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Ending relationships/Burning bridges

Old 07-21-2014, 10:58 PM
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Ending relationships/Burning bridges

So, I'm not sure what of this is ACoA and what might just be my Aspergers, but I figured y'all could help me figure out what's what. I have a hard time maintaining friendships long-term. Whether it's jealousy, boredom, or feeling like a doormat, there's always some reason that I end friendships. That's all fine and well, but it's the way I go about it that has me scratching my head (I'm working my 4th Step inventory again and digging deeper this time). I don't just end friendships with a "Sorry it didn't work out, but best of luck to you." No. They go down in flames. Bombing bridges to bits. I don't know why I do it. I've been thinking about it a lot lately. I don't know if I'm scared of being the one to end it or what. I always end up starting some argument or saying something really unkind and having the tables turned to where they walk out of my life. I feel embarrassed and relieved at the same time. Why can't I address concerns with people like a normal human being? Why do I even think that these things warrant severing ties to begin with? I don't have many friends, and I like it that way. Trying to make conversation (especially with other women) is uncomfortable. I'd rather have dental work than be in a room full of people and have to talk to them. I'm a homebody. And yet I like being the center of attention (for what reason I don't know, but I'm guessing it stems from just trying to be seen as a child in my FOO). Anyway, this may make perfect sense or none at all. Is anyone like this or is it just me? I know some of my issues in developing real relationships are rooted in being ACoA. But what of the rest of it?
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Old 07-22-2014, 12:26 AM
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It all makes sense to me grits and "I" am like that. When I finally was committed to being sober, I went to my first AA meeting. Felt good, seemed like the right place and then I immediately dove into step 4 and went to town...down the hole I went. I thought by identifying my problems/trauma/events I would be cured but I was still restless, discontented and still very very agitated with each revelation. In the depths of trying to figure out the wreckage (in the middle of placing my mom in a home) my mom out of nowhere says that Dad was a big raging drinker before I was born? Shocked as I never saw him drink ever. That revelation provoked me to take an ACoA quiz on my phone right then. Holy crap, more shocked. Things then very quickly started to click for me. Why do i act the way i do? I returned home a week later, went to my normal AA meeting but then decided to try an ACoA meeting with little expectation. I gotta say, that was the most bizarre out of body, mind numbing experience I've ever had. Where once there was darkness, light beamed like a 1000 suns. Everyone's story was mine, everyone's fears as adults I lived and every share about adult relationships and failures was confirmed, as mine. So circle round to your question, I have learned that my lack of longterm friendships, no close friends, relationships exploding before people see the real me, are almost all as a result of my fear of abandonment and a false fear of being exposed. So, after 10 months of sobriety via AA and ACOA, sometimes I feel like I haven't learned squat (self doubt) but the laundry list gives me a fantastic scavenger hunt to learn new tools to use as an Adult. Perhaps take the last bombing raid under the microscope? How where you feeling when you started bombing? What was said that initiated the raid? And most importantly, for me, can you trace those feelings, fears, etc. back to a specific event in your childhood? Sorry, great post, made me think, thanks for letting my mind unwrap with your thoughts.
Journey well friend, I think you are on to something.
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Old 07-22-2014, 04:10 AM
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NW- I very much understand you. I have not had a true friend since I was 12. Like you I also prefer being alone. But, I do realize for me it is because of a fundamental belief that I will be abandoned. So, I pick fights to have a reason to end a friendship. At times I am lonely though. But, to open my heart andlet someone in. I just cant do it.
Even my husband I think on some level will leave me. Which is nuts. I have put him through hell and he just wont leave me. Its a way to try to prove my case that fundamentally I am unworthy.
I know intellectually that all of this goes back to my foo. My mom elevated me to her partner and I had younger sisters. Everyone was more importtant than me. Add in the fact that many of the most important people to me moved or died in a space of 5 years and I have been trying to find love and acceptancee ever since but, also on some level feeling it is all pointless because I am not worthy
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Old 07-22-2014, 09:47 AM
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Having friends while growing up with an alcoholic dad...enough said. It's not just difficult it was impossible for me. We moved nearly yearly or so, no one was allowed in the house, my enabling mom didn't have friends either. She probably didn't want anyone to find out how we lived, was suspicious of everyone and trusted no one, always finding their achilles heel, then feeling justified to keep them at arms length, mocking their supposed inadequacies as if she were superior, yeah right.

So naturally I was taught and caught to view friends the same way my mother did. When there is a disagreement I walked and refused to answer phone calls or repair any situation. Just move on. I remember once in 4th grade getting into a fight with a little girl and telling her I didn't care, she didn't matter to me and I would probably never see her again when I moved anyway. And that was true, we moved, problem solved.

One area of friendship that was detrimental to me was having allies against someone. I call that negative friendships now. I would find people that hated the teacher or the boss or someone that crossed me and we would all hate them together. The problem with that was it always turns on you with the other person making peace with the hated one, then they hate me. Basing friendships on hating or disliking someone has a lot of energy and feels powerful but it never last and well it shouldn't. It was a very immature venue but not unexpected given my childhood.

