CoDA E-Meditation August 25, 2014
Some relationships we are born into. Others, we freely choose. At their best, friendships bring joy, beauty, laughter, honesty and shared experiences and interests to my life.
Communication is easier with my best friends than it is with other people because we "get" each other. There may be disagreements, but mutual respect and honesty is the rule.
A good friend is as precious as gold.
I personally less guarded in friendships than I am in other relationships.
So somehow, I am always surprised when codependency issues arise in my friendships. Your besties, your bffs are supposed to be easier...right? I've watched enough "Sex in the City" to know they are the kindred spirits who are there with you through the drama of all your other relationships. Friends have fun together and when needed, are always there with a shoulder to cry on and a pint of premium ice cream.
And once you are friends, it's happily 4-ever after.
I can only speak from my own experience, but with close female friendships, the emotional connections are actually deeper and more long-lasting than many of my romantic relationships.
Deciding to "break up" with a friend is as difficult, painful and troubling as any other breakup.
TRUTH; my codependency has caused me to get drawn into "frenemy" relationships and then wake up to that reality only in the midst of the "codependent crazies."
Since I started my recovery, I have taken the initiative to end several long-standing friendships based on a combination of such things as:
Longstanding patterns of irreconcilable differences about serious things (i.e. my friend thinks it's okay to cheat on her partner. I do not.)
A constant low-grade commentary of criticism or jealousy about my life.
Inability to have an open, honest dialogue when needed/ issues never get resolved.
Feeling "held hostage" by a needy friend who is starring in her own personal soap opera
LOTS of gossip about others (and, by extension, me when I am out of earshot)
Trying repeatedly to "save" my friend from herself and terrible choices
Feeling guilty to admit to myself that I am no longer happy with the relationship because we've been friends "forever."
In creating this list, I realized that at times I have actually been the perpetrator of these things and more!
Happily, all my relationships have benefitted from attending CoDA and practicing basic skills such as saying "no" when I need to,
speaking up when something is bothering me, and deciding that if a friendship no longer feels right to me,
that I may choose to end it.
Sometimes, depending on the friend and their level of self-awareness, it is easier to simply "fade away" from the friendship in a "don't ask/don't tell" situation.
No, it's not the healthiest solution but it has a place. Not everything needs to be hashed out, especially with a willfully combative person.
I have also tried taking the risk and speaking up when I had concerns about something. Sometimes, it spelled the end.
But sometimes we were able to move past that dark spot and the friendship deepened that much more.
As a child I remember thinking that I didn't really "know" a friend until we had our first fight. I instinctively realized you see people's true colors
when the chips are down. If you don't like what you are seeing, a healthy person takes the risk of putting it on the table.
If it works, your friendship will improve. If not, you learned a valuable lesson. Also, you can now open that space in your life to bring in the kind of person you want to have around.
The world is full of wonderful people. Life is too short to hang out with the ones you don't really like.
Are you concerned you may be in an unhealthy friendship? Read this:
Peace, love and fun in the sun,
Lynn S. and the CoDA Board