Letter To My Abused Friend

**Disclaimer: I apologize in advance if this torques you off or you disagree with my thoughts and/or statements. But that is the beauty of free press and free thinking. This is how I feel and these are my thoughts. I welcome any and all comments below and respect your opinion.**

I don’t normally post about people. I try not to. But every once in a while I get really worked up about something or someone. Today is one of those days.

I have a girlfriend. We’ll call her Stacey*. She had been in a pretty verbally abusive marriage for a good while. She finally found the courage to leave last April and start divorce proceedings. The process took about six months and she has been away from him for about 14 months now. I can’t express how proud I am of her every day.

I know it takes time to heal from such a traumatic experience, especially when it’s all she’s known for years. She’s been beaten down to believe she is nothing, will never be anything and should be dead. I know that it obliterated her self-esteem and any positivity she once possessed. I understand this and respect it. However, at some point she needs to start believing in herself again and working on getting that meaning back.

She’s been working on it since she left. I know it can take years of therapy, friendships, and self-reflection to start making a dent in that massive mound. It took a long time for her to even begin to feel like she brings anything to this world and those around her. I’ve been watching her transformation from the sidelines for a while now. Don’t get me wrong, I jump in (with everyone else) and bring her up when I can. I try hard to be a cheerleader for friends I believe in and dearly love. I see her Facebook posts about not being anything, her life being over (because of her age), never finding that right person, never having a family, and never being any good. Excuse the language, but I’m calling BS. Again, I know it can and may take years, but do you have any idea how far you’ve already come? You got out! I’ve known you for years…back when you were with him – long before you ever started thinking you could leave – and you hated your marriage and him then. He wasn’t nice to you, yet you stayed and stuck it out. I secretly wished back then you would get out, but you didn’t have the courage or the nerves to do it at the time. But you found it. Do you know how huge that is? Do you know how many women never find that strength? So there is Major Accomplishment #1 right there. That in itself should swell you up with pride. You did it. And you survived, when I know you thought you wouldn’t.

When we talk and text, it’s the same conversation over and over: “I’m never going to have a family.” “I’m never going to find happiness.” “Who could love me? I’m damaged.” News alert: We’re all damaged in some way or another. I have been damaged for years and yet, I still find people who care for me and accept me – huge cracks and all. You have those people too – all of us, your friends – and you have a lot, my dear. Maybe you haven’t found that special guy to start a new life with (yet), but you are still young, contrary to what you think. You still have an entire life ahead of you waiting to be lived now.

When we were messaging earlier, she said it again and I have held my tongue long enough. I’ve held it for almost a year and now I’m taking the kid gloves off. This was our conversation:

“I’ll be 39 soon. No one is going to want to start family a with someone who is that old.”

Again, I’m calling BS. And I did today. I got angry (in a loving way) and went off a bit. This was the rest of our conversation:

ME: Quit feeling sorry for yourself. I’m going to kick your butt. I’m tired of you being mopey and down on yourself. Don’t focus on what could have been, focus on what can still be. Age is just a number. You know that. Stop being Debbie Downer!
ME: I say this with complete love, but I’ve listened to you beat yourself up and be depressed about this for a long time….you’re done. Be happy about what you have done with your life and where you are going…who cares where you’ve been!
ME: Your happiness does not depend on someone else…finding a person and having a child. Those things are awesome, but your happiness depends on you and you’ve already done the biggest thing ever. Be proud! You are amazing just as you are right now!

HER: I know. And I love and appreciate you.
HER: You are so sweet to me and an amazing person.

ME: Yes, I am. And so are you. Right now. Period.

HER: I know your life hasn’t been a bed of roses either.

ME: You’re right. And I try not to focus on that anymore. It’s over and done with. It took a while, but I did it. And so will you. Starting now, umkayyy? 🙂
ME: There are so many amazing memories and happy times to be had and enjoy in just everyday life.
ME: You have a job, a home, tons of people who love you and have brought you into their families. And a million more that would do anything for you. Be happy in that. You have it all.
ME: You just want more (we all do). Don’t worry so much about what you don’t have and love what you do have.
ME: The sunset every day is so beautiful here.

HER: You really like it here don’t you?

ME: Yes, I love it here. This place is amazing. Every day.

HER: I need your good attitude. Somehow I have to find it.

You’re getting there, sweet friend.

Yeah, I got a bit wordy, fired up, and let loose. Forgive me, please. There was more to the conversation, but I’m leaving it at that. And I’m not the only one who feels that way about her. I see her posts on Facebook putting herself down and, instantly, there are a ton of responses telling her a) how amazing she really is because – let’s face it – we all know it and b) to stop with the negativity all the time. She’s better than that. We’re working hard on helping her see that, but it’s true for all of us. This post is for all of you who found the wisdom to recognize a bad situation and the courage to leave or fix it. You all are my heroes. Please stop dwelling and living in the past and focus that energy on the present…not even the future. Just live in the now. The future will work itself out. It always does.

I received these two posts from Tiny Buddha while I was writing this (how appropriate…TB always seems to know what I need). I hope they help her and anyone who needs some answers:

We all choose how we act, react, affect and interact with people every day. We choose to be happy or sad. I’m sad a lot. I’ve realized that (and had help realizing that). I have no valid reason to be so sad. I have everything. More than everything.  I’ve been blessed beyond measure. How I don’t remember that every moment of every day is beyond me, but you better believe your bottom that I’m working on it. Sometimes it just takes a good yelling from a friend to help you see it. 😉

Signing off. Never been truer than today and for her:

Love yourself.
Find peace inside.
Share happiness.

* Name has been changed to protect my wonderfully awesome, amazing, beautiful friend.

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