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Realized Something About A Good Friend
October 15, 2006
1:40 pm
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gracenotes
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The other day, I was full of energy, feeling great, and dropped over a good friend's house after talking with her on the phone. I was having computer problems and needed to use her computer. I have known her for over a decade.

I have been so excited about life recently. No Contact is doing me a world of good. I am moving forward on my goals, applied to two schools for next years, and am happy about many things. I had played tennis that day in my class, and had other classes at school. But, I began to notice how she just wanted to end my enthusiasm and put a damper on me with subtle negative comments. I talked about wanting a better tennis racket, and it is, oh, you are always wanting something else, you're "too much", calm down, get some rest, you'll get sick. All these words to define me in ways I was not even feeling at all, that don't even fit into who I am and how I was feeling that day. She was willing to trim a few loose ends on my hair and she was looking for the scissors. She couldn't find them and then she started ranting to me "just be patient. I was just sitting there waiting. I finally had enough and said that I was leaving and that I just could not put up with all these personal attacks. Of course, she didn't want to listen to this.

For the last few days, I have been thinking about how this friend has covertly found ways to minimize me, my interests, my accomplishments and that this person, despite her good qualities, is such a drain on my life, especially now, recreating a new life for myself. There's always something wrong with me. Either I drive too fast (when I am driving the same speed as other people), I'm too stressed and need to rest (because I have a busy schedule and am fired up about school and love it) I am impatient (I am a creative person and spend hours on these pursuits that require the biggest degree of patience).

That's part of her codependency problem, I think, this need to define me. It just feels terrible to have someone say adjectives to define me. So disempowering. I don't define people and tell them what to do.

But, this is sad too, because we've been friends for a long time. I have cut down some of my involvement in the past over similar issues. I think I am getting healthier and maybe this friendship is either not going to last, or will be different.

October 15, 2006
1:49 pm
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ggfred4
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grace, just maybe she is realizing you are getting better and she is afraid you may be abandoning her...just a thought

October 15, 2006
1:56 pm
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gracenotes
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ggfred4,

Thanks. That may really be part of it because I have talked with her about how I may be relocating, either a few hours away, or 1000's of miles away next year. She would never say anything directly about feeling like that, though. Also, she has many good qualities, but is into procrastination about many things that are not yet done in her life and I have been purring along doing so much things.

October 15, 2006
2:00 pm
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ggfred4
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the reason I thought of that is because i am realizing that I have abandonment issues; I just don't know why? It may her unconscious way. You may have to reassure her of your friendship, but still state your needs.

October 22, 2006
9:33 am
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Robert123
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I think as we recover from our own issues we get healthier. Something we were used to no longer appeals, especially when we don't have to tolerate it any longer. We may have to let go of those relationships that no longer have the necessary boundaries and mutual interests that used to feed us.

October 22, 2006
10:50 am
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revelation
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Grace....dont know if we've ever had the pleasure of speaking to each other here, although I have seen your name...hello!!!!

Grace...your story touched a little nerve!! I've been in an emotionally abusive relationship. Now, its been over for a year, and its only in the last couple of months, after months of healing with the help of this site and others, lots of books, lots of research and lots of help from my family, that I am aware it was emotional abuse...when I first came out of the relationship, I had no idea I'd been abused!!!

Its only with all the knowledge I've gained on the subject, that I now realise why I didn't at first spot that abuse...it was because, several of my closest friends that I had before I got in to the relationship had in fact quite subtley been emotionally abusing me for years!!! I realised it was just a constant stream of very catty little put-downs and negativity directed at me for years, designed to keep me in my little box, where I could never shine and be noticed and steal their limelight!!

My ex made me choose between him and then quite early in the relationship, because he had brainwashed me into believeing that they would jeopardise our relationship, he believed they were manipulative and that they hated him. Well, he was right, they did hate him...but he was wrong about how they could manipulate me, as by that stage I was in the care of a different manipulator..HIM!!!

