Meandering Michele’s Mind: What Kind of People Surround You?

The following quote comes from Mike H:

You simply cannot become healthier and happier as a human being unless you hang with people who are healthy and want to encourage health. That’s the crux. This morning I’m wondering: Who are you hanging with?

During my healing PTSD years, I made and got rid of many friends. Some friends I made because it seemed like a good idea at the time. They seemed interested and understanding and totally supportive of my PTSD. They asked questions, wanted info and generally kept up with me on a daily basis, always trying to better appreciate my predicament, prodding me to go deeper in my explanations than even I had planned to go. It was nice. I got to explain and expound on what I was going through.

And then I got hip to the fact that these friends behaved this way because they liked seeing someone more miserable than they were! When I began to heal, all they wanted to do was poke at me to see where was the misery? It had to still be there, they were sure. They weren’t interested in my growing strength or happiness because then they were left with the fact they still had to handle and manage their own displeasures, disappointments and sadness. When they couldn’t vicariously and voyeuristically experience mine (and then go home at the end of the day thinking themselves so much healthier and happier than I was) these friends got annoyed at my unwillingness to be the one cataloguing desperate emotions.

There’ve been people, too, oddly enough, on the other side of the spectrum. People who so genuinely loved to feel my pain and share my burden that I felt worse because of it. I have made friends because their love and compassion and emotional connection to my struggle felt so good. But then, as I healed, their interaction with me didn’t evolve. They still handled and approached me through this murky emotionality; they wanted to always soothe and empathize, even when that was no longer necessary. I found myself playing a role – playing the PTSD victim because that is what our friendship needed to survive. If I healed, our friendship had no other substance. I got tied to a couple of these people and it was hard — really hard! — to realize they were becoming toxic to me.

In healing, we’re so desperate, desolate, isolated and fragmented we don’t always make the right decisions. Heck, sometimes we don’t even make decisions; we do things by default. This can be hazardous to our recovery. We must become conscious at all times in order to really heal. We can begin this sort of cosciousness raising (to revamp a phrase from the 70s) by being aware of the simple act of choosing whom we allow around us.

Take a look at the people with whom you surround yourself. Ask yourself whether or not they support or hinder your being yourself; how they encourage or discourage your feeling good about yourself, recovery, and the future. Ask yourself if the people around you are good or bad for you. If the answers are negative… well, you need to begin thinking about how to change the energy surrounding you. Time for some friend/family spring cleaning! If we want to heal we cannot have our energy siphoned off or mutilated by the negative effects of others.

Mike includes in his approach to new friendships the question, ‘Would this be healthy?’

Are you this conscious in choosing who you spend time with?

How do you approach new friendships? How do you choose who you allow into your inner circle? Have you seen friendships begin or end in relation to your PTSD evolution? This is an important topic to consider! Let’s pool our resources.

(Photo: vnduan)


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