I was having one of those AHA! conversations with one of my closest friends when she made an observation that cleared up something I had wondered about for a long time. The conversation was about people who love selfishly. I know that sounds contradictory, and it is, but there are people out there that only know one way to love someone and it is not healthy.
Do you remember being in grade school and having a best friend?
When we are children, before we develop a sense of what is the right way and what is the unhealthy way, we develop connections to our peers that are quite narrow. As children, we don’t want our best friend to be best friends with anyone else, but us. Eventually as we mature, we lose this possessiveness by realizing that we can have hundreds of friends and best friends.
Sadly, there are grown people that never matured beyond the childhood playground. They are the ones out there that constantly bemoan the fact that they don’t have any friends, close or otherwise. There’s a reason they spend so much time searching for a friend and that is because once they find someone that likes to be around them, they cling and suffocate the new friend through manipulation and isolation. They don’t want to share their new friend with anyone. They will resort to undermining the new friend’s own self esteem, if that ensures the friend will never stray beyond their grasp.
This “love” is a selfish and possessive love. It can destroy the people exposed to it because even long after the new friend has decided they no longer want to be a part of this person’s life, this needy and insecure person will pursue them. They will resort to any means possible to keep the friend’s attention, even if it’s with negativity.
The psychology behind this disorder is remarkable. A person who loves in an acutely possessive manner is someone that feels like love is limited. Can you imagine that? They think that once someone loves them that to share that love with another friend means they get less love. The love gets divided and divided again every time a new friend enters the picture. Eventually they feel there is not enough love left over for them, so they fight to keep their friend all to themselves, therefore keeping the “love” all for themselves.
Now the observation has been made about me recently that there are many people out there that I don’t like and that don’t like me. I’m okay with that observation because it’s true, however I am a very social person and I am open to many different people all over the world. I cultivate and nurture thousands of friendships all at one time because I think the more the merrier.
My way of opening my arms to everyone means that I run into people that aren’t so grand, and I am okay with that too. There will always be people out there that I won’t click with, but that doesn’t mean I will ever stop making new friends. The process is pretty simple. What do you do when you find you’ve made friends with someone that isn’t quite as healthy as you thought they were? You stop being friends with them, right? Well, that’s what I do and that’s what millions of healthy people all over the world do too. I don’t focus too much on the ones I leave behind, except to try to understand why leaving them behind was a necessary thing for me to do in order to live a fulfilled life with people I truly enjoy.
I enjoy people. For me people aren’t just a means to an end. They aren’t just customers or fans or business associates. People are part of my life and will always be a huge part of my life.
That’s right! The more you love, the more love will come back to you. There is a lot of love out there and all you have to do is bring your heart to the table and leave your insecurity behind. Don’t limit yourself to the menu when the buffet is yours for the asking. Make a lot of friends and love the ones you love without fear of love ever running out because love will always be there for you.
If you find yourself dealing with someone that is jealous of your other friendships, you are dealing with someone that does not have a healthy foundation for making friends. They might never change their behavior and it is not up to you to change them. Before you become entangled in whatever games they will eventually try to play with your self esteem, back away from them carefully. Never allow them to isolate you from your family or from your other friends. They could be a lot of fun and as long as you keep them at a distance, you might be able to keep them as a friend, but be careful.
Until later, this is Madeline Laughs and I think that having a lot of friends is a very good thing. I know that without some of the friends I have been fortunate to make over the years I would never understand some of the quirks and qualms of the human condition because one of them is constantly shining a light on something that has perplexed or befuddled me and I thank them.
Dedicated to my friends, Kim and Jess.