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Dealing With Friends Who Deal With Trauma: 5 Healthy Postures for Healing Together


 
brown girls from brooklyn
Spiritual Sisters who Heal Together
 

TRIGGER WARNING: If you are triggered by acts of sexual violence please be aware that this story may trigger you. I hope to use my platform as a mechanism for me to take accountability for my actions and offer the people I love a safe space to do the same. I never look to offend or hurt anyone, so please proceed with caution. - Shakia

 

"Open your mouth." I stick my tongue out.

As a blue superman ecstasy pill dissolves, "I'm still ready to go." Agitated but flexible, he obliges,

"It's iight baby, we gonna chill at the crib anyway"

I never ask him to expound on the we, because I'm not in the mood for the back and forth. Initially, we arrive (alone) to a small mid-construction bedroom in a rural home. Twenty minutes later, one young man and lady enter the equation. This isn't my first rodeo, but there's definitely a different stench in the air of this wooden box.

The young man so excited to be chilling with his OG for the night,

"Yea, I got the bottles from the afties bro"

"My mans!" As the men embrace, the other female and I hold casual conversation on the bed.

There's a beat. Light switches off. True by Lloyd is put on repeat (I have no idea why this is his favorite song). As a hand reaches inside my bra, a soft whisper appears,

"Put your hand on her titties." I respond,

"You know I'm not gonna have a threesome right? Like, we not even fucking with each other like that." Still reaching,

"Here you go." Even softer, "You always in your feelings."

"Na, we just not rocking with each other like that right now." At his breaking point,

"What the fuck is your problem.. like this shit new." I want him to love me so bad, but feeling the need to stand my ground,

"I can go wait in the living room cause I gotta sleep here tonight, but I'm not having no threesome with you after the shit you been on I DON'T CARE."

He recognizes I'm not budging, so next, a very inevitable yet still shocking situation arises. He instructs,

"You ain't gotta fuck nobody else, but you're gonna fuck me."

He inserts himself inside of me. I lay there silent next to two strangers I just met yesterday. My head staring up at the ceiling the entire time. Seeing the tears in my eyes, he asks,

"You crying?"

My mind is in a maze and all outside noises are downed out. My silence is the only thing I can hear over the loud heart beat in my chest. I look him directly in the eyes as tears continue to fall. Silent. No more words are spoken. The two extras have already tip toed out and retreated to another area, where they can mate in peace.

As True continues to replay, he finally finishes and passes out on top of my chest. He sleeps like a new born baby. I never felt "high," but I'm sure the E helped me stay awake that entire night.

After taking a walk alone on a gloomy street at 5am, I return to his side, and finally fall asleep at 7am. A few hours later, I awaken to an empty bed. I quickly call the man who now owns my entire body and spirit. His rare responses of compassion and intention shows me he recognizes things went too far. I accept an apology and that is enough for me.

I even scored my first picture with the man who I've been begging to love me for 3 years. I was so proud to finally get that picture. My seat on the Metro-North couldn't even get warm before I posted it on Facebook. To receive a physical affirmation, which showed I'm more than just the fat gorilla who slings money like an ATM, erased everything that happened the prior evening. All those tears, years of manipulation, and forced antics of stupidity was worth it! I paid my dues and now I can finally show everyone that I MATTER.


 
loud accessories
16 years old, finding the beauty in being different.

I don't think I've ever loved myself. As much as my parents, friends, and God embraces me, it has always been so terrifying to think of embracing myself. Since I was a child, I willingly placed myself into positions of pain, because I thought that is what I deserved. Because of this, my life experiences have caused me to be a less effective communicator. At times, when I should have been a good friend or thoughtful daughter, I was not. I did not show up for others, because I could not even take care of myself. Where was the extroverted turn-up queen that I used to be?


What has helped me be better?

Being real about my trauma so that I can move on to my triumph.

On this journey to awareness, we need each other in order to make it to the finish line. How can we Heal Together? Here are 5 healthy postures I've been working on faithfully for the past 2 years. Following these steps have improved both my personal and professional relationships. The sooner we realize, we've all experienced trauma in various ways, the more we can grow to love and respect one another!

 

1. Open Ears, Closed Mouths:

Raise your hand if you have a tendency to talk more than you listen?

