Friendship


This is an email that I recently received…please read and respond! Thanks.

I am dealing or am confronted on a daily basis with loss, rejection and failure in relationships. My friendships seem to be a legacy of failures….I have set extreme boundaries because I cannot deal with the conflicts that arise that end up being about personal power. I know I get myself into these situations and I’m doing my best to get out. Yet, it’s like being stuck at the bottom of a deep well treading water. I get purchase to climb. The rocks become slippery and the climb daunting. My foothold slip, and I’ve been too aggressive and confident with my hand holds, yet they aren’t as strong – My footholds need to be more solid.

The only person who has stood by me – albeit not always in a healthy way  is my boyfriend on and off of 10 years. He’s finally clued in that he can learn how to communicate differently as well.

From conflicts to now, trying to accept what my diagnosis is (I’ve accepted it privately – I’m quite paranoid of the stigma in a broader social context) seeing the ramifications of the failed relationships, I have reached out to resolve some of the past conflicts.

I am feeling horrible. One of the things that I cannot deal with in my own behaviour is my inability to stop back stabbing people after they have said or done something that has triggered me. Which HAPPENS ALL The time. I cannot control other’s behaviours (I know this yet I just fall into being the victim) and I do not know how to control myself. When I”m triggered, I HAVE to talk about it to the point of compulsion. I’m working on it…in very small ways. In group DBT, they told me I couldn’t talk for the first 15 mins of each session. I started to see what was happening in my body and what was going on with me. Oh, I saw what was going on. A complete and utter physical response to me trying to hold back saying anything. WOW…incredible. HOLY CRAP! A VERY good learning tool.

In the past, I had a friend that was a sounding board and vice versa. She seemed to relish in my misery, actually. I could only be happy in a way that she could relate – or I’d be invalidated. This made me very scared of what would come out of her mouth – my life and identity seemed to depend on her validation. This IS VERY similar to my relationship I had with my aunt. My aunt was exactly the same. As long as I behaved the way she liked, it was all good.

Yet, this got to be so unhealthy because she would assume that what ever negative thing she would say I would agree with – totally co dependant thought process. I was tired of being told how to think or it being assumed that I thought the same. You know those mean girls that are supposedly popular in the high school shows and movies? It’s kind of like that. I really dislike it. I dumped on her so that I didn’t feel so alone and isolated in my own troubles. I wanted, NEEDED someone on my side. Then, I could deal with the world, or so I thought. Yet, things got out of hand and still get out of hand. Her behaviour got abusive towards me and my daughter. She would say the most horrible things about EVERYONE and if I crossed her to tell her I didn’t like what she was saying or say that I didn’t think so, I was very afraid at what the consequences were. It’s still the same. I’ve gone on this rollercoaster in our friendship, where we’ve had screaming fights, silence, sometimes for months, and then conversation, no resolution – the ILLUSION of a resolution and it starts all over. This winter, I really tried. I’ve also wondered if she shows that mean side to other people? Or does she just show it to me?  I also wonder – is this something I’m bringing out in her because of my dark side? I want to bring out the light in myself and people. The dark? I have to make friends with my own first….

I have also spent time in the outdoors with this friend having some great times skiing, biking, hiking, etc. So, there have been positive experiences – the behaviour still comes up, though and it’s time to put it to bed.

Now, the only thing I can think of is to use as a mediator – my coach or someone to resolve the friendship. I have put it out there in another email – well written and respectful again… I know in group they say you’re supposed to end HOPELESS RELATIONSHIPS…well – when do people stick around? JESUS!!! And – when do you know it’s hopeless for sure?

I have to keep myself separate from others – groups of people – to cope with my paranoia..and to make healthier life choices. I just want to fit in – yet, drinking, smoking pot going to the bar all the time, etc etc is just not something I can do or WANT to do – MOST of the people my age are doing that still.

Yet, I truly want to be connected with people and reach out. I just don’t trust myself in the aftermath. I give my power away. I idealize others as if they have something I don’t and I want them to give it to me so that I have what they have.

The results are – I get a WHOLE lot more of what I don’t want and then, again – I’m treading water cuz…well that well water is contaminated with junk that people dump on me – either material or emotional. I get so angry and become extreme – like not talk to the person (isolation and judgement), yell or get hurt because they avoid me like I have a disease (rejection and failure). When does this stop? I do try to communicate effectively.

All of this is about taking things personally. It’s my target behaviour to manage. Also, every time I promise myself – okay in this friendship, it will be different…and then…? Same result.