I struggle with dismissing and finding fault with friends all through my life, but have managed to hold onto several friends. Once I let someone through the walls I can be very wounded by the slightest things that wouldn't bother "normal" people. But I have worked very hard on not holding grudges, forgiving and allowing people to be who they are despite my internal incessant criticism of them.
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Old 07-22-2014, 06:55 PM
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I think you are asking us to analyze you or diagnose root cause, which obviously can't be done online from a single post. Are you repeating some pattern from long ago? I can't say why it is you feel like a doormat or if you are just attracted to the drama, but a trained therapist could help you find these answers.
Relationships are hard for most of us, so way to go on trying to learn more about yourself and how to do your relationships better!
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Old 07-22-2014, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by NWGRITS View Post
Is anyone like this or is it just me??
I think this is a very valid question for this forum. It can be invaluable to see a commonality in others. Of course further counseling is often helpful as well but to realize that others have the same problems can be a first step.
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Old 07-22-2014, 09:55 PM
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I'm in therapy and have been for years. We haven't gotten to everything (and probably never will). I had mentioned in the Personality Types thread that I had been musing over something and this was it. I love this forum because there *are* so many here like me. And normally anything I've been through has been experienced by someone else here. And this was the case again. Friendships shouldn't be as complicated as we can make them, but when your core relationships were so dysfunctional, it makes it hard to be functional with anyone else.
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Old 07-23-2014, 03:39 AM
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NW- I think it was great you brought this topic up and while therapy can be an invaluable tool it is not for everyone. Plus someone simply sharing their own experience can help shed light on our.own issuesand help point us in a different direction.

Have you thought about your last relationships and looked for a common theme?
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:33 PM
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I don't communicate problems. Instead I just bottle them up and explode. I don't like telling people that I have an issue (gee, I wonder where *that* came from). In this instance it was a few things. This particular friend babysat for me when I had to work and Mr. Grits was either also working or out to sea. She is a slob. A complete wreck of a housekeeper, and every night I would come home to my kitchen absolutely trashed. If made dinner before I went to work, then she would make "dessert" and leave everything for me to clean up. I know I should've said something. I told myself to be grateful for her help and just clean it up myself. She also coddles her son. Always has, and he's a brat. I've babysat quite a few times and we'd always have issues because I tell him no and don't put up with his crap. Any whining done in our house will be done where nobody else has to listen to it. Well, he recently decided that he really doesn't like not getting his way, so if someone tells him no, he makes himself sick. She told me this *As she was walking out the door* the last time she dropped him off. No time for me to process and say, "Whoa, wait a minute. Nope!" So, I told him that he wasn't having candy for dinner and he could eat what I made or wait for his mom to come home. He promptly threw a fit and made himself sick. I called her to come get him. He had no clean clothes, nothing. She got mad because "he only has these problems at [my] house." I snapped and told her it's because I actually discipline the kid and don't give him everything he wants. She tried to say she doesn't do that, but in three years I've only ever seen him running that family and he's just now turning four. Her other friends spoil him too because "he's just so cute!" We are the only place he has rules and we don't cave. I have zero tolerance for whining. I told her not to come over again of that was what I could expect. This is a girl I've kept a secret for for three years. She's cheated on her husband twice and is leaving him when he gets back from his current school for his job in the Navy. She won't tell him how she's feeling or work to try to save the marriage. Hey, whatever. Not my circus, not my monkey.

So anyway, that was the last one.
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:21 AM
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Wow. I certainly would end that friendship as well. Perhaps you didnt handle it as well as you might but it doesnt sound as if you were deliberate in your actions either. I dont see your actions as sabotaging things deliberately. She was a rotten friend.
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Old 07-24-2014, 08:29 AM
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People that want me to keep secrets make me complicit in their affairs, and in this case affairs literally. We were raised to be great secret keepers much to our detriment.
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Old 07-24-2014, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by NWGRITS View Post
I have a hard time maintaining friendships long-term. Whether it's jealousy, boredom, or feeling like a doormat, there's always some reason that I end friendships. That's all fine and well, but it's the way I go about it that has me scratching my head (I'm working my 4th Step inventory again and digging deeper this time). I don't just end friendships with a "Sorry it didn't work out, but best of luck to you." No. They go down in flames. Bombing bridges to bits. I don't know why I do it. I've been thinking about it a lot lately. I don't know if I'm scared of being the one to end it or what. I always end up starting some argument or saying something really unkind and having the tables turned to where they walk out of my life. I feel embarrassed and relieved at the same time. Why can't I address concerns with people like a normal human being? Why do I even think that these things warrant severing ties to begin with? I don't have many friends, and I like it that way. Trying to make conversation (especially with other women) is uncomfortable. I'd rather have dental work than be in a room full of people and have to talk to them. I'm a homebody. And yet I like being the center of attention (for what reason I don't know, but I'm guessing it stems from just trying to be seen as a child in my FOO). Anyway, this may make perfect sense or none at all. Is anyone like this or is it just me? I know some of my issues in developing real relationships are rooted in being ACoA. But what of the rest of it?
I haven't had cause to end a relationship recently. But historically, I was very much the same - all or nothing, I've stormed out of many relationships.

