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To not want to see my friend after this revelation.....(106 Posts)
I have a friend that I have known for 14 years now. When we were younger we were really close but then as life got in the way we didn't see each other as often. These days we meet up for a good old chat every few months and go out for a meal etc and I'm due to be seeing her this Monday.
My sister just phoned me, who is also friends with his girl, and told me that this afternoon our friend confided that she has started seeing a married man who also has children - the youngest of which is only a baby of 5 months old My friend, despite being 32 has never had a serious relationship, she goes from disaster to disaster, she lets men lie to her and use her, she goes for the wrong type all the time, sleeps with men because she thinks they will then like her etc etc - I'm sure you get the picture. But I never, ever, ever thought she would go this far.
My sister was really upset as she has not long broke up with the father of her children (after 10 years together) because it transpired he was having an affair. Our friend can't understand why my sister is so upset and sees no problem with what she is doing. Apparently our friend is convinced this is something special and has "never felt anything like it..." She was complaining to my sister that she never gets to see this guy because the baby is taking up all his time.
Now, I'm absolutely dreading seeing her. I'm upset on my sisters behalf but also, I'm currently pregnant and I know I will sitting there, listening to her talk about it like it isn't an issue, whilst imagining that it could be me at home with the new born whilst the husband is out cheating. I don't know how I'm going to be able to stay friendly or calm with her....
I'm tempted to just text her and cancel.
I know we shouldn't be judgemental, but I really don't think I can sit there and listen to her or face her.
All you can do is to be there for her when she needs you. And she WILL need you. Next time she collapses emotionally, maybe suggest (very gently, and with all your natural tact!) that she seems to be stuck in a pattern of repeat relationships with horrible men, that you think it may be because she has some issues with self-esteem, and that you think talking to someone about this might help her to develop healthier relationships in future. Keep badgering about it.
There is little else you can do, to be honest. I found it tremendously frustrating - like watching a car crash in slow motion, powerless to do anything at all to prevent it.
You're right. I'm pretty sure now I won't hear off her again for months and months on end - I'll be here when she needs me - as is the basis of 'friendship '. She'll dip out my life again and only reappear when it has all gone wrong and she needs support. That's just how she functions.
I meant to say as is the basis of our friendship
Writerwannabe - I think we have a VERY similar friend!!
I have come to accept that my relationship with her will always be one-sided, and that she will always take, take, take. She is just built that way. I get frustrated by it at times, I must admit. But I also know she is genuinely vulnerable and cannot behave in a different way. She is very child-like in some ways.
At one point, our friendship was headed towards a point where I felt I was simply enabling her self-destructive behaviour. I felt 'part of the problem': by being always there, I was allowing her to write me into a narrative of constant trauma and drama. It sounds as though you may be in a similar position? So I have tried to set some boundaries to what I will give - for example, I sometimes won't call her back for an hour if I am at work, and I always try to tell her the truth, as gently and tactfully as I can in a way that I hope will be supportive rather than critical. If she does something that is off-the-scale emotionally, she knows I will question it. This has helped to set the relationship on a more normal footing.
I have also surrounded myself with positive people who make me feel good. It is easier to be 'giving' towards one friend, but very draining when you are surrounded by people like that.
It would be funny if we were talking about the same person
What you said is right about continually being drawn into their dramas. She thrives on the attention she gets from it all, she loves it when people hug her and say ,"there, there" because it fulfils another need in her. She likes to be the centre of sympathy, she wants people to feel sorry for her and that's what we all find so hard. Your example of take, take, take is exactly right. Like I said, despite having problems with my health and my baby's health during my pregnancy so far she has never asked me about it, if something isn't part of her drama, she isn't interested. I dared to mention the baby yesterday....she just looked at me and then changed the subject. She is a very strange character. She can't be happy for anyone, she's jealous of most people and sees the negative in everything. She shows no interest in others but expects everyone to jump to attention when she needs them. It's just so difficult because I do feel really sorry for her - the whole situation is just really sad. As much as I do pull away from her at times because I don't like being used in the way she uses people, I could never fully cut her out of my life because I need to know that she at least has someone.
I think you've hit the nail on the head there - she likes the drama/attention more than she likes being happy/contented/calm. Until that's fixed, she won't stop being self-destructive. She can't recognise you or your baby, because the existence of other people is almost a threat to her sense of self, which is paper-thin and fragile.
I have started to wonder what it is about me that has a 'need to be needed' by her. I have been thinking about it a lot. In a weird way, she and I are reacting in opposite ways to similar triggers. We both had mothers who were overbearing and not very overtly loving (though in both cases, I think they did care a lot as parents, just in a really weird way). We both fear rejection and abandonment. Only she deals with it by looking for constant affirmation and drama, and I look for situations where I am able to give care as a way of 'deserving' love. Though mine looks externally healthy and altruistic and lovely, it is actually not very healthy, which is why those more positive friends I have are such a help to me, and so much more rewarding!!
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