I befriended a woman 18 years younger than I am because I noticed she had a lot of problems I had when I was her age. I felt I could help her since I am now wiser and have everything I want (a husband, good friends, kids, a house and a good job) despite my bad childhood. At first, she was uncomfortable because she was not accustomed to affection from a mother figure, but we got close fast, and she claimed to love me like a sister and mother. My problem was that she used me as a therapist and mother figure but would not socialize. She said I brought stuff out in her that would make it hard. I said I was sick of being her Prozac pill and wanted to know the person her friends knew. She pulled away. I told her to think about what she wanted from our relationship. I felt like I was in a relationship with a guy! When I did not hear from her, I spoke to her co-worker about the situation. My friend said this violated boundaries and cut me off. I apologized, even though I have no idea what I should be sorry about. She will not talk to me. It was obviously bullshit when she said she cared. How do I let this go?
By learning why you created it. Those of us with pain-filled childhoods often strive to establish icons of normalcy (a spouse, a house, a good job, kids and certain types of friends), but unless we also engage in deep spiritual and emotional healing, we are empty. This propels us into trying to help others when we really need help ourselves. So, by fixating on someone else, your neurotic ego swelled out of control. By contrast, your young friend was emotionally healthy enough to maintain boundaries. Stop trying to manipulate her into giving you what only God can give. Let the relationship die. After all, its purpose was to help you understand that you are still affected by your past and to bring you to your knees so you can become the person you are meant to be.
It’s vital that you engage a licensed psychotherapist. Be scrupulously honest about the affection you offered. Was it for your benefit or hers? Was it clean, or did it have sexual undertones? Also, are you truly unclear that an apology is required for gossiping about someone? In response to your claim that she doesn’t care, I would say she cares enough for herself and you to end an unhealthy relationship. Bless her.
Recently you wrote, “Unfortunately, in our I-want-it-now culture, most of us end relationships rather than learn how to release our attachment to forcing others to fulfill needs that our parents did or did not fill. We flit from relationship to relationship, addictively sipping from the illusion of perfection we project onto others. When we wake up and see that it’s a human being, not our perfect illusion, we leave physically or emotionally. In this way, we can deny that our illusions created the problem.” That is so me! Please refer me to readings that will help.
Actually, I abhor most self-help books because they’re superficial and tend to inflate the unhealthy ego. A book can’t confront you like a licensed therapist, certified spiritual director or 12-step sponsor can, so books are good hiding places for people who don’t really want to change. That said, I recommend How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving by David Richo, Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life by (my friend) Byron Katie, The Complete ACOA Sourcebook: Adult Children of Alcoholics at Home, at Work and in Love by Janet Geringer Woititz and anything by Cheri Huber. Enjoy!