Her short email accuses me of mind games. My body goes numb. It’s not the first brutal message she’s sent, just the one that finally severs our connection.
23 years later and it feels like I’m sitting in my room, reading that email. My heart rate pounds and my vision darkens. I haven’t thought about her, or her vicious ending of our friendship, for years. But my body tells me the pain never left.
Best friends since the age of 7. 13 years of laughter, sharing dreams and frustrations, planning for the future. And assumptions. Oh so many assumptions that finally led to this devastating moment.
It’s my third year of university. I’d discovered the Empty Girl. (See previous post)
I sink deeper into depression but cover my emptiness with a shiny mask. It’s bright and blinding. Perfect for pretending everything is fine. Even I’m fooled. I concentrate on everyone else. Make sure they’re doing well, sacrifice myself for their happiness, do my best not to burden them with my problems. Deep down, I believe I don’t need to be seen. Because there’s nothing there anyway.
Husband and I are not a couple yet. Not until after the Empty Girl shows me the small speck of light flickering inside. Otherwise, I never could have stayed in a romantic relationship. The more he and I talk, the braver I feel. I let the mask slip.
He doesn’t see ‘empty’—he sees the speck of light.
The first months of our romance I insist we take it slow. I must stress, those months were the first time I’d ever felt safe in my entire life. But inside I knew being with him would test my other relationships. People used to having my undivided support and attention would not be happy I had a new priority.
It shows early. First Mom, then my cousin, and then “best friend”. Little verbal jabs, disapproving comments, accusations of having changed for the worst. Sometimes they’re disguised as jokes. Other times stated as facts. The three of them invite me out and give me the silent treatment. Disgusting behaviour but some part of me really believes this is just a growing pain. I live in agonising hope because I assume they love me. I even thank my cousin for her patience later when she thaws slightly.
If there’s something I learned to be good at, it’s thanking people for shitty behaviour. Fanning the flames of their egos at the expense of my own. A coping and survival mechanism that proves intensely hard to break.
I sink further into depression. Inner battles rage. I cling to these unraveling relationships terrified the emptiness will swallow me whole. Husband keeps me steady. But there’s another horrible assumption I’ve made because a childhood filled to the brim with mind games, public humiliation, and emotional chaos left me without any sense of self.
My worthiness only comes from other people believing I’m worthy.
I’ve worked so hard to prove to them I’m real, to prove to them I deserve to exist. For years, it was the only thing between me and the emptiness.
The straw that breaks the camels back—"best friend” sends me the first brutal message.
For context, she’d stopped all genuine communication at this point. I was desperate for connection, even if it meant pissing her off. So I accused her of shutting herself off so she wouldn’t get hurt. Not my finest moment. I immediately regretted and apologised. Then asked her why she was so cold to me all the time.
Another assumption. If we can just get it all out of our systems we can finally work through the issues.
The answer ends our friendship. She sends an essay on what a horrible person I’d become ever since bringing Husband into my life. Well thought out and well written. She’s always been intelligent. But the cruelty is a surprise. 13 years of friendship…she knew exactly where to hit for maximum damage.
I’m so shocked. All I can manage is — if this is truly what you believe, we are better off without each other.
There’s nothing more between me and the abyss.
A domino effect of relationships dissolving to dust begins. I don’t blame “best friend” for this. Yet another of my assumptions brought me here. I didn’t believe others would abandon me so abruptly, or that they’d seek to destroy me so thoroughly as they left. Awful rumours circulate, attempts to destroy my other friendships, even trying to pull Husband into the mix.
Mom calls me ‘self-involved’. My cousin starts a passive-aggressive campaign of destruction. Brother phones long-distance and presents me with all the reasons I’m a bitch and I listen without question. FML. I thank him for being shitty to me.
The abyss obliterates everything that isn’t healthy. It crashes into every part of my life. Nothing much remains except desperation and psychic agony. Husband my only connection to being human. The only reason I don’t commit suicide.
I choose to stay alive.
Because I truly believe he won’t be alright if I die. Despite my being a terrible burden. That little speck inside glows when I’m with him. The deepest wisdom radiating from it’s tiny light.
I am worthy. I deserve to occupy space. I deserve to exist.
And then, the strangest email from “best friend”… wishing me a happy birthday.
I write a short message, ‘you confuse me.’
She writes back ‘I didn’t mean we wouldn’t be friends anymore.’
I write how we can’t be friends until we sit down and discuss what happened, why she wrote those awful things, explain to me where it all came from. We plan to get together.
But I can’t do it. My intuition screams it won’t help. I’m just asking for more pain. So I cancel.
Her next email isn’t long and ends with: I won’t play your mind games anymore. Don’t bother emailing me again. I won’t open it.
My short reply, 'Fuck you.’
I don’t care if she opened it.
The pain from this memory overtakes me for a few minutes. It’s a shockwave from the Empty Girl soul piece reintegrating. Helping me see what needed to be destroyed, what might still be in my life, taking and ravaging because I’d been trained to sacrifice my whole self for the comfort of others. And I don’t blame anyone for taking what I offered. Or for their reactions when I stopped giving.
No way to know what prompted the ‘happy birthday’. No need to understand her end, though I obsessed about it for months after. No bitterness, either, because it's truly over and done.
The old pain leaves for good once I let it pass through my system. And I look back with new eyes as Empty Girl and I reintegrate that little bit more.
In previous posts, I discussed the ups and downs of my relationship with Husband. Trauma slamming against trauma. Triggering each other. Scary fights. My gradual transformation through shamanic training, his positive change when we discover and treat his sleep apnea.
That roller-coaster of healing tested our bond in so many ways.
Daughter’s arrival inspired us both. We worked harder for a healthier connection. It’s an intense journey. One I now remember with gratefulness and awe.
Empty Girl gives me that perspective. She invites that wisdom inside. Finds her place within my slow, but sure, revival from the near total destruction of falling head first into the abyss.