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#59399 - 04/29/04 12:13 AM Friendship
wrangler Offline
Member

Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 84
Loc: Northern Virginia
My mind is a complete jumble of thoughts tonight… it has been for many days now. My brain races wildly ahead, from one disconnected thought to the next with hardly a moment to understand what it thinks. Perhaps fear drives me furiously from one fleeting thought to the next, terrified about what I might discover if I settle for too long in any one place. Honesty, especially honesty with myself is such a two edged blade, and my goodness how it can open old wounds that had long ago crusted over.

Some days it seems utterly impossible for me to have genuine friends and lately that has pushed its way out into the forefront of my racing mind. And as I am turning my legendary powers of introspection on my notions of friendship I am discovering some startling patterns of thought and behavior. And again I am surprised at how efficiently beliefs and desires can operate in my life without ever reaching any level of conscious thought.

I have asked myself many hard questions during the past few days… what do my friends do that makes me feel good? What do they do that makes me feel secure in the friendship? The answers are hard to come by because it is oh-so-hard for me to admit that I behave or think in ways that I intellectually know to be grossly irrational. Nevertheless, my present ideas about friendship seem to be just that ridiculous.

Imagine me hemmed in behind a massive wall with the entire world on the outside. If you have ever seen the movie “The Wall” you should be able to conjure up the perfect mental image. Now imagine I can let one person into my inner sanctum and you will have just imagined how I believe friendship should be. Mind you, not how I think it should be, but how I feel it should be. This friend is my “best friend” and would refer to me the same way… because we have joined our inner sanctums.

And do you know what is in my inner sanctum? Everything. Every whimsical, fleeting thought and emotion that courses though me. And this friend must withstand this onslaught of “stuff”. Nay, they must do better than withstand it… they must relish it and above all else, not do anything to make me feel like a freak for what they find inside my wall. Better still, they must help keep the rest of the people out of our inner circle.

See, the best-friendship is not just about forging a special, unique bond between me and someone else… it is about excluding others from what we share. I know why the exclusion principle is so important… if three people are allowed into the inner circle the risk is great that the other two will form a bond that excludes me. As ridiculous as it sounds, I encourage exclusion because that is the thing I fear above all others.

Ha! Is it really any wonder that my abusers could wield such power over me? What “friendship” is more exclusive than that of the abuser and victim? In him I could find nearly total satisfaction for my definition of friendship. That alone speaks volumes towards how very unhealthy such a definition must be. Nevertheless, it is how I have behaved since I can remember, though never admitting to myself that this was what I was really doing.

Can you see the ugly shadow of low self-esteem? Given a choice between me and someone else, I apparently believe that no one would choose to have me as a friend… measuring the closeness of a friendship on some sort of imaginary linear scale I could never measure up if I was in competition. And in such a paradigm there are really only two solutions: either eliminate competition via exclusion, or choose not to participate by letting friendships cool. And naturally both solutions will ultimately deposit me again on the outside of close, meaningful friendships.

I can go even father though… I live in a world where everyone can be measured in how worthwhile they are as a friend. Some people are “beneath” me while others are on a level out of my reach. Don’t ask how I come up with the levels as I have no idea. But one thing is for sure: no one is on my level. I am willing to concede that this whole notion of levels is completely absurd, but as yet, I have no ideas how to shake loose of it. Still, I must describe it because it sheds still more light on the mystery of my lack of stable, confident friendships.

The people that are “beneath” me (and I use quotes to denote that I find the idea ridiculous intellectually) are of no value as friends, mainly because they cannot make me feel better about myself. However, the people that are above me… well, if they will be my friend, perhaps it means that I was on their “level” after all. Or perhaps I can learn to be on their level. In either case, I immediately see how the relationship is already strained by my need for that person to make me feel a certain way about myself, namely, worthwhile.

This hierarchical definition of friendship leads to a world where everyone is loosing interest in the friends they have now in favor of ones that are still higher up the ladder. But when I step back and look at it from the view of the Big Picture, I can clearly see how this simply cannot be.

