Thursday, March 17, 2016

What is a Friend?

Q: What is a friend?


This may seem like a strange question, but you'd be surprised how often members of a DID system ask me, their counselor, what a friend is.  It's sad how many Multiples were not allowed to develop friendships when they were young, and then the damage from their trauma often left them too hurt, scared, and different from other people to seek out and maintain friendships.  The more developed their DID became, often the less able they are to maintain outside friendships due to switching, fighting for resources/energy, and lack of consistency/time needed to keep relationships alive.

I recently contacted my second best friend ever on Facebook, whom I haven't spoken to in decades, and asked her to describe what she remembered of me as a kid.  She said I was quirky and strange, but she also shared some good memories of things we used to do together.  But quirky and strange were her first answers.  From an outsider, kid point-of-view, I'm sure I was both things.  Because when your friend switches, loses time, has spotty memory, has fleeting hobbies/interests,  and probably likes things one day and hates them the next, that's going to see quirky and strange.

It's sad though to realize that when we were in school, we were badly bullied for a 1-2 years, and after that started, we gave up on trying to make friendships.  We stayed in auto-pilot, quiet shadow, good student, mode for years just to get through school.  We wonder how much of our social difficulties came from the bulling (a fair amount, to be honest, especially about body image and self-esteem) and how much of the bullying came because our peers could already tell we were damaged and different and odd.

As an adult, though, many Multiples can start making new relationships.  And they can even find some amazing friends.  Some give up the hope of ever finding a friend, or a safe person at all, if they've gone from childhood abuse victim to adulthood abuse victim.  They may have had so many different people be abusive to them along the way that they've given up on humanity completely.  That's really sad.  And I hope if that's you, you'll keep a glimmer of hope out there that friends are possible, and one day I hope you find one truly worthy of getting to know you and your system.

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