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CPTSD and Others => Our Relationships with Others => Friends => Topic started by: Blueberry on April 06, 2018, 09:16:38 PM

Title: Feeling a bit used
Post by: Blueberry on April 06, 2018, 09:16:38 PM
I have a friend with whom I have a lot of phone contact. But recently due to one thing and another we haven't had much contact. In fact apart from a couple of emails, no contact. This has been a relief quite frankly. No phone calls from her in the evenings.

I got back from my farm work 2 hours ago, tired because it's fairly strenuous work. Message on voice mail. "I've been doing well past few days but today I was really sad and now I've collapsed and I really wanted to hear your voice. Please phone back."

Considering last time we spoke she made quite clear right at the beginning that it was to be a short call because she couldn't handle much (understood: from me) but then was rather miffed when I ended the conversation because it was getting rather long due to what she was telling me, I'm feeling rather used! As if how she feels dictates whether or not she wants to phone me at all and how long we speak. It's OK for her to chat longer when it's doing her good but not for me to chat when I'm doing well and am bubbling up with my energy. That's too strenuous for her. But if and when it's too strenuous for me and I say so, she's disappointed putting it mildly and says this.  It all seems a bit unbalanced in terms of how much she is willing to listen and give compared to how much she expects from me.

Considering also that last time we actually tried to meet up, she was absolutely unwilling to meet in the middle between our two towns, she thought absolutely nothing of demanding we meet almost in her backyard. No willingness to compromise at all. Considering all that, yeah, I feel a bit used. Time to reconsider a few things, set some limits, nicely request a bit of a change or else we'll be continuing to have reduced contact.
Title: Re: Feeling a bit used
Post by: ToreyP on April 08, 2018, 10:10:35 AM
That's pretty unfortunate.  I would say you're right to look at setting some boundaries.  All too often I've found that "friends" are all too eager to dump on me, but when I'm in need, they can't make the effort.  Definitely worth re-evaluating this person as a priority in your life.
Title: Re: Feeling a bit used
Post by: California Dreaming on April 08, 2018, 11:30:20 AM
Hi Blueberry. I want to validate your feeling of being used. I don't know the history of your friendship, so I can only go off of what you have written in your post. Along my journey, I have worked on understanding the qualities of a friend. I had to discontinue a friendship of over 30 years when I realized that we share a different set of values. I outgrew the friendship so to speak. I have evolved and he has not. He simply is unable to support me. This was about 2 years ago. He has reached out to me twice, and I did not reach back. It was difficult, but my recovery is of the utmost importance.
Something that I have learned in recovery is that trauma survivors have a tendency to return to a "dry well." We go back to people who are unable to support us time and time again and get nothing. I don't think that anyone can understand why this is true of survivors, but it has helped me to know that I and other survivors keep returning to the dry well. I don't do this anymore. Once I recognize it, I move on. It can be a very painful process, but it has always been worth it to me.
I feel like your intuition about your friend is accurate. A significant imbalance has developed. It's like you two are on different wavelengths, and it is possible that you may not be able to get back on the same wavelength. The question that comes to mind is, "Can you two be on the same wavelength?"
Title: Re: Feeling a bit used
Post by: Dee on April 08, 2018, 02:44:39 PM

BB, have you thought about telling her how you feel?  Perhaps she doesn't recognize her own behavior.  If she does recognize it and is using you, then you will know that too.  At the very least she will know how you feel. 
Title: Re: Feeling a bit used
Post by: Blueberry on April 08, 2018, 06:28:28 PM
Dee, I have thought about it, just haven't done so yet. I have to really gear myself up to even mention this kind of thing to friends, or anybody else for that matter. Then discussing it is a different matter altogether. With this friend I actually have discussed some small (different) issues before and she can handle that. She doesn't then say anything like "you're too difficult, goodbye"

I do best with this kind of thing written rather than spoken, but I know how most people react when I write instead of using the 'normal' mode of talking. It's harder for someone to 'bulldoze' me and my concerns, feelings, opinions when we write and read. I feel 'bulldozed' fairly easily; I know that originated in FOO times. Boundaries, swimming pool walls and all that.

This friend's mother died about 6 weeks ago and I didn't want to broach the subject immediately after that either. I had also not wanted to broach before and was being kind about various things, had been being that way for a year because of issues in her life she couldn't help. But that is just too much and too long for me.

