Secondhand Trauma

A very close friend of mine was cheated on by her long term boyfriend last year. I have made a few cryptic posts all over my social media accounts because it was her story to tell so I was waiting for her. She spent almost a year recovering from this trauma. I think she spent the first six months sitting in shock. This was supposed to be her good guy. Her happily ever after guy that fought through her walls that she put up after the last train wreck. This girl has been through the ringer for sure. She has always been a rockstar, but this womans battles put mine to shame.

This last month she has been much more vocal about it now that she is working on the recovery. She has told her parents and siblings finally, giving herself a support system that is bigger then just her and I. I watched this woman rebuild shattered pieces while hiding the truth from everyone near her. She knew that she was going to stay with him. She knew that her family and other friends would annihilate him and pressure her to leave him. She for whatever reason has chosen to stay and is full-heartedly leaning on me to help her get through it anyway.

There have been a lot of things that I have done in life that I classify as hard, but this is getting added to the top of the list. Seeing as I am not in that relationship, I have zero feelings to get tangled up in. Well that’s wrong too isn’t it. I stood up at their wedding for them. I was there the night that she met him, it was me that drove her home from the school dance that was their first kiss and it was me that helped her get through the traumatic start to their relationship. He has grown on me over the years and their babies are some of the best joys in my life. So I am emotionally involved. There has never been a question as to who’s side I will always be on however. I would still be beside her even is she was the one that cheated, lied and broke him to a million pieces like he did to her. So I do have to take that into account.

The sex, love and happy feelings for him keep her in that relationship, but it doesn’t keep me. I am resentful of him, for breaking my rock. I am bitter and making comments under my breath constantly and am now getting worried that my feelings will come between us all now. He wasn’t there to see her having to rebuild because she did it in private. She told me that he cheated because of his own self esteem issues and she couldn’t hammer down on him without being scared he would break more.

So her whole damn world IMPLODES on her, but she has to hold back so his doesn’t?

She makes excuses not to go to therapy, thinking that she can handle it on her own. She writes him letters and burns them because I told her that was what I did to get over the death of my ex boyfriend. She now even writes to herself but I can only imagine she is tearing herself apart in those to explain how he could do that to her. She spends a lot of time talking about the things that she could have been doing better with over the years with him. While in no way am I telling her that seems unrealistic, I am further stressing his role in this instead. He should have pushed harder for whatever change to happen between them long before he looked elsewhere. He should have explained how important those things could be before EVER looking elsewhere.

This man stepped out of his marriage. He started simple, using porn as an avenue that led to more. He had so many warning signs that he was well aware to be stepping over, still ultimately making the choice. What started as innocent enough, turned into verbal communications leading to video chats before finally meeting up in real life. The fact that he was paying for it with money that he could have been using in so many better ways bothers me. She says at least it means he wasn’t in love with her.

I think that he has himself convinced that it wasn’t so bad because he knew this way it would strictly be sexual, not emotional which he considers to be worse.

Over a year in and I don’t think that I have made it an entire day without a phone call or text from her falling apart. I can’t go a single day without hating him. Her entire world is still in shreds and she acts strong in front of her family, their children and other friends.

She hides in kitchen pantries and showers to fall apart but then hides them in a beautiful package to show to world.

When does he break down? When does he have to worry about crying or showing too much emotion to his children or family? How often is he having to lie to everyone around him about things that he had no participation in? How often is he having to lie just to keep those around him accepting of her? The little decisions that she has to consistently make to go along with his deception in mind boggling.

I watch the process play out in her head in almost every conversation with anyone around her and I get infuriated more.

The two of us have given each other a wide berth, taking turns with her time and keeping ourself distanced. He told me he understood why I have such strong opinions here but that it is not my relationship and I need to respect them enough to let them handle it.

Of course I know he makes absolute sense.

My problem is HOW TO DO THAT.

Are they worth it?

Addiction and the recovery from it is a lengthy process that is super daunting when you face it alone. Yet so many people don’t have any other choice.

More often then not they are dealing with it alone because they have pushed everyone away with their behaviors.

