ever had a friend that sucked you dry emotionally? exhausting, isn’t it? your give and their take is way out of balance.
know what else is exhausting? these two Benadryl i took before starting to write this. that was really stupid of me. God help me write this without sucking it up too badly.
Donald Miller wrote a blog last week called Do You Filter Your Relationships? You Probably Should, and it got me thinking. oh shut up, you know that happens. sometimes.
i’m not going to rehash what Miller says, you can and should read it, but the basic point is this: it is perfectly acceptable and even healthy to cut the takers out of your life.
even if it’s someone you’re dating. maybe especially if it’s someone you’re dating.
okay, i added that last part. Miller focused on relationships in general. i’m aiming for your romantic sweet spot. you might want to put on your cup.
here are 5 signs you’re giving more than you’re getting from a relationship:
1. you are afraid of her response – you have to deliver some bad news like, “i forgot to pick up your dry cleaning” or “i didn’t have time to change your headlight because i stopped a kidnapping” and you know she’s going to go batshit. a reasonable response would be “bummer, i was really looking forward to wearing those pleat-front khaki’s tomorrow”* or “is the kid okay?” instead, you are going to get hostility and guilt trip for one.
2. nothing is ever her fault – ever. and if you try to point out that is was her and not you who left door open so her awful chihuahua, Suckmuffin, could get out and be mercifully ran over by a Taurus, she’ll make you feel like you are victimizing her. obviously you distracted her by asking for toilet paper, so clearly, it’s your fault.
3. you feel more defeated than encouraged – i got no jokes here. anytime you are with someone who brings you down more than they lift you up, it’s a problem. one that will only get worse. you deserve better. always.
4. you are constantly trying to appease – the bomb squad has defused fewer explosions than you have. you’re drama alert is always on red. your senses are constantly and finely tuned to making a preemptive tantrum strike and your list of potential apologies is tongue ready should you fail to prevent the melt down.
5. you find yourself making excuses for her to others – this is the menstrual cycle of red flags. gross, sharideth. i know. but if you have been in more than one situation where you have had to apologize to someone or manyones for her embarrassing/rude behavior, tipped the server extra because she was such an nasty piece of work at dinner or even straight up lied to yourself by making an excuse for why she just made you feel an inch tall, you’re well on your way to Codependency and you’re making good time.
we are required to forgive and to let go. that’s healthy, that’s awesome, that’s freeing. however, we are not required to keep those people who suck the life out of us close. you can cut them off. it doesn’t matter if it’s someone your dating, that friend who only shows up when they need something or wants to dump their drama on you or if it’s your brother/parent/cousin. you have to have boundaries that keep you safe from being used and in a constant state of stress or disappointment.
the only exception to this is if you’re already married. many divorces are the result of one or more of the five things i’ve listed, but it should be the last option. whether you are the used or the user, get some help. all is not lost, it’s just temporarily misplaced if you are willing to take some time and look.
what did i miss? what are some other signs you are giving more than you are getting?
* it is never acceptable to wear pleat-front khakis.