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#65499 - 03/06/05 05:57 PM Needing advice (copied from Male Survivor forum)
Leosha Offline

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 3614
Loc: Right here
I am posting this here also, to get input from ladies as well. Have any of you made an open statement to a male survivor that has caused him to seek help, or to open up about their issues? here is my post from the Male forum:

I have a friend, who it is a good assumption to think he has had some sexual abuse in his childhood. I know of one instance that I would consider abusive, even though he does not appear to think so. And I do know there is a history of physical abuse in his family.

This person is a quite 'stoic' person, and I think is set in the stereotype idea of men don't talk about these things, even though he knows me, he knows Andrei, he knows we are both dealing with these kinds of issues, even if not the specifics. He has been a good friend to both of us, but has really not offered any of his own experience. But several times, has seemed on the edge of talking about something.

I know I can not 'get' him to talk about it, to go to therapy, to do anything at all about it. But, I'm wondering, is making mention of it, is making a casual comment like 'if you have any issues of your own you ever want to talk about, please know you can' or something similar, is that appropriate, or to pushy? What got me first started in dealing with things was an offhand comment by a friend about our old coach, who he had trained with for a short time also. Not about abuse itself, just about him. What got Andrei talking about it was witnessing an interaction between myself and our old coach (and now we can't shut the boy up! ) So, with me, it wasn't really someone making an offer, or bringing up actual 'abuse' that put me on the path. I am not sure how I would have responded, if someone had made such a statement to me.

I have full confidence that he will not come across this site inadvertantly, so that is why I am posting it here. I want to be a friend, I want to be a good friend. But I don't want to push something at someone who is not ready for it.

(Thank you for any advice)

Avatar photo in memory of my younger brother Makar.

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."~~~Martin Luther King Jr., 1963

#65500 - 03/06/05 09:43 PM Re: Needing advice (copied from Male Survivor forum)
Abby Offline

Registered: 11/18/04
Posts: 36
Hi Leosha.

When I disclosed myself as a CSA survivor to a guy with whom I have a deep friendship (actually I love him but never told him and I donít know yet if he shares my feelings), he told me he is a CSA survivor too. Neither of us added much details apart age and abuserís identity, but honestly it was enough of a disclosure anyway.

Actually I had the feeling from a long time we had so much more in common than ideals, interests, personal attitudes and many emotional experiences. I was aware he came from a total dysfunctional family and I noticed from time to time some behaviours that I recognised in myself too as a consequence of my CSA so I suspected he could have suffered abuse too. But I knew I couldnít ask directly so I hoped that with time and trust the possible truth could have been brought to the surface.

Though he disclosed to me basically under an emotional wave in response to mine. I donít believe he would have told me his story otherwise Ė at least not then and not there. We were both aware that each of us had faced difficult times in our lives, but both of us never explained why before unless a generic reference to psychological problems and suffering in life. I guess that he trusted me enough to really want me to know about himself, but wasnít aware to be ready for disclosing the CSA too. From my side though, I was unsure at all about starting talking about my CSA with him, and it was hard to find in myself the strenght. But I realised that our relation was meant to go nowhere (even as a true friendship to my eyes) hiding that part of my personal story to him. And at a certain moment I felt I trusted him enough to be confident he would have handled the information at least without rejecting me completely. I have the highest opinion about my friend as a person, he is an intelligent and sensible guy, so I truly hoped he would have not run away from me. So as soon as the opportunity raised up in the mood and topic of our conversation, I disclosed to him. And he did the same to me.

The mutual disclosure happened 5 months ago. After that day he has first disappeared for weeks, then around Christmas he has reprised contacts with some e-mails. I am having a hard time coping with the situation as unfortunately feeling abandoned is one of my major issues that therapy has helped me only to rationalise but not to defeat. But I feel that he is not escaping from me because of MY disclosure but because of HIS one though; so I donít feel betrayed in my trust towards him. Only, I feel often overwhelmed by the situation and feel hopeless. Anyway, in his e-mails he talks about himself and his emotional world and also worries about me and how I feel. He is still emotionally close even if he refuses to contact me by different means (phone, meetings). I try to respect his boundaries and leave him alone giving him the space he seems to need.

