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#190258 - 11/06/07 08:50 PM How to help an F&F friend?
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
I work with a woman who is married w/two children; a 5 year old and an infant. Weíve worked together for 8 years. Weíre office friends, but not out of the office friends, although we get along very well. Two years ago when the shit hit the fan with my b/f and I and when I was still very, very raw, she walked into my office when I was crying. She asked what was wrong and I told her a little of what had happened; I also told her my b/f had been sexually abused as a child which had caused some of his behavior at the time. She then shared with me that her husband had also been sexually abused. At that time I was so wrapped up in my own issues, I didnít take that conversation any further; neither one of us has ever mentioned it again. She said it so off the cuff as if it didnít matter and I was so new to all of this that I dismissed it myself. Well, in the years that have passed, itís come to the forefront of my mind many, many times. This woman works like an animal, she takes care of her house, her kids, her extended family, and everything that has to do with living with practically no help from her husband whatsoever. For months now, he hasnít worked, yet the kids are in day care and more often than not, she is the one who drops them off and picks them up. She is a professional who does not have a 9-5 job, yet because he wonít, he forces her to do things that he could easily do which sometimes puts her job at risk. She is brilliant, my boss likes her and he sees whatís going on, which is the only reason he deals with it. Most recently, she even spoke of taking whatís left of her vacation time and getting a 2nd job so she can buy enough X-mas presents for the kids.

My problem is that I truly believe her husband is in major crisis right now and she is by extension. There is not one doubt in my mind that he is suffering, but does not tell his wife why; he may not know himself. This woman is a really nice person, but I donít know how receptive she would be to me suggesting to her that many, if not all of the problems they are facing are due to her husbandís csa. I know so much about her because she will tell me some of the most intimate details of her life, yet for as much as I know, I donít feel like I know her at all.

I know sheís hurting; I see it every day and I want to reach out to her with some information, but I just donít know how to broach this subject. Any suggestions?

ROCK ON..........Trish


_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#190274 - 11/06/07 10:56 PM Re: How to help an F&F friend? [Re: Trish4850]
MDATC Offline
New Here

Registered: 11/06/07
Posts: 7
Did your boyfriend get any help?

My boyfriend just told me (the first person he has ever told) about being sexually abused as a child. I dont know what I can do. I want to help him find the help that he needs. This tragedy is still effecting him to this day. He doesn't want to have sex ever. I need some guidance for myself and for him???


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#190275 - 11/06/07 10:57 PM Re: How to help an F&F friend? [Re: Trish4850]
indygal Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439
Trish,

you are so kind to think about this woman - a couple of things come to mind and i'll write more later -

the first thing i would say is to caution you about discussing this with her at work - you say you aren't friends away from the job - this could open up a huge can of worms if she's in total denial - which you *know* hon, can be the situation.

how about going out to lunch and gently broaching the subject of what you've been doing and how it's helped you. keep eye contact and let her know you're there to listen if she'd like to talk - i'd treat her like a survivor at this point, sounds like she's taken on enough of his pain to be one by association - let her know about this support group you belong to and how much of a godsend it is for those of us in relationships with survivors.

i think you get my drift. just tread softly, carefully. she may be absorbing herself in her job so she doesn't have to face home, just like so many others do. and she may really, *really* not want anyone to say anything - especially someone that's knowing how to manage i.e., she may be beating herself up inside because she's taken on his issues as her fault.

sorry to sound a little blunt, but babe, i have SO been there...

all the best,
indy

_________________________
my avatar is one of the Battle Angel characters, fighting the good fight.

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#190276 - 11/06/07 11:02 PM Re: How to help an F&F friend? [Re: Trish4850]
lostcowboy Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/04
Posts: 797
Loc: North Texas
Hi Trish, how to broach the subject? You already did that two years ago. I'd say ask her out to lunch and give her a update on how your life has been going over the last two years. Has your husband gotten worse or better? If better, tell her what you think caused him to improve.

A lot of times when we open up about our personal lives, to our good friends, they will feel safe enough to open up back to us. I am sure she would like to know how things are going between you and your husband, especially if you are better emotionally.

Take care,
Clifford

_________________________
"Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend." - Albert Camus
Pretty much my life as I have posted so far. Triggers!

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#190310 - 11/07/07 07:02 AM Re: How to help an F&F friend? [Re: lostcowboy]
dgoods Offline
Guest

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 622
Loc: Richmond area
Everybody else seems to have it covered, the only thing i'd add is you could make the initial broach of the subject "I just wanted to thank you again for caring enough to ask what was going on..." You wouldn't be being dishonest- by giving her an opportunity to talk, you're giving her the best "thank-you" you could!

_________________________
Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act IV, Sc. III

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#190313 - 11/07/07 07:26 AM Re: How to help an F&F friend? [Re: dgoods]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Thanks for the advice. I would never bring this up at work, which is another problem. She doesn't ever take any time for herself so it's rough. We tell each other alot of funny stories and laugh alot, maybe I'll try to push her, in a "come on pal" kind of way and see if I can talk her into a drink or a cup of coffee after work. If all else fails, lunch would work but I'd prefer not since going back to work after a difficult conversation would be, well, difficult.

