Deleting files

January 19, 2010 at 9:41 pm 2 comments

I spent much of my life as a fixer, a pleaser, a rock in the storm. I was always the calm, rational, sane person in my circle of friends. Of course, back then I was operating the tried-and-true Version 2.0. I still have the software for those traits, but it seems that there are glitches with Version 3.0 that make it difficult to run constantly.

When Paul first died most of my friends seemed to run for the hills. It seemed that after years of me being there for them – through heartaches and miseries and 3:00 a.m. phone calls from jail – most were unable to be there for me. Maybe because they were afraid of my grief, maybe because they didn’t know what to do or say, or maybe because they were never really that good of friends to begin with.

Everyone came to me when they were in crisis (real or perceived) and no one seemed to know how to (or want to) deal with me in this state. So many people contacted me in the first two weeks with promises to help me through the most difficult time of my life. But a week after the funeral it seemed no one was available. The people who were the most supportive were people I barely knew. The people I’d known since I was in school seemed to be the first to flee.

I remember calling and leaving messages with friends. I sent emails. I tried over and over again to reach out. But most of my calls and emails went unanswered. Most of the people I supported in times of need were unavailable to be there for me. (Though certainly there are those who will always be there no matter what.) I was informed by one friend that she just couldn’t handle my grief and couldn’t support me. She asked that I call her when I’m feeling better. I called another friend once after a particularly difficult day (the day Paul’s autopsy report arrived) and before I got the chance to tell her what was upsetting me she stopped me to talk about her most recent woes, letting me know that she didn’t want to hear any sad news that day because it would put her over the edge. A third called me to complain about her most recent ex-husband – letting me know I was lucky not to have to deal with that hassle.

In the past week, all three of these women have gotten back in touch. All three to ask for favors and support because of their most recent life traumas. All three made mention that they thought I’d be better by now. One was shocked to know that I wasn’t dating yet, another was adamant that I should be over it by now because we weren’t married that long, the third wanted to pick up where we left off before Paul died, only with pretending he never existed in the first place.

For the past few months, I’ve wished desperately that these once-close friends would return to my life. And now that they’re back, I realize that they don’t want me, they want my support and my compassion. They want me to do what I’ve always done – be a shoulder, be an ear, fix their problems.

It’s been difficult to go through these past months without the support of the people I thought would be here for me. And when they returned one-by-one in recent days, I was initially pleased. But with each, after the first conversations, it became clear that they were only interested in Frances 2.0. They needed support, they needed me to be strong, and none were willing or able to listen to me talk about how I was feeling. It dawned on me after a while that these peripherals were not compatible with Version 3.0. And I will never revert to Version 2.0 – though I hope to borrow much of the program code for future upgrades to 3.0.

In the early weeks after Paul died, I removed a couple dozen people from my Facebook account after they let me know they were uncomfortable with me expressing my grief on the site. They were acquaintances at best: old classmates, “virtual” connections from various online forums, friends-of-friends who I barely knew. I wasn’t sad to say goodbye. But today, I decided to delete these three women from my future – three women who were very much a strong part of my past. Over the last couple of days I’ve worked to compose emails to them letting them know just how much it hurt to realize that they were unable to support me. I hurt so much to write those words because I knew that once I hit send, the chances of those connections being permanently broken were very high.

I hit send on all three messages before I went to lunch today. I was so hurt and upset that I had to do it, but I just kept reflecting back at how difficult it was to be rejected by them these past few months. I’ve not heard back from any of them yet. I don’t know if I ever will. I left the window open, hoping that maybe my honest words will make them realize how very much I need them to support me for a change, but I’m not holding out hope that they’ll climb through that window.

It’s strange. I feel good for it. I am so sad to think that I may never have a girly weekend with them again, and I am sad to think that we may never be friends again. But I am so happy that I finally stood up for myself. After all of these years of being the one to drop everything for everyone, I have finally put an end to it (well, for these three women anyhow). Paul told me to do it for years. It always upset him that I took care of everyone around me – he was insistent that they were taking advantage. And maybe they were, but I was OK with it at the time.

So now that those files are deleted, I have space on the hard drive for new files. Better files. More compatible files. (But of course, I would take the old files back once they were appropriately scanned and any corruptions repaired.)

It’s funny, when I as operating Version 2.0 I was strong for everyone around me but I was too weak to stand up for myself, and now that I’m running 3.0 I need people to be strong for me more than ever before, but I am finally able to find the strength to tell people I won’t be taken advantage of any more. It’s just a little beta ad-on and needs some work of its own yet, but I definitely think it’s an upgrade worth keeping!


Entry filed under: Version Comparisons.

Carrying on Unscented memories

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Celeste  |  January 19, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    It’s a long overdue upgrade, Frances. I am sorry you had to delete the files, but glad you stood up for yourself. I’m sure Paul would be proud of you, as am I.

  • 2. Laura Brown  |  January 20, 2010 at 1:05 am

    For what it’s worth, Frances, I think you’ve done exactly the right thing. No one who behaves in that way deserves to be called a “friend”, and you don’t owe these women anything. You never know, they might even learn something from this experience (though I doubt it).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6 other followers


January 2010
« Dec   Feb »

%d bloggers like this: