April 2020 Edition -Realms of Relationships – Know when it’s time to go
Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – Know when it’s time to go – When giving becomes one-sided by D.G. Kaye
Relationships – Know when it’s time to go – When giving becomes one-sided
Welcome back to The Realms of Relationships. In this edition, I’m going to talk more about friendships. I talked about keeping friendships healthy in my last column. In this post, I’ll share some of the flags that indicate when friends may be taking advantage of us.
Friendships are special to us because they are the people we choose to let into the most personal and intimate part of our lives, the people we trust most. But sometimes in our lifetime of relationships and friendships we may realize that a certain friendship becomes all give and no get back. Today we’re going to take a look at some of the signs that tell us that a friendship we may have with someone is not as fulfilling as it once may have been, how to attempt to repair, and how to decide if it’s time to sever ties.
Friends are those we permit into our personal spaces and hold dear to us. Friends are the ones we share common bonds with, share our world, our homes and often our hearts with. Friends are ones we can rely on for uplifting, favors, companionship, and the ones who have our backs. Do something to betray any of these bonds, it puts a dent into a friendship, and if we let misgivings escalate without confronting our friend about issues bothering us, or better yet, if we have confronted a friend over an issue and they tend to blow it off or ignore our concerns, consider petty, it may be time to re-evaluate that friendship.
As with everything that works smooth in life, there is balance. We take the good with the bad in stride and go about life. Sometimes there are obstacles we learn to work around, sometimes the obstacles must be confronted in order to resolve issues to restore an even balance. If the balance of a friendship begins to teeter, yet one party of the friendship doesn’t see it, someone must alert that person that more effort must be put into that relationship or it’s going to fizzle out. When one party is doing all the giving and supporting and there’s nothing in return – giving back, this is not a friendship. Make sure you’re not doing all the giving and being sucked into an energy vampire sucking relationship.
As a lover and not a fighter, I require peace in all my relationships. I’m a passionate person who cares about all people. I’m also a great communicator, which I learned to become as I’ve spent most of my life observing people and their behavior. If I detect an imbalance or a missing ingredient within a close friendship, I’m going to bring it up for discussion so we can get to the root of a problem to find resolution to continue on with the friendship, hopefully, strengthening the bond once the imbalance is corrected. But what if the other party doesn’t see our side or perhaps thinks we’re making too much out of something insignificant? Or, what if that person is completely blind to a troublesome situation and what if we become tired of rehashing the same issues that never seem to change? Are we just supposed to sit back and live with the lumpy situation, continuing to make excuses to pardon that friend from their faults, or can we keep making excuses to not be available for them? That becomes our decision. But for me, I learned a few relationships ago, when you become a doormat, it may be time to leave.
It wasn’t the first time I had to lay a friendship to rest. It happened maybe 3 times in my life when I decided it was time to part ways with someone who I’d considered a good friend but realized I was doing all the ‘friendy’ work. But leaving became easier to do with each friend because as the years progressed, I’d learned better to stand up for myself and to not be so easily roped in by people’s antics. Being an empath makes the process doubly hard because my whole life I allowed myself to get sucked into people’s drama because I felt sorry for them. Sure, they may not have been adding anything of value to our friendship at the time, but they were lonely, had a lot of bad breaks from life, and sometimes it was just convenient to have someone to hang out with, which some of us think may be better than being alone – but no, it’s not. I finally learned that being alone without a sidekick was better than being used, taken for granted and not appreciated.
One relationship I ended with a friend almost three decades ago was a smart choice. Amy was a friend I’d met within my circle of my closest oldest friends. I kind of inherited her as when we met through mutual friends, we were both single at the time and lived close to one another, which made it too convenient for her to pop over – a lot.
Amy ‘dropped’ by my place lots – especially when she was in between dating her ex- boyfriend and her ex -ex- boyfriend. I got to listen to the whining and complaining and felt compelled to come up with solutions to her problems. I got to cook her dinners, and rarely did I get to share anything about how I felt about things going on in my own life. And never would she ask.
Initially we were good company for one another – someone to have a meal with, go for a drink or watch a movie with. But after 2 years of it, my ear was getting too full of the ‘woe is me’ stories and zero growth in our relationship. Oh sure, after some time had passed, I did broach the subject with Amy, but I also grew to realize that whatever I’d discussed seemed to pass directly through both her ears, and she didn’t understand what being a real friend was. I call them fair-weather friends.
Fair- weather friends are those who come around or call when they have a need to be fulfilled – when it’s convenient for them. They aren’t necessarily bad people, more like self-centered, selfish, and often clueless when it comes to maintaining healthy relationships – romance or otherwise. These types of people will not go out of their way for someone else, usually have trouble in their romantic relationships for same reasons, and deny what they don’t like to hear.
