I once had a best friend. She started as a friend of my now husband. She and I ran in circles that crossed and intersected. I hadn’t gotten to know her, mostly because a mutual friend warned me away from her.
Fast-foward to a few years later, she has moved back to our hometown. My husband introduced us, and I hesitantly started a friendship with her. Over the years, we became what I considered friends.
As time progressed, I started to notice her meanness. When I noticed our circle of friends adopting this meanness, I tried bringing it up. She was the most vocal accusing me of “being to sensitive” of being “a girl.”
I began distancing myself from the group and from her. Which meant she turned her cruelty toward me. I finally had enough, and stopped being involved with her and most of my “friends.” Her behavior was hurtful enough, but worse was that no one seemed to believe me. The hardest part to admit was that my husband didn’t believe me. To me, he seemed to be taking her side. He said the same things she and others did, I was ” being too sensitive” or I must “have misunderstood.”
Over time, I started to believe that my feelings must be wrong. I *still* often believe that my feelings are wrong.
I finally reached a point where I couldn’t put up with her abuse anymore. I couldn’t sit through another night of being ridiculed – of being called stupid, inept, and/or boring. I stopped going to any shared events. I told my husband that I wasn’t going to any of her events and that I didn’t want to go places where she would be.
My husband didn’t stop going. That was really the hardest part. To my thinking, he was still choosing to believe her over me. He was disregarding my pain, and he had been for years.
Last year, he made a choice to cut ties with her, kind of. He emailed her (and her husband). He said that there was clearly some issue between her and me. He suggested that we not attended each other’s holiday parties. She and her husband had a fit. They harassed him. They said terrible things to him (strangely not to me). At the start, he still blamed her husband, not her. It was all his influence. Admittedly, I’d stopped listening by then. My feelings still weren’t enough to matter. Now he says he understands.
Of course, this ties into our larger marital issues. He discounted my feelings about sex and physical intimacy for years as well. He has apologized. He tells me he understands now. He tells me it won’t happen again.
I still doubt my feelings all the time. What I feel must be *wrong.* and I still assume that my feelings don’t matter.
I’m working on this. I’m trying to remind myself that my feelings do matter.
As she and I have mutual friends, I find that a year later, it hurts that some people have chosen to remain friends with her. Over the last year, I’ve come to feel that people choosing to stay friends with her are choosing to say how she treated me (and how she treats others) is OK. I admit that I haven’t talked a great deal about it to most people. If someone asks, I’ll be as honest as I can. I will explain my experiences and my perception of those experiences. The two people I did tell, two people whom I consider thoughtful and caring, both through their language discounted my experience. There was a lot of the “Her? No, I can’t believe that.” I’ve stopped saying anything, again. I guess my feelings are wrong?
My boyfriend reminds me that my feelings matter all the time. He constantly tells me that my feelings matter. One day, I’ll believe him.