Friend Dilemma

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  • I was actually just thinking about this topic a few nights ago: I don't really have any long-term friends anymore (except a pen pal in England I still keep in touch with). I only keep in touch with two high school friends, and by "keep in touch," I mean maybe see a couple times a year. I don't keep up with anyone from college, mostly because many of them were friends of my ex, and I voluntarily cut them from my life when I got divorced. 

    It made me wonder what was wrong with me (what if I'm the toxic one??). But I've managed to keep the same roommate for three years, and I would consider her my closest friend (besides the lovely @firebirdsinger! sisters forever!). And given that she lives with me and thus knows all of my weirdness (like my pathological neatness), I think means that I'm not super toxic. I hope. 

    Or maybe this just means I'm really good at cutting people from my life. I'm not sure what that says about me. 
  • When I saw this new thread I laughed at the funny coincidence: the other night Mr Z and I were discussing the difficult and toxic people we've had to cut out of our lives over the years. I don't remember how we got on to it, but I was telling him that there was one friend in particular I'd felt guilty about for decades after dropping her. I recently decided to google her; she has a very unusual name so was easy to find. Turns out she's been very successful. Mr Z told me about a similar guilty experience he had many years ago in which the person also did very well in life. So we've decided, only half jokingly, that since people seem to do so much better without us, that they owe us a thank you for the favor we've done by not being there for them.  :-)
  • @Zoeg I'm always interested when someone does really really well after a friend breakup (the girl from my story subsequently had fallings out with every single person in our friend group - who are all still friends with each other) but from what I can tell is loving her life and doing fairly well with her yoga business (I see her flyers in the library when I take my kids).  Like...maybe we're all crazy toxic people? Maybe she's just strange?  Maybe she really is an alien like she used to believe when we were in middle school?
  • @JealousOfBelle ; I'm not delusional enough to think that my friendship can make or break someone's life. But maybe falling out with all of one's friends can cause someone to rethink their life. Or, maybe it can free them to be who they really want to be without all the baggage of old friend disapproval. So, yeah, I guess no matter how nice or helpful or loving we think we are, we're all toxic to somebody, and moving on is the right thing to do for all involved.
  • I  know that I've had multiple friend breakups over the years due to reasons that I don't always know. What comes to mind right now though, is something that happened a month ago. My bff from highschool and I have still been fairly close, although we haven't lived in the same state for quite a few years. She's married with three young kids, I'm single and living at home currently, because for the last 4  years after finishing grad school I haven't been able to find a steady job (yay music degrees!). I had a pretty big audition in New York last month, for a company I actually used to work for. It was the first real audition I'd had in a long time, and I didn't have tons of time to prepare for it, but I still needed to do it. The few weeks leading up to it I was also playing a show for a local theater, so there were lots of rehearsals in addition to working a couple jobs and trying to practice for this audition. Because I hadn't had an audition in so long, I was super stressed and panicking, not knowing if I'd chosen appropriate music and what not. So a few days beforehand, I called up this friend (who is also a musician) just needing some reassurance and someone to talk to about it all. She basically just said to me that I didn't need to worry that much because it probably wouldn't happen, but it was good that I was going anyways. I was really taken aback because that wasn't at all like her to say, and I just wrote it off thinking that she didn't mean it that way. The next week I had my audition, and for whatever reason it didn't go well. No callback or anything. She texted me that afternoon and said she was thinking of me and hoping the audition went well, and I just replied "it didn't". She immediately tried calling me, and I didn't answer because a)I wasn't in the mood to talk to anybody at that point and b)I especially didn't want to talk to her. Over the next week or two she called/texted a couple more times, and finally left a message saying she knew I was probably mad at her because of what she said, and that she was having a bad day and took it out on me. I was mad at her when I thought she misspoke, but knowing that's really what she meant to say made it so much worse. I did finally answer a call, and she did apologize, but I don't know how easy it's going to be just to go back to normal and have everything be ok. She knows that I've had a rough couple of years, and that this could have been a big opportunity for me, and she knew that I was really in need of encouragement that day and still chose to make that comment. I just could never imagine taking a bad day out on a friend like that. 
  • @Emster  I might give her a pass on this one.  So hard to say the right things all the time.  My teenaged niece loves to sing and one day I was strongly encouraging her to a) listen to great singer songwriters, b) study music history and c) join the best choir or chorus she could to improve her technique.  She took from that that I was discouraging her dreams. She posted something on Facebook about a member of her family telling her she'd never make it as a singer.  And I wanted to wring her neck, because as an arts professional, all I really wanted to do was help her and give her good advice.
  • @OffToSeeHim, you're not alone in feeling rejected a lot.  I've lost several friends throughout the years, and mostly I don't know why.  One was partially my fault, but we patched things up now and are closer than ever.  

