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#385626 - 02/13/12 09:37 PM Close friend just revealed abuse from 30 yrs ago
annie123 Offline


Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 11
Hi all,

I am new to the forum. I was referred here by my local rape crisis center.

A little background...I am a married woman with children who is also the survivor of a date rape from over 20 years ago. I worked in a rape crisis center for a few years after the attack so I consider myself relatively well versed in issues impacting female victims.

A year ago, a very close male friend of mine told me that he was a victim of sexual abuse by a family member over the course of several years. This happened when he was 11-13 years old. His attacker was several years older and a relative. He has never told anyone - mother, siblings, wife - ANYONE about what happened. And at the time, that was all he told me.

He knew my background - and I think due to all the recent press about Penn State and Syracuse, things bubbled up and he told me that he was a victim. The moment after he told me, he said he regretted saying it and he should have taken it to his grave. I asked if he wanted to share more - he said no - so I let it go.

Fast forward a year - and today, for whatever reason, he shared more. Told me he was sodomized and forced to perform oral sex. Told me that he had his first orgasm that way and it still haunts him. Told me that he should get a picture of him being "ass slammed" since that is probably all I can see when I see him now.

He was in such a negative space...I just listened and told him I understood his anger. I told him it wasn't his fault. I told him that it is hard but it is probably good that this is all coming out so he doesn't have to carry it alone anymore. I told him that his having an orgasm wasn't bad - it was a biological response even though the situation was horrific.

I've never dealt with a male survivor before. And am struggling with one who has kept this secret for over 3 decades.

Can any of you offer advice on what I can do? (And he is NOT the kind of person who would come to a forum like this...or seek counseling - at least in the near future.) How can I support the opening of a vault that has been sealed for 30 years? All advice is appreciated!

Thanks


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#385642 - 02/13/12 10:57 PM Re: Close friend just revealed abuse from 30 yrs ago [Re: annie123]
traveler Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3199
Loc: back in the USA
Read a LOT on here and take notes.
Get some good books and spoon feed him if you have to. "Victims no Longer" by Mike Lew is the "bible" for survivors - but there are many other resources linked on this site.

Blessings for being there and reaching back when he reached out!
Lee

_________________________
We are often troubled, but not crushed;
sometimes in doubt, but never in despair;
there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend;
and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.
- Paul, II Cor 4:8-9

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#385663 - 02/14/12 12:46 AM Re: Close friend just revealed abuse from 30 yrs ago [Re: traveler]
herowannabe Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/01/11
Posts: 386
Loc: USA
Hi Annie123 & welcome!

I applaud your effort to help your sweet survivor! Being a victim yourself, you know how important it is to be believed and to be reassured that you did nothing to cause or perpetuate the abuse. Your friend is so lucky to have you!

I'm a supporter- not a survivor, so I'm sure no expert, but it sounds like you've been spot on in everything you've done to help your survivor!

My husband would never have come to MS on his own either. But what opened the door for him was watching the Oprah show in which she featured an audience of male survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Watching that opened his eyes. He saw an audience filled with men weeping and nodding their heads in understanding at a survivor's telling of his story. Within weeks, my husband became a member at MS, and the healing began.

Here is a link to the page at www.oprah.com. I hope it will help!

http://myown.oprah.com/search/index.html?q=male%20survivors%20of%20sexual%20abuse

Blessings!
herowannabe

_________________________


For I know the plans I have made for you. Plans to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11


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#385706 - 02/14/12 09:46 AM Re: Close friend just revealed abuse from 30 yrs ago [Re: herowannabe]
annie123 Offline


Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 11
Thanks for the feedback.

I guess the one thing I am struggling most with right now is how to help him when he has such negative self-talk. He says "So now you must see me as a kid who had a cum milkshake"...and other assorted things. How can I get him out of this negative/self-loathing spiral?

Any help out there?

Thanks


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#385709 - 02/14/12 10:34 AM Re: Close friend just revealed abuse from 30 yrs ago [Re: annie123]
J1 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 137
Loc: Missouri
Annie.....
my only idea is to craft some activity that you and he can do, in a very safe situation. Like go to a movie...but the abuse does not have to be the main topic...just be the friend that has some strong listening genes... I shared my abuse with a female friend, as she works in a non-profit and is so positive in her daily life. We sort of dated or spent a lot of time doing fun things. we talk almost daily, and the abuse is not our main topic..in fact it is rarely discussed in recent months.

But, as a male survivor of female ( mother) incest and later, male rapes and ongoing insanity, including a near death attack from a loved one...it was refreshing and positive to have real world airing of my story with her. She never had to know details...but it made us both better people. So..your male pal..may or may not find peace...it is elusive.This site is built on common experiences and saying things in posts and forums, that might otherwise never be on the table.