My problem is 'gratitude'. This friend has often been there for me, particularly by phone, e.g. when I had those major crises in FOO contact, in FOO households in a different country. She was there for me, but gratitude like this puts me on a lower footing than this friend. She's grateful to me for various things too, but it seems I suppose she can deal with that in a healthier way for herself. She doesn't remain 'eternally grateful' to me and so doesn't feel incapable of setting a boundary or just saying 'no' without a guilty conscience. I don't expect anybody to remain 'eternally grateful'. It's a fairly recent discovery on my part that that's how I react.

Recognising what I'm doing is the first step to changing.

Thanks CaliforniaDreaming and ToreyP for your comments and validation. It helps just to write here and know people read and acknowledge.
Title: Re: Feeling a bit used
Post by: Blueberry on April 14, 2018, 11:14:27 PM
Finally forced myself to sit down and write this email this evening. Haven't sent it because I like to let things like that sit a day, in case my wording is wrong or hurtful or something.

Considering how the last two friends - both with cptsd -  reacted when I attempted to 'clear something up' no wonder I'm a little hesitant. One decided I was too sensitive for her to continue friendship with and the other said I was too sarcastic or facetious or something along those lines. I'm not cut up about either of those two disappearing from my life but I would be sad to lose this friend, to not be able to get things back in balance. I'll see.
Title: Re: Feeling a bit used
Post by: Blueberry on April 15, 2018, 05:30:26 PM
I revised the email a little bit and have just sent it. I'm maybe half dissociated. Not quite all there. I asked for her not to contact me tonight and when she does contact, please via email not phone. It's just too hard for me to stand up for myself in conversation. I closed my email program as a form of protection and I won't answer the phone if it rings. Old phone, no number display.

It's really no surprise that discussing this sort of thing in direct contact is so difficult because as I wrote over on my Journal, whenever I tried to discuss 'family relationships', family treatment of me etc. I was told to shut up, stop being so stupid, stop being so difficult, hit by M or B1, gaslighted ("we don't remember", "prove it" etc).
Title: Re: Feeling a bit used
Post by: Blueberry on April 16, 2018, 03:31:41 PM
I've only just got back in today and checked my emails right away just in case my evening client cancelled. I checked with real trepidation in case my friend sent a reply. My therapist teaches me to be aware of physical reactions. I feel as if I have a sack of concrete in my gut and it feels like fear. There is a reply but I'm not looking at it till I feel ready, like maybe later tonight or even tomorrow.

I feel frightened (tho that's got to be an EF) and self-critical, but I guess that's the ICr.
Title: Re: Feeling a bit used
Post by: Hope67 on April 16, 2018, 03:38:12 PM
Wishing you strength for when you do open your communication - and whatever happens, hope it is ok.
Hope  :)
Title: Re: Feeling a bit used
Post by: Deep Blue on April 16, 2018, 04:35:35 PM
You helped me so much by “sitting with me” the other night.

I’m sitting with you each time you check your email now.  :hug:

With love,
Deep Blue
Title: Re: Feeling a bit used
Post by: Blueberry on April 16, 2018, 07:37:39 PM
Thanks Deep Blue and Hope!  :grouphug:
Title: Re: Feeling a bit used
Post by: Combine59 on April 17, 2018, 02:24:59 AM
I’ve been there too, Blueberry. Most of the female relationships I had I encountered the same “feeling used” feelings. Even with my sister. My therapist discussed codependency in these relationships. Also she emphasized that I can’t control how anyone else feels or reacts, and I have a valid reason to feel the way I do and express myself, just like anyone else. Sitting with you too if you need support. Just because your friend has been there for you doesn’t mean you “owe” her and have to go along with her wishes. Your feelings are valid too.
Title: Re: Feeling a bit used
Post by: Blueberry on April 17, 2018, 12:33:16 PM
My therapist discussed codependency in these relationships. Also she emphasized that ... I have a valid reason to feel the way I do and express myself, just like anyone else. .... Just because your friend has been there for you doesn’t mean you “owe” her and have to go along with her wishes. Your feelings are valid too.

Thanks for the reminders and validation!

