Welcome, and thank you for choosing justanswer.com. Do you mind if I ask you few clarifying questions to better understand your situation and options?
I'm back. Just go the e-message you had returned.
Have you considered exploring or arranging treatment for your girlfriend so that she can get the help she needs?
Also, is this an emotionally serious relationship where you might consider evidence-based couple's therapy that can really help you both with this issue?
I have thought of therapy, but this just occurred yesterday. I would say that this is an emotionally serious reationship, but I was hoping that you would give me some suggestions, instead of my having to go to a psyciatrist.
Do you have any suggestions????
Well when it comes to these kinds of abuse (often traumatic) it is very important to get professional help, as the skills and techniques applied require specialized long term training and supervision. We can actually make things worse by training to intervene unknowingly with out the right expertise. I think a properly trained Master's Level therapist can help, a psychiatrist is not necessarily indicated here. I'll keep typing my answer..
I was also thinking about evidence-based couple's therapy with a specially trained therapist who could really provide strategies and support to actually help deepen your emotional connection while helping to repair her injury from the abuse at the same time.....
It's very difficult to give practical advise that is also safe for your girlfriend. For example, If I suggested that you encourage her to talk about what she's been through you risk re-traumatizing here potentially, which can be harmful or even dangerous, depending on what she's been through.
Telling me to see a therapist is not what I was hoping for!!!!!!!
I understand. Would you like me to opt-out of this question? Another expert may be more willing to provide specific suggestions independent of therapy.
You don't pay for the answer unless you are satisfied with it. I have no problem opting out and referring you to a JA.com fellow team member.
No, I do appreciate the difficulty of making meaningful suggestions on-line. Let's opt out!
Ok no problem. I really wish you the and your girlfriend the very best.
Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.
Whenever someone has a history of being sexually abused as a child, it can cause a variety of sexual and psychological problems when they become adults. They have difficulty with arousal, have sexual thoughts and feelings that are disturbing to them, feel like sex is a chore and may feel anger or fear when sex is brought up. There are also numerous other psychological effects from depression to anxiety, suicidal feelings, post traumatic stress disorder and sleep problems. Understanding how sexual abuse affects your girlfriend will help you help her cope better.
What you can start doing to help your girlfriend is talk to her. Let her know you want to be there for her. Let her talk to you about her feelings and try to remain neutral, no judging. Do not pressure her, but just be there for her.
When you talk about sex, ask her about ways she feels comfortable expressing her feelings for you. Sex does not always mean intercourse. It can be touch or sensation. Ask her if others ways of expressing herself might be easier for her. The more you can ease the pressure, the more she will feel you care. She might also open up and feel safer with you.
Also, learn what you can about sexual abuse. The more you understand the effects, the more in touch with her you can be. Here are some books that can help you get started:
Allies in Healing: When the Person You Love Was Sexually Abused as a Child by XXXXX XXXXX
The Courage to Heal 4e: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse 20th Anniversary Edition by Ellen Bass and XXXXX XXXXX
Surviving Childhood Sexual Abuse: Practical Self-help For Adults Who Were Sexually Abused As Children by Carolyn Ainscough and Kay Toon
It is also important to let her know she is not alone in how she feels. Oftentimes, people who are abused feel no one understands and no one can help them. But there is help for her, if she wants it. Ask her if she would consider a support group. Sharing how she feels with others will help her heal from the trauma. She can contact her local community mental health center for support groups in her area.
Also, it is a good idea she at least consider therapy. It is hard to share such a horrific experience, but therapists understand this and can help her begin to find ways to heal. She can talk with her doctor about a referral, or if she attends church, her pastor can help. She can also search on line at http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/.
She needs to understand that there is help out there and there are many options for her in her recovery. She can go on to have a better, more closer relationship with you with support and help.
I hope this helps you,
I haven't heard back from you. Do you have more questions, or need more information?