“Wouldn’t” as you say below.
Cheryl L. Hulseapple

That’s so true. Thank you.

I actually thought about the word “couldn’t” while I was writing and I like it better than “wouldn’t” in this specific context. For one thing, it’s really what my younger self would have thought was the truth, and second, I think it is true, in the moment. If they tried to be there for me, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if they became emotionally paralyzed by unprocessed trauma.

I don’t think it makes them any less culpable. If I inject a bunch of a numbing agent into my legs, I won’t be able to walk, but if I had a commitment to being able to walk around for whatever reason, I still fucked up and am responsible for my decisions.

So, I’d say they couldn’t help in the moment, but they could help after taking some, any responsibility whatsoever for the quality of the relationship and working on themselves. If that makes sense.

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