The Case of the Finicky Friend

therapycouch

I remember my first one-on-one therapy session that I ever attended. This counselor was recommended to me through a friend of a friend from church; apparently, many people had had great results in their recovery journeys with the help of this professional. Plus, she would give a discount to anyone who was referred to her through our religious community. So, I thought, why not?

When I first walked into her office, I was a bundle of nerves. I had no idea what to expect. There were many familiar faces there from my church group, and we exchanged semi-awkward hellos as I sat down to fill out all of those necessary forms – general information, background history, current struggles, etc. Finally, after what felt like a million years, the therapist was ready for me.

Her name was Nan, and from the minute I sat down in her big, comfy couch, I knew that we were going to have a great relationship. Nan was so soft spoken, kind, and felt like a motherly figure that I could trust. On our first day, she asked me why I was there, and I explained to her my thoughts about possibly being Codependent. After listening to me babble on for quite awhile, she said, “Ok, well I have a little checklist that might help us get a better picture of where you’re at”. She then handed me this clipboard with a dozen or so questions all regarding Codependency. In all honesty, I checked off every single one.checklist

That list was extremely similar to the the 10 traits from Love is Choice that I posted about previously. However, there was an additional question on Nan’s check sheet that still sticks with me today. It asked, “Do you have a hard time keeping friends?” Yup, that’s me! I’ve always struggled keeping friends. My oldest non-romantic relationship dates back to my first year of high school, and we rarely talk these days. I met the person I consider to be my very best girlfriend in Kenya, which was only a few years ago. I just feel like overall, I really don’t maintain friendships well.

One day, I asked Nan about this trait and what it has to do with Codependency. In a nutshell she explained that there could be two main reasons:

1) Those of us that struggle with this fixation on another object or person lose interest in the substance at hand very quickly. We obsess over one person for awhile, pouring into him or her day and night, becoming ultimately consumed. Then, when this person doesn’t reciprocate to our standards or we cannot change them into who we want them to be (the control aspect), we abandon them and move on. Much like a drug addict continues to delve further into harder substances because the high just isn’t enough anymore, a Codependent is also looking to find their next good fix.

2) A Codependent has a main fixation (usually a romantic relationship) and everyone else becomes secondary due to the tunnel vision that develops. Thus, do to the lack of effort in maintaining those other friendships, they wither and eventually die.

Of course, the levels of need differ in everyone, and many Codependents may not struggle with this in particular. But I do. I friendshipknow that maintaining relationships is extremely difficult for me due to a little mixture of both explanations. I have always had the tendency to zoom in on whoever is my current boyfriend, and I have a strong need for control. Thus, I have to make conscious efforts to keep in contact with the people I want in my life because it just simply doesn’t come easy. Sometimes, I even have to write down little reminders to send a text to those that I care about just to keep the communication lines open.

But I’m trying. I have a handful of women who I believe really love me and care about being in my life, and I know I need to make a better effort at being in theirs. So these past few weeks I have just been intentional about saying hello and sending out “how are you’s”. It’s a baby step towards my overall struggle with Codependency, but it is an important one. Every little bit counts.

How are you friendships today?

P.S. I will be discussing the rest of Chapter 3 from Love is a Choice tonight!

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6 thoughts on “The Case of the Finicky Friend

  1. Your topic is ironic to me. I was just pondering this earlier today. I would tend to agree on how codependents seek/keep friends. For me it’s the reverse….I’m loyal to a fault but I’m also the helper/fixer/people pleaser that can get a codependent in trouble. That loyalty for me comes with an excessive amount of time spent on one specific friend. It’s typically when I don’t feel “needed” anymore that the abandonment and rejection sets in. So as I said, while I agree…I can end up hurt by someone because I want to help and then I feel “left”. I struggle alot with abandonment. As far as keeping friends….I have two VERY best friends that have been on life’s journey with me for sometime (you read about Zee yesterday). My other “sister” has been my friend for 20 years. I think it’s perspective but it’s also those friends that know what you require out of a friendship, as well, and try to keep it maintained. It’s a two way street….lopsided friendships won’t survive if one feels like mostly the giver and doesn’t get a lot back in return. Sorry to ramble…LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, I LOVE the input. I definitely agree that it has to be a two way street. The friends that I am trying to be intentional with know my struggles and reciprocate equally (if not just a bit more) to keep our friendship going. I am so happy you have found 2 great sisters who can walk through life with you. We need ’em!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hate those lists! The list that was given to me had way more than 10 characteristics and I identified with all of them. That in itself made me feel so hopeless. Yes, I neglected all the friends I had when I was fixated on my unhealthy relationship. Most have not been restored. A few have and I am forever grateful for these friendships.

    Today I sometimes swing to the other side. If I feel the friendship it is draining me because of their endless need for me, I tend to back away because I just don’t have it in me to carry their burden for them, fix everything for them or just be there to listen to every single thing going wrong in their lives. If it drains me, then I have to pull away.

    The friends I have in my life today balance me. It’s a give and take. We are there for each other and it’s not just one sided. I have healthy friendships today and I am able to maintain them. I refuse to let my codependency swallow me up in just one person’s life again. If my special relationship does not encourage my relationships with others then I don’t need that “special relationship”.

    I also love the online friendships I have found here and you Freedom, are one of them! Bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember actually enjoying the list only because I finally had a “label” for the things that I was feeling. I definitely know that labels can get dangerous, but for me, in my early stages of recovery, they were helpful.
      You are so right about needing friendships that balance you. Gingersnap74 mentioned something similar in her comment. But I especially love the part you mentioned about how your “special relationship” must allow and encourage other relationships too. That is new to me!
      I learn so much from this online community, especially from your comments! Thank you, again, for your inputs and opinions. They really do teach me so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I also struggled to maintain friendships while being very codependent. These days, I am conscious of putting forth the effort – which is why I’m making all my visits and rounds to friends this summer. You are definitely taking important baby steps towards your friends.

    Liked by 1 person

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