Monday, February 8, 2010

Just go read this

From Michele's blog, while she's talking about a friendship that ended:

Drop your expectations.

Remember that people cannot give you what they do not have.

In a nutshell, that’s what happened with my friend and I. I realized that she could not give me what she did not have to give. I still grieve that she didn’t have it; I wished she had it like I wish for my children to have character or my husband to have success. (He already has character.)

And believe me, I still endeavored to get from her what she couldn’t give in all kinds of different ways, all the way up until the end. Coercion, dishonesty, pity, indirect communication—I tried it all.

Sometimes these kinds of “friends” in our lives go by another name: Gaslighters.

The term comes from the 1944 movie Gaslight, where the evil husband tricks and manipulates his wife into thinking she is insane. From the film’s title, gaslighting” acquired the meaning of ruthlessly and deviously manipulating an individual into believing something other than the truth for one’s own purposes.

Our relationship worked because on some level, I had decided that I needed to tolerate anything, and that I had the power to fix anything. I made up a vision of myself as able to transform any situation, if only I did things right. All the times she made me doubt myself, wonder if I was crazy, even feel safe to an extreme degree–were all part of my quest to prove to myself that I was better than the circumstances. In reality, I was being compromised in ways and with consequences that I am still discovering to this day.

To anyone with gaslighters in your life, even now: you have an opportunity to show yourself a great deal of compassion and accept that there’s no shame in having made a mistake, or even several mistakes. The sooner you can find someplace else to sling that self-blame, the more likely you are to find your way out of the darkness of confusion and fear and into the light of grace and truth. If you need help, ask for it. Grace be to you.

MORE here:


the princess said...

sorry that you were having problems with your friend!

the princess said...

some further thought, though I do not think (most likely) it applies directly to your situation. The older I get, the more I realize, my "enemies" did me more good than I think they ever dreamt of doing!

Thomas Moore wrote, "To consider my worst enemies my best friends,
For Joseph's brothers could never have done him as much good with their love and favor as they did with their malice and hatred."