MDATC - welcome to the board, I'm sorry I missed your first post. I'll respond more to you later.

ROCK ON........Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#190325 - 11/07/07 09:04 AM Re: How to help an F&F friend? [Re: Trish4850]
sweet-n-sour Offline
Member

Registered: 10/03/06
Posts: 409
Loc: chicago
Dear Trish:

I could very well have been that woman you described. For five years, I lived the same way. My husband had mentioned just at the beginning of his depression that he "might" have been abused as a boy. I asked him at that point if he wanted to talk about it...his answer was "no"...I then asked if he wanted to seek counseling at that point, his answer was "no."

Did I even stop for a moment to realize that I was basically living in a thirsty relationship? I was attending school functions with our daughter alone...I was making sure everyone elses needs were met. I was so busy while he was withdrawn that I didn't have the time or energy to truly understand how his past directly influenced our present day. Would it have mattered if a friend of mine took me aside and said, "hey, his behavior is a direct result of csa?"

Actually, my sister who is quite perceptive figured the whole thing out. Of course she knew from the beginning of her relationship that her partner is a csa survivor. It did help to have her support while I was in the "doing everything" mode of survival.

The truth is, it all had to progress as it was intended to progress. Having a name to identify it did not make much difference. Results only happen when the decision is made to do something about it...to seek help for one's self or the survivor to seek help for himself. (Therapy, reading, support groups, ect.)

To be honest, I'm not sure how receptive I would have been if the person offering advice/support had been anyone other than my older sister. If it were a co-worker, I may be inclined to feel as if my personal life needed to be kept seperate and apart from my job...especially if I was using the job as a place to get away from my troubles. I guess what I'm saying is maybe offer support but tiptoe forward about it.

I am truly impressed by the compassion within you to offer support. I feel great sadness that there are some walking in the same footsteps that many of us here have left in the challenging trail behind us.

Best wishes,
S-n-S

_________________________
"As long as he continues to try, I will meet him in that determination and commitment."

cm 2007

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#190345 - 11/07/07 11:47 AM Re: How to help an F&F friend? [Re: Trish4850]
rcm Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/07
Posts: 156
Loc: Boston, MA
Why assume that you know what the problem is?
It's very simple, imho, if you think she is not well you ask her.
(How are you doing? Are you ok?)
Perhaps offer her your support if she'd want or need it?
If someone offered me help and came to me "knowing" what my problem was I'd probably run the other way, no matter how kindly this person seemed to act. Just my opinion, I hope it helps.

_________________________
______________________________________________
Prince Zuko: [looking at a map] How am I going to find the Avatar? He is clearly a master of evasive maneuvering.
Sokka: [cut to him, looking at the same map] You have no idea where you're going, do you?

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#190357 - 11/07/07 02:01 PM Re: How to help an F&F friend? [Re: rcm]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
rcm, you're right of course, I don't know anything for sure, but given what she has already told me and what I see with my own eyes, I'm pretty sure. We have talked a bit about what's happening, but I've not had the ideal opening; maybe I never will. Regardless, offering friendship and support and treading carefully is something I know I have to do.

ROCK ON........Trish

what does imho mean?


_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#190358 - 11/07/07 02:05 PM Re: How to help an F&F friend? [Re: Trish4850]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
s-n-s thanks for your wise words. I don't think I would be very accepting of what I have to say either, so I don't want to come right out and say it. I definately think that talking about me will be the best way to approach the conversation. Even if she says nothing to me right away, it may plant a seed and she'll go looking for info. on her own. Of course, if she wants to talk to me, I'll be there.

ROCK ON.......Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#190432 - 11/08/07 07:33 AM Re: How to help an F&F friend? [Re: Trish4850]
indygal Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439
hi again trish -

i'm telling you, the world looks a lot brighter to me knowing folks like you are in it \:\)

if you aren't sure lunch is such a good idea; and maybe not after work either - then maybe keep it on the up and up at a prof level; don't even make it all that personal - how about some time when you are on your way home and she's still there? walk up to her, ask if she has a minute - tell her about this site and the forum and a little (and i mean little, ok? ha ha) plug about how many women on here have to deal with male survivors - hand her a little yellow sticky with the website of the forum on it - not just the site, but make sure the board part of the site also - and let her know if she'd like to talk sometime, you are listening.

then hand her the piece of paper, let her think about what you said and wish her a good night. then she can think about it at her own pace, etc. maybe even doing it on a friday might be a good time - ?

i'm kinda in a similar situation - someone i've started to value as a good friend - she's showing all the signs of being a survivor herself - in fact, i'm pretty damn sure but don't want to go there until i know - and let her know i'm there if she needs anything - wow it's so hard.

just remember the stigma against talking about csa is part of the problem - in order to help things get better overall, it takes grassroots efforts, just as you're doing, to help break down those barriers. please don't give up - just be patient, i'm sure a way will open for you soon -

all the best,
indy

_________________________
my avatar is one of the Battle Angel characters, fighting the good fight.

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