Last Saturday, my friend gave me the business. She said she wanted us to go to San Diego on a trip. I said “Save your money”. But after hearing this she got very indignant with me. She was she was expecting me to pay for the whole trip myself because she is on disability and has hardly any money. I could hardly believe what she was saying to me but the thing is, I can’t come out and say; “No”. I’ve never been able to say that in my life (because of living with my father who was a malignant narcissist). But this was too much. I got very tongue tied and tried to wangle my way out of it by saying that, though she wasn’t trying to use me, I had a hard time even smelling the idea of being used. What a crock! I thought; “If I go for this, I’m going to get a resentment as big as a house”. I was determined not to do it. She tried to manipulate me through humiliation saying that street people would give the shirts off their backs to help someone else out. She said that she expected me to be ‘better’ after 38 years sober. I squeaked out a response saying; “Your expectations of me are too high”.
I was so extremely freaked out by the whole business that I completely lost my bearings. I lost my Costco card at the gas station; something I’ve never done before with any of my credit cards. My driving was scary and when I went to drop her off, I ran over the curb. She chocked it up to the bipolar disorder (I’m actually schizo-effective) and I didn’t disagree with her. I just couldn’t let the same conversation come up again.
So, when I got home, I wrote her this letter. Here it is:
Friend (I don’t want to use her name)
I’m writing this letter to you because I can’t say it in person. All my life I’ve been chicken when it comes to conflict and it hasn’t changed much with sobriety. I’ve told you before I’m not well yet and this may never happen. Your expectations of me are too high. I can keep a secret and I’m super responsible to the best of my ability but this is an area that I’ve not gotten relieved of. Step 4’s haven’t helped much with this character defect either. All they’ve done is shown me what’s wrong with me and it’s up to God to do the fixing – which apparently He hasn’t decided to do yet. Praying about it hasn’t helped. I’m still like a deer in headlights when it comes to conflict in relationships.
So, here it is.
I feel humiliated when I am being compared to other people who would give you the skin off their backs even if they don’t have much to give. I’m not like that. I’m me, not you or them. Me. And I felt usage coming at me because I didn’t want to pay for both of us to go to San Diego. When this came at me with such vigor I was simply – speechless. That is why I got so out-of-it. I was feeling humiliated with a sense of being potentially used.
The thing is, I didn’t even really want to go to San Diego but I was willing to go and pay my own way anyway. But being asked to pay for both of us (probably a couple of thousand dollars) was more than I could take, especially when I didn’t really have that much impetus to go.
So then, I felt usage coming at me. If this was not usage I would like to know what you think constitutes that.
If this makes you mad enough not to pay me back for helping you get into your place, then so be it. But all I can say is, if you are going to take this as an excuse not to pay me, than you’re just proving my point.
If you are so mad at me for this then maybe we should just avoid each other. I hope this isn’t the case but if you want to then that would me ok with me. But I’m sending you these envelops to pay me by mail if you don’t want anything to do with me anymore.
And, by the way, though you may think of me as being ‘made of money’, you can forget that idea. The truth is Jerry and I scraped for eight years to be able to pay cash for our kitchen because we don’t believe in going into debt. And as for my inheritance all I can say is that that was a gift from God. It all went to pay for the two houses and so, without having to deal with the mortgages, it gave Jerry the room to retire early because of his health. He was so sick that he’d used up all his sick leave and vacation time and they were going to get him into FMLA (family medical leave act) to help him out. Things were impossible for him.
So there it is. This is why I was acting so crazy that day. I felt like a deer in headlights. Like I was going to be run over.