in the face.

Your reaction to what happened to her (crying) is a normal reaction to a horrible event. You don't have to change your reactions. I imagine, though, that it is hard for her to witness that, especially since her own mother did not protect her when she began to be raped. It's called invalidation, and it's horribly invalidating to have that happen.

By this I mean: when you fall down, and scrape your knee, it hurts and you begin to cry. Pain is a normal response to a scrape, and crying is a normal response to pain. When your mom comes, picks you up, cleans and bandages your scrape and kisses your tears, your pain and your tears are validated. The pain is real and it's ok that you cried, AND you're going to be taken care of. The world is a place where pain might happen but your needs are going to be met when that happens.

But now imagine that you fall down and scrape your knee. It hurts and you cry. Rather than helping you, your mom ignores you. Or, she flat out tells you it's nothing. Or that you're a baby for crying. How do you feel now? She completely invalidates your experience and changes the way you think. She makes you think it either didn't happen, you're making it up (even though you know it happened because it happened to you); or that crying (letting yourself be vulnerable and admit your pain) is a bad thing, and by extension so are you - bad, repulsive, stupid....

That kind of training is powerful in the military - I know I ignored a bunch of pain while in training and while deployed, because that's just what you did. Imagine how much more powerful it is when it's a young child, and it's something as soul-shattering as rape and childbirth - and your own mother stays with the perpetrator. That action tells you that you don't matter; that you won't be protected; that it doesn't matter how much you hurt, no one is going to help you. That is absolutely devastating. And imagine the types of defenses you'd have to develop in order to survive that!! Your girlfriend shows a lot of them, from what you've described.

If she's not in a place where she can seek help, then YOU seek help. Please talk to someone, even militaryonesource over the phone. Let them help you through this. You
awesomelexie responded:
You deserve to be helped through this.

And your hands ARE tied. In the military, we're taught to problem solve, and few things are so frustrating as something that can't be solved. But in this case, she's an adult, and her choices are her own to make - even if you think they're counterproductive.

And so are yours. You can still make your own choices.

Please don't feel guilty about not wanting to be around her. This is very hard for a partner to handle. Very hard!! It is not your job to fix her or to stay with her out of fear she may kill herself. Call a hotline and talk to them, and figure out the best way to do anything before you do it, but you cannot take on responsibility for another adult's life in the way you're describing.

Recognize that if you stay together, it's going to be a rough road for a while. It's nothing you've done wrong - it's because of her past and what is available to her right now to deal with it. Any person who is raped for a decade is going to have trouble with relationships and intimacy!! And you would not be a bad person for choosing not to be around.

If you DO want to be around, then you will benefit from counseling - first, how to handle your own emotions about it; second, how to handle interactions with her, and finally, how to handle the situation while you're deployed so that you stay safe and your head stays in the game!

Please don't hesitate to set up regular counseling for yourself with someone trained in sexual abuse. Call any of those numbers listed above and ask about resources available for secondary survivors (that's you). You have been traumatized by what has happened - please let someone help you heal and grow through it.
awesomelexie responded:
sorry - just re-read your original post where you said you were in counseling already. Keep on going! This is crucial. Talk about all this with your therapist...
miataredhead responded:
The "child" is indeed a child. He is innocent in all this, as much a victim as your GF. I can't imagine what he will go through when he finds out, as he will, that every adult in his life lied to him about who his mother really is. It's going to be tough and your GF is going to need to be there for him.

I agree with something Lexie said in one of her posts. It's not really safe right now for your GF to seek help, since she is still living with two of the enablers of the abuse (yes, her sister is a victim too, but by acting like nothing ever happened, she has also become an enabler.) Take your GF at her word for now that she will seek help when she moves out. The fact that she wants to move in with you seems to bother you. Why?
Contemplating19 responded:

For the 4th of July I was invited to her Grandmothers house (only the immediate family i.e. her mom and sister and of course the ass of a step-father know what happened), no one in the family knows what happened. They were told that she was just "being bad with some lil boys and got pregnant. So, I take my car and show up at her Grandmothers house later on that evening. Since no one knows what happened her mother starts with the "happy" stories of the man like (of course) nothing happened. Her sister also plays right along with the game...

