When Good Friends Go Bad

I have a handful of super close friends who are like family to me.  I’ll drop anything to help them when they need something.  I feel like everyone deserves at least one person like that, and I know of no better way to show people I really care about how I feel about them.  My problem is that I have friends with extremely dramatic lives.  They are always having emergencies.  They are always in the middle of a crisis.

I love my friends dearly, but I’m getting tired of jumping to the rescue all the time because that’s exactly what it’s getting to.  As soon as one gets things straight, another’s life falls to pieces.  I don’t doubt that they would do the same for me, but I just don’t have emergencies quite like they do.

I worked very hard in therapy to gain ownership of my own self, which sounds weird, I know.  Long story short, I did everything with everyone in mind but me to the point that I couldn’t determine what I really liked, wanted, or needed.  I had to relearn to how to say no, how to listen to my own likes, and to assert myself so I could voice opinions and enjoy myself around other people.  I had to take myself back from being at the whim of everyone else but me.  It was an agonizing process.  I’m worried that being so available for other people is getting back into that pattern.  Can I say no when things come up?  But who am I to choose which crises are most important to someone else?

I feel like I’m getting stretched past my comfort zone.  I want to pull back and spend my free time with my hubs, gardening, and crafting not rearranging my work schedule to spend my off time on the phone putting out fires.  I don’t know how to do that though.  Anyone know a nice way to say “I care but am not the help you’re looking for” while doing the force fingers besides inventing my own problems to occupy myself?

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