Here is Alcohol Anonymous’s 12 step program. These are the steps every addict has to go through. Some skip a few or don’t do them in order, however they are all significant.

These steps can easily be adapted to any addiction process. Drinking, Drugs, sex, eating, Etc.

No one is perfect. I am surrounded by addicts of all sorts, in varied states of recovery. Some I had to give up on. Some I stayed too long. Some are worth the fight.

The 12 Steps, as outlined in the original
Big Book and presented by AA are:



1. Admitting powerlessness over the addiction

2.Believing that a higher power (in whatever form) can help

3. Deciding to turn control over to the higher power

4. Taking a personal inventory

5. Admitting to the higher power, oneself, and another person the wrongs done

6. Being ready to have the higher power correct any shortcomings in one’s character

7. Asking the higher power to remove those shortcomings

8. Making a list of wrongs done to others and being willing to make amends for those wrongs

9. Contacting those who have been hurt, unless doing so would harm the person

10. Continuing to take personal inventory and admitting when one is wrong

11. Seeking enlightenment and connection with the higher power via prayer and meditation

12. Carrying the message of the 12 Steps to others in need

Which one are you?

What is the meaning behind saying someone is toxic to you? Understanding those around you that are toxic to you, or that you may be toxic to, is important. There are certain personalities that simply overpower others. This isn’t always changable either. Those are the ones that hurt the most because walking away may end up being the best answer for everyone involved.

I read an article about this so I am going to pop in a few of their experts explanations.

“People with toxic qualities are master manipulators, skilled liars, and great actors,” Thomas says. “They can be hiding everywhere.”

Irwin describes a person with toxic qualities as anyone who is abusive, unsupportive, or unhealthy emotionally — someone who basically brings you down more than up.

“You may begin to feel dependent on him or her for their opinion, doubting your own,” she says.

“They can be draining and leave you emotionally wiped out,” Thomas says. “They want you to feel sorry for them and responsible for all their problems— and then fix these problems too.”

Article can be found https://greatist.com/live/dealing-with-a-toxic-person#So,-what-exactly-makes-a-person-toxic?

Burn that sh*t to the ground

Forgiveness mode has been in affect for me this last few weeks. This is something that I come in and out of every few months so this time I chose to force myself to stay out to deal with itm instead of running to hide the way I normally do when it gets too deep.

The best thing is that there is always new things to forgive yourself for! Especially when you’re a hot mess like me. Forever throwing new things into that basket of things to work through.

My current favorite thing to do on this journey is actually a well used method that I brought back. The good old trusty empty notebook that I sit down with. After searching my whole house for actual writing utensil that aren’t for my children’s homework, I find the most comfortable spot in the house. I turn on some back ground music that won’t distract me.

And then I sit there. Drawing a damn blank. Every time.

However after a forced start that lasts the whole front of the first handwritten page I tend to unleash. I find myself finding out which way is the best to let whatever feelings out.

Sometimes it is written as if I am speaking, or yelling, at the person that is affecting me the most.

Sometimes I am berating myself for the dumb move that I made at some point.

For a long time it was written to the people that died. Whether they died because of natural causes or suicide. Whether I was yelling at them for leaving me, or I was telling them the newest thing that I feel they missed out on.

I write until I honestly feel like I have nothing more to say about it for the day. I make sure that I am honest and frank. I say the things I can’t say out loud. Don’t hold back. Write as if no one will ever have the chance to read it.

And then I rip it out of the notebook, walk outside and burn it. Safely of course. All in the name of safety.

But burn that shit. To the ground. Let it turn into ashes that the wind will send flying through the air.

Imagine those feelings flying away are little chips off the block that is building up and getting in your way.

And breathe.

Reality bites

The reality of being a survivor is something that strikes me a lot.

The honest fact is that ‘survivor’ means something different to everyone makes that sentence bring something different to every readers mind.

The basic definition of the word is simple.

  • A person who survived, especially a person remaining alive after an event in which others have died.
  • The remainder of a group of people or things
  • A person who copes well with difficulties in life

Definition’s in the dictionary are great but it always feels different. They never seem to be able to describe what to expect the feelings to be.