What can i do to resolve this? Living in a small town makes me vulnerable all the time. There are masks that I have worn, and I know what my process is. It is so hard not to feel judged and rejected. and the masks are burned off, so to speak..

Yet I have such a deep propensity for this behaviour. It is ingrained in my entire family everyone constantly criticized back stabbed put each other down…incessantly behind other’s backs. LIKE TO a NEW Level of negativity. I feel so trapped by my own resistance to turning things positive. IT’s suffocating. Turning things positive? Some how THAT hurts too.

In the meantime, I’m destroying relationships, or I’m choosing relationships that are destructive and unhealthy for me because I’m using backwards skills AND convinced it will be different this time.

I still resent that I learned all this shitty behaviour from my family. My mom’s solution to every one of my friendship battles is to ditch them like a sack of hammers. My whole life she’s told me that. Unbelievable. When does it stop? where is the nurturing of GOODness in relationships?

Does anyone out there have any advice or experience to share that is similar to mine? What steps did you take to create healthier relationships, instead of making the same ones over and over…. Also, WHAT the heck can I do about this friend that I mentioned earlier. The latest thing I did was put the ball back in her court to say – hey what do you suggest is the solution? That’s about all i can think of.

Thanks for being here…thanks for being out there. I look forward to your responses.

-Anon.

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11 Responses

  1. it’s so nuts how all of us borderlines have the exact same story…never ending pain, messed up relationships. from my experiences, people cannot even be trusted. ive been screwed over by everyone, my entire life…so called best friends that sleep with your boyfriends, fathers that sleep with you…how are we ever supposed to trust anyone? i dont think we’re supposed to. until you find that ONE person, and yes i believe it’s only one person. I’ve met mine, thank god, but within the last year ive been with him, is when i really started developing this disorder. and you know what, i think its fate hes here with me for it. Although he is usually the problem, i think in black & white so hes either all bad or all good, and in my mind…its usually all bad. even though i know hes the most amazing person, even though i know im nothing without him. I continue to hurt him and push him away…he tries to understand, but you know nobody can unless they are a BPD. about your friend, sounds like shes got some issues of her own too. i see friends like that all the time, the ones that are good for hanging out with, keeping yourself busy…but not good for trusting and putting all of yourself into their friendship.

  2. I don’t think I have any borderline or disorders or illness, but I suffer a lot of those same friendship problems.. I think lots of people do, no matter how good their mental state is.?

    My family and old friends are 2000 miles away, and we’ve only lived in Fl for a few years, and being an intravert personality and quite shy in reall life, I haven’t made really any good friends here yet.. But for me being older and having gone through probably many more cycles of the friendship problems you describe, I’ve basically accepted that it’s probably pretty pointless for me to keep trying any longer..? But I’m not really depressed, disapointed or sad, I just have after many years realized it was too much stress and worry doing this over and over and over..

    Right now I’m fine with basically having my wife, and my dog in my day, and a few online people I’m sorta friends with, but no real deep friends..?I’ve also found that even on the Internet when I’ve started feeling close to someone, I always find a way to mess things up, so it’s just better and less pain and worry if I only let myself get so close to people, for me it just works out better and causes me less pain and sorry than all the years of banging my head against the wall and being so frustrated, stressed and disapointed…
    Certainly I do not give that advice toyou, as you seem much more understanding of your own feelings and thoughts, and you will most likely figure things out and be able to change and fullfill your desire for good long lasting friendships…

    Best wishes and blessing to you.
    Mark

  3. Damn, I know that people have the same “illness” that I have, but I have never ever heard anyone describe exactly my situation with friendships and family before. But mine centers around guilt, not paranoia. I feel guilty if I dont do this, or I dont do that, or if I do this for this person, and not for that person. I have spent my whole life tyring to please people. ALL the people I know. And some I dont. In the end I end up loosing some of my friends, cause I cant please them anymore. Or I choose one person over the other, but it is always a mistake. I just told myself that I didnt need any friends. I had enought in my life to keep my occuipied. I didnt need to go out, to be in public with people.
    I have had a friend..lets call her “Martha” for about 15 yrs. We have had a lot of ups and downs. Been through a lot together. We barely talk. We have had two long periods where we didn’t talk at all. One was over 2 yrs. One was just 1 yr. She has done bad things to me, I have done bad things to her. We have both slept with each others respected boyfriends. Both of us have completely changed..Some for the better. But when we are together she still expects me to give her my all..when I cant anymore. And when I don’t accommodate my life to hers, then I am being irrational, and my illness gets thrown in my face. I get bombarded with words telling me how much of an unfeeling shrew I am. I don’t make any limitations on ANYTHING. .I do what ever people need of me. TO MY OWN Detriment.

