Who needs enemies?
An idiom that points out how some friends act more like enemies. Some family members are the worse thing that happen to a child. Growing up in unhealthy relationships, I didn’t know how to respond to healthy people.
Self care concepts continued, #9:
I struggle with making healthy relationship choices. I always go for people that I know are going to re traumatise me, even when there are “better choices” right in front of me. It’s like I can’t break that cycle.
Judy’s experience is at this link…. https://theprojectbyjudy.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/self-care-9-of-25/
I remember a couple of years ago talking to my sister, Judy, about my friend at work. I kept saying she was my friend and my sister kept telling me that I was kidding myself, she was not my friend. The woman left work and low and behold my evaluation went up, significantly. I didn’t realize this ‘friend’ blamed me for all her short comings and told my bosses if I would just ‘step-up’ she could do what they required of her. My evaluations regularly had something that would get a low mark, needs improvement. She left. Now all my scores at work are highest I can get with the comment, “Keep doing what you are doing.” I was so disappointed that I didn’t recognize when I was being blamed because it is what I was accustomed to having happen. I was devastated when after the ‘friend’ moved away she stopped all contact with me. Of course she did, she didn’t need me as a scapegoat any more. I didn’t see what was happening right in front of me. I worked so hard to stop lying to myself and recognizing abuse but I still missed what was right in front of me. I felt sad, for months. I wasn’t blaming the lady that was struggling to hang on to her job. I was sad because I still couldn’t see how I stepped into an unhealthy friendship.
Counseling caused a major shift in my thinking and expectations in life. One of the main things I was taught was rule #1 stop lying, especially to myself. The lie I told myself was this lady cared for me when reality she was using me. At some level I knew what was happening but I lied to myself saying I misunderstood when she would say some condescending hurtful remark. I would make excuses for her. I would justify, even if I lied to myself, the less than kind ways she treated me. I learned in counseling that I really did have a target on my back for users and abusers to take another shot at me. I made it easy for them because I was accustomed to being treated badly so I didn’t speak up and tell them to stop it. Choosing a healthy person for friendship feels odd, uncomfortable, slightly awkward, and sometimes I don’t know how to behave as a friend. I am determined to learn differently.
Other behaviors that lead to healthy relationships is knowing my rights as a human being. “I have the right to be respected” is on my list of things that I have the right to have happen in my life. It was an enlightening experience defining the rights I have as a human being. Recognizing I deserve to be treated with respect is slow and challenging long term project. I am learning from Brene Brown that I want to stay vulnerable but that vulnerability means I am still going to make mistakes picking friends. I am learning that there are people in my life that treat me as a friend. I look forward to seeing them and I cherish our time visiting and usually eating somewhere.
Healthy boundaries also improves relationships because I have a clearer understanding where I end and they begin. I have my life, they have theirs and we meet for lunch and share our challenges and successes. I feel blessed to have several people in my life that I feel represent the true meaning of friendship, building a win-win relationship.