Sometimes, It’s Not You

Posted by Bill Cammack On March - 26 - 2009

A long time ago, I was asked to do something that I didn’t want to do, I didn’t need to do and that I knew was an incredibly bad idea. I guess I can say that there have been lots of times that people have asked me to do stuff I didn’t want to do, maybe every day, as of late…

But I’m talking about back in the day, when nobody knew or cared who I was or what I did outside of my small circle of close friends. No daily people asking for handouts or help with their businesses. No endless stack of emails to the tune of I now have over 3,000 unread email messages and over 1,000 unread Facebook messages. I’m talking about when we used to keep it TIGHT and only interact with each other and everything everyone said was the truth as far as they saw it and everything we said to each other was important. Everything Counted…..

So I was asked to do this thing, and it was of critical importance to someone I care(d) about a lot. It was of ZERO importance to me other than wanting to support them. I suppose you could say that the only import was that it was going to be ME potentially making a sacrifice for the well-being of this close, close friend.

To make matters worse, others within the circle agreed that I should make this sacrifice. It was almost crazy. I couldn’t really believe it. It’s one of the very few times that I’ve ever questioned my own grasp on reality……

The fact that people that I loved and trusted were falling on the opposite side of the fence from where I was didn’t compute to me at the time. How could they see this situation so differently when I knew DAMNED WELL that I was right? At the same time, I trusted *their* judgement, and it was a really tough decision for me to make. As a matter of fact, I never made the decision, and thank GOD it never became necessary for me to make it. I was 60% on my side and 40% on their side, which means I was liable to do anything. Sickeningly, to me, I sometimes wish the hammer would have dropped so I could actually KNOW what I would have done in that situation, at that time, being who I was right then…..

Bill CammackMoving forward in life, I noticed a trend where the same beloved friend of mine used people over and over to escape responsibility. The first bunch of times, I was like “so what?”, because they were nobodies. They were NPCs (Non-Player Characters), they weren’t inside the circle, so it didn’t matter to me AT. ALL. that they were being used. Eventually, as I grew more distant from my friend and saw this behavior continue, I realized that no one was exempt… no one……

Hindsight allowed me to understand that as close friends as we were at my decision-time back in the day, my friend was perfectly willing to sacrifice me (or convince me to sacrifice myself) in the name of self-preservation. Even logically knowing and understanding this, COMPLETELY… as I think back to the situation, armed with my future-knowledge, I remain steadfastly certain that I’m still 60/40 as far as whether I would have made the sacrifice for my using friend.

The reason I bring this up is that when you’re in a relationship with someone, it’s easy for your personal judgement to become clouded, or even if it’s perfectly clear, because of who this person is to you and for you, you’re willing to make sacrifices which don’t make any logical sense to you.

Even if you’re not initially willing to make those sacrifices, people that you trust might line up on the other side, opposed to your reasoning, and make things seem like YOU’RE THE ONE that has a problem. You’re the one that’s not seeing things clearly. You’re the one that’s not ’bout-it bout-it’ in this relationship.

Well… Sometimes, It’s Not YOU!… Sometimes, people that you care about really DO attempt to take advantage of you, and that’s when you need to assess the situation, decide what’s best for YOU, and then hold the line. I can’t judge, and I’m not interested in judging. I wasn’t forced to make the decision, but with a 40% probability, I doubt I would have held the line.

I knew I could carry the weight better than my friend could have. However, and this is the most important part… It wasn’t *MY* weight to carry.

People will dig holes for themselves and then reach up to you to pull them out of that hole. In the meantime, they don’t really care whether you get stuck in that same hole for helping them out. As long as they move forward, thrive and survive, that’s all that matters to them. If you feel like that’s what’s going on in your relationship, it’s in your best interest to figure out how much of a loss you’re willing to take and speak your piece when the time comes.

Most of the time, in situations like this, the leverage is the relationship. “If you don’t do this for me, you’re not a real friend/bf/gf/fiancee/husband/wife/whatever”. In fact, the opposite is true. If they were really YOUR friend and really cared about YOU… They wouldn’t have asked you to consider taking a loss for a situation that THEY got themselves into in the first place.

