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#67873 - 10/06/03 03:05 AM Best friends and Girlfriends
wrangler Offline
Member

Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 84
Loc: Northern Virginia
I have spent a life in search of a best friend and a girlfriend. They are destined to be my soul mates. All other friendships will be mere acquaintances in relation to these magical unions. Each person I meet is a prospective candidate. From the moment I shake your hand I am evaluating your potential as my best friend or girlfriend. Every second of my life that I do not have these two people is spent in miserable envy of those around me that do.

If I do not have someone to call my girlfriend I despise the couple holding hands on the park bench. I loath the couple that laughs together at the dinner table near me. They are stark reminders of my insufferable loneliness. So I evaluate every woman I meet. I need a companion to laugh with me at dinner and hold my hand on the park bench. Eventually I will find a woman willing to take a run at this thing with me. So we date each other and I laugh at dinner and I hold her hand on the park bench, but I am no closer to happy. I do not know what I am doing wrong. Now I envy the couple over there. They are so much happier together than we are. Look how those two are acting toward one another. Look how much more compatible that pair is. See how affectionate she is. See how laid back he is.

So now I start evaluating the problems with myself and our relationship. I force the activities that I observe around me. I mimic what happy people do and yet I am not happy. The relationship strains and finally it snaps. And I am off again to find another girlfriend. It sounds crazy, but I took this so far as to marry a girlfriend to become happy. That has snapped too and I still do not know what I am doing wrong.

I can play the same game with men, but now they need to be my best friend. I am so hung up about that label. I do not know what an adult “best friend” is supposed to do, much less how to be one myself. But I want one none the less and as soon as I have one it is the compastion game all over again. I had a very good friend before I was married and I drove myself into fits of jealousy when he would refer to someone else as a “best friend”. I doubt he ever knew, but everything he did was under close observation for its conformance to the best friend standard. If he fell short on any given day I felt crushed and lonely.

It is very important to find these two extraordinary people because they are the only two people I need close to me. Once I have them, everyone else can remain on the acquaintance level. There will be no need to invite more people in because these two will satisfy my every need, and I theirs. My best friend need have no other friends because he has me. My wife does not need anything other that her own best friend. Of course the crème de la crème of relationships is the girlfriend that is also a best friend. Now it can be us against the world. We do not need to pursue other close friends, only casual acquaintances to work or play with.

Sound a little possessive? Maybe. But this is how I live. Whether it came from abuse or enabled it does not matter to me. It is a pattern that I acknowledge and would like to do something about. I don’t imagine it will change very quickly, but even Rome was built brick by brick. Sadly, acknowledgment does so little to influence this pattern.

_________________________
"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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#67874 - 10/06/03 10:24 AM Re: Best friends and Girlfriends
Freedom Offline
Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 164
Loc: US
If you believe that when you marry, you become one with your spouse then you are right in thinking that this one person should be your best friend as well. I am not sure though that any person can survive such scrutiny as you describe. I doubt that anyone can conform to the "ideals" in your head as there seems to be no room for growth on either side. This is especially true, if you do not tell them what your expectations are.

I try to remember that every person is on their own path through life and as such they have the right to choose their own way. Trying to lock them in a path of our own choosing seems rather controlling and denies them the right to find their own eay. But then it seems that control equals safety in the SA world, so what you describe makes sense on some level.

I am remined of the following words: "If you love someone, set them free. If they come back to you, they are yours. If they do not, they were never meant to be." (something like that) Tough task but ultimately probably the only one that works.

_________________________
Life is moving on. AM I?

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#67875 - 10/07/03 02:30 PM Re: Best friends and Girlfriends
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Hi - (I know I indicated I'd be away until the 14th but I have not arranged my break until tomorrow...)

I just wanted to comment... I used to have these ideals about love and friendship and relationships - and at one point in my life I completely identified with the sentiments posted on this thread - however, but I have come to learn that people, no matter who they are - friend, partner, spouse, parent, boyfriend and girlfriend are not always able to meet all our needs. That is not to say there is anything wrong with someone who cannot meet all our needs - but we are growing, evolving people with complex needs - and no one person can meet all those needs, nor should we really expect them to.

I just think that having such unrealistic expectaions may only result in continuous disappointment and frustration and puts waay too much pressure on your potential mate. WE all have times when we cannot "be there" for our partners. Why should we expect that from our partners when we cannot do that for them? Personally I dont WANT to have that much responsibility - if the person I'm with needs me to fulfil all those needs all the time.. thats a LOT of pressure to be under. I have been in relationships like that and have crumpled under the pressure and broke up. It was so hard.