Now I come to the point where I am stumped. I will admit here and now that my operative ideas about friendship are preposterous and lead to loneliness. However, I do not have something to put in its place. What does define friendship? Is it possible for me to be “friends” with everyone? That seems unlikely, but as soon as I introduce the idea that I could be closer friends with some people than with others I am back to the stupid levels.

And so my mind races on, spinning and spinning.

_________________________
"Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself." -Mary Schmich

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#59400 - 04/29/04 06:12 PM Re: Friendship
kolisha54 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 475
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Hey Bro!

I can't claim to be an expert on "male bonding," but isn't the usual path with y'all to find a common interest/ activity that y'all can do together without having to talk???? ;\) I was always under the impression that guys got together in order to lighten their experiences, in order to be in the presence of someone who would be non-judgmental & accept them for who they are while *not making a big deal* out of it.

Seems to me that the kinds of relationships you are describing go faaaaar beyond that - into the realm of *intimacy.* Intimate relationships are tough enough for people who have NEVER gone through what you have experienced! Seems to me, you could use a best friend 1st - and that the best candidate for that position is YOU!

One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is to learn how to stop being judgmental and learn how to start being compassionate - to ourselves....

Hope you can find some way to experience this blessing - but, if not, don't *judge* yourself too harshly.

_________________________
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now... when? --Hillel

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#59401 - 04/30/04 02:02 PM Re: Friendship
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Wrangler

I deeply appreciate your insight and honesty here. I have a close friend who always seems troubled about our friendship and has expressed to me many of the feelings you describe here, about measuring people by their worth as friends, about friendship excluding others, about true friends being able to take on everything the other is experiencing. He will get very depressed and start questioning our friendship-- he'll spend hours at my house being uncharacteristically quiet, then an hour after he leaves I check my email and there is a new one from him that says "Why do you think we're friends?" or something to that effect.

He has some friends of the sort that Kolisha describes-- a few, and all of them are, I'm pretty sure, closer and more intimate friends with him than this kind of friend usually is-- but when he's depressed he has nothing but contempt for them. He feels that his strong sense of "honesty" gets in the way of having genuine encounters with them, because when he's feeling down he "can't" really express it, and because when these friends do things that irritate him he "can't" express that either and so he just sits on his irritation until it builds up.

My friend IS truly honest, he's also compassionate, artistic, and very funny. We've been close ever since high school and he's my daughter's godfather. And he really is a great friend. But I've noticed that he's not such a good friend (at least, the way I define friendship) during the time that he's stressing over his friends and what friendship means. I think there are a few reasons for this.

One is that, according to my definition of friendship, if you are my close friend, and I tell you that you are, and I act like you are, then you should believe me. Questioning me about the strength of my relationship with you, over and over, when I haven't done anything wrong, feels like an attack on me as a friend. Although maybe reading what you've written here will help me think differently about that.

The other is that, while my friend is generally honest in a kind, reasonable sense of the word, when he talks about "honesty" when he's depressed, what he really means is what you've described here about forcing others to withstand the onslaught of everything on his mind. And it's a pretty aggressive, angry, unkind brand of honesty. Even when there's nothing hostile about the thoughts he may be expressing, when he gets this way he speaks with a lot of hostility. I'm not sure where it comes from-- anticipation that the communication won't go as he wants, or just a venting of the anger he carries around with him, or fear that without the anger behind his words, people won't want to hear the thoughts he values?-- but among more than a few of his friends he's developed a reputation for being "the angry one"-- meanwhile this hostile honesty is about the only way he feels comfortable expressing any kind of anger or aggression.

