by Amber Fuller, LMFT, Owner, and Clinical Director of Fuller Living
I don't know how to say this, other than to just come out and say it, this blog isn't going to be rainbows and sunshine. In fact, it might be very blunt and feel like a personal attack, which is not what I want, but it could happen. I also want people to know that if you've been in it for the long haul with me, this blog post is not for you.
I was talking with a friend the other day and finally decided, "yep, I'm done. I'm writing the blog today. I'm so tired of this happening and somebody needs to say it out loud!"
When a trauma occurs in somebody's life, there is this, kind of, sick novelty to all of it. People like to be seen doing good things.
When a person who needed the help ends up being in a position where the novelty wears off, it kind of sucks.
Now I'm taking a very personal deep dive into my last 7 months. I post on social media when I'm not doing well and need prayer. This use to get a ton of supportive comments back. I received offers to help. People came over (and this is not for those who still would if I asked. Those people would be here in a heartbeat). In late July/early August, there was a shift in everything for me. My back started hurting more, my foot started to feel on fire again, and, oh, did I mention my marriage started falling apart but I couldn't understand why?
I asked for prayer on social media, so many prayer requests. I transitioned my personal account into a professional account for a few reasons. This allowed for me to see how much of an audience each post had. I found it strikingly odd that my posts were being seen by 300-400 people and yet, 10 people were saying they'd pray. It hurt. A lot. At this point I realized that back in December of 2021, I was a novelty.
These have truly been the hardest months of our lives. Listen, I'm not here to whine, I promise, just hear to express frustration, concern, and to remind you to check on your strong friend.
My husband started doing things behind my back (yes, he's okay with me sharing) that he had promised me he wouldn't be doing anymore. He then acted live a victim to his own choices(and yes he's okay with me sharing all of this) and went on a schmear campaign (and it's no secret to really anybody anymore that Dillon identifies as somebody who has narcissistic tendencies and can be emotionally abusive). The door was open for the devil to come in and basically rot up our marriage. Most don't know, and the majority of those who know only care because it makes them feel better about their own lives (which, might I say, is weird??). This shift in our marriage was no secret. People knew, people even fasted (a very very small group of people, but the group was filled with angels that will never be taken for granted). I begged for prayer. I even made a video telling people, "hey, I'm not doing well. We are not doing well, we need prayer". But at this point we were about 7 months out from my spinal cord injury and the support dwindled.
Then came October where we had people not only NOT praying, but actively trying to tear our marriage apart. Without any conversation about it, my husband left his spinal cord injured wife and two kids. Again, I begged for prayers and had the same loyal 10-15 that consistently pray for us.
We were able to, in a very rocky way, find our way back to each other, but really only as friends, and that's how it's been since. People have been actively trying to tear us apart, the same people who have been doing this for the last 15 years (so weird???)
None of this really even addresses what I was going through physically. The stress took a toll on my body and I found myself back in bed with a right foot that was burning like crazy and a left shoulder and torso that also burned daily. which is why I found myself back in bed on the cooling pads.
I continued to beg for prayer for myself and our family. At this point we had no support other than a few close people.
I'm not really here to write about my personal life (although, if you're the type that likes gossip, there's the tea). I'm more here to wonder what this strange phenomenon is that happens when people experience trauma and go from having hundreds in their corner, serving, praying offering to help, to ten to fifteen people who like your social media post. This novelty and the way that it wears off is so strange.
Why? Why the help without the heart? I mean, I think I know the answer. People love to be seen doing good for others, especially, and yep, I'm going there, people in the church. People like to feel good about themselves when giving, and that's not necessarily a bad thing, but when the thought is "I already gave, they don't get my help anymore", I want to advocate for those who do. We desperately did/do.
Here are a list of things you can do when the Novelty of a public platform trauma wears off:
- Let the person know you are still praying for them daily. You might feel weird letting them know, but trust me, they need to know.
- When a person is publicly asking for prayer, SHOW UP!
- When the trauma is physical in nature, continue to make the meals and create successful meal trains.
- Do things in secret. If you're doing it for the novelty, God cares and loves you for it, but probably wants to work on your heart and have you doing things for no alterior motives.
