A person does not just “get over it” after they are abused. If for one moment this is your mentality or your reality, then you are not with the abused. Are you in it for the long haul? If you are, that means never saying, ” You need to move on,” or “It’s time to move past that,” or “You need to focus on the future,”or “Haven’t you talked about that enough,” or ” That still upsets you, it happened so long ago,” or ” I think it’s time to get over that,” or ” You need to just forgive and let go.” A victim of abuse wishes and dreams of a day when what was in the past stays in the past. They wish for a day when moving forward means they never have to think of the past again. If those things were true for everyone then PTSD would not be a diagnosis.
A few days ago I had a memory. Of a procedure done on me that my mother says she can’t really remember. I had asked many times and got vague answers. Well, I finally remembered. What I remembered I am sure everyone thought I was so young I’d forget. The past does not stay in the past. Memories remind us. This memory was a painful one but it answered a mystery. I tried to share it and felt minimized and invalidated. I wish I could say I understand. I don’t. You are either there for someone or you are not. You are either in it for the long haul or you aren’t. Better to fess up and say it now if you can’t hack it. The last thing a person recovering from abuse needs is another loss. You don’t want to hear it? It’s been going on too long for you? Imagine how long it has been going on for ME!!!!I didn’t speak for 30 YEARS and now I have a time frame on how long I can discuss a sexual predator and what I was put through and memories that keep coming forward now that I am in therapy? No. I do not accept those friendship parameters. Oh, hello anger, I have not seen you for awhile. It is amazing how a little invalidation can bring you back full force!!!!
I told my dear friend about this a few days ago. She reminded me that a true friend is there for you unconditionally, no matter what, no matter how long. Friendship is a two way relationship. You talk. You listen. You console. You comfort. You laugh. You support. Unfortunately for other people in my life, she sets the bar high. And frankly I am tired of friends that fall below that bar. Hey, don’t blame me for setting the bar! She’s the one that put it there and allowing me to see how badly so many others SUCK.
Let me tell you about our friendship. We raised our two children together. We spent almost every day together. We know how to be angry for each other. We know how to jump on whatever bandwagon there is to jump on for each other. She and I could not be more opposite on so many things and yet we share our foundation which is how we love and how we parent. She eats cookies. I eat granola. We both love boiled peanuts. We both have our struggles and we each have each others’ back. No judgment. Unconditional. 20 years of friendship. We hold each other’s most deepest thoughts and worries and hopes and we cherish them. That is what friendship is.
She has listened to story after story about my family, my father, my brother, the ski team, the child molesters, the abusive boyfriends. That’s what friends do. In 20 years you go through a lot together. She “gets” me. I trust her and it takes a lot for me to trust.
She has been in it for the long haul since day one. Since before she even knew I was abused. When she signed on as my friend it was for life, and did not have restrictions or conditions, based on what I was going through at the time.
If you aren’t in this for the long haul. Get out now. I don’t need another loss down the road from someone who I thought was invested in my heart and healing. I don’t need those first quotes in my first paragraph and neither does any other abuse survivor. Abuse recovery has no time table. If you think it does, if you are putting time constraints on an abuse survivor, stop.If you can’t stop, then just walk away now. We need to know now. Not one month from now or 2 years from now when we’ve trusted you with our truths. The last thing we need is another fucking disappointment down the road. Really. We’ve lost enough already. I don’t need pretenders who just hang on to me as a connection or an aquaintnece. You are either with me, all the way, or you are not. Unconditional or gone. Every abuse survivor deserves to never ever hear “It’s time to put that in the past” again. Be in it for the long haul. We are worth it.