Author Topic: Friendship Moments: good or bad  (Read 9166 times)

lighter

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8417
Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #30 on: August 20, 2021, 12:09:09 PM »
Hey, Hops.

How's your poet friend doing? 

Lighter

Hopalong

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13514
Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #31 on: August 20, 2021, 04:35:46 PM »
R's doing really well at the mo', Lighter.
Just called me from their retreat at a large, lovely cabin on the shore of Lake Huron.
The lakes not too far away are going to ease her transition into citier-life, I know. It's the first break she's had since the move (exhausting) a month ago.

They had a few days on their own so the couple-tension's abated for now (he's happier in nature than at home). Today her family arrives...adorable, super-bright and stunning 4 y/o grand-daughter (half Iranian, half American), R's daughter and SIL, and SIL's father, who escaped Iran but is now thriving in NE with successful real estate. I'm happy for them all, as they have a very connected family life.

By this time next year, I plan to join them for a lake week. She's already promised me a room of my own. Look forward to that a lot. Peace, breezes, water, horizon.

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

lighter

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8417
Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #32 on: August 22, 2021, 01:16:32 PM »
I'm happy hopeful about your lake week this time next year and.....
a little apprehensive above the things we're willing to sacrifice for cherished fellowship. 

IME, we all have our breaking points.

I hope things settle down with Covid. 

I can't imagine your passing up the trip, whatever happens.

So glad friend and struggling hubby feeling better, Hops.

Lighter

Hopalong

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13514
Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #33 on: October 20, 2021, 05:12:32 PM »
I'll make two posts -- one general about friendships that's on my mind, one an update on poet.

I've gotten more honest over time about how I feel about being (or making myself through inherent sensitivity I can only partially control) an easy target in even small ways. I'm less apt to absorb it without asserting/objecting (miracle). In my small social circle, there have been two people recently who've caused me to feel more clear, at least inside myself, about who I enjoy and who I don't. (Patio Princess is one. Another is her new-friend my old-friend, not super close but someone I value via church who's recently moved nearby so I was hopeful we'd become closer. She's someone I never thought I'd pull away from.)

I enjoy people who won't make gratuitous verbal jabs at me but who, if they are irritated or not in sync, will say how THEY are feeling within THEIR life and inside THEIR own self, rather than acting out as though I were the sole cause of out-of-syncness. It doesn't happen often and is usually minor and absorbable (definitely, it was absorbable with the grieving mother). But if it's a big cut and I'm feeling too hurt usually, I just don't expose myself to them any more. ​Don't hate them for it but don't want to spend time that way when I could be finding new friends instead.

I've noticed how several people in my outer-friend group have become people I don't yearn to be around anymore. (I only have two very close friends whom I wouldn't distance myself from for anything.) I've been so lonely that for a long time I assumed that ANY connection, even if seriously unsatisfying, was better than none. I'm still very affected by my early stuff, I know, and will likely have to manage that vulnerability until the day I die. It's surprised me but I'm accepting more solitude as the price. I don't know how that will be going as winter closes in, but I'll find out. (Maybe dating, or a relationship, will offset the isolation. But if it's someone I have no prior connection with or can't be certain about how careful they are about Covid, I'm not going to work super hard to find safe ways to meet up, etc.).--I'll yak about that on the Relationships thread as things evolve, if they do.

Back to the friends sitch. Patio Princess showed me who she is that day and has moved on from the Covenant Group I lead, to my relief. Three nice and interesting new women have joined. I don't miss PP (hah!). The other one (friend who was there on patio disaster day) has also moved to lead a new group -- this is the ideal model that most Covenant Groups keep turning over, because that helps them form wider connections and new relationships within the congregation. My group stayed and none have wanted to move on for about 4 years. I just keep on leading. But I'm learning more about those dynamics.

At first when the three moved on I was sad. Even though I've done it myself several times over many years in these groups. Then I realized it was an opportunity for this core group to learn from and be stimulated by new people, stories and thinking. Our first "new configuration" meeting was great and it'll be a new experience this year. One late-joiner will be turning up too tomorrow evening, which should be interesting. A last IMPORTANT fact is that one of the newbies has a pig and will let me drive out to give it belly rubs! Siggghhhhh, I loooooooove pigs.

Back to the social stuff o' the day. My nearby-friend was raised Catholic and has tendencies to judge, instruct and monitor others (or at least me). It annoys me a bunch. If I say something in a meeting she doesn't approve of, she'll gasp and go "HOPPPPS!" in a scolding voice, etc. And when I say something truthful about how I feel (like telling her the beach was 90% great and she asks what was the 10% and I go, half the bed and the other half a hurtful comment....) she starts explaining to me it's a "let your hair down casual group" as though I was an outsider and didn't understand the social setting I was in. Boy did that push my buttons. I've known a lot of these people longer than she has. So the condescension got to me and on the way home I told her I often feel disapproved of around her (she said I'm sorry).