That said I can’t even begin to explain how it feels different depending which thing I am feeling like I am a survivor from that day. That sounds crazy even to me.

But when it comes down to it, I am a survivor of a whole list of different things. As is every person alive.

That list can seem daunting but that needs to be something I chose to focus on in the near future to make sure that any of my past damage does not creep up to affect my future.

The biggest thing about being a survivor however is learning to move past it. Past the trauma. Past the events. Past the guilt. Past the feelings. Past the judgement. Past the pity. Past the expectation of what it should have been. Past the expectation of what could have been.

I think that is the hardest part. It doesn’t matter what type of ‘event’ happened. It’s the idea of forgiving yourself for letting it happen. Forgiving yourself for expectations. Forgiving yourself for not seeing it coming. Forgiving yourself for not getting over it as fast as people think you should. Or even as fast as you think you should.

Be kind to yourself. Accept the reality of it. It is your domain. It is your safe space. It will always be overwhelming. Break it down into peices. Handle the peices in the best way possible… for YOU.

Closing old doors

I recently had an old friend send me a message telling me that he is very aware of the pain he caused in my life. The constant drama, the pain of lose of friendship by a person I called my best friend for many years.

And I find myself at a loss.

I have forgiven him before after a different seperation of friendship, just to have him do the same thing again.

I know better then to fall for this again.

I felt nothing however and I thought I would.

I felt no relief, no concern, no worry about how he has been.

Have I grown that much that I have figured out how to shut the door permanently on people who have shown constant negativity?

Blew my mind

I was watching a youtube video the other day of Jason Segal and Bryan Cranston when they stumbled upon an interesting topic. 

Not many actors find themselves qualified to talk about suicide in front of a camera. These men are no different, however they were speaking on behalf of an author/director that they both knew. 

 David Foster Wallace. 

To be honest, i know none of this mans work. I know very little of his story. 

What i do know is that in September of 2008 he committed suicide after a lengthy, likely life long, battle of depression. There are plenty more specifics that I will chose not to add in here, but that information helpes me understand who would be able to blow my mind with just a few sentances in book. 

As Jason Segal says it, there is a woman who had attempted to hurt herself. She finds herself at the therapists office afterwards and this conversation happens. 

Therapist: Why did you want to hurt yourself? 

Survivor: Laughs and says “Youll never be able to help me if you think I was trying to HURT myself. I was trying to STOP the pain.” 

I’m not going to lie, this blew my mind. Please understand as a person deeply affected by suicide in my life, i felt as if i understood the mindset of someone leaning towards this decision. While I am sure this knowledge is out there, I suppose I have never heard it said in my language until then. 

I have always felt that they were running from demons that were bigger then them. Some maybe are unable to keep up with lifes demands, or find themself heavily relying on a substance. 

I watched the battle in my best friends eyes but NEVER understood it. I couldn’t see the signs, I couldn’t understand the feelings, and I flat out missed the pain behind the walls. 

I vowed to never again miss the signs, but it continued to happen to other people around us and we were startled and devastated every time. 

The masks they wore changed. 

The pain ate away at them. 

Until they only could focus on the relief. 

What are you to do, when the thing that hurts you the most is invisible? When your own body attacks you. When your mind never takes that break, and gives you that ability to regroup before the next big thing hits. 

At what point does it become socially acceptable to seek help? 

At what point do people understand that this is the same thing as any other medical diseases or disorders that you could have been born with? 

At what point is it socially acceptable to admit defeat? 

Every day you see people quit their diet, their relationships, their jobs and their schools. 

How do you quit your mental illness that you didn’t ask to be born with? 

Learn to forgive

This saying is so honest and blunt. I love it. 

The anger that is boiling inside you, does not boil inside them.

 The reason that you have gotten mad does not get printed out onto your t-shirt for them to read and understand. 

The time that you spent thinking about this, being angry about it, you can not get back. They can’t return it to you. 

Explain yourself and then take the time to learn to forgive, not for their sake.

 Forgive for your sake. 

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