Over the past week I've found myself reflecting on a situation that began innocently enough, but now each time it presents itself, I want to run for the hills.
It began by making a casual acquaintance with someone via the non-profit group I support. Nothing out of the ordinary. Back then this relationship would have been labeled a "friendship," but rather one-sided at that. Having relayed her history, the thought never entered my mind that things might be a tad "off".
Fast forward to the present where the phone calls have escalated, the drama builds (on her side, not mine) and more and more the realization that she's not just calling me to vent, but to suck me in to a situation she, and she alone, created creeps into my consciousness. Despite the fact that she's a card-carrying professional who's achieved those letters "PhD" after her last name who makes a living helping other folks with their problems, my concern grows with each phone ring.
I guess another term for this behavior might be "energy sucker". Trust me after one call concludes, I want to reach for a cup of tea and knit until I calm down, but then that's my problem. This person hops from drama to drama. It's endless. At times, it feels as though she's feeding on her situation whilst I provide an audience. Whether learned or innate, I do care and worry about folks. I always wish them the best the world has to offer, but they've got to want it as well.
It dawned on me that true friendship doesn't create a vacuum...doesn't leave me gasping for air...doesn't have me looking for the nearest exit...dragging me out into an ocean of upset. My friends and, please God, I raise each other up during the low times and ride the wave during the pleasant periods. When I shared my concern with a friend, he said, "You've got to protect yourself from this person's behavior. Don't answer the phone. Just don't be available."
So, with gratitude for a lesson learned, this person shall no longer be a part of my reality. It's been a hard decision to make due to the fact that I'm one of those hyper-sensitive, see both sides of the argument kind of gals. It hurts to see someone behave this way, but this life-swimmer doesn't want to get taken out by a rip current.
The course of the past few days have taught me a valuable lesson, perhaps my "just older" brain failed to wrap itself around this notion in my early years or my caregiving duties distracted me from the obvious, but here it is: our reality is flexible. We allow folks into that space called "life" to learn lessons in gratitude for those we have and adjust our reality to show those the door who just don't get it. The funny thing being, I don't believe this person has a clue...an iota...a shred of understanding that her behavior has created her reality.
So, I wish this person well, but she can't crash in my reality. Lesson learned.
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