So, since me and my girlfriend don't want to hear it we go into th house. About 30 mins later we're followed by her family members and their still talking of the "good times". I noticed that I started getting mad, and horns coming out (Call it a Taurus thing lol). So I pretend like my phone was vibrating and went into the kitchen to answer it. My gf followed me and hugged and kissed me (knowing why I was mad) and asked me to go outside with her while she smoked a ciggarette. I said "ok". Well, we went outside... and I'll be damned if her mother didn't follow us still doing the same stuff. So, we decided to leave the house for a lil while. Once in my car my gf blew her top. Completely went off, to the poitn where I was a lil nervous. Next thing I know, we're back at her Grandmothers house. And she's staring her mom right in the face and saying "I will say this, and this only. I have asked you many times to not mention that man around me. I have no love for him. This is my last time saying it. When I am in your presence, his name better stay out your mouth." Then she turns around, leaves (me in tow) and we go riding around town for a few hours. And she was actually happy.

That gave me the boost I needed to jump right back into this headon with her. It's funny how when you think things are coming to an end they will change.

Hell, I even bought her a ugly pair of "applebottom" shoes she been begging for for the past 2 months.

Even tho they were $150.00


Thank you so much for your post. You placed things in a way that I understood them much better. I realized that I was slowly moving from shock and hurt,... and I was moving towards anger. Of course the anger wasn't directed at my gf, or even her sister. But, it was moving towards her mom and her step-father (if I actually knew how to get to him, I think I would've done something bad already). I really do appreciate your post though, and as hard as it is to accept. You're right, I might not want to be around her sometimes, and that is ok. I have a cat who wasn't even seeing me but about 3 times a week. When I finanlly just made myself stay away from her for a while my cat was so excited I couldn't get her to stay off me. I just really, really thank you for your post. And I am so sorry for what has happened concerning you. I was raised in a household were the women were literally worshipped, plus my mom had the special power of kissing my scratches and making the pain go away. lol

You also made sense about the seeking help when it's safe. I never thought of it that way, and I really appreciate you brining that to light. I went to her and apologized for trying to force her to seek theraphy right now at this moment. Apparently, it had really hurt/bothered her that I was so aggressive concerning it, because I didn't or wouldn't understand her position.

Just one again, thank you so much! You really helped me out a lot that day I read your response. I appreciate it, you have no idea how much of a weight lifted off my shoulders.
Contemplating19 responded:

First of all... hello fellow Memphian!!!

I saw in a post once that you mentioned you were from Memphis. I am also, well... now I'm living in Horn Lake, Ms. Just 15 mins from Memphis. So, um... what you think about Herenton. lol Gonna leave or just playing with our emotions once more? lol

I have asked her about her son. Which is an even more confusing situation. Since she was 9 when she had him, and told the authorities that she didn't know who raped her. Her mom got full custody of the lil boy. Now, she wants custody of him back, grandma refuses...

Grandma had talked so bad about her she believes that she would be a bad mom, etc... which is something else I'm trying to help get her out of.

She says when her son asks her about what happened she MIGHT tell him. She'll just wait till the day comes.

I don't know what will be come of him because he knows who is real mom is, but has been taught "in public" to say his real mom is his grandma.

And the reason about her not moving in with me is because she's very co-dependent. I was raised in a household were a woman is to be independent and not depend on a man. A woman is strong and can do what a man can. And it's my father who taught me this, not my mother as many people think. She needs to become more independent. What is something happens to me? And I'm not around to protect her? SHe needs to be able to handle life.
miataredhead responded:
Herenton is an idiot with an ego roughly the size and force of a Category 5 hurricane. I will believe he's gone when Lowery is sworn in as temporary mayor and not a moment before. Let's just hope the idiots who have kept him in office all these years don't put him in Congress. I'm not crazy about our current Congressman but he's better than Herenton.

Is this a woman you would like to marry someday? A woman can live alone and still be very dependent, or be married or in a live-in relationship and still be very independent. Independence comes from within. You may be overthinking this, or she may well need to be on her own for a little while, just to figure out who she is and how much of her past baggage she plans to carry around for the rest of her life. Therapy can help her with both, so keep encouraging her to seek it once she moves away from home.

Her outburst to her mother was a very healthy thing for her to do, and I applaud her for it. I'm sure you were very proud of her for standing up to her mom, and I hope you've told her so. If she can do that, she can handle being on her own.

