For a long time now I’ve felt like I’ve had nothing to say. Which is a total lie but I don’t feel comfortable telling the truth yet. I’ve stayed away from the blog because I’ve been busy. Not a total lie but definitely still skirting the truth. I haven’t had the mental bandwidth to share my thoughts without paralyzing fear of … of what, I’m still trying to sort through. The door is ajar, the light of the truth is beginning to peek through.
In 2014, I realized I was in an abusive friendship. Nearly 10 years later, I’m still sifting through the debris and trying to understand the aftermath of it all. The manipulative behaviors I endured were reminiscent of my mom’s alcoholism but with greater subtlety, determination, and intent. My mom’s passive-aggressive comments about me, my schoolwork, or general life musings were a defense mechanism she developed, I assume as a trauma response to her own abusive parents. She learned how to be manipulative so she wouldn’t get caught, or so when she did get caught she could minimize the punishment. Then she brought all those trauma responses into her parenting. My manipulative friend may also have endured a less-than-ideal childhood during which she developed trauma responses of her own.
There’s a part of me that wants to tell the story. Lie; I want to tell the story but fear sounding petty or being gaslit. There’s part of me that wants to keep the story in the past where it belongs because I don’t want to feed the narcissist. Still feels like a lie masquerading as the truth. While I have no obligation to hide this person’s identity, the vulnerability it would require for me to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth is just too much for me to bear. Oof; there it is.
I don’t believe there’s a need to go through the whole story. That’s what therapy is for. As for this space, it’s important for me to share the learning, even when the learning isn’t quite complete. I knew even at the time of the eruption and subsequent end of the friendship that this person had tapped into something unaddressed since my childhood. For some time now, I’ve been noticing myself in a state of gradual social withdrawal and increasing social awkwardness.
I’ve become cautious about who I allow into my close circle of friends. I’ve become awkward in spaces of strangers, sometimes wondering if someone seems to care about me or if they have ulterior motives. That’s the thing about befriending someone with narcissistic features. You never know what’s real and what’s not. I look back and I believed that there were many real moments shared between the two of us. I have difficulty comprehending that a person can share feelings solely as a tool of manipulation, especially when there’s no real end game. At least no end game I could ever discern.
In many ways, the retreat of this blog was part of the aftermath of that friendship’s end. I refuse to give up the domain because I feel like there’s still something powerful about the idea of authentic realities. I fear I’ll never come up with another concept that feels so in sync with my mission. And yet, I have been wildly inconsistent with actually using the space to forward my mission for going on ten years.
So here I am. Here we are. Together, standing at a crossroads not knowing what’s ahead and trying to figure out what to leave behind and what is worthy of carrying forward. I don’t have it all figured out. And you don’t have to either.