Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Buttinsky

Once there was a pretty black haired girl.  In her small elementary school, she became friends with three other girls.They laughed and giggled together, whispered about their first crushes, and stuck together like glue through middle school, high school, and college.

The girls grew into women. They started careers, and one by one they each married and began having children: all except the pretty black haired woman. She moved back into her parents' home when they became elderly and infirm to help care for them. She was also picky in her romances, and began to guard her heart carefully after it was broken several times, and so she was unmarried  into her forties.

The group remained close, although it was different for her. She did not have children to bring with her when they visited; she did not have a husband to laugh with, or complain about, or go home to each night, as the other friends did.

Then a tragic fire claimed the life of both her parents, and although it wasn't her fault, she blamed herself. Her friends continued to include her, to call her, to invite her places, but she still came home to a house each evening filled with only memories and regrets.

And she ate. And ate. And continued to eat. Food assuaged her pain and guilt. She refused to visit the doctor, even though her breathing became labored, her head pounded, and she was now over 150 lbs. overweight on a body that stood 5'1". She told her friends of having dizzy spells and other frightening symptoms. The friends told her of different diets,brought her healthy foods, invited her to home exercise programs and gyms with them, but none interested her.

The friends got together after they found out their pretty black haired friend had blacked out in a parking lot, although she still refused to go to the doctor. They were afraid she would die, and it would be soon. They decided an intervention was in order to save her life.

They strategized the best way to handle it was to get the one friend in their group, Buttinsky, who'd also battled obesity and come out healthy and fit, to talk with her, to lay out the facts before her kindly but without adornment. They wanted her to know they loved her too much to let her die. They would all be there together during the intervention, but Buttinsky would take the lead.

Buttinsky and the others met with the pretty black haired friend. They each told her all the things they loved about her; her kind spirit, her generous heart, her dry sense of humor. Buttinsky told her they knew her hurts and heartaches and they'd seen her gaining so much weight.They were desperately afraid she was going to die too young. Buttinsky told her because they loved her, they would be there every step of the way with her. They would find whatever help she needed, but she couldn't delay any longer.

It did not go as the friends had hoped. The pretty black haired friend yelled, and cursed, and cried. She felt betrayed and unloved and judged, all the things that were the opposite of what they had intended. The pretty black haired friend won't take their calls now, refuses to speak to them, and has blocked them from her life in every way possible.

They wait, and hope, though, that she will understand how desperately they want to see her healthy and whole. Buttinsky especially wonders what being a true friend really means. And she hopes she didn't fail at it.

  

72 comments:

  1. She didn't fail. Sometimes it takes a while for messages to sink in. I hope this person comes to realize the love it must have taken to do something like this to save someone. Nicely written as always.

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  2. Hi, Shelly! I'm assuming this is another true story and if it is it's a tough situation. I've been close to people like the black haired woman - people who are self destructing and refuse to accept help or advice from friends and loved ones. Interventions might work on those reality television shows but in the real world caring to that extent is often perceived as crossing the line, meddling and nagging. Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom for a person to get serious about change. Sometimes even that isn't enough. I hope you will continue to monitor this individual and let us know if a breakthrough ever occurs in her life.

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    1. Shady: I will be be overjoyed and be very quick to let all my blogging friends know. Thank you~

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  3. Not failing at all. It can be difficult to know if someone is being a friend but I'd say that the hallmark of an open, strong friendship is fighting for your friend even when they can't find for themselves. Beautiful story and writing.

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  4. What a heart-breaking post, Shelly! Of course, you and her other friends did not fail her. But she doesn't sound ready to give up the layers of pain and protection against the world and her own guilt over not being able to save her parents. I hope, with time and reflection, she does come to realize how much love it took to do that intervention and the value of those years and years of friendship. I know that one of the most painful things about this situation is the fear that she does not have the luxury of a lot of time to reverse this damage to her body and to soothe her wounded spirit. I will hope and pray that she sees and feels the love around her soon and that she decides to start forgiving and loving herself once again.

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    1. Dr. Kathy: To forgive and to love herself again...that's the whole crux of it. Even if she never forgives me, I can live with it, if she can just forgive herself.

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  5. Oh my, I'm sat here with tears in my eyes. Those friends did what friends have to do, and that is look out for each other, through good times and bad times. It is so sad that the black haired girl took it the wrong way. If it is, indeed, a true story, I hope and pray that she will seek the help she needs before she really will die too young. Blessings to you my friend.

