Friend that wants to 'fix' me


#1

Ok, here is my problem. I have a friend I like to play cards with. He is married with 3 kids. I either play cards with him or do things with his wife and kids (eg, they have me over to supper or we go to church concerts)

Overall, they are good people. No one is perfect. I noticed he doesn’t exactly have the healthiest boundaries with others and sometimes his wife’s behaviour seems a bit compulsive. And as I say, no one is perfect and their qualities far outweight their faults.

Here is the thing. They know that my dad recently past away. Also, that is when I told him the hardest part was having to see my brother because I axed him out of my life 8 years ago because he was too abusive. His wife seemed understanding but all he wanted to know was if I had other siblings:rolleyes:

Well, today we went to play cards at the club. He asked me if I was back on speaking terms with my brother. I found that to be a stupid question. How could 2 people who haven’t spoken for 8 years solve all their problems in less than 6 weeks ???

So I said no. He then said there was a quote in the bible that he could not remember but the moral of the quote was to forgive. At that point I said ‘No where in the bible does it say Thou shall get back into the cage with the lion’

Then we had to start a new game of cards and the topic was changed.

Here is my problem. He is one of those people who will preach ‘communicate and work it out’ but turns around and NEVER communicates. I don’t think he realizes how poor his communication skills are. Never asserts himself and takes total offence to constructive criticism. I also know him well enough that he will continue to push me to talk to my brother because in his mind he is doing the right thing.

I really resent him trying to meddle. I resent being judge. He totally discredits all the cruel things my brother has done to me and acts as if it really doesn’t matter how my brother should treat me, I should talk to my brother. I don’t like my feelings being tossed into the garbage. I also know that my politely asking him not to bring it up will cause a big argument

Can people please tell me stories where they relate or gives me ideas how to tell him in a non-threatening way to stop

Thanks

CM


#2

I’m not going to take on the issue of your relationship with your brother. With regard to this friend who is pushing for you to get back on “speaking terms” with him, if it’s really bothering you I think this is an area where mental reservations could validly be used, since he has no actual right to know your family situation. Don’t lie, but the next time he brings it up you could say something like "things are better than they were , but the details are private and I’d rather not talk about it right now. How 'bout them Yankees?"


#3

1) Forgiveness and reconciliation are not the same thing. This is why Pope John Paul II did not spring his assailant from prison. If you would like to read an excellent book explaining this, I recommend How to Forgive: A Step-By-Step Guide by John Monbourquette. I don't think it is in print any more, but Amazon and probably some other booksellers still have it. You may tell anyone who thinks otherwise to go fly a kite.

2) You have given your friend the gift of listening to his unsolicited opinion about how to live your life. Explain that you have heard what he has to say, you'll consider it, but you will thank him to drop the subject. You do not need to explain yourself. You only need to repeat, "Darrin, drop the subject" until he does it. Explain that respecting your boundaries is not negotiable, period. If he won't, get up and leave.


#4

Tell him in a serious tone, something to the effect that it makes you uncomfortable when he tries to force your brother into random conversations without your consent, and that you would appreciate if he stops.

Think about it.. if the positions were reversed you would have no trouble complying with such an easy and reasonable request for any friend of yours, right? If after making this request to him, he STILL refuses to cease with the inappropriate prying then at least you know he was never much of a friend to begin with. :shrug:


#5

As Easterjoy said…yes we are called to forgive, but forgiveness and reconciliation are not the same thing.

Picture a woman who has been raped and over time comes to forgive her attacker. This will bring her much healing and peace and Jesus calls us to do this. However she is not required to go out to lunch with him and foster a relationship!

We are obligated to forgive but are not obligated to be in a relationship. God bless.


