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#457589 - 12/29/13 04:45 PM Advice regarding a frind (long post!)
Londinium Offline

Registered: 12/28/13
Posts: 5
Hi everyone.

Ive ventured on to these forums as Im wondering if any of you might be able to give me some advice. I have concerns about a friend of mine.

A couple of years ago, I met this lovely guy. We seemed to get on famously and met up a few times. There was obviously a strong attraction between us. I wanted things to develop further than friendship, but he was going out with someone else at the time. (He is mid-thirties and I believe it was his first relationship.) I expressed my feelings, we talked about it sensibly and I decided to walk away. We maintained a distant friendship. (Just for context, were both guys).

About a year later, his relationship had ended and we got back in touch. Whilst the attraction was still there, he seemed very distant and there was a slight awkwardness between us. Despite being slightly awkward face-to-face, there were a lot of very intimate text conversations. His fantasy life seemed rather ... well, I suppose the old fashioned term is slap and tickle. Not usually my kind of thing, but Im open-minded and rather enjoyed fantasising about a bit of playfighting or whatever. But his fantasies rapidly got more and more violent ... so a point where I became extremely uncomfortable. At one point he asked me, in a fantasy context, to physically render him unconscious and use and abuse my unconscious body. I was very uncomfortable with it, even in the context of a text message.

On a couple of occasions when we were actually together, we ended up starting to be physically intimate. It started with the playfighting, but anything more intimate than that and he goes into what I can only describe as shut down. He will lie there, allowing me to touch him, but with his eyes tightly shut, not interacting at all, just bsolutely rigid, as though unconscious. He would only react, in the form of violently, almost in a panic, pushing me away if I touched him anywhere more intimate than the arm or chest. If I goaded him into speaking, he would reply in the voice of a child.

I was a bit freaked out, to say the least. I ended up, one night, getting very drunk with his ex-boyfriend, who wasnt aware of my interest, and who told me why they had split up: because there was never any intimacy between them; that the guy concerned could only ever try to have an intimate moment if he got blind drunk first, and even then it never happened. His ex put it down to him having had a catholic upbringing, couldnt cope with it and dumped him.
But I remembered when I had first met this lovely guy. Wed sgared a few personal secrets, including the fact that he had suffered very badly with depression and a desire to self-harm a few years earlier.
Additionally, he is becoming more and more known amongst our circle of friends as a very heavy drinker; his level of intoxication is now something of a running joke and I know hes turned up at a few professional events inebriated before now.

Earlier this year, things started to come together in my head. The drinking, the depression, the self harm, the violent fantasies, speaking like a child and the inability to engage in physical intimacy....and I came to the conclusion that he may have been sexually abused or assaulted in some way.

I didnt know what to do about it but decided that I had to do something to reach out.

Anyway, one night, after wed been out with friends, I decided to confront it. I was on my way home. I didnt have the courage to ask him face-to-face but I sent him a text, asking him if something bad had ever been done to him.

He gave me an odd reply. He said he didnt think so but it was kind of me to ask. Which is neither yes nor no, really.

After that, for the last 6 months, hes not contacted me at all. When weve been at parties together, hes been unable to make eye contact with me. Which I took as some kind of confirmation that I was on the right lines.

I decided to back off and give him space. His last boyfriend obviously hadnt been very sympathetic to whatever was going on and I wanted him to know that if I made him uncomfortable, I could understand why and I backed away. My thinking was that maybe one day, when hes ready, hell get back in touch. He knows that I know that there is something wrong.

Surprisingly, out of the blue, last week, he got in touch, to ask me for help with an aspect of his work. It was a bit of a spurious request, a technical question which didnt really need the kind of specialist knowledge that I have on the subject, but I took it as a good sign that he was finding a reason to get in touch, re-establish friendship and have a normal conversation. It carried on like that for a few days and I couldnt have been happier with the situation.

But then, after a few days, the fantasy texts started again. I went along with it at first, thinking that, as he was instigating it, he must be comfortable with it. It was all very innocent, but very very quickly descended into violence again. And again he asked me to strangle him and hit him to make him unconscious so that I could abuse him. Needless t say, even in a text, I dont do that.

Hence, suddenly things are awkward between us again. We had a very stilted conversation earlier, when I tried to have a normal conversation about what we both want to achieve in 2014.

At the moment I feel terrible; he came back and got in touch with me and I feel I let him down by allowing the conversation to steer into sexual territory; a subject that in real life clearly terrifies him. I should have very clearly steered the conversation away from that area and kept in#t at friendship.