As I reflect on those incidents it seems to me that part of my problem was (trait 7) guilt feelings when I stand up for my self instead of giving in. This lead to me (erroneously) resenting that person and to avoid being abandoned I created situations whereby I could justify (erroneously) my feelings towards them and react badly and storm out.

Creating a 'stink' enabled me to feel a sense of self righteousness i.e. See look how bad they are (erroneous blame) and then not to feel bad about doing what I was doing.

More recently, with those I don't want a relationship with I don't have one. I simply leave it where it was and decline (nicely) invitations. That excludes 'love' relationships from this new found method as it simply hasn't come up in my life today.
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Old 07-25-2014, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by makomago View Post
I haven't had cause to end a relationship recently. But historically, I was very much the same - all or nothing, I've stormed out of many relationships.

As I reflect on those incidents it seems to me that part of my problem was (trait 7) guilt feelings when I stand up for my self instead of giving in. This lead to me (erroneously) resenting that person and to avoid being abandoned I created situations whereby I could justify (erroneously) my feelings towards them and react badly and storm out.

Creating a 'stink' enabled me to feel a sense of self righteousness i.e. See look how bad they are (erroneous blame) and then not to feel bad about doing what I was doing.

More recently, with those I don't want a relationship with I don't have one. I simply leave it where it was and decline (nicely) invitations. That excludes 'love' relationships from this new found method as it simply hasn't come up in my life today.
Yes! You explained it better than I could. I'm working on the 'just not having them' thing. I'm learning who I can let in and who needs to be kept at arm's length. I babysat another friend's son this morning, but she came prepared and there were no surprises. He was into everything, but at 8:30am I couldn't care less. I work nights, so 8:30 might as well be 5am.

Thank you everyone for your points-of-view and support. I'm doing better at saying no and putting myself first, but as we all know, two years is a drop in the bucket compared to 28 years of dysfunction and chaos.
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Old 08-04-2014, 07:50 PM
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I am an ACoA and the only thing consistent in my life has been my friendships. Im so grateful to still have the same tiny group of friends for 30+ years. Maybe its because we all share something in common, effed up FOO's! We all compare stories of how our parents messed us up. I guess we are each others therapy at times.
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:54 PM
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Funny you mention that, jacrazz. The very few solid friendships I have (as well as a developing one) are with people who are just as effed up as I am. It's so nice to have people outside of the bed who get it!
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Old 08-05-2014, 11:46 AM
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ACOA here, and I can SOOO relate to what you said.

I have a hard time maintaining friendships long-term too. I don’t know why. I’m not real good at keeping up with people when we’re separated by distance. I don’t still have any friends in my life from a long time ago.

With romantic relationships, I used to either just leave them, or sometimes it would end in a big fight. My friendships usually end up like….we just lose touch.

“And yet I like being the center of attention” --me too.

I don’t mind being alone, most of the time. I think when I was a preschooler I learned that nobody was going to be there, so I might as well get used to it. I’ve always been a loner. I don’t say I particularly recommend it, but it’s how I grew up.

I have an issue a mile wide with being ignored. It really makes me angry!

Thanks for starting this thread.
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Old 08-05-2014, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by kudzujean View Post
ACOA here, and I can SOOO relate to what you said.

I have a hard time maintaining friendships long-term too. I donít know why. Iím not real good at keeping up with people when weíre separated by distance. I donít still have any friends in my life from a long time ago.

With romantic relationships, I used to either just leave them, or sometimes it would end in a big fight. My friendships usually end up likeÖ.we just lose touch.

ďAnd yet I like being the center of attentionĒ --me too.

I donít mind being alone, most of the time. I think when I was a preschooler I learned that nobody was going to be there, so I might as well get used to it. Iíve always been a loner. I donít say I particularly recommend it, but itís how I grew up.

I have an issue a mile wide with being ignored. It really makes me angry!

Thanks for starting this thread.
Yep. I do NOT like being ignored. And my relationships either fizzled or went out with a bang. Instead of telling someone, "I just don't think this is working out," I'd usually find some reason to nitpick and start a fight. My passive-aggressive tendencies are one of my biggest To-Dos on my self-improvement list. I will give my husband the silent treatment, but hell hath no fury if he does it to me. *sigh*
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Old 08-05-2014, 09:06 PM
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And of course I just caught a typo from the other night. That one post should read "It's so nice to have people outside of the BOX who get it!" Not bed. Any typos in my posts are more than likely courtesy of my phone.
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Old 08-05-2014, 09:42 PM
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ACOA here and I love and crave alone time. I have always made friends pretty easily and I do have a few long distance friends that I have stayed close to since college. That being said, something that has always concerned me a bit is how easily I can let friends go and not honestly care too much. I moved a few years ago from a state where I raised my kids and honestly, as close as I got to other moms there, if I never saw them again, it would not bother me, but I feel guilty about that. I think my mom's readiness always made me feel sucked dry, so relationships often feel too all encompassing and exhausting to me, if that makes sense.
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Old 08-05-2014, 11:59 PM
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I love my alone time too, DD. I could be happy with quiet time to myself every day to read books. I do thoroughly enjoy spending time with Mr. Grits, though.
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