General Can I be my friends trigger?


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Several years ago I was abruptly let go from my job by the Head Honcho. (I call it fired). It all happened so fast -one minute I was accused of something and the next I was told to get my things and leave. Pretty bad situation which resulted in a 4 year legal battle. As I was leaving my office , my immediate supervisor Boss (my good friend too- 11 years) was standing in her office just looking at me with the most blank look on her face and not saying anything. To this day I still see her face in my dreams. It was like she wasn't really there or in shock or something. Dissociating ?? I left and went home and expected her to call me that night to ask what had happened . I never heard from her. I tried to call her , sent her emails even snail mail but she never responded to any of it. This went on for months- meanwhile my mother passed and even though she had been friends and pretty close with my mother , my friend took a month to send a sympathy card and did not attend the funeral but all of my ex coworkers did. Since I had started legal action I just figured that she could not talk to me , so I let it go. I was extremely hurt since we had been close and spent a lot of time together at work and outside of work. I heard from her via email a couple of times - she sent me a reference letter and one day sent me my job description with additional duties I had been responsible for ( this was a random email she just sent one day ) After a year I was able to get a new job but we still had no contact as the law suit dragged on. I would pass her on the road occasionally and she just blankly stared at me - no sign of recognition. I felt very intimidated and did not attempt to contact her even after the lawsuit ended. Once in a while I would email her regarding how to do something I needed to do for work and she would respond but still no personal connection. I moved on to another job and was really busy for a couple of years but we still exchanged Xmas cards. Other than that no contact. I email her and asked if we could get together since I missed talking to her and she made an excuse about her calendar was at home. I found that to be ridiculous since her calendar was always in her computer and on her phone so I never followed up with her.
Time got away from me and then I heard that she had gone out on medical leave. Then Covid hit and she never returned to work but changed jobs 8 months after taking her medical leave. Then 6 months later I found out she had to leave her new job - anxiety ,panic attacks and who knows what else. I tried to reach out to her , sent her birthday cards, etc. Never heard anything from her. Then I heard she retired . So I finally decided to text her and attempt to put an end to this silence. She did not respond to my text. I sent her a note and asked her what was wrong - did I do something to her ?( I wasn't aware of doing anything personal to her) of course no response . A month later I text her and she responded 3 hours later . Real strange text back-very strained -She thanked me for reaching out and it meant a lot to her - she said she would reach out to me and we could talk. Never heard from her so I sent her a letter talking about the day I was fired , what had gone down , and how I was so sorry if it had any effect on her (stress?). Two days letter she sent me a text with picture of the envelope I had mailed to her. Just 2 words : please stop. I have no idea what is going on but I feel like something happened to her the day I was fired and she has been avoiding me out of paranoia or fear. She did have some issues when we worked together but , I am just so confused . She obviously can't talk on the phone to me or see me in person but she could text a little to me. Could I possibly be a trigger to her of some type of emotional upset due to seeing me get fired ? She has not told anyone what is going on with her and the whole thing has me emotionally distraught since I feel like I had something to do with her illness. Feeling really guilty.


Policy Enforcement
I feel like of all the things to worry about- letting her be and dropping communication should be at the top of your list. This feels borderline stalker with how persistent you’ve been. There’s no telling what’s going on with her but watching someone get fired does not give someone PTSD, it’s not generally considered a trauma because people don’t react like you think she’s reacting. She’s probably got other personal stuff going on that she doesn’t feel like disclosing.


there is a world full of possibilities on why your friend is ghosting you. yes, your triggering her is on that very long list of possibilities. alongside of an even longer list of why her actions have little or nothing to do with you. in larger fact, you will probably never know her actual reasons.

gentle empathy while you process the sequence of events. ply therapy tools here.


If you don’t know if she has a PTSD diagnosis, don’t assume she has PTSD. Seeing you get fired would not be enough to give her PTSD. There are a million reasons why she isn’t responding to you. I’d say the first reason is that your persistence is very off-putting, especially if she has anxiety.

She has now specifically told you to stop contacting her. It doesn’t matter why.


I would say that, at this point, you aren't friends. That friendship ended when she and her boss fired you. Because since then, you say she hasn't acted like a friend to you.
That was several years ago. And yet you continue to contact her and try to continue the friendship.

As hard as it is: the friendship is over.
Why? No idea.
You might know. You might never know. You'll need to find a way to make peace with that.

One thing is for sure: don't contact her again. Not for personal reasons. Not for work reasons (there really is no work reason given that you haven't worked together for years: any work question you have you need to ask your work colleagues).

If you do contact her from this moment onwards: you would be not honuring her request to stop and it could be seen as harrassment.

I'm sorry you have lost a long time friendship. But it's time to accept it ended.


Could I possibly be a trigger to her of some type of emotional upset due to seeing me get fired ? She has not told anyone what is going on with her and the whole thing has me emotionally distraught since I feel like I had something to do with her illness.
I’m afraid I have to agree with everyone else… Even IF she has PTSD (which would not be from this incident; UNLESS you got fired for raping coworkers and she actually witnessed you raping one or more people, or was raped by you; or you were involved in a workplace related death or deaths, which she also witnessed, even if you were in no way at fault -or- the hero of the day -or- just someone she passed in the hall on the way to the machinery now tangled with people)… there’s

1) no possible way for you to be a trauma-trigger.
2) no possible way to guess what -if anything- is going on with her.

She may be eyeballs deep in trouble AND assistance from others, but those she has chosen to confide in? Aren’t gossips. IE they won’t tell anyone who isn’t already in the know what’s going on. Or she could be doing absolutely lovely, top of the world, and again? The people she confides in are not gossips, so they won’t go around shouting her good news, the same way they won’t go shouting her bad news.

Feeling really guilty.
I am just so confused
It can be deeply confusing to wake up one day and realize that someone we thought of as a friend, no longer is. Whether it happened 5 minutes ago for very obvious reasons, or years back and we’re just now noticing, the change was so gradual.

One Of the best pieces of advice I was ever given regarding friendship:

People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. But we won’t know which is which, until the end.

She was in your life for a season.

As the reasons that created that season/ the connections broke? The job you shared, the tie to your mother, the season ended. Why did the season end, instead of shifting into a new kind of relationship? No one will ever know. There are too many possibilities. The only known fact is that it did end. Gradually, with lessened contact over time, and now a firm statement of no-contact.

Feeling guilty for WHY the season ended? Can be useful, if it teaches you what to TRY differently next time. (Try capitalized, because there are no guarantees in life. You can make sure to treat people you value differently; shared job? Meet up outside of work. Lost job? Continue meeting up. Etc. But? Their life might be moving in a different direction, and it doesn’t matter how much you try and keep in contact, if they can’t or won’t. Ditto in reverse, someone else may be trying to stay in contact with you, when it doesn’t work in your life. Which is just life. People get busy in different directions. No matter how much they liked the person, or stil do like them, a friendship simply doesn’t work, right now. Or quite possibly ever again.)

But it doesn’t do a durn bit of good to try and time machine things backwards to fix THIS relationship, to assuage the guilt. Because it’s over. For whatever reason, she’s made that very clear with the last letter/photo. Any further attempts to contact her, or turn back time, are likely to be met with restraining orders and police. Fair / unfair / wanted / not wanted / kind / harsh / subtle / direct / etc… doesn’t enter into it. It’s just what it is. The End of a season. Finis.