Trying to make opposite sex friends after abusive or codependent relationships
Yesterday I went to the anxiety group meetup and ending up sitting outside with 5 men. Quite a big deal for someone who had a fear of men..
We spent 6 hours together (which was too long but I guess most of us have little to go home to, and were enjoying the connection..)
It was fun, until later when it sank in.
By the time we all left I was feeling fine but I noticed the guys all looked worse for wear. Oops…
Their energy was low and they looked drained. I felt little responsible for what started off as a light and jovial energy (6 hours is a long time for anyone to sit around talking though..)
I actually felt responsible for their emotional state….?? Why did I feel that? Somewhere along the line it got deep, and I’m pretty sure I took it there, but they could have left. They chose to express themselves. So why do I feel I have to leave people feeling they are uplifted and upbeat from talking to me .. I know I find it way harder to see a man in emotional pain than a woman.
Later in the evening I ended up with a headache wondering what had occurred.. then I didn’t sleep (thinking.. thinking.. thinking..) It’s a tape I’m not turning off easily. Suddenly all their words came back to me..
I took a long bath, I did a relaxation technique. I felt a little calmer but still unable to unwind.
I felt neurotic letting this screw me up.
Next day I missed the early morning market because of the fatigue (damn, needed the money..) and then I stayed in today with a migraine from lack of sleep. It’s now 8.30 pm and after processing all that went on in those 6 hours I feel only slightly better.
So what went on.
Well, for a start I have I avoided men like the plague. For 6 years I have almost been in hiding in order to ‘keep safe’, grow stronger, heal and not attract another narcissistic man. Only in the last few weeks have I got out and started being friendly towards men (instead of scared, avoidant and cool). Fact is I was terrified of attracting one. But I am finally feeling completely safe in myself and in my intuition that I can be friendly. make friends and protect myself from the predatory types.
I am an open person, I talk about the deeper stuff and this made it easier for the men to talk about the deeper stuff too. I don’t think they usually do that.
I never acted like a therapist, I wasn’t offering advice or judging. I was just being me and talking. (Maybe I don’t have much of a life and this ‘stuff’ is all I have to talk about).
We found out we are all from dysfunctional families. One guy had young alcoholic parents who split up, one had a mother who had a psychotic break, another had a schizophrenic mother. We all were neglected in some form or other. One had a spiritual emergency at 15 and went through mental health, one has OCD, another was in a serious car accident as a teen and was left nearly paralyzed.
There were some boundary issues, too much advice, a fair amount of judgement ..
A couple of the men listened to my story and then related their own feelings regarding their own mothers on me. I just listened and didn’t react. I realize not to take what they say personally, because it’s not personal, they were just re-living their pain and projecting it on me.
I do know I don’t want to reject them, I don’t want to run from people anymore. I want to accept people.
Two were very forward regarding their attraction towards me. In the real world I’m pretty invisible but they made me feel like hot property. I didn’t feel flattered, because it isn’t really real and it gets in the way of making healthy friendships. One guy was aggressive in his approach the other more frustrated and I get the sense if I’m not willing to be what he wants/ needs he’ll end up rejecting me, almost like he’s created an illusion of me in his own mind.
The aggressive guy was just hoping to hook up with a vulnerable woman to fix all his problems. He’s easy to deal with him. But the frustrated guy I really like as a friend, he’s got a great heart. I have considered messaging him to discuss things a little and set a friendly boundary.
Truth is I don’t want to date, I’m far from it. I just want make deeper healthier connections and friendships. Everyone is painfully misunderstood and painfully lonely. Everyone wants a loving relationship you can feel that, but for now close friendships are loving relationships.
It’s challenging though, maybe I just rehashed the past for everyone.. Ughh!
I’m still questioning whether to go again, or whether the answers lie in staying, setting boundaries with them and with myself, healthy open communication, and that all this is actually very healing even if a little painful at times.
Maybe it’s okay that they opened up and experienced some pain. I guess my fear is that they’ll avoid me as the woman who made them feel too much and brought the energy down :o(
Hopefully I’ll feel better and clearer about things as the migraine clears, as you can see I feel and think a great deal!
I’ll try to focus on my life today. Maybe get in the garden.
Writing it out is therapeutic though and I’ll try to be gentle on myself this is a new experience for me, and maybe for them.
Love SG x