Givers and Takers

Something pretty profound shifted in me when Espen got so sick in February. The trauma of the events that unfolded in the PICU shook me to my core. I have never associated with combat veterans, but after we were discharged, I got a glimpse into that world of trauma and the feeling to go back because it was comfortable. I can't remember why, but at one point after he was discharged, I was near the hospital and felt the need to walk in and seek some of the docs and nurses that had treated him, perhaps in the hallways. It was bizarre. 

During the more acute times, I found myself categorizing people as givers or takers, and basically refusing to serve takers. What I mean by that is there are people in my life, who take more than they give. All relationships are give and take, but these particular set more often take. In the past I was willing to play the role of the "good friend," being there for them to the nth degree. When he got sick and I was in crisis mode, I stopped responding to them. And even now, when Espen is healthy and I'm feeling 90% normal, I've continue to stop responding to them. I've noticed the dynamics of our relationship and just decided to opt out. To let them figure it out or seek someone else to rescue them. 

It's been liberating. I feel like the bandwidth previously eaten up by solving everyone else's crises is now spent on giving back to the friends that give more than they take, and for managing my own health. Good stuff, you guys. 


  1. I have found with my own stressful parenting reality with raising a child on the spectrum, that I just did not have the room in my head for the kind of situations/relationships that you are talking about. I found I started to detach emotionally from unnecessary bullshit. I had to for survival.

    And I found who really has my back. I never, ever would want to be a burden on another, but it's clear that my parenting experience is a lot more 'intense' and challenging than most of the people I know. There are a few friends, well one in particular, who just stopped being my friend when the 'going got tough'. She was really my best friend, we were pregnant at the same time. She moved out of state many years ago so our friendship was only on the phone.

    Losing that friendship kind of kills me. It still hurts, but I just don't have the bandwidth to dig deeper on it with her.

    It is good stuff, Heather. I'm glad Espen is doing well. And you and the rest of your adorable family, too.

    1. Aw Julie, I'm glad you understand. And I'm so sorry about your friend. But you are right, these are absolutely necessary steps for survival. Hope you guys are doing well over there! <3


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