Ever since then, I have been reevaluating relationships in my life. It has caused me to look at how certain relationships affect me. Are they healthy? If they are causing me stress, why is that and is it something that can be worked through? Is the relationship something that I even want to save and continue with? Is a friend going through a rough time right now and needs my support? Have they been there for me when I needed them or have they not cared or not had time for me when the shoe is on the other foot? In some cases, do they even want to make their lives better or do they continue to play the victim card? Lest I sound like most of my friendships are unhealthy or strained, please let me reassure you (and myself) that most are healthy, but there are a few that definitely are not and are being "pruned" from my life. 😉
Recently I have had to learn to just "let it be" with a few friendships and a few I had to completely walk away from. One of my friends struggles with drug addiction. She has had a rough life and recently hit rock bottom and was arrested by my son of all people. 😥 My heart aches for her and I have tried to be as supportive as I can. She knows that I love her. She is making choices though that I cannot support and that I can see may end up killing her. I have tried to offer suggestions and get her help, but she continues to make the choice to go back to unhealthy relationships with people that she cannot be around if she wants to stay clean. I just have give her up to God and let it be at this point. I cannot save her from herself. Another friend also is making unhealthy choices and no amount of love and support from others will change her life until she realizes that she is worthy of being loved and valued for her and until she makes some choices to change her life for the better. Sometimes I think she has played the victim for so long that she is comfortable there because it gets her attention. Lots of people have offered her advice, support, and physical things to make her life easier, but she does not follow through and that leaves people frustrated with her, myself included. This is another case of "let it be". The ones that I have walked away from are the ones where the person has just been downright unkind, uncaring, and has no regard for my feelings or the feelings of others. They are the people who use people to get what they want and then discard them. They are the manipulators and I have no time or room for that in my life.
I can now look back and see how much time and energy I have invested in people who I really should not have. I have been deeply hurt and betrayed by some of them. Others, I still love but I can't help them because they refuse to do what they need to to to help themselves. My energy is limited and I am choosing to continue to invest in relationships with people that I love and care about and who love and care about me back. Some of those people are going through horrible times in their lives right now and I will continue to be there for them because I know that they are the kind of people that are also there for me when I need them. My relationships with them are deep, real and reciprocal.
It has taken me this long in my life to finally get to a point where I am setting healthy boundaries for myself and learning to walk away or "let it be" from unhealthy relationships and not feel guilty about doing so. This is a HUGE milestone for me in my own healing and one that I am so thankful for. I am also so grateful to my friends and family that have helped me get to this point. Many of those friends are you, the friends that I have made through this blog who have prayed for, encouraged and shared your own stories with me. So thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me to grow and learn when to walk away and when to just let it be. I am forever grateful for you.
Debbie, sometimes I think that it can be a very difficult thing to be able to look at one's own life from a bit of a distance and to see that which lifts us up and that which drags us down. I think it takes courage to examine relationships honestly like you have and to know what it is you really need from those friendships.ReplyDelete
Thank you Meg. It has been difficult to do this because I want to help everyone, but am learning that it is not always healthy for me to do so.Delete
You are so right in your reflections! Sometimes the greatest thing you can do for someone is to "let go" and just pray for them. They can see just by your example of what their life should be. Just pray and those graces will be given to them, although it is still up to them if they change. Meanwhile, you are right to protect yourself and your family life from anything negative. Keep up the good work! AndreaReplyDelete
Thanks Andrea and thank you for being one of the people who has encouraged me so very much. :)Delete
My 49 year old brother has struggled with addiction for 30+ years. If I have learned anything over the years it is that you cannot change a drug addicts life. Offering advice, however well meaning is futile. They know they have let others down, are killing themselves, etc and is in part what drives them back to drugs or alcohol. Being there for the day they need you to just listen is one of the best things you can do. Leaving them in the Lord's hands is the best. My brother is alive without a doubt because of the fervent and faithful prayers of my mother.ReplyDelete
Your friend with addiction issues will need you one day, and God willing will get the help she needs.
(((((HUGS))))) Theresa. I am so sorry that your brother is struggling with this awful disease and the pain that it has also caused your family. I have had loved ones who have been able to break free of this and others have sadly not. I will be praying for your brother and for you and your mother also.Delete
Sometimes you have to have distance from those that aren't enriching your life. I feel that sometimes God puts people in our lives for a season. People change, friendships change and because the relationship changes doesn't mean we don't care for that person.ReplyDelete
Addiction is hard. I have a cousin who is an addict. My aunt thinks no one cares and we all hate her. Not true. I pray for her often and want nothing more then for her to be healed. The thing is addiction will make a person do crazy things. Things you never thought they were capable of doing. Letting my cousin "go" doesn't mean I don't care, but I have a family and a young daughter that I need to think of. Plus I just can't do drama anymore. Letting things be and praying is sometimes the best plan.
((((((HUGS)))) Wendi. I am so sorry that your family also is going through this. I do understand. I lost an uncle to addiction and the pain he caused along the way to those that loved him was devastating. For their own preservation, many had to step away as he destroyed himself. Their love for him never changed but they wisely realized that they could do nothing to help him and needed to concentrate on their own families and lives. ((((((HUGS))))) my friend and I know that you have a very good and caring heart.Delete
I can relate on a lot of levels. Especially as a ministers wife. I have to invest in a lot of people and a lot of the times it feels more draining than anything. While I have my own way I deal with these things I agree that your are on a good track revaluating and seeing what you can let go and let God. It is what I had to learn the VERY hard way.
What is really hard is when it is a parent or a close family member. I am going through this and it isn't my doing as I have tried everything to invest and repair. My father walked out on me when I was 5. As I got older I reached out and have tried to make a relationship. It will go well for a while but he has major issues and this is very hard and draining for me.
