Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Some Clarification, Some Ranting; Basically the Usual

Some clarification of my last post:

If you are friends with my abuser and haven't even bothered to talk to me about my side or expressed any sort of sympathy, I want you out of my life.

If his lies and justifications are easier to swallow than him treating me cruelly, I want you out of my life.

If you found my anger off-putting or an overreaction, I want you out of my life.

If you don't find his hurtful actions to discredit me problematic at all, I want you out of my life.

If it is so easy to believe that my mental illness means I'm a crazy, lying drama whore, I want you out of my life.

If you are sympathetic but don't reconsider if this is a person who makes a good friend or you find abuse too harsh a word, think of it as emotional bullying and understand that this experience has been seriously traumatic for me. If keeping the friendship is still more important than my wellbeing, I want you out of my life.

If you think your neutrality or silence or whatever is more important than taking emotional abuse seriously, you are an enabler, and I want you out of my life.

If you think this is a super harsh reaction to the entire situation, I want you out of my life.

I'd rather isolate myself and lose a lot of friendships I've had for years (therefore giving him exactly what he wants), than deal with a monster for one more second than I have to or put any more energy into the misery and stress he's caused me. There are people who have provided me a lot of support and kind words and have put effort into staying friends regardless of everything that's happened, and some have made the amazing effort to become better friends, even. These are the people I want in my life, and no one else.

I posted this on social media before, but it really describes it best as to why this is necessary.
A while ago I came to a realisation that someone I thought I was good friends with was incredibly toxic and an adept gaslighter. He knew how to push my buttons and knew which situations to push them in so that I’d react publicly and irrationally. Why? I still don’t know, although several people close to us both have suggested it’s a combination of his incredibly low self esteem (apparently thanks to his parents), or that he sees me as some kind of threat (I still have no idea what that means). When I finally realised that no one else could see how difficult it was for me to associate with him, and that I’d prefer to never see or have anything to do with him again, I cut him off. 
Social events with that particular circle of friends became difficult. This was, aside from him, a great group of people I’d become increasingly close to and enjoyed spending time with. I got to the point where I had to ask if he was going to be at something, so that I could decline the invitation if he was. 
At some point, a lightbulb went off in my head. The angst and anxiety around always avoiding this person meant that this person was always popping into my thoughts. Every time a mutual friend invited me somewhere, I had to think about him, and I didn’t want to think about him ever again. The problem was that everyone seemed to think he was great, so there was no chance of the situation changing. I could have swallowed my pride and just shown up to things and let him be the awkward one, but I did that a couple of times and it was anxiety-ridden for me and not worth the trouble.  
So, on somewhat of a whim, I removed almost everyone in that group from my social circle. 
Why almost everyone and not just everyone? A few people contacted me to ask what was going on, and I told them. Most got angry and bid me good riddance—but a couple of them flat out refused to stop being friends with me, and started making time for me outside of group things. 
Within a couple of days of removing everyone, it felt like an immense weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Sure, I had about 50% less friends overnight, but I never had to worry about him again. It felt incredible, and it also changed my life—I started making time for new friends and discovered the people I now refer to as my tribe. I definitely miss some of the people I left behind with him, but it was worth it. 
I'm not going to go through the trouble of worrying which social things I can attend and which I can't. If you don't want me around anyway, because you believe his side, good riddance. I'm certain I know who cares about my friendship and who doesn't by now, anyway.

I do not hate anyone other than my abuser, and if you are worried I am speaking about you (I am not necessarily thinking of anyone in particular with any of these statements.. but this is the general feeling I've gotten from a lot of various reactions), then chat with me and I will happily discuss the what and why of how I've gotten to this point.

I also have not asked anyone to ever advocate for me on my behalf with any other friends. I've gotten the impression that some feel I am creating an Us vs. Them dynamic, which is not what I want at all. All I've wanted is to speak my truth and hope that some of you out there understand. I'm just clarifying now where my boundaries lie. If you are a mutual friend of someone wondering why I'm cutting people off, then I'm happy for you to explain things or direct them to me. In fact, I've always preferred direct communication about all this stuff... the lack of it is part of what has been causing me stress. I know there's been a lot of talking about me and very little talking about things TO me.

I DO think there is a right side and a wrong side, but that's because for me there is. He caused me harm. That is wrong. If you intentionally or unintentionally encourage and enable him causing me harm, we cannot be friends. It's that simple.

If I sound angry and frustrated, that's because I am still. I imagine I will be until everything is settled. And if I'm not angry and frustrated, I'm crying and terrified. That's it, that's my life at the moment. But once this is done, I am moving forward and never looking back. I wish more of you were coming with me, but I'm grateful for all those who will be.

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