I am 33 years old, I found my fiance when I was 31.. and I can safely say he does NOT fulfil all the needs that I have, nor do I fulfil all his needs. He has battles - he is a SA survivor that needs more than I can give in order for him to heal. I am a physical and psychological abuse survivor and he cannot always be supportive to my issues. There are times when both of us just cannot give each other what we need, emotionally, physically or friendship-wise as we have our own battles to fight, as well sometimes we just need "alone time". Alone time is very good for the soul (more so for introverts!).

Also we are very different at approaching problems - he is an introvert and gets recharged by being alone. I am an extrovert and need to be around people in order to "de stress". We clash a lot on this topic - I NEED to have my girlfriends, call them when I"m stressed, because if I call him then I risk him being so over the top with stress NOT having his "him time" that I risk a fight. I therefore MUST have my "girlfriend time" etc. Being an introvert, he needs his "him time" which obviously does not include me! And I risk a grumpy guy if I continue to push to "meet my needs" when our needs at that moment are incompatible! (we have decided on a plan to tackle the moments when we have incompatible needs - we flip a coin - whoever wins gets their needs met FIRST with a promise that the second person will get their needs met within a reasonable amount of time.. and if it appears that one person is getting their way first all the time then we will reverse things for awhile...).

Although we cannot fulfil all the other person's needs, that does not mean that he and I are a bad match. On the contrary. We do have each others best intentions at heart, and when we are not able to help with a particular need, we try really hard to be up front about it, and work with the other person to ensure that need gets met in another way (there are a few needs i.e. sex - that just cannot be met outside the relationship... I am not discussing those at the moment.. that's a totally other thread that I started last week).

Just to say that I dont think realistic at all to expect one or two people to meet all your needs. Each person is a complex human with many sides, moods, and tastes. I dont think any two people, even identical twins, are so truly "matched" to actually fulfil all the other person's needs. I have such complex tastes and needs that I find I am friends with many different people - some of these people I am certain would not get along if they were all in the same room together. And that is ok - that is totally normal and totally part of the human experience.

One thing I have learned about having my heart smashed a few times, is that love is sometimes more about giving than receiving... I have found that being in a relationship where I have had to incorporate and work towards healign on abuse issues with BOTH partners, it takes a lot of strength, and a lot of.. well for the lack of another word.. "BALLS" on the part of BOTH of us. We have to have unshakeable faith that we will both "be there" through all kinds of crap, that we will be committed to work through things, that we will always try to work at the relationship and never take it for granted, to try to balance all the various things in your life - work, home, play, love.. that all want a chunk of your time. I think its that commitment, a healthy dose of faith (we have returned to Church and we pray often - especially when we are at those moements where all SHIT is breaking loose and we have NOTHING but faith to go on), and a strong friendship that has to be at the core of the relationship - not whether or not you are able to fulfil ALL your partner's needs and vice versa (you have to fulfil some of the other person's needs though.. and its key to figure out which needs are most important!).

Its hard enough to find someone with commitment and integrity and honesty and who you can be friends AND lovers with and who find attractive and who finds you attractive and who has mutually compatible life goals.. let alone someone who's 100% compatible as far as needs!

You guys on here have been through some horrible experiences - I have had my own abuse history too - I think the best insurance against having that situation repeat itself for ALL of us is to be able to learn to stand on our own two feet - partner or no partner, relationship or no relationship - so as to be better able to figure out when people are stepping over our boundaries.

Boundary definition is hard, very hard when we are so hurt, so in pain, so needy and SO wanting someone to come and "take our pain away". Unfortunately, its those that come in and say "dont worry baby, I'll take care of you" when we put ourselves in a vulnerable position over and over, just wanting someone to take the pain of loneliness, betrayal and hurt away - those are the people WE MUST BE CAREFUL OF!

Its that desperation and neediness in my fiance that my fiance's perp sniffed out in him.. that led to his abuse (I am sure many of you here can relate). It was that neediness in me that put me in a totally vulnerable position where I was physically abused and totally reliant on a boyfriend who abused me and left me hanging high and dry and broke a few years ago.. he said to me "dont worry baby I will take care of everything"... Bull crap! All I did was put myself in a vulnerable position to someone who was never able to fulfil all the promises he was making!

