Like inhaling and exhaling there is a healthy pattern of exchange with both the giving and receiving benefiting both.
But some relationships don't follow this pattern.
In some relationships one of the people is so unhealthy that their patterns are warped. This takes a lot of forms...
- The insecure person who tries to get their sense of self from others.
- The angry person who has a grievance against the world that expresses itself in explosive ways.
- The negative person who enjoys spreading a focus on unhappiness.
- The judgmental person who tries to arrange the world to their perspective.
- The manipulative person who is constantly working to get others to accomplish things for them.
- The person who you simply don't "get what their deal is" but feel terrible every time you spend time with them.
In many cases the only reason we have relationships with these people are because we have to. Work or family obligations require interaction.
Over the years, I've had both success and failure with difficult relationships and it almost always relates to my ability to manage my own sense of responsibility. It's easy to own someone else's dysfunction or feel the need to rescue/repair.
And this is what I've learned. You can't fix it. You can manage your boundaries. You can be loving. You can be kind. But you absolutely, positively cannot fix it. And trying to will simply waste your energy.
So, what do you do with difficult relationships?
- You fill your life with happy, beautiful, enjoyable people so that you have very little time to deal with them.
- You never talk about them to others.
- You don't waste any energy trying to figure them out.
- You manage your boundaries.
- When you do think of them and start to feel angst you mentally bless and release them.
- You call one of your happy, beautiful, enjoyable friends and talk about something awesome.
I will say that if you find you are lacking people in your life who are happy, beautiful and enjoyable, some of the best places to meet them are in volunteering for causes, learning/teaching (art, yoga, literacy, etc), professional organizations, churches and working with animals (dog park, rescue, etc.) Happy, beautiful, enjoyable people give of themselves to others. Find places where people are giving their time, join in to give yours and you will immediately upgrade your friends.