    I had been friends with R for a few years.  We were inseparable, and had so much in common.  She was someone I could be a total dork with.  I was there for all her horrible relationship mistakes. (Move to New Mexico to get back with an ex even though you haven't seen him in years, and then a month later call me crying you made a mistake, yup been there)  She eventually married this guy who was nice.  I was maid of honor.  She started becoming more distant.  When I lost my job she kept in touch for a bit, but eventually stopped answering my texts.  I got a job that was actually 5 minutes form her house, and hoped we could see each other more.  I messaged her to treat her for her birthday, and we hung out for a morning.  That was the last I heard of her.  She unfriended me on FB and had several mutual "friends" unfriend me too.  Then I found out she moved away.  Still have no clue what happened.    It hurt so much, though. 

    In high school I was best friends with two people.  We were almost inseparable.  One of them, the guy, came out to us over a late night dinner at Denny's.  We met his new boyfriend, loved him.  Everything was good.  Then one day he didn't show up for a movie I had bought tickets for him and his boyfriend to.  No call or text message, just complete silence the entire night.  I was freaked out as he had never done this before, and naturally assumed he was hurt or something terrible had happened.  He never got in touch with me, but apparently had no problem keeping in touch with everyone else.  Apparently he moved to Florida.  He friended me on Facebook and I accepted, but have never brought up the past. Still don't know what the hell I did to deserve that.  

    The other friend (Nell), we went through some rough patches.  She was always a very needy person in terms of wanting love.  She made horrible choices, even basically became a stalker to this one guy she met online.  Thank god she got out of that phase.  Unfortunately, never really having a steady boyfriend, the first guy who paid a lot of attention and flattered her she fell head over heels with.  Too bad he was a gigantic asshole.  He moved in with her and another of our friends she shared an apartment with.  She paid for him for everything.  Rent, car payment, food.  He lost his job as a high school teacher at the place they both taught at.  He was inappropriate with a student.  He claimed she was lying and was going to sue the school for wrongful termination.  He almost dragged her down with him.  He was verbally and emotionally abusive towards her, even in front of other people.  One night at a friends recital, he got into a fight with her and drove off in her car. he abandoned her there!  She still defended him.  Eventually she started distancing herself from everyone.  We all tried so hard to stay in touch with her, but she would never try to answer us or to hang out with us.  Eventually we al stopped trying.  She eventually wised up and kicked him out, but not before she ruined most of her friendships.  I kept calling and trying to talk to her every now and then to try and keep the friendship.  She replied every now and then, but eventually became such a workaholic that she started just not replying.  She started missing important life events like weddings and baby showers because she had too much to do.  By this time I lived an hour away form her and only heard things from mutual "friends."  Unbeknownst to both of us, one of these "friends" was not being entirely honest.  She kept telling me how hurt she was as that our friend missed her wedding and didn't contact her to congratulate her on the birth of her son.  She didn't tell me, though, how much of a bitch she was to Nell.  I started to believe that Nell just didn't care about any of us anymore.  I unfriended her on FB and refused to speak to her.  She asked me what she did wrong, and I told her and didn't hear back.  A few years later I heard from Nell again, and it seemed as if she was in a better place.  We started talking about the past and we discovered we had been a bit manipulated by our other mutual friend.  We both apologized and are closer than ever.  I was maid of honor at her wedding and am anxiously awaiting the birth of her first daughter (my niece who I am going to spoil an insane amount).  

