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#61005 - 03/27/06 12:53 PM Survivors, Please, Please Help Me Help My Best Friend
birdsurfer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/21/06
Posts: 14
While drinking and smoking pot over several evenings with my best friend, he, in a very tangential and intoxicated way, made several odd sexual references one night that seemed to me they might be about sexual abuse.

Then two nights later, again while high (he has a history of substance abuse and this night we had tried some nitrous oxide), he asked me if I remembered telling him that MY father sexually abused me. I told him that I did not remember saying that and asked him what else I said. He said that I said that it had happened on a two level staircase and I was looking at the white walls---and then he just trailed off and did not discuss it further. I knew I never said this, nor have I ever lived in a two story house. Thus upon hearing this I was quite alarmed and concerned and later found this site and contacted a therapist who specializes in this for advice on what to do.

The next night, before I could see the therapist, my friend was again pretty wasted and now was coming onto me sexually asking if I would do all sorts of submissive, humiliating, and masochistic things. Rather than wanting sex and all this, he seemed to me to be testing my limits and intentions towards him as well as his level of control in the relationship. He has flirted with me and come onto me in the past and I did on one occasion oblige him and got him off but this subsequently made him freak out and he cut off contact with me for 3 months after which he apologized for the seduction and "break-up". (I am 43 and gay and he is 35 and says he is straight despite having some experience with guys.) Any way, given this and that I now suspected he had been abused, I had no intention of letting the sexual talk go further.

What happened next however was among the most shocking and sad things I have ever witnessed. Just after laughing and carrying on with all his sexual banter he rapidly switched and dissociatively regressed to a small boy who was covering his crotch with his hands pleading not to be touched there. Then, as I was assuring him that I would not touch him or ever hurt him and that he was safe, he starting laughing and acting silly like he usually does when high. He made no further actions or statements related to abuse that evening as we both sobered up. He proceeded to get extremely tired and said he was going to bed. I asked if he was OK and if he wanted me to spend the night on the couch and he said no and told me he was OK.

The next morning I saw the therapist who told me a little about CSA and that he also felt that my best friend had been abused. We booked another appointment as I did not get a chance to find out what I could do to help or how best to handle things.

Well, I saw my friend again that night and I really wanted to tell him, without upsetting or confusing him, that I had heard him, was there for him, and wanted to help however I could whenever he was ready. I did not quite know how to bring this up as it seemed that he might not be consciously aware of the abuse given the defense mechanisms of projection and regression that I had witnessed. Well as it turns out, he apparently has some awareness of it all as he said to me "You know that I know that you know". He seemed in a good mood, again high, and like the very first night seemed to tangentially talk about what we both now knew.

At the end of the evening as we both sobered up, I began to tell him that I had heard him and wanted to help, etc. but then he asked what was I talking about. I said, you know, what we have been talking about for 3 days and what you know I know. He looked a little perplexed and so I told him that I thought we were talking about was that I thought he had told me he was sexually abused. He calmly said no, he thought we were talking about our relationship and that he was not abused. I told him I prayed it was not so, but I really felt he that he was (so much of his history, behaviour and unusual sexuality now made sense to me) and so I wanted to tell him I was there for him if and when he might need me. I did not know how he would react, but I found it strange that he so calmly denied the abuse as he usually gets pissed if I say something he disagrees with. I felt now in addition to projection and regression, I was dealing with denial.

The next day he instant messaged me thanking me for my concern and offers of help but that he did not remember any abuse and thought I was wrong. He also apologized saying it was mean of him to say that I was abused and invited me over again that night. Well like the first night, he(unconsciously ?) talked very tangentially about abuse related issues but mostly seemed concerned about how much substances he had been taking lately. I told him that I knew he felt bad about doing drugs again but that they were a way of dealing with (numbing)some apparent psychic pain (I did not say CSA) and that it was understandable and not to get down on himself for it right now. I also told him that I felt that when the source of the pain was addessed there would be little need for such pain relievers.

