Stories and thoughts about family and life

on April 9, 2014

I’m a very loyal person. I’m one of those people who makes friends and typically keeps them. I have expanded my “friend pool” over the years and I’m thankful to have so many people who are close to me now, because it wasn’t always like that. Even still, the people who have been my friends since childhood are still my friends, and most of the time we can pick up like we never were apart and have conversations as if we just hung up the phone yesterday. I love that.

Lately, I’ve had a couple of my friendships seriously tested. One in particular has been particularly bothersome. A friend of mine who is in, as I see it, an abusive relationship and just can’t seem to see it has consumed my thoughts of late and caused me to question my loyalty. Don’t misunderstand–it’s not that I wish to no longer be her friend, it’s that I feel I am enabling her to continue repeating her pattern of accepting responsibility for her situation and returning to it so she can face abuse again. It’s hurtful to me to think that I can’t stop her, and I certainly can’t make her see. It’s even more hurtful to know that I can’t stop her pain, so I must make a decision about distancing myself from this explosive situation and hoping that by leaving her without a rescue net she might hit rock bottom and begin her path upward again at some point.

I have known this friend for nearly 20 years now. We have been very close, moved apart, and returned to our close relationship. We have watched one another’s children grow up, shared job changes, and taken vacations together. I suppose that loyalty is why I respond so immediately when she calls me, out of the blue, with a need. She did this a couple of weeks ago. She was in the emergency room, having suffered some injuries following a bizarre accident following an altercation with her husband. He had left her, penniless and with no ID. The ambulance arrived and brought her into town to the ER. She didn’t have a way to get home and hadn’t eaten all day. I wasn’t quite home yet when the phone ran, as I was returning from a business trip. In the last 20 miles or so I had to drive, I called a mutual friend of ours to see if she knew what all had happened (I didn’t want to ask my friend for all the details), and then arranged for my husband to meet me and we went to the hospital together. She checked herself out and we stopped to grab her some dinner and drove her home. She was fine, ultimately, although pretty sore and very upset.

Dropping her off that night was very stressful for me. Would she be alright? Was he going to come home and them fight again? Would he harm her? She assured me she would be fine and I pulled out of the driveway, watching her in the mirror. I reached out to her at work the next day, after our other friend told me she would need to get a new driver’s license. I offered to drive her there and anywhere else she needed to go, since her husband still had her car. The whole situation was very sad, but at the same time I could see some hope in her face as she seemed to be approaching a new perspective on her life. I hate to see anyone’s relationship end, but seeing the destructive nature of this relationship is painful to say the least. She seemed, as we ran her errands, to be making plans to move forward on her own. Boy was I wrong.

The next couple of days I didn’t really speak much to her, communicating mostly through our other friend. I didn’t want to make her have to repeat everything, and I just wanted to help, so I stayed back a bit. I inserted myself where ever I thought I could have the most impact and prayed she would be okay. It’s amazing to me how a short four days can turn things around. By Friday night she was talking again to her husband and by Saturday they were reconciled. She accepts the blame for everything and tells everyone that this was all her fault. But you know what? I think the most hurtful thing is that I have heard nothing from her since Friday. I’ve gotten my updates through our other friend. To be cast aside, only to be called upon when a catastrophe occurs and the not needed otherwise is beyond frustrating. I’ve had to come to the painful conclusion that this relationship has likely run its course, and as I said earlier, I’m only enabling her by picking her up every time she falls only for her to go right back into a bad situation.

It has caused me to reflect on my own relationships and how I exercise my requests of the people who are important to me. I hope that none of them ever feel used or feel that I am unappreciative of their efforts. I hope that, if I were stranded in the middle of the night, I would have several people I could call on. I haven’t decided how I’m going to handle it yet when she calls me the next time (and I know there likely will be a next time). I hope I have the strength to handle it properly, and I hope that she isn’t hurt too badly. I hope that there isn’t a reason for her to have to need me in the middle of the night next time, and that her life straightens out. All in all, though, I realize that I can hope for her every day, but she has to make it happen.


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