The email reply was quite good. I certainly haven't been rejected or anything like what happened with those other 2 ex-friends. So my physical symptoms have disappeared again. My friend and I need to discuss some things but at least she's open to that. She also apologised for going over my boundaries, though I'm not sure if that's the issue. I think it's more that she seems to expect me to help look out for her boundaries while she ignores mine. But anyway, that's stuff to discuss.
Title: Re: Feeling a bit used
Post by: Deep Blue on April 17, 2018, 12:42:11 PM
 :bighug: :bighug:

Well at least it’s a starting point!
Title: Re: Feeling a bit used
Post by: Blueberry on June 28, 2018, 08:21:12 PM
Considering the how the last two friends - both with cptsd -  reacted when I attempted to 'clear something up' no wonder I'm a little hesitant. One decided .... and the other said I was too sarcastic or facetious or something along those lines.

The one who wrote that I was too sarcastic or facetious put another letter in my letterbox yesterday, maybe because I didn't answer her letter where she mentioned that this characteristic of mine makes friendship impossible? Whatever, I decided back then to stop the debate, stop the ping-pong game. I intended to throw the letter away but then lost it in some stack  :doh:. Anyway, friendship finished especially since in addition she was using me as someone to dump on and someone who would reliably avoid her triggers whereas she didn't avoid mine at all and explained in that final letter that some triggers are bad and some aren't and she assumed mine were the latter so she was free to talk about them.  ??? :stars: and  :pissed:

Maybe she's missing me now? That's happened in the past too. Like in 12 Step groups: "oh, Blueberry, you are so strict and stick to rules so much  :blahblahblah: it's really annoying." But when I eventually left one group for my own sake the same person approached me on the street and asked me to "please" go back since they could have done with somebody with exactly these characteristics. Of course, I didn't go back. Other people get to develop that characteristic themselves. Same with this no-longer-friend: she needs to get her support somewhere else. I don't miss her and she didn't treat me very well.
Title: Re: Feeling a bit used
Post by: Blueberry on July 11, 2018, 04:48:24 PM
The email reply was quite good. I certainly haven't been rejected or anything like what happened with those other 2 ex-friends. ... My friend and I need to discuss some things but at least she's open to that.

So I finally sent my reply to her reply. My impulse to SH is fairly high. I keep fiddling with my hair but then stop myself. Fiddling with my hair is usually a sign of me feeling self-conscious. It's an old thing though. So a bit of an EF. (Though atm probably also connected to my having to make decisions re: garden.) I remembered to think about what I want from this friend now: time. Time to let more healing take place so that I am more able to defend myself in conversation and set limits, time to let several of the problems I'm dealing with atm slowly resolve themselves, no pressure (!). Attempting to resolve this doesn't feel as if it needs to be resolved before my garden or before I contact FOO members again or do some work on my business or or or.

In my FOO looking for a solution was a rare thing in disputes because the bigger or stronger you were or the higher you were in the pecking order - well, your solution won. So the fact that I can state what I would like without being gaslighted, emotionally crushed or whatever that still feels novel.

She also apologised for going over my boundaries, though I'm not sure if that's the issue. I think it's more that she seems to expect me to help look out for her boundaries while she ignores mine. But anyway, that's stuff to discuss.

We haven't discussed this. I think my original email was pretty clear actually that the problem is more than a boundary issue, but she didn't mention those additional points. This is where I must try and act differently from her going into the future if the friendship is to survive, meaning instead of hoping she understands what I meant in email and looks after my boundaries (doesn't overstep), I'm the one who needs to recognise her overstepping and react. Pretty tall order! But it just needs practice. I sure didn't like her coming back after conversations with me last year saying: "you talked too much and so I felt really bad after, it ruined my whole evening" because it wasn't my job to look after her boundaries.

She may also be hoping to discuss it by phone but I don't feel up to it. I got semi dissociated while writing reply today.
Title: Re: Feeling a bit used
Post by: Kizzie on July 11, 2018, 05:44:27 PM
Wow BB, that's great progress so keep listening to the voice telling you you're doing well and not the one that says you should SH, that you shouldn't be setting boundaries, etc - it's wrong!  :yes:

 :applause:   and     :hug:

Title: Re: Feeling a bit used
Post by: Blueberry on August 23, 2018, 09:14:43 PM
My therapist teaches me to be aware of physical reactions. I feel as if I have a sack of concrete in my gut and it feels like fear.

