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Rape and Abuse If you or someone you know is being abused in any way and you need support or advice, don't hesitate to reach out to us here.

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Question Don't know how to feel - October 14th 2017, 08:47 AM

Hi, so a couple months ago I had an experience which I haven't really been able to get off of my mind and I think I just need people to talk to about it. I made this account because I needed something

Earlier this year, a friend of mine kissed me out of the blue at a party, twice. It was extremely late at night and sudden so there wasn't anything like him asking if he could and I was too disoriented/tired to fend him off or anything. And at that same party he admitted to liking me though I made it clear I didn't feel the same way. And it felt especially forceful because I mentioned earlier at that party that I hadn't ever kissed anyone before.

It seems really minor and silly compared to how many terrible things do go down at parties, but a couple days after it made me feel more and more uncomfortable, especially as he's tended to push my boundaries before (we're both bisexual and he's outed me to his friends before). I don't really want to stay friends with him but he's suicidal and been very honest with me about it before and I'm worried because he's made it clear how losing friends can affect him so strongly. And the fact that he tends to push a lot of boundaries a little too far in his personal relationships, from what he's told me, kind of compounds it all. And recently, my little two-year-old niece gave me a surprise peck on the lips, completely innocent of course but it brought me back to that moment in a bad way and that scares me.

I'm sorry if I'm being dramatic and stupid, I just want to know what the proper reaction to all this is because the fact that I'm still worrying about it five months later makes me think that I can't keep ignoring it.
   
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Re: Don't know how to feel - October 14th 2017, 01:17 PM

Hey there,
Welcome to Teenhelp

I am very sorry that your friend did those things to you.
I feel that sudden advancements can be scary for anyone.
I will tell you a secret. In summer of 2012, I was 18 years old at the time and things were rough at home. I went to a youth center for support. At the youth center, a guy who was 24 at the time had approached me. Within an hour of talking he had advanced on me and was kissing me.
It was very upsetting and even now it hurts to remember it. I know I spent countless sleepless nights reliving it and wondering why I'm so sensitive. I had looked up online for answers. We often hear of certain kinds of assaults. Some people were saying a kiss is nothing and to stop being dramatic. Other people were having the impression that kissing is a sexual act and there for a sexual assault.

If looking back I could do something different, it would be to not look so obsessively for validation from random strangers only to be told I'm dramatic and stupid. I would have chosen more carefully whom I told what happened to. Someone i feel trust towards rather than a random stranger because that leaf me to more distress due to their reactions. Similarly, I had told a staff member at the youth program and what she said hurt even more.
Teenhelp is specifically a peer support site so while we are strangers we are not random
If you can, speak to a professional about it.
You can say as little or as a lot as you feel comfortable doing.
Not every professional will understand and that's unfortunate and can be hurtful. Even counselors might minimize your experience and it sucks because people who go to counseling often walk in there already feeling vulnerable.

One thing that comes to mind would be trying a safer topic when meeting a counselor for the first time. That way you get a sense of whether this counselor is safe to open up to further.
Maybe start with a school counselor? Otherwise, perhaps try a counselor that has "trauma-informed" experience. It is not foolproof but it means that theyre hopefully a bit more understanding

Take care,
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Re: Don't know how to feel - October 14th 2017, 02:21 PM

Hey there,

You aren't being dramatic. A lot of people in the world don't realize that having your boundaries violated CAN be traumatizing. People in society feel compelled to compare situations and this is damaging to people who have been through the things you have. I have gone through child sexual abuse and as an adult there have been a few instances where people have violated my boundaries and groped me or something like that. I can say that both situations felt really crappy because my boundaries were violated and I had no real control over what happened. So, please don't look at it as 'oh I should be grateful this didn't happen instead.' or 'Worse could have happened' the fact is no one has the right to violate your boundaries.

