Dr. W's Space Travels
Space Cadet Has Had Enough
Dr. Wood LXXVI
The lovely month of October. Where leaves fall, kids get candy, and insurance work explodes. I think my primary sales rep has finally resigned, and there’s been a noticeable lack of stress because of it. Modest as I might try to be with linking the causes of my feelings with certain people I interact with, working with him really did have its challenges. I can acknowledge that I overall enjoyed working with him and that I think we had a good working relationship, but there was also a lot of undue stress between his alpha attitude and my rather subservient disposition. He’s really the only one who’s ever called me outside of work hours to have me help him with stuff. Granted, that didn’t happen often, but the fact that it happened at all does say something. My intent is not to speak ill of him, though. I just wanna explain why I think I’ll feel a bit more off edge (opposite of “on edge”?) in the upcoming weeks. And I think it’s important to recognize that there are certain people in my life whose actions can fill me with less-than-positive feelings.
On that note, here’s another one – my friend who was supposed to visit this weekend. She called me to let me know that she wouldn’t be coming as she had gotten herself a job. I was of course very relieved by this, though making that relief visible wouldn’t have been a great thing to do. So yeah, this weekend was mostly very peaceful. But good god – I can feel extremely drained talking with her. If I can be brutally frank and shallow for a bit… she seems to have gruesome quantities of problems going on in her life. And it seems like I’m the only one that she feels she can turn to to vent. I’ve noticed a pattern for when she reaches out to me – in between gaps ranging from a month to six months, she’ll bring up something that made her think of me (e.g. something from a movie), and then we’ll talk a bit more frequently over text or phone call about lighthearted things, and maybe some other stuff. And then somehow, later there will be problems that are going on in her life, or dark thoughts going on in her head, and she’ll reach out to me since she knows I’ll listen. I’ll then try to offer what I can to help assuage them, and over the span of about an hour we’ll talk. And then we’ll end the conversation, with the feeling of things being resolved (well, I’m the one who would feel that, I guess). Then I’d get another call about either the same thing, or something else that suddenly has yet to be revealed, or something or another. Hard to explain since this is a pattern I’m seeing in retrospect over the course of years. But then when we talk, she’s so broken and distraught that it ends up just being me sitting there, not knowing what to say, and her being manic or having crying fits or asking me things out of insecurity. And like, I just tell her to let it all out, because that’s really all I can do. She goes to therapy and stuff, but I kinda feel like she’s the type of person that is subconsciously resistant to it. She has a humongous history of being a victim to physical abuse, sexual abuse, depression, alcohol abuse (she’s been sober for a while, though), and generally feeling unwanted. It almost feels like no amount of therapy is gonna help her fully.
I don’t wanna focus too much on talking about this because 1.) I don’t want it to pervade my feelings, and 2.) I really don’t wanna express so many hurtful words about her. But I am seriously so drained. All throughout our time in the army together before we deployed to Afghanistan, I was constantly dealing with her being inebriated and getting her out of toxic and terrible situations, or waking up in the middle of the night to her frantically calling me about something and needing my help. I didn’t know any better at the time because “being there for each other is just what friends do”, and “she would do that for me if I was in that position too”. Which is kind of BS because I would never be in those kinds of situations myself. Sometimes I wonder if she’s just generally attracted to the wrong crowds. But anyway, I had finally had enough, and at some point broke off our friendship. I was also dating my first girlfriend at the time, who was living in China. So a long-distance relationship. It sucked, BTW. But I bring that detail up because that was another relationship that I had major struggles with. Maybe I was the one drawn to the wrong crowds too. Anyway, my friend and I became friends again some time after the Afghanistan tour, and it’s been better… but there’ve still been issues. And there’s still the notion of “being there for each other is just what friends do”, because I find myself answering her calls even in times where I’m busy. Because “I can never be too busy to not answer a call from a friend in need”. There was a time where she kept calling while I was playing Rocket League online with my two brothers. And it pissed me off. I wanted to spend time with my brothers and here I was taking phone calls where all I would hear from the other person is “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have called…” amid thirty other insecure statements. Gahhhh it’s just so frustrating because nothing even gets resolved during those interactions, and I end up just wasting my time sitting there feeling sorry for her and whatever. I know “friends are supposed to be there for each other” but at some point, enough is enough. It’s become a “person who cried ‘wolf’” sort of thing now. So many calls are urgent that they no longer feel urgent. Contrarily, if someone like my brother were to call me with urgency, the credibility of the claim would be high and I’d be very concerned. But with her, I just feel more annoyed than anything. I now dread seeing her name on the caller ID and that is not something that friends should feel when other friends call. There’s more to it, like the fact that she sees me as a messiah and that I kinda feel like she’s overly dependent on me, but I don’t wanna talk about it anymore. The short of it is, I’m a terrible friend that doesn’t wanna be relied on or have any sort of responsibility for another friend.
