What is wrong with me

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GreenTshirt

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What is wrong with me
« on: September 07, 2017, 04:53:01 AM »
Over the past few years I've been dealing with two separate BPD friendships, and they have both taken a toll. While I'm doing a lot of work in therapy, the fact that I seem to be a magnet for these people makes me feel like I am a hopeless failure. It's hard for me to get past the sense that as hard as I try, I am an idiot for not being assertive enough or good enough at setting boundaries. Does anyone else deal with this kind of negative self-talk? It's hard for me to forgive myself for being such a people pleaser. I feel like after so many years of working to be more assertive I should be better at it than I am.

I have tried very hard to create distance with friend #1, with some success. I know the issues are still there but I am much less available to her. She also got married and that has thankfully taken a lot of the pressure of our relationship. I've been so relieved about the whole thing.

THEN, friend #2 moved to my city. It's a disaster. We don't actually know each other very well (we're connected through work and share a lot of colleagues and acquaintances). I initially felt like I had to be nice for professional reasons, and she took full advantage of that. She started treating me as a close friend very early on. It made me uncomfortable and I made lots of excuses not to spend time with her.

She's a single mom and since she moved, she has put a lot of pressure on me to babysit, introduce her to people, hang out multiple times a week, and listen to her MANY concerns and anxieties. The intensity is too high and I've started backing away. She invited me to a party and I told her I was very busy but that I'd stop by. I arrived near the end, and she still hasn't stopped complaining about the fact that i got there so late. I've been doing my best medium chill and not responding. I know it's not my fault, but I still feel like I did something wrong. Since she's new to the city and doesn't know many people, and she acts like I'm her only support system. She talks about how hard it is to be a single mom and not having any social time. I have too much on my plate already and can barely get my own stuff done. She offers to help sometimes, but it feels empty I don't think she really gets it. If I could have it my way, we wouldn't interact at all except for social media... but I don't think I can go NC because of our work connection.

I would certainly appreciate any thoughts or suggestions. Thank you.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2017, 05:02:43 AM by GreenTshirt »

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: What is wrong with me
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2017, 09:27:23 AM »
The second friend you mentioned is making her problem your problem. There's no reason for you to accept this sort of hot potato hand off.

PD and other type of toxic persons are Masters at honing in on those they can easily work with, those who will not put up obstacles to meeting their ends. Toxic persons can easily sniff out those with weak boundaries, those who will JADE. Those of us who were raised by PD persons send up huge green flags waving them in without us even realizing. Please know that this is not your fault, you were groomed.

This doesn't leave matters hopeless though. Personally my experience has been since I've worked to overcome my extreme codependence things are better. Things like boundaries, knowing how to not Jade using medium chill, leaving people's responsibility with them instead of taking it for them and fixing it are skills worth learning and it's a constant battle not to slip back it old habits.

The book "I don't have to make everything all better" really helped and is on our book review board if you want to take a look.

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she acts like I'm her only support system
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NotFooled

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Re: What is wrong with me
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2017, 01:19:47 PM »
While I'm doing a lot of work in therapy, the fact that I seem to be a magnet for these people makes me feel like I am a hopeless failure. It's hard for me to get past the sense that as hard as I try, I am an idiot for not being assertive enough or good enough at setting boundaries. Does anyone else deal with this kind of negative self-talk?

I've been dealing with the negative self talk and having allot of self doubt about my personal relationship with social friends.  So you're not alone.  I've come to the understanding that for a long time I've made friends much easier with emotionally unstable people.  I believe it's because my parents and GM were often times emotionally unstable and I'm more comfortable around PD's than mentally healthy people.

But I am making a strong effort to not be Hoovered back into my old social circle and am working on my social skills to make healthy new friendships. 

I think as long as I am conscious of the problem and work towards maintaining healthy relationships I think I'll be on the right track.  But don't beat yourself up over it if you slip up now and then I believe this is a process

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clara

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Re: What is wrong with me
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2017, 01:59:32 PM »
Because of work, you're in a tight spot, Green.  I've actually seen PDs make the rounds in work situations where they "test' everyone they come across until they find the one person (or two) who they can manipulate and use.  And they always find someone.  You're no different from a lot of people who get taken advantage of by PDs and it's only time and experience that makes you better at spotting them from the get-go.  And even then, they can be subtle enough where you fail to notice how their small, innocent requests or attempts at initiating a friendship will lead to something you feel you can no longer get out of.  Be too vigilant, however, and you run the risk of alienating non-PDs who are actually being straightforward.  It can seem as if the learning process never ends! 

But I think, if you keep aware and your instincts intact, you do learn.  In the meantime, you have to deal with your current situation and in other threads people have mentioned a tactic I've had to use myself when I was at a loss--make yourself a total bore to the PD, interact at such a bare minimum that they no longer want to be around you.  Remember that their goal is to have someone around they can use to their advantage.  Like anyone, they'll get tired of making an effort that goes nowhere.  Your showing up late to the party was a good tactic, in my opinion. Maybe it was passive-aggressive, but so what?  They hate passive-aggressive!   And if she complains about it (or something similar in the future) just a non-commital, vague "well, yeah" type of response will put up the barrier you need.  Hold up a shield she can't get around.  She'll get frustrated and tired of trying.  It's not an ideal response, I know, but you have to do something.  Your dynamic with her won't change unless you actively change it.  Good luck!