Talked to my T today about it and so far, it was so good (saying honestly how I felt). But the next bit was I said to friend, This might be your inner nun, and I've observed that judgemental reflex a lot in my friends who were raised Catholic...just a whole bunch of analysis that was unecessary and may have hurt her feelings. I figured it out (finally) with the T and realized I did want to mend bridges.

So I wrote her a very honest apology for the analysing her inner-religious-origins part, and simply re-stated the first part. I had been feeling annoyed and didn't feel comfortable saying so.

We'll see how she responds. But it felt like a mature thing to do (Hops hopes).

Thanks for listening -- as ever, I understand better what I think after writing it out...

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Hopalong

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13514
Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #34 on: October 20, 2021, 05:21:50 PM »
Update on poet friend:
R is very happy to be near beloved daughter and grandchild, but stuggling with partner as she was before. He's nasty, lashes out, criticizes her in ways that trigger intense shaming and vulnerability, and she's avoiding him now and quite miserable.

It's hard to watch as I had so hoped she'd leave him behind, but she is unable to be alone, she believes. Even 10 minutes from her family. Or with a housemate. I think she has "learned helplessness" and just can't bear the idea of sleeping in a building alone or not being with a partner for any length of time. She was molested in Africa at age 4, and has never recovered from this. And was beaten by first husband.

She is intellectually very strong but tries to use her intellect to defeat her resentful country-boy partner, who gets sick of being "instructed" or condescended to, and so they're off on another battle. He also has an ex-con son who manipulates him constantly. It's painful to think about their situation, as they're both miserable.

I think the end of their partnership is inevitable and I'm sad to see her pour out her vital energy in her 70s on someone who isn't able to see her and love her well. But I  am just supporting, there when she needs an ear or shoulder, and ever ready to Zoom.

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

lighter

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8417
Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #35 on: October 21, 2021, 09:19:08 AM »
Inner.
Nun.
Whooboy, she did have it coming, Hops.  I'm proud of you for standing up to her and calling out the judgment.

Would it have been more about you and your feelings if you said you often feel you've had your emotional knuckles smacked by a nun....when she judges you.....instead of called out "her" inner nun? 

Lighter




Phyll

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 91
Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #36 on: October 21, 2021, 12:33:24 PM »
This "inner nun" discussion has helped me to understand the behavior of a woman I know I'll call her M), who was a casual friend I met up here at an AA meeting.  M has a cottage up here 4 miles from where I live. I found M makes many of what I consider to be judgmental statements about others.  I noticed too M does not keep confidences even when asked.  M also added a phone number to the meeting list without asking the woman's permission.  I learned this when the woman contacted me - she was upset that a male member called her and did not know how he got her number. The male member was married and was trying to get something going on the side. I suggested the woman confront M for adding her number to the list without permission.   

Anyway, M came on hot and heavy when we first met, wanting to ride to the meeting together, wanting me to stop by for breakfast, take me fishing, etc.  I set some boundaries back then and it was fine.  At one point though she got pretty distant. It could be that I did not respond when she sent me a request to "like" her business as a spiritual advisor on FB.  (She used to work as a chaplain in a hospital). I am only guessing.

I arranged to speak with M after our meeting one day, to ask if I offended her in some way, but the conversation was focused on her husband who was needing nursing home care.  I decided M had enough on her plate and did not bring it up.  Since the pandemic I no longer go to the meeting and do not hear from M.  I texted a few times to ask about her husband and to offer support. I know M still comes up as her cottage is on the main county road and I need to drive by her place when I go to town or the post office.

The last time we spoke on the phone (I reached out to her during my struggle with the hip replacement and Lyme's disease) she told me she noticed we put up a fence here.  I am angry that she would drive around my house to snoop, but not even call or text.  We live off a dead end road 2 miles from the county highway - she went out of her way.  I did not say anything then but it has been eating at me.  I know I will not reach out to her again.

I dunno, I should and will let it go.  M is really not someone I want to be involved with.  I can be such a damn people pleaser though, and regret not telling her how I feel.

Hopalong

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13514
Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #37 on: October 21, 2021, 01:34:50 PM »
Absolutely, Lighter.
That would have been the PERFECT way to convey how I felt. (Keeping it to I-statements, about my own feelings. Instead, I veered off into the blaming you-statement: "It must be your inner nun." (Presented as a joke but the edge was audible.) Ooo, hindsight.

I hear you about your M friend, Phyl. So disappointing.

Sometimes those with "inner nuns" are both agreeable, very group-focused, and bossy as hell. Do good works while driving folks nuts.

