Looking back at the last dysfunctional friendship — and the previous postings — I think I understand better now how that friendship developed and why I ended it. And that the dysfunctional behavior was on both sides — she used me and felt entitled to my friendship, but I also used her. I cannot simply see her at fault and say:
My plan is to forgive and forget.
Forgive myself for being stupid,
and forget you ever existed.
The friendship is over and that is a good thing. It ended because I voluntarily took an inferior position. Sure, without thinking it through, but still.
The question is — could I have acted differently?
In the beginning, sure, and I am not sure whether that friendship would have developed then in the first place. I assume that she was looking for a person like me. If I had known what I know now and it had ended right at the start … that would have probably a good thing.
At the time when I reached my limit regarding the imbalance … I don’t know. I think the main problem would have been that trying to change the friendship, the way it functions — that is not only extremely hard but it takes the effort of both parties. If the habits are that entrenched, it takes continuous conscious effort to change it.
And I doubt that she would have 1. seen the need to change it, and 2. contribute to it. It would have been far more likely that she would have felt insulted by the assertion that the friendship was off-balance. After all, at the end she said she did not want to lose me — but although she would vehemently deny it, I think she feared less losing me but more losing my support.
As for me, continuing the friendship and trying to change it — it would have been hard to impossible for me not to fall into the old habits.
The old habits are just so comfortable — for both parties.
So, yes, it was a cowardly as asshole move to end the friendship this way. And I think the problem was getting in such a situation in the first place.
In this sense the goal is not to forgive and forget, but to analyze and apply — in future, better friendships.