Personally, I don't know if a good friendship is always characterized by total honesty about every thought. The exciting and interesting part of friendship, for me, lies in the unexpected. Even people I am close with and comfortable around come up with ways to surprise and teach me, and if I knew them as well as I knew myself, how often would that happen? Also, I'll give you one example about not being honest, with this same friend. He came to my house, very upset, very late at night, and stayed until about 330 in the morning. I was tired and I had to catch a bus at 715 am the next day, but I didn't tell him any of that, I stayed up and talked with him until he felt okay going home. When he found out that I had only gotten a few hours of sleep that night, he got very angry with me, told me that I should have been honest with him about wanting him to leave. I hadn't wanted him to leave, I wanted to stay with him and cheer him up, but I did keep the information about the early bus from him on purpose because I knew that he would leave if I told him. I didn't think that my "dishonesty" meant that I was being a bad friend, I thought I was choosing to give him my time even though I could have used it to sleep. But he was seriously mad at me for days over this. Is it because he had a hard time accepting that someone else made a sacrifice for him? Or is it because, in his own hierarchy of friends, what I did changed something--he was now less of a friend for imposing on me, I was now less of a friend for withholding? I really don't know.

And I don't know if all of this is really what you're asking to hear--I think you have a different and more productive question about how you can think differently about friendship, what else it could possibly mean to be a friend, what a friend can do to help you feel good about friendship. I really do want to answer that question but I think it might have to wait until tonight.

take care of yourself
SAR


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#59402 - 04/30/04 05:07 PM Re: Friendship
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Quote:
Originally posted by wrangler:
As ridiculous as it sounds, I encourage exclusion because that is the thing I fear above all others.

Ha! Is it really any wonder that my abusers could wield such power over me? What “friendship” is more exclusive than that of the abuser and victim? In him I could find nearly total satisfaction for my definition of friendship. That alone speaks volumes towards how very unhealthy such a definition must be. Nevertheless, it is how I have behaved since I can remember, though never admitting to myself that this was what I was really doing.

*stuff snipped*

I can go even father though… I live in a world where everyone can be measured in how worthwhile they are as a friend.

*stuff snipped*

The people that are “beneath” me (and I use quotes to denote that I find the idea ridiculous intellectually) are of no value as friends, mainly because they cannot make me feel better about myself. However, the people that are above me… well, if they will be my friend, perhaps it means that I was on their “level” after all. Or perhaps I can learn to be on their level. In either case, I immediately see how the relationship is already strained by my need for that person to make me feel a certain way about myself, namely, worthwhile.

*more stuff snipped*

What does define friendship? Is it possible for me to be “friends” with everyone? That seems unlikely, but as soon as I introduce the idea that I could be closer friends with some people than with others I am back to the stupid levels.

And so my mind races on, spinning and spinning.
Sounds like you're spinning.. Breathe.. breathe..

a few comments/observations:

1. re: exclusivity is what you demand because you fear above all others - is it exclusivity you fear or abandonment?

Be careful of the self-fulfilling prophecy - sometimes pushing too hard to avoid a certain situation may well CREATE the situation that you are working so hard to avoid.

Re: unhealthy definition of friendship - you did hit it right on the head - the notion or demand that a friendship requires absolute exclusivity is not only unreasonable, it is extremely unhealthy.

Someone, somewhere along the line taught you that this is how relationships must be - your parents? In any case, sorry to be blunt, but that notion of "friendship" is just not healthy. In fact, if I had a friend who was dating someone who demanded, implied, or even insinuated (which can be done through guilt, emotional manipulation, it does not have to be overt) that, in order to have a relationship with his or her partner, that they must totally and completely exclude all others, I'd be afraid for them. That is one of the MAJOR red warning flags for abusive relationships.

This type of thing happened to my brother recently and it scared the hell out of me. His ex girlfriend was EXTREMELY insecure and very controlling. He left that relationship after 3 years, broke, depressed and unhealthy. My father is still quite that way with my mother. I dont have much of a relationship with either of them - my dad because he is so difficult, and my mom, because my dad is too damn jealous to allow me to have an individual relationship with my mother. It is so painful to me even to this day, but I have to accept the fact that this is how they may just be for the rest of my life, and grieve the loss of them not being what I wanted them to be, and move on.

Re: friendship: It is not possible to be friends with everyone. There are just some people out there that others just dont connect to, and still others that are not the healthiest for others. Its kind of like trying on clothes - some fit, others dont.