I understand that you are concerned about your friend's well-being but you are not responsible for his mental health. If you are concerned about what might happen if you end the friendships, you could contact a close friend of his and let them know or you could contact his family to let him know. That way this friend will have support going through the loss of a friendship. What I can say is staying in a friendship that you aren't comfortable with because you are worried about the friend will likely do harm to both of you.

I hope that this helped and I am wishing you the best of luck.


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Re: Don't know how to feel - October 14th 2017, 05:54 PM

The proper reaction to this is your natural reaction to this. For some people that might not affect them at all, but for some it can be very traumatizing, especially if you put value on the idea of your first kiss. I understand entirely how devastating it is to have a "first" stolen from you. You're not overreacting or being dramatic at all.

I think people react to you in that way because yeah, from the outside, they think, "Well at least you weren't raped". However, while those are obviously two very different situations and they both come with different battles and impacts, there is one common characteristic about them: They violate people's boundaries and make them feel powerless. When people do things to us that we either specifically said we didn't want, made clear we weren't interested in, or even just weren't prepared for it in the slightest, it can make us feel powerless, like we can't fend for ourselves. It makes us feel like other people have more control over us than we do, and as a basic human instinct, that alone is terrifying. It's instinctual for us to want to protect ourselves in any way possible, and so to realize that things can be done to us and we won't have any way to stop or prevent it... that's scary.
Add in the emotional factors of wanting your first kiss to be special (or at the very LEAST, consensual!) and knowing the nature of this friend, it is completely normal for you to be reacting in this way.

To truly help you understand how normal your reaction is, I just want to tell you that I was kissed and groped, by a friend, against my will as well. Mere days after that, I was raped by someone else. To this day, both of those events still affect me. While one might arguably feel more traumatizing to me than another, they both have deeply disturbed me and made me react differently to certain things. They both made me feel helpless, powerless, weak, and stupid. They made me feel like I was just an object for being used.
It's not wrong for you to feel the way you do. Your feelings and reactions are completely valid.

As for this friend, I would say cut him out. Honestly. I know people who like to push boundaries, and lets just say I've never seen them come to a point where they draw the line. They keep pushing, further and further, to see just how much they can do to a person.
When I'm considering cutting off friends, I always make a pro and con list about them and keeping them in my life. Usually, if I'm even considering cutting them off, the cons seriously outweigh the pros. But it might help to put it in perspective for you. The point of friendships is to have someone who enjoys spending time with us, but who we also enjoy spending time with too. If this friend is no longer doing anything positive in your life, you shouldn't force yourself to keep him around.
Talk to a teacher, counselor, or even your parents. You can also always PM me if you'd like to talk. Just know that you don't need to put yourself at risk of being violated by this person again.


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Re: Don't know how to feel - October 15th 2017, 06:30 AM

May I suggest the following book:

Human BE-ing : How To Have A Better Relationship by William Pietsch.

It's an old book, written I think around 1975. An easy quick read. It discusses boundaries, among other things. Possibly that description (complete with illustrations, which is what makes it a fast read, it's mostly diagrams) may help.

[Thank you everyone for writing. I did not know that a violation of personal space boundary could be so devastating. Apparently it can.]

Oh, your friend's depression. You can be there for him, without being a sexual partner. He's bold because he doesn't know how to flirt well. Some people are initially more forward, too forward at first. They eventually learn to tone it down. Other people are too much the opposite, never moving, and later realizing they never got anywhere. You can set boundaries, which is why I recommend the book above. There should be a cheap used copy somewhere.
   
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Re: Don't know how to feel - October 15th 2017, 01:38 PM

As it has been said you are not being dramatic at all. What you went through with having your boundaries violated is uncomfortable and being brought back to that moment due to another kiss is a sign that there are things you might need to work on.

You have to do what is best for you when you consider cutting this friend out. If he is suicidal, perhaps you could point him in the direction of some resources he can use. However, note that you can only control yourself and not him. You cannot make him help himself if he doesn't want to or isn't ready. Thus, nothing about him is your fault or would be your fault. Maybe, as previously mentioned, you could make a list to help you sort through whether or not you want to continue being friends with this person.


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