Something that I think a lot about is the amount of giving and taking one does in a friendship or relationship. It seems weird that I think about it a lot but I do…and more so since I realized narcissism. All my ponderings have led me to the conclusion that I am wrong.
My give/take ratio is off…way off. It would be easy to say the reason for an adjustment is because I am an ACoN…and while that is relevant, I have learned this behavior and until recently did not realize that my perception of it is totally wrong.
Most of my failed friendships occurred during my university years. I had plenty of friendships with normal (emotionally healthy) people and with Ns. But the ones that decided to drop me as a friend are the normal ones. I have a pseudo friendship with them now…via Facebook but there is no real friendship with them anymore. It makes me sad. I have more clarity as to how I have behaved with them and with that more sadness through the clarity. The reason the relationship failed was my own narcissism…letting it out after leaving the household of my NM.
I think when I entered university my personality was developing and I behaved more freely…I was myself and I attracted friends who were normal and ones who were not. And I gave to these friendships. I gave and I sacrificed for these friendships. I gave and gave and all was well with these friends. But then something happened…they didn’t give back and I got frustrated. I thought how can they be so selfish and not give back when I have been giving so much to this friendship – how could they do that!
And I retaliated in a passive agressive manner. I did subtle things to show I was pissed off because I didn’t get back. I said mean sarcastic things. I am narcissistic. I was becoming a narcissist. However slowly, I was developing the very behaviors that I detest today. And so, who could blame them. I was no longer their friend. They dropped me. And even today a sorry would not heal anything, it would be an act of my own selfishness.
What I realized is that I was chasing after these friends and punishing them for what I thought was my ‘right’ or ‘entitled’ portion of what I could ‘take’ out of the friendship. If I gave 500 of something I expected to get back 500 of something equivalent.
And that is very wrong. Very, very wrong.
My perception of my giving is just that. My perception. What I thought I was giving was not necessarily perceived as giving by the other person. And because my perception of what I gave was off, my perception of what I took was also off. The ratio of my give/take was a factor destroying me and others into adulthood.
Upon realizing this into the early stages of adulthood I adjusted my give/take ratio. I told myself I would continue to give but a little less and not expect the same in return from my friends. And this lead to a weird period in my life. I want to call it something like ‘the narcissism is better controlled but still there and now you are freely allowing people to use you.’ I let myself be used because I decided I shouldn’t expect anything in return from my friends and my narcissism became even more subtle, more sophisticated, escaping the radar of even normal people. I was something like a narcissist who was also the supply of other narcissists. Ultimately, I have more Ns in my life however, I have retained the normal friends (only because I played the game well).
After, the period of discovering N came. I didn’t know what to think anymore about the give/take ratio. I was at a loss. It is so natural to give and for me that means to people please especially in the beginning of a new friendship. But people pleasing is not giving. So, I am working on this. Not easy but still working on it. I don’t even know what the ratio should be or if I should let it exist in my head. Everything is off. Way off.
I know that I don’t want to be used anymore. A majority of my female friends in the last 10 years have used me. It makes me sick to think about that that I want to adjust the amount I give but that isn’t healthy either nor does that help build good relationships. All I know right now is that I am wrong. So the give/take ratio is out of balance for now.