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 Post subject: New Circle of Friends
PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 2:55 pm 
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I've recently moved back to my home that I was renting out for a year. I was close with my neighbors before I moved. I've had some deep talks with them about what I've gone thru in the past year (diagnosis, therapy, recovery, etc.) One neighbor in particular suffers from depression and obesity and I was hopeful that this would bring us closer. Instead I've found myself ostracized from them. They've all taken up smoking and I do not smoke, therefore I do not join them when they congregate outside and I've told them why. Lately there has been some childish bickering (a lot of "he said/she said" crap) and it has gotten so out of control that I've told them all that I will stay out of their way. The one neighbor who suffers from depression said some very hurtful things, almost mocking my therapy, talking about "the new Sandy" and "her new words". So in a very Borderline way, I've stopped communicating with them all-together and just keep to myself. On one hand it feels good, because I didn't stoop to their level with the name-calling and didn't feel this huge urge to defend myself against everything they've said. On the other hand, I feel very lonely. One of my therapists said this often happens in recovery...that one tends to develop a new circle of healthier friends. Has anybody else gone thru this new friendship circle recently? If so, I'd appreciate some helpful thoughts/suggestions on getting thru the lonely times.

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 Post subject: Re: New Circle of Friends
PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 3:37 pm 
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Oh yes, definitely. My circle of friends have circled around 20 times over. In discovering 'me', I let old friendships go(then tried to get them back), let some go forever, made new ones, thought they were more than they were(I had this issue with instant best friends), left them, etc etc etc.

What is helpful to remember - And this is challenging but every bit worth it - Is to tell yourself "I don't know what's going on in this person's life". We can know as much as they allow us to, but we never really know what's going on in their heads. Maybe depressed neighbor had a horrible day. She IS depressed, after all. That doesn't excuse some of the harsh words you say she spoke, but we're not looking for excuses - Simply understanding that many, many times, it is outside ourselves. A lot of times, it has nothing to do with us. I think one of the four agreements would really help here -

DON'T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY

Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

I have several very close friends, whom I've known anywhere from 10-20 years, from childhood. For the most part, I've remained in touch with them during all stages of my recovery. I have made new friends also and I notice that they are entirely different from the older friendships that I let go.

It is great that you didn't resort to name calling and add fuel to the drama fire. This is when you weigh things. Balance. Do you find yourself walking away from your social events with these neighbors more energized, or more drained? Stopping communication all-together may have "a borderline thing to do"(impulsive, perhaps, might have been an alternate way to put it). Have you been taking the time to think things out, weigh the options, the good, the bad, the grey?

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The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't.


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 Post subject: Re: New Circle of Friends
PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 3:55 pm 
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Let me see if I have this straight:
*you move back to a neighborhood where you knew people after a year of healthy, happy living-type changes within yourself
*the people of this neighborhood are admittedly 'depressed' or otherwise dysfunctional
*you don't want to hang around outside with them because all they are doing is smoking and you have not only stated your opinion of such, you abide by it (not joining in)
*they call you hurtful names, poking fun at your recovery progress
*they bicker in a childish way that you don't consider meaningful/helpful (crap) and it's out of control
*you have chosen to stop communication and are keeping to yourself, without name-calling or sinking to their level even in defense of yourself
*without them you feel lonely

Is the above correct?

I'm not sure what about the above is considered "in a very borderline way". Seems to me that you have deemed these people to be 'not good for you' and are moving on. I think it takes courage and resilience to do that-- all part of gaining recovery. Bravo. :D

I, too, have had my 'circle of friends' change drastically during this recovery process. The only advice I can offer is to trust in yourself and stand by what you deem 'appropriate' friendship behaviour. You will find yourself not so lonely in the end, but it does take time.

During that time-- get out. Go see what you like to do (by yourself) and begin to embody the essence of 'you'. In finding yourself, you will find others who appreciate similar things and bonds form because of it.

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"Pain is resistance to change."
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 Post subject: Re: New Circle of Friends
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 9:08 pm 
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Well, after over a week of no contact with these neighbors, I'm feeling very free. I DID feel very exhausted with each interaction, so my psyche is telling me this was an unhealthy environment. I have a dog-sitting business on the side, so I've been away from home a lot in that time and that has helped (not to mention the unconditional love I've been getting from these dogs!!). Thank you for your valuable insight.

:)


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 Post subject: Re: New Circle of Friends
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:41 pm 
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I'm 100% with Harmonium - well done in removing yourself from people who are unhealthy for you. I don' see anything borderline in your response either.

It took me years to remove myself from a bunch of people who weren't healthy for me, all because I felt lonely without them. In retrospect I really wish I hadn't taken so long, bc in that time I could've made the kind of friends I have now, and more of them, and longer friendships etc. So I really am very impressed that you didn't um and ahh around codependance and just addressed how you felt. Think of all the space you've now got to make better friendships!

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