You and what army

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As a kid I always made the worst choices in friends. I always picked the girl that would end up telling all my secrets to the entire class. I made friends with people that talked behind my back well into adulthood. I have always had friends that spoke to me cruel and unnecessary ways. I have always trusted the wrong people. I still make friends with people who are unkind to me. Whether they think they are “doing me a favor” by telling me some truth about my personality/marriage/life. Or they just do not treat me well in general. I have to question why I continue this pattern of unhealthy friendships at this point in my life.

Since my diagnosis I stopped being friends with some one who upon hearing of my diagnosis said “its not like you’re going to die.” I stopped speaking to someone who called me a “drama queen” when I was too sick to speak with him on the phone. He has since spent time continuing to harass me. He likes letting me know (on the blog) that he thinks badly of me. Last night I asked one of my friends why he had not been able to make it to the twins’ birthday. He had been promising to see them and us and then not showing up. He replied that he had been sick and unlike me he “did not have an army of people to do things for him.” I felt like I had been punched. How to even respond. It was cruel enough to keep me away for a long time to come.

I am pretty sure the people that know me well will say I am difficult to be friends with. I talk too much. I think I know everything. I give a lot but I expect a lot. And I think a few people would say I do not listen. There are good things about being friends with me. I am pretty nice and easy to be around. I think even with the cancer I still smile and laugh a lot. But yes I am not the easiest person to know. And I am actually very aware of my character defects. Which I am very desperate to change given my diagnosis. But sometimes these things that cut so deep they are difficult to ignore and move past. Maybe I hurt my friends too and I don’t know it. Maybe I am just really good at being a doormat.

But anymore I do not want to be one. Kelly told me I am not allowed to “fire” anymore of my friends. But I have a tendency to do this. I do not work things out with people. I just stop being friends with them. Its not about forgiveness. I can forgive them. But I do not want to continue to give people the opportunity to hurt me ever again. And for that reason I have no contact with anyone in my family except my mother. I pray all the time that God will help me forgive those who have hurt me. I pray that God will forgive me for hurting others.

Now the good thing is that there are a lot of people who are here for me. I have a lot of loving wonderful friends as well. Many of them can and do tell me the truth. Even the hard stuff. And I do not usually spend even one day in which I am alone or feel unloved. I have more close friends than most people. That small army are people I love and who I continue to have healthy happy relationships with. I still care about the lives of my friends. Even when they try to hide behind my cancer as a way to not talk about themselves I drag it out of them. I care about how my friends feel and what is happening to them. Nearly every day the people I love call me and come by. I am not letting the harsh words of others determine my self worth. Honestly, I feel blessed and fortunate in every regard. I do not care if people want to speak badly of me. I do not need to believe it. I can say that the friendships I have I treasure and enjoy. The relationships that are damaging and hurtful I can do without.

Truth without Love Kills, Love without Truth Lies

Ebehard Arnold

12 Responses to “You and what army”

  1. kelly peeples says:

    I don’t know the specifics of each situation, but I think it’s perfectly healthy to fire friends that are damaging the quality of your life. Of course one can go too far, and end up feeling lonely. Each situation is different and I wonder if that friend didn’t realize the comment would hurt so much. How to know? If they ask forgiveness–with genuine regret–and follow through with trust. If that person isn’t willing to apologize, then fuck ’em. You deserve to be treated kindly. Life is too short to endure otherwise.

  2. maire brandon says:

    Sorry to hear that some people don’t have any sense about them regarding your situation!! I have, myself, learned a bit later in life that if the person or people I’m with make me feel worse about myself or simply less happy in general then it’s time to move on. I have the same personality weaknesses and/or issue as you….I’m an aggressive talker in conversations, I AM usually right(hahahaha), well I’m an Aries and Scottish…and I always admit to people that I’m a hard person to be with…but that still doesn’t mean that I need to subject myself to people who I end up feeling miserable around. I’m not an advocate of the Christian ascetic belief that torture and pain and self flagellation make you a stronger or better person. Sometimes we dislike traits in ourselves so much that we allow other’s to berate us for them. Honestly, we’re our own worst enemies, we need to surround ourselves with people who see our weaknesses and love us and love being with us, regardless…as we do them. Like I’ve said, we’re all made of the same clay and we’re all in this together, so we need to gird each other up, not tear each other down.

    My good friend, Sandi, had her surgery yesterday. They found that the cancer was not in the muscle, that was a plus. She’s in a lot of pain today, as you know, but sitting up and from the reports I hear from her husband, able to apply lipstick and mascara!! I said she was making the rest of us look bad and to lay off the make-up! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing~thanks for listening~thanks for being you!

    maire brandon

    Happy birthday to your talented twins….my youngest is now 16….it goes so fast.

