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How can I make my boyfriend open up? *trigger warning: parental physical abuse*

katya

katya

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Location
England
How can I make my boyfriend open up? *trigger warning: parental physical abuse*

**********Trigger warning: parental physical abuse*********

Not revealing any names or further information to respect my boyfriend's anonymity.

My boyfriend of nearly 4 years is very distant due to past trauma. His mother was physically and emotionally abusive, to the point where he was always scared he'd have to move out and fend for himself. He saw his older brothers have to live on the streets. He was beaten for asking how to tie his shoelaces, or for crying, he had dogs set on him, etc. Really horrific stuff.

His dad had no idea what was going on because he worked 12 hour shifts, 6 days a week. His dad was horrified to find out the mother of his children could possibly do such things. His mum moved out eventually and found a new, extremely meek and passive boyfriend (who she's no doubt abusing to this day). For a few years after this, he lived with his dad. I don't know exactly what was said between them, but I think his dad made my boyfriend feel somewhat responsible for what happened. Misplaced guilt, I guess.

His dad died of a brain tumour when we first got together.

Despite all of this, my boyfriend generally seems like quite a happy person; he's loving and supportive, but sometimes he does things that don't quite seem to take my feelings into consideration, probably because he's never experienced any sort of tender loving care from a young age.

However, he is very depressed, he struggles to talk about his feelings and he's prone to substance abuse (drugs, alcohol). I know there's a lot of pain inside him, but he's very reluctant to seek help. He says he's happy knowing that people are there if he ever needs them, but he'd never dream of asking anyone for help; he prides himself on being self-sufficient, because that's what he's had to be.

I have a lot of issues myself and I find myself putting my own shit on him, forgetting what he's going through because he rarely ever shows any signs of being in any pain.

He doesn't open up to me. I don't really know what to do. I've encouraged him to get therapy; he admits that he needs it, but has never taken that step.

I've been thinking of leaving him recently, but I love him and I want to stay and help him come out of his shell. I want to help him in the same way he's helped me.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
SomersetScorpio

SomersetScorpio

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I can't say i've ever been in this position, so can't really give much advice.
I do just want to say though that there's only so much you can do.
If and when he is ready, then of course he'd probably benefit from counselling or therapy. But until he reaches that point, things are probably just going to continue on being the way they are.
I think that as long as he knows you are there for him, and you continue to support him, that's the best you can do.
I'm sorry if that's not really a very good answer. Just saw that you hadn't had a reply yet and didn't want you feeling ignored.
 
katya

katya

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 4, 2013
Messages
2,052
Location
England
I can't say i've ever been in this position, so can't really give much advice.
I do just want to say though that there's only so much you can do.
If and when he is ready, then of course he'd probably benefit from counselling or therapy. But until he reaches that point, things are probably just going to continue on being the way they are.
I think that as long as he knows you are there for him, and you continue to support him, that's the best you can do.
I'm sorry if that's not really a very good answer. Just saw that you hadn't had a reply yet and didn't want you feeling ignored.
No, no - thank you. I know it's a difficult dilemma to deal with. I appreciate your reply. :)

He does need to want to get therapy and support. I just wish I could flip a switch (haha, the amount of times people must have wished this with regards to the mental health of others!).

I just hope it's getting through and he feels there's some kind of support there, because it's so stressful to go through things all by yourself, especially when you feel you absolutely have to.
 
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