“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13
Dear Long-Time Friend,
I know you did not intentionally mean to hurt me, but you did. I understand I have been difficult to deal with while recovering from my trauma. But even while we were still friends, I didn’t know how much trauma was in my brain. I had no idea I did not do relationships well. I simply never learned.
However, you were a counselor yourself. You should have understood where I was coming from, but you simply cut me off. You didn’t just tell me you couldn’t be my friend anymore. You yelled at me, told me how horrible I was, and then blocked my number. You even blocked me from Facebook.
It hurt me. You abandoned me, and that brought up feelings of abandonment from my trauma. You told me I was not wanted by anyone. No one would want to be my friend, because I was so needy.
I can’t help who I am. I have been trying to change, and I am working hard in therapy. But it takes time to change.
I was there for you during the hardest time in your life. You had started to be there for me, but then you left. When we tried reconnecting, you told me it was you and not me, but I never understood. When you finally allowed me to call, you never answered. Never called back. Didn’t respond to my emails.
You made it harder by sending me Christmas cards and birthday cards, even cards when my grandparents died. But no other connection. It hurt. I tried to reciprocate and connect with you via cards. I stopped, because I realized it was no use. You left.
So I hope the next time a friend needs you, realize she may be having a hard time. It may not seem like the kind of hard time you’ve been through, but everyone has their trials and everyone needs friends.
Friends recovering from sexual abuse and assault have a lot of baggage. Yes, it can be hard to become our friend. However patience, understanding, boundaries, and compassion go a long way. Everyone needs a friend. I know you’ll be one to the next person who comes along.
Our struggle to connect to others is not uncommon among trauma survivors:
“Talking about painful events doesn’t necessarily establish community – often quite the contrary. Families and organizations may reject members who air their dirty laundry; friends and family can lose patience with people who get stuck in their grief or hurt. This is one reason why trauma victims often withdraw and why their stories become rote narratives, edited into a form least likely to provoke rejection.” from The Body Keeps the Score by: Bessel Van Der Kolk
You can find out more in the book, The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.
© 2018 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.