Reciprocity, mutual fulfillment, enjoyment, similarity, balancing talking versus listening. These are words and phrases that describe friendships to me. I think that interest in the friendship develops as our needs are met within the friendship and as they begin to just plain "feel good" to us. I think what first attracts two people to each other, whether it's a relationship or friendship, is a comfortable or natural feeling that each gets when they are with each other. From here it has the potential to grow into a true relationship/friendship.
The question that we, as survivors, should ask ourselves, in light of our past and how we may have built up strong defenses against being hurt/betrayed again as adults, is "How do I not push people away in the various ways that one can push another away?" To answer this question we first have to identify the particular behaviors/thought patterns/beliefs that we've developed that function to push others away from us. No easy task! Once we've identified these behaviors/thought patterns/beliefs, then it's a matter of stopping them or not letting them control our ability to be intimate or connect with others. Again, no easy task! This is not to say that I'm blaming survivors in general or anyone in particular for doing the "pushing away". I'm simply recognizing the fact that this is an area where we do have some control, responsibility, and ability to change things for the better. It takes a closer look at how we interact with others and the role we play in our isolation.
The other question that we survivors should ask ourselves is "How do I not give up on myself and/or on relationships (when I'm in one)?", because we will struggle with relationship/friendship building. The answer to this question is simple, and one which I'll borrow from Dark Empathy, "Sheer Persistence". Keep trying and never give up. Friendships take work to sustain. They develop to deeper and deeper levels over time and with shared experiences. And it all starts with a desire to want or a need to be in a friendship or relationship.
Just my contribution to the conversation,
I see recovery as a lifelong journey rather than a final destination, a journey, though, which can have many successes along the way.
WoR Alumnus - Hope Springs, OH, October 2009
My avatar is the farmhouse at the Hope Spring, OH WoR. It's a nice place.