I'm going to try to focus on what's good/admirable and also on continuing to find the inner calm when somebody hurts (even little slights) or harms (BIG slights) me. And still forgive (my own inner Xian) but not forget. So I can have strong boundaries around them without anger.

I just hate anger. It sickens me. I'm nearly phobic about it, which ain't healthy either.

BTW, I wrote Nun a kind message owning my annoyance about feeling disapproved of, but also apologizing for my uncessary and inappropriate analysis of her motives.

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Hopalong

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13514
Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #38 on: July 15, 2022, 11:43:26 AM »
Poet friend update:
At LAST. She called in tears yesterday to relate the hundredth incident of him saying belittling things, not registering her vulnerability to nasty criticical comments (or worse, registering it just fine and enjoying the effect he has). She was reduced to a frightened, quivering mess of hurt, as she so often is with him. Her confidence evaporates in an instant. I've suggested too many times that she needs therapy and she always agrees but doesn't make it happen. Maybe she's feared it all this time because if she actually does do the healing work, hard decisions would be clear.

She said: "I've decided to leave him." (That means figuring out per MI law how to get him out of HER house.) No idea how soon or how she'll manage it, but my CoD alarm is blaring. So far I've just been supportive (she said I'm the only one she talks to about it) and yet I've also made some direct statements about his cruelty.

She mentioned maybe after she tells him he has to go, she'd leave town for a while until he moves out. I worry about whether she'll have the confidence to be her own advocate and have urged her to see a lawyer to find out if there'd be any "tenant" issues to deal with. He's contributed monthly to her mortgage but isn't a legal tenant, I think. They're not married. First, she said, she's going to "continue to play the game" so as to not let on to him her intention. I can't imagine this period. My divorce was peaceful and those months of living-together-while-separated were still awful. But she does have her daughter near.

I gotta back off some though and be careful. She's so dependent on not being alone, and I did offer her a standing invite to visit or have a stay here. That could be really good, or if she found herself lashing out at me to diffuse her stress, awful. Still the invite's sincere and I'll stand by it. Will just try to be very mindful and clear about boundaries I'd need if she should come. Chances are good she might rent a lake cottage for a few weeks instead, but I'm not sure. Being ANYWHERE alone seems to be impossible for her.

All this is cart way before horse, however. I would not be surprised at all to get another call for her to explain that "he understands it now" and she's changed her mind. I hope not. Rooting for her to see it through. Supporting her has been both good (genuine closeness) but also draining (CoD-Me doesn't always know where to draw a line).

All in all, I felt such relief for her when she announced that decision. I hope she can reclaim and heal to enjoy as much of the rest of her 70s and beyond as she possibly can. She loves to write poetry, explore cultures, travel and so many things -- not on her own but she can still be active if she makes new friends. And her grand-D and D bring her joy too.

Whew. Feels like a big event. If it fizzles I'll have to practice more detachment.

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

sKePTiKal

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5324
Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #39 on: July 16, 2022, 01:18:57 PM »
Sounds like self-image & self-esteem are the core issues for her. Confidence, in a nutshell, in her own abilities. So she'll likely look for a "friend" to transfer that dependence to. A T, would be the best choice - but depending on their experience and skill may still lean on the side of doing "too much" FOR her - instead of teaching her that she can rely on herself for that kind of "support". Could've been a pattern that developed from her FOO, could've been an unconscious or subsconscious choice... or simply not being active enough in developing her self.

But that's all stuff a good T could help her discover & deal with. Not your job, in other words. But making a gift of your support in a difficult time for her - even past what you think is healthy occasionally - doesn't necessarily equal CoDependency. The key to that definition for me, is when your OWN sense of "it's OK" DEPENDS on you going above & beyond to keep HER OK. "Occasionally" is the operative word, here.

But that's just my perspective today, colored by some things (good & bad) I'm going through at the moment. It's not meant to be taken as absolute truth that works in all situations for all people, ALL the time. I'm still trying to decide if there is any purported "truth" that would meet those criteria.
Success is never final, failure is never fatal.

Hopalong

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13514
Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #40 on: July 16, 2022, 03:43:54 PM »
Thanks, Amber. Those are such smart queries.

Her FOO issues were basically that her parents were famous anthropologists very absorbed in their work (they left her basically alone in the village in Africa while they were in the field, assuming she'd just be fine playing with the village children, with no thought of what might happen to her at age FOUR if the wrong adult male followed her to an outhouse...and did what he did.)

She was a shy, sensitive middle child with four brothers. No voice, really. I can't imagine what she went through after the abuse -- didn't sound as though there was a reckoning with her folks. But it eventually led her to choose a husband who wound up beating her. I don't recall how long it took her to get out of the abusive marriage but I know it wasn't quick. She stayed and took it for a long time.

