Sunday, March 08, 2009

When it's time to say goodbye . . .

. . .to a friend.

Donna Rose was talking about friendship in one of her recent posts, and I can so relate to what she was talking about.

Yesterday was great, spent a bunch of time hanging out with my namesake and his Momma, my friend Val. We were talking about the nature of relationships, and when it's time to let go and move on because being the only one working on a relationship, working towards a better life, isn't really worth it. On the other hand some relationships seem to flow, and not need huge amounts of work for them to thrive and grow. Such is the nature of our relationship. At one point she looked at me and said "I don't think Mark was entirely prepared for just how well we would hit it off. And we have, from day one. It's been great. If she hadn't met Mark and they hadn't started dating, she and I never would have met. But from Day one, we've been like two old friends who really "get" each other. Cool.

The other side of this coin is that no matter how hard one person works on a relationship, it does indeed, as my crazy Dad always said, take two to tango. Good, Bad or indifferent.

My younger brother is regrettably clinically insane. He's got nearly unmanaged, severe, bipolar disorder that leaves him significantly out of touch with reality or anything close. Almost a year ago I was forced to break all ties with him, because it took dramatically more work and effort on my part to deal with his issues. Sure he's biologically related to me, in that his mother and mine are the same. As to his Dad and mine being the same, I'm seriously begining to doubt that. No, truthfully? While we both had the same Dad growing up, I'm pretty certain based on everything I know now, that he is not my biological father. Such is life. Means somewhere out there is a guy that is my actual Father, but neither of us will ever know that. I'm not going to lose sleep over it. The point being is that my brother has grown up to be just like my Dad in so many ways, and me not at all.

Back in March of last year, in a related post, I was thinking about my brother when I wrote it, and another friend of mine who I was trying to decide when or if it's time to say goodbye. I don't make such decisions lightly, and it's taken me more than a year to decide that yes, it's time to say goodbye.

This woman and I have known each other now for five years. She was along a similar path, a similar journey to mine, and I befriended her early in my own travels because we had more than that in common. She was a lover of great music, and had a great gift for putting things into words. That was then. Now, she spends all her time, and what time I'm willing to share with her, bitching about how evil the world is, and how she wants to really transition. Mind you she's been "full time" almost as long as I have, but hasn't dealt with things correctly. When real ID finally hits, she's going to be screwed, because she'll lose the "F" on her DL. Anyway, that's not what I'm here to talk about. What I am here to say is I've been forced to realize that it's time.

Why? Because in a reply to one of her recnt tirades about being a "poor miserable tranny," I had something of an epiphany. One that is going to shape our future relationship, or lack thereof. I wrote:

This just came to me:

You: Assume that everyone is going to know you used to be a man and they are going to hate you and make your life a living hell. Then you're hurt when they do.

Me: I assume that everyone is going to see and know I'm a woman and they'll like me. Then I'm not at all disappointed or surprised when they do. Only time I really think about it is when you send me you longer suffering miserable tranny messages. You know when I get "clocked?" NEVER. It just doesn't happen.

Not because I'm this perfect wood worked woman, but because I'm just a woman. No artificial preservatives, fillers, or MSG added. I'm all natural, cholesterol free fun.

It's been the nature of our relationship for at least the last three years, and you know, I'm tired. I try to be encouraging, she takes offense, tells me I'll never measure up and so many other stupid, insane things and becomes verbally abusive. I mention real steps she can take to dramatically improve her life, and she offends and insults me.

May take a while, but I can take a hint. "The one friend you have is one too many Mare." Fine, I get that, and I'm sorry I've tried to encourage you to have more. Silly me, I think friendship is one of the greatest blessings a person can have in this life. Family you get stuck with, no choice, and you do what you can. Friends on the other hand CHOOSE each other.

Friends can also decide for themselves, "when it's time to say goodbye . . ."

Regrettably, I find myself there. I'm going to place an autoresponder into my mail server that sends a link to this post to her next time she emails me, and other wise drops her mail into a bit bucket.

"Congratulations Mare, you've just succeeded in pushing away your one friend left."

I wish I didn't have to say her one last friend, but both I and her sister have been trying to get her to take life more seriously, stop being an obsessed gender nazi, and get some friends. I really was her only friend for a long time, still am. Was?

