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#64082 - 01/22/03 11:10 PM Seeking Help for a Friend
Louise2323 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/15/02
Posts: 12
Loc: New York
This is my first post, though I have been reading from here for almost a year now. I thank you all for sharing your experiences, yet at the same time wish I didn't have to learn all I did from someone else's pain. My story is as follows, and I will try to be as brief as possible......About a year ago my husband starting bringing a friend from work home....he was very sweet, polite, always went out of his way for us. My daughter, who is 3, absolutely adored him, as did I, and he started spending most of his free time at our house. He used to talk more to me about his situations, like at home - which wasn't too great for him, his ex-girlfriends who really did a number on him, and then he told me that he was molested when he was about 10, (along with a few of his friends, and about 15 younger kids). My friend testified again him, and the jerk has been locked up at least 10 years now. I didn't really know what to say,and I told him that, and that I didn't want to say the wrong things,and he assured me I couldn't. I tried to be as comforting to him as I could be, and that night he left in tears, right after I gave him a great big hug. My heart broke for him, it was like looking at such an innocent little boy full of pain....and I felt the need to help him. I don't know if that was just for him, or in a way for myself becuase I do tend to "take care of people" or try to make a difference. In either case, I went to the bookstore the next day and bought quite a few books on male sex abuse and read as much as I could. ( I also found this site, and read from it quite frequently). He didn't bring it up for a few weeks after that, but I wanted to be prepared this time, with possibly some helpful answers for him. During the next few months, we talked about it many times, and he did seem receptive to me trying to help him, and I told him it was to be on his terms. If he ever felt I was pushing him (he did say he would not go to therapy) that he would not be afraid to tell me to back off.
To give you some inside as to his behavior, he really didn't seem that bad to me, if that makes sense. He held a responsible job with a good income, held an officer position in his local firehouse, had more friends than anyone I knew, never did drugs in his life, and always went out of his way to please people. (At least he did for our family.) Now for the flip side....I could see the pent up rage he had, and how he would get mad at things that really shouldn't have made him mad, he did have a drinking problem he didn't want to admit to - but did say he drank to forget, had extremely low self esteem both with males and females - even though he is very attractive, and always seemed to go the opposite of authority.
I know I am not the only person he told about his abuse; when he drank he opened up to other people, only girls, about the abuse - it wasn't something he was ashamed of, but yet would never discuss it with his male friends. At this point I don't think many of them knew, but my husband did, and the subject never came up between them. Reading all I have on this subject, I totally understood his behavior, and I was trying to help him see that he did not have to feel bad about himself, carry the rage that he did, and that there was help out there for him. He is only 25, and after reading the hundreds of stories I have, I was trying to get him help before he had the stress in his life of a relationship, family, bills etc. I saw what the combined stress did to so many others, and I really thought he had a great chance of recovering with therapy. But as I know, it had to be his decision.
During the next few months, I had watched him become self destructive...which he probably was all along I just didn't see into is as well, but I must say the time he spent with my family was not destructive...he didn't drink around us, and I know he found us comforting to be with. He ended up having an outburst around some of his friends, as they were teasing him about something sexual with another guy (he says he is not gay...and is very homophobic). It was very stupid actually, but these group of friends bust on each other, and since they didn't know of the abuse they pushed him too far. I tried to end it before he flipped, but wasn't able to.
From that night on, even though his friends let him know they were there for him if he needed them, he threw himself into another group of friends and work....worked all week, and drank ALL weekend. He never saw himself as destructive, and I found that sometimes he took my advice as critisism and shyed away from me as well. So I backed off and let him be....untill...the night I got a call to come pick him up in jail. His drinking got him in trouble...and he was now at rock bottom.
That was probably the longest night of my life, and he told me things I never imagined. He was very hard on himself, extremely upset that he was handcuffed and not in control, cried uncontrollably (while drinking some more) and told me how he had planned to kill himself a few months back, (with drugs from our house!!!) but couldnt' go through with it after he had come over that day. That was it for me....therapy wasn't an option anymore, and I was bringing him. He agreed (thank god, cause I dont' really think I would have known how to force him without trying to commit him),but it would only be one time, and I spent the next day or two find a female therapist (his request) that specialized in male sex abuse. By the grace of god, I found an excellend woman, who he seemed to like. Watching him was like watching a little boy....my heart hurt for him....he was so scared to go for the first time. I will never forget it as long as I live...we went into this waiting room where there was a childrens table and chairs, and adult chairs along the wall. He went right to the children's table and sat down, biting his nails. I sat in the adult chair, and when the therapist came in and introduced herself, he was extremely nervous and walked away with her just like a little kid. His innocense totally amazed me. I think that is why I always had such a soft spot for him and tried to help him...I see him as an innocent lost little boy. Anyways....trying to cut this short as I am sure you are tired of reading...I continued bringing him for the next couple of weeks, and then I would just drop him off and pick him up. His progress was amazing...his thoughts were so much clearer, he actually seem comfortable in his own skin for once. The rage had lessened, and best of all, HE noticed a difference...but still he said he wasn't going to go that long. As they started getting into the heavy stuff, he started going alone...He needed the time alone to think afterwards I imagine. He didn't talk in detail about his sessions, and I didn't ask.
A few weeks later, his mom suddenly passed away....and that set him back incredibly. He drank out of control, ran from everyone, and the rage was like nothing I had ever seen. It seemed like before then he was on good behavior around me, but now that was gone. He was mad at everything around him...was mad about therapy (at this point, because of his run in with the law problem he was mandated to continue with therapy) and became cold and extremely self destructive. I tried to help as best as I could, but he told me I was pushing too hard and to back off which I did. I told him that when he was ready, I was there for him.
He started drinking a little less since then, but hasn't been to therapy in a about 6 weeks due to the holidays, his work schedule, and his lack of desire to go. My last discussion with him was about therapy, and how it can help him, but he insists it can't and he is doomed to be miserable. I told him to ask the therapist about EMDR, eye movement desensitation and reprosessing, as maybe that would help him, and he said he would..if he goes again....but that brings me to my dilema in needing help. What do I do for him from here? How do I help him, or even can I? I just want to make him see how he can be helped, and why he needs help, but I don't seem to be able to. I want so much more for him than he seems to be able to want for himself...I think he deserves it. I dont' want to see him make the same mistakes so many other people have, but I also don't want him to think I am critising him. Out of anyone I know, I admire him the most, I just wish I could make him see what an awesome person he is. I tell him that all the time, so it's not like he hasn't heard it. His other friends have told him great things about himself as well. Sometimes I do think he tells people things just for attention, but I do know that he really is insecure with himself in most aspects of his life. It hurst to see him do things hurtful to himself and family ( I have gotten very close with his family during this time..his sister is my age with a daughter my child's age and they are together all the time) and I don't know what to do.
Any help or advice from you all would be greatly appreciated!! Also, I have left sooo much out in trying to make this shorter, so if you have any questions...please just ask!
Thanks again to everyone for posting here and making such a difference in so many peoples lives!