I dont know what to do. I like him very much; hes one of the lovliest, cleverest people Ive ever met and I adore spending time with him. As a friend Im concerned about him, but my feelings are obviously mixed up by the fact that my affection runs so much deeper. If he was merely a friend, it might be ewasier to have a more honest conversation.

I suppose the reason Im posting this 'essay' is because I wonder if anyone on here with more experience in these matters may be able to help.

I am right to suspect sexual abuse?

If I am, what on earth do I do now?
He knows that that is what I suspect, and if Im right, I suspect he would love to disclose it to someone. But his last (and only) boyfriend let him down and I guess he might be terrified of that happening again.

I suppose Im looking for a magic formula: one sentence that will make him trust me, disclose to me and ask me for my help. Im sure no such sentence exists. Life isn't that simple.

I just dont know what to do.

Any ideas?

Sorry, long story.  But any advice appreciated!


#457599 - 12/29/13 09:44 PM Re: Advice regarding a frind (long post!) [Re: Londinium]
Bluedogone Offline

Registered: 07/03/13
Posts: 1132
Loc: Southern US
Hi Londinium,

Welcome to the site. Since your main purpose is to try to help your friend, I think you've definitely come to the right place. There are a ton of people here who are ready and willing to offer support, compassion and understanding; and there are many resources to draw from. But, from your description of your friends actions, he will most likely first of all need professional help - a therapist who is trained professionally to deal with all these symptoms. He sounds like someone who is in denial about the abuse, and unfortunately, being in denial is not all that unusual for survivors of CSA (childhood sexual abuse).

You are to be commended for your concern, and for wanting to help him. But you are so right, there is no magic formula that will just make this all go away. Recovery and healing of CSA (if that is indeed the ultimate diagnosis) is a very long process usually filled with many set backs and missteps.

But there are a couple of things in his favor. He is at a fairly young age to begin the recovery compared to the age I and many others began the healing, and he has someone who is willing to stand by him with support and a huge amount of understanding to do what it takes to make the relationship work.

I don't know what it takes to convince someone to take that important first step to seek help, but I'm sure others will be able to offer some ideas. Good luck as you begin this monumental task.
I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.” - quoted by King George VI

#457602 - 12/29/13 11:08 PM Re: Advice regarding a frind (long post!) [Re: Londinium]
Londinium Offline

Registered: 12/28/13
Posts: 5
Thank you for your reply.

It is a very difficult situation. I've been sucked into some of his sexual fantasies, not realising that I was crossing a line between what is 'healthy' and what isn't until it was too late. I remember shivering when I realised that he was putting me into the role of the abuser.

Even when I confronted him about abuse, he procrastinated and avoided me, but now the same pattern of behaviour is repeating. Perhaps, next time he tries to put me in that position in a fantasy, it would be my opportunity to raise the issue again, stating firmly that I won't be put in that role, and bringing the issue to the fore again. Is that what I should do? Perhaps that's what he WANTS me to do. Perhaps I'm letting him down by not being more forceful on the issue.

When I asked him about abuse, I was prepared to be told that I was correct and for him to disclose. And I was prepared to be wrong: - for him to laugh at me, think I was mad and to never speak to me again, thinking I was some kind of fantasist.

I wasn't prepared for him to give me an equivocal answer and then not speak to me.

Certainly, if you asked me if I'd ever suffered abuse, my reply would be astonishment: "God, no. What on earth makes you think that???" He treated it as a very ordinary question and then gave a non-commital answer.

It took me months to work up the courage to ask him last time; now I think I'm going to have to do it all again. I suppose I need to back off for a while, refuse to indulge his extreme fantasies, gain his trust and pursue the issue again.

Luckily, if I am anything at all, I am persistent. Especially when I think I am right!

Thanks for pointing out that this is no easy task: I realised a while ago that if I was to do this thing and try to help him, it would be a commitment that would take years. I'm prepared to go through that with him, if he will let me.

I suppose I should be less harsh on myself. I've already made mistakes, such as indulging too much of his violent texting, but this is unchartered territory for me, I'm bound to make mistakes, especially if he is not yet in a place where he can be totally open with me.

It's like playing a game with no idea who your opponent is, what the objective is, or what the rules are. The odds of getting this right are not really in my favour, are they?

But he's a nice guy, he's strange and weird, but he's also lovely and gentle and funny and if I might be able to help him, it has to be worth another go. And probably another load of heartache!

#457615 - 12/30/13 06:51 AM Re: Advice regarding a frind (long post!) [Re: Londinium]
Shyshark Offline

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 973
Loc: Canada
Hi L ... welcome to MS.

