Friday, March 04, 2005

Drama Dilemma

Dear Mr. Bitterworth,

I have in the past found myself so disappointed with a friend's taste in men that I've stopped being friends with them. For two reasons: one, because I just despise their bad taste too much. But secondly because I don't like the sort of people it turns them into.

I am told that a true friend doesn't stop being friends with someone because they don't like their choice of friends, or music, or boyfriends, or whatever. That I should look past it and into the person. But especially in the case of friends who start dating abusive men it becomes especially difficult, because it's like talking to a lunatic. The person you used to know suddenly becomes this irrational, masochistic person who apparently likes to suffer, who likes to be with a man whom she has nothing good to say about whatsoever -- except, of course, that she "Loves him in spite of everything" (bleurgh.)

I can not help but feel that if you're happy "in spite of everything" then stop complaining and enjoy your special type of "happiness" for what it's worth while it lasts. I feel like complaining to me is like making me a part of their sexual drama, as if sadomasochistic couples were also exhibitionists, and they turn their friends into a sexual audience of their drama. It makes me feel deeply uncomfortable. But if I say "Don't tell me about your problems" then I'm not being there for them, in which case I am a lousy friend.

Who is the bad friend in this kind of situation? The woman who gets involved with a no good scum and spends her time complaining about him to her friends? Or people like me, who stop being friends when they don't like what a friend's love life turns them into? And what exactly should a person do in this type of situation?

No Masochist

Dear No Masochist,

First off, I commend you for knowing that a "true friend doesn't stop being friends with someone because they don't like their choice of friends" etc. This is true. However, like all things, there eventually reaches a limit.

I too have been in this situation and I understand how hard it can be to sit back and watch the Hindenberg Disaster being played out again and again and again. You want to shake your friend until their teeth rattle and ask them "What's wrong with you?!! Do you have no common sense?!" You know the old saying that goes "Sometimes you have to learn the hard way." This case is no different. Now I know you're probably saying to yourself "But he/she never seems to learn from their mistakes." Some people are like that. They find a pattern and stick to it for whatever reason, be is psychological or physiological. Keep in mind that this is their problem not yours, so don't feel compelled to play hero.

The best you can hope to do is listen with a solemn look on your face and not offer any insight. (*Helpful hint: I often use this time to make mental lists of 'things to do' or items to pick up at the grocery store on my next visit) Trust me, people like this aren't looking for solutions, otherwise they wouldn't be in this situation AGAIN. At some point (and I think you're there already) you'll realize that you can't be friends with someone whom you don't respect and who obviously has no respect for themselves. Distance yourself. And don't worry, you're not being a 'bad friend,' you're being a good one because you've made the conscious effort to no longer help perpetuate their self-defeating behavior.

Have a problem? Ask Mister Bitterworth! E-mail him at:


Blogger Mariana said...

You should feel brilliant. I know I've said this before, but I'm so proud of you! I just knew you would be great at giving advice! Kudos.

Friday, March 04, 2005 3:12:00 PM  
Blogger Kirkkitsch said...

Aw, thank you. :) Maybe I'll get some more letters later on down the road. Maybe not. Either way, I still had fun. Thanks for the inspiration!

Monday, March 14, 2005 1:33:00 PM  

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