As I sit here and write this, I’m tearing up. It’s been almost 10 months since I filed a restraining order and fled my abusive boyfriend, who also has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Ever since that day I left the courthouse with a restraining order I’ve tried to begin healing and better my life. But as those of you who have lived through the horrible abuse (or still are) understand that just because you left the relationship, doesn’t mean the trauma or wounds disappear too. Unfortunately, people (friends, family, and even strangers) who haven’t lived it are ignorant towards us, whether it’s intentional or not. And that’s damaging.
The truth is, at least from my experience, the outside world isn’t equipped to handle us. We’re strong women for having the courage to leave our abusers (or if you were dumped by him, you’re still strong because you lived through the same abuse and trauma and are now trying to heal from it). If the world would take a moment to realize how strong we truly are and lend us a hand as we try to stand back up on our feet and heal, it could make a huge difference. But, unless it’s a trained professional, don’t count on it.
The point of this blog post is to share a recent incident in my life, that has set me back in my healing journey because of the ignorance of the outside world. I recently made a new friend. Someone who seemed to care and who I could trust. It was a great feeling to finally not sit at home all the time and stare at the wall thinking of my ex and everything he put me through. It was also great to have support, since I don’t have any besides my therapist, domestic violence social worker, and the police. I guess I was too much to handle though.
This person very recently began to make me feel as though I was making everyone’s lives difficult (he said those words to me) because certain things triggered me. This person asked me why can’t I just get along with everyone (implying I was a burden because I couldn’t be around a person who shared the same toxic tendencies as my ex and triggered me so badly that I changed my daily routine around to avoid them). I tried so hard to explain how triggers re-traumatize me and make me relive the abuse I endured. I gave very personal examples, shared articles, talked about it in therapy and then told my friend about the impact of triggers from a professional’s view. I was so desperate for a friend to understand, that I fought so hard to explain it. It turns out he just thought I was being dramatic and invalidated the abuse, which is beyond damaging as you already know.
As a victim or a survivor, you’re going to have triggers. Don’t let anyone else dictate whether certain things will trigger you or not. And certainly don’t let anyone make you feel guilty or like a burden for having triggers. Make sure the people you surround yourself with have your best interest at heart. If they don’t, remove yourself from the situation. The experience I explained above is very unhealthy during such a traumatic time. If people who claim to be your “friend” or part of your “support system” are too ignorant to educate themselves and listen to you and believe your stories, then you don’t need them in your life. I was knocked down again during a time I’m trying so hard to stand on my own two feet and get my life back. Be careful who you trust, even if they seem like the most genuine person of all time (I guess my abuser seemed that way in the beginning, too, so maybe I still haven’t learned from that).