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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Estranged Friendship

I have just had someone who was a fast and close friend, who took an unforgivable offense at something that I mentioned about her. I made the mistake of assuming that she was proud of her "freebie" lifestyle, when it seems she wanted to keep the sources of her financial life secret. I'm someone who knows no shame about the way I live, and am proud of my "volunteer poverty" status, (which has even been given a more complimentary name of "voluntary simplicity.") Because the two of us were so similar in so many ways, I assumed wrongly that she shared my attitude about being proud about living cheaply - when she didn't.

After she held on to her anger for a few days, I took away her access to my house where her stuff was because she wanted to move everything out while I was gone. She couldn't be there when I was because she was still so angry. So I packed her stuff for her and her friends helped to move for her. Once she was mad at me, she declared I hurt her further with whatever else I did for her. She found fault with my packing her stuff, possibly because she didn't use her glasses to see how I labeled what I packed for her and she had mixed our stuff together. She accuses me of stealing her jewelry (which I have no attraction to having) to our mutual friends, when she hasn't been able to look through it all yet because it is still packed. So the paranoia I wanted to avoid by not having her go through our house when she was mad seemed to go both ways. Probably the things are just misplaced.

Multiple people who are our friends in common are finding her crazy to the point of being amazingly laughable, but she doesn't know this. She seems to have abandoned all reason and now compounds every action of mine to make me more and more wrong, even blaming me for things I could have not possibly have done to hurt her. Their reports to me only make me sad and worried about her. Holding on to this kind of anger and self-imposed stress is what makes people get sickly.

Forgiveness is not something she's willing to do still.

I imagine that she'll talk to me, given enough time, because she's been in a codependent relationship with a drunk and forgiven him for many more complaints that were a great deal more shameful than what happened between us. I'm not sure there was enough time for her to come feel connected to me as I came to feel about her, so maybe that won't happen with us. It's hard to give up hope that she will get over this and be my friend again.

After such a final and unforgiving anger that she flew into and has upheld for two months now, I'm not sure that I could ever trust her again either. She wants to steal back any things she ever gave or did for me, but she doesn't return what I gave her or give me back the stuff I gave her the right to use. When she came and got her stuff on my porch after a month of storage, she took also the plants that she had given to me. Now I'll wonder what else she will steal that was something else she gave to me in the past. That makes reconciliation even more difficult. There is a big difference in my mind when someone acts to intentionally hurt you rather than blunders and tries to make up for what they did.

Being able to forgive that you might not be put first in your friend's most important priorities is to me an essential ingredient that is necessary for trust. But perhaps she will convince me otherwise in the future. I guess we got too close too fast, without being able to understand each other's uniqueness.

Evidently she didn't respond very well to my way of adopting family members. When I take someone into my adopted family, I take away the boundaries between how much generosity is "too much," in both directions. Although I talked about what family meant to me, I guess I must have violated what family meant to her, despite all I did for her before I asked her for her help for my needs this summer.

She seems to have forgotten that I was willing to continue to give. Or perhaps she didn't need me to give to her, now that she had her new boyfriend that I helped her to be able to have. Or perhaps she could only clean house for privileges for one of us at a time. I thought this instant sort of falling out only happened in intimate sexual relationships, but I guess not. I feel a little like a jilted lover, although we were non-sexual friends. I hope I meet her again somewhere else in the world and things will be different, or that she could just forgive me now. But I don't think that will happen any time soon.

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