@garlicmustardweed I'm impressed, I'm never able to officially break up with friends, just let relationships die out. But I am trying to do more behavior that says "no, I am valuable too, and if you don't accept that then X can't happen." (I tend to let myself get run over a lot.)
It's never my relationship I see reflected in these kinds of stories, but my friendships. My marriage has its own issues, but with friends I do seem drawn to people who aren't fully on board with ME and then hate myself every time they draw back or walk away, over and over. The worst thing is with friends it's rarely severe enough to initiate the dreaded Friend Breakup, so instead of dumping them like I would a lover I just die by a thousand cuts, over and over, and each one convinces me more that I deserved it.
THIS YEAR I resolved to only give my energy to people who give it back. It's really hard and I've backslid a lot in my actions, but I've had my heart in the right place and am seeing people clearly for the first time. And you know, I'm even able to be generous and sympathetic towards some of the people whose behavior has been the worst and most frustrating, because I decided it wasn't about me.
Also, for the chronic back pain guy -- pot. Saved my friend's morphine-addicted husband's life.
@garlicmustardweed thank you so much, I really appreciate hearing that.
@lizziebell fortunately I have been anon on the internet for many years and have a pseud email account I don't mind giving out! Drop me a line at skepticgirl (at) yahoo with your contact info and I'll get back to you from my real account, because yes, I have found talking to someone with a difficult mother is very helpful.
@BeenThereDoneThat Oh, she's done therapy (and has half a master's in psych herself). Her last therapist fired her for mentioning suicidal thoughts and then not answering her phone, and she hasn't gone back since. Before she was disabled, she was a psychiatric nurse, and a psychiatrist friend just writes her scripts for anti-anxiety meds now.
@amockingbird I try to pick my battles on boundaries, but literally everything is just her trying to force this, yes, codependent relationship, and hanging up on her just led to many long calls about our communication and relationship. It's frankly less time-consuming at this point to just let her have her way, if we're going to have any relationship at all (I have an infant and a chronic illness and I just don't have the energy to fight!)
@garlicmustardweed thanks, would you believe I spent 5 years in therapy mostly talking about my mom? Therapy helped stop me from moving home and trying to save her from her toxic relationship/hoarder house/everything else she complained, but setting boundaries is still so tough, especially now that I've, sigh, moved back home. She's been oversharing her personal life with me since I was 8 or so (when she went into Freudian analysis after the divorce), so it's been 25 long years of wearily fending her off. I actually tried to end this last conversation when it got inappropriate, and she kept saying "just let me finish! I just need to get this out!" which is why it was so hilarious it happened instantly after making this comment.
@sophiah I just got off the phone from getting her grocery list. The conversation devolved into a discussion of why my father cheated on her so much, why her father doesn't respect her, and why my husband is so great. My point, you see it.
I'm a sharp knife, and I'm lucky to have a partner who is mostly willing to listen, and I also make it work by having a variety of sharp knife friends (mainly online) to talk to too. I don't make my husband do all the heavy lifting, but I'd be lost if he wasn't willing to do most of it.
However, I have a sharp knife mother who's burned through every friend and every romantic partner (largely because she keeps picking cold, unemotional and unavailable men), and now I'm basically it. She lives alone and is disabled and so our phone calls become these marathon things, and some of what she Needs Me to Hear is disturbing stuff about her screwed up childhood or relationships, and some of it is long boring stories about her cats, and I just don't know how to lighten the load. I have a younger sister I keep telling her to talk to more, partly because I'm worn out and partly because in a delicious piece of irony my sister is always complaining Mom never tells her anything, but I just can't seem to shake being that person for her. And the more I put her off, the more desperately she Needs to Talk and it all falls on -- me.
I don't really know what the solution to this is, since I can't really say "sorry you burned out all your friends and keep picking shitty boyfriends, Mom," but at least now I have a framework for thinking about this, I guess.
@Robert Cat@facebook I had two miscarriages, and thought a lot of them. The last thing this woman needs is a strange man telling her to get an abortion.