Feeling a bit used

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Blueberry

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Feeling a bit used
« 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.

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ToreyP

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Re: Feeling a bit used
« Reply #1 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.

Re: Feeling a bit used
« Reply #2 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?"

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Dee

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Re: Feeling a bit used
« Reply #3 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. 

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Blueberry

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Re: Feeling a bit used
« Reply #4 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.

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Blueberry

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Re: Feeling a bit used
« Reply #5 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.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2018, 09:05:11 PM by Blueberry »

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Blueberry

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Re: Feeling a bit used
« Reply #6 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).

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Blueberry

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Re: Feeling a bit used
« Reply #7 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.

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Hope67

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Re: Feeling a bit used
« Reply #8 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  :)

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Deep Blue

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Re: Feeling a bit used
« Reply #9 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

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Blueberry

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Re: Feeling a bit used
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2018, 07:37:39 PM »
Thanks Deep Blue and Hope!  :grouphug:

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Combine59

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Re: Feeling a bit used
« Reply #11 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.

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Blueberry

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Re: Feeling a bit used
« Reply #12 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.

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Deep Blue

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Re: Feeling a bit used
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2018, 12:42:11 PM »
 :bighug: :bighug:

Well at least it’s a starting point!

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Blueberry

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Re: Feeling a bit used
« Reply #14 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.