I don't usually get involved in forums other than Poetry ... I am disinclined to give advise ...
but your story compels me to speak.

Be careful.
It is not to you he cannot disclose the abuse ... it's to himself.
Once admitted there's no going back.
If he tells you ... he is essentially admitting it to himself.
That ... I believe ... is what frightens him the most and compels him to act out in self-destructive ways.
Hurting yourself is much easier to deal with than being hurt.
Don't push ... don't confront.
Urge and help him to seek professional help ... but place the emphasis on his behavior and not the reason behind it ...
without seeming to judge or disapprove of his actions.

I must also be blunt.
Examine your motivations carefully.
It is clear what you would like from him ... but he may never be able to give you what you want.
Even the most devoted and lifelong persons around him may not be able to take what will most certainly
happen if he embarks on a journey of this kind of self examination.
It is brutal.
God knows ... I have NO support from my family in that they will not or cannot deal with the abuse issue.
They want to maintain the status quo ... they want the witty, irreverent and funny and charming Ray ...
not the angry and morose Shawn.
I do not blame them. Everyone has a limit beyond which they cannot go ... and none of them can follow me.
Make sure your there for him ... and not yourself.

Please ... I don't mean to preach ... and what I've said I say from personal experience.

Respectfully ...

Experience is a brutal teacher.

#457616 - 12/30/13 07:15 AM Re: Advice regarding a frind (long post!) [Re: Londinium]
Shyshark Offline

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 973
Loc: Canada
One more thing ...

It may not be wise to tell him you have come to MS ... not yet.

He may very well perceive it as overstepping your bounds
and as a threat to the protective wall he has built around himself.
There is time aplenty for that once and if he decides to get help ...
and at the same time you can urge him to come here himself.
We can support him once and if he decides he's ready for this ...
but we are not an alternative to professional care.

This place is a Godsend ... but a gun to the head couldn't have
gotten me here until I wanted to be here.
The very suggestion would have caused me to dig in my heals
and would have led to a delay ...
timing is everything.
Experience is a brutal teacher.

#457618 - 12/30/13 09:39 AM Re: Advice regarding a frind (long post!) [Re: Shyshark]
Lancer Offline

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Originally Posted By: Shyshark
I must also be blunt.
Examine your motivations carefully.
It is clear what you would like from him ... but he may never be able to give you what you want.

I don't venture into F&F often, but I'm going to echo and expand on Shawn's comment. My equally candid take on this is that, right now, it sounds like a no-win situation. Phine that you're "concerned", but what's the payoff for you? To be blunt, you feel a need to "save" him? From himself? And you believe YOU'RE the one to do it? Really? YOU'RE the one who can "fix" him? Really? And YOU think he needs to do it TODAY/this week/this month? Why should he be dealing with HIS issues on YOUR schedule? Because you know better?

What makes you think all that?

As a CSA survivor, I'm certainly not at all objective about situations like this. What I can tell you is that in my experience I resent the hell out of those who, take it upon themselves to "fix" me. My take is that, if someone can't accept me EXACTLY as I am today - warts, dysfunctions and all - then there's no room for that person and his/her crusade in my life. I have enough problems without someone else's unsolicited good intentions.

To reiterate Shawn's message, I suggest you be scrupulously honest with yourself and carefully examine your motivations. Of course it's easier to focus on someone else's problems because then we don't have to examine ourselves or our own motivations.

Why, for example, are you obsessed with someone who is obviously unavailable emotionally? Your own experience and the experience of another are screaming "unavailable". Why aren't you heeding a very clear message? That's something in your OWN behavior to be examined. Have you chosen emotionally unavailable partners before? Why? And why would you choose someone "broken" over someone who's completely available (emotionally healthy)?

I don't know about you, but emotionally healthy people scare the piss outta me. And, in my gayborhood, the hotties - if that's the issue - are a dime a dozen.

Look, I've posed some very, very tough questions for you. To be clear, it's not out of hostility. I'll call it tough love. Probably not the welcome you expected or should have expected. But, take what you like and leave the rest. You asked for help...and, well, from me you got the Gordon Ramsay/Kitchen Nightmares approach.

I very strongly suggest you become involved in Al-Anon - they're nicer than I am but their message is pretty much the same - where you can examine your codependence. His possible sexual abuse aside, you qualify to be there on all counts. If you're in a larger metro area, yes, it's very likely there are gay Al-Anon meetings. They saved my queer @ss by giving me the support of healthier people who'd been down the sometimes shockingly similar path.

