Once more on friendship

Since we’ve been having all this discussion about friendship and relationships, I thought I would pose a question. When you tell people about your abuse or talk to them about specific issues surrounding it, suffering from depression for example, how would you like them to react? What do you expect from your friends, family, significant other? Is it realistic?

Updated: Andy has a lengthy response on his blog. He raises some interesting points. I’m still working out my own thoughts on this subject, but I’d like to hear others opinions as well.

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  1. Mike,

    I have a response to this, but my reply is VERY LONG! So, not wanting to hijack this issue, I’ll include the url to my own blog, where I’ve posted my response… oh, and blogger has just fallen over, so all that I wrote could have been lost. That’s just great!

    url later, when blogger decided to play nicely, sorry

  2. I just came across this site by accident . I am a survivor of sexual abuse also. I have healed through lots of therapy and self help books. I spent 2 years teaching children the prevention of sexual abuse. When I was able to help others is when I found I started to heal the most. I have shared with strangers and new friends about my abuse. The reason why I don’t do it any more ,I found that everyone I shared it with was abused too. I was getting drained at the same time I was healing. I know I have helped people during the sharing but I want to live a life with out the effects of abuse. To all the survivors out there!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Every day you suffer from the abuse or the effects from the abuse, that is another day the abuser gets from you . They might have taken our childhood but I’ll be dam if they get my adulthood too. Survivors must fight back with everything we have. We have strenght because we lived through the abuse. Now we must use that same strenght to heal . It can be done.

  3. Mike, thanks for bearing with me – I was able to grab a copy of my thesis before blogger went belly up, but trying to sort out the mess of the format took quite a bit of time, to put it mildly. It was one of those moments where you see everything you write being eaten and there’s nothing you can do about it. Well, I beat the net gremlins this time! 🙂

    Cheers for adding my reply Mike – I was on the verge of taking a lump hammer to my PC when it went all chocolatey last night!


  4. When I tell people, all I expect is for them to respectfully listen. Telling my story can be as much for me to tell as it is for htem to hear.

  5. Good question. I guess the biggest thing I want is just acceptance. I want people to STAY present and just be with me. I just can’t stand it when I start to share and I can just “see” the invisible curtain coming down between us and I sense that the other person has just tuned me out.

    Hey, another “stop-the-silence” project: I just launched a secret-sharing site to silence the shame, it’s called just that. It’s at http://silencetheshame.blogspot.com. If you’d check it out and tell me what you think, I’d really appreciate your opinion. Thanks!

  6. Hi Mike

    Hmmm. I am going to have a think about this one. I’ve had differing experiences when I’ve told people. My willingness to share has lessened as I’ve got older. I have only told two people in the last three years. I usually tell those I am investing a lot of time in, usually boyfriends.

    I’ve always thought I don’t expect any particular reaction from people, but I think I’ve been lying. I expect support and not everyone wants to give it. There is no way to prepare someone for what you are going to tell them and no way to lessen the shock. When I was younger I would say I liked the shock factor it gave. I thought, wrongly, it would make boyfriends stay with me. THen I would get more hurt when we broke up.

    Things are different now. I am happy in myself and with who I am, so telling seems less important. Therefore it was a surprise to many that I decided to write a blog. I think I decided to write about it there because my latest pregnancy has made me think about parenthood and the role we have to protect children. The two things, parenthood and abuse, are so linked it seemed natural to write about them.

    I think you were the first person I wrote to in the hope of getting some support to do so. I am glad I did write about it. And, yes, a lot of my friends who read my blog were shocked. I got quite a few emails about my “difficult” childhood. In a way I think I was far more unrelaxed in dealing with that than I was writing about it. I almost freaked out about it and wondered if I had done the right thing. But i know I have. I chose to write my blog under my real name to give courage to those who feel silenced about their abuse.

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