Author Topic: Surprising stand on a friendship  (Read 167 times)

Hopalong

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Surprising stand on a friendship
« on: August 04, 2017, 12:51:42 PM »
Been wanting to tell y'all about this. Remember my frequent sorrowful posts about a dazzling Nish friend about whom I often felt so hurt? She would swamp me with affection and interest when she needed me, but just evaporate on actually making time for me? No maintenance of the friendship and very mixed messages all the time?

I felt chronically hurt, uneasy and confused. Over and over. Couldn't reconcile her attention with the confusion I'd feel in its wake. Triggered all sorts of stuff I couldn't get past. (We'd initially bonded very intensely over our Nmothers, felt sister-like, and played out a lot of my issues from early rejections from female peers.)

About a month ago, I got clarity. I had gotten more "Oh I want to get together!" messages from her, to which I'd responded two or three times: I work in your neighborhood and can come by most days, when's good for you? (No reply.) Later, in response to a different email (about landscaper question) -- I'd said, let me know when ftf works for you. (No reply.) And I suddenly stopped resisting what I knew. This is mostly a one-way attachment. She enjoys me mightily when the mood is right. But there's no there, there.

Another big thing that had been working in the back of my mind was Sea's brilliant observation that many Ns, or Nish people, are "high intensity, low commitment." That was such a powerful realization. And eventually I got to telling myself, I don't want to try to keep that kind of relationship going. The intensity is so attractive, but in this chapter of my life, reciprocity and the security of some mutual maintenance is more important to me.

And the other thing, that I've often missed in the years since learning about Nism, is that many children of Ns who are smart, educated and very able to discuss their own parents' Nism in a thrillingly astute fashion, can often become hidden-Ns themselves (even TO themselves). Not even their fault, but I realize that happened once earlier for me...learning more about Nism from a child-of-N who was actually manifesting Nstuff themselves, that I'd assumed from the amazing conversations that they could never of course possibly also have inherited the problem! Not their fault, not my fault. But a pitfall I need to be aware of.

So I had an occasion when she invited me over (book return) and chatted with her and her hubby (about their fabulous bday events) and then asked for a few minutes with her. It was very interesting--she instantly said "Are we getting a divorce?". I just told her how I felt about it all, that much as I loved her (and I did!) I had faced the truth that every time I thought about her I felt hurt/pain, and then I know she didn't need another person in her life expecting things from her, but that I really want to step out of that cycle and just seek out reciprocity in my relationships.

She cried and said something about, "I know, it's out-of-sight, out-of-mind." She knew. On some level. And I wasn't angry with her at all. We hugged. I said, consider it a separation, it's not divorce. But I haven't heard a word from her since and that's exactly what I expected to happen. She appeared devastated in the moment but I think she was honestly recognizing that she can't be a true friend...at least not to me. Not if I expect reciprocity. And it wasn't fair to me.

It was sad but on another level, one of the best decisions I've made in a long time. I actually spoke directly to someone who'd been hurting me and explained without blame or anger or unkindness that I wasn't going to participate in that dynamic any more. And she realized I meant it, and I have felt so much peace ever since. Relief, big relief.

I actually don't think about her often, but the key for me, is that whenever I do (say, when passing her street) I feel such a surprising sense of peace. I did the right thing for myself. And I am glad.

I hope the next time I'm drawn to an Nish personality...I remember this.

I truly am grateful for the years when we were so connected. But I do not regret one bit that I have ended it.

love
Hops
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 01:00:12 PM by Hopalong »
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

lighter

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Re: Surprising stand on a friendship
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2017, 10:47:58 AM »
Hops:

I'm glad you resolved that issue with compassion, sans judgements about you or the friend.  It's so difficult to do that, IME. 

Thank you for sharing it.

Lighter



 

Hopalong

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Re: Surprising stand on a friendship
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2017, 02:04:10 PM »
Thanks, Lighter. I was surprised.

I think what changed is I made a decision. Stopped being willing to feel perpetual hurt and did something to change it.

It felt like I took my power back. It was sad but I am convinced it was honest and right. I even said to her, mentioning all the background from my early years and so forth...I know if anyone could understand this, it's you! And she did.

hugs
Hops

"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Twoapenny

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Re: Surprising stand on a friendship
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2017, 04:32:23 AM »
Wow, Hops, that's amazing!  Amazing that you saw it, recognised it and were able to talk about it so calmly face to face - but also amazing that she recognises it and didn't try to blame you for it (which is what I was expecting as I read, I was cringing waiting for the details of what she said and how she blamed the whole situation on you).  Very empowering and nice that you've been able to leave the door open so that if she does find a way to change a little and wants to drop in for a coffee I guess you'd be alright with it?  What an amazing story.

