Perhaps it will help me clarify my thoughts, feelings, perspectives, hopes and intentions this morning if I give words to something that has been bothering me in regard to a long-standing friendship for over seven years.  My friend lives on the other side of the country from me, and as far as I know will arrive for a short visit – again – within the week.  I have something I need to voice to her, something I need to talk to her about — important to me — only I don’t know how.

Having been raised and formed within an insanely abusive early home for the first 18 years of my life I was forced to adapt myself to three conditions that are appearing to me today in these words:  (1) terrorism, (2) tyranny, and (3) another person’s pervasive and damaging sense of entitlement.

I had no way to ever fight back against any of these “conditions” of my life.

I often wonder how much of who-how I am in the world would have been ME even without the abuse and trauma.  Would I have been a retiring, quiet, shy, unassertive person anyway?  Would I have had the troubles that I have in defining my own needs and desires, as well as being able to articulate my reactions to people’s actions if I had not been forced to survive in Mother’s hell?

Would I still have had trouble sticking up for myself, stating my perspective, telling people how I feel in reaction to things that transpire in relationships?  Would I still have had trouble in doing something other than enduring and watching while I say absolutely NOTHING about what bothers me?  Would I be able to believe that how I feel and what matters to me has value, enough so that I could risk (dare) to speak up when it best suits me?

Would I still have been a watcher?

I notice things.  I notice something that happened all those years ago when my friend and her daughter and partner came to stay at my house for a few days back then.  I had a part-time minimum wage job.  I HINTED – meaning I thought I had made myself clear enough – that I needed to work while these people were staying with me.  The hints did not seem to be (a) heard or (b) respected and honored. 

I dared not leave the house while they were visiting because it seemed to me they WANTED me to remain with them — why?

I spoke with my boss on each of these days, a woman who gave me flexibility to not come into work, although I lost my meager income for these days.   My problem is that I could not speak about my own reality in the face of somebody else’s!

I suppose I did not wish to upset them, to risk making a mess of this friendship.  My pattern is to let things happen, let them go on, not interfere, make my own adjustments to other people’s patterns, with the hopes that “in time” things will naturally take care of themselves.

That’s how I got through the first 18 years of my life.

Time did go on, and two years ago my friend came back for a short day visit.  We went to lunch in town, sitting to eat outside on a warm day on the cafe’s plaza.  A woman my friend had known many years ago while they both lived in a nearby city walked by.  My friend struck up a conversation over the low fence that separated the tables from the street with this woman — and talked for 45 minutes.

Not once was my presence acknowledged.  I sat there eating in silence – alone – as I usually am – and said nothing.  I felt awkward, disappointed, and screwed up all of my own courage not to feel hurt or angry.

Here it is, time again for my friend to return for a short visit.  Meanwhile?

All the questions that go with my patterns are implied here instead of listed in detail.  On the one hand I understand why at my advancing age I am completely unskilled in negotiating situations like these.  On the other hand I don’t want a repeat of this, nor do I want to know on the inside of me there’s a pile of unresolved feelings that I am paralyzed to give words to in order to tell my friend about any of this!

I just want “things” to be fine – always fine – and in my universe that means never speaking up for myself it doing so “might” upset someone else – so that they “get mad” at me.

This is a big deal to me or I would have forgotten about all of this long ago.  I am stuck between my social awkwardness and my fear.  I put in a call to my friend this morning who was busy and will call me back this afternoon.  I am not looking forward to trying to address these concerns of mine.  I don’t know how.

What peace do I think I am trying to keep?  At what price?  Do I have my friend on a pedestal?  Do I not feel I am her equal in every way?  Nobody is going to do this for me, this work that I detest!  This is not a perfect world and nobody is perfect in it.  This is not about fault or shame or blame.  It is not about accusations or apologies.

In fact, I don’t really have a CLUE what this IS about!!!  Not really.  Well, perhaps today when my friend and I speak something about this mess will straighten itself out, no matter how scared I am.  I guess I will soon find out.


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3 thoughts on “+NO WORDS, NO VOICE

  1. Just some thoughts. Having run into a similar problem/issue, when visiting my 15 year older sister, in hospital, who had a kneereplacement. Returning home i observed, how exhausted i physically felt and how perhaps growing older dissociation, which once came naturally and automatically, becomes a harder state to maintain. Physically as well as mentally, My ongoing therapeutic journey, recognizing the injustice for always having to defend myself and having to hide in impossible adaptive bizar attitudes, where i do not even know, when i am or when i am not.