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    1. thisisme: I only wish it wasn't true. Thank you, friend.

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  6. The black-haired girl shows denial and is very insecure! Her life obviously has been filled with tragedy and alone-ness, even with the best of friends, she never pursued a love interest, or didn't allow herself to become hurt again after one or more sorrowful relationships. More so, she has an eating disorder, not necessarily bringing on the weight gain either -. There could be a whole 'nother scenario that we're not seeing just by your post [she may have a medical issue like diabetes now because of her diet regime]. Weight issues can also be in the person's psyche. After retiring from a co-op of 16 medical doctors, psychologists, and psychiatrists, I've witnessed all too often this kinda lifestyle and emotional upheaval of patients. So many other psychological profiles arise in my thoughts here as I finished reading. She may want to end it all [by over eating and not showing any 'life' in herself because of what I mentioned previously]. You've taken the steps of friendship...now it's HER turn to see the light.

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    1. HOOTIN ANNI: Yes, there are other things like diabetes we are really concerned about. I keep hoping that she will come around. Thank you~

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  7. You spoke out of courage which takes a lot. It is greater to leap with risks than not leap at all. You were saving a life although she felt as if you killed her spirit. Let and let your words seep in to her life. I believe something you said reached her. If she hears nothing but you care, that is enough. You are a true friend!

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    1. Simone: I keep second guessing everything, so thank you. I do hope so~

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  8. Oh that is so sad in so many levels. Great writing. B

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  9. Dearest Shelly,
    When one's grief and sorrow is way too much for someone, I guess other's voice won't be able to reach the person. I DO agree and admire the comments your wonderful friends gave you above. I cannot think of proper words for you but "lay out the facts before her kindly but without adornment" that's what all you could have done!!! It sure hard to know her torment refuses her friends thoughts. Yes, I am praying for breakthrough to occurs in her life, my dear friend.

    Sending you lots of love and hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

    (So sorry that there was a typo in my previous comment)

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    1. orchid: Thank you, my dear friend. Your kind words help me.

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  10. This was a heartbreakingly beautiful post Shelly. And you did not fail her in the least. To me, it was a tremendous act of love and caring. She will most certainly realize that in time.

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    1. Optimistic: I so hope she does. Thank you~

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  11. Heartbreaking. The best of intentions are too easily subject to misinterpretation. Many of see a hand reaching out to help as an arm launching an attack. The human ego is fragile, and who can know it?

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    1. vanilla: It is always going to be a mystery to me, I'm afraid.

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  12. Such a difficult topic. Perhaps her years of sacrifice have led her to believe that the world is against her.

    She'll come around. I sincerely hope she comes around.

    Pearl

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    1. Pearl: All I can do now is hope. Thank you, my friend-

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  13. How sad.

    I hope the pretty black-haired woman knows how much her friends love her. Maybe the friends can mail her a card or note on occasion. They won't know how it'll be received, however, the woman might be touched in some positive way.

    As I've gotten older, I've realized that people get tired of living and I think that's sad, too, especially when they are so young. I hope the woman hasn't given up.

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    1. Anita: I pray her fighting spirit will kick in in the right direction.

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    2. I join you in that prayer.

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    3. Thank you, Anita- so appreciate it.

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  14. This story makes me sad. Sad for a friendship that may be severed, sad for the black haired girl's situation, and sad for my family members who have died far too young from health issues related to poor diet and overall lifestyle. It also makes me ashamed. I have people in my life who need to hear these same things, but haven't heard them from me, or anyone else. Your courage is admirable, and you are a better friend than I.

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    1. Amy: Oh, no, please don't feel that. I'm afraid we've done the wrong thing, driven her farther away. I just keep hoping that somehow it's all going to turn out for the good.

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  15. It's great to have friends but sometimes being a friend is the hardest thing to do. Buttinski and co are the very, very best friends a person could have. Some day, and hopefully soon, the pretty dark haired friend will realise that. So very sad and so very touching too, I do hope the telling of it has helped. I agree with Anita... follow through with cards and letters.

    I really do hope that there's a positive outcome to this situation.

    ((xx)) Jazzy

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    1. jazzygal: I almost took took this down last night, right after I put it up, because it's not a very positive story. But I did feel better after I got it off my chest, and I thank you and all the others who've taken the time to read and comment. I really hope this will turn out OK.