You are a good man and she is lucky to have you! I wish you a safe deployment and a speedy return stateside!
eflauzon responded:
I feel your pain because I've been where she is at. It started for me at age 4 by several different people. My name is Edna and I would like to know what area do you live in so I can help with the search to find help for her. She will have to face her abuser but is the way she faces him that will help her. If she hates that her family acts like nothing happens then tell her to talk about it. My memories came back to me when I was 16 and I told my mother everything. She didn't do anything but knowing that she knew made me feel a lil free. I have not seen my father in 16 years now I'm 30 going to be 31 and last Christmas I sent him a letter. I told him that he will always be my father, but that I will not search for him again. He can find my number from family if he ever wants to talk. I forgive him for everything he did. I forgave him for me not for him.

One thing I would do is get on the computer and act like if I'm writing a letter to my father. Putting everything that bothers me in the letter. and then I would delete it. I got it out of my system, but I would never send it. It is hard for you to help her because of being in the Navy, but you have to try to let her know that you will not leave her. She needs to feel safe again. Try reaching the little girl inside, because until she helps the lil girl inside of her, she will not be happy with her adult self

If you want my help I will need a few things from you, email Hold her tight, let her know that you are there now. She needs to feel safe in a mans arms again. Edna
Contemplating19 responded:
So, the problem she went thru as a child causes some issues in our relationship.

Now, one of the main issues is her son.

I have noticed that she is extremely jealous of her son. Her son who is 9 is stuck in a house 24/7 with 3 women (that alone would drive me insane). Whenever he wants to talk or play with them, he is pushed to his playstation 2 or the computer because everyone is "busy".

This has caused some more problems between me and my gf. Mainly because she will want majority of the time with me. Even though her son wants to do some things with me.

The last situation was when her son called me and asked me to please come play with him. When I showed up I gave him 3 choices... 1) swimming 2)football 3)basketball.

He chose swimming... so we go get dressed (don't know if I mentioned this in a previous post but we stay in the same apartment complex, 3 buildings from eachother). We get in the pool, and 40 mins later his mom wants me to come inside and lay down with her.

When I tell her "Sure, let me finish playing with him." She gets very upset. And then in turn comes back out to the pool every 10-15 mins telling me to come in. When her son starts whining she says "Damn, you got a playstation!"

She then makes him get out the pool, and when we get alone in her bedroom I bring up two issues that bother me.

1) Your son likes the fact that there is someone around who will play with him. If I'm around you 10 hours a day, what's wrong with me spending 3 with him? You, your mother, and sister don't like going outside. He never gets out the house, when he sees me he lights up, and I love the lil boy to death. What's wrong with me and him spending some guy time together?

2) You shouldn't curse at him. I know he's a child. But children should be respected just like adults. You don't curse at your mother, so why curse at him.

She then gets very upset with me and says "Fine, go play with him then. I guess I'll be back here alone with nothing to do. Noone to talk to."

So, I tell her I love her, give her a kiss. And go back upfront with him.

While we're outside playing basketball, she texts me constantly saying things like "I think you're mad at me. I'm sorry. I'm stupid, etc..."

I know her actions and feelings are all tied in with what happened to her as a child. But, how would I go about somehow compromising with her on this situation? I'm not sure if she would get mad/angry (which I can handle) as oppose to sad/depressed (which I have no idea how to handle).

It upsets me sometimes that the boy is only allowed to play video games, heck that isn't even healthy.

Anyone else been in this situation? And if so, how would I go about telling her I need to spend more time with her son, just 1 hour a day with him... and 9 a day with her (example) is not helping the situation at all...
katiemontie responded:
With regards to the counseling, If all else fails, call a hospital with a phych ward and ask for their intake department. They have lists of resources you could try. As far as her not wanting to start therapy yet, I can understand it because I was like that. I wasn't in a safe place to start looking at the situation. I too was raped at a young age and impregnated. My other daughter would be about 20 now. I chose adoption. I got my GED and headed for college after the baby was born. I admire your GF for keeping her son. That can't be easy. Have you explained that you want to be a part of his life too because you love her so much? Choose things also that the tree of you could do together as a kind of family if you will. Next time she interrupts the two of you playing, invite her to join you both. It might be fun. I don't know, just a suggestion. Katie
katiemontie responded:
You're the first person I've told about this--EVER! Not even my therapist or my psychiatrist.


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