So here I am now with my friend increasingly wanting to get together and "party" and talk but finding the next day he is upset about "partying" and still denying and making no mention of any abuse. It pains me terribly to see him like this and I so much want to help but am not sure how best to proceed. I will continue to see the therapist for advice but hope that some of you who may have first hand experience can advise me on how to help my friend. I would be greatful for any input. Some of my main concerns are below:

How conscious do you think my friend is? Is he somewhat aware of the abuse when we are high together? Is this making the memories easier to surface and face? He really seems like he wants to talk to me and needs the drugs to do so. What about awareness when sober, is there any, or when will it likely emerge? Should I convey to him while he is sober what goes on while talking under the influence? Do you think this is the first time such thoughts have emerged (partially) into conscious (albeit a stoned one) awareness? (He always remembers what we talk about while high, so I am not sure if he remembers his vague CSA references.) Should I try and gently and "tangentially" stear or guide the conversations in this direction or let him take the lead. If he does take the lead, what would be my best course of action--just listen, ask questions, tell him about the help available like this website and the therapist, or is this too premature? I want to allow him to proceed on his terms and timescale but am fearful he will go back to repressing and I can't bear to watch him suffer any longer. He is such a good, kind, honest, talented and Christian guy and I hate to see him tear himself up over his sexual identity, lack of relationships, porn additions, and substance abuse especially when it seems to me the unresolved CSA is a the root of all these problems.

So please I beg of you, please share with me your thoughts and experience on all this so I can help my beloved best friend with all of this.

Finally a note of deep thanks to you all for sharing your stories, advice, courage and wisdom on this site. I know it will ultimately help my friend as it does countless others. You are all heroes in my book!


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#61006 - 03/27/06 10:42 PM Re: Survivors, Please, Please Help Me Help My Best Friend
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
birdsurfer,

I went through years of drug and alcohol abuse and I suppose in some way or another it helped to propel me into denial. Sometimes when I was drunk and high I would talk about my problems, but in an (of course) incoherent and unhelpful way and on the next day I would recall next to nothing about it.

Your friend needs to face his issues, whatever they are, as a sober adult prepared to do serious work to deal with them. If you feel close enough to him, you might suggest that he talk about it with you, or you might offer to go with him if he wants to see a doctor or therapist to talk about it. Make sure he knows you don't blame him, look at him differently, or judge him for whatever might have happened.

He may not respond immediately, or ever, for that matter, but at least you will have offered your support. The harsh truth is that a survivor cannot really be helped by anyone else until he is ready to help himself and reach out to others. What's important here is that he knows you are there for him.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#61007 - 03/27/06 10:54 PM Re: Survivors, Please, Please Help Me Help My Best Friend
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Birdsurfer
you ask some difficult questions here, not least "Is your friend a CSA survivor?"

Quite possibly he is, you have already identified many of the ways survivors can act in your friend, and most times ' if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it is a duck'.

The problem you're quite possibly seeing is that your friend just can't find the words, the courage, the reason even, to disclose whatever it is that's affecting him.
Probably the drug use is a double edged sword, he uses drugs to escape the memories, and it's not working, and also as a source of courage, and that's not working either.
I get the feeling that although you might be taking drugs recreationally, he might be using them for other reasons, and using the 'recreational' handle as a cover.

Perhaps this behaviour has now become an entrenched cycle that he can't seem to escape?
Many of 'our' behaviours as CSA victims are cyclical and useless, we believe that we can sort ourselves out, we promise ourselves that we won't do the dysfunctional crap ever again, and so on.
But we are thinking in circles, and trying the same 'answers' to the 'same old problems' - and if they didn't work the first time, are they suddenly going to start working without any different input? They didn't for me or any other survivor that I know.

The survivors that I know who are doing ok, and that's the guys on this site and other survivors I know here in the UK, have ALL broken that self defeating cycle and accepted that they need some kind of outside intervention, therapy dedicated to CSA (or the particular problem ) is in my view the only way to go.
But as you have probably figured out, you can't force him into that option, to do so would almost certainly produce a backlash and the rejection of therapy altogether.
Maybe planting the seed of an idea, being positive about seeking help without dragging him kicking and screaming into it, will work. And probably a good place to start is to kick the drugs.

Whatever happens it will test your friendship, and if you value that then stick with him, support him, create a safe and trusted environment where he can feel safe, then maybe he'll decide that he's finally had enough of the crap in his life and accept help?

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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#61008 - 03/28/06 09:01 AM Re: Survivors, Please, Please Help Me Help My Best Friend
birdsurfer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/21/06
Posts: 14
Hi Larry & Dave

Thanks so much for sharing and your advice. I hope you will read this and can offer some more valuable advice as it is tearing me up just imagining what he has been through and is going through right now. I want so much to help him find peace of mind and himself.