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  16. Buttinsky and friends were being wonderful, caring friends. Ultimately, however, it is up to the pretty black haired girl to take action. I know you are worried, and rightfully so, but don't give up! She may never take any positive action, but she knows without doubt that you love her. She is angry with herself and needs time to think. Your words are in her heart and she will think on them for a while. Hopefully she will take action and ask for your support. Keep in contact - hands off, maybe in the form of cards with your messages of love and support. If she's anything like my aunt (who I've written about) it has been such a long time since she's done anything for herself that she most likely has forgotten how. It takes a lot of reminding and lot of loving to help her believe that she is worthy of being a whole person. Even if she never responds, you can know that you did everything you could for her. It's her choice to accept or not. To give this a positive outlook, after two years of loving and nagging, and pushing (oh yes, I've been obnoxious and immovable!) my aunt is finally, FINALLY starting to find joy in making some nice choices for herself. But wow - you just can't give up, because it's like she had to relearn how to be her own person, rather than a shadow of my grandmother or someone else. It'll be a long process (perhaps lifelong for her - she's 80), but I refuse to give up. Good luck! You're doing a great work.

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    1. karen: I'm just starting to pick myself up out of feeling so sad about all of this from this weekend, and you've given me some good steps. I'm also glad to hear your aunt's story. I'm hoping.

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  17. I think that Buttinsky did the right thing. The pretty black-haired girl obviously has a lot of pain inside. Buttinsky and friends should still continue to be supportive and pray that she comes around and finds away out of the hole she's in. Such a sad story!

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    1. Sherry: We're going to do what she'll allow us. Thank you for your supportive words.

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  18. Buttinksy isn't the right name for her. Maybe she could be called Lovinsky because she loves her friend enough to try to help. The pretty black-haired girl might come around after a while, but if she doesn't, then it isn't Lovinsky's fault.

    Love,
    Janie

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  19. There is a saying: Hurting people hurt people. The black-haired girl is hurting, and likely has been for quite some time. It must be hard for someone to hear that she has spiraled out of control and is in need of an intervention, no matter how much that person needs to hear it. You guys did the right thing, though. It takes time to look your demons squarely in the eyes. The black-haired girl needs to be willing to engage in honest self-analysis. She may have to hit rock bottom to realize that she's only spiting herself with refusing to go to the doctor and alienating long-time friends. Maybe she thinks she deserves what's happening to her?? I hope this long-time friend of yours realizes you guys acted out of love, and starts to make positive changes in her life.

    Keep us posted. Hugs to you.

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    1. Janette: Yes, and she's got a world of hurt inside of her. I so hope she realizes the love, I so hope she does. Thank you~

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  20. Absolutely not! Failing would have been to do nothing. When you have done what you can, the best way you know how, then you can rest easy. You cannot change other people. They can only change themselves. You can try to jump-start them in the right direction--but they will choose to do what they choose to do. All you can do is be there for them if they let you know they need you. But--abso-poso-tively you all did the right thing! The ball is in her court.

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    1. Rita: Ah, thank you. I've been kicking myself since this all went down this weekend. I do suppose you're right.

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  21. I've been thinking about this since you posted last night. I have not been in this lady's shoes, but I have known times of great tiredness with life, and to think of changing the things that are not working is just too much to bear. With all of the things that have happened to her, this lady must be far more entrenched in that thinking than I was, with my occasional burdens. If she were to listen to you, it would require enormous effort to change. She just may not have that much energy, and her rejection of you is rejection of the huge effort she would need to summon up. But you have planted a seed in her mind. Whether it blooms or not remains to be seen. Sometimes it is not fully in our control to find the energy within. Sometimes things are just too draining and too difficult. I hope your friend finds the strength she will need to make changes before it is too late. You are a good friend, never doubt that.

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    1. jenny_o: What you said makes so much sense. I'm going to be thinking about that today. Thank you~

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  22. Exactly what Rita said! You can have no regrets for doing the right thing out of love and concern for a friend. She's very lucky to have you in her life even if she is momentarily keeping her distance.

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    1. Felt Family: I really do hope it's momentarily~

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  23. She did it out of love - and friendship. We can only do what we feel in our heart is right.

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    1. Sandie: And hope that it turns out OK in the end.

