Should We Be Like Our Friends?

ImageHow important is it to share everything that goes on in a persons life? I think this could be a loaded question. The reason I say this is because at times if you share too much, you may find those that you care the most about are no longer there. There is only one person who I know of that won’t turn His back on me and walk away. And that person would be Jesus Christ.

This has been a debated conversation between me and a few other friends on private chat on Facebook. Some of the things that we all found is that there are some subjects that shouldn’t be told to others, unless you want to put your friendships on the line. There are some things that are too much for the normal person to handle.

Some of the things that came into the conversation is spousal abuse,rape and control freaks. This is a topic that can be very difficult to share with someone. Even if you have known that someone for many years, it is a topic that makes others uncomfortable with. Once you start talking about this topic or other difficult topics it is almost like a wall goes up. They don’t always know what to say or how to help the person going through these things. Or they want to go in and save the day and make everything better. I’m this type of a person. If I hear of someone that I care about that has been hurt, I want to find a way to help them. This isn’t always the best option.

What I find hardest and most of those that took place in this conversation agreed that it is hard to listen and not want to be proactive. Like many I have shared personal feelings,experiences and details of my life with friends. Thinking that it would be safe with a certain friend or group. But that isn’t always the case. It may be safe to talk to them about what is going on in our lives, but watch the subject matter.

I have one particular friend that has been in my life for many years. Then I began confiding in her and I guess I didn’t go at the pace of getting things resolved or the way she wanted me to do it and it has been over a year now since seeing her. After sharing this with some friends, they said they have had the same thing happen to them. They thought the friendship was strong enough to be honest and open, only to find out that the friendship couldn’t weather the honesty. I felt bad for one of the friends in this conversation. The reason is that she never told anyone about her husband and how abusive he was to her. They were married only 10 or so years. She needed to talk and she chose to talk to someone she thought she could trust and that friend went to the husband and shared what was being said. Needless to say, the husband later confronted his wife and she was in the hospital because she was beaten by him. He told her to never speak of the things that went on in his home or it would be worse later. I could see why this woman wouldn’t trust anyone after this happened. Why would she?

I felt bad for my friend who was having a horrible time and was being beat on an almost daily basis. She no longer lives in the same state as I do, but we still talk. She talked to her friends in Colorado and once she told them of her problem, they began to build a wall. They wanted a friendship of ease I guess and one on their terms. Is that what friendship really is about? Is it right for a friend who says they are your friend to walk away because it wasn’t like they wanted? To me, if a person does that it doesn’t mean they are friends in the same way and each are looking for something different. One friend wants to be the one to save the day and the other just needs someone to be there and to be able to talk to them about anything and not be afraid to share.

I was telling my friend in Colorado that not everyone is looking for the same thing in a friendship. It is almost like a marriage. Some are in it just for the fun of it and others for the long haul.

When my friends and I were talking, I told them that I have gotten to the point of not really opening up about things that have and are going on in my life. It’s safer and that makes it so that my friends don’t have to feel like they are having to save me. I don’t want the kind of friend that is there only when I’m in need or in trouble. To me a friendship is more than that. My friend in Colorado is that kind of a friend. I can call her up and tell her how horrible things are. She will listen and then she gives me stern advice and tells me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear.

ImageThen our private chat got onto those kinds of friends that are toxic. Wow, I sure have had enough of those in my life. You think they are good friends and you confide only to find out they are a Jekyll and Hyde type of person. They are only friends for what they can get out of it. They want to be the savior of the friendship and seem like they are kind hearted and would risk themselves for their friends. Watch out for these people. They can be dangerous and hard to spot. It’s almost like a  Munchausen by proxy, but it is really a  Munchausen by friendship. They will do anything they can do to be seen as the best person in the world and willing to sacrifice themselves for their friends, family members or whoever else. There have been times that people that have Munchausen Syndrome went to far and killed the person by doing whatever they are doing and it got out of control.

It was an interesting conversation that night. It did make me realize that we need to guard our lives and heart. I’m not trusting at all when it comes to talking about deep problems and things that are better left unsaid. That way they don’t come back and haunt you and you don’t have to relive it all over again. I have concluded that there are some things better left alone. Because one of who I thought was a dear friend is someone that I never see. And I’m pretty sure it is because of all the drama and the sensitive subjects and me being unwilling to do what she wanted me to do in the time she wanted me to do these things.

