TRIGGER WARNING: Talk of abuse, nothing graphic
Just as I’d mentioned previously, there are residual emotions left with the victim of any abuse or trauma. Obviously Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a real thing and we’ve seen it in many people from rape survivors to military persons returning from war. It’s always been there. Unfortunately for many of us who have dealt with abuse there are many people who won’t take our PTSD seriously. Usually you see PTSD coming in the form of fears, phobias, that sort of thing. But it can also be feelings such as not feeling good enough, feeling ugly, stupid, shameful, etc.
Today I had a conversation with someone I consider a very good friend and it was about one of my residual emotional issues. The feeling that I am always going to be abandoned and how it might affect me today. Well I can tell you exactly how it affects me today. My friends are my family. Otherwise I feel completely and utterly alone. One of my biggest fears is being alone forever but even bigger is the fear that everyone will just forget me. Abandonment. I mean is this a surprise to anyone who knows what I’ve been through, I mean really?
Being raped, tortured and tormented for over ten years of my life to have my entire family ignore the situation and this includes my mother not facing it and acting on it, how can I, especially as a child, ever feel secure with anyone? So this is actually some residual emotional issue that doesn’t come directly from my abuser but from the people that, as a child, I looked to for security. Currently, I have no family. I am estranged from everyone and right now, I’m even estranged from my mother (this is a new occurrence so it’s the hardest one). My friends are literally my family.
Here is where the residual emotions and PTSD come in. My friends, most of them, have families, kids, lives and lots of love around them (whether they acknowledge that or not). So if I am talking to one of my friends or trying to get in touch with them and they don’t respond or I can’t find them my mind immediately goes to thinking they’ve decided to abandon me, forget me. They must be mad at me or sick of me or just not like me anymore. So then sometimes I will overly message them or send them messages about how much appreciate them, I “over love” them. I mean, this has to be annoying, especially when you have a life you’re trying to have and you have this needy, badgering friend who won’t give up. I know this is irrational and I know when I’m doing it that I shouldn’t do it and that they are probably busy but they haven’t forgotten me but it is so so hard to stop. The fear of being forgotten, abandoned and left alone is that strong in me that I can’t stop bothering them. I hate it. It upsets me to think I’m stressing my friends out because that is not at all what I want to be doing. And it probably does indeed drive some people away because I seem to be expecting them to drop it all and pay attention to me. But honestly I don’t. I just feel like I need to be seen. I am terrified of being invisible.
I’m working on it. I’m dealing with it in my therapy. Ways to distract myself from these feelings and fears and understand that my friends probably aren’t abandoning me, they are probably busy with other things and they haven’t forgotten me and will talk to me when they can. But this feeling, this fear is so deep and so engrained in me that it is really hard to change quickly.
I had a therapist once give me this sheet of paper with all of these weird things on it (this therapist was weird) but one of them was “Just remember that at any one moment in time someone is thinking of you” I laughed because I thought…Yeah right. Who would be thinking about me? And why? What is there to think about? Maybe they are thinking…God she’s annoying and naggy or asking themselves why they even bother with me. That was my reaction to this statement. That is how bad this residual emotion is. Also once there was this girl, she was harassing me online (in an role playing game I was playing) and she was pretty nasty and said some really nasty things (again, one of those types who doesn’t think about what someone else’s life experience might have been to be saying such things to them) and one of things she said that still resonates with me is “She is pathetic, she has this fear of abandonment and whines a lot about people not talking to her.” I mean seriously? Yes, I have this fear but I don’t whine, at least not to anyone I can think of. Okay maybe the friend I was talking to today but to say something like this about someone with no thought as to maybe why I might be fearful of losing everyone or what may have happened to cause this. I mean as if my fear of abandonment just showed up one day out of nowhere. Now I realize this girl was a bit crazy on her own and I often wondered what happened in her life that made her so hateful and nasty and I do feel sorry for her. I honestly hope that one day she can heal in some way from whatever it is that causes her so much anger and pain. But when she said that in public I was humiliated. It is humiliating. I love my friends. That’s all. I just struggle with the idea that they don’t love me back.
Love. I mean I could write a whole other blog post about love and how I feel unlovable and have a fear of never being loved by anyone, including my friends. Love is huge. To feel loved, for me, that is everything. When a friend hugs me or tells me they love me, my day is made. Maybe for some people it’s just a gesture said in passing or not a big deal but to me, it’s everything. And that is what I’m afraid of losing…love. Because I never felt it growing up.