I have offered my support (both while he was high and sober) and am obviously willing to do whatever it takes to help him. This is what I most wanted to communicate to him and I honestly feel he knows this. I am just unsure how best to proceed as it seems to me that he is aware of the CSA at some level while under the influence (and aware that I am now too aware of the CSA) and seems to be willing to cautiously talk about it with me under those conditions but when he is sober he appears to be in complete denial. Can this be the case? He has a very good memory and remembers most of our conversations whether we were high or not and clearly remembered while sober (although he was projecting) that the CSA was brought up while we were buzzed the night before.

Thus I hope you can see my dilemma. Obviously I am not in favor of him doing drugs (he is not doing all that much now but has done more and stronger ones in the past) as it is not the solution but I feel that the pot and gas are ironically disinhibiting him right now while easing the pain of past CSA to the degree that he is now becoming aware of it and is willing to discuss it with me. I feel that beginning to face this sad and painful fact is a good thing and a sign of growing mental health even if the first glimmers of awareness arise in a mind somewhat clouded with pot and nitrous, no?

It is also hard because in this past week we have become much closer sharing thoughts and feelings that we may have felt before but had never expressed to one another. Thus I feel that I am able to reach him in this state whereas when he is sober he is emotionally shut down and defensive, denying the CSA and is very reluctant to talk about anything personal or emotional.

Also, I worry that although he is disturbed about his growing use of such substances (as am I), I would hate to see him try and go cold turkey right now (as he does when he has to prove to himself he still is in control) as I feel it would really just be a way (i.e., excuse) to close the door on the memories and feelings that are apparently now trying to get out.

My approach thus far, and perhaps it is wrong, has been to basically ignore the drugs for now and just be there for him and to listen and to allow him to proceed at his pace and on his terms (it has only been 10 days since he "told" me about the CSA). I hope, and think, that I will be able to make him understand why it is he feels the need to do drugs, especially now, and this hopefully will make him address both the CSA and his substance abuse as they are undoubtedly intimately related.

Fortunately, I think he may in fact be coming to this conclusion himself for the other night after trying to cut back a little on the nitrous, he asked me why do you think WE do so much nitrous (again, a projection) to which I said that we do it for very different reasons-- and besides I don't think I do that much. (I never drank or did any recreational drugs like pot or nitrous until I met him and only do occasionally and only with him. I also real have no desire to do them. To me its like having a couple of drinks with a friend.) At the time he just let this statement go but the following night he was in a playfully testy mood and said that only he would get to party that night to which I said, fine. I think that he was testing me here (like he did sexually before) to see if in fact I did not want it as much as he did. He may have felt, and hoped, that I did want it as much as he did so his use would not seem so bad in comparison. Or perhaps he wanted me to see that it WAS a big problem for him even if it wasn't for me. Whatever the case (it may be both is true), it gave me the opportunity to say that although its fun (they don't call it laughing gas for nothing) I did it because I enjoyed his company and being able to connect and communicate with him whereas I felt that he did it primarily to ease and numb some psychic pain, and that the greater the pain, the greater the need for an anesthetic like nitrous.

He looked so sad upon hearing this that I also told him that I felt that he should not get so down on himself for wanting to do nitrous as once the pain was addressed, the NEED for an anesthetic would abate. I told him wanting nitrous is perfectly understandable and that just as one would want nitrous for a painful abcessed tooth that needed to be pulled, once that tooth was pulled one would not NEED, nor should one fear that one would need, nitrous for routine cleanings.

Obviously I wish I could talk to him sober, but I guess he is just not ready. I don't even know how much conscious awareness of the CSA he has. Thus I don't really know what to do. I am fearful that if I push too much (which I guess I want to do as I sense he is in a lot of pain), especially while he is sober and defensive, that it will just be too much for him and he will just close back up and shut me out and go back to business as usual.

Thus how can I get him to become more consciously aware and know that there is hope and that there are resources like this great site and all the wonderful guys here who can relate to what he is going through. How can I begin to tell him that there are excellent therapists to help him sort things out so that he can see that his substance abuse, porn addition, sexual identity confusion, lack of intimate relationships, anxiety and depression are due to his history of CSA, are not his fault, and are not insurmountable problems.

