Amy's Story Shame Among Friends

The biggest event in my life that dealt with shame happened when I was in Junior High. But in order to completely understand why I reacted the way that I did, I need to give a little background. When I was in elementary school I was teased relentlessly. I hated going to school every day because I knew what was waiting for me as soon as I got there.

There were some kids that were worse than others but I very rarely felt like I had any friends at school. Everything that I did seemed to be reason to make fun of me.

I did not see how what I was doing was wrong. Because of this treatment, from as early as I can remember through 3rd grade, I did not have a ton of respect for myself and my decisions. It made me second guess everything that I did, whether I knew it was right or not.
That lead to running away from difficult situations that were presented to me rather than handling them like I probably could have.

It was even worse when I did something wrong. I would try to hide whatever it was that I did and do anything possible to cover it up and make sure that no one ever found out. Every time I did it I felt terrible. I knew that I should just own up to it and confront the problem head on but something inside of me kept me from ever doing that. Those years of criticism had me doubting myself and even worse, made me unable to admit that I was wrong out of fear.

As I got older, I learned to love school again and I slowly became more confident in myself and my choices. I was still shy and a little bit cautious but I was improving.

I had two best friends, we were inseparable. We did everything together and loved it. One summer, we had a falling out and our little trio broke up. It was hard to handle.
I lived a few houses down from one of my friends so I usually ended up spending more time with her. One day I found out that she had been struggling with bulimia.
I don't remember how I found out but I felt completely blindsided by it. I didn't know how to react. She tried to just talk to me about it but I always got scared and just found a way around it.

I could not stand the thought that when she needed me the most in her life I was not strong enough to be there for her. I hated myself for it which made it even worse. The more I pulled away the worse I felt. The worse I felt, the more I tried to hide what I was doing which resulted in me pulling away even more. It was a vicious cycle. I could not bring myself to own up to my actions.

I was so afraid of losing my best friend, of having her look at me and reject me like those other kids did in elementary school, that I ended up losing her anyway because I couldn't handle the shame.

Since then I have come clean and apologized for abandoning her when she needed me most. Ever since then I made a promise to myself to never give up on someone when there was something that I could do to help. If other people look at me differently because of it, I ignore them.

I try my hardest to be the friend that I should have been all those years ago. It has been a work in progress but I'm happy with who I have become from this experience.



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