#457619 - 12/30/13 10:57 AM Re: Advice regarding a frind (long post!) [Re: Londinium]
Bluedogone Offline

Registered: 07/03/13
Posts: 1132
Loc: Southern US
CSA is a very complex subject, and it's only natural there are many different opinions on what should or shouldn't be done. Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one. I disagree that you should move on and forget this guy just because he obviously has some serious issues to deal with.

I'm glad there were people around me who didn't just kick me to the curb, leaving me with my own self pity and loathing because I didn't meet their requirements for a relationship. If it hadn't been for their concern and sticking around I can't imagine where I'd be now. Certainly not on MS.

So I hope you do stay with it, realizing this is most likely going to be a lifelong experience and not just another "do good" project to help with some emotional or sexual need you may have. But you must understand this isn't going to be a day at the beach, and you can't do it for him. He has to get to the point where recovery is the only option, and want this more than anything, perhaps even more than he would want you. You can only be a supporting player.
I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.” - quoted by King George VI

#457637 - 12/30/13 08:59 PM Re: Advice regarding a frind (long post!) [Re: Londinium]
Shyshark Offline

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 973
Loc: Canada
Oh boy ...

Lancer doesn't exactly tread lightly does he ... :P ... but what he says is mostly accurate as I see it.

I didn't wade into the 'save' or 'fix' parts myself because I am torn on those issues.
To say I agree completely would be hypocritical ... because I was 'saved & fixed' myself ... twice ...
and the poor fools had no idea what they were getting into ... neither did I.

I was in effect the asshole that Blue referred to ... but not in the same way he used the reference.

My GP saved me ... and I can put no finer point on it than that. If not for his personal 'out of the office' care and genuine concern I would have taken my own life.
Within days I was seated in front of the preeminent shrink in the city specializing in csa ... and he also dealt
with the explosive arrival of my Bipolar Disorder.
I was with that cold and unemotional bastard for 2 years and he put me through hell ... but he got me where I needed to go.
He was followed by a 'caretaker' shrink who kept me stable for a few years but admitted that he was not equipped to take me
further down the road.
My third and last shrink was a sweet and gentle bastard ... and got me through my last major crisis that almost did me in.

The point I'm making is that ... even with the incredibly professional talent that tried to 'fix' me ... I'm still a mess ...
but I'm alive ... a state that often displeases me.

Now ... as almost always ... I'm turning this into 'all about me' ... but I'd like to give you a brief account that mirrors
to a small degree ... your situation.

I was married young to an incredible woman ... the loss of her from my life I mourn to this day.
We were together for 7 years. I fought the good fight but after 5 years I could no longer fend off the fact that I was gay.
Almost over night I turned into super slut ... haunting the baths because I figured nobody there would rat me out because
they didn't want anyone to know they were there too. I was an idiot!
That lasted for the last 2 years of my marriage. There's a few things that are very important here but I'll just say
that I finally couldn't stand what my illicit behavior was doing to my wife's emotional well being ... and I had to tell her.
We split up in a physical and locational way ... but our love and devotion for each other only grew stronger.
We were 'together' for an additional 7 years ... at the same time as I was in my first long term with a sweet man named Chris.

That sets the scene.

In the last 2 years of my marriage I first met Keith ... who pursued me relentlessly ... as a conquest and then as a supporter
for my marriage situation . I refused to date and would only meet him at the bathhouse and so he moved on.
Then ... again from the bath ... I met Jean ... a sweet man who supported me during the time after I had told my wife.
he also wanted more than I could give so that was that.

So ... 2 guys tried to 'save' me from my situation.

I transferred to a much larger city ... leaving my wife behind.
I reveled in my new-found freedom and hit the baths, bars and nightclubs like there was no tomorrow.
If I had not met Chris within 3 months of arriving there ... there almost certainly would have been no tomorrow for me.
It was the beginning of the AIDS epidemic ... and I never used protection.

Chris was a coworker and in a relationship but came to know through a mutual friend my situation with the difficult in
having to leave my wife.
He became infatuated ... and knowing my schedule ... he used to run from the office to my apartment building and hide
behind the bushes across the street ... then wait for me to get home and as he knew I would ... change to street clothes and
then come out. When I did he would race around the block and 'bump into me'.
I was absolutely NOT looking for a relationship ... but he wanted me so badly that I figured ...
"If he wants the damaged goods package I had to offer ... who was I not to accept ???
Me moved in together almost immediately and were together for 7 years.
My wife was part of the package ... and she and Chris became good friends. The 3 of us spent a lot of time together ...
and even vacationed together.
I cheated on Chris EVERY chance I got. If a man showed interest in me I couldn't say no. I NEEDED to be wanted in a purely
sexual way ... casual sex was my addiction.
There were problems in our relationship ... mostly sexual. The 'catch and release' component wasn't there.
Chris and I split up after 7 years without a harsh word and with nothing but good wishes for the other.
We genuinely planned to remain close friends ... but it wasn't to be.

