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#451048 - 10/23/13 09:48 AM Telling Friends
Banjo596 Offline

Registered: 08/20/13
Posts: 93
Loc: Ohio
I think often about telling my friends about the fact that I was sexually abused as a child. I don't have a lot of friends, so I am talking about 4 in particular whom I spend my leisure time with.
I am at a point where I realize just how freeing telling my story can be. I've told my counselor, my mother, my brother is aware but we haven't discussed it, and I told 7 very strong and courageous men at this past WOR.
Whenever I run the scenario of telling my 4 friends through my mind, I get emotional and scared.
I anticipate "chickening out" and saying nothing, but I know deep down just how healing and freeing it can be.
I don't want to miss an opportunity to heal and free myself.
Any advise for me?
Anyone else find their self in a similar situation in the past and how did you handle it, how did it go for you?
Thanks for any responses.

#451049 - 10/23/13 10:12 AM Re: Telling Friends [Re: Banjo596]
On The Fringe Offline

Registered: 09/21/13
Posts: 326
Loc: Southeast USA
I know of people here that have mentioned telling friends. Those friends are no longer friends and share the story.

I would not tell friends. It is something that I do not feel the need to broadcast.
I feel more like I do now than I did when I got here.

#451050 - 10/23/13 10:25 AM Re: Telling Friends [Re: Banjo596]
gettingstronger Offline

Registered: 09/24/13
Posts: 317
Loc: Virginia

I've discovered how freeing telling close friends is. I suppose my only caveat is to gauge the relationship first by putting yourself in their shoes for a minute. If they came to you and told you what happened, would you feel ok knowing it? If you'd feel like "why is this relative stranger telling me this," it's probably a good idea not to disclose. If you'd feel like "hey, I'm glad you told me this and I'm sorry as hell it happened," you're ok. Probably stating the obvious here (sorry!) but wanted to throw my two cents in.

You're right about disclosing, though. It's like dragging something moldy out into the light so you can throw bleach on it and clean it up. Even just having it in the light starts the cleaning process all by itself! Hang in there.

Edited by gettingstronger (10/23/13 10:26 AM)
Edit Reason: clarity

#451065 - 10/23/13 12:19 PM Re: Telling Friends [Re: Banjo596]
SoccerStar Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
If it's a REALLY close and long term friendship in which there is precedent for opening up emotionally and sharing worrisome issues or mental health concerns (ie depression) then you should feel safe doing it. If these are more like drinking buds where conversations rarely get deeper than drinking and getting laid, this probably is not the subject matter with which to attempt to deepen it.

Selecting and disclosing to the right friends is immensely healing and "normalizing." You're still just one of the guys afterwards. I've had a lot of great outcomes through careful audience selection:

Good luck!

My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of Heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

#451077 - 10/23/13 02:33 PM Re: Telling Friends [Re: Banjo596]
DavoSwim Offline

Registered: 02/06/13
Posts: 397
Loc: Midwest
Only you can make the final decision regarding whether to tell your friends. Please think carefully about what you are doing. It certainly will be freeing for you, but think about what the effect will be for your friends. If you are longterm friends, and the relationship has gone through ups and downs and you have proven that you all are in it for the long haul, then revealing your past will likely be good for the friendship. If you have have discussed significant topics and shared some very personal experiences, then the precedent has been set, and revealing this would be good. If they are casual friendships, then this will be a big challenge in order to remain friends. A few months ago I told my family, and while it did turn out to be the right decision, I can tell they think differently of me. My family does feel sorry for me in a way they didn't used to do. It's not all bad, but it's different. The reason we've been able to work through this is because we are family and through it all, we love each other. I can tell my sister-in-law is more distant with me than she used to be. After seeing this change in familial relationships, I would be reluctant to tell friends.

Please think carefully about your actions. Once it's done it's done, and there's no going back. Think of the pros and cons before proceeding. Good luck to you.


#451095 - 10/23/13 07:24 PM Re: Telling Friends [Re: Banjo596]
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2715
Loc: durham, north england
Hi Banjo.

I agree with the guys here, telling close friends can be helpful. For me however it was more a need to physically speak to someone, to not feel so alone, and it was evenings when I was absolutely at the worst end of a cycle.

The first two friends I told were two extremely close friends from university, both people I'd feel as close as brothers (one of them is female but the word brother covers her perfectly), but I told both of them over the phone, and both times I spent about 15 minutes on my story, breaking down, crying, and then about another 45 minutes appologising.

In fact all my most emotional disclosures have been over the phone, in person I can never seem to get the words out properly without becoming distant and robotic and utterly cold, (one counseler I tried to tell accused me of sounding as though I were describing a science experiment).

