To the person I once called Friend,
It wasn’t like I was going to drown you with a bunch of statistics or give a five minute crash course on PTSD and narcissism. Nor was I going to make an emotional plea about living with abuse as a child and as an adult. I didn’t do this, did I? My words weren’t asking for sympathy, I was sharing a part of me. I made a decision about my life that doesn’t look pretty, in fact, it is so ugly that to even think about it sometimes I fall apart. When you asked me why I didn’t talk to my parents? My answer wasn’t long and distinguished seeking validation, it was simply: It is healthier for me. I ended it there. I wasn’t going to justify what I had done nor was I going to lie not because I thought you didn’t have the ‘right’ to know the truth, but because, you see, you did have that right as my friend.
It took every ounce of strength, energy, courage – the little I had left from fighting other battles that come from surviving the abuse – to voice the truth. To say that you deserve hearing it because you are my friend. To say that this is who I am. Not hide behind a web of lies I got tired of keeping track of in my head.
As hard as it was to face that hurdle, I face a bigger one today. Because half of it isn’t really getting up the courage to say it out loud, that really isn’t it. To have the truth come out of me in one sentence with 5 words that may seem so trivial was one of the most freeing moments. To not condone what my mother and father had done to me anymore.
But it really doesn’t matter, does it? It is abnormal, not something anybody wants to hear or consider. Because to consider it might make you uncomfortable for five minutes. And maybe, just maybe, that uncomfortability wasn’t worth friendship. True friendship, anyway.
To you, the person whom I once called friend, however abhorrent my 5 words were, yours were by far the ones that cause people to fall, to lose hope, to feel pain so unbearable it causes you to stop breathing. These words written to me after I told you I was in contact again with my abusers were of gladness and understanding for how they must be feeling. I thought it was betrayal, maybe part of what I felt when I read your words was betrayal. I was hurt, sad and angry. But what were you thinking and feeling when you wrote those words? I don’t know, I may never know.
What I do know is that it partly came from privilege. Privilege, you may ask? It isn’t a privilege to live without abuse, it only becomes one when you think your story is the only story with merit, worthy of consideration.
TR, a Survivor