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Experiencing Daily Fear And Nowhere To Turn For Help

by Jennifer
(Vancouver, BC Canada)

My friend experienced police brutality during which he was beaten a number of times and held without charges (held captive) in jail for many weeks before he could get released.

He is a non-violent, innocent man who unfortunately came across the path of a police officer who was intent on ruining his life. For the period of a few years, he was repeatedly harassed and threatened by police, and once beaten so badly he could not get out of bed for a month.

As a result, he suffers from PTSD and has occasional angry outbursts because he has been unsuccessful in getting justice for the crimes the police officer and his friends perpetrated upon him.

He has never harmed anyone nor broken the law.

My friend attempted therapy, but during the third session with one psychiatrist, he became overtaken by anger. Even though he seeks to flee in such situations, not fight or be aggressive, the psychiatrist called police and turned him over to his abusers.

My friend has been unable to trust any therapist ever since, so he cannot get treatment for his PTSD or his anger. Since he lives in an apartment, his episodes of shouting (that happen when he is alone, he is never a threat to anyone) are putting him at risk of having the police called, which could be the final straw for him.

He has been unable to let go of his anger or release the hatred he feels for police. He wants them brought to justice for what they have done to him, but this is nearly impossible to achieve.

He is overcome by fear whenever he hears a siren, sees a police officer, or hears a noise outside in the hallway. His life is no different from a POW who continues to relive his captivity over and over and over. My friend is in a prison of fear and cannot escape.

What can I do to help him? Thank you.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Jennifer, and thanks for telling your story here. There are a few things you can do, but your friend will not really be able to improve his situation until he reaches out for help himself. I realize that's part of the problem, because it sounds like he doesn't trust anyone--except perhaps you.

When someone gets into a mindset that they are a helpless victim, and wants revenge, the situation can be very difficult for everyone involved. I strongly suggest that you take care of yourself as a top priority, and do not let your welfare be jeopardized because of your friend.

You can't really get your friend to do...anything. It is up to him. I'm sure he's a smart man, and knows that there are people who he can trust, and who will help him. But he has to take the risk of reaching out. That is all up to him.

If you want to, you can refer him to this web page on PTSD, to see if he's willing to take a look at that.

Bottom line here, Jennifer, is that I think the best thing you can do for him is to take good care of yourself, and do not buy into his story of being the helpless victim. The following page on relationships will help you that: Letting Go of a Relationship.

When he sees you doing well, and taking care of yourself, in or out of his presence, it may (or may not) help him. If you get involved with his problems, it might feel good to him in the short term, but in the long run it will definitely cause problems for both of you.

Take care of yourself, and hope and pray for the best for your friend. That's the most important thing.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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