I needed this today.
Oh Chrissy, I am so sorry your father did that to you and continues to cause you pain. I hope you know that his walking out had nothing to do with you but everything to do with him. My cousins have gone down this path as well with their father, my uncle who died as a result of his addictions. My heart aches for you my friend and you are in my prayers.Delete
Good Morning Debbie,ReplyDelete
I will remember you in prayer as you continue to seek wisdom on how to place unhealthy relationships into God's hands.
Proverbs 1:5 - A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.
I am happy you have a caring husband to support you as you gain strength and wisdom in these situations.
Thank you Mrs. B for your prayers and for your wise words and support my friend. :)Delete
So amazing to see two posts this morning when I stopped by. First - congrats to Jeff. What an honor for him.ReplyDelete
And this post really touched me heart. It reminded me of a dear friend from college. In my late 20s, I made some life choices that took me down a really dark path. My friend said she prayed for me for 30 years. And you know what? I eventually recommitted my life to Jesus and came back to Him. Miracles happen - I know that because I've lived it. Keep praying for your friend. Prayers do come true.
And as for your other friendships. I've had to do similar work these past few years. A different friend counseled me that friendships can be for 'a reason, a season or a life time'. That counsel really help me differentiate the roles different people played in my life. It's been hard work and painful. And, truthfully, lonely at times. But I'm a stronger and, just maybe, wiser person for it all.
Thank you SJ. :) I am so glad that you came back to Jesus and that your friend continued to pray for you for all those years. I do believe in the power of prayer to change lives. You are right about certain friends coming into your life for different reason, seasons and some for a lifetime. I think we learn so much from our relationships, both good and bad. It helps us to grow, even it if is extremely painful at times. Praying for you my friend. :)Delete
I think how often friends are 'there" for you when you need them, is a pretty wise barometer of friendship, Debbie. Had to let go of some relationships in the past because they were simply too toxic. Just as you wouldn't tolerate ingesting a small dose of poison, some friendships are the same way. Sending you an extra big hug. Hope letting go will lead to a more serene life for you!ReplyDelete
Thanks Jane...wise words my friend. I am already feeling a sense of relief and went to bed without my mind racing last night. :) Be blessed!Delete
I remember my parents saying "You can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped." I have had people in my life that when I hung up the phone or walked away from them, I felt as if they had drained my life energy. I was just wrung out. I have so just wanted to say to them "Could you please just say one positive thing. Is there not something good in your life." Unfortunately I have one in law that I can't cut out of my life (if she wasn't an in law I definitely would). There isn't a lot of contact so that helps. Just pray-- that is the most you can do for some people. Congrats on reaching this milestone. Love and enjoy those who bless your life.ReplyDelete
HI Delorise...your parents were right. ;) I know the exact feeling that you shared here...everyone has bead moments but come on...there has got to be some really good stuff in there too right? I have some of those same kinds of inlaws. A few are so toxic that we have absolutely no contact with them at all. Others are their enablers and are choosing to be caught up in their drama. We can't help them if they are choosing to stay in a bad situation. All we can do is pray. :) And yes, I am loving those who bless my life. Thank you friend!Delete
I stopped trying to develop lots of friendships some time ago. I think I did this to protect myself from the 'use you up' types that seemed to move into our friendship circle.ReplyDelete
When we moved, almost 4 years ago, all the friends were there 'helping' us by taking pot plants and extra furniture that we no longer needed. Of those friends we have one who has stayed in contact with us. Another took my bromeliad collection, all in nice ceramic pots. I thought she would enjoy them. She enjoyed selling them all and making quite a nice packet of money out of them. I was taken aback as I could have done this but decided to 'gift' them to her. This friend has never sent an email or made a phone call.
I have a couple of people here in new town, that I am gradually developing friendships with. I have also walked away from a few that just did not feel right.
I understand what you are saying and the pathway that you are starting to walk. Stay strong.
Thank you Jane and I am so sorry that your "friends", all but one, treated you that way. I understand why you are being cautious with your friendships now...I would be too. (((((HUGS)))))Delete
I wanted to add that I,too, am cautious with friendships now, just like another reader wrote. First it was my divorce and people who I thought were friends didn't/couldn't be there for me. Some how I thought in a divorce, other people would realize that each party would have their own version of events and that somewhere in between would be the truth. Of all the people I knew as a couple, two single ladies were the only ones who stayed by my side.ReplyDelete
Then, other friends who did stay in my life couldn't deal with my CFS. I had one say to me 'how inconvenient' my illness was for her. Wow, that one hurt.
And, now, I'm trying to find the balance with yet another friend. I'm there for her on the phone but have been feeling lately that she's not there for me. The first clue that I was having issues was seeing her number on caller id and my internal barometer was 'am I up for this call'. I'm learning to be intentional about talking with her now and choosing when to expend the energy. Learning to take care of my own emotional well being and not allowing myself to be dumped on is new for me.
Great and timely post. Thank-you. SJ
((((((HUGS))))) SJ. I'm sorry you have gone through this too. It hurts. I think your internal barometer is something that you do need to listen to. I had to bow out for awhile with a friend that just overwhelmed me with her negativity. We are in contact again and I love her dearly, but I have set some healthy boundaries there for my own sanity. It sounds like you are in the same position. Be blessed my friend and take care of you!Delete
I'm sure you did the right thing for you, Debbie. You need to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. (((HUGS)))ReplyDelete
Thank you Bless. That has always been a hard thing for me to do. My role has been the "caretaker" for most of my life. I am slowly learning though. ;) I hope you are having a very nice weekend!Delete