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#57887 - 02/16/04 03:03 PM When is it time to OUT your best friend?
brooklyn Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/16/04
Posts: 2
I have a friend who was sexually molested by a Catholic Priest more than 20 years ago. Like many survivor's he suppressed his terrible memories of these events for many years until a trigger brought them to the surface approximately 2 years ago. Since then he has engaged the services of a psychiatrist who has not been successful in getting him to confront his past and lay out a positive plan for moving forward. As a layperson not schooled in psychiatrics or other mental health proficiencies it is difficult for me to critique his practice. However it seems that my friend occasionally takes one step forward only to go three steps back. On a rational level, he has acknowledged that he understands that he was not to blame for his actions (he was in grammar school at the time). However on a subconscious level he continues to punish himself to this day. It is absolutely destructive behavior and it must stop. His tragic flaw (then and now) was/is his choice to hide the abuse and particularly protect his parents from the truth. I am sure that there are several rationalizations that feed into this including guilt/embarrassment for the pleasure associated with sexual stimulation, fear of not being believed (ridiculed), and fear of the consequences his parent's would have to face for their actions (to name a few).

On a rational level he understands that he must at some point come clean and let his parents in on his big secret. On an emotional level, it is what he fears more than anything. It is my contention that this truth will set him free. Not that it will turn on a magic light switch, but that it is the key to the beginning of his healing. His choice to protect his parents is costing him and his parents a great deal. They are aging (and are not in the best health), and he is no closer to healing than he was when Pandoraís box was opened two years ago.

I asked his wife if she ever considered confiding in his parents. She said that she would never betray his trust. My reply was, "Is it a betrayal of trust, or does he need a life preserver thrown to him?"

It is extremely difficult watching someone that you care about flounder and waste their lives stuck in limbo. At the risk of losing someone who means as much to me as a brother, I am thinking about doing what he cannot. I believe he needs someone to intervene and carry him the next 10 yards.

Any comments feedback or suggestions would be appreciated.


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#57888 - 02/16/04 03:15 PM Re: When is it time to OUT your best friend?
phoster Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/21/03
Posts: 758
Loc: ohio
coming out to someone means exposing yourself to a lot of risks. he has to be ready to face those risks before confronting anyone. i definately dont think you should 'out' him. mic hunter in abused boys, and my therapist have both warned me not to come out to anyone before i am well prepared. if you tell, and they react by withdrawing from him or worse, it could very well be the proverbial straw. it could turn him suicidal or something. no, this has to be his decision.

_________________________
compassion is a light even to the darkest soul

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#57889 - 02/16/04 04:01 PM Re: When is it time to OUT your best friend?
theo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/28/03
Posts: 1117
brooklyn,
do not take a step for him that he himself is unable to manage. his wife had it correct in referencing it to trust. your friend is dealing with some really horrific things emotionally and spiritually. when such a thing as incest happens there is a fundamental betrayal of trust that cannot be easily regained. when such a thing as clerical abuse, no matter the faith, then there is a fundamental betrayal of the soul because this is the person most in tune with the practice of the faith of any given childhood and to a child this is almost like God alone doing this kind of harm. this is not something about courage, cowardice, or needing to get "outed", this is about touching the fundamental core of a religious identity and must be done by your friend alone. there is too much involved within your friend's mind and soul for someone outside his mind/soul to decide what needs to be done. there is a difference when a person is no longer coherent and wants to harm themselves, then someone should step in to ensure the person's safety until that person is able to carry on. this is an issue of choice that he has to address. otherwise too much more harm will be caused. it will not help him to force him into a situation he is not prepared to handle. take care, and your friend is very lucky to have you in his corner, just continue to support him at his pace.

_________________________
journey well,
theo dewolfe

- It is gift, and gift will find its way
- I inherit through my choice. I build through my affirmation. It is through my freedom that I nurture, or fade into autonomy
- I was not given to serve life, but to embrace it

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#57890 - 02/16/04 06:20 PM Re: When is it time to OUT your best friend?
Leosha Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 3614
Loc: Right here
Never. You never do that 'for' another person. What they need and what you think they may need, they may be totally different.

Leosha

_________________________
Avatar photo in memory of my younger brother Makar.

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."~~~Martin Luther King Jr., 1963

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#57891 - 02/16/04 09:14 PM Re: When is it time to OUT your best friend?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Brooklyn
Quote:
I asked his wife if she ever considered confiding in his parents. She said that she would never betray his trust. My reply was, "Is it a betrayal of trust, or does he need a life preserver thrown to him?"
I am in a very similar situation, I was abused at boarding school and my parents still don't know about it. They are well into their 80's and in poor health.

I have chosen to remain silent to them, and it was the hardest decision I have ever made. My wife knows, and so does my only brother and most of my friends and family. But they are sworn to secrecy by me and I would never talk to any of them again if that trust was betrayed.

I was betrayed as a boy, hugely betrayed. I'm 50yo now and still bitter over that betrayal. I would be devastated by the betrayal of someone else telling my parents even now. Whatever their good intentions and motives were, it would be betrayal.

What survivors need is unconditional support, what we don't need is someone else doing our healing for us. Firstly it doesn't work, and secondly, we're the 'experts' on ourselves.

