Bad news and self-centeredness.

I got some bad news from a friend today.  What that news was isn’t important.  Well, it’s important in that I love this person and don’t want them to be dealing with what they are dealing with.  Beyond that, the specifics are not important for the rest of this post.  The part of the news that bothered me was that this friend held it and didn’t share it with me.

Yes, this friend has every right in the world to keep things private; that is not what I am saying.  This is the first person I called the last time I had a breakdown.  This friend listened to me cry and helped me make safe decisions.  My three best friends have made me feel safe so I can share the most self-destructive thoughts, ugly behaviors, and worst sort of life changes.

So when I finished talking to this friend, I thought that my reaction was pretty good.  We talked about the bad news, but I didn’t get mad or anything about it being withheld.  Logically, I understand that my friend wasn’t ready to open up and talk about the bad news—and had every right to feel that way. 

I started getting ready for work and my mind started running in circles…very negative circles.  I will try to give you the flavor of what was going on in my mind:

X didn’t tell me about this.  And that’s okay.

But why didn’t X tell me? X wasn’t ready.

I must have done something wrong.  No, you didn’t do anything wrong.  X wasn’t ready and that’s okay.

I did  something wrong.  No, you didn’t do anything wrong.

I did something wrong! No, you didn’t do anything wrong.

I did everything wrong!  I am worthless! No.

I am worthless.  Of course X didn’t tell me.  I am the worst friend in the world.  X only talks to me out of pity. No

I am sure you can see how this thinking made it very hard for me to get to work.  This circular, negative thinking obviously had nothing to do with my friend.  This was all about me.  In a sense it was some of the most self-centered thinking I have had in a very long time.  It makes me feel like everything that crappy voice is telling me is true because, logically, I know that this isn’t about me at all.  I need to support and love my friend as I strive to do every day.

Feeling guilty about that thinking isn’t going to help me support my friend.  And it isn’t going to help me get out of this dangerous spiral.  The best thing I can think to do about the whole thing is to throw it all out here and see if the poison will stay here instead of creeping back into my brain.  I am working hard not to feel bad about the way I began thinking.  I also would HATE for my friend to think that the sharing that was done was not appreciated or that I do not support my friend in everything.  This thinking had nothing to do with X and everything to do with my own insecurities and traumas.

I’m really not sure what to do about all of this, though.  I want to cry and scream and rage at myself for being so selfish in the face of my friend’s pain.  Which doesn’t help with the spiral.

Of course, while I am writing this, one of my very favorite songs comes on my internet radio (Jango if you are curious).  Loser Like Me by the Glee Cast.  For those that don’t watch Glee, these are a pretty talented group of people.  Now this song ALWAYS makes me feel better about things.  If you listen to the words, you will quickly find that these words are something for all of us to keep in mind.

So maybe I need to remember that the label of Loser is one that others place on us, one that some of us embrace to the point that we see ourselves that way.  Reality can and usually is very different.

If my friend hadn’t trusted me, I wouldn’t have been told the bad news at all.  If I wasn’t supportive and loving, my friend wouldn’t trust me.  If I am supportive and loving, I am being a good friend.

So let’s see if I can find three positive things about all of this.

  1. I didn’t freak out while speaking to my friend.  That could have done way more damage to our relationship.
  2. Instead of continuing to freak out, I made it to work.  Late, but I made it in.  [As a corollary, I also asked my boss if I could work it out over the rest of the week so I still had 40 hours, and he said that was fine.]
  3. I figured out I am a good friend, even if I have moments of self-centeredness and freaking out.

I think all of that works.  I don’t know how long I can stay out of the spiral, but I will try to remember the new answers to give that loudmouth in my skull.

BTW, for my three best friends, please try to keep your comments  generic as no one needs to know which of you I am speaking of.

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~ by theartistryofthebipolarbrain on March 27, 2012.

8 Responses to “Bad news and self-centeredness.”

  1. You did great. I don’t believe in self-help bullshit. But I’ll share this with you anyway: The tiny voice that tries to make you feel bad about things is called the chatterbox. When it goes up, imagine it isn’t a part of you, it isn’t you saying this things. Imagine that the voice is getting lower lower and listen how it fades away…

  2. Pretty much. Exactly. Right on.

    You are a great friend and the person that told you all of that probably really did trust you and know that you would understand and hopefully the bad stuff has passed now for them. It sucks that you have to deal with it as an aftermath type of thing but hopefully your night won’t suck horribly because of it. Maybe they didn’t tell you because they didn’t want to worry you. It’s stupid to think that you wouldn’t worry anyway since you love us all but maybe that was their thinking.

    And to the one of you that it was- 😛 on you.

  3. *hug* I think you’re awesome.

  4. You are the kind of friend most folks WISHED they could have. Can’t but wish. It takes a brilliant, calm, thoughtful mind to see this and put it in context. And know what stroke, what beat, what line would be best to quell angst and simultaneously bring peace to the reader. You KNOW you rock, right?

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