Your description of 'high intensity, low commitment' relationships (or I should probably say Sea's description!) rang a bell for me and I hadn't really realised that before.  I've had some very close friendships where we've bonded over our troubled upbringings and it is such a huge relief - and joy, in some ways - to be able to discuss things with people who really get it.  But, as you say, very intense and then nothing once you've no longer served your purpose.  I remember reading something about friendships once, something about only having one topic of conversation with a particular friend.  And I had a friend at the time who had a mum similar to mine and that was usually what we talked about when we got together.  So I experimented and tried to steer the conversation to other things every time mums came up - almost impossible to do.  Does make you think.

Your description of 'mutual maintenance' is spot on.  I am finding I appreciate my lower level friendships much more than my high octane ones, although I used to find the former boring.  But I enjoy the catch ups every few weeks and getting together when we can, rather than the 'full on one minute, not interested the next'.  It's nice to have that level of security, I think.  So I'm really glad you were able to address this situation and come out of it so well, and still with the option of being in contact at some point in the future if something were to change.  That was nice to read :) xx

sea storm

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Re: Surprising stand on a friendship
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2017, 06:35:28 PM »
Don't take scraps, Hops.  You deserve so much better. Scraps givers are a waste of time.

Please remind me of this if you catch me taking scraps.

Love Ya
Sea

sunblue

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Re: Surprising stand on a friendship
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2017, 03:12:51 PM »
Wow Hopalong.  Thanks so much for sharing.  You shared an experience that I think many of us have had.  I think part of it is that as recipients of NPD in our lives, we tend to be empaths.  We're always there for everyone else when they need us....we're great listeners, advice givers, friends for life people.  But too often, it is never ever reciprocated.  It could be that these so-called "friends" are Ns themselves.....it could just be that they rate high on the selfishness scale.  But I so applaud you for the way you handled it.  That took real courage and I'm so glad you stood by your beliefs and standards that you deserved better.  You are right of course.  It's no surprise she never contacted you.  These people, I truly believe, are simply not capable of friendship.  They don't know what it is and are too selfish to want to try to understand, let alone reciprocate.

I have recently had a similar situation.  A woman that I met through work several years ago always depended on me.  She is an incredibly needy person which I understand.  I stayed away from her for several years after an episode in which she invited me and another colleague for a labor day event to her home (about 1.5 hours away).  Upon arrival, she got drunk (she is definitely an alcoholic), told us she would join us at the community event we were attending, but never showed up and indeed locked us out of her home where our belongings were.

We reconnected about a year ago and I proceeded to do what I usually do-----listen, advise, be there at all hours of the day and night when she needed someone to talk to.  I did a bunch of pro bono work for her when she needed it.  I realized that she had endured abuse as a child and adult and tried to keep that in mind.....But recently, she did what your friend did.  She constantly asked me to call her to connect (which I did)...but she never responded.  Instead, via FB, I see she has now turned to other "friends" to fill whatever void she is needing.  She is at best a "fair-weather" friend who only contacts you when she needs you.  I believe she is incapable of having a true friendship or relationship of any kind.  So I stopped calling, stopped reaching out...Not surprisingly, it has been radio silence from her.  But I have no doubt sometime in the near future, she will contact me when she is desperately needing someone. 

So she is gone from my life.  But I also realized that despite years of a lot of effort, I don't have anyone who reciprocated.  You always hear that relationships should be a two-way street in order to be healthy....and they should.  But no one talks about what you do when adhering to those standards mean you are alone. 

In the end, I do think it's more healthy to let those kind of people go.  Whether they are Ns or just extremely self-centered and self-absorbed, you will gain no value from a relationship with them.

Thanks for sharing.  I think it's a good lesson to remember. 

Sunblue.

Hopalong

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Re: Surprising stand on a friendship
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2017, 10:25:43 AM »
Quote
You always hear that relationships should be a two-way street in order to be healthy....and they should.  But no one talks about what you do when adhering to those standards mean you are alone. 

I hear you, Sun. This is very poignant and painful.

I think there's a tussle between rigidity and faith, in a way. Sometimes I develop a rigid standard that will "prove" me right or wrong, worthy or unworthy, successful or "un." I wonder if some children of Ns try to develop kind of rigid expectations about others' behavior, since what was modeled was so confusing. Because at least if the RULES are made clear, one could learn those and then be okay!

But being alone isn't good for us. Not as a species, as beings, as people. We all do vary in how much we need to thrive....but we all ARE social animals. Even Thoreau, at Walden, walked into the village regularly to mail manuscripts or for supplies, and was warmly greeted by the postmaster and others. He was no hermit. And he attended church for a time, and received visitors. He valued simplicity and solitude but wasn't defined by them.

I retreat into judging...and I did feel judgmental of this friend until I finally released us both with my decision. I retreat into judging when I'm really really hurt. And when I really don't understand.

I hope that I can take that same desire to connect, befriend and be befriended--and put it into positive group behavior. Volunteering, dragging myself to church even when I don't feel like going, even political action.  All of that is about my life as a member of a community, pitching in and being part of it.

Like training my default mode, which has been so isolated in ways, into being "I am part of this community, so sitting in a group or walking or helping within a group....." -- instincts so unlike my isolating impulse -- begin to feel more natural.

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."