Now twice in my recovery, I have been confronted with the reality that old friends (other than the one I knew for sure I had told) knew about what was going on in my childhood home. My first ex boyfriend was first, right around the time of my breakdown (early to mid 2012). The second was this past Friday night and came from a close childhood friend who I just reconnected with after 15 years.
My ex boyfriend reached out to me from out of the blue because his name was still showing on sone deep dark record on my bank account that we shared during our
incredibly short stint of living together. He just wanted to get it fixed because he was about to get married or something. I was happy for him and of course agreed to do whatever needed to be done.
But I had, within maybe the month before, just had a nearly physical altercation with my mom and was in severe crisis mode after having really only just come to the realization that I was physically, mentally, emotionally abused as well as molested. I was in an endless panic attack rooted in my many layers of denial and self defense built up over 28 years. The knowing portion of my brain was also desperately searching for all the answers I was afraid of consciously knowing the answers to.
The couple of times he and I talked again, we mended a few very old fences. During one conversation, I confided in him about what had happened recently with my mom; and I couldn’t help but ask him what he remembered. He was my first boyfriend and I do remember that his exit from my life was, well, pretty dramatic. As it turns out, at some point during our relationship (I assume near/part of the dramatic end), she put a gun in his face and threatened him. Yep.
I think I already knew on some deep level that that had happened, but hearing about it as the veil of denial about my abuse was lifting from my heart and soul was beyomd heartbreaking, immensely validating, and something I truly had no idea how to deal with at the time. The universe and it’s glorious timing.
I was pretty confrontational with them about my abuse during the breakdown; and I confronted her about the news from my ex boyfriend. Her response was to ask me why I’d believe him over her, say that he was a liar, and deny deny deny. What, though, would his motivation for telling me that specific a lie about her be? He was a good guy, he cared about me, neither of us could carry the other’s baggage at that time, though. That’s just truth.
To this day, she denies and she lies.
Fastforward to last week.
The firm I’m at now does its fair share of criminal defense. Occasionally, we get retained on abuse-related crimes involving minors. I had already, sadly, learned I couldn’t continue representing children in foster care (most are abused in some way) because it was too triggering for me. Knowing a couple of the criminal cases would be bad for my mental health in similar ways, I had already expressed to my boss that I wouldn’t be able to work on those particularly trigger-inducing cases. Unfortunately, though, he had to fly out of town for business on a day that one of those cases was set for hearing; I had no choice. It was probably one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do as a lawyer, for so many reasons, and it left me feeling raw and sensitive.
Being a lawyer has given a few of my old friends reason to reconnect with me. I absolutely love that my career brings old friends into the current chapters of my life. Christie was one of those people that I missed and was excited to see again. She grew up down the street from me and we walked home together quite a bit from elementary school. We grew apart a bit as life moved on and lost touch entirely after high school. Honestly, I had forgotten how far back our history really went. As sometimes happens, she called me in a panic about something earlier in the week and I agreed to meet her Friday for lunch. I’m always willing, if I can.
She ended up running late Friday, so we just decided she’d meet me at my office. She came around a quarter to four. It was phenomenal to see her and to meet her young daughter. Like I hoped, it was instantly like old times; she really was that kind of friend. We chatted for hours that flew by.
Early in the conversation, she started to share the bad and the ugly in her life. Hey, people typically don’t come to a lawyer unless they’re a little bit broken, after all. We’re “counselors” for a reason; I really don’t mind. As we’re sharing, I of course mention the abuse and the breakdown, because #nomoreshame. We’ve both been through a lot, the two of us, so it was shaping up to be a pretty triggering conversation.
My flashbacks were getting strong, when she says in passing, really,
I think I knew.
It didn’t even register at first, but it instantly sent me into anxiety/freeze/full crisis mode like I haven’t experienced in probably a solid year and a half.
I pushed it away initially, I had to finish the conversation professionally, on a good note. But as I drove away from Christie and the office, getting closer to home, the gravity of her statement started coming into soft focus. I was partially conscious that something was not quite right, that I was amped up, and probably shouldn’t be alone. Thank God for my friends, truly. :) I was able to invite myself over to my best friend Tracy’s house, because she’s super safe company. As I stopped at the house to feed Freckles and then made my way to Tracy’s, the fully reality of what Christie said was flashing before my eyes.
She knew. She. Knew. I. Was. Abused.
That’s all I can get through right now. More later.
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