Repeat Behavior Pt. 2: Friendship



Last week I wrote about Repeart Behavior that I exhibit as a trauma survivor when in situations at work that challenge deep seated issues I have with trust and feelings of worthiness.

Turns out that behavior isn’t limited to work situations.

I do this with friendships too.

The other day while browsing facebook, I was prompted through ‘memories’ to a post from two years ago when I was wrestling with whether the boundaries I had established with a friend at the time were too extreme or not.

She and I had been friends for a few years at that time but had had a mix up on a facebook post that left me questioning if I wanted to associate with her. After taking offense to something I said, she got angry and insulted me,  belittled the work that I did, and they questioned my abilities as a parent.

In that moment I realized two things: she either believed those things of me or she believed it was okay to talk to me like that when she was mad. Both of which were not okay. So I chose to remove her from my life and I stopped speaking to her. I did tell her how upset I was and to give me time, but decided to just walked away.

Fast forward 8 months of nothing from me, all the while she keeps reaching out. Eventually I thought maybe I should revisit this friendhship. I mean, seriously – she must really care about me as a friend to spend so much time trying to reconnect right?


Despite my better judgement and the advice of my friends I rekindled the friendship.

It’s what I know – people hurt me, and I still love them. *sigh*

Over the course of the last year the situation has gotten more complex; she helped me get a job. A great job, one that I am very good at and that I love, with the company she works for.

Turns out however, that I have always known what kind of person she is despite my denials, and all of that has come out over the year at my current place of employment. Over the last 6 weeks things have snowballed (at least it feels like it) and it has led me to leave that job. The environment became far to unsafe.

While the prospects for me are actually amazing (turns out that place was amazing as a stepping stone in the industry), it has still been highly stressful and re-traumatizing due to how it has played out.

Over the course of the last couple weeks I have been processing all of my feelings over this friendship as I let it go. I even wrote about the lesson I must learn here.

She has proven to be untrustworthy, she has proven to be incapable of understanding or compassion despite knowing well what I am dealing with, and so – she is not just someone I don’t want to be friends with, but as a trauma survivor she is an unsafe person for me to associate with.

I wish I could say she is the only person I have ever let do this to me – but alas, she is not.

  • I have an ex-husband who cheated, yet I stayed for years.
  • I have an ex-boyfriend who was emotionally neglectful, and shamed me constantly for struggling as a single mom (in a caring for my wellbeing kind of way).
  • I have a family member who (until recently) I have allowed to emotionally abuse me, long after I was old enough to know better.

1487F6CD-E64E-4B17-A6CA-8DD9309B0D61It’s only been in the last year that I have started understanding and working on what boundaries mean to me, and for me.

The are uncomfortable.
I feel mean sometimes.
I’ve made people angry (which has been hard not to take personally)
I’ve second guessed myself, a lot.

But it turns out through all the discomfort I was right.

So why do I keep repeating the same behaviors?
At my age, with my experiences, why do I keep doing it?

Hello, trauma brain.

My repeat behavior is common. My brain doesn’t work the same way as that of a  person who hasn’t lived through the traumas I have.

Childhood trauma survivors have different alarm systems, different abilities to process emotions and memories, we filter information differently, and we have a more difficult time expressing feelings and needs.

I have to keep reminding myself of these facts, like all the time.

So how do I manage this?

Well, I am still working on that one, but at least I am finally seeing the patterns.

What kind of behaviors do you find yourself repeating that you wish you could manage better?


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