When Hurt People, Hurt People

I’m about to do something I never do… post right after a therapy session and while I am still feeling raw about an experience I had today. Actually, an experience that has been prolonged for weeks. However, resolution was just achieved today. And, sometimes, resolution sucks. It’s almost better being in limbo, not knowing if something is over for  good or if there is still hope. Turns out, there isn’t.

If I weren’t busy being a mature, put together adult (that’s almost laughable), I’d probably throw myself on the bed, wrap myself up in the comforter (human burrito style), and just disappear from the world. There would likely be a sea of tears within which I might drown. Not that drowning is a new experience. Some unlikely patron would probably break into my apartment and save me… because for some reason I’m not allowed to die. But, that’s another story entirely.

Can you see the dark cloud looming over my head tonight? This is why I don’t post while raw. But, I’m in it. So, why stop now?!

This has been my experience: a little over two weeks ago I stayed the night at a friend’s house (I guess former friend would now be the term). I wasn’t going to stay but we had just watched a movie that really ripped me open and poured salt on buried wounds; wounds which I thought I had healed. The film was about this couple who kidnapped a young girl and violently raped her. After her rape, I thought, I hope she dies because death would be better than living with those wounds. I genuinely could not stomach the thought of her having to carry that pain into the world. (Yes, yes, I know she wasn’t real… but that pain is real to so many people, including me). Of course, this then made me think, why am I living with mine. I spiraled into some pretty heavy suicidal ideation. People only think I’ve got it together. Hah!

At some point in the movie, the violent asshat of a rapist beats his girlfriend’s dog to death. Unfortunately, another all too familiar experience, as I witnessed my ex-husband abuse my cat on more than one occasion (though never to that extreme). I adored that cat. I never actually thought I was that affected by my marriage or any of the things that happened in it, but  after the movie I felt vulnerable, hopeless, and scared; much of which I attribute to the happenings of that relationship. I was “triggered”, as the mental health field would put it.  So, I accepted my “friend’s” offer to crash there… but I needed a favor from her, something to protect myself. Asking for this was selfish. I was living the saying, “hurt people, hurt people.” It wasn’t intentional. I never would have hurt her on purpose. But, still… it shouldn’t have happened.

No, I won’t be that ass that mentions this giant thing and doesn’t tell you what it was. I had razor blades in my car. Not something I usually have with me, mind you. I’m  not even sure why I did at that point. It’s not really relevant. The point is, I didn’t trust myself with them. I knew that if I knew where they were while I was feeling the way I was feeling, I’d use them. I did use them once though, before giving them up. Another mistake. Another thing that would lead to more pain for her. Perhaps another selfish act. I was ashamed, so I took care of the wound in secret. I asked her if she would get rid of the razors, so that I wouldn’t be tempted to do anything worse. She disposed of them, even though doing so triggered her. But, she never said as much and I was so lost in my own inner turmoil that I never stopped to think of that as a possibility. I always thought she was this tough, badass warrior woman. Impervious to the things that trigger we feeble peons. I was wrong. It breaks my heart how wrong I was.

To make matters worse, my bit of “self-care” resulted in a bloody mess. Again, I was selfish. I didn’t think it through. Apparently, I threw the bloody tissues in the trash can when I woke up in the middle of the night, though I don’t remember this. I assume it’s for the same reason I didn’t use the restroom most of the night: I didn’t want to wake them (her and her girlfriend) by flushing the toilet. But, turns out, leaving the tissues in the trash was the bigger error. This, too, was a trigger for her the next day. It was just one night, and I believe I caused her more turmoil than she seems to have experienced in a long time. Of course, I deeply regret it. And I literally hate myself for even having been so weak and pathetic in the first place. But, I can’t take it back. I can’t make it “un-happen.” So, I apologized. A million times. She never answered.

She never answered before the apology either. Or, for that matter, before I even knew what I had done wrong… or that I had even done anything wrong. (I mean, besides the obvious, which I didn’t think I had left any evidence of (I guess I was still half asleep or maybe dissociated, not that it makes a difference)). I panicked. I thought, this is it… she thinks I’m pathetic and weak and that I’m a shitty human being, now she doesn’t want anything to do with me. Typical, self-centered thinking. I wasn’t too far off base, as it turns out. That’s not my current point, though. My current point is that her lack of response triggered that abandoned place in me, that place that says I’m unworthy of compassion or friendship or love. That place that says, I’m not good enough, because I can’t fix myself, can’t fix my problems, can’t just pray them away or meditate them away. And, I don’t mean to blame her here. I get that she needed space, because I hurt her. But, that hurt me, too. The silence. The not even being worthy enough for a response, just a simple “I was triggered and I need some space.” I don’t know if things would have been different had that been offered up, but I’d like to think maybe we could have talked it through… salvaged the friendship.

