Hi there. Through this week’s work, I’ve realized that I have many unmatched wants from my group of 3 best friends. These are 3 people that have been in my life for decades (friends from school) and have been a super important, integral part of my development and life. I love them dearly. The problem is that I have all of these “should” thoughts like “they should respect me more” “they should reach out to me more” “they should care about me as much as they care about each other” etc. etc. that are ultimately making me feel disconnected. I can totally see that it’s my thoughts that are giving me this result. I can even see other friendships where I DON’T have the same expectations and thus feel much more connected. I want to get there with these 3, but I have such a long history of having super high expectations for this friendship that it feels unnatural or forced to change my should thoughts… it feels like I’d be artificially “lowering” my expectations if I chose a thought like “I can get respect elsewhere – I don’t need this from them” (which is an alternative thought that I can see is available to me – just can’t make the leap to believing it yet). Even the thought “They don’t respect me and that’s ok” feels unbelievable. I really do want to work towards connection and love with these three, and not sit in this place of disconnection too long (feels like victim mentality and indulgent rather than useful). Can you help me with me thoughts? Full models below:
UM: C: My 3 best friends
T: They should X, Y, and Z (text me more, say more compassionate things, respect my opinion, etc.)
A: Text them less, respect them less, etc.
IM: C: Same
A: text them a lot, find ways to respect them, show love, show up when they need me, how they need me, etc.
I realize that connection can be something that I control completely – I don’t need them to do anything in order to get there, but this situation just feels strange to try that out in since, again, I’ve had this super great bond with them all my life and it’s only recently that I’ve been struggling with this, so feels sad to change my expectations for the friendship. Thoughts like “I’m figuring out how to feel connection with them in this new relationship” just feel really sad and are not serving me.