Hello to all,

I am an 18 year old male. Although it may or may not be concrete, my closest friend, a 24 year old male, has most likely been sexually abused as a very young child. The issue here is not about uncovering his past and/or the truth- It's about what I can do as a friend. Naturally, I've learned that the best thing I can do is just be there and listen, although lately I've felt the need to have more information.

My friend and I have known each other for nearly two years now. Although there are the official labels for the friends that he has known much longer than me, none seem to have the closeness and understanding that we have. We really hit it off from day one, and seem to share the same brain waves- This is part of my concern. I understand that victims of sexual abuse may not be able to effectively connect with -anyone- in terms of a relationship, whether it be a friend, lover, or parent. However, if he confides in someone, it will probably be me, as there is nobody else he would feel more comfortable talking to than me. But at this moment, he claims that he doesn't care to talk to anyone. (Mostly from lack of energy, I conclude) This I completely understand (I must stress this), however, my fear is that he has reached a dead end if there is a total dismissal of giving attention to this situation.

Anyway, I've made it a point to never be forceful or invasive with help or questions. I've just been there, while still offering my perspective when asked. My friend and I have explored his childhood past through conversation and research on what we saw as every possible facet of his life. We've even gone for drives down the long, abandoned roads, revisiting his "birth home". It was a taxing confrontation, and quite honestly, not unlike Jenny revisiting her childhood home in "Forrest Gump".

Never attaining satisfactory results, we stumbled across new information just days ago, in particular from a sexual assault counselor.
Now, unexplainable gaps in his life are becoming filled with possible answers.

Like a revelation, he felt that he was on to something after the discovery of this new information just less than a week ago. It possibly meant the beginning of recovery from being such a troubled person.

That was last week, however. Calling tonight was a different story. Like a couple of times before, I found him immersed in feelings of aimless wandering and near death. Never before have I found him to be this down. (It's important to note that I, too, am often swimming through severe depression, anxiety, suicidal feelings, and dealing with all the hurts attached to being a homosexual youth in a senior citizens' town) Although I don't feel regret for caring, I may have said something wrong. It was along the tone of "I was just calling because I care and wanted to know how you were". The general response was similar to "Now's not the time to get close to me."

I am beginning to understand that even couples who are in established, happy, and loving (fundamentally) marriages can have trouble with love and trust when one has been sexually abused. Therefore, I try not to let myself feel so bad after being burned by my best friend, keeping in mind the struggles of people who are as close as those mentioned above.

At the end of the day, I'm left feeling empty, though. I'm turning here with my unanswered questions. He has stated before that he never really wants to be alone, even when he says so. "It's more dangerous when I'm alone". But after this, am I supposed to just go over and sit quietly, watching TV, while affirming my care just through the mutual silence? Or do I give him the infinite personal space that fate would leave him, potentially for an eternity, as he even lacks the esteem to cry out for help to his best friend?

I see this is more of a journal now, but I'm leaving these questions. What is the best thing a friend can do, and how can I effectively begin to understand what he is experiencing?

Any words would be gold to me


[This message has been edited by centris650 (edited 01-31-2001).]