Instead, we were both just  two hurt people, hurting people. Except, in my case, I deserved to be hurt. I genuinely believe this. It’s part of what we talked about today in therapy. I’ve come to embrace this belief that I am a bad person. That I only bring pain to other people. Or, that I am an annoyance or a nuisance. I often think that the bad things that have happened to me are a form of punishment. That I must have done such awful things that I was being subjected to some sort of karmic retribution. And, now, I have to suffer through those hurts in silence. Because, I could never dare share them, to split the weight of those burdens. Yet, still, I hurt people. That is infinitely worse than hurting myself. I can take that pain. I’ll endure it. But, I’m tired of being the person that rips through the night like a surprise hurricane. I’m tired of being a natural disaster. Sometimes, I’m just tired of being.

17 Thoughts

  1. Hi, I’ve just found your blog. In Twink. I’ve just read this and I just wanted to say that I think you’re being waaaayyyyy to hard on yourself! I don’t really see what you’ve done wrong if I’m honest? From what I’ve gathered, your friend having to dispose of the razors and seeing your tissues is your crime as it triggered her. Is that right? If so., I’m surprised your friend didn’t feel compassion for you?! Has she actually told you she’s angry or just stopped talking to you? I’m so sorry you felt so triggered from the film, that sounds just awful! If only you could wipe that film memory out!!! X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She just recently told me she was/is angry. But, before that, I knew because her girlfriend “interrogated” me about it.

      I know I’m probably being too hard on myself. That is one of those things I need to work on…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh my I really feel for you. I have been thrown out by friends for shouting when I was triggered. They just stopped inviting me to any events in future. That was a very violent movie and if you are an empath (and I believe you are) it may have been way too much for you. I agree with Twink. A true friend would have cared for you, but that said you probably frightened her so her anger was a defence against feeling the fear. Its all a learning experience. Dont beat yourself up. x

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    1. So sorry it’s taken me so long to respond. Life has been a mess lately. I hate that so many people have had these sorts of experiences with “friends.” They’re terribly painful in the moment. But, they do teach us what to really look for in friendship, don’t they?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for following my blog. I was very interested to read yours as well and this is the first one that came up. Wow! I am so sorry for your loss and your pain. I never experienced this type of situation before, as I just never let anyone close enough to even know that I had pain.
    You are right that so much about this really sucks and only those who have lived it could really understand that. You are very courageous and probably don’t know it or you just won’t admit it to yourself right now. It is hard to even think good things about yourself isn’t it? I know. But let me tell you that nearly 6 years into therapy I know and can admit that doing the hard work to get healthy is very brave of you.
    I also understand why that does not feel true for you right now. Sometimes when we are “in it” we have to find others that we can trust to tell us the truth. Here is the truth: there is hope in this seemingly hopeless situation. I pray that you will someday know this too. God Bless. Merry Christmas sister.

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      1. I certainly understand that. I lived hopeless until just about 2 years ago. It is interesting how sometimes you don’t realize just how hopeless you feel until you don’t feel it anymore. I told my therapist once that “I have lived my whole life in sorrow”. This certainly does not mean that I was never happy or laughed, but it is a soul state that is difficult to explain unless you have lived it. I know hope is possible, which is why I blog. I never believed hope was possible for me, I was just living to die. I understand why you can’t believe this right now, I just want you to believe that the possibility exists.

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      2. That’s really, really kind. Thank you. I feel really fortunate that my therapist always “holds hope” for me in the times when I’m just feeling drowned in the well of despair. I know it is sort of abstract but it helps, just knowing that the hope is there, even if it isn’t coming directly from me yet. It is hard when all you’ve ever known is varying/alternating degrees of pain, chaos, anxiety, numbness, etc. Like somehow I am those things now.

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        1. I am so glad you have a therapist to bring you clarity and hold the hope for you also. I think that for many of us we do become our pain in some ways. My abuse was a “secret” and I kept it hidden well. I went 29 years before telling anyone what had occurred. We do what we must just to survive, but there are often consequences to behaviors that saved our lives. I think it is easy to become lost within the pain and sorrow, especially when we often carry so much guilt and shame. We cannot expect to be able to shed a lifetime of hurt and anger and suddenly become “healthy” individuals. Like everyone else we are moving through this unsafe world in the best way that we can. Don’t expect too much too soon. Everything happens in God’s time, which is always perfect. I pray you will have a Merry Christmas. I know this time of year can be difficult for many of us, but try to take some time just to do what you want this year. Be happy. Make memories. You have to start somewhere, might as well be today my friend.

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  4. I understand the weight of “I’m not good enough” being hardwired into the subconscious and spilling out all over the place. I hate that some things take more from me to navigate than ‘normal’ people who dont have to manage heightened emotional responses. I hear you. I’m right there with you trying to figure out how to live too. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment. It’s nice, knowing that there are people who “get it.” Even if, it also kind of sucks… because that means other people also feel this kind of pain. And I wish that didn’t have to be so….

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I get it; I say the same thing. I take so much comfort in the level understanding I get from other survivors, yet at the same time would never wish this level of understanding on anyone.

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