That all might seem very harsh, but it's not meant to be I promise you. I hope that your motivation is for the right reasons - to help your friend. And if so all I want to do is help you to help him. Because he most likely will need help and support, he'll need friendship and understanding. He just wants someone to "be there"

And that's the greatest thing you could ever offer.

So please stick around and see how "we tick" - you've made a brave move by coming and asking questions. We haven't got all the answers, we wouldn't be here if we had, but in the chain of help and support that you want to be a part of, we're a strong link.

Take care.
Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#57892 - 02/16/04 09:26 PM Re: When is it time to OUT your best friend?
brian-z Offline
Member

Registered: 07/11/02
Posts: 770
Loc: Western USA
Ok, Iím going to try and be as nice and diplomatic as I can. JUST WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!? Itís up to him to decide when and IF IF he tells, not you, not his therapist nobody but him! You want to be his friend, then be his friend not his judge.


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#57893 - 02/16/04 10:01 PM Re: When is it time to OUT your best friend?
Bill_1965 Offline
Chat Mod Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/29/03
Posts: 1983
Loc: Flint, Michigan
Brooklyn,

Are you a friend or his controller? He needs to do this on his own time schedule on his own free will. "Outing" him is almost a sure way to lose him as a friend and send him on a downward spiral.

Quote:
I asked his wife if she ever considered confiding in his parents. She said that she would never betray his trust.
His wife has it right. Honor his and her wishes on this. It is unfriendly to do otherwise.

Quote:
My reply was, "Is it a betrayal of trust, or does he need a life preserver thrown to him?"
Are you out of your mind? It is a betrayal of trust without a doubt.

So to answer your question of when is it time to 'out' your friend. NEVER. NEVER EVER . I don't know how you can call him a best friend and even consider this.

Bill

_________________________
Pain is Temporary; Quitting lasts Forever. - Lance Armstrong

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#57894 - 02/16/04 11:35 PM Re: When is it time to OUT your best friend?
gryffindor Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/08/03
Posts: 131
Loc: St. Charles, Illinois
Brooklyn,

Do not under any circumstances take it upon yourself to tell your friend's parents about his SA. You have no right to tell anyone. The abuse did not happen to you; it happened to him, and only he has the right to tell anyone about it.

Your judgment that the reason he is not progressing in his recovery is because he hasn't told his parents isn't necessarily true. Many survivors choose not to tell their parents for one reason or another, and it does not prevent their continuing recovery. In addition, some survivors who do tell their parents get a bad response, such as some form of denial or insistance that it never be mentioned again or even blaming their son for abuse and defending the abuser (yes, this has actually happened).

The best thing you can do for your friend is to tell him about this site. The sense of community and companionship, of having others who have had similar experiences to communicate with and to give support, is itself healing.

I know from experience how frustrating it can be when a survivor/friend does not do what I think would be best for him in order to recover. But then, really, how would I know what's best for him? I'm not him. So give yourself and your friend a break -- relax and back off.

Mary

_________________________
"Where there's a will, there's a way." American Folk Saying

"Had I not fallen, I could not have arisen; had I not sat in darkness, I would not have recognized the light." Midrash Tehillim Ch. 22

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#57895 - 02/17/04 03:41 AM Re: When is it time to OUT your best friend?
theo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/28/03
Posts: 1117
people,
those who know me here know my stand on various issues. i concur with everyone here that "outing" is not an option as brooklyn put it; however, i ask that each of us give brooklyn the benefit of a doubt. yes, this is a very volatile issue for any survivor regardless of gender, but, please keep in mind that brooklyn came here to ask and to understand, not to be judged. please consider this when responding. just try to remember, brooklyn is reaching out using the only information available and is not aware of the complexities involved. heck, even i am not aware of the complexities involved because i am still working through them myself, but i do recognize a friend who is trying to learn what might help, even if the first choice would be the wrong one. take care, everyone, and brooklyn, take care as well.

_________________________
journey well,
theo dewolfe

- It is gift, and gift will find its way
- I inherit through my choice. I build through my affirmation. It is through my freedom that I nurture, or fade into autonomy
- I was not given to serve life, but to embrace it

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#57896 - 02/17/04 08:20 AM Re: When is it time to OUT your best friend?
crisispoint Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/24/03
Posts: 2154
Loc: Massachusetts
Ditto to what everyone else said here.

You have to ask yourself, "is it doing him any favors? Does it hurt him?" The answer to both is YES unless he does it himself.

It is his life. It's sad he's making self-destructive choices, but would YOU be happy being the one who destroyed him? Drove him over the edge?

I wish I could put it kindly, but I can't. DO NOT TAKE IT UPON YOURSELF TO DO THIS PERSONAL THING. THAT IS WRONG, SELFISH, HURTFUL, MEAN, CONTROLLING, DOMINATING, AND, YES, ABUSIVE, NO MATTER WHAT YOUR MOTIVES ARE!

It was the hardest thing in the world to "come out" to my family and friends. Most were supportive, but some were hurtful. It made me cry. It disrupted my life. It cost me "friends." It was hard.

This was when I made the choice. Imagine what it would've been like if someone "outed" me. I'd literally be dead by my own hand now.

Would YOU want that on your conscience?

Scot

_________________________
There are reasons I'm taking medication. They're called "other people." - Me, displaying my anti-social tendancies

fromacuriousmind.blogspot.com
malehurtandsurvive.blogspot.com

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