I have a best friend that I love. She is like a sister. We are very close. But she is one of the most negative, self-defeating human beings I have ever met. We have been friends for almost 10 years, and initially when we met, we were both young and fun. Well, in the last 10 years she has been divorced, unemployed and damn-near homeless. Her childhood wasn’t the best either. She was abused mentally and sexually, so her negative behavior is simply a product of her environment. She has also never searched for help outside of prayer and God.

I am not advising that prayer is not enough. I am advising that you have to pray and add an action. Pray for healing, then start to make healthy life decisions. You can’t simply pray then turn around and do the same thing every day, week or year. You cannot pray for weight loss and never change your diet or exercise routine. You cannot pray for a job and never look for one.

My friend believes that love means abuse. She was never taught that abuse does not equal love. The foundation of her life began this way, but it does not have to end this way. And, that is where our disconnection lies. Because I just do not understand it.

I was raised in a love bubble. My family and childhood was great, so oftentimes I feel sorry for her and listen. But lately my optimism and faith have been shaken. I have issues that I am dealing with, and her baggage of negativity leaves me spent and exhausted. I am always the positive person. I always have a great word for someone, but when I am feeling down, there is no way I can be around anyone who sucks my energy dry.

Ultimately, I feel guilty and less of a friend. Because one day she called and I just couldn’t answer the phone. It seemed like a grey cloud covered my cell phone. It was like the music I was listening to had stopped. My lights flickered. I could feel my resistance. I was so tired of hearing her “same story, different smell” sagas. Her complaints about life and the things she constantly does over and over again. She loves the wrong men. She eats the wrong food and surrounds herself with negative people. But, she wants and prays for positive outcomes.

So, one day I called her. She asked me why I hadn’t returned her calls. She told me I was a bad friend and I began to cry. I told her I loved her so much that I could not talk to her or hear her stories of self-abuse. It is like seeing your child run into traffic. I advised her I would help her with anything in this life, but I will not tolerate her constant negative affirmations and her need for advice about her habitual negative lifestyle.

Our relationship has improved. I will not say she has cut back on her self-defeating behavior but I know she never talks to me about it. When she and I talk, we discuss solutions and progress, not drama. Although we have grown apart in many ways, we are still close and beginning to redefine our friendship to last well into our 90s.

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