|“True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island… to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.” – Baltasar Gracian|
I came to a point in my life where I started to take a real look at where my life was going. One of the things I started doing was that I began taking a mental inventory of how I felt when I was around certain people in my life.
I believed that I needed to keep people in my life simply because we had been friends for many years. I told myself that if I didn’t maintain my friendship with them, then I was the bad person. I began taking inventory of their actions, their stories, their manipulations, their lies. And I came to the realization that I was ALLOWING these people to be in my life.
Another thing I came to understand was that I always felt needed by those “friends” because I could save them from the troubles in their lives. I felt good about myself when I was “helping”, even if I had to endure some verbal or emotional abuse along the way. I told myself “I am strong, I can handle it … it’s for a greater good … I’m a bad person if I abandon them, they have nobody else”. I was dis-empowering them to take control of their own lives, allowing the abuse to continue, making up stories that they would be alone without me, and “helping” felt good because I was playing the martyr. If I continued to focus on their lives, I didn’t have to take responsibility for my own life.
Well, finally, when I started to really take a look at my life, I saw the bullshit lies that I was feeding myself. One day, all those “little” abuses added up all at once. I had enough & decided to absolve the friendships.
When I first started absolving these toxic friendships, I felt angry & hurt. This eventually faded and it became easier to endure. Looking at how I felt, the grieving I endured, the physical & emotional symptoms I experienced; these friendships mimicked addiction.
The withdrawal symptoms resembled those of a drug addict kicking the habit. I was addicted to helping in a way that was unhealthy for everyone involved. My “helping” dis-empowered them and I dishonored myself by allowing myself to be used & abused under the illusion that I was “helping”. My self-worth was wrapped up in these toxic relationships. And I use the plural because I had established a pattern of helping others who I felt could not help themselves. This same sort of playbook happened multiple times throughout my life.
The death of my father and ending a toxic romantic relationship helped me realize that some of my friendships were also toxic. Sometimes a traumatic event or death is the nudge it takes for us to evaluate our own lives.
I learned soo much about myself & my addictions. I learned that I didn’t feel worthy & that I didn’t value myself.
My hope for you is that my words move you to take a good look at the relationships in your life & explore anything that doesn’t feel right for you. Look openly & pay attention to that feeling in your body that is trying to tell you something. Get curious. And remember denial is a beast. Creating excuses for someone’s behavior is one way that we deny. If you’re making excuses, it may be time to take a long hard look at YOUR TRUTH.
Do you feel any emotional pain from ANY of your relationships? Is there a tug in your gut, whispering to you that something isn’t right?