So please tell me, do I just sit him down (or write him a letter?)while he's sober and tell him honestly and completely about my concerns, why I feel he was abused, what I have learned about it, how I think it has affected, and is affecting, him, what help is available? Or do I do this while he is a little high hoping that he is more receptive and that it will eventually make its way into his consciousness and behaviour? Or, do I continue to follow his cues and leads piecemeal which largely appear while he is buzzed? Or, is there another better way? What would you as a CSA survivor want, and what would you do if you were in my place?

Thanks Larry and Dave and to all who read and respond to this. As I read all your stories and comments I am constantly struck by all the love, compassion, understanding, wisdom and courage I see and I feel honored to be a part of it--you guys are far more than survivors--you are champions!

Thanks for sharing,
Rich


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#61009 - 03/28/06 11:22 AM Re: Survivors, Please, Please Help Me Help My Best Friend
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Rich,

I think there are two important things you could do, but neither will be easy.

One would be to get your friend to ease back on the drugs. I have no hang-up about drugs in their recreational aspect; I know from my own experience how much fun they can be and how hilarious and wild things can get under their influence. But as a survivor I can tell you there were numerous times they nearly killed me. The fun part of them I was using as a cover for the fact that I needed them to cope with my abuse issues. I just don't think that a survivor has much of a chance for recovery while he is into drugs in any big way. The initial stages of recovery, at least as I experienced them, take all his emotional and rational resources, and drugs will just hijack him and sent him into a tailspin again. For what it's worth, I would say the same about alcohol, another great nemesis of mine when I was young. These things allow us to hide, whereas a recovering survivor needs to face his demons.

The other thing you can do is somehow try to get him to see he needs help, but this probably be very difficult since it sounds like he is not ready to believe this. One thing you might do is write him a letter. Explain what you see and tell him you bring up this subject only because you are a caring friend; it would have been far easier for you to just let him carry on as he is going now. He will need to hear that IF he was abused (put it that way - leave him the "out") you don't blame or judge him and it wasn't his fault. You don't see him as anything less than before, and regardless of what he decides he can or cannot do, you are still his friend and that will remain. Ask him to keep the letter to look at again if he can't make the crucial decisions now.

In your letter I would also tell him about this site. Emphasize that he would remain anonymous here but would benefit a lot from seeing the support and understanding on offer here.

Only you know your friend well enough to pull off a successful letter, and it will take a lot of thought and time. But hopefully he will take your comments to heart. Sometimes a survivor just can't take the crucial step right away, but then does to later on. So don't lose heart if he doesn't immediately respond as you hope.

It's great he has you as a friend. If he does respond he will one day realize that you were instrumental in his effort to get his life back.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#61010 - 03/28/06 06:29 PM Re: Survivors, Please, Please Help Me Help My Best Friend
sadsister Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/24/06
Posts: 14
Loc: London UK
Rich,

Without having seen Larry's posting, this (writing a letter) is what I spontaneously did with my brother who seemed to be in denial about CSA being the cause of his problems of addiction, anxiety, finances, etc. For the first time, he quietly agreed that this might be the source. I have directed him to this site and will log off permanently after tonight, to give him a chance to truly be anonymous. But it worked (I hope). Sometimes it is so much easier to write the unspeakable.

Good luck. You are a great friend.


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#61011 - 03/28/06 11:42 PM Re: Survivors, Please, Please Help Me Help My Best Friend
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Rich
I wish any advice I give could be given with some certainty, but we all know that's impossible. And I don't say that to sound as though I'm in any way not understanding your need to ask these difficult questions.

How your friend will react to what you decide to do is unknown, and he will probably react in a way that even he wouldn't be able to predict, so I guess it boils to down to making the best of a difficult situation.

Something that you can plan for though is the aftermath, and this does need a bit of thought if you are going to challenge him in some way, however gentle. And possibly just asking him outright if he was abused might be the answer, he is dropping big hints after all.
I can remember dropping hints to my wife long before I disclosed fully, but my hints were way too subtle and went unnoticed, but I think that if she had responded and asked me outright then I would have felt relief.

For me the fear was always that I wouldn't be believed, then I would be thought of as a liar and people would leave me. I was proved wrong on all those points and many others, and the vast majority of survivors will say the same thing.
But making that huge decision to disclose is probably the scariest thing we do because we really are throwing ourselves into the unknown.

That's why YOUR plan is so important.
If you challenge him ( and I use the word 'challenge' to mean anything where you ask him, however you do it ) then he really does need to know 'why?' - and also 'what else are you planning on doing?' So I think it's important that you have quick answers ready for him, to reassure him that you are acting with his best interests at heart and will do the best you can to support him.