I believe she learned very early that her body did not belong to her. And that if someone hurt or took advantage of her, she was helpless (still seems so in ways, overcompensating with intellect). Nobody would rescue her, but she keeps trying to find someone to. Her second husband who died so soon was a lovely and gentle man and devoted to her.

I sympathize. And have had impulses in that direction myself, when security fears rise. But she's paid a big price. I knew there was something unhealthy going on when despite loving her husband who died, she was on the internet with other men within two weeks. Until she met her current partner, it was the top subject on her mind. (True for me too, back when I still thought searching would mean finding.)

Anyway, it's absolutely her work to do, in terms of confidence and self esteem. I will continue to love and support her...I just know I need to be alert to my rescue tendencies, and impassioned advocacy. Fine to be an advocate, not healthy for me to feel so committed to it that I lose track of taking care of myself.

I have some hesitancy as well because in her quest to define her place in the world she also developed a pattern of lecturing and instructing that's reminiscent (in no way to the same scale) of the "forced teaching" I used to complain about with M.

But I can set limits with her in a much simpler and quicker way, I'm pretty sure. Anyway, no telling if or when or how I'll be actually in her life again (other than LD and Zoom support) so I don't need to create a saga when none's begun.

Good to write it out here, though. Good chance I'll need some grounding later.

hugs
Hops
« Last Edit: July 17, 2022, 07:22:08 PM by Hopalong »
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Hopalong

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13514
Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #41 on: July 17, 2022, 10:24:28 AM »
I think the challenge for me here is to unattach myself more.

I am busting myself with a realization. When she pours out her pain and vulnerability, I'm there. I know how to hold steady, remind her of who she is and could be, express minimally but honestly how I see it, offer (obvious) advice like a T and a lawyer. She drinks it in and always expresses that it helps a great deal.

Then her pattern is -- the next time we talk, she often pretends nothing happened, she didn't describe the level of pain she did, and chitter-chats about other stuff. I understand what's happening but realize I'm a bit anxious at the flip-flopping. There's something in ME that is uncomfortable with beginning to engage the subject and then she starts acting again, and goes into unconvincing detours.

So why do I get so bothered when she approaches-solutions-then-retreats and tells me a new (same always) story about how "it's better now."

I think it's the classic pattern of abuse, with her, but with me, is probably classic Co-D kinds of stuff. In addition to good caring support as Amber described.

Just tuning into that. I'll be talking with her this afternoon, a Zoom at her request. Maybe I can be more observant and less attached to the outcome. Huh. There's my answer, had it all along...release the outcome....

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

lighter

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8417
Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #42 on: July 23, 2022, 02:37:54 PM »
How did your last zoom with friend go, Hops?

I noticed your intention to step away and let it be, whatever it is, which is so wise.

Lighter

Hopalong

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13514
Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #43 on: July 23, 2022, 05:39:44 PM »
Thanks for checking, Lighter.

She was in the pretending/posing place, but instead of judging, I saw it as her way of surviving fear and pain. Avoidance, which is exactly what I do in other areas. It's up to her when and how much she can confront. Likewise.

I feel gentler, and more accepting. Her performative stuff plus denial is triggering but an opportunity for me to grow. (I've been watching her be bullied, which is clearly awakening my own bruises.) I've been her only witness for a long time. But playing the role of cheerleader and rescuer has drained me.

She said she's serious about healing her early trauma (with a T) and I'm very glad. She can't heal until she commits to herself. (Project much, Hops???)

My T said, "I think she takes too much" -- she noted that support is pretty spotty when it goes this way. Poet makes sympathic noises if I relate a trouble but she's so inward-focused I don't really feel it. I can get cerebral conversation anywhere.

Task remains to have empathy for my inner self and for others' too, but be more mindful of relationships where the effort and understanding go both ways. My T is pointing out that I often am drawn to people who actually don't give much.

I think Poet has also triggered me in a positive way, to start looking at myself harder (not meaner, but harder).

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

lighter

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8417
Re: Friendship Moments: good or bad
« Reply #44 on: July 23, 2022, 06:57:37 PM »
I guess your poet friend really is where she wants to be, Hops..... in relationship  with a man, any man, it doesn't matter if she's disrespected, bullied, voiceless and unhappy. 

When the pain of staying outweighs the pain of leaving.... that's when she'll leave.

In a way you're thinking about leaving/shifting the relationship you've always had with the poet... in that you're steppng back and offering what you're comfortable giving opposed to what the poet believes you should give, bc you've always given it. Maybe there will be large shifts.... maybe not. 

Remember when someone on this board shared a response they often used with people making sad choices....

"Let me know how that works out for you?"

I think it was Deb.... but it was an amazing response and I could see how it would be better than reactive co dependence, yup yup yup.

Thanks for the update.

Lighter