Re: your comments on viewing people as being on "levels" - you can't have a healthy relatoinship with someone as long as you are viewing the relationship only as a one-sided deal. RElationships are NOT about what they can do FOR you. The nature of friendship is all about sharing time, sharing space, building each other up, it is a mutual exchange of goodwill. The state of friendship, relationship, and even love is freely entered, freely accepted, and as such, you have to respect that it has to be freely exited too. As soon as a relationship, friendship, marriage, etc. gets one sided - i.e. that one person views it as something "for" them rather than something to be built, nurtured, and cared for, it becomes unhealthy, and can also start to tip towards the abusive.

Healthy people become friends with other healthy people because the experience, time, etc. with that person is pleasurable for them - and then they will keep coming back. If the experience for them is difficult, uncomfortable, nasty or abusive, - if that person has a healthy sense of self esteem, they wont be your friends for long. And are those the kinds of people that you want to spend time with?

Spend time with healthy people. Listen to them. Find out what makes them tick. I had to do that - God knows I certainly didnt learn it from my own parents. My growing up years taught me some of the same notions that you are writing about here - that friendships were to be exclusive, and someone could only earn my friendship by being my "perfect" confidante, and better not tell me anything I did not want to hear. I too also looked at friendships for what they woudl give me, rather than understanding the nurturing, mutual-benefit concept of friendship. Safe to say I LOST all of those friends. They got a bit tired of my demanding nature and I dont blame them for making a quick and permanent exit from my life. I have learned the hard way, through losing a lot of people from my life, about what the true nature of friendship really is - and it has to be about what you can bring to the relationship as much as what you get out of it.

As I have mentioned many times on here, I grew up in a very twisted, alcoholic home where those twisted lessons (based on a deep seated insecurity and neediness in my father) were taught to me at a very early age. I have had to spend a lot of my adult life trying to unlearn those lessons. And they still dog me when I am very stressed, sick or scared.

You may wish to dive deep into the messages and lessons that your parents taught you when you were growing up. I bet there's something there. And yes - there's nothing wrong with saying to yourself "what my parents taught me just is NOT serving me well as an adult, I dont think they did me any favours in this department, and I want to live my life differently".


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#59403 - 04/30/04 09:02 PM Re: Friendship
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Wrangler
Quote:
I know why the exclusion principle is so important… if three people are allowed into the inner circle the risk is great that the other two will form a bond that excludes me.
Yes ! I get very jealous when "my best friend" says he's been talking to or out with "a good friend"
Irrational ? oh yes. As are most of the other points you raise ( and I recognise many of them ) but we 'feel' them.

It's down to our own insecurity I think. We don't think we're deserving of their good friendship and that as soon as they find someone more interesting - trusting- social - reliable - etc then we'll be history.
A lot of what you say about 'levels' and feeling some people are beneath our friendship and asoiring to other levels of friendship are tied up closely with this.

Those that we feel are 'beneath' us I saw ( see ?) as not being able to understand or appreciate my personality and self. It's rubbish, but I agree with you. The friendships we aspire to we just don't believe we'll be able to sustain for longer than it takes for those people to see us as the useless, perverted, good for nothing idiots we 'are'
So we live in the middle, somewhere between average and mediocre, and we're gratefull for any friends we have.

I think that we do get over this though, I now have good friends from the most unlikely 'levels' of people. And that's because I'm happy with who I am and don't give a shit what other people think of me. If they don't like me then that's their loss ;\)
I'll get over it.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#59404 - 04/30/04 11:37 PM Re: Friendship
wrangler Offline
Member

Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 84
Loc: Northern Virginia
Quote:
Someone, somewhere along the line taught you that this is how relationships must be - your parents? In any case, sorry to be blunt, but that notion of "friendship" is just not healthy.
I am just now beginning to explore from where this malformed definition of friendship might have developed, so my ideas might still be a little crude. As seems to be a common case among abuse victims, I was abused by a series of men during my adolescence. The first was a one time thing and it was (relatively speaking) easy to tell my parents and the police about what had happened, but by the second man, I started to suspect that I was doing something wrong, and so it was nearly impossible to reveal what was happening. To give this a little more context, I lived in an extremely rural area and myself and (to my knowledge) my parents had no close friends. I was a very lonely teenager, and, among all the other problems it might create, lonely teenagers are not learning critical lessons about friendship. It is possible (and sufficient) that my parents were simply neglecting to teach me any lessons about relationships.

