Shadow Of Victory

Thursday, 30 July 2009

July 30th Is there a guide to friendship??

I wonder if there is a guide somewhere on how to make friends...and keep them and if so would it be any good to people. We cant work to a formula in the realm of friendships as we are all so different in our emotional make up and also in our life experiences.I think that's why friendships can be one of the more difficult areas in our lives and I am sure that you know many people who "don't speak " to one another for many and varied reasons.Unforgiveness and anger can destroy much of what is precious in our lives and when you come from a totally dysfunctional background the odds stacked against you are almost impossible to deal with.

I have a theory and if no-one in the arena of therapy or psychology has already coined the phrase maybe I can be famous for a new heading within the explanations of relationships.
The theory I have is called "the push /pull "of friendship....and I have over the years excelled at it,but be assured it isn't a healthy option and its one that has taken me decades to overcome. In the process I am more than confident that I have hurt some people and caused others some pain and perhaps I still engage in it subconsciously so if you recognise it and see me doing it ..please tell me...forgive me .....and help me to move on.

Growing up in the way I did with no healthy role models and no ability to learn from others I have had to make my own way in the minefields of building relationships. I am not going to go into the whole aspect of friendship within marriage as with Chris it is a different dynamic and altho some of the main characteristics of this theory have definitely evolved in our marriage I am going to focus more on woman-friends.

One thing I believe we all desire and need is acceptance and the freedom to be who we really are.For me....In the past I have entered into friendships with women with the belief that no-one would accept me as I really was and so straight away the foundation wouldn't have been built on honesty and truth.I used to "pull " people towards me by being extra friendly...extra caring...extra interested in their lives...extra available....all designed to influence women to like me but also to need me . For me with my warped thinking being needed was in itself of more value than being accepted ...so if there was a child that needed babysitting...I was the person...if there was a chore that needed doing...I would volunteer ...perhaps you get my drift.Once I was needed and relied on for various reasons I would then be unable to fulfil all that I had promised so then began the "push " part of this confusing equation.I would begin to "push" people away as I would be unable to meet the expectation I had given .

Then would begin the cycle that we can all get caught up in...lets see if you can follow me through the confusion ...I would make a commitment then not want to fulfil it...the person would be upset with me and make some remark...I would then feel hurt by what they said and withdraw ..thus confirming that they didn't really love me. Keep following..... Then as I withdrew the other person in this equation would then also back off as they would think I was unreliable or even that I wasn't the friend they thought I was in the first place and this of course would again confirm that I was unlovable or acceptable .I have oversimplified this theory but perhaps you get the message...pulling people towards me and then pushing them away is all too often the story of many adults who have had the kind of dysfunctional childhood I had.Of course it is also often the case that the relationship is made even more painful if it is with someone who is also not functioning with good foundations...and this has happened to me several times as often those who are damaged enter into relationships with others who are damaged in similar ways.

If this happens then you get both halves of the equation engaging in the same "game" and damage to both sides is inevitable. I have had to enter into some very painful discussions with a couple of friends over recent years as I have begun to unravel the consequences of some of my actions within friendships.I am endeavouring to be as honest with friends now as I am able in the hope that what you see is what you get...or perhaps I should say ..what you see is who I am.I have been on a journey this last 3-4 years ..one of discovery into who I am ..how I got to be me and what it means to be me.Writing this blog is a way of me being able to continue the journey and continue to discover things about myself and about friendships. I think I have written somewhere in previous entries that I actually like myself and that I am quite a nice person.!! This may be a seemingly simple thing to say but believe me when I say that writing that last sentence would never have been possible a few years ago and it is a major step that will propel me into the future . Having had no self validation for 50 plus years and having to process this has been no mean feat and I thank God he has opened my eyes to see who I really am.

For many years I would search for as many friends as I could...almost a desperation to fill all the empty voids in my heart and soul and would fill my days and evenings with "doing stuff". Ask any of the folk who knew me 15-20 years ago and their impression of me would be that I had loads of friends ...I think "gregarious" is a word that could have been used to describe me.In reality I had lots of
" acquaintances " but hardly any friends and acquaintances can be kept at arms length which is where the push /pull usually kept them. The sad part of all this was that I deeply yearned for more...for depth and honesty and for friends who would love me ...whatever. I began to give more of myself to a small number of women friends and those of you who know the "lady in the pink hat " will understand me when I say that friends with this kind of heart and soul are few and far between. I have two other women friends who were knitted into my spirit over many years and altho neither of them live near me any more we continue to enjoy an honest and open friendship from afar and know they love and accept me as I am.I am indebted to several friends over the years who have been instrumental in bringing truth and healing into my life and who I still count as buddies even if we don't spend much time together.I am also blessed by the "new" friends who are beginning to enter into my life and I am hoping that they develop into strong and healthy friendships as time goes by..

I began this entry with the question.....is there a guide to friendships....I know the bible has much to say about relationships and I have learned much from Gods leading and loving.I am still wearing the L plates of friendship and still making mistakes but I am loving more than ever the joy of knowing the women in my life...having fun together...doing life together...spending time with one another...sharing families ...troubles....celebrations...and my prayer for you all is that you will have good friends to walk with you along life's journey.

3 comments:

Geri said...

I have often wished that there was a manual for friendships, but like you I have come up empty. When we first moved here I tried all sorts of things, and unfortunately none of them involved being myself, and I think some people were unpleasantly surprised when they finally got to know the real me. I've only got as far as being able to say 'I'm not a bad person', but in those days I would have struggled to even say that about myseld, hence all the masks. I'm trying to live without the masks these days - a lot harder than it sounds, especially when you've spent so much of your life hiding behind them. Being myself is not always the easiest thing for me to do, but I am a better self these days than I used to be.
Geri xx

sandra said...

A manual for friendships what a superb idea...however we would still probably not read it!!

I can identify with the push/pull theory (although I'm a bit push/withdraw into my cave person myself!!)

For me it seems to be about honesty, vulnerability and expectations...would love to discuss this one with you in more detail over a coffee or two!
For now though I know that God is helping me deal with this by putting great people around me who I can call upon to help me process my failures.

Thanks again Irene for provoking and thoughtful writing
xx

Ruthie said...

Thank you for your honesty lovely lady! You help me to identify with so many things...and also to see where I've grown too. I'm at the point now where I am truly like me and am discovering what I really like in the light of positivity.

Keep writing and sharing as God leads you. Looking forward to time together on Monday :0) xx