I was free again and intended on staying free. I went back to my old ways ... baths, bars, nightclubs, and pretty much any guy I couldn't outrun. Any guy anywhere that I found attractive who showed me a sexual interest was fair game ... all he had to do was hunt and bag me ... and then it was me who did the shooting ... "Bang Bang ... you're done ... NEXT!"

That didn't last long.
Soon ... every time I turned around in a club or bar ... there was this gorgeous boy. (I was 36 and he was 20)
He would go from place to place in the hopes of finding me ... and that's how I ended up with Harry for 4 years.

That's also when the horror story begins.

At the same time I was dealing with the loss of my wife.
She married a wonderful man ... but one who could not handle the closeness between she and I.
We had just decided to sever all contact.

Even though Chris and I had split there were residual problems with breaking up with someone who had been your daily life for 7 years ... no matter how amicable the split. It was hard to adjust.

The gym I had gone to pretty much daily ... closed.
Another pivotal part of my life was gone.
It was too much.

The flashbacks and panic attacks and illogical behavior began ...
and I came to realize ... but far from accept ... my CSA.
and I ended up as I described earlier with my doctor and shrink.
It was a horrendous time ... and Harry stayed with me through the worst of it.
I wasn't the same person anymore and I put that poor boy through hell.
After 4 years he couldn't take it anymore.
One day he was gone. He packed up and moved away ... telling no one he was going. His friends and I only found out he was gone
after he had left.
Draw your own conclusions.

AS soon as a guy from my new gym found out he came after me like a pile driver. I was with Mac for only a year ...
that's all the time it took to drive him away.

My point ...

These men all wanted to help me in some way ... and they paid a heavy price for it.

I have to go to work so haven't the time to polish this ... and I'm not sure why I told you about this.

I guess the moral of the story is that we are easy to love ... and hard to live with.
Experience is a brutal teacher.

#457641 - 12/31/13 12:40 AM Re: Advice regarding a frind (long post!) [Re: Londinium]
mmfan Offline

Registered: 09/25/11
Posts: 115
Female friend of male survivor here.

I'd feel uncomfortable if my friend tried to get me to play an abuser role, and my instincts would say that's not healthy.

His fearful and childlike reaction to your physical touch doesn't sound like a playful encounter between adults, it sounds like a frightened young child.

Sometimes people who have experienced trauma don't know what is appropriate or healthy, or what their comfort zone is. They may unwittingly rely on us to set boundaries.

At times my friend has initiated certain behaviors, leading me to presume that it's ok - only to realize later that he was frightened or confused.
So his cues can be misleading.

I don't want to presume I know what's best for him (which might even be a boundary violation itself on some level), so I try to air my confusion and concerns openly....and it sounds like you're doing the same, so I think you're on the right track.

If your friend isn't ready to discuss his past, or insists he's 100% comfortable with the sexual stuff and denies any problem, the fact remains that you feel uncomfortable, and have good reason for feeling this way. If nothing else, you should set boundaries based on that.

#457662 - 12/31/13 06:24 AM Re: Advice regarding a frind (long post!) [Re: Londinium]
Shyshark Offline

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 973
Loc: Canada
Hi L

Rereading all of this I'm struck by how negative our reactions have been ...
and speaking for myself ... I'm sorry about that.
My concern seems to be only for your friend ... but it's also for you.
Discouraging you is the last thing I want to do.

The very fact that you have come here ... for whatever reason ... is most commendable.
Your compassion for him is evident and I don't mean to belittle your efforts on his behalf.

You have hope for him ... and for yourself.

Hope is a dangerous thing.
Anticipating a positive result in any endeavor is risky business.
I don't know what the odds are ... but it's a gamble none the less.

It's not for me to presume anything ... which is what I've done.
One's intentions are subjective ... open to both praise and criticism.

What you do or do not do is up to you.
We have overlooked the fact that abuse may not even be at the core of his problems.
That remains a question as yet unanswered ... but really ... does it matter?

If his well-being is foremost in your mind ... then do what you can.
Experience is a brutal teacher.

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