The second man that abused me (Robert) first befriended me and only after I had known him for perhaps two years did he introduce sex into our friendship, at which time I was about sixteen. Until recently I held the belief that this man was my friend despite what he was doing to me sexually. I imagine such an idea seems singularly ridiculous to people that have not been abused, but I am equally sure that my fellow survivors can relate to how I felt about this man. It is only in light of the present discussion about friendship that I have started to take a second look at the dynamic between us.

Quote:
And do you know what is in my inner sanctum? Everything. Every whimsical, fleeting thought and emotion that courses though me. And this friend must withstand this onslaught of “stuff”. Nay, they must do better than withstand it… they must relish it and above all else, not do anything to make me feel like a freak for what they find inside my wall. Better still, they must help keep the rest of the people out of our inner circle.
After reading my own post several times, I have come to see this as one of the most significant parts because two extremely important things are revealed. This “inner sanctum” that I describe is ME… it is the second by second, play by play core of my being. No one can tolerate caring about me and being that close to me, because, if absolutely nothing else, they would never be able to sort out which things were significant, and which things were temporary. If you step back and think about it for a second, on your good days you know when to hold your tongue, smile, and let the situation pass. But if I was with the sort of friend I describe here, I would not keep things to myself… I would let it all out.

Now the first thing revealed by wanting (needing) to have other people that close to me is my own inability to feel “okay” with the thoughts and feelings that run through me. I need (want) someone there with me to reassure me that I am still a good person, still loveable… you get the idea. Trying to get people this close to me reveals a very subtle, but I believe powerful, form of self-loathing.

The second thing is more dangerous still. I said no one could tolerate being that close to another person (probably even more so for people that have survived trauma) but this is not quite true. Robert (the abuser) could tolerate it… he could stand it because he detached himself from it. He was not interested in ME, he was interested in using me to satisfy himself. And look again at where I have quoted myself. Everything in that paragraph describes, from the victims point of view, the sexually abusive relationship. He would go to great lengths to make me not feel like a freak for the things I thought and felt about what was happening. If I felt that way I might end the relationship. (Note, this is different from shaming me about what was happening. Hard for me to describe in more detail the difference between feeling ashamed and feeling like a freak though.) He would have to be able to “tolerate” the stream of consciousness that poured out of me because having access to that was (I think) one of the principle means of controlling me. And, above all else, he would want to keep the rest of the world out of our inner circle.

Indeed, I think the only sorts of people that can participate in this type of friendship are people that will ultimately, whether intentionally or unintentionally, use me to satisfy their own unhealthy needs. Perhaps, if this type of thinking is allowed to progress unchecked, it is the sort of thing that turns a person into an abuser (not necessarily of a sexual type… there are many, many flavors of abuse). I think this is very similar to the point you are making PAS.

If it sounds like I am being rather harsh with myself over this friendship thing it is only because I am alarmed and suddenly aware of the myriad of problems that it could be creating. But I am taking great pains to avoid shaming myself about this… that will come to no good at all. Better to spend the time and energy changing how I see all the people around me and how I plan to interact with them.

So, on to my question: what does define a good, healthy, secure friendship?
Quote:
And that's because I'm happy with who I am and don't give a shit what other people think of me.
If ever there was something easier said than done, it is this. But I think this must be the very first part of the definition of friendship. There is a tricky piece of circular logic lurking in this statement which I am going to try to wrap my mind and some words around. The Bible has a lot of goofy sounding stuff in it like “whoever will lose himself shall find himself”. I say that because it helps me believe what I am about to say next: whoever does not need friends will have them. Of course, it is also said “no man is an island.” So apparently we all need friends. Ha! Quite a pickle I’d say. But not really. After MUCH thought, I think I am beginning to understand.

