trauma and friendship

I don’t really want to write this, and maybe I shouldn’t but it seems to want to come out, in this space, even though I don’t even know the point of it. Consistent, rewarding friendships have eluded me my whole life. As I am doing my trauma healing, more and more is coming to the surface around this facet of my journey. Deep hurt bubbles and tightness in my belly as I face mirrors in my personal life often lately. I sort of dropped off the face of my social life a couple years ago and have felt bad about it ever since but have come to realize that I couldn’t help it and still can’t. I am overcome with my own pain at the moment.

I find myself staying in a janky motel in the city I graduated from high school. It was the last school I attended, as we moved a lot when I was a child. I don’t really know when it started and there is the trauma throughout, but sometimes I wonder if there’s not something else at play. I read stuff about people on the spectrum all the time and the challenges they face when it comes to friendships and it resonates as well. But we aren’t dealing with that yet in therapy since trauma often mimics the same behaviors. It’s been very confusing. I was always an odd child, observing how people interacted and learning how to integrate to be able to experience that spark of friendship I saw between people. I think that’s very human, to experience such a connection. I wanted it but found it hard to navigate from a very early age. I wanted that special someone: a best friend who was equally as much mine as I was theirs. But even though I got close so many times, it never lasted and usually because someone else came along that was more interesting. So it seemed.

My junior year in high school, in this very city I am forced to stay in due to a blizzard, I had a group of friends who were seniors. It was great. But then they graduated and I found it very hard to find new ones the next year. I felt lost and inept, no matter how hard I tried. I didn’t seem to have whatever thing was necessary to find my way IN. So I graduated early and left.

The pattern emerged. A friend crossed paths, here and there, through the years, but never to last long. Sometimes for good reasons and sometimes for hurtful ones. A move and distance or just a matter of growing apart. Sometimes they just preferred someone else after awhile to spend time with. This is the most prevalent story in my brain: once they get to know you, they prefer someone else to be their person. Once they see your darkness, they have to go. Because who wants to be friends with someone who is not fun? Someone who carries sadness and trauma?

I see how other people interact with their friends, the behaviors that seem necessary to maintain that relationship and it eludes me. I’m just not wired that way. I’m not sure I ever was. Which makes me feel like a bad friend…which makes me not want to try because maybe I don’t deserve such relationships. It’s the worst when I witness someone with healthy, plentiful friendships and by comparison, I feel like the worst failure ever.

I still sought it out. During such a time, I happened upon a group of people, got invited to be part of this group of people, spent a week with them, cried from the deep connection we had and then watched my heart break into a million pieces when the shit hit the fan due to a massive falling out between me and another woman a few months later. It shut me down in ways I am still grappling with. What happened was very wrong and with no resolution as is often the case.  I think in a lot of ways, it was the worst trauma I have experienced around friendships. Because I had opened my heart. I had been promised no matter what, my darkness was ok and then…it wasn’t. I didn’t know what trauma was at the time. I didn’t know how it made me panic. I just didn’t know. And I lost what felt like a whole family instead of one friend. But it taught me for better or worse, that as long as I carry pain from my trauma, I don’t deserve friends. Because I cannot offer anything good in return. Just broken pieces.

This is a lie, of course, but one I am currently grappling with so I don’t know the outcome yet.

I feel like so much of what I need to connect to life is just missing. Or hiding. Or was never there. I’m very good at a lot of things, creative things. Putting words together, telling the truth, making majik out of the scraps I’ve been given. But relationships….man, they are difficult. I just don’t understand them. I feel inept. And when I feel inept at something, I don’t even want to attempt it. I want to recede and let it go. I feel awkward and scared and terrible.

Because it hurts. It hurts to have someone say they care but to know they can only care for so long. They just stop checking on you. Because they’re human and they need more than I can give. I feel selfish and self absorbed. Part of me is like: I am what I am, you know? Take me or leave me…I’m getting more to that lately.

I think that’s good. Because there’s very little I can change at this point. I have trauma to heal and that takes energy. A shit ton of emotional labor to just make it through the day. The layers of pain I’ve been carrying threaten to crush me often. It all seems so hopeless. I know people care, but it’s mostly at a distance because I cannot connect right now. Maybe that will change or maybe I will just learn to be ok with my extreme solitude. Maybe I will learn to be ok with the way I love others. And know that I am doing all I can. I really am. I’ve been busting my ass to be good at life for so long and now I’m just done with that. The return for my efforts has been heartache.

I just want to be ok with who I really am.

I feel like I need to let go of so much now. Or I’m going to drown in these feelings. Old feelings that don’t make a lot of sense with what I really want now. But that’s trauma for you. None of it makes a lot of sense.


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. You speak the words I dont have the courage to say out loud.

  2. I consider us friends. I know it’s not like a girlfriend over the back fence or on the phone or whatever. The stuff we talk about, I only have a handful of people I go there with. I consider you in that small circle of people who are insightful, honest, sincere, trying, doing the work, brave. <3

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