Dating someone who has been abused

A sense of security may be totally absent, according to Paul Tobias, Ph D, a Los Angeles psychologist.Abuse survivors and their partners should consider counseling, whether it's with a therapist, self-help group, or religious organization, says Judith Herman, MD, a psychiatrist on the faculty at Harvard School of Medicine.She has had just two serious romantic relationships in her life.

According to University of New Hampshire sociologist David Finkelhor, Ph D, an estimated 20% of women and up to 5% of men in the United States were abused sexually as children.Partners should be especially understanding with abuse survivors, who can at times lash out for no apparent reason."Have patience and sit down with the person and try to talk ... It might be that they are having a flashback, for instance."I got upset, and he tried to talk to me about it, but I wouldn't talk about it," she says."I couldn't say what I wanted to, and he got frustrated." The impact of childhood sexual abuse on adult intimacy varies from person to person, but experts say Haney's relationship troubles are not uncommon.

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