    Our mutual friend is another story.  She is needy, manipulative, opinionated, and demanding.  I haven't ended the friendship for a few reasons.  We work for the same place, so I can never truly be rid of her  Plus she has had a crappy life and I do feel sorry for her.  Most of it is her own making, but there has been real tragedy.  She met a guy online, got pregnant after 1 date, and then married him when she swore she wouldn't do that.  They also only had a few things in common.  She then became this person I had never known.  Her first son was born and they found out he had severe autism.  Apparently it run in his family and he never mentioned it.  She went on birth control, but became pregnant anyways as he refused to use a condom.  She had been on medication that her dr never told her would counteract the birth control pill.  So she was pregnant and still using the pill.  5 months into the pregnancy she found out he had a ton of birth defects and might not survive the birth.  Husband decided he couldn't deal and threatened divorce.  It was an emotional blackmail thing to make her more dependent on him.  The baby was born and only lived for a year and half.  Then the marriage really started falling apart.  More emotional manipulation from him and from her parents (who win worst parents ever for threatening their daughter with no support if she leaves an abusive husband and when they allow her to move in with them insist she, her autistic son, and two cats live in one tiny bedroom and don't come out except when needed).  She always insisted on pretending everything was ok on FB while texting me how awful her husband was.   I trie to be supportive but she kept ignoring my advice when she asked for it, and eventually I just stopped listening as nothing I would say would matter.  They are divorced now, and she has become very bitter.  She insists her ex cheated on her with his ex, and now just goes on rants about cheaters and posts all these memes about losers and cheaters and being loyal.  Coupled with posts about needing sex as she had a bad day.  I feel like telling her to shut up and go to a bar to get laid if she needs it so much.  There's no need for that on FB.  Anyways, she is just always texting to complain, never asking how I'm doing, even when I was having my cancer scare.  I only told a few people about the tests and why, and all I got was "I'm sorry friend.  My husband is an ass."  I told her I would buy us tickets to Wicked as an early Christmas present, but she wasn't happy with the seats I was going to choose.  So she insisted she give me money to buy better seats.  Um, thanks for making me feel my present wasn't good enough, it was all I could afford.  I really wish I could quit her.  Her an another mutual friend whom I work with.  I can't stand her anymore and she makes my job (which I love) horrible.  I can't stand going to work sometimes as she is always complaining about something, and then asking questions she should know the answer to.  It's like she can't do anything on her own and always needs to be told what to do, but doesn't hesitate to correct me if she thinks I'm wrong.  Which she does all the time.  If you think I am wrong all the time, why the hell do you keep asking me what to do?  She called out today and it was bliss.  Again someone who I feel is sucking the life out of me and I can't quit the friendship!!!!

    So, Karen, you are most definitely not alone.  

    BK's are better than paid therapy.                     
  • edited September 2015
    I have not had some of the toxic relationships others are writing about, but I sure can feel for all of y'all. But I have had some bad experiences, although they weren't with best friends. Many years ago, more than 20, I was a member of a quilt club back east, and played an active role for several years. We would put on an annual show, for which we all contributed to making a raffle quilt. The second to last year before I moved to Colorado, I was in charge of the raffle quilt. I had designed it, and distributed the fabric for each person that volunteered to make a square, then I was supposed to sew the entire top together, and then we would have a couple of quilting bees to finish it. Well, the club had started going down hill for various reasons for a couple of years previously, some of the active members had quit participating, and the quilt shop owner where we had always held our meetings decided that she didn't want to host it any more after hours, so we had to hunt for new places to meet. 

    Long story, but people did not turn in their squares on time as promised so we did not have a completed quilt for the show to exhibit, just a top. So the decision was made not to raffle it off, but have the raffle later. This was also the year that I was the treasurer for the club. I learned that we had been holding an illegal raffle for all the years we had been doing it, and came to a meeting to explain what was needed to be done, actually very simple, become one of those IRS numbered designated charity groups, I've forgotten the details now. People were livid with me, to put it bluntly. Why didn't I just leave well enough alone, etc., etc. I knew that people were upset, and so we held a meeting at the quilt shop owner's home, and I tried to explain more effectively. No one wanted to listen to me, and they demanded me to turn over the quilt top, which I didn't want to do. In essence, I guess I thought that holding the top as "hostage" until we complied with the IRS and state rules would be effective. Then everyone else decided to dissolve the club at that point anyway, just so they didn't have to fill the requirements. So I was just supposed to turn over the top to a bunch of other members, who really had no more rights to it than I did, except that I was the creator of the quilt and felt ultimately responsible for it. I had specific ideas as to how it should be quilted. This is back long enough ago before quilting machines were generally available, so it had to be hand-quilted. 

