My friend needs help

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by nerd4love, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. nerd4love

    nerd4love Member

    Oct 20, 2013
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    I've been on this site off and on since I came out several years ago. I've never posted on the forums but I always liked reading what people had to say and this was the first place I thought of when I realized I needed help. I apologize in advance for how long this is.

    This past spring semester I met "K". She was really shy and quiet at first but once she opened up I realized she was funny and warm and an all around sweetheart. In a really short time we've become best friends.

    K's parents and half sister come for surprise visits every so often and every time they leave K goes into a mini hibernation. K's family suspects she's gay even though she's never said she is and they have told her under no uncertain terms that they forbid it. Her sister comes more often than her parents so fast forward 3 weeks ago and K's sister is back. This time I suggested I hang out with them (we never met before) to maybe act as a buffer. K said no at first but at the last minute she asked me to come spend a day with them. K's sister is verbally and emotionally abusive in my opinion. She was critical of everything K did from her major to her clothes to how she walked and talked. Typically I would have cursed her out and told her to ride a razor coated dick back home but it wasn't my place. She even had the nerve to say some not so kind things about me and my decision making. The harsher she got, the more I began to throw jabs back for myself but mostly for K but it didn't have any impact. What hurt me more than anything was seeing K's face and demeanor; she looked like a whipped dog and I knew this likely happened every time she was around her family.

    Last Saturday night K showed up at my apartment drunk which happens more than it should. She was very talkative and most of what she had to say was nonsense but she did get on the subject of wanting a girlfriend and a family one day. I knew she hadn't dated at all since freshman year (we're juniors now) and I wanted to tell her to put herself out there but I remembered that her parents were paying for school and if they found out they would cut her off. Instead I told her I would help her find someone and I would help to keep it a secret if she wanted to. That's when she told me that her parents and sister visit so often because they're checking to make sure she's staying away from all things gay which I thought was pretty sick.

    At one point she began to cry so I hugged her and told her we would figure something out. She cried for a long time after that and I just held her. When she started talking again, she basically told me she and her sister had had a thing for a long time (she didn't offer specifics and I didn't ask). She knew it was wrong and tried to break it off a bunch of times but she couldn't get away from her. She said she thought when she went away to school it would be different but her sister volunteered to check on her for her parents but K knew she was also doing it for herself. She said I was only the second person she ever told; the other person was a girl she was seeing freshman year who left her soon after K told her. When she finished talking I didn't say anything because I didn't know what to say. She begged me not to judge her and actually apologized to me. I told her she had nothing to be sorry for and that it didn't change the fact that she was my friend. I had so many questions but it didn't feel right to ask them then.

    The next day things were weird and have been since despite my best efforts. I've been trying to be normal and waiting for her to come back to me but she's been standoffish and weird too. I've never had to deal with anything remotely close to something like this and I don't even know how to approach it. I've read a bunch of things on the subject but most of it has been pretty clinical and doesn't really offer any ideas on how to approach helping someone deal with it. I did find a forum for survivors and thought seriously about seeking advice there but I haven't yet because everything I've read is from people from similar circumstances dealing with a lot of pain and I feel like an interloper just for reading their posts. There are counselors on campus but I don't even know how to begin to suggest she go see one. Then there's the issue of her parents finding out and all the repercussions of that. I really need help so I can help her. Any of you have any advice to give? Do you think it would be a good idea to post on the forum I found? Should I go to a counselor to seek some advice? Do you think she'll think I'm betraying her by talking to a counselor or suggesting she seek help? I already feel like I'm betraying her trust by posting this but I don’t know what else to do.
  2. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

    Jul 4, 2013
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    Yes she should seek help! Counselors generally keep things confidential, but you can help her make doubly sure that they are real doctors and have to abide by whatever board that certified them. Where I live, they have to keep things confidential unless she is deemed suicidal. She can find out all the stuff in the initial session before she even talks. She can feel free to walk out of any session if she feels uncomfortable.

    She grew up marinated in emotional and verbal abuse and incest and goodness knows what else. She is weird with you right now because she probably wanted to be weird first before you get weird on her. Just keep saying hi to her and be friendly and then when she opens up again, talk to her about getting help. If she even sniffs about feeling worthless, give her a number to suicide hotline and offer to be there to hold her hand if she wanted to talk to someone. The thing is, you can only direct her so much and you must let her have to power to do something about it. Don't scare or push, just encourage and inform. If you find her saying something scary that sounds like suicide, run it by the local suicide hotline right away and to find out what your next immediate steps should be.

    You are a good friend, she really needs that right now. Just a normal friend who accepts her.

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