Amy treated me like her personal Shrink or a sounding board for all her dilemmas – and there always seemed to be one with her. Me, always feeling as though it’s my duty to fix people, was kept in the vortex way too long.
Eventually, as that time in my life became a huge growth spurt in growing my self-esteem in both friendships and a crappy relationship I was in at the time, I realized then that it was time to unload the pressure of that relationship too. Without a fight or a phone call, I just slithered away. I first took her calls, but made myself consistently unavailable to her ‘drop over’ requests. Then eventually, I just stopped answering her calls and faded out. A good indicator I was right in doing so was that she made no attempts to further contact me or even questioning why I just cut her out. This was a confirmation it was time. There was no need to second-guess.
Friends who suck the life out of us are what I call energy sucking vampires. They are needy people who will swoop right in on us if we offer them a cushy nest. They are the ones who will ask for favors, visit and forget to leave, borrow things and never return them, and most known for draining our soul. And if you are an empath who constantly finds yourselves attracting these types of people, it’s time to become more aware of these behaviors and how much you will allow. Weigh out the pros and cons of a relationship. If you’re finding the con column getting a little too top heavy, it’s a good idea to consider cutting the ties.
If you find that you’ve discussed your feelings with your friend and they deny any actions you’ve pointed out, become defensive and/or accusatory as a lame defense, deny or blame you without admitting, apologizing, or ultimately, getting angry because you brought up the discussion, it’s pretty clear that your suspicions were right in the first place and it’s time to go. Empaths in particular, tend to let things drag on a little too long because we will do our utmost to keep from hurting anyone’s feelings, often taking the zings ourselves to keep the peace. But if it’s not peaceful, we need to leave.
There are no age limits, time limits, friend limits. You shouldn’t put a timeline on a friendship – meaning: Just because you’ve invested ‘x’ amount of years in a friendship and it doesn’t feel right anymore, doesn’t mean you must remain because you’ve put in the time. No. If you’ve put in the time and the friendship and it’s not growing or feeding you back in any way, it’s time to move on.
Do you have a sticky friendship experience you’d like to share here?
You can find the other posts in the series: D.G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships 2020
March 2020 Edition- Realms of Relationships – Friendships
Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – Friendships Keeping them Healthy
Friendships are the most sacred things we can have. Nobody knows us better than our closest friends – sometimes even better than family. And why is that? Because often, most people aren’t comfortable sharing their problems with families for various reasons.
Children may not wish to tell their parents some things because they may fear they’ll get in trouble for something they did or perhaps they’re embarrassed, or maybe even their secret is about a friend they don’t wish to get in trouble. In adulthood reasons may differ, such as: not wanting family to know they’ve failed at something, got in trouble somewhere, etc. But friends, friends are the ones we choose to share with what’s deep in our souls. Friends are the ones we chose to be friends with us because they accept us – broken fences and all, scars and all. They love us unconditionally. Friends support us through our ups and downs in life. We feel much freer to unburden our souls with friends sometimes more than with family.
Friends don’t judge us. Friends hug us when we need it, and friends understand us – sometimes even without words.
Friends are the family we choose. Friends are the ones we share our deepest, darkest thoughts with, our dreams and ambitions, problems and victories. If a friendship is true, there’s an unspoken respect – a code so to speak.
Even though I have gone through a ‘break-up’ of sorts with one of my two long-time best friends of 35 years, I still think about her. How could one not? Severing a long-time friendship is like a divorce. You miss the kinship and the support and the good times, and the loss of a good friend can break your heart. But, as I wrote in my first edition of this series, if we’ve exhausted all avenues of trying to mend a fence, maybe it’s time to part ways. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t honor the past, honor what we once had and shared, honor deep dark secrets not to be turned into ammunition to smear that person.
Of course, I’m not going to openly discuss what happened between us, but what didn’t happen between us was because of an unspoken respect for the past – for what we once had and shared. A code. In the 3 years we haven’t spoken, never a bad word has passed between us or from our lips. And I know this because like I wrote in my first edition, life is a circle, it’s a small world, once dirt starts flying on social media it can spread like a disease There have been no gossipy stories reported back from mutual friends, no secrets revealed from our pasts together. Because we both honor the friendship code – the respect for the friendship that was.
This honoring of friendships is a simple respect and correlates with – don’t burn your bridges, the old adage – some things are meant to be left sacred. What we don’t blab off about will never come back to haunt us. And another added benefit of practicing that advice is we also never know when a time could come that we mend fences with that old friend. No hateful words of anger to worry about coming back to bite us.