    The upshot was that on my youngest son's 8th birthday, a sheriff's deputy came to my home and served me with a demand that I turn over the quilt top to these other people who had hastily started a new club. I was dumbfounded, and even went to the trouble of hiring a lawyer for myself, who was a total dud in the end. After much wrangling, and trying to get these people, all of whom I had once considered my friends, to talk to me face to face, I had to turn over the quilt top, pay the lawyer $200 out of my own money, and turn over the bank funds to this new group. Not a single person among them ever spoke to me again. A year or so later, I inquired of the only friend from the club who had been on my side what happened to the top. She said it eventually got quilted and raffled off, but she had seen pictures and it was nowhere near as beautiful as the one I had designed. It soured me for many years on even belonging to any groups at all.

    Another toxic relationship I had resulted from me renting a space in Colorado after my mom died, (now more than 10 years ago), and I had inherited a small amount of money. I was hoping that a creative studio space would help me deal with my grief. [It didn't, it was far too soon.] Anyway this woman who owned a really nifty old train station and had made it into studios for artists was my landlord. Initially she seemed wonderful and supportive and very friendly. At one point I offered to do some painting of walls, not artistic, just regular painting, to offset some of my rent. She was all in favor of this. But suddenly, all I got was criticism, and negativity from her. She practically turned overnight into some kind of psychotic witch. As it turned out, I learned from another person renting a space that she indeed did have psychological mental health issues and had to take strong medication. I decided that I would terminate my lease, completely under proper terms, and get my deposit back. She made it almost impossible for me to move out by denying me the use of the freight elevator, until her boyfriend finally got my back and convinced her to let me use it. Then she waited as long as legally possible to return my deposit, and wrote me the most nasty letter, which after keeping it for a couple of years, I burned it, which is the best way to deal with something extremely toxic. Eventually she did return my entire deposit, as there was no damage, but only after I threatened legal action.

    These two events really soured me on friendship. I don't know if I've kept myself at arms length from people since then, I've met a lot of people, but none of them turn into friends that just call you up or I can call up and just go out and talk, but the only true friend I still have in my life is my best friend in Florida, who has been in my life for more than 50 years. Sometimes I just cry because I don't have friends in my life that live here, our relationships consist solely of our family, and a few people we see rarely. No one from my state back east stayed in touch with me although at the time we moved away we had known each other close to 15 years. I really tried to stay in touch with them, but only one of them once came through Denver for a convention of some kind and dropped by for the weirdest hour ever. It was so uncomfortable, and we have never communicated again. [This was the same person who had supported me when the quilt fight happened.] I have no idea what was going on with her when I saw her that last time. And everyone else just never even answered any letters or Christmas cards. 

    When my husband and I first got married, there were two couples that were almost the age of our parents that we became very close friends with, but they all died many years ago, and no one has ever come close to taking their place. But the memory of those friendships and that of my best friend (who has put up with a lot of almost losing touch from me, and bless her is one who doesn't give up) is good for me to recall, that occasionally, but most probably rarely, you will connect on a deep level with just a very few people in your life, and those are the friendships you have to treasure.
     
    Mostly I have tried to put this all out of my mind, and move on, and it's the first time in years I have thought so thoroughly about these events. It is quite extraordinary to speak of all this with you bitter kittens. Thanks for the listening and connecting. I just wish I could give all of you who have written so heartbreakingly here a huge hug. 
  • @Karen_B
    You got good advice I think from everyone who suggested that you distance yourself from L, and that it is very unprofessional of her to tell you about H's financial affairs. I know you are wondering why though that H hasn't told you about the eviction, especially since your friendship goes back since you were both toddlers. Sometimes it is hardest to tell our very best friends about the toughest things we are going through. Your recognition that this running out on the rent that is owed is a very poor financial decision, and may come back to haunt them, is perhaps the only reason why you might consider opening up this conversation. Which would have to be done very carefully, or you risk losing a friend. But they just may not realize what a world of trouble, legally, may be opening up if they skip out on the rent. I know you wish you did not know this, and you've been put into a very difficult place by L having such loose lips. Will you regret that you didn't talk to H? or is it potentially a minefield you will step into if you do?

    Just playing devils advocate here. I would be just as torn as you if I were in this position.
  • Oh my gosh, these are striking a nerve! Such an unsettling experience.

    I had three roommates my senior year in college. They'd been roommates since freshman year, and two had known each other even before that. They wanted their other friend to room with them, but she couldn't, so they put an ad in the school newspaper (yep - I'm THAT old).

