This post is really hard for me to write, which shows just how important it is and how much this affects me!
It’s tough when you’ve known someone for over 20 years and they’ve changed little in that time BUT you’ve changed enormously yourself. That really changes the dynamics of the relationship.
My quest for healing and the progress I’ve made have changed me significantly. The events of the past year have changed me radically. I cannot and will not take BS from anyone any more. Those changes affect the nature of all my relationships and in this case have created a very lopsided dynamic.
Originally I was very insecure and the weak one in the friendship. After these years of being submissive in the relationship I’m not any longer. I’m getting stronger. I’m slowly realising who I am and what I want from life.
Stuff I used to tolerate I now have zero tolerance for. Things I used to do out of sheer obligation I question whether I should be doing any more.
I have a friend who I had met with recently. I’ve known this person for about 20 years. I feel obligated to continue the friendship because of how long it’s been and how she helped me in the past. But things are changing. As I’m changing she is really not going with me.
I met with her after she contacted me to say “shall we meet up for coffee, not to discuss your situation, just to spend time with you”. Query - it’s nice to meet up but if I can’t talk about what I want to or need to then what is the point? I don’t really want to talk about what’s going on because she doesn’t understand, so there’s not much point in talking about what really matters BUT what is the point of the friendship if she’s not willing to be there for me, even if she doesn’t understand?
She’s said many times “I cannot enter into your experience of life because my life has been so different.” Query – I’ve never asked her to, why does she feel the need to?
“I can have sympathy, your experience is so far from mine it is very difficult, it’s no good pretending I can empathise with you” Query – Why? Why can she not feel empathy for another human being, has she not experienced any real suffering of her own? Why sympathy and not empathy? Why can she not empathise? Empathy is a mutual understanding of how hard life can be at times, it does not require a person to step into another person’s experience, that is impossible! I hate sympathy, sympathy speaks of pity. I don’t want sympathy. I don’t want pity. All that sympathy and pity does is keeps me locked in a certain place whereas empathy frees me to be who I am in spite of all I’ve experienced.
“I don’t read your blog because I find it difficult to enter into, my life’s been so different” Query – why can she not read and appreciate my life story? All my blog is about is telling the story of my life and my healing journey. I’m not asking the reader to enter into it or even understand. That’s not what it’s about. The mind boggles, it really does!!
Many times she asks very intrusive and inappropriate questions. Every time I hear myself giving away information I had no intention of giving but because I was trained as a child to answer every question asked of me instantly and truthfully I find myself doing that even now. That really annoys me. Every time it happens I beat myself up about it and promise to myself next time I won’t do that, then next time we have a conversation, guess what? I give away way too much information, and much more information that I’m comfortable with. Query – why does she have this affect upon me?
Many times those questions come with “I’m only asking to try and understand”. Query – why does she feel the need to understand? Why does she think that by knowing all the details she’ll understand? It’s pretty clear that she doesn’t. I don’t think she ever will “get it”. Every comment she makes ends with something along the lines of “I cannot understand because my life’s been so different.”
Erm you can be a friend to someone without knowing all the details or needing to know.
The best friends I have are those who are alongside, even from a distance, encouraging, supportive, believing in me even when I don’t believe in myself, without prying or seeking unnecessary information which frankly is nobody’s business but my own.
The comment which really angered me occurred just before Easter - “I don’t like the thought of you being alone so much” but at the same time did not offer to spend any time with me. Query – what did she think she’d achieve by throwing that statement at me at a time of year she knows is difficult for me and not suggesting meeting up for a coffee or a walk down the beach. Just the statement thrown at me and me staring at it, feeling the immense agony of the pain I feel about being so alone but yet no solution or suggestions offered to mitigate that pain in any way. I could not believe she did that. I still cannot believe she did that. It threw me into a dark place for the rest of the day.
I’m very aware we have very little common ground now because I’ve changed so much.
People warned me once you begin to heal one consequence will be is you’ll change and you’ll lose people from your life. I’m beginning to see that happen.
I’m aware I’m keeping this relationship going out of obligation.
I’m aware that I feel really bad about that.
I’m aware that I feel really bad about writing this.
I’m aware that I feel really bad about how I react and respond when I’m around her.
I’m also aware that I am NOT going to go back to the person I was. I cannot do that, I can only go forwards.
I’m also aware that I’m trying to make sense of something which actually makes no sense at all and I doubt if it ever will.