I have the rage. Earlier this week, I spent a large part of a night counselling a friend about a fucked up relationship problem. Then today I find out that she’s going out with the object of said drama for drinks. After all of the talking and understanding and wiling away the hours, she goes crawling back to this person? As the shoulder to cry on, what am I supposed to do here? I don’t think I can handle having this conversation over if he messes her around again. How do you deal with someone who comes to you for advice and consoling, then, after committing to positive change, just goes back to their well-worn habits?
Why the rage? Is it a reaction to the fucked up problem or a reaction to your friend’s decision to go out for drinks?
When people come to me for advice or to simply open up and vent, I make it a point to keep two things in mind:
- They are their own person.
- At the end of the day, anything I say is only my own opinion.
What they take from that is completely up to them.
Does it suck to see a friend place themself into a destructive situation? Absolutely! You, however, are not their parent and they are, presumably, an adult. We are all individuals, each one of us unique and capable of making our own decisions, both good and bad. Sometimes we choose to repeatedly make the same bad decisions. Human beings are, after all, creatures of habit.
It seems you care for your friend and I assume you only want what’s best for them. All you can really do, though, is be there for them when they need you. That’s not to say that you should enable bad behavior, however. There may come a time where you might have to exercise some tough love and let them continue without your shoulder. Change should not be forced upon someone; it won’t stick unless the person changing really wants it.
There may be a possibility you might have to duck out of this person’s life for a while, which is perfectly fine. That’s not to say you should abandon them. You have your own life to live, however, and shouldn’t put your own aside for theirs. There is a difference between being available for someone and allowing someone to wear you down. You can offer that ear, that shoulder for them as they need it, but ultimately it’s up to them to adjust their situation as necessary.
And if they don’t take your advice? So be it. You’ve done what you could. There’s no reason to become enraged. The situation may be unfortunate, but you shouldn’t beat yourself up. Again, all you can really do is be there for them when they need you so long as you don’t make them your responsibility. We’re all human, we’re all individuals, we all make mistakes and we all need to be responsible for our own selves.
Just my $0.02