    So despite the occasional roommate disagreement, I thought we all got along really well. We went out ALL the time, hung out and watched TV together, borrowed each others cars, threw ridiculous parties, etc.  I remember one even came to my thesis defense, which I was really touched by. We sort of integrated our friend groups together, if that makes sense, so there was a big group that we were all part of. I thought we were real friends.

    Then, after college, I heard not ONE SINGLE word from any of them. No return emails, nothing. I friended one on FB, but she never responded to the "Hey! How are you?" type message I sent her.

    Nothing like that has ever happened to me before. The fact that there are three of them leads me to believe that the problem was me. But I have no idea what I did. I mean, I'm sure I'm annoying AF at times, and probably more so 20 years ago, but no more than anyone else (I hope....).



  • Those are mine. I feel strongly that my removal of both people from my life was the best decision for me, although another friend says I'm cold. Beasley disagrees. :)
    Beasley is correct.

    I generally think I came into my own in my 30s, but the most important thing I figured out in my 20s is that some relationships have a use-by date and there is nothing wrong with walking away from them when they've reached it.
  • Just catching up.
    Distance yourself from L. Its not always easy but you have to.  She's a prat.  

  • Thanks everyone...  Oddly enough, I talked to L's ex online last night.  Haven't spoken in a long time (I took her side in the divorce, even though I've known him just as long.  He cheated. Left L. He got sick.  L took care of him.  He never really said thank you.)  We mostly made small or philosophical talk, but guess what... never told him a thing about her.  Not about her recent break-up, weight gain, annoyances, etc...

    Dear L... see how easy that was? LOL
  • edited September 2015
    Wow, I haven't checked in on this thread for a while... Lots to catch up with. A story to add to the pile:
    My freshman year of college, I became very close friends with a girl. We ended up living together the summer before senior year, in NYC. Had lots of adventures, lots of fun.
    I left a week before she did. I arrived back to campus a day ahead of her. When she arrived, she hardly spoke to me. She hardly ever spoke to me again. It was the weirdest thing. I tried to sit down with her and ask what was wrong, and she was evasive and hostile. I think in her mind, she would say she stopped being my friend when I
    started hooking up with her ex-boyfriend. Which didn't start until a
    month before graduation. So.... what about those other 9 months of
    senior year? From literally the first day she arrived on campus, she
    didn't say a word directly to me. Eventually I just threw up my hands and said to hell with her. It caused incredible problems in our house senior year, which we shared with three other people. One of them "took her side" and the other two realized I had no idea what was even happening except that my best friend had dropped me like a hot potato. I'm still incredibly close with them now, 10 years later.

    It does leave scars, though. It's very hard to make new connections. I don't really trust other women beyond friends I already had. Every now and then I get an itch to contact her and be like, uh, what the what?

    As far as I know, she's married and happy on the other side of the country. When I knew her she was very liberal, not religious. Last time I checked her facebook profile she was a born-again Christian. She seems to adapt her personality to the people she's around at the time. I feel fairly confident I'm not just being bitter when I say I suspect she's a sociopath.

    And that's my story!
  • I'm not sure what the circumstances are with the eviction, but I think it's kinda rotten to not pay, even when you know you're moving. Has she considered the fact that her paychecks will likely be garnished? That's what the property management company I work for does in situations like this. 
    @firebirdsinger I don't know the specifics. I don't know if they have short-paid or not-paid.
    -I know they're moving in October
    -I know the 90 day eviction process has started
    The rest is my guesses...


  • Those are mine. I feel strongly that my removal of both people from my life was the best decision for me, although another friend says I'm cold. Beasley disagrees. :)
    Beasley is correct.

    I generally think I came into my own in my 30s, but the most important thing I figured out in my 20s is that some relationships have a use-by date and there is nothing wrong with walking away from them when they've reached it.
    I completely agree.
  • @ginnythepainter I totally see what you're saying, and it's certainly not like I haven't heard the plain truth from people before. And honestly I had given her a pass, thinking that it was something she didn't mean, or realize she was saying, but she straight up admitted that she knew what she said and was saying it to be hurtful. So that's really what I have the problem with. I'm sure we'll be fine eventually, but it did really hurt. 
  • @Qitkat - that quilt story is insane. If I'd been in your shoes (and if I had the presence of mind) I'd have cut it back up into its component blocks and given each block back to the beyotch demanding you return it. UGH. But, it's so good that is in the distant past.

