These past few days, as part of the emotion regulation section of DBT, I have been pondering my long term goals, as discussed HERE. I have not just been considering career goals, but what I want out of life. One of the things my therapist mentioned during group this week was that we need to decide what to do with relationships in our life. We need to decide if we want to mend old, broken relationships, continue to work on the ones we have, and/or make new ones.
That got me thinking: Do I WANT to make new relationships? She specifically mentioned this in terms of a partner/spouse, but I don’t think it is strictly limited to romantic relationships. I think potential friends could be considered here. I have been wondering if maybe having friends could be a long term goal I have. I currently don’t have any friends (unless you consider my husband as my friend, but I don’t think it’s the same), and have been trying to decide if that is something that matters to me. Are friends something that I really WANT in my life?
When thinking of making new friends, I’m pretty sure that most people are excited. Most people like to socialize. They feel good spending time around people with similar interests, beliefs, and ideas. They like to rely on others for emotional support. They use others as a means of escaping from their troubles. They share their problems and stumble through solutions together. They talk to people to avoid loneliness. They like to have someone there to share their experiences and memories. To tell the truth, I really could not remember any reasons why people would have friends, and enjoy spending time with them. I had to Google it. LMCAO
When I think about the daunting prospect of making new friends, I have a completely different spin on it than most people. I think of the commitment. After all, I can’t complain that people don’t reach out to me, don’t call me, don’t email me, don’t visit me if I’m not willing to do those things for other people. I think about how I will have to pretend to like whatever they like so I can keep their interest. I think of how exhausted I’ll become by trying to hide my mental illness. I will try to keep my façade of normalcy up, but eventually I’ll get tired and the cracks will start to show. Then, I think about what will happen when I DO unleash my crazy side. Let’s face it. It’s going to happen. I can’t keep that thing under wraps for long periods of time under close scrutiny. When I get a little crazy, are they going to leave me immediately, or will they take some time to tell me what a piece of shit I am, first? Will they hang on for a while, making me feel badly every day because I don’t meet their expectations, or will they just nip it in the bud? They will leave eventually, it’s just a matter of how much pain they will drag me through before they finally drop me.
I’m really not sure if the benefit will outweigh the pain and discomfort I will go through in trying to obtain and hold onto friends. I’m not sure that I want to make the effort. It’s a scary prospect, having to put yourself out there and trust that you won’t get knocked down. I’m sure at some point I will want friends and other people in my life again. I just don’t think I can handle it right now.