    I think your friend possibly befriended the person you became, after all the abuse and suffering.
    This morning i called my son. Saying help. Crying. Feeling this madness, this pain would never end and i might as well end it all by suicide/euthanasia. The denial i saw in my older sister’s face, when i again talked about my father’s attempt to murder me, her defence that children can drive you crazy, is a whole new area of abuse. Making me understand, why i had to leave this family for decades, so that i could take care of my own children. Also making me understand how Holocausts are impossible issues to come to terms with.
    My son said to me: Those people have a totally different referencecadre. (Possibly spelled wrong). They have no clue what you are talking about, where you are coming from.
    I think my older sister has a loyalty conflict regarding her deceased father, were she to acknowledge what truely happened to me, when this man exploded in uncontrollable rage. They do not have and hold knowledge, that what is true for me, i hold to be true for my father. Noone is ever their symptoms. I once wrote my brother, who takes it one step further, accusing me of having caused my father to become that angry, thus to be almost thrown over the balconyrailing 4th floor, was my fault, that loving someone means you love all parts of them. Also the shadowmoments, where they possibly abused someone. Or in this case attempted to murder his youngest daughter, whose conception he had cursed.

    I guess my conclusion is, we can only make the choice to change ourselves. Wanting to change others, so they will feel more safe, contact will become more easy, has never worked for me.
    Telling my story has worked for me with some people. But that took tellling my story many times, before it really landed somewhere. But with many people it also backfired.

    Your friend coming out to your place, must mean you mean something to her.
    With relationships being hard to impossible for those suffering from RAD that must mean something to you.
    What i would say to others, have said, is that it is a precious opportunity to practiced new skills in relative safety.
    Writing your books, you have a huge opportunity to get your story, your truth in. Being an observer, you will know how your friend will react to that. Does she want to know the real you.
    Sometimes casual relationships have their own value. Sometimes it is too painful and better to let go.

    The deepest truth is, however, we grow most in relationships. They are the places where we can practice new behaviour, learn new behaviour. Isolation in our tiny existence/social circle, although feeling safe, is also a flight from a possibility of a much healthier, more functional future.

    I found people’s hearts open more, when you value their effort to be kind, nice, loving to you. Take the trouble to visit, to call etc.

    In my reality i have no friends left. A conscious choice. It was always me who became only the giver, receiving little to nothing and it drained my energy to the last drop.

    The death of my mother brought an unexpected renewal of contact with my sisters. I decided to give it a try, leaving myself room, if it proved too unsafe for me. I am 3 years into that process with one sister. A second one has just started. My third sister, who always was the absent child, is neutral in contact, but never initiates any contact, nor do i.

    Maybe you could ask your friend to help you to become more functional in maitaining relationships. Maybe she has some advice to give you about hers.

    I know this totally be directed by others, when in their presence. I call it entering in the timeless zone. As i noticed i have no idea of time, when i am in that state. I also learned some people mean well, and also have their own issues, damage.

    Wishing you much learning about becoming more functional, when your friend visits. Wishing you also joy and happy moments.

    • My friend had her story to tell related to the incidents it took me so long to bring up to her. I realized I finally gave myself the chance to give her the chance to tell me more about herself. For example, she did not introduce the woman at lunch to me because she could not remember her name. She also could not figure out how to smoothly end that conversation with a person “who talked to long.” My friend did not receive my hints that I needed to get to my job, either. I am the one who could not be clear — yet my friend was able without defense to talk about the entire range of experience my concerns covered — and I was free to let her talk, as well.

      I imagine friendships continue to grow over time or they wither, or die abruptly. Ours survived and grew. My friend also completely supports my writing work —


      I notice as I prepare myself for the next stage of my book writing that I am dreaming about being with my siblings — the relationships that we barred between me and them are blossoming in those dreams. I get a sense that there are things being taken care of in my dreams that I will then be freed from having to be influenced by as I write — at the same time the more important levels of what matters will be able to show up in the books unfettered by information that is extraneous to the current story.

      I was the first in my family to move into “healing space” for the traumas of our childhood. All of them followed later in their own way in their own time. There is no denial left — and yet there was a time when protecting the truth from the light of day did operate in our family.

      Growth and change take time. Love continues to bind our journey even when our steps forward falter. And everyone has their own capacity for what they can tolerate of “the truth.” What I need to know is different from what my siblings need to know. I am learning how to make sense of that – and to be comfortable with this process.

      It takes a lifetime…..

  2. All is well. My friend called and we talked and talked – a friendship I can trust with a woman I can trust! So grateful!!

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