Self Care – Something I am Still Learning How to Do.

I deserve to be happy. To be loved. To trust my friends have my best interest at heart. If anyone disagrees with this statement I wish you the best. Have a great life. I cannot have anyone in my life anyone willing to be friends with someone who hit me. Or put my head into a wall. Or tried to have me beaten up for running away. I can’t have you in my life if you think it’s okay to be friends with someone who is abusive to me. And trying to guilt trip me into feeling bad for trying to keep myself safe is just not okay.

~Devon Hall

Life is hard. Friendship should be easy.

The thing is that friendship is one of the hardest relationships that you can have in your life.

People have lives, that don’t require they involve you in any way shape or form. I admit I have a hard time letting people in. I have “my people” and then there is every body else. Not all of my friends know each other – in fact I have several different group of friends that have never met and will probably never meet. I like it this way. I like compartmentalization. The less friends you have, the less likely it is you will be affected by other people’s drama. Or cruelty.

It wasn’t always like this however.

Last year I had an amazing friend. A woman I hadn’t seen in years that I loved. She introduced me to her friends and it was pretty much kismet from there. I even started hanging out with her brother, who as it turned out wasn’t so nice a guy.

He used to like squeezing my hands really hard. At first I thought it was sweet and affectionate until I began to realize that my hands would hurt for days after. More often than not it was becoming increasingly hard to use my hands at all.

Then there was the time he crawled into bed with me after we’d had a fight. It was a nice chill Saturday evening and I’d gone to his house to hang out and watch a movie.

One of his many female friends came over and they preceded to get drunk so I decided to go to bed. The next thing I know he climbed in after and she followed.

It took less than five seconds before he ran his hands through my hair and my head began to bounce off the wall.

That was when I left. When I stopped pretending all those “Accidental oops” moments weren’t accidents. When I finally made the decision that no man would ever cause me harm again.

A few weeks later I was at a nightclub with my friends when he showed up with a half dozen girls. Including a former close friend of mine. They began to quite literally chase me around the club refusing to leave me alone until bouncers and friends alike intervened and threatened to call the police. I believe at one point it almost came to blows.

A few days later a man who was an escaped prisoner was all over the news. Homicide police showed up at work asking if I knew this man because hey, he was friends with that guy I just told you about. No, I didn’t know him, never met him never even heard of him.

Thankfully that was the end of it but it was enough to scare me. Anyone who hangs out with known felons, with murders is most definitely not someone I want in my life.

The people you have in your life define you. Whether or not we like it. I choose really carefully these days, when it comes to the kind of people I let into my life. I have to. I have learned after twenty years of abuse, and bullying that I must at all costs protect myself.

Yesterday I had a fight with a friend I’ve had for over ten years. I love this person, with all my heart. She is the kindest sweetest person I know. Turns out she’s also friends with those not so nice people I told you about. For a lot of years I have tolerated her desire to be friends with people I don’t particularly like and I haven’t been very good at keeping my disdain a secret. I do wonder if I am doing the right thing.

I don’t know how to express to her how terrified I am of this man – of the off chance he might show up somewhere I am because she is there with other friends. Whether she believes it or not I am genuinely absolutely shaken to my core. The very thought that he might decide one day to come up and even attempt to talk to me shakes me to my core.

It’s not entirely his fault. Years and years of letting myself be abused – and I do say let because I recognize the signs of an abusive man and I have in the past ignored it – has left me raw and scared. Not just of this man – but of all men.

I have very few male friends, and the ones I do have are very kind and gentle souls. They are men that go out of their way to make me feel safe and comfortable and understand what I mean when I have to walk away or when I get scared. Neither of these are things I do often.

I also don’t get angry often – not with my friends. I am actually pretty passive, so when friends see me getting angry I think they begin to understand that it’s an issue for me. A very big issue.

What do you guys think? Am I being too drastic? Is this a crazy stupid decision? Or am I just doing what I need to protect myself? I don’t even know any more.

See you on the flip side.