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#64083 - 01/23/03 12:37 PM Re: Seeking Help for a Friend
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Louise
If we had to design the perfect helper and supporter, we'd model them on you.

Your post is full of so much help and compassion, and that's what we need.

I've no doubt you've checked out Wifey's recent post though, and she says - and I think most of us would agree with - we can't be pushed and forced. But love and support works wonders.

Thanks for all your work in helping you friend, I'm sure it's going to work.

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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#64084 - 01/23/03 12:54 PM Re: Seeking Help for a Friend
Louise2323 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/15/02
Posts: 12
Loc: New York
Lloydy,
Thanks for responding! So basically, there is nothing I can do, it is all up to him, is that correct?
The only reason I want to try so hard is because of our situation; since I am married, he tends to shy away sometimes, out of respect of my husband. It seems that lately it usually is me seeking him out, although he is always receptive. He has very high moral standards when it comes to relationships and women, so I know that even though my hubby understands all that I do for him and is ok with it, our friend still doesn't want to cross any lines and interfere between hubby and I.....which is another reason I admire him so much!!

I will back off of him for now, but should I bring up him going back to therapy every now and then, or drop it totally?

Thanks for all your kind words....and I really hope I can make a difference for him!


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#64085 - 01/23/03 02:33 PM Re: Seeking Help for a Friend
Les_Angry Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/06/02
Posts: 195
I think what you are doing for him is great. My wife was a big help for me. Basically she was there for me to talk to when I needed to (ad nausuem sometimes I'm sure) and she really respected my desire not to talk about certain things or try to push me. I think if you just let your friend know you are there when he needs you, thats the most you can do.

I heard it takes different people different lengths of time to deal with it. I also heard they can't be done with it till they are done with it, and different people decide they are done with it for different reasons.

