This blog post might be a little cryptic and that is because I want to avoid sharing another person’s journey/struggle without his/her permission. Instead, I am going to try to write about my experience as I witness the journey.
It is so hard to let someone do their own thing when I think their own thing is going to ruin their life. I am learning how to let go of control on a whole new level. There isn’t really anything I can do in this moment to help that person. I don’t think. Usually, when a friend is going through something hard, I have learned to validate feelings. That’s all I can do. “Oh, wow, it sounds like you feel angry and lonely,” “I can see how you think that and I understand your feelings of worthlessness but I want you to know that you are worthy of my love just by being alive,” that sort of thing. And I say these things even when I am thinking, “what? How could that possibly make this person angry?” I say them, because it is so important to meet people in their reality.
I used to think that my family didn’t love me. And when someone would say to me, “wow, you’re so wrong,” I would then think, “okay, this person doesn’t get it, I can’t talk to them about this anymore.” Because of my experience with that and from the advice of others, I have learned to meet people where they are.
Usually, as a result of validating someone else’s feelings, I also get an opportunity to give suggestions that have worked for me. For example, “Okay, so you’re angry and lonely right now. I’ve found that when I feel that way, I can write about the situation from the point of view of the person I am angry with. I’ve learned that sometimes people are trying to show me love, and it comes out wrong so I get mad at them.”
I’ve never been in a situation where not only do I not get to share my experience, but any mention of my experience only pushes them further into the shell. My friend already knows my experience. And trust me, he wants no part of any of my suggestions. If I cease communication with this friend, all I would be doing is making him feel even more alienated than he already feels. And I know, I know, I’ve been told one thousand times that I am not responsible for another person’s feelings. I have to take care of me first. But I really care about my friend’s feelings!
Let’s just go with my truth that stopping communication is not something I am willing to do in this situation. I care about this friend so much and I want to be there for him even if this is going to be a complete shit show. So what am I supposed to do? The way I see it right now (and the way I see it is from a very murky and emotional place) I have a few options:
1. Start a huge argument by telling my friend that he is full shit and thus pushing him further away from the truth
2. Smile and nod as all hell breaks loose
3. Support someone in the lies they tell themselves but then say, “I told you so,” at the end of all of this, potentially causing further distance
I don’t know what to do, but I will keep you all vaguely informed as I go through this process.