Thanks for sharing! I understand that experience all too well.
Dammit! That's what I was gonna say :P
Thanks for sharing this, it really made me think.
I'm sorry you were hurt like that, and I don't wish to turn your personal experiences into a philosophical experiment, so feel free to tell me to bug off, but do you think that it's possible to recover from those kinds of hurts and trust more openly again? It sounds as if you maybe don't wish to, which is perfectly reasonable, but do you believe people, more generally, can? Should they? Or are these lessons that should stay learned?
One of my closest childhood friends molested me, for years - something that, obviously, left me with damaged ideas about friendship, and relationships and trust (and pretty much everything else, for that matter). I like to think I've recovered, mostly, and deal with the world neither with excessive mistrust, nor too much naivete, holding people I love close, without either strangling them with need or pushing them away - but sometimes I wonder how true that is. I certainly did a lot of mistrusting, naive trusting, pushing away and strangling while I tried to sort it out.
It's hard to know how to balance, when the ground underneath you was never level to start with, and I never can decide if the pendulum is swinging too far one way.
So I guess I'm intrigued, about these kinds of things as lessons, as shaping people in ways they don't want to 'fix'. I'm generally accepting of the person I turned out to be, but sometimes I wonder what I would have been like as a person without those influences, and I've certainly done a lot of work to try and get rid of their effects.
There's always something, though, isn't there? We have no control over what will shape us and influence us, and no magical knowledge of which kind of experiences will make us, later on, better or worse or just different people.
Is it better to trust, or not to trust? And what counts as damage and what counts as lessons? What makes us better, what makes us worse, what just makes us different? Bits of my childhood were horrific, but did I come out from that broken, or just different than I would have otherwise? Partly broken, obviously, but maybe with other things - personality traits, perspectives, I wouldn't have otherwise.
If we are what our past makes us, to what extent can we, and to what extent should we, try and change that? Should we just try and come to peace with it?
PS. As a child, one of my favourite pastimes was digging big holes on the beach, digging little caves out of the walls and turning the whole thing into an Imaginary-Miniature-Cave-Person village paradise. Your childhood activities sound like things Me-At-Eight-Or-So would have really enjoyed.
I think it's possible, and necessary, to trust people after your trust has been broken. You have to if you want to have meaningful relationships with them. But as you touched on here, there is a difference between the kind of naive, all-encompassing trust I placed in people when I was a child, and the carefully monitored, gradually increasing level of trust I put in people now.
I try to see most damaging experiences as lessons, except when they're completely not my fault (e.g. being assaulted at a bus stop). In that case, I'm thankful that I came away from it relatively unscathed. I've modified my behaviour so that I'm never in that situation again, by always either knowing exactly where I'm going or having money on me for a taxi so I don't get stuck on a night bus. But I don't dwell on it much. I don't want that experience to shape me to the extent that other painful experiences in which I've been a willing and long-term participant have.
Oh yes, I think the internet has also made it much easier to appreciate the brainfruits of others, without all that awkward meatspace interaction that usually has to occur beforehand, or the necessity of being in the same room/city/country.
this post touches me deeply...i am still "recovering" from an adult friendship blowout that has me re-examining my very self, the self i thought i had carefully constructed and protected from all the ills you speak of, from all those childhood/adolescent traumas. it was a case of being over-involved and over-exposed and entangled and entwined in ways i couldn't have imagined possible...anyway, it burned a hole through me the depth of which i never thought i'd ever encounter in my lifetime.
i feel very confused about what "the social contract" is anymore. i feel kinship with my social networking circle in that i feel i have found people who are freaks_like_me, cut from the same foreign cloth. yet real life leaves me skittish.
i wonder if my anglophilia stems from some sort of subconscious, intuitive attraction to the kind of interaction and friendship you speak of so eloquently here.
As another respondent mentioned, it's very strange that the breakup of a friendship is not generally perceived to be as difficult as the breakup of a romantic relationship. I've found that such splits are just as immediately painful, and more difficult and slower to recover from. I'm sorry to hear you're going through it again. If you were here, I'd make you a cup of tea, and tell you all about the ways in which the train service in this country is going to the dogs.
i love this post, thank you for writing it. it's interesting how much of it sounds so familiar to me and how much seems like the complete opposite of my own experiences... only interesting to me, obviously, so i won't go into it here, but thanks for putting things into perspective and making me think.
Well, if you feel like posting about this topic in your own journal rather than publicly here, I would be glad to read it. :-)
Word, to much of this. Especially the part about men just not being as hurtful as women--I so wish I'd realized that earlier on. Because of my relationship with my dad, I was always pricklier and more distant to men right from the outset, but that so left my back open for the blunt daggers of smiling manipulative girls.