    I cant tell you what to do..but your mother might be right about one thing..I was told once that if you kept trying to make a round peg fit into a square hole you would just end up going crazy. Maybe she is not the right fit for a close friend. Only a social one. I know that I have done that with most of mine..Just cut them off at the knees so to speak.

    I try to give no one any more power than they deserve in my life. Now if I could just cut my mother off, I would be okay.

  4. I believe in life there are too many to encounter on a daily basis, it is good to always look at the positive side of life and i totally understand that it is easy to be said than done.

    Press on is the key to keep going on in life. Remember that you do not need to be “an eye for an eye” even if someone did something bad to you, forgive and forget will make you life easier then ever.

    Try to think positive on what people is translating to you and understand where they are coming from.

    A few years back, i was like you, thinking that the whole world is seems to against me and my idea but i learn to take thing step by step and word by word.

    Patient to listen and absorb word by word. Look at the positive side. If someone says something bad, make yourself understand where that person is coming from, if it’s from a good intention, why not accept it and make some positive action to improve the friendship between you and that person. It’s better instant.

    I hope and wish all the best in your future to improve your relationship and friendship.

    Si Liao

    • Hey – thanks for that. I’m looking for hope, and not to give up. It’s really hard, because I can feel her pain, and think it’s mine. It’s like I have this open wound that is WIDE open around my belly. I can feel other people’s stuff and convince myself it mine. Then, I can relate to them.

      So, in the end, I know I can turn the situation around with everyone. AND you are wise about things.
      My problem is, that I take personally what the energy is, thinking that I am sending out this vibe. I’m getting better about changing the subject rather than following down some garden path. AND also saying NO to myself about compulsive complaining. THAT really helps.
      YAY.
      I look forward to your comments in the future!!

      • One more thing… – I have a really hard time understanding where that other person is coming from..cuz I’m trying to protect myself or something. So, perhaps its disassociation, cuz I’m in denial about the fact that what someone else is saying is actually….about the pain they are feeling.
        So, I find it really hard to cope with unless I am at peace.
        tuning into it is good.
        Yet…sometimes, it’s impossible. That’s okayI know it’s a part of the process.

  5. Hi Lauren

    Yup, had the same experiences, especially with my best mate…i don’t see him any more, cause i realised it was HIS behaviour that constantly triggered me and made me feel bad, and i needed to trust my own judgment rather than quote… ‘ I know in group they say you’re supposed to end HOPELESS RELATIONSHIPS…well – when do people stick around? JESUS!!! And – when do you know it’s hopeless for sure? That i found comes with recovery, learning to trust your own gut instinct..

    It’s all about the relashionship you have with yourself, learning to trust yourself, forgive yourself, be kind to yourself and more compassionate, instead of looking for relashionships with others to fulfill that part of you that seems to be missing…

    Truth is, it’s not missing at all. It is you being you, and you maybe need some help accepting and loving who you are..by feeling the pain and making friends with it…

    I could rattle on, and i guess you know the theory of it, it’s just putting it in to practice, and moving forward positivley, not beating yourself up everytime you get a negative feeling about either yourself or someone else..

    make friends with your enemies and your enemies become your friends…

    The things you don’t like about others, are merely reflections of that you don’t like about yourself…

    You do a great job here online, and guess you’ve built some relashionships on here. You have a loving boyfriend too, so hey, go easy on yourself, you are loved and thats because ‘your worth it’ lol…

    Be kind to Lauren…Dx

    • Thanks 🙂

      This was actually not written by me, it was emailed to me by someone who wanted me to post it so she could get feedback.

    • Hey – Just so you know, Lauren is posting something for ME…Thanks, Lauren.
      I appreciate what you’re saying. YOu can give me more details, especially the process in which discovery was a part of that AND also about the insights into forgiveness of self. I don’t have that all the time.
      Sometimes, I Have no idea where to begin, which is why I started writing and asking for it to be submitted to a POSITIVE blog and AN EMPOWERING Blog. I need answers and guidance. The WONDERFUL thing about BPD’s are they are VERY VERY WISE once started and accepting recovery the compassion is enormous. I can feel that very clearly.

  6. I have a hard time with relationships, too. I don’t think I’m BPD, but I tend to think in black and white quite a bit, as someone said above. I have the hardest time making and keeping friends. I’m the kind of friend/girlfriend who gives and gives and gives, all the while potentially getting screwed. I’ve just learned, over time, how to gauge my friendly and romantic relationships and recognize when this is happening. Then I just move on, and foster the friendships and relationships that are healthy.

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