So for months after we broke up I agonised that they were right about him and how I had turned my back on people who cared about me...it was like I had been stuck in the middle of two forces....in my mind one HAD to be right and one HAD to be wrong...and at various points in the past 3 years, I switched from one to the other...very confused, very afraid.

NOW I realise, BOTH were to some extent manipulating me, putting me down and being negative about my life...the reason why I found it so difficult to spot what my ex was doing was because it was already the norm for me!!! He would always sneer at them and say "they are so FAKE!" I was so busy looking at how fake they were, that I never spotted how fake HE was!!!

Now, I have no contact with any of these negative people at all...I have made new friends, who are as emotionally healthy as I am.

I have had some contact with my ex-friends, however, I am a different person now, confident and shining, enjoying life and always try to be positive...and they CANNOT stand it.

Underneath all this, the reality of it is, that these people are too insecure to be friends with emotionally healthy people....unless you can be manipulated and can be indoctrinated into the belief that they are better than you, then they won't want to know you.

So, that is my two cents on the subject of emotionally abusive friends.

Rev.

October 22, 2006
4:34 pm
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atalose
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I think it's natural when we start to become healthy, we spot what is NOT healthy anymore. When I was going through a divorce I had a good friend who I spoke with every night on the phone, and would excape to her apartment every other weekend. She was so understanding, so supportive. Once the divorce was final and I began moving on with my life, I realized she only enjoyed our friendship when I was just as negative with life as she was. She held her resentments for years and never seemed to be able to let go and more in a more positibe direction in life. I out grew her, being around her or talking to her was emotionaly draining and became detremental to my own recovery. I had to limit my contact with her and of course I became just another one of her resentments in life to hold on to. It's been years since I spoke with her, I do miss the friendship but she was not able to move with me in life and I was not able to remain stuck.
I am able now to meet people and know who to get involved with and who to keep at bay and my life is so less complicated and not filled with drama and chaos.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

October 22, 2006
4:36 pm
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hbdude2k
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It is amazing when you become healthy, how much you see things differently. And your right REV, the others can't stand the happiness in healthyness. I look back and can't believe how negative some people are now that I have let my life open up. With being healthy, the good things are coming to me.

October 22, 2006
6:06 pm
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gracenotes
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revelation and hbdude2k,

Yes, this subtle abuse is often hard to pinpoint. I have had the same experience with this friend and others. I needed to educate myself to redefine what abuse really is and it is much more common than I thought and it applies to some areas I never realy thought of. Pia Mellody has some good informaton in her book Facing Codependence about what abuse it and names kinds of abuse I never thought of before -- i.e. intellectual abuse, spirital abuse. Catty comments can be abusive as well. They're not really funny. Maybe in a sit com, but not to the person on the receiving end. And, somtimes others cannot stand to be around someone who is healthy and moving forward in life. Oh, yes.

I have nnt seen my friend I originally talked about to start this thread in over a week. She has not called, and I do not have any desire to call her. I feel a little alone because I often drop over to visit and/or call on Sundays, but I am working on several projects today and I am also planning to get involved in some new social things as soon as this busyness levels off, in a few weeks. I am just going to trust that, as one door closes, another opens. In the last week, I have had time to think about this friendship and how little joy it brings me.

I am really working hard at and spending a lot of time making my life better in many areas, and I don't think I have really gotten any positives from this friend about this. That was all brought to light yesterday when someone called me on the phone and we had a nice chat and she told me that she really thinks its great what I am doing to make things better and how hard I am working at this (my creative stuff I am working on). I really realy appreciated that comment and told her so. That's being a friend. Now, my friend in question would have said someting like.. you're going to get stressed, slow down, don't do so much, you'll get sick, totally missing out on how much more joy there is in my life because I am on track and doing more of what I realy like and being more the person I really want to be. I don't need a so-called good friend that realy brings out the worst in me and pushes my buttons like this. Sad, but true.

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