I’m a bit frazzled in talking about the above because I have so many thoughts about it, and I can’t seem to get them all out. A lot happened lately and I never got around to logging it until now. When she called me on Friday, and I finally set down a boundary that I could talk for about an hour before doing something that I needed to divert my attention to – an act that I thought was a good compromise. She said that seemed fine, and so she began talking – sort of – about what was going on. So I asked things like “do you have any activities outside the home that you’d like to do?” and stuff like that, under the premise that maybe staying at home while her son was with his dad was causing her idle thoughts to run rampant. Then she went silent for a while, so I said “are you still there?”, to which she hesitantly answered “yes”… and then stayed silent when I asked my initial question again. Then the phone cut out. I called again, but with no answer. Haven’t heard anything from her all weekend, and I haven’t reached out to her since. I know she feels very bad about being a burden to me. She always worries that she is one. Apparently it’s a confirmed thing that she’s a burden to everyone else in her life. I really hate being the “last leg” for her to stand on, because that means if I voice a negative remark about her, it’ll push her over the edge. God I hate that feeling. I thought my idea to make time for her and also make time for myself was good because it acknowledged both my needs and her struggles. But now I feel like there’s game-playing going on or something. I dunno. I’m unsure if I’m just being a heartless person or actually being a good friend by asserting my own boundaries. I’m just so tired of it all. I’ve dealt with it for too long and am just now realizing the toxicity of such codependence. Ugh… okay, obligatory mention of the fact that she’s very caring and compassionate and nurturing and whatnot, and that we have had a lot of really good times together. But this is my diary, and this is where I say all the things I’m too scared to say to her.
Thinking more positively, the people in The Friends Club Discord server are some of the greatest people I’ve ever met. I’ve recently been playing a lot of Valorant with them, which has been a lot of fun though a challenge for me. I’m truly a newb at the game, and my learning curve is very, very broad. But they’ve been nothing but supportive and regularly endow me with praise, encouragement and tips. In playing FPS games, I’m usually very worried that people will become impatient with me and disparage my efforts to work with the team. I’m not sure if that’s something that’s actually happened before or if I just picture being in that situation because of my insecurities, but it’s a moot point because playing with them puts me so at ease. I was planning on not playing again after my first few attempts, but their support compelled me to keep playing. Suffice it to say, their company is the best part of playing. It’s funny how I’m starting to really realize the kinds of people I want in my life. Age 29, and I’m finally getting a clue on the crowds I’m most drawn to. Perhaps that’s one reason why I stopped being a part of the fellowship group… although that’s a vastly different story, because they too are extraordinary people without an ounce of toxicity in their veins. I can’t stress enough that the Christian circle I was a part of for so long was one-of-a-kind, filled with people who are so welcoming, understanding and kind. But I’ve learned about my identity over the past few years, and that is the identity of someone who is not Christian and never plans to be. Same reasons apply to why I left the Rotary group just a year or so ago – filled with some of the most amazing and selfless people in the community, but not something that truly, truly aligns with what’s in my heart, despite me thinking it would in the beginning. I’m selfish, and while I do wanna do good, I wanna do good on my own terms. I want to make a difference in the world, but not be depended on to make a difference. I want to prioritize my own health and wellbeing before anything else. Ironically, I think that everyone doing that could yield a positive effect in whole. But I know that’s not reality. Anyway, my point is just that I’m trying to reform my life to be what currently fits my identity, as it is now becoming more and more clear to me.
To the dear friend of mine whom I put on blast, albeit anonymously, in this here diary post: I feel guilt in saying what I said above. I sympathize for all you have had to deal with, and clearly I don’t understand the magnitude of it given the attitude that I just displayed. But I really can’t be the only light that you seek. I humanly can’t handle that, and I can’t cope with taking in all your hurt and angst by myself. I really think you need to reach out to others, not to solve your problems but just to be friends to you, so that you have a strong network of people to back you up. Not just people that will be there on Facebook to say “sorry you’re dealing with so much! You deserve better!”, but people whom you can hang out with and allow those dark, dark thoughts within your head to dissipate. There’s no denying that you’ve faced some crappy circumstances. There’s no denying that such circumstances have left you with many scars. But please, trust me when I say this – there is definitely more than just me who can be a light for you, if you so see me as such a thing. I know it’s true because I found a community of my own that bears so many lights for my life. It might sound like a trifle to so many others because it’s a place where nerds and weebs hang out to discuss which waifus have the best thighs. In reality, though, it’s full of so many people who embrace me, with the only requirement being that I’m not a douchebag. And I’m not a douchebag. Neither are you. I hope you can one day find your Friends Club.