Guest Post--Emily Shae

07 August 2010

Living Through The Pain: When Friendships Hurt

I find it difficult to believe those who praise the essence of friendship as if it is was a picture of perfection and flawlessness. That doesn’t sound quiet right to me. I have never experienced that, and it’s almost impossible for anyone to have a perfect friendship without bumps in the road along the way. My friendships have been, by no means, flawless and perfect. In fact, they have been bumpy, and if I may exaggerate a little, they have been filled with nothing but pot holes—one right after the other. 

As you can tell, my view of friendship is tarnished, and by no means is it optimistic. I haven’t had the greatest experience with having friends. I guess you could say I lucked out on having a true childhood friend. And because of this, I barely know what a true friend is. What is it like to have a friendship that is true, joyful and pleasant? Due to past occurrence, I have almost become hardened by the painful experiences of my past. And I purposefully prohibit myself from allowing any new and potential friendship to foster. It’s a defense mechanism—a wall I put up to guard myself from any future disappointment.
 "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Revelations 21:4)
The stories of these horrid and rather cruel experiences with past friends, has left me scared, and they have afflicted upon me deep and troublesome memories. The wounds that have been forged by years of torment and persecution, the sharp and gouging pain of hurtful words said, and the rude and uncalled-for physical treatment placed upon me have forever changed my views of friendship. They have left me in no want for companionship and friendship. And that is how it has been for quite some time. 
 "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18)
 These stories of friends past are long and sorrowful, for I thought in my heart-of-hearts that they were good. My disposition towards having friends when younger was one of a child with a naive sense of fondness, security, confidence, and the lack of discernment. I widely accepted all who wished to be my friends, and took a liking to practically everyone I met. I wasn’t shy. I wasn’t introverted. I was one of those kids who desired to be friends with everyone; to make everyone happy. 

"Don't be afraid of the things which you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested; and you will have oppression for ten days. Be faithful to death, and I will give you the crown of life." (Revelations 2:10)

That was my down fall. Being a people pleaser has its pros, but the consequences of this characteristic also has its cons: 1) people take advantage of you, 2) because you are willing to go above and beyond for your friends, they assume (and often are right), that they can manipulate you into doing what they want, and 3) ones who like to please often fail to realize, or don’t want to realize that they are being taken advantage of. They wish only to see the good in people. 

Many of my home-schooled friends and church friends have been the type that have taken my weakness and turned it into a circus. I know that public school kids are just as nasty and cruel, but home-schoolers and church-goers are no exception. The people you think are the nicest people on earth are usually the ones that will hurt you the most. They verbally abused me, calling me stupid, ugly, and fat. And some would even hit me and push me over. I didn’t belong. I had no one. And I was too scared to stand up and defend myself.

"Pain is a part of being alive, and we need to learn that. Pain does not last forever, nor is it necessarily unbeatable, and we need to be taught that."– Harold Kushner

 Oh, I tried at times to defend myself from these evil kids. But when I did, the assault upon me would only grow worse. I would tell their parents, but they were blind to the idea that their kids could every do ‘anything wrong’. Beg to differ! And I would even tell my mom. At first she told me to be nice and turn the other cheek. I did. For the longest time I did. But that wasn’t enough. Then my mom told me that she no longer wanted me to hang out with them anywhere else, other than in school groups or in Sunday school. I so desperately wanted to be their friends. I wanted them to like me. I didn’t understand why they hated me so much! It still pains me to think about this, and at this very moment, I can’t help but cry because the wounds caused by their words and physical punishment run too deep to simply ignore. 

"This suffering is all part of the work God has given you. Christ, who suffered for you, is your example. Follow in his steps." (1 Peter 2:21)

I pray to God daily that he would give me the courage to forgive them. And over the years, I have. I forgave them, put the pain they have caused me is hard to let go of. It will take time to heal. And I have yet to close the wounds that have lain open and unattended to for all that time. My childhood years weren’t the best. They do not carry for me fond memories of laughter and happiness. Only sorrow. This is my personal experience, something that I haven’t shared with anyone else. 

My sister thinks that I had friends by the galore that loved me. I was, to her, popular. But she doesn’t know a fraction of what went on behind the veil. She’s oblivious to what I went through. I do not pity myself, though. Do not feel sorry for the trials and tribulations that I have endured in my early life. It happened for a reason: to make me stronger and more determined to face each and every day. People may not like me for who I am, but that is no reason for me to not like myself. I thank God for those experiences. He has seen me through them, has protected me, and continued to heal my wounds. 

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 2:9)

And believe it or not, God saved me from a lifetime of misery and more pain. Just days ago I ran across some of those old friends on Facebook. The girls that used to be ‘bible scholars’, the ones that confessed Jesus Christ with their mouth, but denied him by their actions,  have turned out to be Fictionologists and Radical Unitarians. And I have remained grounded in the Lord Jesus Christ. I have realized that through all of this, God was keeping me safe in His arms, guarding me from the lies and deception these girls have allowed themselves to fall into. Thank you Lord!

"But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."- C. S. Lewis

Emily Shae is an active 17 years old teenager with a desire to write and publish her first book. She loves photography, and hopes to start her own business one day. She loves history and is going to college this year to major in History and English. She is the author of Grace Like Rain and has devoted her life to following Christ since she was 5. 

1 epistles:

"Gracious words are like a honeycomb; sweetness to the soul and health to the body." —Proverbs 16:24

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