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All post and stories are the sole property of Velvet Over Steel aka Coreen Trost. I write and create post in order to help others, so share as you want. I just ask that you link back or give VOS credit. Some of the stories are going into a book in progress. Thank You ALL.. for your support and help!!
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." ~ John Quincy Adams

Sunday, March 14, 2010

When to help and when to walk away....

I am very intuitive and ‘emotional’ in the sense that I can ‘feel’ the emotions and tensions of the people around me. I know when people are lying or angry, even if they deny either of those things. I can tell when something is wrong and can even guess with unnerving accuracy what has happened at times.

Being in tune like that is very draining and really a downer sometimes. I can get sucked into other peoples’ lives and ‘dramas’ very easily. I have to be very careful as to how much of another person’s troubles I take in, because they will end up weighing on me after a while.

Now I love to help people and I want to be a good friend, don’t get me wrong. I just need to be careful. I need to set limits on the amount of energy and time from my own life I am capable and willing to put forth. I also want to be careful not to overstep any boundaries in a friends' life.

Even more importantly, the person I am trying to help must want help and be willing to accept it. I’ve learned the hard way, more than once, that you can’t help someone who doesn’t really want to improve their situation or want to change, if that is what’s needed. The old saying is true; you can’t help someone who isn’t willing to help themselves.

So when, as a friend, do you speak up and step in to help? When do you walk away from a friendship, even though you still care, because it’s draining the life right out of you or sacrificing your own health and well being? When you first suspect they are not trying to improve their situation? Or when it’s starting to affect your own family or other friendships?

I take all of that into consideration and then listen to my intuition or ‘gut’. If I feel anxiety or an unsettling feeling that the person isn’t telling the truth, then I back away. If they reach out to me, I will be honest and as good a friend as they will let me be.  However, I will never pacify a situation that I think is wrong. Or tell someone that ‘it’s ok’ when it’s not.

I don’t feel either of those would be any help to the person in the long run. I wouldn’t want my friends to sugar coat anything with me. I would want my friends to be honest with me! Those are true friends in my book!
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  1. GOD bless you!! It is tough, but you are wise to listen to your inner self....GOD will continue to give you direction. Hang in there!
    Blessings and prayers,

  2. Awesome post!~ You are speaking my language Coreen, as I am the same way! It is so true...I have learned to be very honest though with friends, and at some point I let them know, either they are complaining too much, and not doing a damn thing about it, or really just being a martyr in life, and only they can change it....I have no problem anymore being honest.....I think they respect that in me, they are still my friends:)

  3. You sound a lot like my SIL, who has completely let the life be drained out of her by everyone else's life's dramas. She feels everything and probably feels more deeply about what other people experience than they themselves do. And she tries to help. But it has made her an ineffective parent in a lot of ways. I think it is good to reach out, say you care, and lend a listening ear. But I wouldn't offer to help unless someone asks for it. And if you end up listening too too too often to the point that it is draining you, you might be doing your friend a favor to say: "Your problem is draining the life out of me. I can't imagine what it is doing to you. Let's talk about something more positive. It might be really healthy!" Sometimes people need to hear that too!

  4. OMG that is 100% me! The past 6 months I have been battling fighting for a friendship or letting go of its clearly toxic effects on me. I know its toxic because I get so upset that I can't do more to help her out of a clearly wrong decision and deepening depression, but the more I reach the more she doesn't follow through or reply. Its SOO draining, that eventually I decided to just pull back and if she needs me to let her come to me.

    the hard part is realizing that this is not a friendship that I am a mere acquaintance to this person that is only closer to friends when she's broken and wants me to make her laugh/smile. It became all too clear how much I was putting into the relationship thinking it was a friendship when it was not, and it hurt but in the end I can only be me, and she can only be she.

  5. I had a situation where I had to kind of let a friend go. She was doing very bad things that I didn't agree with and her children were affected negatively by it. She was/is a horrible mother and I feel horrible for her children.

    I didn't walk away but I just stopped calling her so often and didn't jump up and do everything she called and invited me to do. I think she eventually realized that I wasn't interested in being her friend anymore and she stopped calling. She moved away and I'd hoped things would improve for her and her family but she fell right back into the same bad habits. So sad!

  6. It took me along time to realize that I am not responsible for everyone else except my children and my spouse. I cannot fix everyone's problems that even with advice they need to do it themselves. With that in mind I had to let people go. If they added nothing but anxiety to my life and were a drain for me when I am already drained by my own dramas of parentng two special needs children then good by they went no matter who they are (family too). BTW, a friend is someone who supports you in your needs as well. Remember being a sounding board is a two-way street. Those who refuse to care or even try to understand your life are not your friends either. Let them go.

  7. I think knowing how to help -- as in tone of voice and one's true intention - really makes it all come together. Sometimes, letting go is necessary for people to realize their own mistakes or stregnths. Also, sometimes, we need to know who we can go to for help -- we may end up taking a few steps backward if we make the wrong choice.

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  9. Hi! I'm from Meet Chaz but also Amazing Six. I kind of understand what you are saying but not a lot. I can be insensitive at times because I've learned to disconnect myself and I have a hard time getting close to people out of fear from hurtful friendships in the past. I have put my all into friends and then have major betrayals. So I need to learn how to reconnect again.

  10. You really have to weigh it. Can you stand there and bite your tongue when you really don't agree or are you willing to let go. That's a hard one and looking back I've done a bit of both. Just step back and think about it.



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