When you put all your needs in the hands of another person, you put yourself in a very vulnerable position. Dont give any one person, even your life partner, all that power! You never know when they could leave, or they could die.. I hate to be fatalistic about all of this but there ARE no guarantees about anything except that we are born, we live for awhile, and we die!

Back to boundaries - its important to be able to learn appropriate boundaries and stick by them in order to heal AND in order to protect ourselves from further abuse. My fiance and I struggle with boundary issues all the time as we were both abused - we have NO CLUE about what is appropriate sometimes.. we over react to things that are normal and healthy, we let things slide that are not so healthy only to realise later on the hurt we are actually inflicting on each other.. we live and learn. But its important in any relationship - friendship, workplace, romantic - for all of us to mark off where we end and the other person begins. When you overstep your boundaries, you go from healthy relating to abuse - or at least taking advantage of someone... and as I mentioned.. we as abused people cannot even tell it is happening sometimes as we are so used to having people overstep their boundaries with respect to our needs that we accept some pretty horrible things as "normal"!

Relationships are all about the struggle between the "me" and the "we".. when the me becomes sacrificed and the we becomes more dominant, people feel afraid and smothered.. then you have to figure out how to go back towards the individual selves. When the me becomes more mportant, then you wind up feeling lonely... then you have to figure out how to be more intimate.

Its all a struggle, a balance.... and the story of *any* relationship is that struggle. I dont think that it ever gets totally sorted out. I think people on their 50th wedding anniversary - if they still have a vital relationship still are working this out!

As my mother always says.. (and she has been married to my dad for almost 40 years - and my dad is someone with a WHOLE PILE of abuse and addiction issues) "Love does not have a manual nor any formula for success - I still haven't got this all figured out - I just kind of muddle through each day the best I can and go on from there the next day the best that I can..."


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#67876 - 10/07/03 07:20 PM Re: Best friends and Girlfriends
wrangler Offline
Member

Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 84
Loc: Northern Virginia
PAS… you are amazing!

*****************
Boundary definition is hard, very hard when we are so hurt, so in pain, so needy and SO wanting someone to come and "take our pain away". Unfortunately, its those that come in and say "dont worry baby, I'll take care of you" when we put ourselves in a vulnerable position over and over, just wanting someone to take the pain of loneliness, betrayal and hurt away - those are the people WE MUST BE CAREFUL OF!

When you put all your needs in the hands of another person, you put yourself in a very vulnerable position. Dont give any one person, even your life partner, all that power! You never know when they could leave, or they could die.. I hate to be fatalistic about all of this but there ARE no guarantees about anything except that we are born, we live for awhile, and we die!

Back to boundaries - its important to be able to learn appropriate boundaries and stick by them in order to heal AND in order to protect ourselves from further abuse. My fiance and I struggle with boundary issues all the time as we were both abused - we have NO CLUE about what is appropriate sometimes.. we over react to things that are normal and healthy, we let things slide that are not so healthy only to realise later on the hurt we are actually inflicting on each other.. we live and learn.
*****************

This is everything that I need to hear. I need to be beaten over the head with it a number of times. I need it read to me while I sleep. I need to be bombarded with advertising about it.

I am so very afraid of people… the might reject me, they might make fun of me, etc… but worst of all: they might find someone better than me. And so I want only one person to love and to control. I ABSOLUTELY want someone to come take my pain away, and I want to control them enough that I can ensure they do not add to my pain. Anyone can have instant access to my heart and soul if they promise that everything will be okay… if they promise to take care of me.

But you couldn’t be more right. This is just not a good way to evaluate people because it cannot be honesty from them. I can’t get over how much I crave it though. Please don’t make me deal with this ALONE!! Oh that word is so AWFUL. I need a mate, a partner, a lover, a friend to feel as though I have value.

And back to boundaries… I have NO CLUE AT ALL what is appropriate. I have said as much to you. I almost always missed the point in my marriage. What did I do wrong? How could that have hurt you? Why did that hurt me? Why didn’t that hurt me? But most often I was just in pain or angry and I didn’t know why so I latched on to the annoyance of the moment and started a fight. Even when we are fighting I am not ALONE.

Who do I want to have the power to make me feel good? As you point out, it is best if I keep that for myself. But I don’t know how, and so I really want someone else to do it for me.