This is interesting to read now because my guts have felt all full up for days now. I had been attributing the feeling to my eating disorder but quite possibly it's in part an emotional thing and the overeating I'm going in for atm a way to push my feelings back down. I don't know what it feels like - the full up feeling - and I don't want to feel into it. [Though last time I was at T, he was talking me through sitting with my feelings, getting me to describe what was going on. It wasn't till a few days later that I realised that in getting me to talk about it, he was showing me that nothing really terrible happens when I sit with my feelings. It's not like in the fairly recent past (maybe 3-4-5-10 years ago) where terrible EFs used to occur or where Ts and other 'professionals' sometimes pushed me way over the edge. It's not like that anymore.] Taht bit in square brackets probably belongs on another thread and maybe I will move it there too, later. I'll see.
Title: Re: Feeling a bit used
Post by: Blueberry on August 23, 2018, 09:45:39 PM
Anyway, I was reading back in this thread because I've been thinking about this friend today. It's her birthday today or on the 25th, I've forgotten which, and have misplaced my birthday dates book somewhere in my apartment.

 I don't know how to move forward in a friendship after a dispute that doesn't end with one party saying "Thanks, but no thanks."

You could phone the person up and say "Let's go for a coffee" except we presently live 100 km apart with a non-functioning railway line. That was one of the issues in the first place - she wasn't willing to come closer to where I live when the railway line was still functioning. Now there is major construction work going on and there will be for some months. Or you could phone the person up and say "Let's go for a bike ride / play a board game / go to a movie..." but that won't work for same reasons as going for a coffee won't.

If I imagine some previous therapists who worked with me on clarifications with people I had difficulties with, these therapists would ask me what I want from the person now. I have two answers to that: one is time and the other is acknowledgement. The acknowledgement is something I'm unlikely to get. It's like wanting an apology - you might get one, you might not. Even if you do, it might not be genuine. This friend actually did apologise but not for what I thought she did to me.

I think wanting an acknowledgement and wanting an apology are things left over from FOO times. Wanting them to acknowledge what they did to me, how they harmed me, allowed harm to be done to me. If I didn't have all those years of wanting and missing those making huge wounds in me, then it would be easier to not feel re-injured in a friendship.

With all that going on, it's not surprising I feel as if I need time. It might not be 'normal' to take a long time-out from a friendship but I really feel as if I need it. I also am beginning to feel with this post that it's OK to take my time. I've felt hurried time and time again in my life and though my friends aren't those FOO members who hurried me in the past, just because they're not as toxic as FOO members doesn't mean I'm not allowed to say what I need.

I'm remembering now from 25 years ago when I had roommates for the first time, some fellow student friends of mine met them and said "hey, you've got really nice roommates" from which (and in combination with my toxic, dysfunctional FOO upbringing) I understood that since they were "nice" I didn't have any reason to or even have permission to say what I needed or set boundaries or even make requests.  I know it sounds crazy but this is what my FOO upbringing did to me.

I might go and write a Recovery Letter to get some of this stuff out in direct "you" speak.
Title: Re: Feeling a bit used
Post by: Blueberry on August 26, 2018, 09:47:54 PM
If I imagine some previous therapists who worked with me on clarifications with people I had difficulties with, these therapists would ask me what I want from the person now. I have two answers to that: one is time and the other is acknowledgement.

I think wanting an acknowledgement and wanting an apology are things left over from FOO times. Wanting them to acknowledge what they did to me, how they harmed me, allowed harm to be done to me. If I didn't have all those years of wanting and missing those making huge wounds in me, then it would be easier to not feel re-injured in a friendship.

Due to email correspondence with a different friend today where I spoke up about a problem, I've gained a bit of a different insight into "acknowledgement" and what it is that I'm looking for there. The friend i was emailing today, she wrote back explaining a bit more from her pov but she also wrote that she accepts my view and hopes I can accept hers and then she suggested a solution which is a compromise of our two positions. Result: I feel acknowledged, I feel my feelings and position and even my cptsd-caused limitations have been understood and acknowledged. It's not a case of "I'm right, you're wrong". Within both our confines, we're probably both "right". Two people can both be "right" and still hold diametrically opposite positions. We also plan to go through with the compromise next week. I'm sure that this friend feels heard and acknowledged by me too.