Well, both of my hands are raised. Over the years, the main constructive criticism given to me: “you talk too much... stop cutting me off... you’re judging me.” Honestly, I never thought anything was wrong with me. Instead, outsiders seemed sensitive and naive to reality. The point I missed: life is getting hard and people don't need their friends making it even harder.

Friendly reminder: Whenever someone trusts you enough to tell you their deepest/darkest endeavors, everything you're thinking of questioning or bombarding them with, has already been on replay in their head. We innately will make ourselves feel shame for the things we've done in the past. We do not need each other to magnify an already present insecurity. Let's work on our listening skills friends!


2. Empathy Over Sympathy:

Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another. - Oxford Dictionary

What I don’t need: for you to feel sorry for me.

Give me more of: your genuine understanding and willingness to learn.

When compassion is at the center of our conversations, we begin to practice more solidarity and less sympathy.   For example, we have two friends: one lives in the suburbs and another in a city ghetto. Sympathy showcases itself through the constant need to take your friend out the ghetto and force that person to partake in rich/suburban activities, in an effort to maintain your own comfort. Empathy is taking yourself out of a wealthy suburb and choosing to kick it with your friend in their ghetto neighborhood once-in-a-while (without making a big deal or skeptical out of it).


When I choose to open up to someone I trust about a shady scenario I found/find myself in, I need to be heard and seen as a human. Especially when I'm speaking on scenarios unfamiliar to their current reality. Even if it is something you've never personally experienced prior please follow my:


Personal Motto: close the mouth, open both ears, and leave the guilt at home.


3. Advisor vs. Arbiter:

My Truth: If I wanted a judge, I'd go to court.

Instead, I reach out to my friends to listen, understand, and guide me. I do not need someone to dictate morality and talk down to me with righteous indignation. Please, be real with your friends, because Lord Knows–I always am! But, I've also broken beautiful relationships by being too judgemental. If I didn't understand the nature or cause of something, it was instantly stupid or unnecessary to me.


What was missing from my psyche back then?

Experience.

Before being smacked in the face by a man, it was easier to judge my sister in the domestic violence dispute. Prior to becoming homeless, it was second-nature to talk about how easy it is to maintain the basic necessities of life. Luckily, I grew up and realized we are all one paycheck away from being broke or one heartbreak from going crazy. This means, it should be easy for us to practice empathy. Let people know our opinions, but be kind while doing so.


4. Make Time, Not Promises:

FACT: I'm definitely A GIVER!

Pro: I sincerely enjoy helping others, especially if it relieves their pain point.

Con: Oftentimes, I stretch myself too thin; while promising to do everything well, but ultimately only giving a few situations mediocre effort.


This is NOT how we win together! Instead, we create glass houses built out of lies, that any small stone can shatter. What happens when we're dishonest with our loved ones about the extent of what we can handle? We do not give them an opportunity to love us authentically.

How do we win?

First, practice honesty with ourselves, so that we can make intentional effort and time for those around us. If I am real about my own pressure points caused by my past, I will know the amount of other people's issues I can and cannot handle at a particular time. Meaning: Of course. I will still be the dependable and genuine friend, but I will no longer be the lackey or emotional dumpster. Now, if I can't do something, I just say NO. Also, I cannot make any promises when it comes to someone else's trauma. All I can offer is my ear, give advice (when warranted), and pray for their healing in their own time.

Also FACT: We will no longer be able to help anyone in any capacity, if we do not take care of ourselves on every level.

5. Distant Love Above Near Hate: 

Loving me can be difficult.

It has to be hard watching someone you love work overtime destroying themselves. Though, I am a work in progress, I do not expect every friend to partake in the roller coaster ride.


What did God teach me?

Every loss is not personal and every lost is not a failure.

Personally, I'd rather us be real about the difference in our paths and practice distant love, instead of near hate. Nothing is worst than a close friend who secretly doesn't want to be close to you at all. It will help us both, individually and collectively, to separate–either for a season or forever. Being able to put a capsule on great memories and love is more productive than ruining an already bent bond by forcing an obviously dead relationship.


 

Thank you all for being here and listening to my stories. It took a lot for me to share this, but God keeps telling me, "Someone needs this."

Please, pray with me (if you'd like to):

God, my trauma does not define me. Shame and fear will not stifle my destiny. Thank you for loving and accepting me. Please, continue to renew my mind and create in me a clean heart, so that I may be pleasing unto your sight. Continue to convict me so that the water from your tears will help me to grow.

In Jesus' name.

Amen.

 

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