I was in an abusive relationship for the latter part of a ten year relationship. And it was not with a man but with someone who I thought of as a sister, someone who I considered an extended version of myself who would always be a part of my life. It was not till almost a year ago and the realization with the help from a professional who liken my situation to a bad divorce. We met at the precarious age of 13 and mostly by circumstance, we lived in the same neighborhood and rode the same bus, she was the pretty popular one and I was the nerdy loner. Looking back the abuse actually might have started then, with this comment “I used to be cool till I started hanging out with you.” I didn’t force her hand in friendship why she felt compelled to talk me at all is still a mystery. At 13 I was moody, self loathing, acne ridden, with huge glasses, and desperate for friends. How I managed to remain friends was the overly concerted effort on my part to always being “nice” except the one time I slapped her face for ripping up my band camp brochure, who goes to band camp, that’s white and nerdy. You would think such an incident would have been followed up with a fight or the end of a friendship but it didn’t, mainly because her background included physical abuse so the indifference towards my slap was not surprising. She is only the person I have ever gotten physically violent with.
A tumultuous friendship ended after ten years very badly. A lot of back and forth, insults slung, pent up anger from way back when. I had invested so much time into this person that I almost felt cheated our so called friendship was ending. I was the one who saved all our pen pal letters when she had to move, I was the one who fell into a deep dark depression when she moved, I was the one who till this day hates flying, flew to visit her twice. I was also the one who let her say nasty mean spirited things to me because at the age of 23 we were both at a crossroads in our life; quarter life crisis is very real. She was supposed to have achieved so much more in life whereas I thought she had done very well considering the lack of support from her parents. I was a punching bag and finally after friending a mutual friend (who turned out to be a manipulative schizoid effective bi- polar,another post for another time) did it finally end.
The moral of this story is, as women we are constantly bombarded with the limitless advice as to how important is to love yourself before you get into a romantic relationship but what about our platonic relationships with other women? I honestly believe having watched “Beaches, and “Fried Green Tomatoes”, several thousand times has somehow conditioned my brain into conjuring up fantasies of female friendships that stand the test of times, those are relationships to be most coveted. But what happens when your not fortunate enough to have a set of “Girlfriends” or a real life “ Sex and the City” Crew, what happens when your most cherished friend turns on you, or you finally realize she is not the person you thought her to be. There is no shoulder to to cry on and good luck finding that kind of kindred companionship as you get older. I believe the loss of good friends is so much more detrimental than a romantic break up, because now the friend whose shoulder you would cry on in times of need is no longer there. I think there should be more of a push to make people aware of how to be better friends, and how those relationships evolve and need proper care just like in romantic relationships. Friendships are so precious and if you’re lucky enough to have someone who is worthy of friendship make sure to do a check in, not only with the other person but with yourself as well.