My friend knows I am in therapy from some years. He has been for some years too but had to leave his T last year because the latter moved away, and my friend didnít reprise therapy afterwards for various reasons. That worries me a lot as I am aware of how much important is a proper support for a survivor. But I know I canít push him to go back in therapy at all. Nevertheless, as he has reprised the topic of T in his messages sometime, I have understood that maybe he is struggling on the matter. So when it happens, I try to encourage him to be in contact with his feelings and needs so he could recognise he is ready again when the moment arrives. I have written to him a few times about my therapy and what it means to me. I hope that knowing I am taking care of myself and that I am keeping up with my therapy could be a positive input for my friend.

Leosha, I donít know if my experience can be of some help for you. I donít know how much deep is the relationship you have with your friend, but if you have trusted him already to tell him a bit of news about yourself I can guess this is a deep friendship for both of you. If so, I guess that finding a proper occasion (private place, time available, etc) and talking deeper - in case you feel for it, of course - about your own story and your healing process could be a positive input for your friend to feel supported and to disclose and/or considering therapy.

I wish to you and your friend all the best.


#65501 - 03/07/05 04:54 AM Re: Needing advice (copied from Male Survivor forum)
Pollyanna Offline

Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 211
Loc: Missouri
Hey Leosha,


Trust. It's kinda become the "T-word"! But it has been the key to anyone talking to me about anything uncomfortable. What I have learned is the feeling of being safe means everything. "I" might know 100% completely totally positively that I mean what I say and that I am sincere, but if the other person doesn't, it's not going far.

When I came here to MS, there was a young man we had taken in. He loved to talk about what was going on in his head, and be listened to, so I listened. Just general stuff, math(Heaven help me)work, whatever. After about a month, he started treading a little deeper waters, and got into things that were bothering him. One night, he was talking about particular problems he was having, things he was feeling, and didn't know where they had come from, or why he couldn't get them under control. Sometimes, I uh, don't have as much "finesse" as I probably should have, but sometimes I guess that's best. Given the particular problems, and the thought processes, I just asked..."Has anyone ever touched you in ways they shouldn't?" At first he said no, then looked down, started to cry and blurted out yes, and who. From there, he felt more free to talk about things. Then...I took things to the proper authorities (with his permission of course) and got myself in deep doo doo. I would do it again too.

The thing is, it took me a month of just being there. Just listening to whatever he felt like talking about until he felt safe enough to say something. Sometimes it's just spending unthreatening time together. Goofing off. Playing poker (for pretzels or something if Andrei is involved). Doing comfortable things. Being a friend. Just being stupid and having fun. Sometimes those times turn into more mellow times and he might open up. As you know, he is NOT going to say a thing until he is ready. It sounds like he is thinking about it. If you are there for him when he is ready, the "moment" will come. He knows enough about you guys to know that you will understand how he feels, and that if it's ok for YOU to feel it, it should be ok for him too.

You've been there, where he is. Maybe he's still doing the "oh mine wasn't so bad" thing. I think you know how to make it easy for him to talk, but unless you guys are reeeeeeally close, I don't know that the direct approach would get you much, unless something is said in the conversation by him as an easy segue. Watch for hints. Or, if anything is ever being discussed even in a subtle way about your own history in his presence, you may think of some way to make it easy for him to say even one little thing, which will open the door at least a little.

This is just from my humble experience and observations. Hope it helps.

Love & Hugs,

edited cuz I forgot something...

"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up."

Ė Anne Lamott

#65502 - 03/08/05 06:39 AM Re: Needing advice (copied from Male Survivor forum)
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA

If your friend is still buying into this emotion-less idea of manhood it will probably be harder for him to face his problems. You might be able to really help him just by being an example of a man who can be a man and still have feelings, admit he's got problems, etc.

I have a friend who struggled for years with alcohol abuse, when he finally got himself into AA I was one of only two friends he told about it-- because I am female. He was afraid to tell "the guys" because to him, men didn't go to support groups for their problems, they just stuck it out-- so he ended up isolating himself and making all sorts of excuses not to go out with his friends. He has always said that it was a real turning point for him to hear about a famous athlete's struggle with alcoholism-- because this athlete was so clearly a masculine figure, it helped my friend see his issues in those terms-- being "man" enough to face up to his problems, rather than not enough of a man to conquer them alone.


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