If he see's support, friendship, love, respect and honesty as part of the deal of disclosure then he's much more likely to respond positively.

Sometimes we need a kick in the butt to get us started, and there's nothing wrong with that, especially when a true friend wears the boot.

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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#61012 - 03/30/06 03:21 AM Re: Survivors, Please, Please Help Me Help My Best Friend
nymij Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/29/06
Posts: 16
Loc: Dallas Metroplex
Rich

Sort of new to this support online forum stuff. I had a dramatic event (self destructive) happen where I disclosed a small portion (albeit significant) of my abuse to my wife. My wife told me that I was abused. I got uncharactaristically angry, but shoved it down and told her it was not abuse.

I went to a Psychologist and Therapist. The Psychologist was gentle and listened to me as I disclosed what I told my wife, and squeeked a little more detail out. At the end, she asked if I thought I was abused. I said, NO.

The next session, we reviewed what we talked about and a little more detail came out about abuse, and an alcholic mother. At the end of the session, she asked if I thought I was abused and what I thought of my family environment growing up... I firmly and proudly told her that I knew it wasn't abused and that my childhood family was a great loving family.

The next session, she sat me down and told me a story about one of "her clients." This client had an almost identical story. While I listened I found myself stressed. At the end of that session, she asked me how I felt about the story. I told her without hesitation that that poor kid needed help, and the family he grew up in is all messed up. Then the question: "Do you see any differences between you and my client?"

Now, I consider myself to be a pretty smart fella. And, although you probably saw where this was going. I did not. I was so much into denial, I could not see it. My body saw and felt it, but I was mad at a fictitious client of my Psychologist. But, I couldnt even SEE that he, was me.

After those visits, my T and Wife gently but firmly continued to help/force me to talk about and help/force me to talk about it. For no less than 6 months, I held firm that it wasn't abuse, my mom wasn't an alcholic, and my family is not perfect. And, when I was coerced/helped to admit that logically, I have to admit it was abuse, etc.... I would get angry. Anger was a foriegn emotion to me...

My point. I am surprised every time I think, read, write, or talk about the effects of abuse on a person's mind. EG - Here I am, a smart guy, who agrees that what I experienced was abuse by definition (when not associated with me), and I have used denial to such an extent that I could NOT see it, for 6 months of difficult work...

I know there are no answers or techniques I'm sharing with you. However, thanks to people that care for me, thier patience and understanding of the effects of CSA, I was able to actually say it. Now, not only can I say it, but look at me on here writing about it to a bunch of people I don't know...

Keep loving him Rich. Don't get sexual with him, no matter how much he or you want to. Although he may say he needs it, that is not what he needs right now. He needs someone who will love him unconditionally. You're a good freind.

Jim

_________________________
Phil 3:13

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#61013 - 03/30/06 04:57 AM Re: Survivors, Please, Please Help Me Help My Best Friend
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Hi Rich,

I haven't read the whole thread but I wanted to comment on one thing.

I think that if you want your friendship with this person to last until the time that he is well, you should not encourage his unhealthy behavior.

A lot of people will talk about how they move on from the friendships they had when they were drinking or partying, not even because those people were bad, but because they associate the relationships with a part of themselves that they don't relate to anymore.

Let him know that the guy you are friends with is the guy underneath the addictions and fears.

That doesn't mean lecturing him about the evils of pot or anything-- but I think that you should be honest with him when he asks about your concerns, and just be your own healthiest self around him.

SAR


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#61014 - 04/06/06 05:18 AM Re: Survivors, Please, Please Help Me Help My Best Friend
lostcowboy Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/04
Posts: 797
Loc: North Texas
Hi Rich, here is a web site on Male Rape

On his denial that the CSA took place, and only talking about it under the influence. I thank it is his way of being able to save face if you should prove to be insensitive about it. (He was only talking out of his head, due to the drugs), right now he needs a out. He also needs it to numb the shame involved. Rape is the only crime where the victim blames himself for what happened, and somewhere deep down he knows that if he tells you what happened, you will blame him to! Somehow as a kid he got his father so sexually turned on that his father could not help himself and had sex with him. I know this sounds nuts, but it is the only way what happened to him makes sense.

About nitrous oxide it just may be a more dangerous drug than you know.

Take care,
Lostcowboy

_________________________
"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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