Like So

Ranting, raving, burning bridges and moving forward.

When Shit Hits the Fan

on January 13, 2013

Last night I had a fight with one of my oldest friends.

He was frustrated with me because he felt like I was pushing him away, and I was having some seriously complicated feelings about him.

Up until a year ago, whenever he and I met up, we would get into these intense conversations that almost became therapy sessions. We both got a lot out of them and left them feeling not only better about ourselves, but truly appreciating our friendship.

Then, last year, 11 months ago, the shit hit the fan and I lost my son.

Since then I haven’t only been pushing my friend away. With the exception of a handful of people, I’ve been pushing EVERYONE away.

My fight with my friend last night brought that all into sharp relief. I realized why I had been pushing him away. Because I didn’t want to talk about Nadav all the time. I didn’t need more intense therapy sessions. I didn’t want to spend every single conversation analyzing my feelings. I didn’t want that kind of help.

A strange thing happens when a true tragedy strikes you. Well, a couple of strange things actually.

The first is that you stop sweating the small stuff. Whereas once you would spend hours or days over analyzing little intrigues, or thinking the small problems to death, that all kind of stops. Because everything is tiny in comparison to the shitstorm you just went through.

The second thing that happens, is that rather than wanting to talk about it, you long to escape it. Hopefully you’re seeking professional help so you have some sort of outlet, but other than that you just want to get away from it. Because whenever you realize the gravity of what’s happened to you, you simply can’t believe that this is your life.

So you talk about it when you absolutely have no choice, yes. But if a few months have passed since the shit has hit the fan you don’t seek out the topic in conversation.

You don’t want your friends’ help. You don’t want them to help “fix” your problem. Because true tragedy is NEVER fixed. The volume may come down on it, yes. You may go from thinking about it 24/7 to once or twice a day. If you’re lucky, once or twice a week.

But none of it can be “fixed”.

And through the fight with my friend last night I finally realized this. It finally became clear. I keep away from people because I’m afraid they will try to “fix” me.

I keep away because I’m afraid they’ll want to talk about it when I don’t want to talk about it.

And then I realized that a much better solution would be to just tell them that I don’t want to talk about it. To just make it clear that they shouldn’t treat me like I’m made of spun sugar. They should treat me like they used to, with one exception:

To listen when I am ready to talk, and to respect me when I don’t want to talk.

And to never ever try to fix what will eternally be broken.

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13 responses to “When Shit Hits the Fan

  1. steph50 says:

    “You don’t want your friends’ help. You don’t them to help them “fix” your problem. Because true tragedy is NEVER fixed. The volume may come down on it, yes. You may go from thinking about it 24/7 to once or twice a day. If you’re lucky, once or twice a week. And to never ever try to fix what will eternally be broken.” Thank you for putting it into words. I might just quote you, someday, if you don’t mind?

  2. Amy says:

    Relationships certainly become stupidly complicated after losses like we’ve lived through.

    I have pushed people away because they *won’t* talk about my babies, or give me room to grieve. I am in a huge war with my sister-in-law right now because she a rurally tolde “enough is enough”, as if somehow, 17 months later, I’m supposed to be over it and moving “on” like the rest of my husband’s family so clearly did a long time ago. For me, in my grieving process, people like her have made the experience so much worse than it already was. And those who truly have supported me, with love, compassion, occasional room to cry if I’ve felt the need, have been so few and far between. My circle has definitely contracted…fully out of self-preservation. And yeah, God help those who don’t have therapists to help process it all. I certainly could not have done this without mine.

    • Mo says:

      It’s so hard isn’t it? I’m lucky enough that few have judged me for my grief, but it’s still really effing hard to explain what you need to people. Especially when you yourself barely know.

  3. I can totally relate, and like steph50, I appreciate your putting it into words. The other reason I find I’m pushing friends away is that they remind me of the times when everything was ok. I sometimes call it the “when I was pregnant and…” syndrome. The last time I saw X I was pregnant and happy. The last time we were here, I was pregnant and finally telling people. And on and on. A constant reminder of what was and now what isn’t. Some friends understand this and some don’t, and that’s ok. Because this isn’t about them. And while I know they want to help, like you said it has to be when I’m ready and on my terms.

  4. April says:

    To echo the sentiment, thank you for spelling out what I’ve been doing for three and a half years.

    And I’m proud of you for saying it.

  5. Jenn says:

    This entire journey is so tough and the way you word things that are in my head and don’t come out right always makes me so glad I read your blog. I lost some friends after I lost my twins who couldn’t understand how painful it was and also said hurtful things such as “I thought you’d be over that by now”, I realized maybe they weren’t true friends and it made me even more thankful for the wonderful friends who are still there for me.

  6. SRB says:

    I had a similar experience with friends when my brother passed away. Some wanted to only talk about that, and some wanted to pretend that it never happened. Of course, never the right people or at the right moments. I remember screaming at one friend that we didn’t have to talk about it ALL THE TIME, that “We could just talk about rocks!” I don’t know why I went with rocks, other than to point out that we could just talk about normal things most of the time so I could feel normal most of the time.

    All of those friendships ended (though I should point out I was 19 at the time and they likely would have anyway, but still… it sucked). For a long time after that, I never talked about it at all. I didn’t talk about *him* at all. I didn’t want the pity or the non-acknowledgement either, if that makes sense. Now I talk about him for *me* not for *them*. They can’t fix it, and neither can I – I get this so much.

    Love always, friend.

  7. flmgodog says:

    BAHHH. I totally get it.

  8. marwil says:

    This is really complicated, or I feel others can easily make it complicated. I am lucky to have a few friends and my sisters balancing this really well. To have respect for others is key, like you point out. Both to listen when it’s needed and just talk about random stuff like we always have done when it gets too much to bear. Then the other side can really get me as well, the ones who act as nothing have happened and am too afraid to upset or think they will offend.

    I’m sorry you had to have that fight with your friend, I hope it can be repaired with given some time and understanding.

  9. missohkay says:

    I was the opposite and wanted to almost “punish” people by talking about my miscarriages all the time because everyone else had the audacity to just pretend like things were okay. I’d like to just get some barbs in every once in a while to remind them things weren’t feeling normal on my end. We human beings are lovely and predictable, aren’t we? 🙂

  10. jaclyn says:

    I’m so sorry you are going through all these feelings 😦 I think we all cope with our losses in our own ways, even if that means pushing everyone away… i know i’m guilty of doing the same in the past. just remember im here to hold your hand whenever you need a friend 🙂
    xoxoxo

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