I’ve been a bad friend to you and I’m sorry. I have no excuses or explanations. What I am going to share with you (and the purpose of this letter) is not an excuse. I know you truly care and for that reason I want to open my heart.
I am petrified of being found unworthy of your friendship, abandoned, or rejected. And that causes me to be silent with you. The struggle I’m in right now sometimes overwhelms me and often confuses me and I feel out of control. When I’m not in “control” of my emotions I can’t find my voice. This leaves me feeling all alone (which is a dangerous place for me.)
I know my fears are directly related to being abandoned by my family and my previous counselor and her support group that I was a part of. I thought I had worked through that pain and in huge ways I have but evidently this fear has carried through.
Opening up to you in the midst of the pain is difficult and scary because sometimes I am on the edge of a cliff with no words. Other times my thoughts and subsequently my words are so raw and full of pain. I guess if I broke down the fear it would be a fear of someone telling me my words don’t fit in their definition of a relationship with Christ or giving me an easy fix solution: “pray this prayer” or “say this verse over and over”, when I know that what I need and what God wants is for all this pain to come out, be expressed and be felt for the first time.
This fear I have is magnified by the fact of our geography. I’m not able to see you daily or weekly or even monthly. Phone conversations are difficult because I can’t see a person’s face to judge what they’re thinking or feeling at any given moment. Judging thoughts and emotions in others was a matter of survival when I was a child but now it really works against me doesn’t it? Our friendship is faltering because of it. And I am sorry.
I have been experiencing disturbing flashbacks from my childhood. The most recent of being tied up.
That feels like a conversation ender. What would a friend do with that? I don’t want to burden you. Is this something I should share with you? I have no idea…and that keeps me silent. Is there part of the pain that is acceptable to share but another part that would be considered too much and would then be declared a burden? I have no idea what’s appropriate. What’s healthy sharing and what crosses the line? Can the line be determined ahead of time or is only determined after it’s crossed?
All these questions keep me silent. All these questions at a time when I desperately need a friend. Someone to love me, listen, and not be afraid of the pain. Someone who knows I have an excellent counselor who is supportive and there for me in emergencies. I want that kind of friend I can share with but in order to receive that love I have to share the load I carry around with me. I have to find my voice. I have to put voice to the pain. And then I’m back to the fear of abandonment and rejection. It’s like a revolving door that leaves me silent, alone, and in pain. It keeps me from deep relationships which I very much want with you.
I have a serious mental illness. Does that scare you? To be honest it scares me. A mental illness that was formed during all the evil perpetrated on me as a child. It kept me alive when I had no way of escape from the non-ending abuse. But now, it is a struggle to do normal things sometimes. My laundry is more often than not piled up along with the dishes. My husband has temporarily taken over the cooking. Things that I used to do without a thought now require more concentration than I have sometimes.
I have times of being suicidal. Does that make you back away from me? The days and nights turn black dark and last for years it seems. The pain at these times is alive and active and devouring. My time is sometimes spent second by second white knuckling it, trying to make good choices but often failing.
I have questioned my God, my sanity, and life itself. I have been (and still am) angry at God, life, my abusers and family. I am in the middle of counting all the losses this abuse has cost me. I don’t often smile during working through this mess. To put it bluntly, I’m not a fun sunshiny person right now. Does that make you want to look elsewhere for a friend?
I am used to being rejected. Mom, Dad, Aunts, Uncles, grandparents, a counselor and most recently , my mother-in-law (because I chose to voice an opinion of how she treated one of my kids.) I completely understand if where I am overwhelms you. It overwhelms me. I understand if the timing of this friendship doesn’t work for you. I want this deeper friendship with you, but I really understand if you choose otherwise.
If all this doesn’t send you running, I don’t know where to go from here…except for me to keep trying to being honest with you. I promise to keep trying to be a better friend. I want you to know that your friendship is very important to me. Very important.