Thanks for knocking me on the noggin with the truth. I wish I could see it on the sides of busses and in magazine cardboard nuisances and in the newspaper. I wish I could see it in myself.

It is just so scary to be Alone.

_________________________
"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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#67877 - 10/08/03 11:01 AM Re: Best friends and Girlfriends
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
>>I am so very afraid of people… the might reject me, they might make fun of me, etc… but worst of all: they might find someone better than me. And so I want only one person to love and to control. I ABSOLUTELY want someone to come take my pain away, and I want to control them enough that I can ensure they do not add to my pain.

You gotta be careful about that - while I totally understand that feeling, you cannot do that to another person. That's not love.

We as abused folks want to control everything around us in order to protect ourselves and our already hurt and damaged souls.. but its not possible. My dad is a hurt and damaged soul and he in turn hurt and damaged mine by trying to raise me under such control.. you cant do that to another person. They have to be trusted.. there is no better way to love someone then to let them be themselves, let them be who they truly are, let them shine and grow and develop.. and with that we all risk loss and pain.. unfortunately its all part of the deal when we choose to love someone, we have to be ready to accept loss as well.. such a double edged sword. Even though I am planning a wedding, I struggle with it daily.

We have to learn to sit with difficult times, through pain, through all kinds of problems and be OK within our core, in our centre, in our souls. And that is truly the key to recovery... its the probing and the poking and the learning new ways to re-think life, to re-think relationships, to re-think other things, to undo the damage that has been done, to learn what is normal and what is acceptable, to grieve the pain of what we lost... that is the only way to gain some semblance of peace and calm in our lives, not through controlling another person or through controlling events in our lives. Not one of us has enough energy to try and control all aspects of our lives enough to protect our wounded souls.

>>Anyone can have instant access to my heart and soul if they promise that everything will be okay… if they promise to take care of me.

As I said.. bee careful!!! there are those that will take advantage of that.. they will blow smoke up your ass and tell you all you want to hear.. abusers eat this kind of neediness right up.. they get you where they want you and BAM its happening all over again. You can be sure you are on the right track to protecting yourself against another abuser by NOT believing that someone will take care of all.. because they can't...

Do NOT put yourself in a totally vulnerable position again. Abusers prey on perceived weakness, on vulnerability....

>>But you couldn't be more right. This is just not a good way to evaluate people because it cannot be honesty from them. I can't get over how much I crave it though. Please don't make me deal with this ALONE!! Oh that word is so AWFUL. I need a mate, a partner, a lover, a friend to feel as though I have value.

I have totally been there. I know what it is like to go into that desert.. it is awful. I cant say what will work for you but if you have any semblance of a spiritual life, you HAVE to go there.

For me, during my own desert, I combined my own kind of Christianity with Buddhist philosophy... I learned to let go of expectations while still beleiving in a higher power that loves me and that karma will deliver good things to me after bad things have happened... and it did.

But I dont believe that anything happened to me until I was ready for it. Right now your future is all about faith..and finding that faith that through all this shit, and through being alone, that you will emerge out the other side. You are just starting the descent into the alone part.. but keep the faith. If.. no wait.. WHEN you do this alone.. you will feel so much more powerful and empowered about yourself!! And not beholden to ANYONE! Wrangler power!

>>And back to boundaries… I have NO CLUE AT ALL what is appropriate. I have said as much to you. I almost always missed the point in my marriage. What did I do wrong? How could that have hurt you? Why did that hurt me? Why didn't that hurt me? But most often I was just in pain or angry and I didn't know why so I latched on to the annoyance of the moment and started a fight. Even when we are fighting I am not ALONE.

>>It is just so scary to be Alone.

THAT I can't argue with. I have been there. But we are not truly alone... we have God, we have friends, we have ourselves.. it took me 30 years to have a reasonably good relationship with myself.. but once I actually started to like myself somewhat.. I realized I wasn't truly alone. I had ME! I actually, for once, actually started enjoying time with myself! Going to the beach alone, reading a book, hiking, biking, etc... and then, and only then did I meet the love of my life. I guess i must have been giving off "healthy vibes" or something! People can sense healthiness, people can sense neediness.. be sure that you are attracting healthy people from now on.. keep working.. keep the faith. You are doing a lot of work.. keep up with the writing, the Therapy.. keep up other sides of your life. You will get there.