While I agree it can be hugely helpful, especially on really bad moments, one problem I'm discovering is that people might always want to be there for you themselves but circumstances don't always let them be.

One friend I told I now have extreme difficulty getting in contact with, just because he doesn't really have a working phone that he actually uses, and he pretty much has all his time wrapped up with his wife and new baby daughtter, (the fact he has moved to the other end of the country doesn't help either).

On Sunday while I was having a major crash, I actually felt I needed! to talk to someone personally, (a very rare occurrence for me and only when it has to be bad). I tried to phone the other friend I told, but her husband answered the phone. While I'd count him as a friend, I'm not as close to him as I am to his wife, though he knows I've discussed some very personal matters with her.

When I said "hello" he asked me if I was in trouble, since I imagine I sounded like I was. I didn't answer, since I just didn't feel I could outwardly admit as much even though he was fully aware of the fact. He said they'd got some guests around and then asked if I needed to speak to his wife. I said "only if it is convenient" feeling like a self centered pathetic scumbag, and then offered to ring back later, he said he'd tell his wife I phoned, though I don't believe he did.

The strange thing is I think if I'd actually admitted to him (especially since he is a person I have helped out myself), that I was in really dire trouble and needed to speak to someone, he would've been okay, ---- I just at that point wasn't feeling rational enough to put this together, I was totally wrapped up in my own worthlessness and that "I don't want to bother you" mentality that I find so hard to break myself out of.

Btw, and no, there is absolutely zero jealousy, concern or any other silly masculine posturing about my friends' husband, since he's quite aware that his wife and I are extremely close friends and nothing more and have pretty much always been so, ---- believe me with my friends' personality he'd be an idiot to think anything else since she's about as straight forward as an axe in the head.

So, while telling friends can be hugely liberating, helpful, and can (if they're good friends), mean you have someone there for you, circumstances aren't always your friend, and sometimes that is really hard to take.

#451112 - 10/23/13 11:25 PM Re: Telling Friends [Re: Banjo596]
Banjo596 Offline

Registered: 08/20/13
Posts: 93
Loc: Ohio
Thanks so much for the advice offered. I will continue to think about it.
I hadn't really looked at it from the angle of putting myself in their shoes and being the one who is told. It sheds a new light on it.
Two of them I have disclosed to in an email. One is supportive the other does not mention it but mentioned that CSA is something that has been dealt with in his family.
Thanks for giving me something to think about. I believe I will hold off for now.

Edited by Banjo596 (10/23/13 11:27 PM)

#451113 - 10/23/13 11:35 PM Re: Telling Friends [Re: Banjo596]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4287
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
hey, Jeff!

i have told 4 friends - in each case it was a good outcome - but each was very carefully selected and tested beforehand. all were already good friends who had also shared some pretty devastating stuff with me. one had a child who was abused in a teen-age relationship and i wanted to offer some understanding and reassurance. one was my best friend and roommate from college - we were each other's best men and i'd been through the death of 2 of his wives with him. but i didn't tell him until he told me last summer that he had been abused as a boy. another had told me of growing up in a dysfunctional family and had no shame about some of his issues. the last i had worked with and swapped stories of tough times in the past. each had proven themselves trust-worthy. each has remained a friend. in the most crass terms - if they are willing to let you know the dirt on them - then you are most likely to be able to let them safely know the dirt on you.

it does feel good to have a few buddies who love and accept you warts and all. just keep yourself safe while finding them.

How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?...
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails....
Habakkuk 1:2-3

#451122 - 10/24/13 01:11 AM Re: Telling Friends [Re: gettingstronger]
BraveFalcon Offline

Registered: 02/26/13
Posts: 1231
Loc: The ATL

The first person I ever told was a friend. I was 18 at the time and told a friend I had known since the 8th grade. I don't think I really even meant to tell him or anyone that night but I was very suicidal at the time and when we stared talking on the phone the disclosure just started pouring out of me, as did the tears. He was amazingly supportive of me and even wound up hooking me up with his family's therapist.

In the year or so that followed I slowly opend up to a few more people and even got what you might call a little "disclosure happy". While I can't say that any of those disclosures went necessarily badly, there were a couple where the person I was disclosing to was obviously uncomfortable hearing it and afterwards things felt a little awkward. So, I pulled back on the disclosing after that. At the moment I haven't disclosed to anyone new in years.

So, as others have said, disclosing to a friend can be a wonderful, healing experience and it can wind up being a little weird and awkward. You know your friends though and therefore probably have a pretty good idea of which ones will be supportive and which one may not be so much. Good luck with this. Take care. Peace,



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