harming or helping

Earlier this year I read a memoir in which a mother decides how to deal with her drug-addicted, runaway daughter. In the book, everyone learns to be honest with each other. Sometimes, that means listening to things that are hard to hear about yourself. But as one person states, the people who aren’t honest with you don’t care enough about you to be. They say what you want to hear as to not cause waves and for you to like them. It’s superficial and easy. They’re passerbys in your life – they will enable you in what you want in that moment. They aren’t looking out for you and being the voice of reason when you need it.

I have been thinking about friendship a lot. Who is your true friend? The person who much to your chagrin and disappointment in the moment hosts an intervention for you or the person who goes out for drinks with you when you get out of rehab? To me, a friend is not going to be my clone and agree with everything I say and see everything from my point of view. A friend is going to be honest and objective and tell me when I’m being an unreasonable bitch or a selfish wench. And yes, that is hard to hear. And yes, my feelings will be temporarily hurt. But I don’t need someone to fall down the rabbit hole with me, I need someone with a rope to pull me out of it.

I have had a “life and let live” mentality for the past few years now, but I’m beginning to see that that might just be a convenient theory for me.  I don’t want to tell people how to live their lives or force my opinions on them. But when someone you love is self-destructing, isn’t it the role of us who love them to at least mention it? We are all so worried about being ostracized and pissing off the people we love the most that sometimes we aren’t the people they need for us to be. We can all find cronies to agree with us on everything. The world is full of sheep. But isn’t what we really need in a friend someone who truly looks out for us? It might mean being the bad bitch. But there are much worse things you could be. Like someone who doesn’t care enough to be it.

Those who failed to oppose me, who readily agreed with me, accepted all my views, and yielded easily to my opinions, were those who did me the most injury, and were my worst enemies, because, by surrendering to me so easily, they encouraged me to go too far… I was then too powerful for any man, except myself, to injure me.
~Napoleon Bonaparte

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