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#67878 - 10/08/03 01:46 PM Re: Best friends and Girlfriends
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
FYI I apologize to anyone who may interpret this thread as me discouraging you from trusting those that are close to you - if you have that in your life more power to you. You have more than I have had in the past.

I just wanted to address the feelings of utter loneliness that happen when you do put all your needs in someone else's hands and that person leaves. It is devastating. And how it is so easy to want to dive in with the next person that comes along and you think that person will ease the pain.. and they don't...or worse - they use that neediness against you to abuse you again.

I am speaking from personal experience here - I did that over and over, and so did my fiance - and all it got us was a pile o'hurt and more ex boyfriends/girlfriends than we wish we ever had. But there is some merit in dealing with some things on your own and doing some healing for yourself. Again, from my experience, until my fiance and I got our crap together and started to grieve and heal, until we learned healthier boundaries AND lucked out and found each other - two people who were truly friends and had each other's best interests at heart, we just were not going anywhere, love wise.

If you have someone in your life that you trust and is helping you, more power to you. Maybe I have just been too burned to be that trusting ever again - and here I am planning a wedding and I know I have found the love of my life and yet still I am so cynical... so again I apologize if this rubbed anyone the wrong way. Maybe I just have a bit of a journey still to go on surrendering to the love that I have in my life right now. Or maybe its just PMS. \:\) (ok I couldnt resist that poke at myself!)

PAS


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#67879 - 10/08/03 11:26 PM Re: Best friends and Girlfriends
Freedom Offline
Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 164
Loc: US
All - This is an excellent thread that puts into words so many things.

Wrangler - you are in good place if you are ready to hear it. The rest will come in time. If done right, life is a never-ending process.

PAS - Best wishes to you. You have what it takes to make it through it all.

All - Thank you for sharing.

_________________________
Life is moving on. AM I?

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#67880 - 10/09/03 07:32 PM Re: Best friends and Girlfriends
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
PAS

Quote:
- I still haven't got this all figured out - I just kind of muddle through each day the best I can and go on from there the next day the best that I can..."
If that's muddling through, I've got some catching up to do.

This is one terrific topic.

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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#67881 - 10/09/03 07:50 PM Re: Best friends and Girlfriends
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
I think that as 'victims' we tend to view othwer people in very black and white way.
They're either with us or against us, and there's no grey areas.

As a survivor I believe I've opened the whole spectrum up - wide open.
When I meet people now I have NO expectations ( or at least this is how I try very hard to be ) and that way I I'm not fighting old stereotypes and inhibitions.

I still end up disliking people, but at least I believe I gave them a chance.

If I go into a 'relationship' with someone ( not a special, loving one - I'm married ) now I find I concentrate more on how that person actually is, how they respond to me, and think generally more about that person than myself.
Before I was too busy keeping my 'persona' in place and worrying about the impression I was making on the other person. Now I don't give a .....

And I really don't anymore, if someone takes a dislike to me - so what ?
And if someone takes a negative view of me because of my abuse - then I'm gone !!
I don't want to be around people who put up a front, and I don't need my 'old front' anymore.

The old cliche says that "strangers are friend you haven't met" and there's a lot of truth in that.

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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#67882 - 10/09/03 09:14 PM Re: Best friends and Girlfriends
wrangler Offline
Member

Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 84
Loc: Northern Virginia
Quote:
I was too busy keeping my 'persona' in place and worrying about the impression I was making on the other person.
So true it is creepy. It is so hard to let my gaurd down. It is so hard to let people see the real me. It hurts so much less when they dislike the persona. But if doesn't feel like anything when they like the persona.

I find my expectaions of people, and relationships, to be quite absurd when I put them into words. My expectations of myself are not far behind.

And when I am lonely, I really do believe, if only I had a girlfriend and a best friend...

But I had a wife and it didn't help. When will I learn how to make my own happiness and stop asking others to make it for me? I suppose I already am, but it is *so* slow.

_________________________
"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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#67883 - 10/09/03 11:38 PM Re: Best friends and Girlfriends
Freedom Offline
Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 164
Loc: US
Guys,

This is terrific.

Lloydy - you are high class all the way, as always.

Wrangler - I think, based on what you write, you have more going for you than you realize.

My life began to make sense recently, when I began to bo thankful for the little things that have been good in every encounter. Having no expectations but being on the lookaout for good morsels helps. And returning them in kind is also uplifting.

i hope this thread continues. It is great.

_________________________
Life is moving on. AM I?

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