Definitely, yes! Trauma can affect friendships. It can be complicated, and it very often brings change.
There are not many who escape this life without experiencing some type of trauma; a significant loss, an accident, a broken relationship, serious illness, etc.
What brought the subject of friendship and trauma to mind this week was the dual celebrations of Canada’s Sesquicentennial and America’s Independence Day.
Canadians have enjoyed a unique friendship with America for a long time. Then, September of 2001 brought about sudden change. Borders were locked down, trust vanished, and fear raised its ugly head.
Life changed on both sides of our common border. That huge and horrible event impacted us all.
Even though the awful event happened south of our border, many Canadian lives were lost. At the same time, the courageous Canadians of Gander, Newfoundland shone like a beacon in the dark.
There were as many different responses to the same occurrence as there were individuals affected.
Why? Everyone experienced that event in their own unique way. Some were completely shocked and unable to function. Some were devastated by the loss of loved ones and associates. Some were so busy dealing with the aftermath of the horror that there was no time to process it all.
The catastrophic events of ‘911’ changed people. Many were changed deep in their hearts and souls. Life took on a shadow many hadn’t considered previously. Others became more reflective, and perhaps found solace in new ways and different experiences. Still others withdrew and altered how they coped in their lives.
Any distressing event will cause an impact on relationships in diverse ways. The ‘911’ incident exaggerated tensions and suspicions between national friends, and made our borders more complicated to cross.
On personal levels, as people’s reactions and perceptions changed because of this tragedy (and others), individuals themselves changed in many ways. Those who became more hyper aware may have inadvertently repelled their fun-loving friends. Those who decided they wanted to take life ‘by the horns’, may have turned away their more stable and reflective friends. How did this, and other traumatic events change you?
The constant in all relationships is …you. How you befriend yourself is the foundation of all your other friendships. (More on this topic next week.)
Life is funny, and precious. The traumas of life affect us all. Every event in your life changes who you are on some level. Friends may come and go, so learn how to be your own best friend. That will always serve you well.
Embrace it all!
“Friendship with oneself is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.” Eleanor Roosevelt