I personally started dealing with this stuff about 4 years and 8 months ago. For the first 6 months or so, I was unable to function and I actually stayed on disability. For the next 2 years, I basically tried to funtion normally unsuccesfully, lived in the past 24/7, and pushed my wife to her limits of patience. Then I had kind of a religious awakening / breakdown and stuffed it for another 18 months. My life improved significantly over that time, but then it came back to get me again. Then I found a really good therapist who pulled me out of the past and got me to deal with "here and now" issues. Somehow reading a book on verbal abuse did it for me and my crisis was over.

I still work on this stuff a lot (maybe because I am afraid of letting it go and loosing control over when it come back to get me). I don't know, I just feel like its the right thing to do for many reasons. My mother in law spent about the same amount of time dealing with her abuse and just decided she was sick of it and let it go. I don't think she dealt with her issues though and I would bet they will come back again.

Its been a rocky road, but if you can stick it out for your friend you can get him through to the other side. I recommend trying to steer him to here and now issues, but I think I had to spend time with my past too.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for your friend. I am very greatful to my wife and therapists for thier help.

Mo Healing


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#64086 - 01/23/03 02:42 PM Re: Seeking Help for a Friend
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5773
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
Hi Louise:
You can't force him to go, but your insistance got him to go that first time. He will probably use you as an outlet but you are not his therapist and you saw how desperate and dangerous he has been to himself and potentially others.

As long as you allow him to use your friendship as a substitute for therapy, he will bleed off some of the pressure and probably continue to numb out with the alcohol.

One possibility is to say that you are not comfortable with the sense of responsibility you feel (this is YOUR feeling) when he leans on you and you worry too much about him. Ask him if you can go with him to another session with the current/prior therapist and discuss your concerns about him. That may re-open the door for him to get back into the therapy he REALLY needs. Short of that, if he refuses, ask his permission to talk with the therapist (he will have to sign a release which may mean a visit or asking for one to be mailed to him, returned to her).

Otherwise, he will not likely resolve all this on his own.
Ken


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#64087 - 01/23/03 04:12 PM Re: Seeking Help for a Friend
Wifey1 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/03/02
Posts: 380
Dear Louise,
I read with great interest your posting, -- I can only heartily agree with Ksinger on this.
Something struck me in your posting & am not quite sure how you worded it -- something about always wanting or always helping folks.??? That you do that???
Obviously you & your spouse feel a great deal for your mutual friend. BUT, have a couple questions for you in this. (because i am a queen codependant)...
perhaps you need to consider your OWN self in this and your relationship with your spouse?
When someone elses behavior affects / effects us -- begins to drain on our emotional selves we have to "rescue ourselves" first before we can think clearly about the other. Or in other words be able to remove ourselves from the situation enuff to be able to step back and see what other not so involved persons can see.
the other thing I suggest is talking to your hubby about is HOW the relationship with this friend has or is effecting / affecting your relationship with your hubby?
Years ago a girlfriend was coming to me with her problems a lot, and i personally was so embroiled in trying to be her therapist and rescuer i had no idea that hubby2 was being injured in the process. Only thru a huge fight between hubby2 & I did he disclose he was sick of her "always being there" and that we had not had our own "ALONE TIME". Thank God I was in therapy myself at the time & with the help of my therapist some balance was able to be worked out -- I had to confront my friend & it was hard it hurt her feelings and she wrote me a nasty note we didnt speak for over a year -- it is now 12 yrs later & she is the friend I posted about who is having probs with her now spouse & masturbation. BOTH my friend & I have to be careful not to be codependant with each other.
Hubby2 & I talked the other night -- he admitted that when I was always off doing something for or with other people it made him jealous & he would bury his own pain & anger to protect me. Said he knew i was abused & rationlized he knew where my behavior was coming from... denying his own needs in the process.
I told him for now on when my behavior is making him feel anything the greatest respect he could give me was to just tell me so that I could then choose to change it or come to a better balance.
I told him that my flirting with other guys even in his presence, or trying to "fix others' was very disrepectful to HIM (hubby2) and our marriage.... hubby2 has a right to feel safe from my behavior as i do from his.. that we are married for a reason and we need to HONOR that.
You're in a hard spot, and have a heart of gold for all you have done to support your friend.
But the truth is YOU cant fix him.... its harder than hell, and its personally painful as hell.
You may need to consider extracting yourselves from the relationship.... for a short time or even permanently... but only your friend can heal himself,...
Take care of YOU, because if you dont , you cannot have energy to care for others....
Bless you and best of Luck, come back and post often.... You're right this is a great place and lots of support and knowledge!!
Peace, Wifey1


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