I know something is up with me, because I feel the need to describe the story. I’ll keep it brief.
My friend and I have talked about digital nomad lifestyles and how it would be cool to move somewhere together. For reference, she’s location independent, I work at a job that requires me to be here. I’m currently training two new people, and I’ve been at my company for ten years but I want to leave and start a business. I’ve wanted to leave and start a business for about five years but feel stuck, my friend knows this in detail.
Anyway, we talked about potentially going to Puerto Rico to check it out. Then she told me she’d go there to do training for her job, and I told her that if she was going for training and waking up at 5am and working until noon, that wasn’t very appealing for me. No – I don’t want to take the little vacation time I have to be around somebody who is training. I nicely told her this.
Then, a few weeks later, she tells me she booked Puerto Rico. I congratulate her, am happy for her trip, etc.
Anyway, she’s there now, and she tells me that she’s feeling triggered that I didn’t come to PR. I am literally shocked. I have no idea how she possibly would have thought I’d go with her, when I had no involvement in the planning or the dates or anything. I feel like she’s blaming me for the way she feels – she’s a therapist and is pretty self aware – but I don’t feel like I should have to apologize. I don’t think I did anything wrong! I have no clue how she was misled. This is the second time this has happened, when she booked something without my consent and was confused that I didn’t want to go through with it. This isn’t something I’ve experienced before.
So, I’m trying to put this in a model. I know that I feel defensive and a bit angry, actually.
C Friend says words a out PR
T She is blaming me and this is not my fault
A I am defensive in the words I use with her, I get hot feeling and flushed, I feel baffled, I tell her why I am confused by her words, I tell her how she does the same thing, and I worry that I just behaved like how my mother does when I try to tell her how I feel
R She tells me she feels invalidated, and I remain angry, and feel like “screw people”, I can never be myself anyway, people just want too much from me and I can never be accommodating enough. We agree to talk about it tomorrow.
I obviously don’t like this model. But, I don’t feel like I’m sorry, I do feel like she’s being unreasonable, and I’m not exactly sure how to step out of that. I guess on some level I feel like “DID I lead her on, somehow?” I do feel like I have the tendency for people to get very attached to me, and when they get clingy and needy I really pull away.
I think that I’d like to allow her space to have her feelings without taking responsibility for them. I don’t feel like her feelings are my responsibility, but she is my friend, and I do care that she’s feeling sensitive and triggered.
How can I be there for my friend when she’s upset with me without taking responsibility for her feelings? I feel like I’m supposed to jump in there and “fix” it somehow, but I also don’t feel like it’s my fault!
But like, I CAN see that she was being vulnerable in expressing how she felt to me, and I CAN see that I immediately felt attacked and got defensive. I CAN see how that would make her feel invalidated. AND I also don’t think I am responsible for the way she feels, and I actually don’t think I did anything “wrong” (prior to the defensiveness in our last conversation).
I guess I feel like I’ve been a pretty good and accommodating friend for somebody who is pretty needy (story of my life), and I feel offended that she’s upset.
Where do I take this from here??