  3. Dina says:

    Wow. This post really hit me because I can so relate to the friend thing. I actually have a little picture of a doormat upstairs that has “I WILL NOT BE ONE OF THESE” printed on it. I used to spend a hell of a lot of time worrying whether people liked me or not. My list included things like, “Ask Tracey how her dog is feeling” so that I would remember to take time in my busy day to make sure I pissed no one off. A few years ago I had a huge blowout with a few “close” friends- people I eventually realized were just grown up bullies-basically middle school mentalities in the bodies of grown women who now had children and husbands and jobs. Wasn’t this stuff supposed to stop after our teens? But it hadn’t. It felt good to admit my mistakes and take a good hard look at these friendships. Three people who had taken from me for lots of years, but never really gave a thing. I just happened to jump on every crumb, feeling lucky to be included. Pathetic. That blowup was a mess, but it taught me so much. Like….1. You can’t be friends with everyone. 2. You don’t want to be friends with everyone anyway. 3. Lots of people you think are your friends are actually jealous people who hate to see you succeed/be well/live life to the fullest. 4. While we want to teach forgiveness as good mothers, we don’t want to teach our kids that it’s OK for people to crap all over us just because they have the title of “friend” or “sister”. 5. What people think about me is beyond my control, and frankly, has no effect on me whatsoever. It isn’t going to send a lightning strike through my window. Let them talk, laugh, make fun. I am still me. 6. While I never wanted to be “that person who doesn’t talk to her sister” or “that girl who USED to be friends with us”, and I dread running into at least 4 or 5 people when I’m out and about…hell…it’s a small price to pay for living honestly. I have weeded out the a-holes and have let in the people who get me…and think I’m fine the way I am…the ones who would actually be OK with me being thinner, more successful, more supported…..IF that ever happened. Perhaps the people who refer to your army taking care of you wish that you were weaker or had less help…some people thrive on being needed. The friends who really matter will put up with you and forgive you and be forgiven by you. The ones you fire, as you said, are you up at night thinking about it? If not, maybe it’s a good thing. People say otherwise, but I truly feel that the best friendships are effortless…the people you can be with and do absolutely nothing but still feel happy and glad they are there. Know what I mean?
    Anyway, I am sorry that anyone would focus their time on harrassing you- that anyone’s life would be that empty sort of speaks for itself.
    Thanks for letting me join your small army, sweetie. You are treasured.
    🙂

  4. Michele says:

    I used to hang out with a few “close friends” that were also abusive jerks. It took me years to realize that they were dragging me down and that the negativity of the relationships outweighed the positive. I miss them sometimes, yes, we did have alot of good times, but I don’t miss all of the stress and the high maintenance and having to walk on eggshells around them for fear of doing something “wrong” and pissing them off. I dont’ miss all of the bullshit and I dont’ miss being a doormat.

    It is a breath of fresh air, knowing that the friends I have now truely DO care about me, and we have a helluva time just hanging out and having fun! There’s none of the bullshit drama that wastes the good time. There’s none of that “middle school mentality” that Dina (above comment) describes. (and that’s SUCH a good description!) Life is too precious not to surround yourself with what is positive and good.

  5. joshua says:

    Eberhard Arnold rules. so do you. kelly gives good advice, too.

    you made some pretty keen insights here, thanks.

  6. Linda, Palm Harbor, Florida says:

    Hi Andrea,
    It was hard reading the hurt that people have caused you, you are not a doormat and I applaud you for being so honest and giving us all a glimpse of yourself. A lot of people themselves feel the way you do and it’s very hard to come to light and realize that you must figure it all out and sometimes (yes) we all falll back to the bad people. You go girl in keeping on. The bad people out there will have it come back – full circle thing. Keep up the good fight, I pray for you often.

  7. Ginger says:

    As usual a thought-provoking posting. I read it, looked in a virtual mirror and immediately sent an email to an old friend. Ran into another this morning and rather than running off to work, sat down and caught up. You’re dropping pebbles in a pond, Andrea, and the result is waves.

    While you might have or had friends’ issues, what I see is that you’re raising children that don’t. They’re kind, respectful, responsible, smart and wise beyond their years. What about a book?

  8. Mary B says:

    Hi Andrea,
    Saw Jesse the other night at the love feast… you must be so proud of him!
    Though my situation is very different, I certainly know what you’re saying about going through changes with friends when a crisis happens.

  9. Mary B says:

    Oops. Hit submit too early… part 2:
    People say and do all kinds of insensitive and callous things, and the worst seems to be that sometimes it’s a person you least suspected to be capable of such ignorance. I guess the upside is, like you said, other people can really come through for you and friendships deepen.
    After my son died in 2006, some people said and did very hurtful things, and others have been helping me ever since. It’s been a weird mix of encounters with people out there, and I still get mad (which I think is appropriate at times!), but it is good to know that there are friends.
    I am glad that you have so many, and also sad and stunned that some can’t recognize that you are suffering.

  10. Julie says:

    I fired a ton of old “friends” and grew apart from others (you). Growing away from someone doesn’t necessarily mean they did anything wrong – it’s just that you moved in different directions in your lives.

    Firing a friend. Well, I can’t think of one person I’ve fired that didn’t deserve it. People were cruel to me. Held me down, made me feel less of a person. Who the hell needs that in their life.

    If this guy who made that rude remark about people helping you was a true friend, he’d realize was an asshole he was being and apologize.

  11. leann says:

    everyone should get that phrase tattooed on their body as not to forget it.

  12. the bad hippie says:

    they’re all just jealous that you’ve got the “CAN” and people bring you yummy meals.
    maybe if they weren’t so icky someone would bring them dinner when they’re sick.
    i love you babe, thanks for not firing me.