Looking back on my history of friendships and relationships, there are some that were pretty screwed up. For some reason, I played the role of a spineless turd. I have no idea how I got myself into these situations. Maybe it was because it was a phase in my life where I was desperate for friendship and I didn’t care who with, as long as it was with a breathing person. Sometimes I wonder if I had a sign on my forehead that said, “Put thumbprint here. Push down as hard as you can.” Maybe they had their own insecurities and they saw a passive sidekick in me. Who knows.
It’s just weird though, because anybody who knows the real, whole me, knows that I DO NOT like being told what to do. I hate feeling manipulated and pushed around. Who doesn’t, really. I have my own ideas and I like control of most situations. I know I’m intelligent and strong but for some reason, these relationships left me second guessing myself.
I’ve just been wondering lately how I got myself into these situations. I really want to figure it out so I don’t make this grave mistake again. Maybe it’s because I tend to be non-verbal in heated conversations. Maybe it’s because I avoid confrontation at all costs. Some people are for-fun-debaters or confrontational by nature. There’s nothing wrong with that, I just shy away from it. If people are having a friendly debate and voices get raised all the alarms go off in my head and my adrenaline starts pumping. Oh my gosh, they’re fighting! Where can I run and hide? In the fight/flight, my go-to is almost always flight.
I’m not really sure why I’m like this; I just am. And when I’m around a friend who is opposite, I can only hide for so long. It just takes up so much energy to be in these kinds of friendships and then even more to figure out how to gracefully bow out of it.
And believe me, most of the time, my exits were not pretty.
Thankfully, not all my friendships are like this. I have had, and still have, some that are amazing. In these we are equals. We are kindred spirits. They are iron sharpens iron situations. I’m grateful for my small circle of friends because it’s easy with them. We have fun, get along great, but hard times, on my end or theirs, don’t phase us.
Maybe, me sitting here, wondering why some friendships failed, isn’t worth my time. I just really really don’t want to get myself involved with anything like that again. I might be thinking of it because we are relatively new in our new town. We are meeting more and more people so we are building our network here. I’m happy with my small circle of friends that I already have but aren’t we supposed to get involved in the community we live in? How can I do that without building friendships? Maybe I just have to cultivate my vulnerability by taking the risk that some friendships may turn out toxic. If that happens, I can fall back on my posse and they will take care of me.
I might also be rolling this topic around because sometimes I see the boys getting into uneven friendships. I always thought both would take on more leadership roles in their social circles. This isn’t always the case. I am surprised when they follow into not so positive situations. I want to save them from eventual heartbreak, from imploding friendships or others that sadly fade away. I know it’s part of the “let them live and learn” parenting trick, but it’s so hard to watch. I wish there was something else to do rather than sit and wait for them to crumble onto the couch after a relationship has died.
Of course, I turn it back onto myself and play the blame game. Am I setting a bad example of how to be in a friendship? Is it in our genes to sometimes get trampled on? Did I pass that shit down to them? I want to put on a brave face for them and for myself, but I’m learning that a fake smile and blame aren’t the answers. Vulnerability is.
I’m not sure about any of this. Any suggestions? Yes, I’m asking for your opinion. I’ll try really hard to not take it as you telling me what to do. I may or may not put your suggestions into practice because, obviously, I’m sensitive about power plays. So much so, I have no brain indication of discerning the difference between helpful suggestions and someone making me feel like a wet paper towel. I need help, obviously.