The confusion (if this sounds confusing to you) lies in the use of the word friend for two slightly different meanings. The unhealthy person, such as me, regards each person that enters their life as representative of all people. If this person does not like me, then no one will like me. If this person does not love me, then no one can love me… I am unlovable. The unhealthy person uses the word friend to describe some sort of abstract population of people.

Contrariwise, the healthy person knows that, even though this person does not like me, I am still likeable and other people will like me. They are using friend in a specific, person by person sense.

Let me rephrase what I said a moment ago: whoever does not need each person he like to be his friend will find close, secure friendship with some of the people he likes.

I have some more thoughts about how an unrealistic need for permanence influences my definition of friendship, but these ideas are still simmering… not quite ready. Besides, if I don’t stop now who knows how long I might go on rambling about this! It is a subject near and dear to me.

W

_________________________
"Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself." -Mary Schmich

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#59405 - 05/03/04 08:47 PM Re: Friendship
RICK57 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/31/03
Posts: 1611
Loc: ENGLAND
Wrangler - there's a lot to read here & hopefully I've got the general context of where you're coming from...if not just tell me, I don't mind.

The best way I can respond is by saying that for many years I thought that anyone that could be my 'friend' had to have identical interests, work in jobs of a 'similar level', come from a similar 'social background'.

Let's have a look at my reality:

Identical interests:

Social - fairly common bonds...just going out somewhere... alcoholic likes/volumes are reasonably similar.

Music - I love Rock Music (Metallica / Hell is for Heroes / Budgie / Motorhead etc) - some friends like similar music, but the range includes stuff like Abba / 80's Pop (mates wives...no taste), Classical, Comedy one hit wonders etc.

Reading - I read Lads Mags - Loaded, FHM, Front & stuff like Classical Rock...others read EVO (performance cars....just makes me green), Train Spotters Weekly (not really, but used to & we still wind him up). Some of the Wives / Girlfriends read Chat & stuff which is a bit like Jerry Springer in written form.

Films - well if it's been released, someone I know will probably have seen it!

Location - we live in a range of houses in varying loactions.

Earnings - again a range of semi-skilled to professional (I'm in the middle on this one).

Things to do: I like Rock Festivals / Mini- breaks. Friends also do things like Florida etc. Some just don't go anywhere.

Overdoing it - I bought a Les Paul Standard on interest free credit over 2 years! One of my friends wives bought a hot tub out of a work's bonus. One of my mates would think he was pushing the boat out if he went to the supermarket & bought a 'buy one get one free offer' if he was only going to use half of the food in that week.

Friends do not have to be clones of each other...I think they need some common ground, but they don't have to agree on everything. I understand the need for a best friend, as they are invaluable. It's best to have several good friends, then you can help each other out across a range of experiences.

Hope this helps...Rik

_________________________
*Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up.
*I was seeking a way of expressing my anger - I found hope!
*There are many battles before the war is won! It can be won!

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#59406 - 05/04/04 06:16 PM Re: Friendship
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Sounds like you've really intellectualized this.. and are working it out!! Hopefully soon you'll be ready to go out and try to put it into practice.. a little step at a time???

Indeed - if you do enter into a relationship where you NEED to have someone, then that need can sometimes overrride the needs and responsibilities that one has for themselves. And it is that neediness that abusers sniff out and exploit. I have been in unhealthy, abusive relationships, not sexually, but otherwise, because I felt that this was the ONLY person who would ever love me and that I deserved every rotten thing that this guy was doing to me, and that I'd never find anything better. I was so damn neglected and rejected by my own parents due to their own issues.. I too was ripe for the type of abuse that has happened to the guys here.. I think its just by the Grace of God that I am not also in your shoes. It is the type of neediness that you describe here, and the type that I suffered, and the type that my fiance suffered that abusers exploit to their own advantage. You said it very eloquently in your post about how this happened to you.

