Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Letting Go

I had mentioned that I had to let friends go in a previous post. I wanted to expand on that.  I had a friend who has battled addiction for a long time in her life. I was not aware of this until the last few years of our friendship. We always had a co-dependent relationship. It became toxic over the last few years.
The drug addiction started out as experimentation, partying and then escalated into full blown junky/addict hell. I was on the sidelines watching all of it like a train wreck in slow motion.
 I had a lot of people warning me that our relationship wasn't good for me. I wanted to be the stoic friend who held on no matter what. I wanted to be the heroine who did not forsake her friend. Blah blah martyr blah de martyr blah.
It seemed like her problems became bigger than anything positive I was getting out of our relationship. I gave money I didn't have to give, time I should have spent on myself. I gave and gave and gave and gave. I suppose I did this so I wouldn't have to pay attention to the mess that had become my own life. It was so much easier to look at someone else's world and help than to deal with my own.
Any time I tried to discuss my issues or ask for advice I never got as much as I gave. It was always "I don't know what to say.", or on to the next subject about myself. Most of the time it was simply ignored. When I was treated poorly I would blame the drugs, or the boyfriend, or being overworked, or being in a bad situation. The simple truth of it all I was being abused and used and was completely oblivious to it.
While I am off flying the banner of "True Blue Friend" my life is just disintegrating. My job performance suffering, my weight  skyrocketing, and my friends and family distancing themselves. I was in falling apart while trying to put someone else back together. Before I knew it I had no other close friends and one person I called my friend who really wasn't.
There were warning signs. Occasionally I would grow a back bone when she crossed the line and insulted me or insinuated that I was not a good friend. We would stop speaking for months sometimes a year. Then there was the tear jerking phone call that would reel me back in to her insane world. I would take her back because I was lonely and had a chance to be the knight in shining armor again.
I let her move in with me and gave her money. I bought make up, pre paid phone, cigarettes, helped with a resume, and didn't ask for a dime in return. Within a couple weeks a tear filled confession that she had slipped and gone off and done drugs. She begged me not to tell my husband. That was a line I was not willing to cross. We stopped talking for over a year.
After another teary phone call I started talking to her again. She was clean and sober and I thought it was worth it to give things another try. She began obsessing over writing to death row inmates during this time! She became obsessed with one man and "fell in love" with him. She said that he was good for her and was helping her. I tried to go on, I was mystified, but, played along. She broke up with her boyfriend for this person. He committed suicide shortly afterward and she didn't seem phased much. This really shocked me but I kept my distance and continued to talk to her.
Then she began sending out letters and emails to me about petitioning states to stop executions. I ignored them and admired her tenacity with which she went about them. Then I started getting text messages from her that were four and five pages long. I have no text plan (gasp...I know...I prefer to speak to people) so I let her know that and that each text was costing me money. She flipped out and sent me a diatribe of hatred filled text that was 7 messages long.
It was clear how she felt about me and what she knew about me as a person. She knew absolutely nothing. Everything she said wasn't true or from out of left field. She had been basically using me as a free psychologist, atm, mother, and all around sucker of the month. I was so angry, stunned and most of all I felt stupid.
All of the years of being suckered in and abused became crystal clear. I was a victim of a person who manipulated me for years and I was naive and blind to it all. I think in the back of my mind I knew what was going on but I chose to ignore it.
On some levels we were good friends and she knew me better than a lot of people in certain ways. We used to have a lot of fun when we were younger. I think in my mind I was waiting for that person to re-emerge. She never did. In hindsight this pattern had been repeated with all of her relationships. She would show people one side of her and when the dark and ugly showed up she dumped them. Blamed all the problems on that person and moved on to the next victim.
I perpetually made myself her victim over and over and over. I felt so stupid for letting myself play the fool over and over. I felt heart ache for wasting so much time love and energy to have it thrown away with out a second thought. I felt discarded and used and most of all just plain stupid.
I took my time and sent her an email explaining exactly how I felt. Why did I do this you ask? For me. I wanted to say everything I felt needed to be said. I wanted her to know what I felt and how I felt about how she treated me. I did it for no one else but myself. This was my closure.
Of course I got an ugly response with the craziest of responses, a threat to reported to the FBI for internet harassment. Needless to say I am not in the pokey playing spades with a bunch of women.
It has been a couple of months since that happened and I have for the most part made peace with it. I am moving on and focusing on my real friends and myself. It has been hard because it is so difficult to look in the mirror and face your own issues after you have been ignoring them for so long.
I am moving on with better friends and a healthier perspective. I am now wary of letting people cross boundaries with me and defending myself from predators.
More to come on life improvements.
Take care.

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