verb en·mesh \in-ˈmesh, en-\
At one time or the other during our lives, most of us find ourselves involved in a friendship that seems wonderful at first. There are lots of common interests, and spending time with this new friend is lots of fun. But after just a few weeks, or maybe months, we realize that the new friend has attached herself in a way that reminds us of barnacles, or sucker fish, or some other life form that grabs hold and will not let go.
You can’t do anything with other friends. If your new friend is not included, she will call you, text you, leave you long emotional messages while you’re out without her.
You find that you have become responsible for your new friend’s happiness and peace of mind. She tells you, “No one has ever understood me like you do,” or “I just don’t know what I’d ever do without you. Promise me you’ll never leave me!”
If you’re married, your new friend is critical of your husband; or perhaps she praises him to the skies until it’s really pretty embarrassing. She manages to insinuate herself into your family, becoming friendly with your children in a way that makes you more than a little uneasy.
She may start dressing like you do, or fixing her hair like yours. She may ask you to help her pick out some new clothes for her because you have such marvelous taste. She wants to know what shampoo you use, what perfume–you always smell so nice!–and what you’re making for dinner that night.
At first, all this devotion may seem sweet, even make you feel very special. It isn’t long, however, before you realize you’ve become entangled with an emotionally unhealthy person, and you desperately want to get out of the friendship. Trouble is, you’re a really kind person and you don’t want to hurt her feelings.
Or maybe there’s a person in your life who loves to call you every day, keeping you on the phone for hours at a time to talk about HER problems–never yours. You make suggestion, but nothing ever changes. How do you stop the calls?
Okay, I’ve set the scene. I’m going to try something different this week and ask you: “What would you do? How would you extricate yourself?” Let’s talk about this, see if we can come up with some ways that will really work.
And please be kind. This is not a place for name-calling or foul language. Let’s just get a good conversation going!