One of my toxic traits is that I can be REAL toxic. I grew up in a toxic household, I was born a fighter, and come from a family environment where you don’t let anyone do you wrong. It’s been a ingrained in me since birth. I’m a very quick person to jump into fight or flight mode, and most of the time I want to fight.
With that being said, I am also the most nurturing, caring, proactive act of service person you will ever have in your life. I will do ANYTHING for people I am close to and will fight for them as well.
I’ve been in years of therapy, and have developed a pretty strong balance of controlling my fight mentality. It’s been a rough road but I’m now at the point where I can determine what’s worth fighting for and what’s worth pushing past and out of my life.
It’s not a new notion that sometimes people are very temporary in your life. Friends come and go, but some are meant to be there long term. This is something that doesn’t bother me. HOWEVER, one of the hardest things do deal with in my adult life is when I give too much of myself to people who turn around and dispose of me.
Like I said above, I am a huge protector of my friends, and many of my close friends would describe me as someone who they can rely on fully. I take pride in that. I will do almost anything for my friends, and I don’t expect anything in return other than strong friendships, love, and care.
This year, I have had a reminder of how I can be taken advantage of and how much it hurts when it happens. I’m a strong believer of paying it forward and what goes around comes around. This time, I’m not only protective of myself, but of others I care about that it’s affecting.
We all have those friends who keep making the same mistakes in life and we hold on to the fact that they will grow and change. I am sometimes one of those friends. But when their life shatters over and over again and you’re constantly there to pick them up – you expect the same care and reciprocation, right?
We help these friends through extreme transitions in life. We help them gain the confidence to get back on their feet and learn how to walk again. In some cases teach them some of life’s basic fundamentals they were incapable of doing before. Yes this is exhausting, draining, and time consuming, but we do it because we care about and love them. I have friends in my life who have done this for me time and time again, you all know who you are and I am forever grateful. I would not be here without you.
Then there are the friends who take, and take, and take. They empty your entire cup, maybe give you a pat on the back, then move onto their end goal. What about the ones who are looking to create this perfect looking life to the world? The ones who utilize those in their path to eventually get to individuals that make their life look glamorous but don’t provide any substance in return.
What do we do when we give so much to someone, only for them to cut us out and move forward without even a word? We do nothing. One of the hardest things to go through in life is a falling out where there wasn’t even a specific falling out. It hurts, and you sit there wondering what you could have done, did you do to much, could you have done more? The answer to all of these is nothing. That person has chosen to do what they did with no regard to you, and there likely wasn’t much regard in the first place. They were opportunistic.
Is it awful that they chose to use you for all you were willing to give them? Yes, but that doesn’t mean you should completely stop being your true self. If you are a giving and loving person who puts so much into the relationships they have and often gets hurt in the end, think of this: how many people currently in your life have you been authentically yourself to that provide you with their same authenticity in return? How many people contribute to your life positively in their own way that you love value and support? Don’t let a few bad apples spoil the bunch.
How do you adapt and protect yourself to prevent this from happening without putting a total wall up with everyone you meet? I have no idea, but my therapist and I are working on setting boundaries and this is what I have been trying so far:
Evaluate your capacity. Determine what you have to give in every situation and stay true to yourself. Having a tough time? You don’t have to burden or shoulder someone else’s pain and sacrifice or belittle your own to help them in their time of need. I actually have tried it recently and I had two outcomes: a true friend who understood and respected my boundary, and one who made it all about them when I needed to prioritize me. Guess who’s still in the picture!
We’re all still trying to figure this stuff out – myself included. I am very active in therapy to focus on my happiness and mental wellbeing. Broken people cannot help broken people. Remember: people’s negative reactions to your needs likely have nothing to do with your needs at all but their selfishness. If people want to walk out of your life, let them – they will make the bed that they must lie in.
I promise myself that I will do everything in my power to avoid getting in to a one-sided relationship ever again in my life. I know that I deserve better, and you do as well.