Living with a victim of childhood sexual abuse

My journey of experiencing a relationship that was severely affected by trauma, had commenced long before I was even aware of what my partner had actually suffered. lt would be a number of years and much more heartbreak before a series of events uncovered my partner’s well guarded secret.

In many ways I was unknowingly contributing to my partner’s ever increasing level of stress which, only threatened the continuation of our relationship even more. It wasn’t until she ended the relationship a number of times, that I confronted my partner and asked her a question that would change our lives forever.

I will never forget the actual moment when I asked her if she had been sexually abused. Every detail, such as where I was at the time, even her reaction, is still so vivid to me. I felt terribly sad and helpless to have learnt that she had suffered such horrific and cruel abuse and that I could do nothing to have prevented it from happening. Eventually though, with appropriate support and guidance, I would feel tremendous relief and empowerment to know that I could help offer her a way to overcome her trauma.

Although I now understand the reasons why my partner had chosen against confiding in me, unfortunately we were both unaware of the detrimental consequences that often affect a relationship with someone who has suffered childhood sexual abuse. Before long, the inevitable effects were taking their toll on both my emotional and physical wellbeing in ways that I could neither understand or control at the time. I started to become withdrawn, depressed and angry with myself thinking that I was responsible for her treatment towards me.