>>>>Indeed, I think the only sorts of people that can participate in this type of friendship are people that will ultimately, whether intentionally or unintentionally, use me to satisfy their own unhealthy needs.

Wrangler, that aint a friendship. If you are in a relationship and the same old feelings and same old things are starting to happen, then its time to get out. You may sense that a friendship is "real" if it feels DIFFERENT than what you have known in the past. If you do start to venture into some friendships soon, dont be afraid to test out "is this healthy" with others that you trust - with us on here, with your therapist. Its hard to get an accurate read on what is a healthy relationship when all you've had are crappy role models. Trust me - I've had crappy ones too.. I have had no clue on what is a healthy relationship, what is a healthy friendship, I've had to RELEARN it all as an adult, after seeing that I was just ill equipped to do so.

>>>Perhaps, if this type of thinking is allowed to progress unchecked, it is the sort of thing that turns a person into an abuser (not necessarily of a sexual type… there are many, many flavors of abuse). I think this is very similar to the point you are making PAS.

I would suspect that there is a serious deep seated insecurity and need to control that does drive perps and other abusers to do the things they do... they must feel even lower than dirt to have to resort to the horrendous things that they do to make themselves feel better.

>>>>I am taking great pains to avoid shaming myself about this… that will come to no good at all.

Do NOT shame, blame, etc. How else were you supposed to know? HOw was I supposed to know that verbally abusing people was not acceptable when I have been a verbal abuse victim all my life? I didnt know!!! I do now, and cannot use it as an excuse anymore, but then? I didnt know. And I"m not going to blame myself any more for the crap that I did either. Ok well I sure will try at least... I konw I will blame myself again but I am continually trying...

>>>Better to spend the time and energy changing how I see all the people around me and how I plan to interact with them.

Right on.

>>>whoever does not need friends will have them.

The essence of the self-fulfilling prophecy.

>>>Of course, it is also said “no man is an island.” So apparently we all need friends. Ha! Quite a pickle I’d say. But not really.

Or maybe just yet another example of life and human existence.. it is all one giant paradox.


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#59407 - 05/04/04 08:38 PM Re: Friendship
doctorfrau Offline
Member

Registered: 04/11/03
Posts: 60
Loc: West Virginia (NOT western Vir...
Sounds like Wrangler is describing some of the same things I heard from my friend "G". I think it ties into both the friendship thread and the Gifts thread.

He was 16, feeling isolated, and was befriended by a slightly older guy, who capitalized on G's loneliness. It sounds like it got to be controlling and manipulating by the time the guy told G that he wanted to move the relationship "to the next level" .

That is about all of the details that he ever revealed to me, but it is enough to know why he reacted so oddly when we became closer as friends. I think G felt himself starting to "need" me, and that it triggered and scared the crap out of him. I think for him, feeling like he "needed" ANYBODY was a danger signal. He started the final downward slope in our relationship when I asked when "he" was going to come visit "me". Up to that point, I was was the one who had done all of the visiting and travelling, and most of the rowing of the friendship boat. As soon as I asked him to take a turn at the proverbial oars - - he got spooked.

It was as though as soon as I implied that reciprocity might be nice - he thought "uh-oh, here comes the catch". And it wasn't like that at all - I didn't mean it that way. But he saw that as "conditions" and "payback", or that I was trying to control him. But truthfully, a real relationship "should" involve give and take. It shouldn't be all one-sided, or else it isn't a relationship - it's emotional parasitism or something - isn't it?

Anyway, at the time I didn't know anything about the effects of SA, so I didn't make the connection. If I had, maybe I'd have given him more space and maybe he'd still be speaking to me today. As it is, I haven't had any contact with him in 8 months, and the last CIVIL contact was 2 years ago.

Living and learning is a good thing, but unfortunately I learned a little too late that friendship for him came with all kinds of landmines attached. \:\(

_________________________
"...your choice, is what to DO with the time that you are given."

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