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#62793 - 07/26/06 02:01 AM Please Advise
tservo Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/26/06
Posts: 21
Loc: Illinois
Hi,

Two days ago I found out that a 21 yr old friend, Brian, was sexually abused from a very young age. This went a long way in explaining some of the behavoir he had displayed towards me since I befriended him. I am a 40 yr old woman.

I know that Brian is in need of help, but I don't want to push him into anything he is not ready for. He disclosed the information and then left for home. Can someone please give me an idea of how I can approach him? How I can let him know that I will help in whatever way that I can? I am just not comfortable with pushing him too hard.

Thank you very much.


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#62794 - 07/26/06 04:54 AM Re: Please Advise
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
Hi,

I think one of the most important things you can do initially is to communicate to him that he is believed and accepted just as he is. Most likely he has gone through most of his life feeling like no one will believe him, even that no one cares, feeling a tremendous sense of worthlessness. Just knowing he had been heard, believed, and accepted in spite of it all can be huge.

I'm sure others here will have more to say on the subject, but those were the things that were so important to me. It was life changing to be believed and loved after disclosing the terrible things that had happened to me.

Lots of love,

John

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#62795 - 07/26/06 09:51 AM Re: Please Advise
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

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

Brian's disclosure is quite an honor! He's a young guy looking for someone safe to tell, and he picked you.

I'm not surprised he told you and then split. He is probably overwhelmed with all the negative feelings that arise from abuse, and John hits the nail on the head, I think, when he suggests that Brian fears that no one will believe him. That is in fact what abusers often tell the kids they molest.

The other side of this is just as bad, though. If you DO believe him, Brian may wonder, what will you think of him? Will you blame him and think he "wanted it"? Will you think him disgusting because he didn't know how to make it stop? Etc.

If you say nothing now, he will be left to draw his own conclusions and these conclusions will probably be very negative. So I think you should reply to him somehow.

A nice letter would help him a lot. Thank him for his courage in telling you, and let him know you believe him and he isn't alone. You are ready to listen to whatever else he needs to say, and if he needs support in, say, seeking professional help, you will be there for him.

He will also be helped a lot if you tell him that abuse is never the boy's fault and that if he didn't know how to say no that doesn't mean he was to blame in any way.

There is one especially big area he might hint at. A boy who is abused long-term will go through puberty with the abuser, and I can assure you that is just about the most devastating thing that can happen to him. The abuser will crow at the physical changes, and the boy may feel like he is somehow "turning into" something like the abuser. If Brian goes there he will need to hear that a boy's body will respond to stimulation even if he fears and loathes what is happening to him. This isn't his fault either, and if the abuser told him, "Look, this shows you like it too", that's just another proof of what heartless liars sexual predators are.

Most of all, he will need to see you still approve of him as Brian. He will learn a lot if he sees that you can still see him as a good person, separate from all the terrible things that were done to him.

Hope this helps, and good luck!

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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#62796 - 07/26/06 03:12 PM Re: Please Advise
surfdude Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/07/06
Posts: 95
Loc: Hawaii
tservo,

The most hurtful experiences I have had dealing with my abuse is to feel rejected by people I have revealed my secrets to.

It is really an honor that Brian chose to tell you about himself. He's probably revealing things to you that not many people hear and he must feel safe with you.

I know that shame and fear of rejection will cause me to pull away from people I have told. I haven't had good luck in this area and have told people who rejected me or worse, took advantage of my weakness.

You don't sound like that type of a person or you wouldn't be here on this site. Lucky Brian.

I know that patience, understanding, acceptance and love would go a long way in helping me deal with my problems. Someone to talk to when I need to and a few hugs would be priceless.

Sunny


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#62797 - 07/26/06 05:08 PM Re: Please Advise
tservo Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/26/06
Posts: 21
Loc: Illinois
When he told me the first thing I said was, "Who?". He answered that it was several people. Then I asked how old he was and he said, "5". I immediately followed that up with, "This changes nothing. I am still your friend. You deserve kindness and respect." That seemed to upset him which worried me.

Thank you so much for your reassurance. It means a great deal to me.


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#62798 - 07/26/06 05:32 PM Re: Please Advise
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

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

I can think of several reasons why Brian is upset. First, now that he has told you he realizes that he can't claim the information back! It's "out there" now. He has to trust you, and trust is a rough issue for a survivor.

The other problem is this: Now what? He needed to say it, now he has, and he can't figure out what comes next.

As I guess you can see, the sexual abuse of a child isn't just a matter of physical violation. The emotional devastation is even worse, and it lasts and lasts, until the survivor realizes he has to do something or just fall to pieces in it.

Good luck with your letter, if that is the way you are planning to proceed.

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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#62799 - 07/27/06 11:15 AM Re: Please Advise
surfdude Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/07/06
Posts: 95
Loc: Hawaii
tservo,

Not discounting what you told Brian but sometimes it seemed to me that I've heard so many cliches because that is the right thing to tell someone in my situation. It seems hard to believe that it's true if you heard it before and it wasn't true. You might want to ask if he's told anyone else and what has been his experience.

I have no doubt that you mean well or you wouldn't be here asking questions. Brian needs to not only hear it but to know it in his heart.

I can't tell you exactly what to say or do. My thoughts are only a guide to help you reach your own understanding and solutions.

Sunny


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#62800 - 07/27/06 03:25 PM Re: Please Advise
mphsrvivor Offline
Member

Registered: 07/02/06
Posts: 33
Loc: Tennessee
tservo,

Yet another reason why Brian seemed to be upset was the release of his "secret". As a boy who has kept this part of him a secret for so many years, the act of finally letting down the wall just enough to share it with you can be very overwhelming. When I first told someone and left, I made it back to my car and broke down for 20 minutes. The secret had such a powerful force over us and it is very tough releasing its power.

As Larry pointed out...You are honored by Brian's disclosure. He chose you because on some level he trusts you. If you believe him, it is important that he knows it. It might help you to do some reading on the subject to help understand some of the feelings he may be having. And keep in mind he will go forward at his own pace. I wish you the best with this.

_________________________
---Patrick

"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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