Time to put on my big girl panties and not be a victim.
I took a chance and opened up to a friend. I know she loves me dearly. But I was a bit shocked with her response.
One of the things she mentioned was that I needed to not present that I live in this cute apartment downtown in a cute area, that I love, and all is well.
I do live in a cute apartment.
I rarely think about loving it because my mind isn’t on my living space…I really actually take it more for granted than I should.
But that was her impression of me because I never share what is going on in my life that I am struggling with. Well, rarely.
Like some of you, I was deeply hurt at one point, by a group of friends. Then I also had a roommate at one point that shut me down anytime I tried to share anything personal. They didn’t want to hear it.
So I adopted a protective stance. “Don’t share.”
This came out of my wounds.
In his article Learning to Trust Again, Paul Bane says:
“When we’re afraid of being wounded, no one can understand who we are because we won’t let them get close to us. It produces feelings of being lost and alone and having no place to turn. We all need a place to tell a friend we are broken and feeling down, and we’re angry and upset.”
Let me back up…
It wasn’t just that my friend insinuated that I come off as “everything is okay”, but her advice to me was harsh, blunt and drastic.
I immediately got (internally) upset and it took a couple hours to shake the call.
Now I have a choice:
- I can put my walls back up and shut off from her. Mark her down on the list of unsafe people to expose myself to….OR
- Take into consideration that she does not know anything about how the mental health care system works (which was at the core of the conversation) and I can see that she was being protective of my welfare the best she could. I can keep an open mind and continue to let her in.
When we are wounded it seems safer to throw our walls back up! Shut everyone out. But as it says in the quote above “It produces feelings of being lost and alone and having no place to turn. We all need a place to tell a friend we are broken and feeling down, and we’re angry and upset.”
I’ve got to give people a chance. That happens slowly over time. We do not just dump out all our traumas onto people all at once. We take small chances to share a part of ourselves. We take note of the response and make adjustments.
People are available for different levels of bonding. Don’t get it confused.
- Some people are the ones that you nod at and say hi from across the room- just recognizing that you see them again.
- Some people are the ones that you give a hug to and ask how they are—even if you are not actually inquiring for details.
- Some people are the ones that you can call at decent hours and share (but not too deep) and you may go to the movies or dinner with.
- And then there are people that you can call anytime day or night and they will be there for you regardless of what you are walking through.
The only way to find out which category a person fits into is to slowly expose yourself and your life and see their responses.
You must take a risk at trust.
We don’t need many people to be our 24/7 people. We are lucky and blessed if we have one of those. Getting to that level of intimacy takes time and experience in relating. It takes baby steps of trust upon more steps of trust.
I saw my friend at church today.
I have to admit part of me was hesitant to approach her directly.
We normally do a devotional together every Monday so I took the opportunity to clarify that we were still doing it this coming week. She assured me we were.
I am uncomfortable even as I write this. It really would be easier to throw my walls up and go back to keeping her on the outside of my personal life. I could put her in the category of those I hug and ask how they are – and then just not go deep with her. But I have to grow up.
I am tired of being alone. Not of spending time by myself (I love my alone time). I mean being alone like an island that has no one to go deep with. The only way I will know if I can continue to open up to her is to try on different topics. Maybe mental health is not a topic we can see eye to eye on. That doesn’t mean I shut her out completely.
Learning to trust people can be a scary thing. That is why many people only turn to their spouse as a confidant. There is nothing wrong with that. But what if something happens to your spouse? All the eggs in one basket is probably not a good idea.
Learning to trust again.
That is where I am at. It has been far too long. I have come to a place where I know that I need a 24/7 friend. The only way to get there is to slowly let people in and take the risk of bonding.
Do you have trouble trusting others?
How do you plan to overcome that?
Until Next Time~
Interesting article Kathleen. God bless you for putting yourself out there.
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Repeated trauma showed me I only had a handful of 24/7 people in my life. I had a saying during that time: “There are those who want the long story and those who only want the short story about my trauma.” Years later, I am still blessed by these 24/7 friends. They have been instrumental in my healing. Thanks so much for sharing what you’ve learned.
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Thank you Chris. I have just a couple 24/7 people but for that I am blessed. Thank you for sharing