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#57966 - 02/23/04 06:20 PM do i say nothing?
michaels friend Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/23/04
Posts: 2
i have a new friend who I know was molested by his priest when he was a teenager. he's currently involved in a lawsuit against the priest. I know about the situation from another mutual friend of ours. my heart breaks for him and I don't know whether to say anything to him as he hasn't told me about it himself - and he stays at arms length with me I think so he doesn't talk about it... I don't want to push him or pry but I really like him - he's a tremendous person and I want to offer him my support but I don't know how...


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#57967 - 02/23/04 07:39 PM Re: do i say nothing?
RICK57 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/31/03
Posts: 1611
Loc: ENGLAND
Michaels friend -

I think that you can only play this by ear...you say that Michael is a new friend of yours, so he may not have sufficient trust in you yet to even consider discussing it with you. It took me 32 years to tell anyone - I have good friends that I have known for most of that time, but it was friends that I have known since around 1991 that I first told 2 years ago.

You can perhaps carefully raise the issue if it appears in the media, but if you don't get a response, you'll have to just live with the situation.

Whatever happens, you sound like a potential good friend for Michael and I'm sure he will eventually appreciate your support - as I say this could take some time.

When I first raised the issue with anyone, it was just because I couldn't hold it in any longer - I had always been terrified of the reaction that I might have received from others... I am still in shock that I have not yet received a negative reaction from anyone that I have told.

This is a good site - if he does not come here, then there may come a time that you are in a position to encourage him to!

Best wishes ..Rik

_________________________
*Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up.
*I was seeking a way of expressing my anger - I found hope!
*There are many battles before the war is won! It can be won!

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#57968 - 02/23/04 09:28 PM Re: do i say nothing?
kolisha54 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 475
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Hi Friend!

As you will learn from reading the posts on this site, men who have survived abuse are accustomed to dealing with its affects in ways that keep them as comfortable as possible within a "real" world that makes tremendous demands on their energies - just like the rest of us, but with a big difference: survivors need to be equipped to "function" despite the tremendous emotional burdons imposed by their accumulation of Post-Traumatic "symptoms."

If you truly admire Michael, you must respect his decisions, his efforts, and above all, his PRIVACY! If he is shying away from you, it is because he either WANTS to OR NEEDS to in order to maintain his equilibrium.

If he has not invited you to share his pain, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES try to insinuate yourself into his VERY private affairs - even if your motives are driven by love, your actions could be interpreted by Michael as violations OR even as reinactments of the original abuse.

I do not want to give the impression that I believe Survivors to be fragile: FAR from it! Survivors have "survived" despite the harshness & cruelty that has marked them for life. They are some of the bravest, strongest men on earth! When a Survivor ASKS us for help, then we are honored to have been given permission into their inner circle of those persons who are WORTHY of their trust. This kind of trust must be EARNED, and it will be given at the Survivor's own pace.

If you feel that you want to be closer to this man, then you must learn to accept HIS time-frame and HIS decision as to whether or not he wants to be more intimately involved with you.

If he is acting aloof and the 2 of you don't know eachother very well to begin with, you need to respect his boundaries and examine your own motivations and needs as to why you would want to discuss these issues with him in the first place.

No, I am not suggesting that this is easy!!! It is far from easy if you are the kind of person who likes to take immediate remedial action or who needs quick results.

But if you truly care for your friend, he will come to appreciate you in time - in HIS own time. And that means that you must proceed with the understanding that what you seek from this relationship may NEVER happen.

Good luck....

_________________________
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now... when? --Hillel

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#57969 - 02/23/04 09:37 PM Re: do i say nothing?
Tabor Offline
Member

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 35
Loc: lost
Michaelís Friend,

I agree with everything Kolisha54 said. I can only speak from my own experience with my friend, but I would think if he found out two of his friends were discussing his extremely private business behind his back he would never feel he could trust either one of them at all. Please let him do this his own way. If heís ready and comfortable and trusting of your friendship, he will go to you. The best thing you can do is be there when (and if) he needs you.

Tabor


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#57970 - 02/23/04 10:11 PM Re: do i say nothing?
Bill_1965 Offline
Chat Mod Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

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

I donít think it could be put any more elegantly than kolisha54 did.

Bill

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

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#57971 - 02/24/04 12:15 AM Re: do i say nothing?
brian-z Offline
Member

Registered: 07/11/02
Posts: 770
Loc: Western USA
if he wants to talk about it with you he will, otherwise there is no need to make a problem where there isn't one.


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#57972 - 02/24/04 08:19 AM Re: do i say nothing?
michaels friend Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/23/04
Posts: 2
thank you all so much!

I have learned so much just by coming to this site. you are all amazingly articulate! and incredibly strong!

I've also realized that my friend NEVER should have told me about his situation and I feel incredibly guilty for even knowing and being a party to something michael might view as a breach of his trust. my eyes have been humbly opened...

I had no idea about the depths to which this kind of abuse can wound a person. I have been through a lot of "trauma" in my own life so I selfishly thought that somehow I could bring Michael some perspective and support.

I now realize that this is not the case. I really was not looking to offer him a "quick fix" - He's just a wonderful man and I have so much respect for him and think that he's obviously a tremendously strong person to have come forward in the first place. my motivations really were to offer him support - but I didn't think through what potential damage my "butting in" could result in.

I understand now that this is unlike any other situation I may have survived and that I MUST let him decide when and if he ever confides in me.

I guess my dilemma came from thinking forward to if he ever does tell me and feeling guilty for "already knowing". I was feeling like I was lying to him by not letting him know I know.... but I'm realizing that that's MY problem - not his - and the most supportive thing I can do is be here when and if he ever needs me.


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#57973 - 02/24/04 08:34 AM Re: do i say nothing?
Bill_1965 Offline
Chat Mod Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

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

Quote:
I didn't think through what potential damage my "butting in" could result in.
But you did think enough to give it the consideration to check with those that have survived . You deserve some credit there.

Quote:
I understand now that this is unlike any other situation I may have survived and that I MUST let him decide when and if he ever confides in me.
This goes with most thing is life and It is always up to a person to decide when, if, and with whom they confide in.

Peace,
Bill

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

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