Dear Amy: I was drugged and raped in college by a fellow student who then convinced me — and others — that we were in a relationship.
I was in hell for six months before a miracle happened and I was able to leave him. To this day it’s something I never talk about. After five years of marriage I have only just mentioned it to my husband. No one else knows.
Two weeks ago, I got an invitation to an old friend’s engagement party.
I called her up immediately to gush about her news.
Well, in the middle of the call she mentioned her fiance’s name.
I panicked and quickly hung up. Amy, she’s engaged to my rapist.
Since that call, it has all come back, and in complete honesty my kids are the only reason I’m able to get up every day.
I realized I never dealt with my trauma and now it’s back — ten-fold.
But I’m dealing with that. I don’t know how to deal with my friend.
Obviously, I won’t be attending any parties, or the wedding.
I don’t want to cause drama, but I’m also worried that he has her trapped the same way I was.
What if she needs help and I’m too paralyzed by the past to do anything? — Paralyzed by the Past
Dear Paralyzed: I urge you to pursue counseling with an experienced trauma specialist as soon as possible. You need to find ways to cope with this unexpected fallout, so that it doesn’t continue to impair you.
You are responsible for your own health and healing; you are not responsible for your friend. Your feelings of guilt will only complicate your own recovery, but this is something to discuss with a counselor.
You will tell your friend you can’t come to her wedding. If you choose not to disclose this rape, you should convey, frankly, “I was in a relationship with your fiancé while in college that was extremely abusive. I cannot be in his presence. I am here to talk if you ever feel the need. When I was going through this, I was alone, and I don’t want you to feel alone.”
Given everything, I think it’s guaranteed that your friendship will be severed, and this is yet another very unfortunate consequence of your sexual assault.
Dear Amy: I work in a very large office building with approximately 7,000 co-workers.
The building has one access point, with tight security.
It is time consuming to get into the building on the best of days.
I am increasingly getting frustrated by my co-workers who walk and read their smartphones or text on their phones and block the entryways or hallways at the expense of their fellow co-workers.
I find it discourteous and self-absorbed.
I want to say something but am having trouble finding the right words in letting people know they are a nuisance without insulting them. — Hemmed In
Dear Hemmed In: First of all, I hope that — while your large and busy building has only one entry point, it offers more exits, in case of an emergency.
In some ways, the ubiquity of cellphones has made all of us a little happier to wait. We read and watch while we wait for our plane to take off, while we’re standing in line at the grocery store, or in the waiting room of our doctor’s office.
It has also made many of us distracted and pokey.
In a large building with a bottleneck at the one entrance, it is important that people pay attention. If you are stuck behind a cluster of phone-distracted people, you could say, “Do you mind if I move ahead of you? I need to get into the building. They will likely say, “Yes, I do mind,” but your inquiry would serve as a nudge.
You should also take your concerns to building management. Signs saying, “Please be courteous and move through the entrance as quickly as possible,” might help.
Dear Amy: “Happily Gone” was conflicted about whether to leave a negative Glassdoor.com review for her former employer.
If Company X is so small as to not have an HR department, then her review could be personally identifiable.
I have read reviews of my former companies and I know precisely who wrote them. I would be cautious about submitting a review to Glassdoor. — Experienced
Dear Experienced: If “Happily Gone” had already left her toxic employer, then why would it matter if she could be identified through her negative review?