It’s been a while since I have shared something from my heart, but I feel this is one of those things that cannot go unsaid. I have seen too many people expressing their hurt, their loss, their absolute bewilderment when a relationship they trusted in, they had invested time and possibly even money in, went wrong.
I want to share my relationship that went wrong. We were best friends from the moment we met, at age seventeen. There was nothing we couldn’t get through, and nothing we wouldn’t do at that age. We made stupid choices… stealing, running away, getting mixed up in the wrong relationships. It didn’t matter, though, as long as we had each other.
She matured faster than I did, with a family and a baby, while I stayed young and stupid, and made mistakes, like partying, kissing other men while married, etc..So she and I would stop talking, sometimes for years at a time. It never seemed to matter, though, as we always found our way back. That’s what best friends do right?
When we got close again, and as we got older, I realized, through the things she told me, that I was not a good person.I realized that I was not a very good mother, especially during the times I decided to homeschool. That was when I was the worst mother of all, because how could someone homeschool their children and keep their house up? I also realized from the things she told me that my love for animals was something to be ashamed of. I had a huge problem and needed to stop taking in every stray that came across my path. My house was a mess a lot, while hers remained immaculate. They made money and could afford nice cars and a nice home, while I had to rely on food stamps, and Medi-cal just to get through.
These were all things that confirmed that I was a bad person. If stuff came up missing in her house? She would blame it on me while telling me over the phone that she suspected family of stealing said items. All because when I was a teenager, I used to steal. If I posted something on social media that seemed like it referred to our friendship, and it wasn’t positive, she would call me, and we would fight, and I would have to take it down. If we were fighting, she would still want me to come to her children’s birthday parties because she didn’t want people to think anything was wrong.
Towards the end, she told me that I should stop writing and get a real job. She always made an effort to separate me from her other friends, and later I would learn, she did that to all of her closest friends, so that she could talk badly about them, but still keep them seperate from each other.
You may wonder how we were even friends, but the thing is… she and I had been friends for nearly eighteen years when it was finally over. She was my rock when everything fell apart, the one person I would confide it, (who would then confide everything I told her to everyone else) she was the one person I trusted above everything, and the one person I shouldn’t have trusted. Every time she told me that I should, or shouldn’t do something, I jumped at it, to make her happy because I loved her like a blood sister.
Towards the end, I began to notice when we would fight that she would say things like “I don’t want people to question this or that” or “you don’t realize how much drama you make for me when you act like this.” I felt like my mothering skills were constantly scrutinized, I felt like who I was, was constantly under the microscope. Nothing I could do, nothing I could accomplish, nothing I could say was ever good enough.
Towards the end, I realized that I was living in fear. Afraid of posting something on Facebook that would make her angry, afraid of being happy about my own achievements because I thought she would say something negative. I was afraid of making new friends, because of the comments she would make about them. I was afraid of doing anything because I knew that it would inevitably end up under her microscope of scrutiny and then depression took over.
Towards the end, I forgot who I was anymore. We had one final falling out, and I ended up going to a psychologist and getting on depression and anxiety medicine for about five months.
It took me that five months to learn to be okay with who I was, to embrace my love of animals, to embrace the side of me that wanted to write and be an author, to embrace the side of me that wanted to home school, my kids. To be okay with my house being a mess sometimes as I work towards my career goals as a writer.
That is not to say that I didn’t say mean things to her sometimes and that I didn’t start fights with her. I was so insecure in our friendship, I didn’t know what to do. That insecurity haunts every friendship I have now, as I try to retrain my brain to think the worst about every relationship in my life.
I learned the terms: Narcissistic, Gas-lighting, Mental abuse, Toxic relationships, and so much more. Things that I realized were very much a part of our relationship. As I write this today, I honestly don’t know if I will ever be completely better.
What I do know, is that I am not the only person who has suffered intolerable mental anguish and abuse at the hands of someone they knew and loved, and trusted.
I know I am not the only one with a relationship that went wrong, whether it be a friendship, marriage, etc…
I know I am not the only one who has been forever changed by the actions of another,
I certainly know that I am not the only one who questioned everything about themselves because they loved someone so much, they allowed that persons opinion to be the end all.
I also know that I am not the only one, who has now moved on past that relationship. However, there are times it is a daily battle. It is a non-stop struggle because there are days I still think there will be a backlash for me just living my life.
I also know that I am not the only one who has risen up when the actions of someone else affected me so deeply. If that is where you are right now, I promise that you will rise up. You. Will. Rise. Up.
Do not question everything about yourself because someone in your life was toxic, and made you doubt your beauty, your worth, your value, or your purpose.
You. Are. Beauty.
You. Are. Worthy.
You. Are. Valuable.
You. Have. Purpose.
You will move on beyond this relationship, through tears, through pain, but you will do it.
You. Will. Rise. Up.
I know, because I’ve been there. I love you, and I am rooting for you. If you need me, all you need do is reach out. I will pray for you, talk to you, and be there for you. Even as my heart heals.
We all need each other.
-A. S. Anderson 3/8/17
Ps. I am now surrounded by two to three close friends who have been instrumental in building me up and helping me heal. I have three dogs and six cats who are just like my kids to me. I have written nine books, and I am pretty happy most days. Not to say that life doesn’t get me sometimes, it does, but all things considering. I feel freer than I have felt in my whole life.
And the healing? It’s coming. 😀 Through God, through my family (and incredible husband) it is coming.