Saturday, November 02, 2002

Friends, Chaos and Detachment

The new telephone directory arrived a few days ago. Whenever it arrives, I have this old habit of going through and finding friends and acquaintances; looking for people I've lost touch with, and so forth. I noticed this year that everyone has "gone." Almost everyone, anyway.

And then I got to thinking about who these people were, and what kinds of relationships we had. And why they ended, so easily, just sliding away into a state of neglect. As a result of this little exercise in analysis, I also came to the very difficult (or uncomfortable) conclusion that-- in many cases-- I "owned" part of the problem.

I deluded myself that these people were "friends," but really... they were there because they could "get" something from me, a "feed" of sorts, and when that "feed" stopped, so did their interest. I realize that I tend to come across as someone who has "the answers" and others often operate under the perception that I have my life together. Which is simply not true-- but perceptions are often more important than facts.

I don't want this to sound harsh, and it certainly doesn't make it EASIER to cope with losing someone.... but it really isn't "friendship" when people are just interested in me because I am "useful" to them. In my case, that "use" has often been my ability to act as a "guide" or "ship's counselor." Sometimes the use has been more practical-- often in a monetary sense. I can't deny that friendship certainly involves the process of "helping" a friend, but when the friendship is defined by my giving help-- it quickly becomes usuary. And in looking at this stuff, I have also come to realize that I have personally grown in a direction that makes the original "connection" with those people less relevant than it used to be.

A "real" friend recently sent me this web page link:

http://www.coping.org/control/detach.htm

and I found it to be interestingly timely, mostly in the way it served as a reminder of many of the co-dependency issues I visited in therapy, many years ago. My travels through the online HSP Communities suggest that this is an issue that's relevent to many HSPs.

As an aside, coping.org is an enormous site with almost endless linked pages that allow you to meander and evaluate some of your own issues and struggles in life, and it also offers many (often "tough love" oriented, I grant you) solutions. Every underlined word is a link to yet another issue and level of "granularity." Many HSPs might find something useful there-- I know I certainly have.

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