Welcome to the Prison Talk Online Community! Take a Minute and Sign Up Today!






Go Back   Prison Talk > FOR FAMILY & FRIENDS > General Prison Talk
Register Entertainment FAQ Calendar Mark Forums Read

General Prison Talk Does your issue not fit into another forum? Post it here. Find support, answers and assistance.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 11-30-2016, 06:42 AM
CharlieMJL CharlieMJL is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Posts: 24
Thanks: 6
Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Default Staying Positive/Secondary Trauma

Hi everyone,

I am wondering if any of you have every experienced secondary trauma while having a loved on in prison. My very close friend, who is more like my brother, is serving LWOP and has been in there since he was 16. He's turned his life completely around. Recently, he's opened up a lot about his childhood, and I've heard absolutely horrifying stories of abuse, abandonment and neglect. When we talk about these things, I've been trying to stay strong because I want to be positive for him, but lately my voice has been cracking on the phone and I've cried a bit a few times.

Most recently my friend told me that he'd lost his virginity to a young *adult* when he was 12, and I had to explain to him that was technically rape. I didn't think he knew. I told him that he didn't do anything wrong*And I told him that it is fine if he is ok with what happened, but that it is also fine if he wants to talk about it more and that I am here for him. But halfway through explaining, my voice started to crack and he could tell I was crying. He was so upset to make me upset. I feel so, so bad for having to say these things to him and for getting so emotional over the things he tells me lately.

Being a positive person, he tells me these things as if it were normal, but these stories are so far outside of the realm I've inhabited that lately I've been feeling so overwhelmed and angry at God/the world for letting him down. I try to be positive, because if I'm not, he will feel bad for making me upset. And then I get upset at myself thinking that I must be such a spoiled, sheltered person that these stories upset me so much when I wasn't even the one living through it.

I wanted to reach out to see if any of you have any advice or guidance on how to stay strong so that I can be the best friend I can be to this person who I truly consider to be my brother. I am the only steady figure in his life. Otherwise, I am a good friend. I'm the only person that visits him (I drive hours), send him letters and emails every week, send him little gifts like books.

Last edited by CharlieMJL; 11-30-2016 at 06:45 AM..
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 11-30-2016, 12:15 PM
miamac's Avatar
miamac miamac is offline
Site Moderator Gone Mad

Staff Superstar Winner PTO Site Moderator 

 

Join Date: May 2013
Location: ORnativeAZresCAtied
Posts: 8,182
Thanks: 10,548
Thanked 13,864 Times in 5,335 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Litlnudnick View Post
Being a positive person, he tells me these things as if it were normal, but these stories are so far outside of the realm I've inhabited that lately I've been feeling so overwhelmed and angry at God/the world for letting him down. I try to be positive, because if I'm not, he will feel bad for making me upset. And then I get upset at myself thinking that I must be such a spoiled, sheltered person that these stories upset me so much when I wasn't even the one living through it.
I've felt that last line more than once, only the friend is my husband. I'm positive that there have been times he's telling me something about his childhood and my face is screaming, "Are you kidding me?!" because it seems absurd to me that any child should or could go through that. I didn't have a perfect childhood, but my home was safe.

He's working through some things in order to be able to understand his own decision making skills and in that, he'll talk about events that were traumatic or had a big impact on his growing up. I've learned that it's OK for it to hurt my heart-- it means we're empathetic beings. But I have to remind myself that talking about it helps him to be better and stronger. So I listen as if it were medicine. It's healing him. And I can't be sad about that.
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to miamac For This Useful Post:
Sarianna (11-30-2016)
  #3  
Old 11-30-2016, 01:32 PM
Sarianna's Avatar
Sarianna Sarianna is offline
Je ne regrette rien
Donation Award 
 

Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Swinging from the chandelier
Posts: 1,402
Thanks: 5,866
Thanked 1,504 Times in 754 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Litlnudnick View Post
I wanted to reach out to see if any of you have any advice or guidance on how to stay strong so that I can be the best friend I can be to this person who I truly consider to be my brother.
Bless you for being such a good friend to him! You can't do this on the expense of your own health though, so if you are feeling overwhelmed about it, and if you have nobody to talk about it with - please do not stay alone with this burden but reach out to a therapist. You have to take care of yourself first in order to support him, sweetheart. Some of us are more sensitive than others and I can imagine how deeply something like this can affect you...no shame in getting support for yourself. Also hopefully we can be here for you in this community

You mention that you are his only support. Do you think he would be open to the idea of having pen pals? Getting a few more people into his life that way if there is no family and other friends around? We also have a forum HERE
called Elsa's Inmate Card Projects where you can request a card swap or just something to cheer him up with via mail from others here.... I'm just thinking that if he forms new friendships then perhaps you will feel less pressure of being the one and only who is his lifeline to the outside world, you know?

Sheltered or not, being able to show compassion and empathy is what makes us human...you are clearly a caring person and that is a gift - just please take care of yourself as well, okay?
__________________
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Sarianna For This Useful Post:
miamac (11-30-2016)
  #4  
Old 11-30-2016, 07:34 PM
CharlieMJL CharlieMJL is offline
Registered User
 

Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Posts: 24
Thanks: 6
Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Default

I cannot thank you both enough for your replies. They both helped me so much. Miamic, I liked how you said that you "listen as if it were medicine." That is such a great way to think about it, and I'm going to keep that in mind from now on.

Sarianna, you had amazing advice, and I've already started working on it. I got in touch with a woman who is very active in the prison/criminal justice reform arena who adopted a lifer as her son (he had no one else in the world), and we are going to talk on the phone tomorrow about everything because she says she knows exactly what I'm going through. I also think that the card project is a great idea, especially since the holidays are coming up and my friend has had a pretty rough year. My friend did have a profile on WriteAPrisoner for the past year (it recently expired), and he had quite a few letters from people, but he didn't really connect enough with them to keep writing once the rough times came. I think he will like the card project, though.

Thank you both again for all of your help!! I cannot even tell you how much better I feel knowing that I'm not totally crazy and out-of-line, and that I'm not alone in this. :-)
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to CharlieMJL For This Useful Post:
fbopnomore (12-01-2016), miamac (11-30-2016), Sarianna (12-01-2016)
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Staying positive on the phone whales85 Husbands & Boyfriends in Prison 15 02-07-2014 10:22 PM
Staying Positive While Feeling Broken PS I love you Parents with Children in Prison 22 08-14-2012 10:41 PM
Staying Positive! comptontiffany1 Husbands & Boyfriends in Prison 4 07-18-2012 09:14 PM
Staying positive but smart about your MWI relationship EnjoyLife Met While Incarcerated 15 10-17-2011 04:00 PM
Staying positive when all is negative Retired-101 Parents with Children in Prison 37 05-07-2005 03:46 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:36 AM.
Copyright © 2001- 2017 Prison Talk Online
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Website Design & Custom vBulletin Skins by: Relivo Media
Message Board Statistics