Be a pal...move past the abuse stuff unless he seeks the topic. The woe is me mantra he sings is very common for us at times...it will likely fade as you grow to be there as a listener and friend.

Jeffrey


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#385722 - 02/14/12 12:42 PM Re: Close friend just revealed abuse from 30 yrs ago [Re: annie123]
westchesterguy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 421
Loc: Westchester County NY
Originally Posted By: annie123
....And he is NOT the kind of person who would come to a forum like this...or seek counseling - at least in the near future....


isn't that the saddest part of all? why would a guy today think he is all alone?

glad you there to at least hear what has been eating at him the majority of his life.

_________________________
Jeff

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#385725 - 02/14/12 01:24 PM Re: Close friend just revealed abuse from 30 yrs ago [Re: westchesterguy]
peroperic2009 Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3566
Loc: South-East Europe
Hi Annie, you are great, I'm sure that you'll find way to help your friend.
It is good thing that he has started to talk about his abuse. According to what I've read he must be hating himself because of his experience and his mixed feelings. Abused boys many times are taking all blame and shame to themselves, that is huge burden. His first orgasm haunt him as evidence that he has enjoyed that "forbidden" experience. There is laying male survivor paradox. He was abused when he was very young boy and because of that he has been confused ever since. Somehow his body has responded in wrong way during his abuse and he is ever since struggling -this is happening all times to almost all survivors. He is feeling huge shame because of that. To him it was like he has enjoyed something what he should hate. He is not sure did he enjoy it or hate it. So this is very difficult and problematic issue to him. That was huge trauma and scar left is very deep. That scar is desire which shows from time to time, desire for more of that kind terrible experience. He must be hating himself because of his mixed feelings.
You have to explain him that his brain was in deadly scare position during abuse, because of that he is completely stuck there ever since. His brain periodically is trying to repeat traumatic experience and subconsciously to find some solution for trauma. But that is not happening. That is actually drive for cyclic compulsive behavior, something that he can't control. This cycle could take him to drugs and alcohol overuse, porn addiction, gambling or some other problematic activities which might offer some high drive to his brain with traumatic scar left.
Maybe he has also post traumatic stress disorder or some other similar problem, that is also possibility.
Anyway he needs to do more talking to someone just to let that burden out himself.
I hope that this will be in some way helpful to you.
Read posts here and you'll find more about survivors struggle.
Pero

_________________________
My story

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#385730 - 02/14/12 02:04 PM Re: Close friend just revealed abuse from 30 yrs ago [Re: annie123]
MarkK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/02/07
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denver, CO
Originally Posted By: annie123
I guess the one thing I am struggling most with right now is how to help him when he has such negative self-talk. He says "So now you must see me as a kid who had a cum milkshake"...and other assorted things. How can I get him out of this negative/self-loathing spiral?

I believe the only person who can "get him out of this negative/self-loathing spiral" is him. What I think you can do is to remind him you do NOT see him that way. That you see him as ... <fill in with your own veiw>
I know when I spiral into the depths, the worst thing for me is to have someone try to negate what I'm feeling or try to change it. It's like they are trying to invalidate my feelings (which they probably are not trying to do...) Saying they don't experience me that way I can accept a little easier - we all experience things differently.

Just my 2 cents

_________________________
the story
    https://1in6.org/men/bristlecone/mark-krueger/

Kirkridge - October 2008
Alta - September 2012
Alta - September 2013

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#385772 - 02/14/12 06:58 PM Re: Close friend just revealed abuse from 30 yrs ago [Re: MarkK]
annie123 Offline


Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 11
Thank you all for your candid thoughts. They are so helpful to me. It is so hard to just try to remain quiet and listen to him share when I so desperately want to say something that will fix everything and give him a moment free of this pain he has been carrying for so long. It just breaks my heart.

I have another question. And I apologize in advance for the graphic aspect.

He told me this morning that last night was incredibly hard. It was the first time in forever that he "went back" to being that age and visualized the abuse. He said he thought through the various types of abuse he suffered in detail and waited to see if he became aroused by it...and then was relieved when he didn't.

I'll be honest, I didn't really know what to say in response to that. I just said that I can't imagine how challenging a night he had. I told him that being aroused in that situation would have been a normal biological response despite it being a completely abnormal situation.

I don't understand how to react to that or how to support him. I did say that even if he had been aroused, it wouldn't change that what had happened was abusive and unfair to him. I'm kind of at a loss in this new area...

I did forward him the Oprah link (and watched it myself). He said he wasn't ready for that...but kept it for when he was. I asked him if he wanted to tell his brother or another close friend and he said "never". I asked him about telling his wife. He said she would never understand and it would destroy his family.

Clearly, I don't think he will be heading to therapy or a support group any time soon. I just want to be sure I don't say or do anything wrong given the fragile situation he is in and that I am the only one he has told.

More help from the crowd?


