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#212895 - 03/25/08 06:04 AM New and have a few questions/concerns!
ConcernedFriend Offline
New Here

Registered: 03/25/08
Posts: 2

I met a man about 5 months ago. We were both going through difficult times which is why I think we became "fast friends." From the very beginning I sensed something traumatic happened to him, I just didn't know what.

Here are a few observations.

1. He is very reserved and private. He doesn't usually make friends fast and I think I've been an exception for him and it's probably because I wouldn't go away. For example, even though we exchange emails daily and spend many afternoons together, it's only been in the last month that he gave me his phone number.
2. He is 36 and only been in 1 serious relationship and it was one that was troubled from the beginning.
3. He has a drinking problem. I think it was obvious from the beginning but I didn't want to see it until recently.
4. I think he's depressed. I am not a professional but I have been surrounded by depression my entire life and he has many symptoms.
5. He's a loner..he has friends...most of them aren't close though...even with his family..he loves his mom but he has 2 sisters who he's "kind of" close with and that's about it. He feels no connection with his neices/nephews either.

On Sat., he called me and after talking for about an hour and I told him I wanted to tell him something kind of serious because I knew it would be bugging me all week and wanted to share it with him. I told him I was going to my cousins wedding on Sat. and I was going to have to see another cousin who sexually abused me as a child. I then told him how I was in therapy for years because of it and how I don't let it control me anymore but when I have to see him, I start reliving it. Then, he told me that he was also sexually abused and that it "wasn't by a woman." I remember feeling his was so hard for him to say those words and I know him well enough to know he hasn't said them to very many people. I told him how sorry I was and he kind of blew it off and a few minutes later we hung up. I have to make it clear that he had had a few drinks. He had went to a birthday party earlier and when I started telling him my story, I actually started stumbling over my words because I thought, "you can't tell him this after he's been drinking" but had started so finished..I'm sure he wouldn't have told me if he had been sober.

I saw him today and he was so distant. I was looking at him many times (he looked kind of lost) and he kept saying, "what is that look for?" It broke my heart to know that he was having such a hard time with telling me so I just acted normal but it was strained. I remember being him 20 years ago. It was so hard for me to tell people..the shame I felt!

So, here are my 2 questions.

1. I know that the characteristics I listed could apply to many things but knowing that he was abused, do these sound like they could be a symptom of him not dealing with the abuse?
2. Should I say/do anything or just wait for him to bring it up again? Obviously, we've only been friends for a few months now and it would be out of line for me jump in too much but I don't even know if I should thank him for trusting me or let him know I'm here for him. It's taken us so long to get to this point.

Thank you for any words of advice, I feel kind of lost and very confused on what, if anything, I should do!

And, I guess I should say this as well as I would be concerned if I read this post...I do realize his alcholosim is a problem and have pulled out my al-anon books and looked up a local meeting (which are on Weds. in my small town). My brother and father are recovering addicts and I've known many others and realize that that is an issue in itself. I'm in therapy myself and when I'm ready will dive into that part of our relationship (but right now my mom is dying of cancer and that has to be my priority).

Finally, this is a platonic friendship. I don't know if that's important but I thought I would mention it. I do care for him and I think he cares about me but at this point it's platonic and neither of us are ready to cross the line!

#212934 - 03/25/08 01:52 PM Re: New and have a few questions/concerns! [Re: ConcernedFriend]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus

Registered: 01/28/08
Posts: 2615
Loc: Central PA
I don't know if the things you listed are symptoms of "not" dealing with abuse, but I know that list is certainly things that those who have been abused can relate to. All except the alcoholism apply to me nearly 100%. And the only reason I'm not an alcoholic right now is the fact that the first time I came home after having way way too much my wife's reaction broke my heart. I still have a strong urge to drink now and again, but I haven't had anything in quite awhile. I don't want to hurt her again.

I'd say he definitely needs help, but if he's not ready to deal with it he isn't going to deal with it. I'd say the best thing you can do is just be there for him. He's told you his secret and now he's afraid and paranoid about it. I know I tried to tell people a few times in my life but never did, but that small stuff I did share ended putting a huge strain between those I shared with because it made me very insecure to do so. And yes, probably his having been drinking allowed his admission to come out easier. Opening up means being vulnerable. That's scary for someone who has been abused.

As for you just not going away.... :-) The one lady I met that just wouldn't go away, she wouldn't let me go off and be alone when I tried to isolate myself, she wouldn't let me just disappear ended up being the lady I married :-) So you never know. But she was never forceful in a mean way. Just always there, reaching out to me. Of course like all my other relationships in life (and there were only a few) I still kept her at arms length. Keeping her at a safe distance. This is changing as I heal, but it's a reality for many of those who have been hurt. Keep people from getting close. He's probably feeling that since you know, you're too close. He'll try to pull away. I'd say let him have some distance, but don't let him get away or he'll bolt. At least that's what I always did.

Let him know somehow that you're ok with him. That your opinion of him hasn't changed. You don't have to say those words, but your actions should somehow convey that. Don't let it get all weird between you if you can help it. He'll feel weird regardless for awhile, but in time that'll calm down. It did for me.

Hope this helps, and I hope in time you can help him in some way start his road to recovery.

#212961 - 03/25/08 03:16 PM Re: New and have a few questions/concerns! [Re: JustScott]
ConcernedFriend Offline
New Here

Registered: 03/25/08
Posts: 2
Thank you so much for responding! I was very nervous last night after I sent that. I guess I felt vulnerable.

My instincts told me that I had to let him know that things haven't changed so it was nice having someone reinforce that!

You did help!


#212962 - 03/25/08 03:27 PM Re: New and have a few questions/concerns! [Re: ConcernedFriend]
Freedom49 Offline

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 2724
Loc: Washington State
Hi Stacy, First thank you for your post and thank you for being a good friend. Sounds like he could use a good friend. What Scott said is absolutely correct.
Second you might leave the link to ths web site lying around for him to find and explore on his own with a de>

#212981 - 03/25/08 05:01 PM Re: New and have a few questions/concerns! [Re: Freedom49]
ericc Offline

Registered: 01/05/08
Posts: 1986

I just want to echo both what Scott and Roger have said. I just turned 36 recently. Like Scott, I can relate to your list above, including the drinking problem. I have gotten better in some/many regards to what you have listed (more to go), but I have been there 100% and when I saw 36, I couldn't help but think that person was me. Your friend is not alone in what he is going through, but unfortunately until he can learn that others have been there and that he is actually not alone in what he has experienced, if he felt anyway like I did, he probably feels like no one in the world has a clue what it is like for him and is probably feeling alienated as all can be. At least that is where I was at, and I think for many here it may have been the same.

He is really lucky to have you as a friend, and your concern and willingness to reach out is awesome. Hopefully this can be a start for him to deal with this stuff and heal from it. My own experience is that it never got better keeping it locked up inside and hoping it would 'just go away'.

I wanted to add as a side note, only in case he has any similar feelings or issues, that I had further problems that stemmed from my guilt over the person I had become after this happened to me. I got in a lot of trouble and did a lot of things that I am not proud of. I wasn't prefect before this, but I am pretty sure the abuse issues really made things worse. I just know it made me feel like dirt to think about this stuff and made it harder to deal with everything. Classic acting out I think; not that it is an excuse, but it does happen. He may not have issues here, but I just wanted to add this in case he carries around these feelings of shame or guilt or whatever. Even without having any of these issues, guilt and shame seem to be pretty normal feelings for someone who has been through this. But it was not his fault that it happened.

Again, I think it is awesome that you care and are reaching out to your friend like this.



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