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Take your bag of crap elsewhere
December 26, 2001
9:03 pm
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Cici
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OK. Dysfunctional, codependent relationships abound across this great nation. We have a generation of people who are unable to recognize what intimacy is, or who have been traumatized to such an extent that they are unable to be truely intimate.

I'm guilty of it. Hell, most days my marriage seems like a dream - makes no sense, is totally absurd, never stable. Maybe that's me. Whatever.

Anyway, I've had a friend I've known for several years who recently appealed to me for help as her husband wanted to "take a break." She house-sat for me while I drove to TX and then hung around a few days afterward before returning to her house. I got an earful of justification and rationalizing. The ridiculous back and forth of two people who are in a codependent relationship that is even more unhealthy than mine played out before me like some kind of macabre play.

I'm sick of it. I'm sick of the drama, the "we've had a breakthrough"'s and "we know we can make this work." They're always followed in a few weeks by tearful arguments and horrid scenes. The guy is a nice guy, but has taught himself to be manipulative. Plus, she's unmedicated bipolar but her husband is in denial and just blows up at her for the untreated mood swings. It's a sick dance.

Anyway, I know I should be a true friend and just listen and "be there for her", but quite frankly I have enough on my plate. I can't handle it anymore. I tried to tell her to just keep her relationship problems to herself, but then I felt like a shmuck because I'm supposed to be her friend and be there for her. I'm emotionally drained. I can't be there at the drop of a hat and then sit back and be OK with her trotting blindly back and trying to press "rewind" in her life!

Maybe I'm too controlling but how do I set boundaries with her? Do I just say, keep your relationship to yourself, even when she needs a place to stay because her husband wants to "take a break"? HELP!

December 27, 2001
4:30 pm
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deshong
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Look, Let go of the guilt talk. "I should be a true friend and listen".

A true friend also has her own boundaries and will let no one suck the life out of them to the point that they are no more good to anyone!!

You are not her professional counselor. They get paid to listen to her. Tell her to seek professional help. It is out there if she really wants her situation to change.

December 27, 2001
4:45 pm
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Molly
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Exactly what the above says, besides you can always back out by saying your too close to be objective, and could just make the problem worse, or what ever. Remember Cici, if they are not a paying client, we always just say no.

December 27, 2001
10:58 pm
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Ladeska
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I'm soooo proud of you, Cici. I really am. You definitely need to follow your gut here, on your own behalf. The thing is - she needs to feel her own pain, and be responsible for it. What I've noticed with people is - there are very few people - I might be able to so-call "help" and those are the few who are actually at the window in life to take action. Anywhere else that someone might be standing - is not a place where you reach out and take their hand. You might impart a little bit of "how to" but you have to notice when you are telling them whatever - what they are actually doing in all reality....are they just getting "you" caught up in their dance as well. I throw a few crumbs on the water and if I don't see anyone bit and really take hold, I pull back majorly and go - well....when the fire gets really, really hot, you'll take a few steps, I'll see it or someone one else will and they'll be there to assist you in what "you need to do". Otherwise, the fire isn't hot enough yet and I have to set boundaries for my own life because I am a recovering person still from....what you are going through....therefore - I have to not get tempted to cycle down in what you are in now by doing "your dance with you". Tell her that. I don't mind.

And if they get angry because you say this - to hell with them. They are selfish and destined to failure anyways and you don't need their crap. End of story. I just don't wade into that kind of water with anyone anymore. Now then....IF I see that look in someone eyes on here or in person that says - I want to go the distance, I'm weak but oh so sincere - that's another story. I will go to the wall with them. But again, I won't carry them. They have to do the work, otherwise, I don't "really care" about them. I care about my own ego in being "their savior" and that's bullshit any way you cut it. That's not caring, it's just disguised to look like that.

So, what you are doing with her - is just fine... The fire isn't hot enough yet and it's not your responsibility to make the flames hurt worse. In fact, the fire needs to hurt more. I often tell people - Go ahead - hit that brick wall harder, bleed more, hurt worse, maybe it will bring you to the point of doing something about all this sooner so your life doesn't get completely wasted here, but don't ask me to hit the wall with you because I won't do that. You have to....figure it out and when you're really listening....I'll be glad to do whatever it is I can do, by listening or whatever in order to support you in your work.

People and their endless circles annoy the hell out of me anymore, especially when - they hear the truth about how to stop it. I've also learned though that there are few times in people's lives when they truly "listen" - thus the "windows" that I speak about. If the window isn't there - you're wasting your time and energy doing whatever. And you will know when it is there because they will take hold of the brass ring and run with it. You give them a little knowledge and they will take off with it.

But, the thing to realize here is....(and this is tricky) you don't get better and you don't gain anything on some etheral plane by helping people or allowing them to use you...that's the old system that is instilled in us, probably from catholism that says - you earn tokens by walking in this way..... God....how lame.

If anything - you learn how to operate very wisely when you withdraw and see clearly "where" a person is and regardless to how much you see their pain - if they are not listening - there is little you can do. They have chosen - what they are in and UNTIL you see the light really come on - there is nothing you can do anyways. Sometimes being very quiet and watching - is very loving and quite spiritual. You are allowing them to walk their path...as they say - when you are ready to learn - a teacher will appear. That is soo true.

December 28, 2001
1:44 pm
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Cici
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You guys were right. I'm glad to have this sounding-board here where there can be opinions that are more objective than any I can get from those close to me.

I had a talk with her and she admitted that she just needs to learn the hard way, maybe because I was distancing myself from her rather than dealing with the conflict head-on. So it all turned out for the best, especially my own boundaries. Thanks a lot, guys!!

December 29, 2001
10:57 pm
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Ladeska
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Actually, all we are doing is listening and backing up what you already know innately to be true for you. You know where to go, what to do, it's just that you haven't had that kind of support. But, don't thank us, it's a real priviledge, Cici, just to watch you grow...(smile) You did well, very well...

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