Someone told me recently that I am playing the role of the victim. That I have victim consciousness. Well, they didn’t say it exactly like that. They shouted, “VICTIM!” in their final email to me that basically sealed the deal on the end of our friendship, but that’s besides the point. The point is, this person is right. I have been operating from a place of victim consciousness. I actually think the use of the word “victim” is a bit harsh… I don’t like the connotation that it brings. I’d prefer to think that what happened was that I created a trauma bond. An unhealthy relationship that consists of two people trying to fulfill the other ones needs; and in doing so, no ones needs get met which leaves both people feeling drained and sucked dry. However much this person might feel they were the only one in the relationship who was giving too much, the reality is that I was feeling the same thing. It was an unhealthy dynamic. And I believe that trauma survivors are the most vulnerable and the most prone to creating trauma bonds with one another, because it’s what is most familiar. Growing up, we weren’t given the proper genuine love and care and attention to be able to build a healthy sense of self, so our sense of self became distorted, and we could only see ourselves through other people, specifically our caregivers. If they were happy, we were happy. If they were unhappy, we were unhappy. It is impossible for someone to have one’s own feelings in a psychologically abusive or neglectful family. So making someone else’s feelings one’s own is something quite familiar to people with an abusive childhood. And I believe this is what happened in this unhealthy dynamic. Or at least I recognize that it happened with me. I was taking on her feelings, and I was getting overwhelmed by them. I was carrying not only all of my own thoughts and feelings and emotions around with me, but also hers. And it got quite heavy. I imagine perhaps she was doing the same with me.
I feel like a fog is lifting, and I am starting to return to my old “self” again. I went to the grocery store today, and I didn’t have the horrible angst and anger walking amongst people like I’ve had in the past several months. I think a sense of resentment and bitterness has left me that has been following me for weeks. Perhaps I was carrying around resentments toward this friend and I didn’t even realize it.
I am turning a new page. I am taking this as a learning opportunity. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Well that means I must be pretty damn strong to live through all I have lived through. 🙂 I’m moving forward with my face toward the horizon. Tomorrow dawns a new day.