I did learn a lot from that friendship and I will always see her as a friend. I learned what to say and not to say. Many times I felt like my faith wasn’t strong enough or good enough like hers was. Which now when I think of that, I think that is far from the truth. I just have different issues that God is aware of and I do things differently. I don’t have to be accepted or answer why I don’t do this or that. I had many sleepless nights over her questioning my faith and if it was more of just words instead of actions. There are times I wonder if people understand how much a simple comment like that can bring a person down. Especially when all you want to do is please God and then someone tells you in a weird kind of way that the kind of faith I have isn’t good enough for God.

One of my other friends said it right. She said, ” we aren’t the same and God loves us for who we are.” We aren’t expected to be like each other. We are our own person. When my friend asked me to really look at my faith and how I’m all talk and no action, I need to remember some important things. For instance, I need to remember that I’m not her and I’m not expected to be like her. Then I know I have my days when I wonder if God is listening to me and if He is there. And that answer is yes, He is there. He is just waiting for me to figure out things. And lastly, I need to remember that nobody can judge our faith in Christ unless they are Christ. Actions do speak louder than words, but there are times we need words to help us understand. I have many days where I feel like Job and question things. And to close this up. When a person says you have to trust God, you need to do that. When I look at trusting God I realize that even though I gave it all to him, there are things I need to do. We shouldn’t sit by the sidelines and do nothing. I told my friend this too. And don’t let others judge you based on what they think is the right faith and trust. They have a different life that is normal to them. They have different experiences and some live in different countries, states and cities. I let her statements get me down and would question everything I said and did. Was my thinking right or wrong. Was my motivation for myself or for Christ? This is all very consuming mentally and physically. I kinda hope my friend will read this or stop in sometime just to say hi. I don’t see that happening though.

This particular friend of mine does have a good heart that is filled with love and compassion. There wasn’t much she wouldn’t do to help out and I do miss seeing her. My door will always be open to good friends, not toxic ones.  I don’t think she knows how much she meant to me and it wasn’t because she was there to help. It was because she demonstrated the true likeness of Christ. I guess I just wasn’t on the same page as her and may never be.

For my friends that I was having this conversation with last week, it was nice to chat with friends who don’t want to change who we are. But they want to pray and be there for each other.

Definition of  Munchausen;

In Münchausen syndrome, the affected person exaggerates or creates symptoms of illnesses in themselves to gain investigation, treatment, attention, sympathy, and comfort from medical personnel. In some extreme cases, people suffering from Münchausen’s syndrome are highly knowledgeable about the practice of medicine and are able to produce symptoms that result in lengthy and costly medical analysis, prolonged hospital stay and unnecessary operations. The role of “patient” is a familiar and comforting one, and it fills a psychological need in people with Münchausen’s. This disorder is distinct from hypochondriasis and other somatoform disorders in that those with the latter do not intentionally produce their somatic symptoms.

Risk factors for developing Münchausen syndrome include childhood traumas, growing up with parents/caretakers who were emotionally unavailable due to illness or emotional problems, a serious illness as a child, failed aspirations to work in the medical field, personality disorders, and a low self-esteem. Münchausen syndrome is more common in men and seen in young or middle-aged adults. Those with a history of working in healthcare are also at greater risk of developing it.

Arrhythmogenic Münchausen syndrome describes individuals who simulate or stimulate cardiac arrhythmias to gain medical attention.The syndrome differs from malingering, in which a patient fabricates symptoms for an apparent purpose, such as financial compensation, absence from work, or access to drugs.

A similar behavior called Münchausen syndrome by proxy has been documented in the parent or guardian of a child. The adult ensures that his or her child will experience some medical affliction, therefore compelling the child to suffer treatment for a significant portion of their youth in hospitals. Furthermore, a disease may actually be initiated in the child by the parent or guardian. This condition is considered distinct from Münchausen syndrome. In fact, there is growing consensus in the pediatric community that this disorder should be renamed “medical abuse” to highlight the real harm caused by the deception and to make it less likely that a perpetrator can use a psychiatric defense when real harm is done. Parents who perpetrate this abuse are often affected by concomitant psychiatric problems like depression, spouse abuse, psychopathy, or psychosis. In rare cases, multiple children in one family may be affected either directly as victims or as witnesses who are threatened to keep them silent