    I haven't (yet?) had a truly toxic friendship, and I can see how scarring it can be. I do have one friend who's a bit of an emotional vampire, but we don't live near each other, and see each other less than once a year. When we do see each other I brace myself to feel pretty drained after - mostly she's a good person but self-centered, and I'm seeing it could be FAR worse. 
  • @heybethpdx  What a perfect solution that would have been! As you said, if one had the presence of mind, which I certainly did not, being in a state of complete disbelief and betrayal. My only "revenge" consisted of not giving them the plans for the intricate border, which was what would have risen the quilt high above the ordinary; I hadn't completed that part, so all they got was the extra fabric. Yes, and looking back, it really was insane.


  • Emster said:
    @ginnythepainter I totally see what you're saying, and it's certainly not like I haven't heard the plain truth from people before. And honestly I had given her a pass, thinking that it was something she didn't mean, or realize she was saying, but she straight up admitted that she knew what she said and was saying it to be hurtful. So that's really what I have the problem with. I'm sure we'll be fine eventually, but it did really hurt. 
    Yeah, well, that is a pretty major difference.  I never intended to hurt my niece.  I  wanted to her to really study music & voice, instead of waiting around to be discovered.  Your "friend" wanted to bring you down.  There is something weird that happen among creatives when one person keeps pursuing their art and the other either gives up or takes an extended break.  She may not be in the throes of domestic bliss and may envy that you're working on a music career. 
  • Wow, I'm late to the depressing thread, but I have stories to share, too!  First off, Karen_B, I'm so sorry for what you're going through.  That sounds absolutely horrid, and I hope you have a good in-person support system as well as love from all of us BKs.  

    Now, I could talk forever on my toxic relationship with my mother (thecripplecricket, you're not alone!)  Borderline personality disorder is a bitch and being raised by someone who has it is terrifying and confusing, and while I do feel sorry for the complicated world my mom lives in, I can't be a part of that world for my own health and safety.  

    But toxic friends?  Oh yes.  This chickadee and I have been buds since we were about 12.  We were in a music ensemble together all through middle school and high school, so we quite literally toured the world together and were roommates a lot of the time.  We lived nearby each other, and our group of friends would spend most of every weekend at her parents' house, singing and playing piano in their basement, because we were nerds.  Her mom became basically a mom to me, since as I mentioned above, my mom was not really mentally or emotionally available to be a mom. My friend was always a bit spoiled and bratty, but that comes from being raised as the youngest child of millionaires, so I figured it was to be expected. 

    I thought that as we got older, she'd mellow out a bit, but I was so very wrong.  When I had a horrible breakup with my fiance, the girl told me "No offense, Jessi, but I really don't care.  I never liked him, so it's not a big deal to me that it ended.  Anyway, I really need to break up with my boyfriend because his clinical depression is SUCH a drag, but I'm so used to him!  Ugh!  What to dooooo?"  When I needed a place to live, she offered me her apartment and then backed out a week before I was supposed to move in, because she didn't feel like it.  When I went elsewhere, she was furious that I didn't try to make her change her mind, because that would prove how much she meant to me!  

    I wanted to dump her as a friend right there, but then she'd come do genuinely sweet things.  When I got really sick, she came over and made me soup from scratch.  She said afterwards "Aren't you so lucky to have me for a friend?" while I was eating the soup, which made it less enjoyable, but still.  Then, TRIGGER WARNING, I was raped by a date.  I bailed on plans we had the next day, because I was too afraid to leave my apartment.  She came over ostensibly to cheer me up, but actually to yell at me for ditching her AND to tell me that what happened was my own fault for bringing a stranger to my house (he said he needed to use the bathroom after walking me home.  I was an idiot and fell for it).  

    Now, my parents are moving to Ecuador to escape the "liberal agenda" that's taking over America, and said they're never coming back to visit.  I texted a bunch of friends, because I wanted to keep them informed, but also because I was upset.  Her response?  "Sweet!  When can we vacay?"  

