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#61225 - 01/31/01 09:23 PM What can a friend do?
centris650 Offline
Member

Registered: 01/31/01
Posts: 2
Loc: Atlantic Canada
Hello to all,

I am an 18 year old male. Although it may or may not be concrete, my closest friend, a 24 year old male, has most likely been sexually abused as a very young child. The issue here is not about uncovering his past and/or the truth- It's about what I can do as a friend. Naturally, I've learned that the best thing I can do is just be there and listen, although lately I've felt the need to have more information.

My friend and I have known each other for nearly two years now. Although there are the official labels for the friends that he has known much longer than me, none seem to have the closeness and understanding that we have. We really hit it off from day one, and seem to share the same brain waves- This is part of my concern. I understand that victims of sexual abuse may not be able to effectively connect with -anyone- in terms of a relationship, whether it be a friend, lover, or parent. However, if he confides in someone, it will probably be me, as there is nobody else he would feel more comfortable talking to than me. But at this moment, he claims that he doesn't care to talk to anyone. (Mostly from lack of energy, I conclude) This I completely understand (I must stress this), however, my fear is that he has reached a dead end if there is a total dismissal of giving attention to this situation.

Anyway, I've made it a point to never be forceful or invasive with help or questions. I've just been there, while still offering my perspective when asked. My friend and I have explored his childhood past through conversation and research on what we saw as every possible facet of his life. We've even gone for drives down the long, abandoned roads, revisiting his "birth home". It was a taxing confrontation, and quite honestly, not unlike Jenny revisiting her childhood home in "Forrest Gump".

Never attaining satisfactory results, we stumbled across new information just days ago, in particular from a sexual assault counselor.
Now, unexplainable gaps in his life are becoming filled with possible answers.

Like a revelation, he felt that he was on to something after the discovery of this new information just less than a week ago. It possibly meant the beginning of recovery from being such a troubled person.

That was last week, however. Calling tonight was a different story. Like a couple of times before, I found him immersed in feelings of aimless wandering and near death. Never before have I found him to be this down. (It's important to note that I, too, am often swimming through severe depression, anxiety, suicidal feelings, and dealing with all the hurts attached to being a homosexual youth in a senior citizens' town) Although I don't feel regret for caring, I may have said something wrong. It was along the tone of "I was just calling because I care and wanted to know how you were". The general response was similar to "Now's not the time to get close to me."

I am beginning to understand that even couples who are in established, happy, and loving (fundamentally) marriages can have trouble with love and trust when one has been sexually abused. Therefore, I try not to let myself feel so bad after being burned by my best friend, keeping in mind the struggles of people who are as close as those mentioned above.

At the end of the day, I'm left feeling empty, though. I'm turning here with my unanswered questions. He has stated before that he never really wants to be alone, even when he says so. "It's more dangerous when I'm alone". But after this, am I supposed to just go over and sit quietly, watching TV, while affirming my care just through the mutual silence? Or do I give him the infinite personal space that fate would leave him, potentially for an eternity, as he even lacks the esteem to cry out for help to his best friend?

I see this is more of a journal now, but I'm leaving these questions. What is the best thing a friend can do, and how can I effectively begin to understand what he is experiencing?

Any words would be gold to me

Thanks,
centris650

[This message has been edited by centris650 (edited 01-31-2001).]


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#61226 - 02/01/01 06:11 PM Re: What can a friend do?
Shelby Offline
Member

Registered: 11/27/00
Posts: 36
Loc: Littleton,CO USA
Centris
What i would have given to have a friend like you. One question that I was not quite sure of in your story is "Is your friend also Gay?" or "Does he know you are Gay?" I'm assuming he at least knows you are if your relationship is as close as you say. If he is not gay and his abuse was at the hands of another male, this presents feeling we all have, being surviors of such. So, he may be fighting his sexual identity still. As with many of us, our bodies told us it felt good (most cases) but our brains told us it was wrong, thus the internal conflict many times.

I know my wife supported my seeing a shrink and it did help me, but she was very scared to touch the suject in conversation, which I, for some reason, would or could not open for discussion. I would have loved for her to get up nerve to ask those delicate questions and let me download it, but she didn't and now we have separated due in her mind, to my lack of communication. We are confused people, even though many of us have been able to see the reality and no longer blame ourselves, we still have bouts of insecurity around it.

For the record I am now in my 40's and it took a long time to reach that acceptance, I as a straight man still feel unconfortable around movies that have gay content, when other make jokes. I know that my body was able to respond in a pleasurable way to another male and feel very guilty about it, even when I know the reason.

Just be that friend you say you are and for God's sake do not leave him alone, even if it means just sitting silently watching TV with him. He needs the security of having a friend who understands and will give him support, when he needs or asks for it.

My hat is off to you, we could all use a friend like you.


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#61227 - 02/04/01 06:51 PM Re: What can a friend do?
centris650 Offline
Member

Registered: 01/31/01
Posts: 2
Loc: Atlantic Canada
Shelby, thanks for the needed insight. I was almost sure that I would be asked if my friend was gay as well. That is something that I don't think I'll ever really know- Or he'll even know. He definitely knows that I am and we discuss it quite frequently. But that's a different story, and I didn't want to get too deep into that because I was afraid my post would have to be moved to the gay area and it was really about friends and family.

I wish I could have made this reply a bit earlier, but I'm away from the computer more now. I'm doing whatever I can to keep myself going.

Thanks again


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#61228 - 02/04/01 10:58 PM Re: What can a friend do?
Shelby Offline
Member

Registered: 11/27/00
Posts: 36
Loc: Littleton,CO USA
Centris....
I think at least for now this qualifies under friends and family. The fact you are gay for the most part has very little bearing on it. My next question is also probably one you have been waiting for, "Are you attracted to him, romantically?" And if so, is he aware of this? If not, does he think he might be attracted to you, since you are friends? This can be a very confusing question for many of us. It's something you may ask him, if you are comfortable asking. Don't get me wrong, I see a person sexuality as having nothing to do with friendships, but these are circumstances that are far from ordinary, when you are talking about an abused male. Our psycological make up is quite different from that of a woman when dealing with sexual abuse, especially when a male is abused by another male. We may get answers and can see the logic, but we still, deep down, have doubts and hangups. Personally, I'd have you for a friend, gay or straight, you are a great support. Keep up the good work.


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