How I stopped losing friends because I got triggered
I can forgive my friends almost anything, however, if people have a short temper, and it bites me, I will write them out of my life. This habit is costing me a relationship with a lot of people I love and it is stopping me from having proper connection. Recently, I realised I had to stop this happening because it was making me unhappy and that’s just not in The Smile Tribe playbook. 🙂
Let me give you more detail. Recently, I was at a restaurant with my friend Moriam and we were talking about how she could find a relationship she loved. I was pushing a point. The conversation was uncomfortable, I felt vulnerable but I wanted to give her happiness. Just as I was most vulnerable, Moriam reacted to something I was saying. “You just want to fix me. This isn’t about me, it’s about you getting it right”.
Her words crushed me. How could she not understand that I wanted to help. How could she be so cruel. Was I not “good” enough to help her? As I sat their I made a decision that after we left the restaurant I was never going to talk to her again. This had happened to me a hundreds of different people, but I this time I wanted it to be different. As we left the restaurant I told Moriam how I felt. Over the next few days, Moriam and I talked through what had happened. It was really uncomfortable, but I realised that Moriam wasn’t doing anything wrong, it was all about how I was dealing with it. The process was worth it, by the time we met up a week later, all was forgotten. Little did I realise that the hard work was yet to be done.
A month later, Moriam and I met for lunch. She was 45 minutes late. I was mad. I couldn’t understand why she cared so little. I had pushed so hard to make our relationship work and she was ok to leave me waiting at a bar for 45 minutes. By the time she’d arrived I was back where I was 4 weeks earlier. I was hurt and I was already deciding that this would be so much easier if she wasn’t in my life. Once again I decided to tell her how I felt, only this time we got to what was really going on. Before I knew it I was telling Moriam about my childhood…. my dad was very upset after his divorce with my mum. I used to try to make him feel better, but then under all the emotion he’d snap and tell me how I was a boy and I didn’t know anything, that I couldn’t help him. It left me heartbroken, all I wanted to do was help. I decided that I wasn’t good enough to help him and from now on I would pretend that I didn’t care about anyone, and I would avoid anyone that had the potential to hurt me.
Over the years I’ve seen it a 100 times, I’ve stayed away from anyone that has the potential to snap at me. I can spot the trait a mile away. I’d pretend I didn’t care about them like I didn’t care about everyone else. Spotting this trait has meant that I’ve stopped talking to friends, broken up with girlfriends, become detached from people in my family, avoided getting to know people — all because I can’t deal with someone lashing out at me. It’s cost me so much connection. I’ve lost so many friends because I am scared of getting hurt by them. I’ve pretended I don’t care about them and only surrounded myself with really kind people who never lash out.
Talking to Moriam about what was coming up for me, and looking at why this was happening has really helped me build stronger relationships. For starters, I still have Moriam in my life. But I now take this everywhere I go. I get to push through my reaction to people snapping. I know why I reacted the way I did, and this means I can now look at it and see the ridiculousness in it. I still spot the short temper trait in people, the ability to lash out with irrational and hurtful comments. But I no longer see it as dangerous. I see it as just another character trait rather than a red flag, like they support Manchester United rather than Chelsea, it’s insignificant.
Where I am now
I am so grateful for this realisation because I am now so much freer to be with people. I can be friends with anyone. I get to have so many more friends and I get to see so much more variety in life. I can be with that character trait, that look in people’s eyes when they are angry. I am no longer worried about how people might hurt me, because it isn’t them that is hurting me, it’s me allowing it to happen. I’m back in control of my emotions.
To read more more about how Mental Health has been successfully been managed by others here is a link to George’s story