- Stop asking how you can help, and just show up at the person's door and help(Marissa Shevfland you'll always have my heart for doing this).
- Don't assume everything is okay simply because of the time that has passed.
- Reach out to the other parties that have been effected (in this case it would have been Dillon). They're carrying a large burden, and if they don't have people in their corner encouraging them to continue to love their partner and support them, the devil will very quickly dig a hole to hell. He might even have people in their ear telling them to run
(as it has been in our case)
- If you aren't going to help the family, get off their Facebook. If you are scrolling and see the prayer request, stop and pray. You aren't responsible for what the Lord chooses to do, you're only responsible to pray.
- Send the text asking how the person is doing and when they say, "not good", don't disappear on them. Bring them a blanket, a candle, some chocolates, and just sit with them.
- Be the Church/community.
11. The last one is a stinger for me, and maybe for some of those who read this, those who care enough to read the blog. I'd be absolutely full of crap If I didn't mention how much this sucks. I went from people in the church who were sending me daily and weekly or even monthly reminders that they are praying. Maybe show up to their house with a meal. Or offer to come over and wash the floors. It's been a lot. I feel more crappy now than I ever have in this whole process. I don't complain, although today I'm going public with my concerns regarding when the novelty fades.
I kind of just want to do a PSA that those who were struggling a year ago, are probably still struggling.
There's one other thing I'd like to bring up. That is extremely concerning. I bring this up because I think that The Church needs to shift their focus. I recently was scrolling through social media, and saw that person, again, with their surface level, insignificant, I have a hangnail, post, who had over 200 people interact with it while we're over here just hoping that people will pray. This happens because, yep, totally going there, *amber whispers* sometimes church members act like high schoolers and the cliques are outrageous. I legit, can't go to a church building anymore for two reasons:
- I just shared it's difficult right now to get out of bed
- If nobody shows up to the popularity contest then there's no popularity contest.
This has got me so discouraged. I notice it mostly on Facebook. People in leadership glorifying each other and only commenting on each other's pointless posts, while others are, again, begging for prayer. This is not church and shouldn't be happening. I stopped going to the church building (not to be confused with The Church) all together and am experiencing church in other ways now. I had just about had it when after worship, for three weeks in a row, the campus pastor asked us to put our hands together for the worship team, instead of the Lord.("That's it Lord. I can't take it anymore") I haven't been back. I bring this up because, again, it's just people focusing on the wrong things. Remember when people would have praise and worship and then right after the pastor would ask the congregation if anybody needed prayer? I miss these days.
Some might say, "oh, she's posting this because she's hurting". No, I'm posting this because it's a problem in my opinion, and I miss church. Like old school, never ending worship, "is this done yet", church! Where pastors didn't act like therapists or psychologists.
The other relevant question I have that relates to this is, why Is it that when my husband was telling people week after week after week that he is a narcissist and that "amber puts up with a lot of emotional abuse", why is it that nobody asked me how I was doing? Like really truly doing. I'm married and deal with a ton of emotional abuse and nobody is asking how I am?? It's just such odd and peculiar behavior. Dr. Hawkins of marriage recovery center refers to this behavior as secondary abuse.
Dillon and I have found our way back to being friends(it's been a twisty and windy road, but for the most part, things run pretty smoothly), in case you needed the rest of the tea.
I know that this blog kind of bounces all over but it's still has a theme, and I just want to be in the corner of the person who is 6-7 months into their disability/need/trauma and let you know that they're probably still struggling. Check on that person. Barge through their door, sit them down on a chair, and ask them where their mop and broom are. Then before you leave let them know, "It's our little secret".
I really truly appreciate those who have helped and continue to help our family out. I do. I really don't want to seem ungrateful or offend. I promised myself a few months ago that I'd write a blog on this and it's messy and all over the place, but it's me attempting to do something that I haven't been able to get up the gumption to do until this morning at 6am when I was apparently feeling super bold.
If you have experienced a trauma in the last year, please know that it's still okay to reach out for help. Sometimes it take years to heal from trauma and Fuller Living has some wonderful therapists who want to help you with this. Reach out. We are here.