What happens when a good friend hurts you? How do you feel? I had to deal with a situation recently where a friend was harsh (from my perspective) and frustrated with me while we worked on a project together. I was so taken back and hurt by her comments. She is a dear friend, and yet I wanted to walk away because I didn’t know what to do with my reactions.
I felt betrayed, unloved and alone. I didn’t want to go to other friends to discuss the issue because we share mutual friends. Instead, I decided to distance myself from the project with her. I was there but didn’t participate with my heart and creativity and instead outsourced my part of the project. I was looking to create safety for myself and bypass this inner conflict.
Since I didn’t know where to go with my feelings, I did what I’m good out…put them aside and tried not to deal with them. Though untouched feelings always surface back up and come out like a roaring lion in the form of anger. I eventually lashed out with my hurt feelings at a time when it wasn’t appropriate for her or me.
The situation with my friend had me questioning my belief around friendships and the role I expect them to play in my life. Do I see the beauty as well as the humanness of this special relationship?
I believed that friends create safe harbors and a place to go when I’m facing the issues that surface in my life. They help make my life sweet, funny and most important provide nurturing love. Within the friendship, I can express my loving feelings toward them. To me, my friends are all-loving and unconditional in a world that sets so many standards and conditions for acceptance.
I’m not naïve to think they love everything I do, yet I expect a good friend to somehow step over my imperfections and mirror back to me love and acceptance. So when they don’t step over and instead mirror back non-acceptance, it hurts.
The adult in me thinks that it’s no big deal and friends are human like me. The little girl in me wants the total acceptance and is outraged a friend would be so insensitive. I smile because I believe this is the same inner battle all of us go through when dealing with loved ones.
We expect love ones to be perfect in their love for us and perfection is defined by us.
What did I ultimately do in this situation? I distanced myself from the project, played out the many running thoughts I had around my hurt feelings, and of course, pretended I was dealing with the situation as an adult. Ha! That entire pretense ultimately set the tone for an angry outburst towards my friend. Unresolved feelings of betrayal and abandonment were lurking ready to pounce at a moment’s notice. Anger can spur a conversation, which is what I needed to do. It doesn’t help me feel good about myself.
After we discussed my feelings, she felt terrible, and I still felt unloved and justified for my anger. During the night I processed the situation and realized that I needed to apologize for the way I handled it. Why the apology if a friend hurt me?
The lesson is that we are all responsible for our reactions to any situation in life. I chose to be hurt by her actions and because of my attitudes made other choices which were not her responsibility.
There is no one way to act in life as we have an abundance of choices. We can decide to step back and look at our reactions and see if they serve us. We can take care of ourselves and set boundaries around how others are allowed to treat us, but a dear friend is just that…a dear friend. I can say my peace, ask for what I need and then get on with the business of enjoying our friendship.
My friend is too important to me to allow hurt feelings to create a division between us. I somehow survived the fallout of disappointment of a less than perfect interaction with a friend. The richness of the situation is that I learned more about my vulnerabilities and in spite of them; I am still safe, warm and loved by my friend.
“To fully enjoy the ‘richness’ of our lives, we need to stop long enough to visit with ourselves.”
*****All About “FRIENDSHIPS“*****