Unconditional love is a good thing in a friendship. But what are the limits? How can you love someone who repeatedly treats you poorly and refuses to acknowledge any responsibility?
The situation I have with one friend is she is very good at *telling* me how much I mean to her but her *actions* say something entirely different. She always cancels plans, to the point where I have not seen her in 2 years (long distance friendship). The last time, she did not even call to cancel, and I waited all morning for her to arrive. Nor did she call later. (A week or two later she wrote me an email saying she had had a family emergency.) Then she says how I have to understand that she has a family, hardly has time for herself, etc. She apologizes but insists that hey, she couldn’t help it, she has a family, you know.
She’s done this garbage so many times in the past and I’ve made it clear it’s unacceptable. So it’s not like she just doesn’t know any better. It’s been a major issue for us over the years.
So, is putting up with such behavior unconditional love? My gut says NO. After this last episode I just feel really turned off. Frankly, I just don’t feel like I can love someone who has treated me so inconsiderately. I feel like she went beyond the bounds of how tacky you can be to a friend. Or something like that.
I think it’s analogous to someone in an abusive relationship. Heck, I think it *is* an abusive relationship. I think someone who is always canceling plans then saying “don’t be mad! you’re only mad because other friends have dumped on you!” has some real issues with power and control. And reality.
And I’m not interested in sticking around in an abusive relationship.
So. What do you think? When you love unconditionally, you accept the actions of the person. But what about when those actions are nasty towards *you*? Thank you for your insight!
Unconditional love is accepting someone for who they are. It is NEVER accepting behavior and treatment like you have been subjected to. We can love someone even if they are different from us, or their beliefs don’t agree with ours, but it is never acceptable to treat people with disrespect or to be treated with disrespect by others.
Your feeling of being “turned off” is actually a good first step in the right direction. You have gone way beyond what you should have done. Your “friends” behavior is utterly disgraceful and should not be rewarded with your continued attention.
This may be hard, but stop all contact with this person immediately. She needs to experience a shock to hopefully jolt her out of being disrespectful and taking you and probably others for granted. If she contacts you in the future, that will be a good time to lay it on the line. I do not mean telling her this is unacceptable behavior, you have already done that; you need to tell her you have put up with far too much already and you don’t need the crap she so abundantly dishes out. If at that time she starts spouting her venom about you being “mad” because others have dumped on you, simply tell her “maybe so, but ANYONE dumping on me ends here. I have been patient and gracious with your unreasonable, disrespectful and downright childish behavior and now I am ready to move on. Good luck to you in the future.”
From what you have written about her, it would do little to no good trying to reason. She has some major issues here. We all have families in one form or another. We learn to juggle things so we have time for our friends and those we love, but we never make promises we can’t keep. Most of us learned to respect others at an early age, but for some, these lessons come later. It usually involves some sort of shock or burst of reality. This is what must and will happen to this woman before she will see the error of her ways.
You must concentrate on you now. You have gone way out on a limb for your friend, but now it is time to let go. Do not feel guilty or bad in any way. You have done all you can to nurture this relationship. I wish you all the best. It pains me to see good people like you treated in disrespectful ways. My heart goes out to you. - Kelly