Still raw and bleeding emotionally from a break up with a friend of almost thirty years whose troubles I had listened to with patience and love, with whom and on whose behalf I bore the heaviness of her trials, for whom I struggled with the residual darkness of her visits, for years and years, presenting meals over which I laboured with love, I came to a point of asking myself why the only friends with whom I spend most of my time are people whose problems they consider are of the highest importance and which occupy most of the conversation. Essentially they only know so much about me as is evident to them, presented to eye, since they are entirely focussed on themselves.
It’s been my experience with them that when they exhaust all angles on their own issues, and have arrived at some kind of resolution as to how to proceed, their lives become terribly busy and they’re seldom seen again. It’s been a pattern in my life as far back as I can remember.
Now, I have some pretty serious issues of my own going. Life has been exceedingly difficult and hard to bear since I fell to fibromyalgia around twenty years ago or more. But things hadn’t exactly been a barrel of laughs prior to then, as I struggled with an emotionally crippling condition latterly known to me as borderline personality disorder. Unaware for decades what the hell my problem was but reasonably convinced it wasn’t nothing, and having tried the psychiatrists couch, accepted his misdiagnosis and swallowed his antidepressant medication solutions which did nothing to help but in fact added to my distress, I had been trying to straighten myself out. Unable to regulate my emotions I was in a constant state of turmoil, and always felt disconnected from other people, viewing them as belonging to a club into which I hadn’t been invited, whose uncomplicated emotions seemed to me to deliver them blithely into acts of unapologetic selfishness. I envied them the confidence they had to pursue their own desires without feeling the least pressure to have to consult with anybody else, seeking neither approbation nor consent.
None of this came out of nothing. Nobody has this mental condition without its being triggered and driven by something. In my case a traumatic childhood, a stolen childhood, a mother who could not love me, neglect by parents who were completely self absorbed. I became used to my problems being considered an irrelevancy, and to the idea that I was of much lesser value than others. I gave myself as a sacrifice to other people for whatever use they had of me perhaps as a way of “adding value”, of being worthy to breathe the same air.
Never enquiring into my background, my history, my narrative, were they attracted to me in the first instance because on some subliminal level they recognised a wounded creature who could identify with and have compassion for their pain? Or was it that I presented as a people pleaser who so wanted to be found acceptable that I would endure with them what no one else could stand? Perhaps the case rests somewhere between the two.
Anyway, following this break up of which I spoke in opening, which my failure to be controlled initiated, my first ever rebellion from the tyranny of the perameters of conduct rigidly prescribed for me by another with an unhealthy agendum, I had finally to face what may possibly turn out to be the frightening first step in the modus operandi to my getting free of this infernal mental disorder. I had to tell her she was wrong and controlling and then abusive, and had to face my punishment as a child whose candour was an outrage and whose subsequent remorse and apologies were rejected as insufficient reparation for having finally spoken the unwelcome truth. So I’ve lost a friend. Or is it perhaps a fiend I’ve lost?