Most of us hesitate while talking about abuse. The abuse need not be physical or sexual to leave a mark on you. Psychological abuse can also torment a person for years. Now, when a child is abused, the brunt is worse. The child tends to lose his innocence, trap itself in closed doors and fails to revolt against it. Stats suggest that approximately 5 children die out of child abuse every day.
Things are all the more tough for male survivors. As one grows up, it might seem that emotions can be safely locked away or forgotten. But this rarely happens. The best way to ease this trauma is to open up about it and the best person to share it with is your partner. If you lock these things away, they are bound to burst out at the wrong moments.
If your partner is an abuse survivor and has taken the courage to confer this deep secret with you, then you should do your best to support him/her in such critical times. If you can’t understand how to help, these few tips might be useful:
- Don’t Try to Make Things Better
As soon as you see your partner having an emotional breakdown, your first impulse would be to make things better for them. But that is not possible for a person going through the trauma of child abuse. Instead of trying to fix things, it is better to just be with your partner.
Your partner is not ill, but more likely is wounded from inside. These mental wounds often result in post-traumatic stress reactions. For an abuse survivor, it is very difficult to be in a relationship, and even more to trust one. By being with your partner in such a tender situation, you will show them that relationships can be safe.
- Empathize with Your Partner
Put yourself in your partner’s place and feel their emotions. Don’t judge your partner if they are having a breakdown. Just listen to them and empathize with their emotions. The first thing you should do when your partner’s trauma is triggered by something is you should not brush off that thing.
Do not try to minimize their experience. When your partner feels safe enough to share their story with you, you must empathize with them but not feel pity for them. Simply saying ‘I understand’ is not enough, because in reality, you won’t understand. Instead of saying things like ‘I can’t imagine what you have gone through, but whatever it is, we’ll go through it together’ will be more helpful. You can even try to counsel a professional to know what exact measures you both should take for a healthy relationship.
- Pamper Your Partner
Sometimes, when a person is healing from a stress reaction, he or she might feel low and depressed. When your partner shows such signs or is close to tears, you must take your cue. This is your opportunity to immerse in random acts of kindness.
Due to some past events, your partner may have put on a shield around his/her heart. You may not be able to break through that shield but you can certainly win their trust by showing unconditional love. Often your partner may put on an unemotional face but inside they are screaming with distress. Pampering them randomly or doing small, unexpected things for them will make them feel special. Make them feel that they are a treasure and you can’t bear to see them wasted.
- Let Them be Emotional
When your partner is having a hard time, you definitely need to be with them but you must also give them some space. It is usually best to let them cry it out.
Often the people who have gone through child abuse have trouble even to speak about it. So, it may happen that your partner can’t express what they are feeling. Sometimes, they themselves can’t understand why they are feeling anxious. In such cases there isn’t much you can do. just give them some time and try to understand their pain. Eventually, the pain will subside and fade.
You must understand that your partner has gone through hell, but now that they have you, they are not alone. A person does not need to be strong all the time. Offer them your shoulder when they feel vulnerable. Above all, be patient.