Thursday, October 22, 2009

Losing a Friend

I had to let a friend go a few weeks ago. I created a boundary and distanced myself from someone who meant a lot to me. But his erratic behavior, negativity, and antagonizing actions were overwhelming. It was a sudden change from the person I had known.

It began with some bizarre purchases he made. He was already in financial ruin. Just when he realized the effect of his purchases, he quit his job. He became embarrassing in public, with random comments and overly zealous behavior. It’s as if his filter was removed, and it was a free for all as he said anything that came to mind, including “jokingly” discussing his desire for drugs, and his previous days as a dealer. In a bar, drunk, he gave me a “message from God’ that made no sense at all. When he wanted to buy my meal and I refused, he told me that I don’t have faith in him or God. God was going to take care of him. For some reason, that really hit a nerve, maybe because of my own relationship with God. Not only did it seem surreal to have him give a false prophecy, but it hurt that he questioned my faith in God or him. His understanding of God at that moment was very flawed. The truth is, we create our own hell much of the time, and we want God to save us from it. God doesn’t always clean up our messes, and when he doesn’t are we going to resent him?

I finally decided that he was on drugs. I do not use drugs, nor do I want them around me. I talked to him about it one night, and he denied using anything in months, which I knew was a lie. He expressed his anger at the world for dealing him a crappy hand, his resentment toward the young gay community for having it easier than he had when he came out, and his unwillingness to let go of bitterness. It’s his right to be angry, he said. I tried to tell him that holding onto that anger will eat him alive, and he should be happy that young gays have it easier than he did. But he kept talking over me. I finally told him that I do not share his anger, nor do I want to be around it. I wasn’t ending our friendship, but drawing a boundary with him.

I am a recovering codependent. Finding myself in friendships like this are dangerous. I will attempt to fix him. I will worry over his problems as much as my own. I will do whatever to appease him, so he will be happy. I will make myself his source of happiness, which is unhealthy. Recognizing my own tendencies, I drew a boundary.

His response was to for me to have a good life.

I tried to relay the story to a coworker who is a Christian, and her response was, “Maybe he needs a friend now more than ever before!” I understand her religious thinking, as if I could help “save” him by loving him the way Jesus loves us. I felt a tinge of guilt, followed by frustration that she doesn’t see the big picture. You cannot help someone who doesn’t want help.

So I had a good cry and I let go of the friend. I think of him daily. But I believe one day our friendship will return. I hope so.


luke said...

Sometimes people just need some time; but sometimes they're never the same person. A friend of ours is trying to start his life over - legally changed his name and everything. When he made his new boundaries, we were on the outside. But that's okay. Sometimes it's just what people need.

I think you are loving as Jesus loved. People left Jesus over some of his boundaries - eating his flesh, or the rich young ruler, or any number of his controversial teachings and disciplines. But that doesn't mean he didn't love them. He was trying to show us how to love him, and how to love God, back.

To love is to will the *good* of another - it's not just about wanting the other to be happy. A high school friend of ours dove into the typical drunken fraternity life in college. He was totally happy that way, but the lifestyle hindered his love back to us. We never heard from him, except when he asked my brother and I to join the fraternity to bring the house GPA back above probation levels! We loved him, yeah, but his desire had nothing to do with love.

Unconditional love means we love no matter what, and it is the way God loves us. But He loves us in a certain way - an odd way that compels us to return our love for His love, or else run away from Him.

I think you ARE loving your friend the way Jesus does. Hopefully your friend will stop running from it some day.

Kimberly said...

Good for you. I understand how difficult it is to draw that boundary. I have had to do the same in the past...and I'm sorry if I was that coworker who said that. It sounds like something I would say, being a recovering codependant myself.

For the record, the "captcha" below, that I have to type in for security purposes says "uncoma" I thought that was interesting. Like, in your new awareness you are in an uncoma.

Kristi said...

It wasn't you Kimberly. Ha! It was someone else. :-) It was a well meant comment, but . . . well . . .I'll leave it at that. :-)