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my friends think I'm childish

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I was emotionally abused by a graduate school advisor for two years, several years ago.  Something similar happened with someone else recently - a lab supervisor send me an incredibly patronizing email - except this time I stood up for myself.  I apologized for the infraction I'd caused in lab (that she'd played a major contributory role in causing), and asked her not to patronize me like that again.  (It was on the level of "now, we all get our feelings hurt sometimes".)  She disinvited me from lab (much like my graduate school advisor had fired me for not being sufficiently compliant).  I was hysterical and intermittently suicidal for two days. 

I posted about what happened on my livejournal, and got three concerned emails from people I barely interact with who "needed to tell me, as a friend" what I did wrong and what I shouldn't have done.  Later on I found out (through an internet anonymous personality-describing thing) that there was almost universal agreement that I was childish and overdramatic.  (I was expecting to discover negative things about myself - that was why I participated in the meme in the first place - but I wasn't expecting universal agreement on traits suggesting that my problems are trivial.)

And I'm not.  I'm usually pretty mature, and avoid drama as much as I possibly can (since it makes me very upset).  But I get extremely upset when emotional-abuse-related things happen, and even more upset when NO ONE SEES THEM GOING ON nor understands what it's like to be a target rather than a bystander.  People hide this shit, and it's not the first or second or fifth time that it happens but the hundredth time that it happens that you respond badly, and then all they see is your bad behavior. 

I can't believe that my friends drifted away from me while I was crashing badly this summer, and don't call me or invite me to anything, or give me emotional support, but still feel entitled to tell me what they think I did wrong.  Under the guise of being close friends. 

There's this girl who bullied me (and at least two other people) until I lost it and screamed at her, and they're still friends with her and invite her over.

Academia is just an invitation for inappropriate behavior on the part of supervisors.  They're never going to get in any trouble for it; there's no one to report them to and they've been there longer than you.  They'll even abuse students serially, and this will be known, and nothing will happen.

They don't understand how bad it really is. How someone will take your life, and your integrity, and your mind, for years - and make it so you do it all to yourself, so that it's a conscious choice on your part and they can't be blamed.  She gave me a choice, and I took it.  How they'll do it in a way that's unbelievably bad to the person experiencing it but appears only mildly inappropriate, if that, to outsiders.  Then you come out of it and you never have a sense of purpose again (I was so driven and passionate before), never trust people again (and why would I want to, given the things they do like the above?), and can't even convince therapists how bad things were.  And you wind up in the position of having to defend yourself against your friends, who aren't even your friends anymore because they left you. 

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I know this sort of shit happens, noemie, and I'm sorry it's happened again to you.  I think you behaved appropriately when the situation occurred.  You stood up for yourself in a reasonable way.  I admire your strength and refusal to just be a doormat for the sake of convenience.  I'm sorry this ended up biting you in the ass.  You really do deserve better, as all human beings do.  I hope you will have other academic opportunities in the future through which you can attain your goals. 

Your "friends'" behavior is shocking.  Certainly, the natural instinct when not personally involved in a situation is to try read both sides judiciously before choosing one, but the fact that you're their friend ought to carry some weight.  I'm sorry you feel you've just been emotionally jumped by a small posse.  I know m opinion isn't worth much, but I think you've done the right thing. 

I hope you're able to find and receive the support you need.  Not everyone's an asshole. 

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Heya noemie,

Academia is kind of -- no, really really -- cutthroat and full of people who failed kindergarten circle.

Your treatment and *especially* your so-called "friends'" reaction are what's childish.


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im sorry this is happening to you.

it sucks and is wrong and hurtful.

i dont know what to type for fear of typing wrong thing,

except that ive been in somewhat a similar situation.

i dont know whay else to type except that i hope that yiu get through this soon & stronger than you were before.


me too. extraordinarily similar. it triggered all my anxiety disorders at once and took everything i had (and good therapy and meds) to get through. and looking back, it helped me learn who my friends are and to be more aware of things for the future and new ways of coping, BUT that doesn't make it okay and i want to kick those so-called-friends' asses.

okay Maddy said it more elegantly, i'm still learning the gift of anger from the attacks on me and i'm not very eloquent about it. but i do really appreciate your post and wish you strength to handle the situation and safe (other) places to heal.

sending love and understanding.

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