They can't know what they don't know
Two years ago I moved to a new city and was quickly welcomed into a pre-existing group of friends. Within a few months, several of them were involved in a violent incident that gained national attention. They are understandably traumatized, and many of them experience symptoms of PTSD. They’ve all sought therapy, but still talk about the event in detail once or twice a month. The problem is that I was involved in a similar violent incident in my old city that I haven’t told them about. It’s really upsetting to hear them talk about their experience as it brings up memories of my own.
I don’t want them to think I’m being insensitive by asking them not to talk about this incident with me, and I don’t want to have to explain my past to them either. Can I politely excuse myself from these conversations without alienating these people I really care about? Would it be better to tell them why, or would that come across as insensitive or trying to one-up them? I’m not sure what to do.
—Don’t Mention It