Partners of Women Healing from Sexual Trauma 8-Week Program
Survivors of sexual abuse and violence often bring their trauma along with the accompanying feelings of shame, guilt, and self-loathing into their intimate relationships.
This can be especially challenging for their partners, who often feel at a loss to know how to support and connect them.
When one of the partner has experienced a history of trauma and abuse the relationship may have periods of calm and happiness, where the she may seem to be coping well and healing. At other times, the survivor may feel like she is just hanging on, and may feel like trust and safety is a slippery slope.
Many survivors of sexual trauma experience PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), as well as addictions and depression, which leads to greater emotional and mental toll on romantic relationships and the partners who love them. The healing process varies from one person to another, and sometimes things may get worse before they get better.
Many survivors experience sadness, anger, grief, disconnection, disassociation, and lack of desire. Therapy for sexual abuse survivors often focus only on the survivor excludes the partner, so he may feel more like a spectator than a participant in their partner’s healing process.
Often partners are the first person that woman will ever disclose a history of sexual abuse. We want to acknowledge that this can be challenging and confusing for partners, and that, regardless of the closeness of your relationship, this information can be difficult to process and respond. Most men want to support their loved one, they also need to deal with your own thoughts and feelings about it all.
Often men worry about how to respond with compassion and care, while also worrying about what this may mean for you as individuals, as a couple, and for the sexuality of the relationship.
People who experience sexual abuse may be negatively impacted by this trauma in multiple ways. It affects not only their mental health and emotional well being but also their ability to feel safe and secure in their relationships despite the attempts of their partners to make them feel safe and heard.
Sexual trauma can come in many forms and can have a different impact depending on the individual encounter. No matter the type, frequency, or severity of the abuse, those who were may have trouble with intimacy because of their fears. They may find it hard to put themselves in the vulnerable position of being sexual in a relationship.
In an attempt to help their partners feel safer and accepted, many men begin to squelch their own sexual need because making room for their needs feels selfish and, for some, a betrayal of their partner’s trust.