#6

[quote="cmscms, post:1, topic:243708"]
Ok, I really resent him trying to meddle. I resent being judge. CM

[/quote]

he asked a simple question
he probably would not known about the situation at all if you had not brought it up in the first place
he then made a comment, and dropped the whole thing when you indicated you did not want to talk about it

so why the resentment directed against your friend who asked an innocent question?
if the resentment stems from the problem with your brother, don't blame it on other people. deal with it.


#7

How this should read.

Sorry, but your friend feels that after your father’s death, you should at least speak to your brother. He never indicated that you need to become best friends or forget. Just forgive. :shrug:


#8

Three responses that have worked for me:

"Thank you for your suggestions, I know you care for me." Repeat as necessary.

"You might be right." Repeat as necessary

"That just won't work for me." Repeat as necessary.

2 is especially effective because you are not arguing with the person, but agreeing with them. If you are secure within yourself, you have to admit that they might have some correct points. But that does not mean you need to do as they suggest.

Hope that helps!


#9

It sounds to me like he is very comfortable with you enough to suggest what you should do with your life or how to deal. Is it because you have divulged so much info about your family life with him since you play cards and sounds like you have a good friendship? I would be more careful in the future about what kind of personal or family life info I give esp. to male friends because they like to fix/solve things by nature (whereas we women are more relational).


#10

It's hard to know if the comments that the friend have said so far were out of line. It's possible that because of the amount of information that you have volunteered, he thinks that you are open to further discussion/advice about the topic. Perhaps the current boundaries in your relationship have been set by both of you? You give him a lot of personal information and he feels entitled to give you advice? It's also possible that he simply isn't good at knowing when he has overstepped the bounds and that it is purely meddling on his part. Hard to know from this end.

Either way, it doesn't really matter. The way to change it is for you to set new boundaries. First off, don't continue to give him personal information. Keep it more shallow than that. Don't let him goad you into explaining your every reason for your problems. You might never be able to explain yourself well enough to convince him, and it's not really your job to convince him anyway. Second, if you need to tell him to back off on the advice, and non-committal answers like "thanks for your advice, I'll consider it" aren't working, try something like, "I appreciate your concern, but at this point I need to work through this on my own. Say a prayer for me would you?" Or "Actually, I'm comfortable with my approach to the situation and I'd rather not talk about it any more." And from then on just change the topic if he keeps bringing it up, or go with the previous poster's suggestion of "drop the subject." Just remember that in order for him to get a clear message that you don't want his advice, you will need to refrain from talking about the problem with him.


#11

Normal males, however, know not to force their help on people that don’t want/need it.


#12

At the risk of your trying to fix me, maybe you should heed the advice to some extent? I'd say give it an honest thought, then give the "meddler" the benefit of doubt, then see where you are.

I can't assess the situation reliably on the available information but it does seem to me that you might be overreacting to some extent (and at the same time the "meddler" may be overdoing it). This is generally what happens to people in such emotional situations, both parties overreaction to some extent (as much as I hate fence sitting).

But I'm still on your side, not the "meddler's", remember. ;)

BTW, I got a bunch of friends breathing on my neck trying to fix me rather publicly right now. Supposedly something wrong with my attitude. Like cocky or something. Totally preposterous.


#13

You state that his communication skills are lacking but how are yours? I would say: " I do not appreciate bringing this up anymore and it is far more complicated than I care to explain, but I thank you for your concern but I am handling the situation."


#14

I have a friend that is very controlling. I tried to be subtle that I did not want to discuss a certain topic. Finally, I had to just tell him that he needed to stop and I no longer willing to discuss the subject with him. Just let your friend know that you will not discuss your brother with him.


#15

After asking the simple question and me answering we were not speaking, he then proceed to give me a ‘lecture’ about forgiveness. The only reason the subject got changed was because it was our turn to play cards. He was pushing. He NEVER graciously dropped it. Please reread the post.

And I am NOT blaming my friend for my brother. I am blaming my friend for trying to talk me into doing something that is none of his business.

