Tuesday was my weekly Zoom session with my shrink. I'm trying to make progress, really I am. At least now I'm asking the right questions.
I'm very worried about my oldest friend. She is bipolar, and when she is in the manic phase she makes very bad, sometimes irreparable, decisions. I believe that could be where she's heading now. It scares me.
After months of insisting she's happier now than she's ever been -- even though she has not made a single friend since she moved to California over a decade ago, is unemployed, has health/mobility issues, and is living in a granny flat behind a bigger house that's inhabited by people she barely knows and doesn't especially like and has a landlady who is pressuring her to move NOW -- she is now suddenly saying she's "sick of being a shut-in."
What a zero-to-sixty change in attitude! That's a red flag.
So what is she doing to change her life? Is she concentrating on getting healthy, or joining a book club, or taking a class? No, she impulsively joined an online dating service. She even admitted she did it on impulse. Impulsivity is a red flag.
We've been here before. She imbues males with the power to rescue.* She's always disappointed. Not only that, she had her first date pick her up and drop her off at home. So this man that she met online now knows that she's physically vulnerable, alone, tucked in back of the big house. This upsets me because I'd prefer she not be the subject of a true-crime podcast.
Bad judgement is a red flag, too.
Here I am, 2,000 miles away. Helpless to help. I'm afraid of what's happening, and there's nothing I can do. It's massively distressing.
My shrink tells me that:
1) I'm not wrong. I am unable to help. She's going to do what she's going to do and I can't stop her.
2) Anything that happens has nothing to do with me. While that's painful and frustrating, it's also liberating. None of this is my fault.
3) It could go well. This man she went out with might call her back. They could have a happy relationship. After all, my friend is funny, pretty and kind. She has a lot to offer! And by dating him, she could meet his friends and expand her world. All that would be good. In fact, nothing would make me happier.
This is what my Cousin Rose was so artlessly trying to tell me when I visited her in Tampa. Next time I write to her, I must tell her I understand it better now. I know Rose loves me and means well and besides, she's right.
On a small, micro-level, I felt better when I logged off than when I logged on. That's a victory, isn't it?
*When she was summoned to the principal's office to discuss her grade-school-aged daughter's behavior problems, she pulled her son from high school to accompany her. That was when she still lived here and had friends and neighbors she could have asked for support. Yet somehow she believed her son's pubescent Y chromosome was going to protect her.
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