This type of acknowledgement is missing from the other friend where I've been feeling used. There really has been no acknowledgement of my position, my feelings, my chosen mode of discussion (email not phone). Instead it's all about her and what she would prefer and what's 'normal' according to her e.g phoning instead of email. She gave excuses for her behaviour which I'd already acknowledged to her. I'd said I understood that she was under a lot of stress last year because of x and y and therefore unfortunately I allowed her to go over my limits until it was too late. My bad, my fault but that's what happened. I didn't put the brake on in time for myself.

She's using x and y as an excuse now. "Undoubtedly I couldn't act otherwise last year because of x and y." I feel like saying I already said that!!  How about you say something like "I'm sorry you couldn't stand in for your own position more" or "I'm sorry you're feeling so bad now." No. There's nothing. Nothing to acknowledge that I'm in a bad way with this topic for the moment, no kind of special thanks for me going far out of my way to support her last year, for making compromises (e.g. with travelling always closer to her place for years). With the travelling topic she is in fact distorting the truth retroactively. Commonly known as 'gaslighting' I think. "It was never to do with money or my regional rail pass." It was actually. She repeatedly claimed her regional rail pass was valid only as far as the station she wanted us to meet at. Turns out that's not true. I feel duped.

The discussion point with the other friend was actually travel too!! But the point is: we have a compromise now that we can both work with and are going to do so next week to allow my godson to come and visit me without me having to accompany him most of the journey both ways. 

So I guess acknowledgement is more than about past issues, it's also about 'hearing' somebody and then moving forward in a new way on account of the new information. Trying to be fair to both parties, acknowledging both their situations and limitations, or just their plain old wishes.

I'm making progress again.  :)
Title: Re: Feeling a bit used
Post by: Blueberry on August 31, 2018, 11:31:40 AM
I'm still working on this particular friendship issue and things are becoming a bit clearer. I wrote higher up that I didn't know how to move forward in a friendship (after a discussion of this sort) if one person didn't say "I'm done with you and the friendship now." Now, with time, I'm seeing the problem more as "Do I try and move forward with this friendship at all when the person seems so clueless about her part of the disagreement?" The answer is "Probably not." Friendships don't have to be for ever.

Since I injured one foot yesterday, I'm remembering how this friend can be quite down-playing about physical problems of mine. e.g. a good number of years ago I was getting prepared for a foot operation. It was quite a big deal for me because I'd never had an Op or even full anesthetic before. Back then, my anxiety levels were sky-high and I was generally a lot less stable than I am now. My doc had been delaying on the op until then because of my emotional instability, my tendency to EFs for weeks on end etc. (not that we knew the term EF then) but when the foot problem became so bad, it started affecting other leg joints too as well as the other foot, my doc said we'd better act.

This friend knew some of that, but she still suggested we meet in that town much closer to her than to me and go to watch a race on the river. It would be so much fun, standing watching... I declined because of my foot, but she didn't take 'No' for an answer, explaining how I could wear other shoes, since always wearing the same ones gave you foot problems  :stars: (I only had one pair that fit at that time due to those foot problems.) I read a while back, maybe on OOTF, that when people don't accept your "No" and instead come up with all sorts of reasons why your "No" is invalid, this is manipulative. Idk if that is always the case as a sort of blanket rule but I'm seeing the pattern in this friend's behaviour. She discounts my feelings, she discounts my objections fairly often. Her own take precedence mostly. Probably not always but mostly. One place where they don't necessarily take precedence is where it's no skin off her nose to acquiesce.

I think there's maybe even a bit of DARVO going on. I certainly think she's in denial and then also so oblivious to my side of the issue, just seeing how much she's suffered in the past year through extraneous circumstances, that yeah, there's some victim reversal going on. She's the victim of these extraneous circs. but she's not the victim of my "No" when she goes over my boundary!

I stuck to my 'No' the day she suggested we watch the race and then she did admit that she'd forgotten all about my upcoming foot operation.
Title: Re: Feeling a bit used
Post by: Blueberry on September 04, 2018, 10:34:56 PM
I mentioned today in T what I'm going through with this friend and my T said  :thumbup: :applause: that I'm starting to stand up for myself!