Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: co-worker, cutting, friend, self-harming behaviors, work
You remember that work friend I was telling you about, the one I went to that conference with? She’s having a rough time. Her boss set up a meeting with her, and we kind of sensed in advance it wasn’t going to go well. Unfortunately, our senses were right. Her boss ended up screaming at her, apparently. I wasn’t there for this, but my friend texted me about it when the whole thing was over. After that, a bunch of people from work talked to me about it. I’m not sure if they talked to me about it because they know we are friends, or if it because I am a more seasoned member of the team (since they are all kinda newbies). I guess it really made an impression, whatever transpired between my friend and her boss. My friend has been totally fucked up ever since, avoiding our normal work site like the plague.
Anyway, my friend and I had to go to an off-site meeting the other day. She arrived wearing a dress we bought together on the way up to the conference. It’s a sleeveless dress, and she was wearing a pretty black sweater over it. I told her she looked really pretty, and complimented her on her dress. She said that she usually wears a different sweater with it, but she lost that sweater so she had to wear this one. I told her it looked good, and we went into our meeting.
It wasn’t until much later in the day that I realized that my friend was wearing a long-sleeved black sweater in the middle of a hot summer day. And then it hit me – she’s probably cutting again. That’s why she felt she had to explain her sweater, because she was self-conscious about it.. She has never explained her clothing choices to me, nor has she ever worn long sleeves in summer. This is what happens when you rape people – they end up finding terrible ways to cope with terrible things. She copes with her pain by cutting herself.
I asked her to go to lunch with me this Wednesday; I told her if she needs a shoulder, I have one available. I don’t feel comfortable telling her I know why she is wearing a long-sleeved sweater. When I was cutting, I would have been embarrassed if someone I didn’t want to know had found out and pointed it out to me.
The piss of this whole thing is that about two weeks ago, I had some serious urges to cut. I thought about cutting my arms, which was always my place of choice. But I didn’t feel comfortable doing that because it is summer and my workplace would totally judge me for that. Then I thought about cutting my stomach, but I didn’t feel comfortable with that either. (Less than a year ago I had multiple gall bladder surgeries, and I just didn’t want to re-traumatize an area that has already been traumatized.) I thought about cutting my breasts, but I fed my baby with those, and I don’t want to cut them up. So I thought about cutting my legs.
I couldn’t find a reason not to cut there, so I thought about it some more.
Finally, I decided that that was the old butterfly, not the me I am now. The old butterfly used to cut myself when I was hurting as a way to relieve the pain. I am not that butterfly anymore. I have learned things since then, and one of the things I have learned is that emotional pain sucks shit but it won’t last forever. The urge to relieve emotional pain by cutting yourself can be obliterated just by sharing that pain with someone else. I talked to my ex about my urges to cut, and we explored all the emotion that was driving those urges. After that, I didn’t need to cut anymore.
I am worried about my friend though. I know what it’s like to feel alone and scared that things in life are not going well. I wish I could tell her that it’s okay and that I wouldn’t judge her for cutting. I wish I could share that sometimes I still mentally go to those dark places too.
I once read that if you’ve been traumatized, you are much more likely to be empathetic to trauma survivors than if you hadn’t been traumatized. I am sure that I feel some sort of allegiance to her because of that. I almost kind of feel like a big sister to her, if that makes any sense.
I hope she finds her way, and I hope I do too. We are both good people who have been hurt by malevolent people. It’s not our fault, but it is our burden to carry. I hope both of our loads lighten in time so that we can walk straight again. I will sing a prayer of healing for each of us tonight.
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