Seriously Evaluating My Relationships
If you read my previous post, you know that I have come to a place in my life finally where I am editing who is in my life and deciding who will have limited connection to me and who is no longer healthy for me (or us) to be around (for whatever reason!).
I have my son, and I have my friend Vince. These two I know have my back, love me no matter what, and I can always count on. That's not to say my other friends are not people I can count on or who won't love me no matter what. My point is I am evaluating how I feel when I am around my other friends, and how I feel when I am no longer around my other friends (do I miss them? Did I have fun? Is there lingering resentment after we hang out?), and whether or not they are truly a friend.
Some friends you have low expectations of, because of course, they are acquaintances, people who might be other moms, might be coworkers, might be clients, might be people you see every now and then. And some of those I do have bonds with where, of course, I do not expect them to drop everything and talk to me if I am in trouble! Some check in with me when I am going through a hard time. And that is perfect and that is exactly what I hope for in those kinds of friendships.
I read this today:
When this happens to you—if it does—do you walk away? If you confront them about it, is there further insult? Is there anger? Shock? An apology? Finger pointing back at you? Pointing your faults to get the focus off them? Blame or criticism in how you are delivering the message? Explosive anger? i.e. “F-this! I don’t need this shit!” Or maybe just excuses for why they behaved the way they did? You do get the gist if they are hearing you or not.
You know what? The ONLY healthy responses should be:
- I’m really sorry I hurt you.
- I didn’t see it that way, but I’m sorry I hurt you.
- Oh my gosh. That was not my intention! I’m sorry!
- I’m sorry. You’re right. I’ll stop. I’m sorry.
Beth said this is a growth mindset.
From the same article:
Someone who genuinely supports you has no desire to see you portrayed in a negative light, and will always listen to your respectful concerns.
I know a couple people like that who are in my life. One is my sister, unfortunately. And this describes her to a T.
That decision is clear. But there are others.
I was speaking with Beth this week, and she pointed out something at the end of my session: there are people in my life who are critical of my choices... who scold me, who declare that my choices would never suit them, who shame me for my choices instead of lifting me up for them. For instance, if I say to one of those people, I just bought a new car!! They might reply, “I would never buy a new car. It’s a waste of money. You lose three grand the minute you drive it off the lot.” While that may be true (losing money), the person I share my good news with instead sort of shames me for my choice when a good friend would say something like, “That’s amazing Andrea! You must really be doing well in your business. You deserve it for all the hard work you do.” A healthy friend would say something to that effect. A toxic friend would shame the choice or question it. “I thought you wanted to save money? I thought I told you that you college is not cheap!” (And yes, a friend actually said something like that to me. Almost verbatim.)
Isn’t it funny? I’m just starting to become aware of things like this.
So this is just one thing I am exploring. The other thing that has been bothering me for a while now are friends who do not initiate contact or get togethers. I have some friendships where I am the person who is always asking for coffee dates, wine dates, evening get-togethers, concerts, baseball games, etc. Some friends do not ever invite me to events or their homes. It’s me who invites them. Even texting sometimes... some friends don’t take the time to even issue a text to check in and see how I’m doing, not just after a hard event btw, but in general! And that really sucks.
OK there’s more.
What about friends who are submissive to their husbands? Yeah, that’s a trigger for me. While it’s not a crime to be subservient or to acquiesce to a male partner, as a woman who is not dating, it’s very very challenging to watch.
What about friends who control their husbands? That too is very triggering. As a single woman, what Iwould not give to be in a healthy relationship with a man. To watch a woman mistreat her husband by putting him down, making fun of him, correcting him in front of friends, or not lifting him up with her words, is also very challenging to me! GURRRRRRRLLLL please stop it. Men are humans, you are not in charge of them, and please allow them to be their own person. They are not your child. You do not need to humiliate and correct their actions in public. It actually makes you look like you are the one with a problem.
What about friends who can't be away from their husbands? OMG. Stop. I def will be limiting my time with those women.
What about friends who feel they don't have a say bc their husband makes more money than they do, or perhaps are a stay at home mom and since he brings home the bacon she has to acquiesce to his rules of how to spend their money (for instance). That's another hard one for me.
What about friends who flaunt their power over others because they have money? Yeah. Done.
What about friends who think it’s funny to roll their eyes are your actions or things you say, who want to humiliate you because it’s funny. I can only handle so much of that. I once did not like a house my husband really wanted to buy. A friend said, I think Andrea doesn’t like this house bc her ego is too big to fit into it. Ha ha. Funny. And maybe she was right. But ouch. And also, years of this kind of response to me is a little harder to take. The other day a friend said, So really How much did you end up saving by cancelling Hulu with no commercials to Hulu with commercials. :) Well, ha ha, $28. Not a lot I guess. But who cares?
Anyway, I do not expect my friends, relationships or people in general to be perfect as Lord knows, I’m far from perfect. It’s great when people forgive me for my mistakes, for being a bitch, for getting bent out of shape, for being wrong, for being human! I’m so grateful when people cut me slack! And they do often! But they also lift me up, celebrate with me, and generally speaking, tey do not put me down. When friends or relationships (family, friends, acquaintances) try purposely to put me down, in my “place” or try to make me feel bad, well, screw that.
My dad died recently. It was really rough. I noticed who attended the funeral and who did not... and why they didn’t attend. W H Y was a big reason. Would I have attended their father’s funeral? What if I lived out of state? What would that mean to them, if I lived out of state, and attended their father’s memorial? Would that not mean the world? How many big events do I give my out of state friends a pass on? How many big life events? How many times has a friend hopped in the car and sat by my side when shit hit the fan? I called a friend once, so depressed and down and in the dumps. She was laughing so hard because she was on her way out of town with friends that she could not even pause to hear what I was saying. Laughing she told me I'd be alright. Was that OK? No. Dammit. It was NOT. What about a friend who was the only friend not there for me when my home was taken away and I was being taken to court by an ex-boyfriend. And he/she was the only one who did not help. The only one who also missed my second move. My father’s funeral too. Is a 4-hour car ride too far? Is 8-hours too far? Is $150 in gas too much to ask? Is $400 plane ticket too much to pay of at least ONE of those times? What the fuck? I have friends who know my deep down secrets and they still love me. I have friends who are jealous of me. I have friends who haven’t shown up even once for a big ordeal! I have friends who expect big things from me when it comes to their ordeals. I have friends who have big ordeals and tell me not to come. What the heck!??
ALL this is swirling in my mind.
What is OK and what is NOT ok?
I will figure it out. I will know, by doing the work this year, what was OK and what was not ok.
Family has been there for me. Wow. Crazy. And family has hurt me in the most harmful ways.
Friends have been there for me. And those same friends have hurt me over and over again, have failed to show up and some have even pointed a finger at ME.
What is OK and what is NOT ok?
I hope to find out.