Rosemary is author of six books on mental health and inspirational poetry. She is a motivational speaker and a volunteer peer advocate.
Changes over the years
I've noticed changes in my relationships over the past few decades. In my early thirties, I was dating my ex. He was controlling like my father. It seems we tend to date people who are similar to the environment we were raised in, as it's all we know. I can see a huge difference from that time to now. During that time, I did have some friends that I'm still in touch with now. And our friendship has grown even better over the years.
In the photo, I was very young, about age twelve. My nephew in the photo was about two! I became an aunt a very young age! I found it easier during those times to relate to family, but I did have friends I played with in the neighborhood. I was shy in school. In 4th grade I had a best friend, Sandra who I'm still in touch with today.
I gave up my ex at age 34. I discovered that he became more controlling over the time we dated, unfortunately because a great portion of our relationship was really great. He had a lot of great qualities I felt grateful for. He was a great cook, and loved cleaning the apartment, was romantic and monogamous. i felt very lucky. I've never found the same since.
As far as friendships go, I've noticed a bit of a pattern to whom I've been closest to.
When I moved out here where I live now about 14 years ago, I became close with a friend who I met when I was 19. He has schizophrenia and he reminds me of my brother in that way. But he has always been gentle towards me as a friend, unlike my brother who didn't take his meds.
I also became close with a friend that I met when I was 18. I discovered our families were similar in some ways and it really made me feel good to connect with him. We both came from dysfunctional families and we have had our own humor that no one else understood but us!
Then I found myself in a friendship with a girl whose personality resembled something that a family member had- manipulative. I found her to be very much so, and she is good at getting what she wants from people. I detest dishonesty and she lies a lot she told me to her family and I figured she's probably lying to me as well, whenever it suits her. I just couldn't trust her. She did many things I didn't like.
On the other hand, she knew how to be nice and nurturing to try and get what she wanted. I saw through it. And the friendship ended.
Well I can finally see now the pattern. I never realized I had a pattern with friends. I thought it was just with guys I dated.
But I've had a pattern with friends as you see above. And the good thing is, I'm changing the pattern, over time. As I've been working on my positive attitude for many years now. I have found myself changing over the years.
I can see now why I chose the friends I did, or why I stayed with them. They served a purpose in my life. They felt safe because they were familiar like family. But as I've grown, my friend with schizophrenia is still a friend but we have less and less in common. And my friend from the similar dysfunctional family, I've chosen to break negative cycles and he has not chosen to break all of his. I find myself in conflict with him over ridiculous things.
And the last person, well I don't even know how we became friends. It was just location convenience mostly.
But as I've grown, I noticed that these three people, were at times fun and exciting. Especially the one from the similar dysfunctional family. I felt it was worth the tough times.
I've told myself for a long time, I want friends who will have a fair 50/50 relationship. In other words, we equally support each other and be there for each other. Too many times, I've found that I give more than I get and that's not really a two way healthy friendship. I know I have that with some other friends who may not have been as close. I can learn to become closer to those ones.
Even if I don't feel as close to the friends who treat me better, I can make the effort to cultivate these friendships. And like learning how to date nicer men, I can learn how to have nicer friends and eventually they will be more and more fulfilling.
I'm no longer attracted to my ex. So I can learn to become more interested in nicer people.
I do feel that in the past six months, my relationships with certain people in my life have improved a lot. It must be a result of all the zoom classes and trainings, and hard work I've done on myself.
So, in conclusion, I've learned to improve my relationships and most of this happened from working on myself.