Last night I reached a breaking point. You know, the kind that leaves you paralyzed, teary and raging angry all at the same time? Yeah, one of those. Problem being, I let things build up and build up, pretending everything is fine…. and when it stops being fine all of a sudden, all that pent-up energy just comes roaring out and I’m an inarticulate, sobbing mess by the end. I don’t particularly want to go into details here, but I’ve got a situation with someone who I thought I was doing a favour for and rather than just saying cool, and getting on with things, he has spent the last year complaining to me about my actions every time I talk to him. I can not, in fact, recall a single conversation in the last year that had to do with much else than what I should be doing more in the situation (ie: what I am *not* doing right now).
And so, even though I’ve just done another favour by forgiving something, I had the same complaint last night about something I haven’t done that I’ve heard about 25 times already (a simple task that I can not complete until a much more complex task is completed and he knows that) – and I snapped. I’m sick of being treated like a bad person in a situation where I am doing all that I can, and that’s essentially what I said – though not so eloquently as I would have liked.
Which leads me to wondering about what to do next. It seems that to ever be in a situation of being able to help someone else (ie: a place of privilege) just leads to resentment and ultimately bad treatment, and this isn’t the first time I’ve been confronted by this seeming contradiction. It’s not that I want to be recognized for being decent, but I certainly don’t want to be pilloried for it. Which makes me think the only way out is to clearly set boundaries on thes type of help I can give friends. As in, I can not provide financial help, but I’m a good listener. While I may want to give financial help when I can, it will go to strangers who I will never meet and therefore can not resent me as an individual or treat me badly because of it.
But this is all very antithetical to my belief system which is from each according to their means, to each according to their needs – which shouldn’t be impersonal at its core but practiced in daily life, in communities of mutual aid. Right? Perhaps. Unfortunately this particular situation has destroyed a friendship, and I am forced to formalize every transaction from hereon out in order to distance my emotional self from a situation that is quite frankly dragging me down with every iteration. Any thoughts about this cycle? I’d really like to find a way to both provide support to friends who need it but set limits on what can be expected of me without sounding rude or inconsiderate. I’m not sure how to strike this balance.