Sometimes when enough time has passed and old wounds heal, anything is possible. Hey, it happened to us once before – the same thing – a total misunderstanding of feelings at a very bad time, misconstrued. Yes, both times it involved my feelings and my sense of a lack of empathy on my friend’s part when I needed her most. That’s not something that can easily be repaired. I tried to convey my hurt, but she continued to deny she did anything wrong. I was overwhelmed with hurt, especially that I was her constant dumping ground for all the crap going on in her life. Eventually, we both silently walked out of each other’s lives. I do believe in time we’ll be destined to meet again and, if and when that happens and time has taught her why I walked away, once again, I will open my arms.
A recipe to keep friendship alive and well:
Stay honest and be there for emotional support when the tides are rough for each other. Reciprocate – friendship is give-and-take, celebrating the good times and supporting for the bad. Respect each other and the past you once shared. Communicate your feelings – especially if something is bothering you, keep the air clear. And laugh – shared laughter is a definite bond strengthener. These are some of the important components to a lasting friendship.
Of course, even friends have spats just as husbands and wives sometimes do on occasion even in the best of relationships. We’re all entitled to our feelings and opinions, and sometimes these opinions differ between friends. When difference of opinion or misunderstandings occur, we should be able to feel free with our friends to express our feelings on these issues, and we should also learn to discuss differences and maybe even sometimes just agree to disagree and let go and move on.
But if the issue has to do with an immediate concern in the friendship and something hurtful has been done without any apology or recognition, and you’ve voiced your concern with no resolution, you may have to re-evaluate that relationship as I had to. And it’s up to each individual who faces this dilemma to decide how much they will tolerate.
Good friends should be able to feel the freedom of being able to discuss and receive feedback from friends when it comes to being permitted to discuss concerns among each other. If there is a barrier in communicating with friends then it may also be time to revisit how you feel about that friendship, and quite possibly you may find you have ‘outgrown’ that relationship. Don’t allow the years you’ve committed to that friendship to be the deciding factor to remain. That would be like saying if you’re unhappy and abused in your marriage, but you’ve been married for so many years you just accept what it is. Don’t just accept. Clear the air, voice your feelings and concerns, and if nothing is computing on the other side, it may just be time to sever ties.
In my next issue here at the Smorgasbord, I’m going to be talking about signals, and diving deeper into severing ties, what to look out for and when it’s time to leave. I hope you enjoyed this edition of Realms of Relationships and will tune back in here next month!
Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships
Happy New Year Readers! And welcome to my newest Blog Magazine Column at the Smorgasbord. This year I’m going to be writing here about relationships – The Realms of Relationships. When Sally suggested I might like to write on this topic I was elated as all my books are about things I experienced in life, and I’m delighted to share my insights here with you all. Now don’t worry, you won’t be finding any psycho-babble here, just plain English from a lifetime of experience.
I’ve been a storyteller since I was a young child – never a fibber – not that kind of storytelling. Whenever I’d heard or ‘overheard’ something when I was young, knowing I wasn’t supposed to be privy to, of course I had to tell someone what I’d heard. I hadn’t yet learned that by not telling all, it was easier to earn trust. By the time I was 10 years old, I was solid. Anyone could tell me anything and my lips were and still are sealed. I pride myself on not being a tattler or a rat and learned to keep my observations to myself.
I was an observer of people, and I didn’t have to look much further than my own family’s behavior to learn what makes people tick. What makes some people angry and some always singing? What kinds of things have I experienced to learn the warning signs of trouble? These are just some of the topics I’ll get into, sharing from my own experience, some of the emotions, and how we react to the different relationships we have with people.
Then I’ll add an experience of my own on the topic to validate my findings. And of course, I look forward to discussion in comments.
So, let’s begin. Today’s topic we’ll start with communication. In order to make and maintain healthy relationships and keep them flourishing, not fizzling, respectful communication is essential. It isn’t just our words, but our body language we emote through our gestures, just as our silences do, the vibe we give off. A shrug denotes indifference, just as hands do waving in the air. And let’s not forget ‘a look’. Hey, I grew up with a stern mother. One scary certain look from her and I knew I’d better run for cover. A slammed door tells another story of frustration just as shouting and belittling of others does.
The old saying, ‘all is fair in love and war’ is cynical. Love isn’t always fair and there’s never anything good about war. We must learn diplomacy when faced with unpleasant situations because we don’t want to leave something hurtful behind from our voice or actions that becomes a future wedge between us and the people we’re upset with. Ranting and raving and throwing around hurtful words never helps any situation. Sure, they can be very cathartic in the short-term, but what about long-term repercussions long after the dispute? We must avoid fanning the flames in already heated moments to preserve our relationships. Even if this dispute becomes large enough that we wish to banish that person from our life or circles – don’t burn your bridges, translation: no bad-mouthing.
