When I was growing up from say my mid-teens to very early 20’s, I remember hanging out with this group of “Friends”. Even though I say the term “Friends” with a level of sarcasm, I think at the start they were actually my friends, but then over time they became clearly my “Friends”.
I was telling this story to a few people lately, Jenny Kuo, Luke Goodman and also to Matt Craig and reflecting on how things change and what happens. When I was younger, I used to have a group of friends, a “Circle” as you will. It was Tim, Jodi, Troy, Ben and a few other characters which for the life of me I can’t remember!
We had some good times for sure and in those days, I was always the “Under Confident” one of the lot. That is, I would be the “Supporter” of the team, always doing what they want and bending to their will. I actually had some big “Mental” problems so to speak while I was younger.
I had a few life threatening situations (another story for another time) and got stalked by a drug dealer, shot at, threatened with knives and badly assaulted on several occasions. I one time got strangled to the point of having very dark marks on my neck for days which I covered up with a scarf so my parents wouldn’t see it (It was winter fortunately!).
Without realizing, as a Teenager I developed a moderate case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (with a heavy bout of Alcoholism I had to deal with in my late 20’s! (But Again another story for another time). I then spent thousands later on for a Psychologist who Specializes in Child Abuse and War Veterans. I remember hearing that I had the emotional scarring of many Vietnam Veterans he saw (because even though I never saw an actual “Battlefield” the extensive beating and threats as a “Teenager” has a greater impact on one’s brain, say compared to being an adult).
Anyway – where was I? Yes, I suffered from heavy emotional problems and as I got better and healthier mentally, my confidence naturally rose. You probably know where this story is going! As I got better, I started speaking my own voice and preferences and guess what happened – this disrupted the precedent and order of things and the group started getting irritated with me. I remember two of the ring leaders, Ben & Tim were putting a lot of pressure on me to “Conform” with the expectations and we started fighting. Then, while I was busy working away – they turned most of the group against me and I was vilified!
Even though it sounds laughable in hindsight compared to what I am sure you are (and me too) dealing with our lives right now, it was actually quite a painful experience that created a range of Social Problems for me later. As I was working through Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Dealing with my Alcoholism (which is quite normal for people with PTSD). I also destroyed many great relationships which was completely my fault in fear of getting close to anyone again.
Ben, Tim and the Group really did hurt me in a quite a few ways and in moving on in life – the irony was that a few of them tried adding me on Facebook a few years ago. It was like “Everything” is just great and nothing happened and they wanted to be buddies. I even spoke to Ben for a short time, then decided to move on from them. Although I don’t wish any harm to them – certainly didn’t want to connect with them based on what they did to me.
The big thing I have been learning and reflecting on has been “Learning to Trust” again. I have been working with a few clients who have had people abandon them. Be it to relationships breaking down, friends moving on and then feeling paranoid and not being able to get close to anyone again. In fact, even I have a bit of a guard up when it comes to getting “Too Close” to people. A certain good friend (you know how I am talking about) has cracked my facade a bit and certainly started helping me in learning to trust again and that sort of thing (this is not a clue “Kenny Juo”).
One thing this has got me reflecting on is that I have some fantastic friends these days. I do certainly take them for granted sometimes and I am well aware of that weakness of mine and doing my best to really acknowledge and look after them. I am starting to realize later in life that Real Friends put up with your upsides and downsides! Yes, you may have fights with people – but you all kiss and make up and move on which is what it’s all about.
So thanks for reading this Post / Diary Entry! I am very happy with the friends I have made these days and lucky to have them around. Those mean people from my Teen Years – Peehhh! I look forward to ignoring their Facebook Requests in future!
If you are going through a breakup, or a bunch of friends have dumped you – I feel for you! If you are “Alone in the Dark”, like I used to be, please don’t be too lonely. Have a good giving heart and you will find some great people who return the love & respect you give.
Thanks again for the read and appreciated! I will have to write more articles about the pain of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – it hurts!