So I have this friend. I haven’t known her but 6 months, but we’ve gotten very close (not like that, you perv), and I have feelings of friendlove for her. She is an awesome person, and although our personalities are quite different, we seem to complement each other well.
Now for the problem part- she has 4 children, ranging in age from 11 to 17. She’s a single mom, who makes about 24,000 a year from full-time work and child support. Her life is very hectic and disorganized. She makes plans and cancels a lot. It makes her look flighty and not-so-bright but if you know her, you know she’s not really like that, she’ actually very bright and wonderful. I’m also a struggling single mom making about the same income and working full time but I don’t have the bills that she does.
She talks to me a lot about the troubles of her life and how hard it is. She can be somewhat emotionally fragile, but that’s okay with me because if I had her life I’d probably be a basket case 24/7. Most of the time I just listen and let her get it all out, and that’s okay and what friends are for sometimes. But sometimes I try to impress upon her that her problems are really her * choice. * I try to remind her that everyone has a variety of options on how to live. For example, one option for her is to make the older kids work and help out with the bills, or at least pay for their own clothes, entertainment, etc. She could give the younger kids more responsibility around the house- I was making dinner for my dad and two brothers every night from the age of 12, and today am I pretty good cook because of it. The fact that she doesn’t consider or implement changes that will better her life convinces me that this is how she likes it, regardless of her laments.
I have another friend that has a back injury and refuses to take availability of the marvelous technological and medical advances in 2007, and just smokes a lot of weed and doesn’t work. Bitches about the pain, bitches about the poverty, yet refuses to believe that anything out there could help him. I find his arguments disingenuous, but maybe working in the medical field has biased me towards medicine.
Both of these people I know have options open to them, and yet choose to remain stagnant and be unhappy. Is there a psychological term for this? Could it be that they get off on being a martyr, and noone else has ever called them on it? Do you know people like this?