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#385840 - 02/15/12 12:56 AM Re: Close friend just revealed abuse from 30 yrs ago [Re: annie123]
peroperic2009 Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3566
Loc: South-East Europe
Hi Annie,
you did good, you were there to listen him. For someone who kept those things inside for so long that was very helpful.
Don't worry too much what to say when you'll talk to your friend. Just try to visualize boy of 8 years who has suffered a lot and who is a little bit lost since than. Your empathy and sympathy will be enough.
Remember that you are very special person to that man, he talked to you about his most intimate issues and he is obviously feeling confident and relaxed to do so. Just keep listening further...
Here is great short movie about groups of survivors from Australia, maybe he would like to see it:
http://www.secasa.com.au/index.php/survivors/1032/443

And here is link to blog of one of our brothers survivors from MS, there are links to some booklets for partners (you) and as well for survivors:
http://matrixmensa.blogspot.com/p/other-helpfull-sources.html

Maybe you could forward your friend for example this one:
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/ncfv-cnivf/pdfs/nfntsx-visac-males_e.pdf

Stay well,

Pero

_________________________
My story

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#385958 - 02/15/12 11:45 PM Re: Close friend just revealed abuse from 30 yrs ago [Re: peroperic2009]
herowannabe Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/01/11
Posts: 386
Loc: USA
Great stuff, Pero!

_________________________


For I know the plans I have made for you. Plans to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11


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#385962 - 02/16/12 12:45 AM Re: Close friend just revealed abuse from 30 yrs ago [Re: herowannabe]
mmfan Offline


Registered: 09/25/11
Posts: 114
Wow he obviously trusts you and feels safe with you, so you are already doing things "right." I think you have very good instincts. It seems like you're approaching him with respect, tenderness, gentleness and openness to what he needs.

I could relate to your post because I also fight the urge to jump in and tell him why he shouldn't feel the way he does, or give advice/try to "fix it." (sometimes I succumb to the urge...doh!) And sometimes I am at a complete loss for words.
(I'm a survivor too but it definitely hasn't given me all the answers in how to support him.)

One thing I find that helps (which pero pointed out) is to visualize the 8 year old boy. Try to remind myself what would his child self need?
Sometimes its ok to not say much. Sometimes just tone of voice, a safe presence helps.

Also at times I have asked "What can I do to help?" Or "What type of response would be helpful to you right now?" when I am really floundering.


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#385974 - 02/16/12 02:33 AM Re: Close friend just revealed abuse from 30 yrs ago [Re: mmfan]
Still Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6317
Loc: 2 NATO Nations
Annie,

He sounds a lot like i was. I was "not the type" to do groups (GOD no!!). I was NEVER the type to go to a therapist. I did allow myself to read Mike Lew's book "Victims no Longer." It was a life saver for me.

From there, I was able to go to a therapist and eventually formed a support group.

Not anyone's recovery process is the same as another's; just as no two abuse scenarios are the same. Our brains and circumstances are all different. He really needs to know that. HE has to be the orchestra-tor of his own recovery experience.

YOU can be there best for him be remaining flexible, giving him space and letting him direct. But if he asks you for guidance, he means it.

But, as others have said ahead of me, you can get yourself a heck of an education on the topic and just keep it all to yourself until needed.

_________________________
Jesus Loves The Hell Outta Me!

Still's Globs

New Video

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#386053 - 02/16/12 01:58 PM Re: Close friend just revealed abuse from 30 yrs ago [Re: peroperic2009]
Shawushka Offline


Registered: 01/05/11
Posts: 128
Loc: VA
Annie, it sounds like you are being a very good friend to this survivor. I'm a spouse of a survivor and all I can contribute is that my partner also doesn't want to come to this forum, nor is he keen on counseling, therapy, etc.
We are taking small, baby steps. I am there when he wants to talk, I bought a few books for him and told him they are here. He picked up one and browsed through it and that was a big step forward.

Your friend has been hiding a secret for 30 years, he'll need time. It's great that you are there for him!


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#386123 - 02/16/12 09:38 PM Re: Close friend just revealed abuse from 30 yrs ago [Re: Shawushka]
annie123 Offline


Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 11
So many great responses...I appreciate the suggestions and the support. I've been having so many weird dreams about him...I guess I had no idea how much all of his sharing would weigh on my mind...I can't imagine how it has weighed on his.

On thing I worry about- and maybe you can help... He said there is one big piece left that he is not ready to talk about..but he made reference to it possibly being about his choosing to spend time with his attacker "when he was old enough to know better". He would have been 13-14...and if I had to guess, I would imagine it was a time when he was wrestling with abuse, sexuality, understanding arousal, etc. I'm not sure what to be preparing myself for in terms of supporting him.

Are there any resources I should be looking at about when victims choose to "hang out" with their attacker after the abuse has been happening over several years?


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