Nobody wants to be made to feel that they are small or insignificant by words of anger and it doesn’t serve to resolve anything except escalate an already inflammatory situation. There’s always a graceful way out. Creating bad blood has a tendency to follow us into the future. Life is a circle and we’re apt to meet up with those we’ve banished or bashed somewhere in life again, often unexpectedly – and that’s exactly it – you never know where or when. It could be through meeting other people, a job interview, an introduction to a friend who may be friends with the one you’ve banished or angered. Keep it simple and clean with a break, so those ugly repercussions don’t show up when you least expect them. And be very careful about sharing your hurt feelings on social media because that’s like pouring kerosene and lighting a match to the problem once hurtful words are spread around the cyberverse.
We must learn to convey our grievances with friends and loved ones with honesty and sincerity, explaining what is bothering us and discussing. And believe me, I know very well that some people will never learn to contain their tongues or emotions. If we’ve made the effort to discuss and are faced with the same indignation and screaming match that’s probably a sign it’s time to walk away. Sometimes silence is the healthiest answer. If we’re living under the same roof with the person we’re in conflict with, we need to take a step back, take time to sort our thoughts before we speak.
Once hurtful words are spoken, we can never take them back. If we have good relationships at home and conflict arises, a timeout gives both parties a time to reflect. Once some time has passed and the anger of the heated moment passes, it’s much easier to discuss the issue at hand. A good tip to remember is – speak without shouting or accusing. Don’t point a finger at that person and tell them what we feel they did or said wrong. Speak about your feelings, speak about what you feel has hurt you about the situation to inform the other party about what you are feeling. Nothing will ever get resolved in anger. Remember, don’t try and be logical and problem solving in the heated moment. Take that step back and let the silence cool the embers before attempting to resolve.
Similarly, if we’re conflict with a friend or co-worker, the same distance is suggested. Our relationships with loved ones and relationships with friendships outside the home can be dealt with in the same manner. But if those outside friendships have suffered familiar ongoing issues, and you are faced with a less than agreeable opponent willing to make amends or uninterested in rectifying a situation, that should be a huge flag for us to think about moving on.
Only honest discussions and having respect for other’s feelings can offer healthy solutions with minimal fallout. Using best efforts to eliminate hard feelings or scars when communicating our feelings and gripes can seem trying in the moment of conflict. Also, by not discussing our grievances and by just tolerating the issues that bother us isn’t healthy either. These issues left unattended to will only grow within us, eventually, festering and building a growing resentment for the offending person, which can become a forever wedge in the relationship if left to stew internally and not discussed. Carrying slights and unresolved grievances within us is a recipe for unhappiness. We must try to salvage issues with honest discussion. If we can’t find it in ourselves to confront the one we have issue with, we then have to find a peace within ourselves, acknowledging that we’ve tried our best to rectify to no avail, and make a decision to move on.
We must remember that every good relationship is good because we nurture it by being kind and compassionate, listening, communicating, giving and taking, and most of all respect. When we begin to feel someone stops having time for us, isn’t interested in what we have to say, is not giving back of themselves or displays no interest trying to resolve ongoing issues, it may just be time to leave.
All the above elements in a relationship are the parts we must nurture to keep them solid. This is the work I refer to. I use the word work, but we can easily replace it with effort. If we don’t put in the effort to maintain good relationships, we can’t expect them to last. Simple as that.
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Later on in this series I’ll delve into some specific relationships we have with people – parents, spouses, friends, children, etc., and talk about what makes them good, warning signs, and steps and actions to take to avoid unpleasant occurrences in our relationships and how to deal with them..
My PHD is life, and my life has been a quite colorful one to say the least when it comes to my life experiences. I grew up as a very insecure, emotionally scarred little girl. My childhood and teenage years were spent observing. I began reading self-help books in efforts to make some sense of my slights in life and trying to better myself and my self-esteem. I did some crazy things along the way, to say the least, but I didn’t really have any teachers, only the will to learn, the desire to feel better about myself, my compassion for others, and the things I witnessed from a young age that children should not have to witness. I wrote a book about some of those things I witnessed, learned and experimented with to help better myself and grow a self-esteem – Words We Carry.
I hope you will all enjoy my new series delving into relationships, and I look forward to you sharing your stories, comments and/or questions here monthly at Sally’s Smorgasbord Blog Magazine.
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