~ Bill Cammack | @BillCammack
 

6 Responses to “Sometimes, It’s Not You”

  1. Soulpowr says:

    You are hitting a homerun on this one. I’m glad you came to the recognition much earlier that “sometimes its NOT you”. I’ve learned only recently that I don’t have to make a sacrifice for the heat that someone I love has brought on themselves. It was a bitter pill, but a worthy one to swallow because it gave me freedom

    BTW the relationship should NEVER be used as leverage, some sort of proving ground for your love and loyalty to the person.

    • Bill Cammack says:

      Thanks, Soulpowr. :)

      Unfortunately, some lessons can only be learned in REALLY IMPORTANT situations. It’s easy to say what you would or wouldn’t do when it’s someone you don’t really care about. It’s not so easy when you feel like you might be sacrificing your future relationship to this person if you don’t help them out with this situation. It’s not so easy when everything was going in the same direction until this one fork in the road. It’s not so easy when you know that the degree to which your life will be worse pales in comparison to the degree to which your friend’s life will be better if you carry this for them.

      I’m lucky to have had both sides of the experience… The decision-scenario and then the ability to see what happened in the future. I honestly wasn’t sure that I was willing to go forward without the support of my friends who had lined up on the other side. The relationships were that important to me that I didn’t care that they were suggesting that I make an horrible decision for myself so someone else could get over.

      Of course, the way I see it now, or rather, at the time I actually came to this understanding in the past… If that’s the way someone really feels, they can skate. SEEYA! Not Interested. That ship is going to sink eventually, and The Kid won’t be on it.

  2. frank says:

    Great piece. Like i tell my friends all the time (since Ive managed to “grow up” and accept responsibility for myself), if you dont really want to know dont ask me. I may have lied or stepped around the question back in the day, Im too old for that now.
    If you want to keep calling me a “know it all”, thats cool cause you asked me so yeah this is not on me. I always said those that dont know will attempt to belittle those that might and drag everyone down with them. I got a lil’ situation with my sis now that I woul dnever take back because thats when i finally started to look around me but to this day it bugs me that I even had to find out how quickly she would let me fall into that hole.
    Great piece.

    • Bill Cammack says:

      Thanks man. I know YOU KNOW how real it can get around the way….

      It’s one thing when something’s actually your fault or your doing and people want you to man up about the consequences. It’s another thing entirely when it’s completely not your problem and others want to MAKE IT your problem.

      You can even expect that from people you don’t know, but not the people that you’re relying on to MAINTAIN in the first place. If your support system goes, you’re screwed when you’re trying to make those proper decisions to get or stay on the right track in life, love, career, whatever.

      It’s a tough choice to make, potentially alienating your support group or taking a loss that you shouldn’t have to take. Like I said, it’s fortunate that I didn’t have to choose, because I’m not sure to this day what I would have done.

      I’ll admit that I was sour over the situation for a few. It’s one of those things that really makes you stop and think about things, like when a chick tells you it’s yours and then you find out… ITAIN’T! :D Makes you wonder what you saw in that chick in the first place that she could pull something dirty like that on you.

      Also, I’m sure that lots of people have chosen against themselves in a situation that they didn’t think was going to go that poorly for them and it completely changed their lives, so I have sympathy for them, but in the long run, you have to look out for YOU, and if people want to join you in that, cool. If people are trying to undermine or tear you down, let ‘em go.

  3. Steve says:

    Yeah, it’s a funny thing when someone you really trust and has your best interest at heart is trying to play you. Or outplay you. It’s really hard to grasp that it’s actually happening. Glad the bullet missed you, there’s some stuff you just don’t want to own.

    • Bill Cammack says:

      Definitely. The problem is that the best way to deal with it is head-on. It feels better *NOW* to ignore the signals (or obvious events) and hope that it goes away. The problem is.. If it DOESN’T go away… it feels WAY WORSE, and damage control becomes very tough, if not impossible.

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