Don’t allow possessive pal to guilt-trip you into becoming her caregiver
Lynne and I grew up together as best friends. Our families were close. We shared holidays, traveled and attended college together. She’s loyal, trustworthy and dependable.
Here’s the problem: I’m her only friend. Her entire need for entertainment and social activity centers on me.
There’s a special new person in my life. And Lynne resents my newfound love.
There are times when I’m truly torn by wanting to be with my new girlfriend. But I feel like it’s my responsibility to fill Lynne’s non-existent social calendar.
Whatever choice I make, it ruins many evenings. How did I get in such a mess?
It shows great compassion to be concerned about your lifelong friend. But you’re neglecting yourself.
You are not responsible for Lynne’s feelings. Neither are you responsible for your new romantic interest’s feelings. You’re only responsible for your feelings.
If you are feeling pulled apart, it’s because you have an overdeveloped sense of being a caretaker. The only people you need to be a caretaker for are your children, maybe your elderly parents and maybe some people in your life with special needs. Everyone else is responsible for their own happiness or unhappiness.
A good friend should be happy that you’ve found someone special. A romantic interest should be happy you maintain good, lifelong friendships.
If during your childhood you were valued for taking care of your parent’s feelings, you may think your value is in taking care of people. You have the right to be loved and valued for just being you not for taking care of others. Many caretakers develop problems about being loveable. And needy people often confuse love when they’re just glomming onto others. This is not love it’s dependency. It’s also draining.
First, take care of yourself. Then see who sticks around to support what’s best for you. These are the folks with whom you want to spend your time. Good luck.
I just found out my boss has been faking receipts for expense reimbursements. He also wants the company to pay for his partner’s travel, and he told me to book the travel as if his partner worked here. I usually do what I am told, but this isn’t right.
I’m afraid if I rat him out to the president of the company, my boss will disclose some personal stuff about me, and I could lose my job. (Outside work, my boss caught me dealing a small amount of contraband that could get me fired.)
Do I shut up and do my bosses’ bidding, or squeal and hope I’m not skewered in the process?
You have two choices: 1) Inform your boss that you aren’t comfortable faking receipts for his expense reimbursements or booking travel for his boyfriend. And tell him you will no longer do either task.
2. Find a more legal way to supplement your income. Good luck.
Candy Marcum is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Dallas.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, July 14, 2006.
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