succumbing to peer pressure

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dating my brother
(insert WV joke here)

Not really, of course, but part of the whole therapy trip I was taking with my brother over the past two years was motivated by the fact that I was playing out my crappy, manipulative relationship with my brother in my intimate relationships with other men. I could perhaps live with a crummy family relationship, but not when it's bleeding into other areas of my life. And part of what played out with my brother last xmas was his desire to pretend like nothing had happened between us, like we hadn't been estranged, at that point, for well over a year, and carry on as if we were on totally friendly terms.

Well, this evening I played out that same damn scenario with a particularly noteworthy man from my past. I'd like to think that I'm in a better place, mentally and emotionally, but I suppose time will tell.

The short-ish version - he and I were friends for years, but we parted badly, he treated me badly, and said many mean and hurtful things to me. I said unkind things to him. The parting probably was surmountable, with apologies. Nothing said or done was beyond the pale, just the standard behavior of hurt people. Not that that makes it ok, but to contextualize that we're not talking about any truly dastardly behavior.

But apologies were not issued, by either party, and we fell out of each other's lives. Over the past two and half years or so I have thought of him from time to time, more often than not fondly, and as my tenure here is coming to an end, I guess I wanted a nicer ending to this particular segment of my past. So I sent an e-mail, saying I missed my friend, and this evening we saw each other for the first time in years.

It was one of those situations where I didn't even know what I was hoping or looking for, not until I got home and unpacked my unsettled feelings with the help of AWB. And what I want is an acknowledgement of our past, both the good and the bad of it, before attempting to slide back in to a friendship based mostly on complaining about graduate school and politics. And I think now that I've had this one little meeting, I'm ok demanding this, at the risk of closing the door on the friendship before it gets started again. There's a wonderful discussion over on AWB's site about deserving things and hoping for things and heebie-geebie has a nice comment about her dealbreakers - things she's willing to demand at the risk of getting neither them nor the companionship of the person of whom she's demanding. It's actually quite a nice place to get to.


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