TW: SEXUAL ASSAULT, RAPE
Yesterday, I had a lot of really strong feelings and not a lot of ability to make sense of them. Instead of paying attention in my lectures today, I spent my time in deep introspection, and I gained some important (not algebra-related) insights.
I figured out why I am so upset about my best friend being in the hospital and why I am so angry with her. It is because I have abandonment issues, and an intolerance to unpredictability. 5 months ago, my girlfriend suddenly broke up with me and cut off all communication between us, which was both unpredictable as fuck and textbook abandonment. 3 weeks ago, my best friend fell into a major depressive episode and thus stopped holding up her end of our friendship. Then she was hospitalized and thus isn’t even being my roommate right now. All of this was unpredictable and out of my control and I was left all alone.
Now, of course you can’t blame somebody for getting sick and having larger priorities than being your friend. But you can blame them for dramatizing their illness and not trying to get better. I feel like a friendship is an implicit agreement to not dip out of nowhere without a good reason. And I don’t think she has a reason right now.
Again, I know how much of a piece of shit I’m being. But I can’t make myself believe something different. I don’t think education about mental illness would change my opinion, because I have very extensive first-hand knowledge on the subject. I just know this person very well, and this is the conclusion I am reaching based on her words and actions.
Here’s where I will sound like an even bigger piece of shit (again). My roommate told me she has started trauma therapy for something she has never told anybody. Later, she implied that it was some sort of sexual assault or rape. And I don’t believe her.
I would be hating me if I was reading this too. I hate myself as I write it. As a rule, I always believe survivors. I know that their are fewer false allegations of sexual assault and rape than of most other crimes. I know that it’s extremely difficult to come forward as a survivor of rape or sexual assault, and that these disclosures are often met with heavy skepticism. I know these things. I hate the people who don’t believe these types of allegations. But again, having known this person for 3 and a half years, I find it very hard to believe.
Many of our previous conversations do not make sense now. She used to tell me that her psychiatrist suspected she had PTSD, but she had never been through any trauma. It was later determined that she experienced complex trauma (trauma that occurs over a period of time as opposed to a single incident) when she lost her stepmom to cancer. We had conversations about how that surprised her, because she had assumed PTSD only impacted soldiers and survivors of rape. She then spoke of her complex trauma regularly and casually. She mentioned having nightmares about her stepmom. She claimed to be triggered in hospitals (though that didn’t seem to apply whenever she was admitted). She never mentioned anything about a sexual assault. Once, she found out her previous priest was later convicted of child molestation, and she was worried that he had assaulted her and she had repressed the memory. She grilled her parents about it until they assured her that she had never been alone with him. She said the incident felt possible, because it would help to explain her PTSD. She has been extremely open about her mental illnesses and the past experiences that contribute to them. Yet she apparently hid this one thing. I am completely aware that a survivor of such a horrible trauma might not want to mention it, but why would she start related conversations only to lie? She has started saying she has 2 recurring nightmares; I assume she means 1 for each trauma. But she never said that before. It was always about her step mom. And in casual conversation yesterday, she implied that this new trauma was sexual in nature. It seems weird to hide something like that so well for years, tell someone for the first time for an unknown reason, then be able to talk about it casually a couple weeks later. I have not experienced rape or sexual assault, so maybe this is a normal pattern of behaviour, but it makes absolutely no sense to me. All these things taken together, along with my recent assessment that she actively seeks attention) make me skeptical of her claim.
But obviously, we can’t be friends anymore. Either she’s telling the truth, and she shouldn’t stay friends with an asshole who doesn’t believe her, or she’s lying, and I shouldn’t stay friends with someone who would lie about a rape for attention. Those are the only 2 possibilities, unless my belief changes. But I don’t know how that could happen. I certainly can’t ask her to explain our previous conversations. She likely wouldn’t react well to my questioning her story. So one of us is a shit person, and I will never know which one.
But what do I do now? I have nobody. And we live together. And we’re in the same tiny math department, so I would see her everywhere if we were to stop being friends before graduation. And everybody would take her side (I know I would, as a hypothetical mutual friend), so the friends/acquaintances I’ve made through her would be gone.
So I have figured out my thoughts and feelings on this matter, but I have zero solutions. I’ll just continue having no friends and being a reprehensible person.