Thursday, January 26, 2012

Long-term friendships.

I was talking to a chick I met when I was fifteen yesterday.  She's one of my closer friends.  We met while we were each hot for the same guy.  She initiated the conversation yesterday because she wanted to tell me the results of some personality test thing she did in a grad school class.  It ranked her best attribute as the ability to *be* loved and to inspire love.  It was kind of funny to explain to her that it really is a skill and one I am singularly bad at.  When people love me I tend to be quite hard on them and not permit them to love me.  I will hold up your faults to a mirror as often as I can and tell you, "Can you really love me while doing _________."  The results are mixed.  I expect people to put a lot of thought and energy into making sure their words match up with their actions.  So I'm pretty hard to love.  I'm effort.  And not an especially fun kind.

I told her that she is easy to love.  We still know each other because she is easy to love.  Not because I am so worth loving.  She is blessed with a thick skin, short memory, and the rock solid belief that people only say harsh self-improvement things with the best of intentions.  Yeah, we can stay friends.  Because you believe that when I point out bad things I'm doing it because I love you.

Yesterday I was talking to her about a different conflict in my life.  One I've written about.  One I very carefully write about.  I was telling her a different side to the story.  Being the girl she is her response was, "Whoa.  That's a much bigger thing to feel ________ about than everything you have written.  The fact that this is going on makes me think this is the real issue.  And the fact that you won't write about it... that's big.  Yeah, this is probably the real crux of the issue."  My jaw actually dropped.  I'm not completely sure she's right, but she's mostly right.  That was interesting for me to note for several reasons.  First and most importantly, holy shit she can play me.  I have deep respect for that in my friends.  That means they have paid attention.

I have had several big issues with my "chosen family" in the past year and a while.  I found the breaking point.  I have an increasingly interesting thought process around the things I used to put up with and things I am willing to model putting up with in front of my kids.  I'm having a hard time with those differences.  I don't want my kids growing up with the idea that its ok to use me, everyone else does.  I'm not a fan of being the one who does all the work for a bunch of semi-grateful people.  I don't get off on that.  I get nothing but exhaustion and anger that no one fucking helped.  Again.  But I want to see people.  Apparently if you want to see people it requires doing a lot of work.  Fuck that.  I'd rather not see people.  Attempting to put my foot down on this issue is not going well.

Most of my best friends are hoarders who need people to sit around and tell them how awesome they are.  I could go down a list.  It's actually pretty funny.  If someone is not a hoarder who wants me to come clean their house for them we probably won't build a friendship.  What can our friendship be based on if not my work?  Or there are the guys I fuck.  I have one or two fierce women friends I pretty much exclusively talk to online and I don't clean for them.  But I don't see them either.  Maybe once a year.

If people are hoarders who need me to clean up after them I have a pattern for that.  I have a whole broken dynamic I picked up in my family of origin around this issue and I moved it forward.  It's interesting to think about.  I'm not sure if I'm an enabler or what if I come over and force them to get rid of a bunch of shit so it can't be as big of a mess for a while.  My organization systems usually last at least months if not years.  They just put new shit around what I organize.  It's hilarious to watch.

All of them remind me of my family.  If I speak of the hoarders as a collective I can come up with: charming, manipulative, lying, alcoholism, drug addiction, severe avoidance issues, agoraphobia, racist, sexist, cheating, everything is always someone else's fault.

Once we had some former students over (that's actually happened a bunch--they are great people) and we were all drunk and Noah got a bit overly intense when he was explaining to one of them how she was helping to create abusive relationships over and over.  He was outlining how her behavior correlated with stuff that is known to be a problem.  She was visibly uncomfortable and I made him stop.  But I do that.  I'm ridiculously codependent.  I don't have the energy to care for more people and I have no desire to do so in the first place, but I really wish I had people in my life.  I only seem to make friends with people who want me to do a lot of work for them.  I am having a hard time changing this pattern.  And in the process I seem to have to put some dynamite in my chosen family and find out if anyone is still around in a few years.

So far it looks like unless I call and make invitations I won't see some of them.  I'm sad but not surprised.  That is the pattern.  Others have changed the dynamic.  We are trying to find a balance.  I need support and have none to give.  They are trying to work with me.  It's hard to accept help.  It's very uncomfortable.  Times up.  Gotta go start kid time.

D-- don't you admire how I still avoided that one issue?


  1. Hm, was that the same issue I pointed out?

  2. Well, I like the idea of becoming your friend, but I'd feel bad about you cleaning my house! ;-) Though it badly needs it.