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Archive for October 17th, 2007

Friends (c) Lynda Bernhardt

Talking with friends is a great way to get through the very painful times. It is especially helpful when you have a friend or two who knows what you are going through so you can just call and say, “I’m free-falling!” without having to go into explanations. It can be very hard to reveal your history to a friend, but I strongly encourage you to take the risk with someone you trust (or at least someone who you believe deserves to be trusted).

I used to fear that if anyone knew my history, she would run from the room screaming. I believed that all that I had experienced made me a bad person. Because I was repulsed by myself, I believed that others would be repulsed as well. What I discovered was that people who learned my story respected me and became fiercely loyal to me. It was such a relief to share my burden with another person.

As I was working through the healing process, I would sometimes become very triggered and feel strong urges to harm myself. I could not just “will” these urges away. I found that calling a friend was one of the best things I could do to ground myself enough to prevent myself from self-injuring. I would focus on my friend’s voice and “ground” myself until I no longer felt like I was free-falling into my pain.

Watching a friend’s reaction to your history can be powerful in helping you heal. Each time another friend reacted by saying, “It wasn’t your fault,” it helped me believe this a little more. It also helped to see friends’ anger toward my abuser and to hear them tell me how strong they thought I was.

Leaning on a friend cannot replace what you need in therapy, which I will get into in my next post. However, talking with your friends can be a wonderful supplementation to therapy. Also, having these friends in your life can help you transition out of therapy when you are ready to stop.

Related Topic:

Positive Coping Tools for Healing from Childhood Abuse

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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