I can't do this anymore. I shouldn't have to do this anymore. So it's time to say goodbye.

I have so many real friends I care about, and want to spend my time and energy with that it doesn't make sense to keep suffering like this. It's not a decision I make lightly, but do make with a heavy heart. It is my fundamental belief that people are not disposable. Sometimes however a safe distance is a healthy thing. People cannot get help unless or until they are ready for it. I have a responsibility to myself, and to Mare, to do her or myself no harm. Right now the best way to do that is to enforce some healthy distance.


alan said...

One of many reasons I've come to love you is that big beautiful heart you are so willing to share. I know it's aching now from having come to this decision...I'm sorry!

Thanks for sharing it with so many of us!


Samantha said...

Yeah, it hurt, but I programmed my mail server to blog all her messages. I'll rest a bit better knowing that I'm not going to have to deal with the paranoid delusions, OCD, and bipolar madness from her anymore.

Thanks for your vote of support Alan. You are a dear.

zilla said...

I'm very confused.

Gender nazi -- fabulous term, but what exactly does it mean?

Isn't the first step in accepting others the often difficult step of accepting ourselves? Is this what she's having trouble with -- self-acceptance? People who can't do that are often the most exhausting people to deal with.

Samantha said...

Yeah, it is a great term. I first heard it from my sister about one of her friends who'd transitioned from male to female. They'd known each other since school, and their relationship was strained past breaking when her friend became a gender nazi. Always focused on gender, pronouns and becoming offensively militant about it.

In my friend's case, her existing paranoid delusions closly coupled to the fact that transitioned as well, has her certain the world thinks she's a freak and always picking on her. As if that wasn't bad enough, she's somewhat OCD about the whole thing and has this unrealistic stereotype image of women that well, just isn't real. So she's always on the warpath, correcting everyone, and telling them how they don't measure up and so forth.

She's just completely out of touch with reality, constantly obsessing about how people are out to get her, consider her and it, or some sort of fetishistic male, or whatever problem of the day she's come up with. She's forever telling people what losers they are, and how no-one is real and on and on.

It's so tiring.

Ironically most people don't accept themselves, ever, regardless of gender. Then you add the unrealistic stereotypes and patriarchy kind of enforcing misogyny, it just gets really insane.

So yeah, people like that can be so hard to deal with, especially when they have severe mental health issues on top of everything else.

So a typical gender nazi is anything from the man hating, militant radical lesbian feminist I used to be, to some poor trans woman who jumps on everyone if they make the slightest mistake with pronouns, names, or references to thier life before transition or any number of a million other stupid things. It's like walking in a minefield, where the mines are so close together you dare not even breath, cause ever little thing can get them to ranting.

So yeah, gender nazi is for the folks obsessed with gender obviously. But really anyone can be so far outside the local reality that talking to them is like bleeding to death slowly. My little brother is like that. Paranoid, Delusional, Obsessive, and making it all worse, they are both so needy that it really is like being attacked by a vampire. So I've been forced to put healthy distance between myself and them.

Ha, self acceptance -- yeah she, they really have major problems with that. So yeah, makes it really hard.

Anonymous said...

I like your epiphany, but I have another possibility for that list.
I assume that everyone is going to know about my past and that they will either be OK with it, or at least be civil toward me when I deal with them on some level. So far that's been working for me. I don't know if they see my past when they see me now, or if I "pass" as the saying goes, but I haven't had any problems with other people about my presentation, at least not yet. I don't know, it may be that I'm just being myself, not putting on an act, and they see the female me, it does seem to come naturally to me. So many people where I live know my background, but they still treat me like a human being.
I understand your need to separate yourself from your friend, there's so much negative energy coming from her, and it's easy to get sucked into that, fighting it off to stay positive yourself is very tiring after a while. Sometimes you just have to do what's best to protect yourself from that abyss, especially when you know that you can't help them.

Samantha said...

You make some great points here, and it's a conversation I've had with her before. She's still obsessing about the act. I and her sisters have been trying to get her to understand how important it is to stop acting and live, but she's never heard that.

Sounds like you were lucky too, so many women have to spend incredible amounts of time "practicing" but have complained how tiring that constant acting can be.

I've tried time and again to point out that if they let go of the act, and give themselves room to learn, grow, and be it will stop being a troublesome act.

I'm so glad that you are having success, that's priceless!