I am a supporter.
I often think that supporters don’t get the credit they deserve. I think in many ways they suffer too. Some days worse than the survivor they support. I do not envy my partner. I wouldn’t want to have to deal with me on a day to day basis. I couldn’t do it.
She has a voice. She wrote this and said I could share it.
All I can say to her is thank you.
I am a supporter.
I am also a partner, a friend, a shoulder and a confidant.
My partner is an abuse survivor and in the same way that supporter fills many shoes, the term abuse has many meanings.
Mental, Emotional, Physical and Sexual Abuse are all wrapped up in one horrific package called childhood; a loose term for what my partner’s actual learning years were until he was a teen. He lived it; breathed it. Abuse was normal in his eyes. For a countless number of children, the abuses they endured have been implanted into their minds. How they think, deduce, and make decisions. The way they understand their feelings and how well they manage them have been determined by their abuse.
Abuse is very much like a map and a child will follow whichever road the abuse leads him or her as well as fall back on the road traveled, which has become familiar. Actions that feel almost right to an abuse survivor can be very difficult for those of us who have not been abused, to see or even understand. We look at situations from a different angle that does not necessarily exist to a survivor.
These are some of the things I learned through my partner as we got to know one another and conflicts came into our relationship.
I am always in search of what it means to be a supporter.
I have wondered about people such as myself who have found themselves intertwined with the life of a survivor. My partner was reticent. Perhaps due to the personal information he had that I did not. Abuse creates many fears and one of them is allowing oneself to be close to another person. Closeness implies trust, trust implies faith and faith implies that the relationship that begins as a seed will continue to grow as it progresses.
There was no reason for my survivor to have any faith that anything would go further than the words that were spoken. A thought or a wish was better left in that place; in his mind. Why should he put himself in a place to be hurt? He had a lifetime of it already. Why ask for more?
Yet, as time passed, the layers began to be peeled away and I found myself in a relationship with an abuse survivor. He was more than a man; he was many pieces to a 30-plus year puzzle and his pieces did not always fit. Some carried over from the past while others were like new discoveries; things he remembered that had long been buried.
The only thing I really understood was that he had been sexually abused by both of his parents. I had never known anyone in my life that was this close to me who had lived this sort of childhood and frankly, I had no idea what to expect. The road was rocky and on it traveled triggers, PTSD, DID, self harm and OCD. Some days were up while others were down and it wasn’t until my partner began to seek therapy that the full understanding of what it would mean to be in a relationship with him truly was.