I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘ friends ‘ and relationships of late. Yesterday my Yukon canoe partner Rob came for the day and did all kinds of stuff to make my flat safer, as well as spend time with me. What I get from young Rob is unconditional friendship, plain and simple. The lad CARES about me, and loves me ( no, not in a gay way, tho who knows if it was just him and me on a desert island….. ) Whether I am this endurance athlete and business owner etc etc, or whether I am disabled and have lots of challenges that mean I can’t do most of the stuff we used to do together ( and what drew us to be friends ) it patently makes no difference to Rob. I’ve struggled with this a lot. Are people just fickle, or have I just let them down by having a crippling injury, and then being down about it for a few years plus and so it’s my fault?
The answer would seem to be that no matter what you yourself do, it doesn’t alter other people’s behaviour. They will act as they they will, and do what comes naturally to them, and if that means just forgetting all about a ‘ friend ‘ then that’s what they’ll do, and here’s the crux – it won’t occur to them that they have done anything ‘wrong’ ( at all ). To them it’s a completely logical decision. Any small twinges of guilt are quickly dismissed, as guilt affects resolve.
I saw a chap the other day who I hadn’t seen for a few years. He told me that he was getting divorced and also that he and his wife were losing their house. Her brother had misappropriated family money and as a consequence their home ( which was essentially a family asset ) now didn’t belong to them. The brother wasn’t in the slightest bit concerned that he had f’d up his sister’s life, he’d just done his property deal and that was one acceptable consequence, to him. He sleeps easily at night. People behave in callous ways, for sure, and as ‘callous ‘ implies they feel absolutely no remorse at all.
I had a business partner of almost 20 years when I had my accident. We were close, I thought. After my accident, I saw little of my partner, she came to the hospital twice in 9 months, despite it being 40 minutes away, only. I remember being incredibly confused by how she was to me. Later she questioned my confusion ( as my exit from our business was being arranged ) saying that ‘ well we were never friends, just business partners ‘.
To her, it was simple. She had this able partner and they had a business together. He became unable and therefore couldn’t contribute what he could before, in the same way, so of course he had to go. Why didn’t he understand that simple concept, she thought. And why would he be upset in any way?
She took it far further and did some very destructive things to ensure I had no choice but to exit, but ultimately the principle was the same – that her actions ( to her ) were totally justified in the circumstances, as a business decision, and emotion and friendship ceased to be her concern. I had often wondered why this woman didn’t seem to have many ( in fact any ) close friends, as to me she surely ‘deserved ‘ to have had ( and none of the staff liked her at all ) but now it’s obvious why – she had a cold character where only what she stood to gain ( or lose ) was of any consequence to her. Two years after my injury our other partner died from having a brain tumour ( at 45 years old ) and I observed her almost complete emotional detachment as his health deteriorated rapidly. Her only ‘ emotions ‘ were about business performance during his decline. After he died she never made any contact with her former partner’s widow ever again ( and I’ve heard nothing from her since my exit ) declining even to be involved, or contribute to, raising money to fly his coffin abroad so that he could be interred with his mother. For her, it would have been HER misfortune to have had 2 partners inconveniently become no use, and no doubt now celebrates her ‘success in surviving it’.
For 2 out of 3 partners to have had catastrophic turns in their lives was surely unusual, for the 2 good ones to have suffered, and the bad one get off Scott free, was just a cruel turn of fate. I wish well to everyone in general, but to my ex partner I have no such desire; I hope she suffers a slow and painful end, and I get to see it. For sure, she’ll find out what it’s like to be deserted in her hours of need, as she obviously still has no true friends, only people she uses. Those people certainly won’t be at her hospital bedside when she needs them, and actually neither will be anyone from the successful company that she still works for. The company will feel no great moral duty to her ( as it is an entity rather than a person ), and it is a great company ( and was blameless and honourable in every way ) , and very good at what it does ( and a company can’t dictate that its employees behave in a certain way emotionally – that’s just unrealistic ) , but she’ll find that as you live by the sword then so too you will die by it.