    Her dad is very successful in our field (like, the kind where I would love for him to hire me on the regular), so I don't want to completely cut her out of my life, but wow.  It's been 20 years, and it's getting harder and harder to shrug it off as "that's just her way." 
  • @Jessi03 - I second what @firebirdsinger has to say! Your kindness to a human being doesn't make you an idiot - he was at fault. As far as your so-called friend - I guess I wouldn't cut her completely out if there is hope her father can be helpful to your career, but I wouldn't go out of my way to make a single plan with her, that's for damn sure. I hope you've got a better support network than her in place - it is upsetting that your parents are leaving forever!
  • edited September 2015
    @Jessi03, I am sorry you have had to deal with so much. 1) I totally agree with and endorse what @firebirdsinger says!

    2) A very close friend of mine has a mom with borderline personality disorder and she eventually made the decision to completely cut off all contact with her parents as a result. I have seen her mom in action and this was unquestionably the right thing for her to do, although it has also estranged her from her extended family and still causes her pain. I wish you strength in dealing with whatever you have to do to protect yourself with respect to her.

    3) your friend is a raging narcissist. I get why you can't cut off contact with her entirely, but maybe gradually stop including her in the group of friends you text first when you are upset, etc. When dealing with the raging narcissist in my life (my mother, unfortunately), anytime I think I want to tell her something or talk to her, I try to stop and count to 10. Then I ask myself if I am going to like or be able to deal with what she will probably say. Then I call someone else who will for sure be supportive. I hold off on calling my mom until I am sure I've gotten enough support from others that her response won't affect me as much. She still disappoints me, but it is much better. That approach might work with this person.
  • @Jessi03 I am SO sorry you had to go through that.  I hope you've sought some kind of help or counseling?  As for your special little narcissist, maybe you can view her as a recurring social experiment - never ask her for anything more than to meet for a drink that evening, never expect her to say anything more interesting than, "Oh, that chick has some CUTE shoes!"  As an anthropologist, even spending time with people I hate gets a little more interesting and less burdensome when you start evaluating them mentally.  And when they say something horrid, you just think, "Chirp away, my little caged bird! It won't cause me any harm or do you any good!"
  • You are all the sweetest, and reading these made me almost cry!  

    heybethpdx, I do have a really great support system.  It just sucks when someone who technically should be a part of it is not really doing a good job of that.  

    KarenFK, thank you so much for your kind words.  A combo of 2 and 3 are basically how I handle things with my mother.  I guess I should do that with some of my more toxic friends, too.  I'm so sorry you have to deal with that with your mom.  I used to watch movies or shows where it was all about the amazing relationships between girls and their moms, even if they fight (Brave is a recent one that comes to mind) and I would just resent them so much, because I couldn't understand those feelings.  I thought people I met who said they were best friends with their moms were either liars or psychopaths.  

    carlatheviking, oh yes.  Lots and lots of counseling.  Also, Mr. Jessi is a scientist, and your plan sounds basically like how he handles all social interaction.  Even people that drive me up the wall, he just goes "I still found it interesting to observe them."  You guys should be friends!  :)  He is a gigantic ginger man and looks very much like a viking, so there's also that.  

    firebirdsinger, good words! :D

    I wish all of you a FANTASTIC weekend!  
  • @Karen

    not only is she being unprofessional and unethical ( i bet her employer would be aghasted) she is using her knowledge to create a toxic situation between you and your friend.

    immature petty manipulative

    not sure why you want to continue a relationship with this user
  • From the years I've known L, I honestly think *she* thought I knew about H's situation and is asking me out of concern.
  • @Jessi, I've found the coping skills I've learned in living with someone with BPD (my eldest), are really useful in dealing with other people too. The spouse and I attended a class for folks dealing with people with BPD (mostly parents of adults, then us with a teen, and a family with sister/mother--ie, the adult daughter and uncle attended), and it was full of strategies and approaches. I have a toxic colleague where I have found these really useful--perhaps mores than with my child, but I suspect that is the mother/teen dynamic to some extent, too.) 
  • The Pool, which I love, has been running a series this week on friendship. This piece, on the friends you don't need, and this piece on best friends are really good.
  • @foodycatAlicia  Those are really good articles. 

    I have 2 best friends.  And they are pretty much my only friends.  The article above does shed a light on people who seem to have a larger circle of friends, and I can understand why proclaiming someone the 'best' in those situations would be hurtful.  

    **For Me** designating those 2 women in my life as the best, because...well they are.   They are the end all be all of what friends can and should be.  They are the family I have chosen,  and I will proudly proclaim them as my best friends for ever and ever amen.  And I don't run around proclaiming it so that people know their order in my life.  I say it because I feel like people should know just how much they mean to me. 


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