the right ones

Before my therapist starts talking, he has this habit of repeatedly pursing his lips when trying to find the right words. It always makes me wonder if I have any habits too, and whether someone could do a reasonable impression of me by mimicking some mannerism I’m unaware of. The only thing I can think of is this particular way of clearing my throat out loud that Bronwen used to tease me about, something I’ve since realized that I picked up from my dad.

The sessions are getting abstract and philosophical, a sign that they’re focusing less on details and issues and more on root causes. He’s been challenging my thinking, but he always does it in a gentle and encouraging way by letting me explore ideas myself, giving me a little nudge in the right direction if I need it. Most importantly, he always makes it clear that I’m the one in control, that I make my own decisions, and that he won’t judge me whether he thinks they’re healthy or not.

The thing I’ve learned most recently is that some people are simply never meant to fill a certain role in your life. Getting upset at them for not being more is like getting upset at your cat for not being able to play LittleBigPlanet with you. It’s a hard reality to come to terms with; not only am I faced with the sudden realization that some people aren’t who I want or need them to be, it means they’ll likely never be that as well.

But that’s the way the world is, and I’m learning to let go, and to not hold everyone to the same standards I hold myself to. The best I can do is connect with the right people, the ones who can be what I need because that’s who they are, not because they’ve tried to change for my sake.

8 comments

    • I could totally see that. Think you can do an impression of me then? I need to see that next time.

  1. The other bit I found I had to deal with was the fact its not always easy to find the friends we need. I’m still trying to assemble a group of friends that can fulfill all the facets of my persona, but no surprise having someone capable of handling my bipolar is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

    What I did learn was also important was that I had to consciously realise the limits of my neediness when it came to a particular friend. I’d test how far I can get away with, then when I know how much they can take, I’d challenge myself to behave myself up to those limits and not more. It makes it easier to know what exactly I’d be looking for in my next friend. Rinse and repeat.

    Methodical and clinical, but yeah it kinda worked for me. doesn’t make me any less dysfunctional but it still makes me functional social wise.

    • If you’ve found something that works for you when it comes to friends, I don’t think it’s dysfunctional at all. Everyone has different needs, and at the same time, certain people can only provide so much.

      But yeah, finding the right people isn’t easy.

  2. I do hold my friends to my standards (which are pretty much yours).

    I have perhaps five friends that are that kind of quality, and I am not sure if any of them can stand me on a permanent basis. Yet because we are apart and then together often, with spaces in between, a little give and take has created good bonds over time. The ones you can trust are the ones you can trust, always. But you have to remember they have their lives as well, and if you come up short, it’s only because their own life must come first.

    • I think it’s a contradiction to say that the friends you can trust are the friends you can always trust, but at the same time that they have their own lives and can’t always be there for us. It makes sense that there should always be give and take, but it’s a hazy line to be drawn.

  3. Mmmm those last two paragraphs are golden…

    I emailed it to myself and give it a read every time I catch myself thinking negatively about a certain situation.. brings me out of it every time.. especially at work.. amazing reminder man.. thank you so very much

  4. What I meant by that was: Friends may have times when all their buttons are pushed, and can’t contribute, because they’re human — and sometimes, those two sets of buttons — yours and theirs — are just going to get pushed at once, and someone will lose out. I’m talking about adults with jobs and families and commitments to things they don’t like but must do, here, not young people, who have fewer responsibilities, and therefore haven’t got much excuse.

    It doesn’t mean they haven’t kept their end of the bargain and don’t care for you; it just means stuff happens.

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