Rachel, Francesca, Kellie--fuck ALL y'all, forever. :*(
Well, I'm not sure that men really are less hurtful. I think they can be just as hurtful as women, and in the same way. I know a number of women I can confide in securely, and a number of men with whom I would never discuss anything deeper than the weather report and the state of the train service because I know they're horrifically gossipy - and bitchy.
I remember you telling me about that, yes. It's odd that the general perception is that the breakup of a romantic relationship is the most damaging and painful. But I think friendship breakups take longer to recover from and are sometimes more hurtful. Maybe this isn't everyone's experience, but I've always found it easier to acquire a new lover than a new friend.
A couple thoughts:
1) I've never really understood why women (and of course girls) are so competitive and mean to each other. I mean, we guys have it too, but it's usually with much less vitriol. At least, in my experience.
2) Overall people's motivations are usually pretty simple, and we're all just a couple pushes from barbarism, and only a few steps removed from animals. You shouldn't expect too much from us, but that doesn't mean you can't love people too. You just have to love us for what we are, not for what we should be. I feel like I'm talking about my pets. :)
I have to disagree with (1). Men can be very bitchy indeed. Being a woman who has worked most of her life in male-dominated environments has taught me that male humans can be just as nasty, two-faced and gossipy as female ones.
It's very hard to look back on such friendships with an objective eye. Especially if you're a dominant personality. The subtle communications of others are not always as apparent.
The Internet is a weird phenomenon. California culture is ripe with pretending to be bland, friendly, and accepting of absolute strangers. Only on closer acquaintance or with the distance of the Web can you be as waspish as you please.
Do you see a restrained British culture as sympathetic to your own approach to life, or merely enabling you to keep up the distance and self restraint required never to be hurt again? In the first case, go you, you've found a home culture, but if the latter I say tell people now and then you care about them. If nothing else, it will shock the hell out of them as much as seeing your bare toes on the Internet.
Do you see a restrained British culture as sympathetic to your own approach to life, or merely enabling you to keep up the distance and self restraint required never to be hurt again?
I think it's about 30% column A and 70% column B. You're probably right that I should risk embarrassment and speak of my affection every now and then. But I think I'll stick to drunken moments. Preferably when the recipient of my confessional is drunk and I'm not. ;-)
This is a very moving post, and probably way too familiar for many women reading to be quite comfortable.
(The other part is an almost fanatical devotion to the cock, but moving swiftly onwards...)
Hahhahahahahahahahahahahahaha. I'm sorry. There I am, reading along, feeling melancholy, and then you have to go and write this. Priceless. Levity.
Sorry about that. This is another British influence, I think. The consequence of five years of constant teasing is an inability to take myself seriously for longer than about five minutes.
That was a great post. I'm glad I got back to my social network here to read it. There are so many posts I have missed over the past few months, but I am glad I was around to read this one.
Thanks very much! I'm happy to see you're posting a bit more regularly now yourself. :-)
Thought you might be able to relate.
Thanks for sharing. I can relate to this one.
P.S. If you want a print of one my photos, let me know soon (I have until end of thursday to print in the college dark room (until the middle of next month).
I really love the lighting on "IR gothic 7". Other favourites are the one colour piece (October gothic 12) and the Gothic Beauty 2 (Holga shot). Unless you really want me to choose, I'll leave you to pick which of those three you want to make into a print for me. Thank you!
I think a lot of children may actually be evil, and evil is something we (well, most people) grow out of (or learn to suppress). They say bullying and things like you've experienced don't matter when you get older, but they affect who you are for the rest of your life.
Two particularly unpleasant experiences stick in my mind from childhood. When trying to fit in in primary school I made an effort to be friends with a group of girls, and tagged along with them, until finally one day they told me to get lost, they didn't want to hang out with me. In terms that pleasant. I spent lunchtimes alone from then on - I convinced Mum to give me a key to the conservatory so I could go home and sit in peace with a book.
Another incident, in secondary school, involved a new girl, a nasty piece of work, who was particularly horrible to me (I shan't repeat some of the things she said or the jokes she made because it still hurts too much). She turned up at my door one night, she had come round to play. I didn't want her there, but Mum didn't know that, and I couldn't just tell her to go away. So she was let in and we sat in my room and chatted (although I was guarded and suspicious) and she was all nice and friendly. I thought maybe she'd thought better of her behaviour. Not so much. The next day she was telling everyone loudly how geeky I was and how stupid, and how rubbish my house and bedroom were, and making fun of my music and so on. Luckily she didn't last long - I guess she was expelled, like from her last school.
My school years were full of such things, and all of it has made me who I am, and not in a good way. It has taken me a long, long time to gain any kind of confidence that anyone could possibly actually like me, and I still don't really believe it, right down inside, except maybe G. And I hate them all for making me this way. I don't think I believe in forgiveness.
But there were good people too. Perhaps we should make posts about good things from childhood, to counteract the evil.
Edited at 2009-12-14 01:27 pm (UTC)