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  24. As always, I felt the emotion you poured into this piece of writing.
    I pretty much agree with what everyone said. However, despite being such good friends to her, she could easily be harboring long building resentments towards them. Not that they did anything to warrant them, but because they had the happiness and fulfillment that she didn't. If that is true, I'm sure she felt "less than" her friends.

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    1. Pat: I think you are right. I wish there was a way to wash that away-

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  25. It pains me to hear about people who are in so much pain. I hope she can find her way out. She has wonderfully supportive friends.

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    1. Missed Periods: I so hope she can start to see things clearly.

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  26. This is such a sad story. Life is not alway easy is it.
    I love your writing.

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    1. Dawn: No, it surely isn't. And thank you~

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  27. Oh, that's heartbreaking. I've actually been in a similar situation. My best friend from childhood is very obese and we've tried everything but she just gets mad and won't do a thing about it. We're concerned for her health.

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    1. Julie: It's so hard to find a way to share concern without it seeming like an attack.

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  28. I would be the obese one except there would be no old school friends to try and encourage me to be healthy since I have never had friend especially back when I was in school.........

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    1. Jo-Anne: It wasn't so much her obesity as it is her refusal to go to the dr. after scary symptoms. You sound much healthier than she does. And you have friends now all over the globe who love you just as you are, just like I do.

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  29. Oh, Buttinsky--I mean Shelly--I'll pray for you and your friend, for your relationship and her health, especially her heart to change, to see how true of friends you all truly are.

    So sorry this is heavy on your heart.

    (please forgive me, I ALWAYS read your posts, sometimes it takes me a few days to sit down to read, and I always want to give you full attention)

    Sending love and ((((hugs))) your way!

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    1. Jamie: Thank you, my friend. I do appreciate it.

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  30. PS...Shelly, thanks for the compliments in your comment this afternoon. Yes, I like to scribble my thoughts at times, tho it's been quite a while since I've done so. There is a link on my sidebar of some of the poems and Haiku I've written in the past...if you care to read some. My favorite I shared is Love Beckons True.

    Here's the link

    http://ha-original-poetry.blogspot.com/

    Hope you're having a super weekend. Have you been getting some of the much needed rains? I'm so thankful.

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    1. HOOTIN ANNI: You woman of many talents- I will go there this afternoon and enjoy your terrific poetry. Thank you- (And not enough of the rain. Hopeful for more today-)

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  31. You offered the truth in love. The choice to do that was yours. Now it's her turn to choose.

    Kelley~

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    1. Kelley: Thank you. It was truly offered in love. I hope she makes a good choice for herself.

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  32. Her friends did the right thing by sharing their concerns but it's now up to the pretty black haired woman to see for herself that her life is worth living and she has true friends to help if needed.

    Sometimes people won't adhere to any advice until they are ready to deal with their own problems. She has been through so much but needs to get to a point where she says to herself that enough is enough. Only then will she seek help. Maybe she felt severely embarrassed and thought that since none of you have been through what she has, how could anyone understand. So in the process she cut herself off from everyone. But you've all been friends for such a long time and I can't see it as a permanent thing although it may take a very long time.

    As the old saying goes - 'You can take a horse to the water but you can't make it drink'. What a sad story.

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    1. Rum-Punch Drunk: What you say makes sense. I so hope she will choose to drink.

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  33. Dear Shelly, all of us who have read and commented on this posting have assured you that Buttinsky did the right thing and that much time is needed for someone who is hurting as badly as this black-haired woman is to let go of whatever messages she has in her mind about her own worth as a human being. Those messages are killing her. They are messages, sibboleths, that might have worked at one time for her but that no longer work. They are like runaway horses that are approaching a cliff and without someone's intervention will topple over into the abyss.

    My only suggestion--I, who do not know this woman and her pain--is to send her a bouquet of flowers from your local florist. And to put with it the simple message--"You are loved now and always just as you are." Unexpected flowers say love and they often bring tears and I feel this black-haired woman has years and years of tears and grief to shed. Peace.
    PS: I left a comment for you at your August 14 posting.

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    1. Dee: AH, Dee, I love that suggestion. I'm going to do it. Thank you~

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  34. Obesity isn't just a disease; it's also so very visible that people are judged, inwardly and outwardly by it constantly. It's hard to separate a loving intervention from what feels like an attack, an insult and an inability to be supportive. I hope your friend finds the power and strength to take care of herself, on all levels.

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  35. Lydia: So well said. And I so hope she does, too.

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