What if kindness, compassion, selflessness and love come authentically only after a process through trauma recovery? What if some forms of nice-ness are trauma responses often called “the fawn response” while kindness is a byproduct of healing?
Are we being unrealistic when we ask others to be nice to us? Be nice. Be kind. Be love. It’s all the rage in FB memes and new age programming. Drop your humanity, abandon your raw real unedited anger and just have compassion and sweetness. Just abandon yourself. Be dishonest and call it “radical honesty”. Bypass your anger and call it having a “strong ego”. Betray yourself and call it “empathy”. So many are basically trying to instruct people to be fake, to walk on eggshells for them. Asking people to have an unfractured ego, to sugarcoat their truth for us, to never express their anger, to never criticize us, to never act out, to never screw up, and to be compassionate all the time is an unrealistic demand that our friends be completely healed — for us. Not to mention, unrealistic demands in adulthood stem from not getting our childhood needs met. So we stroll into adulthood as the child trying to find the mother we never had without realizing what we are doing. This is great if you’re in a therapeutic relationship and have a decent amount of self-awareness and are willing to bravely commit to USING the transference to heal, but if you’re not doing that, you are projecting your needs unfairly.
We are not going to find our mothers through friendship. Until we heal, what we are going to find is one of two scenarios: Scenario One: Fake co-dependent friendships where two people give each other proverbial blowjobs on demand while masquerading as “friendship”. This perversion is even more noticeable on Facebook. It’s the land of fake “friendships” because we cannot handle how alone we feel. Scenario Two: If both parties are REALLY honest (which is rare because getting angry with one another is taboo), we will find more disappointment since we cannot cope with adversity. We are going to continue being disappointed with others until we snap out of our need to find our mother and work through the feelings that come up when other women cannot meet all our needs. We women keep talking about how sexist it is that our whole lives we have been expected to take care of someone else when we cannot and how that pressure is traumatizing, yet…..when in friendships, some of us expect our friends to be our moms. We even have these expectations for our boyfriends or husbands, to be our long-lost mom…… While there are adult needs, often childhood abandonment trauma can cause us to confuse realistic adult needs with childhood needs. We put heavy demands and A LOT of unnecessary pressure on our friends and then find socially clever ways to normalize that maladaptive pattern so we don’t have to confront our past. This keeps people stuck in the trenches of their old wounds making them and their partners prisoners. We will abandon them and continue to get stuck in the same patterns.
While we need to set the bar high for who we invite into our precious space, at the same time, our relationship expectations need to be grounded in REALITY. There are no perfect or healed people out there. Shit’s gonna happen. You’re going to find out you are still without a mother. You’re one day going to have the sit with the fact that your friend is HUMAN and not a mind-reader.
We’ve got to be realistic here: In the very best relationships, there is fighting, there is conflict, there is anger. Just because that hurts, doesn’t mean it is wrong. You have reached maturity when you can have an argument and still make it out the other end. If you cannot handle criticism, if you cannot handle occasional disagreement or discord, you cannot handle life. We are relational beings.
We can get so steeped in victimhood by not owning our triggers and by demanding everyone change instead. Demanding others be the parents we never had IS a pathology and a disservice to our friends. For any relationship to stand solidly and firmly grounded, both parties NEED to be able to ask for what they need, they need to be able to say “no”, they need to be able to criticize, and take criticism. They need to speak up when triggered. You all need to be strong enough for that. Not being strong enough for relational conflict, is trauma-based and that needs to be worked on. Both parties need to be able to handle each other’s raw uncensored emotions. If your relationship isn’t messy sometimes, then someone’s not being honest!
These are my expectations and I am willing to bet that even my demands might be unrealistic especially for those people who won’t take responsibility for their triggers and who refuse to work on their problems ……..because that is a huge problem for me. I am pretty sure that’s me looking for my mother too since I needed a mother that was strong enough to handle the stresses of life so that I could be get the protection and the emotional availability and validation I needed when I was being violated by my dad and brother. I will admit, mousy, fearful, and reality-escaping women are stir up deep feelings for me. I need to work on this. This is a perfectly good example of how one person’s unhealed wounds can be too much for me to take — because I TOO am unhealed!
We all need to stop looking for our moms! We just need to find REAL messy people to love instead because we have learned to love the really messy people WE ALL ARE!