CM


#16

You obviously added things to my quote because I never said I resented him being my friend. Also, I would like to say HIS opinion does not matter. I am the one who walked in my shoes and know how abusive my brother is. He doesn’t get that

CM


#17

[quote="ThyKingdomCome, post:10, topic:243708"]
It's hard to know if the comments that the friend have said so far were out of line. It's possible that because of the amount of information that you have volunteered, he thinks that you are open to further discussion/advice about the topic. .

[/quote]

I have divulged only 'It was hard because I have not spoken to my brother in 8 years since he is too abusive'

I NEVER gave him the details of ANY of the abusive things my brother has done because frankly, I never though he would be sympathetic. As well, because he IS a married man, I don't think it would even be appropriate to get too personal. The only reason I am more friends with him is because we met at the cards and his wife doesn't play

[quote="ThyKingdomCome, post:10, topic:243708"]
It's also possible that he simply isn't good at knowing when he has overstepped the bounds and that it is purely meddling on his part. Hard to know from this end.

[/quote]

I think that it is. In my mind when someone says 'No I will not do that' It is a very clear boundary and I don't think there is a need to repeat myself


#18

[quote="Monicad, post:5, topic:243708"]
As Easterjoy said...yes we are called to forgive, but forgiveness and reconciliation are not the same thing.

QUOTE]

I know that, you know that and Easter Joy knows that. My problem is my friend just can't understand the concept

[/quote]


#19

[quote=cmscms;7977913 *My problem is my friend just can’t understand the concept
[/quote]

I’m in a similar situation where a friend refuses to understand that a certain topic is extremely painful for me and every times we speak I am asked the same question about it. I have asked her several times to stop it and explained why. No change. It has become beyond frustrating. I think I need a little break from this friend. Maybe you do too. Some people just don’t get it and the only way to deal with them is to step away when they become too much. I have done this before with another person and it helped. Our relationship suddenly had a different dynamic- boundaries were re-established in a healthy way.


#20

[quote="exoflare, post:11, topic:243708"]
Normal males, however, know not to force their help on people that don't want/need it.

[/quote]

This is a common misconception. Normal males are entirely capable of meddling. (Let's face it, too: even women who try to pull what this guy is pulling get a reputation as being people who stick their noses where they don't belong.)

[quote="chevalier, post:12, topic:243708"]
BTW, I got a bunch of friends breathing on my neck trying to fix me rather publicly right now. Supposedly something wrong with my attitude. Like cocky or something. Totally preposterous.

[/quote]

Not particularly effective, either. You're probably above this kind of passive-aggressive response, but that kind of treatment makes most of us want to dig the heels in...if you ask me to guess, because of course I'm above that kind of thing, too. :rolleyes:

[quote="cmscms, post:18, topic:243708"]
I know that, you know that and Easter Joy knows that. My problem is my friend just can't understand the concept

[/quote]

Then you are in "Pearls before Swine" land. If he won't get it, then he still has to be quiet about it, or you leave. You are allowed to stand up for yourself, and your friends will support you in doing that. Short of a situation where you literally need to be taken into protective custody, if the problem does not concern them directly they will not try to force you into talking about what you don't want to talk about or doing what you don't want to do.

I think if you feel free to stick to your guns on that point, you'll be the happiest. Still, you might decide not to, for a number of reasons. In that case, I think it the best to say to yourself, "He has no right to say these things. I have the choice of shutting him down as a condition of my sticking around, letting him flap his mouth while I ignore him, or getting myself upset about what he's saying. I choose to let him blabber on, but ignore it." Or, I choose to put myself through an emotional wringer over what he's saying, if you prefer that, I guess.

"He's choosing how to act, and I'm choosing how to respond, and I will endure my choice with the understanding that it is my choice. If he doesn't want to cope with that, that's his choice. So there."

Do at least congratulate yourself on the point that he is totally wrong about who gets to decide the right course of action with regards to your brother. It is you, not this friend, period. If you want to cut him off, then do it.


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