to not feel as sympathetic towards this friend as I probably ought to?(60 Posts)
One of oldest (but probably not really 'best' any more) friends has just had her DS2.
Her DS1 was by emergency CS because of undiagnosed breach presentation, about 9 months after my DD1 (51 hours of labour and forceps 'carnage'). She was very upset at the time, and I was sympathetic.
Even when she said how "unfair" it was that I hadn't had a CS even though she was "clearly better at labour" that I was, and how I "couldn't hack the pain" and she could. (I was in the midst of PND at the time so this wasn't very helpful.) She was also disappointed because she had wanted a girl, and a bit pissed off that I had a daughter and she a son.
Then she was pissed off because I had a second DD two years later, and it took her about 6 months longer than she wanted to get pg a second time...
This time, she's been going on and on about how she really wanted a VBAC and really wanted a girl, and that the worst thing ever would be to have "another bloody boy and another bloddy CS". I can understand not wanting another CS, not so much the boy/girl thing.
She went four days overdue and was on the phone every day really angry that things weren't going according to
her plan. She did go into labour naturally, but after 12 hours or so of painful labour and an epidural, things stopped progressing and she ended up with the section she was so desperate to avoid.
Naturally it was also another boy.
I spoke to her about 24 hours later, all she could do was complain about having another "bloody boy" and that she could have coped if she's had a boy naturally or a girl by CS but to have both the things she "didn't want" is so awful. etc. And that her labour was the worst ever, that she she knows she's not like me with a "really low pain theshold" because she's done it before, and that it actually WAS really painful. (WTAF?)
I'm a bit gobsmacked by the stuff that's coming out of her mouth, TBH, and don't know how to react.
i know she's disappointed. But she has a healthy, beautiful baby boy, FFS and she hasn't mentioned him once, which is the saddest thing.
I'm both concerned for her mental state but also think she's behaving like a collossal brat, frankly.
And that the constant putting me down isn't really acceptable. I know I had two DDs 'naturally', but it's not like I've sailed through the whole thing... Extended third degree tears, PTSD, PND, haemmorages not really stuff worthy of her envy/spite.
This is also to the backdrop of close friends of both of us, who just lost one of their prem twins at 9 weeks old, (delivered at 30 weeks) barely 3 years after they lost their DS1 (born at 26 weeks) at 5 weeks old. They'd gve their eye teeth to have tow healthy, full term baby boys.
I want to feel sympathy for her the friend with the two DSs but finding it very hard...
How would you handle it?
I would distance myself from her, sounds like a drain on you & a very bad friend. She doesn't deserve much sympathy. Unless she is medically depressed.
I don't think I would want to continue a friendship with someone who said such rude things to me.. She sounds bitter & negative. Does she have some really good points that you haven't mentioned?!
God this is awful. She clearly needs some kind of help - perhaps she's depressed - but I wouldn't blame you for distancing yourself a bit.
I think I'd struggle to be v sympathetic to someone who was that rude to me and has had two healthy babies too.
Perhaps you could try having a heart to heart with her to see if she reveals she's depressed then support her in getting the help she needs...?
I too would be polite but keep my distance, such friends are so energy draining. Spend time with more positive people instead...its better for the soul. Good luck.
She sounds like a selfish cow tbh i feel sorry for her little son not her. As for being jealous of your 'natural' birth i'd pick a cs over the labour you and i had anyday! 3rd deg tears are no bloody joke!
I'm really angry now for you and her son
She sounds like a bit of a nightmare, and I wide be tempted to distance myself from her. I understand her being upset about the section, but it makes me so sad that she's angry he's a boy. That poor baby.
Also, can't stand how some people get competitive about childbirth. Ffs, there are no medals handed out, you just get the baby out the best way you can in glorification.
That is awful and agree you should keep a distance. Her attitude towards the birth and to the gender are odd. Do you know her dh well enough to comment to him and ask if she's ok?
Perhaps when she goes on about having a boy say something like 'well you are lucky to have two boys, having two of the same is such a joy'
I feel for your mutual friend and I really hope brat friend hasn't been saying anything to them.
Oh dear, I've got a friend like this, only thank god she hasn't got any kids. She sounds to me to be very insecure, so has to compare you unfavourably to her. Crap for you to hear, but it's all a load of cobblers, so if you can be arsed to stay her friend (for her redeeming qualities???), then you'll need to find a way of ignoring it all.
YANBU! Speaking as the mum of a premature baby who survived by the skin of his teeth, your friend is BU - extremely so!!
I think the only thing you can do is a bit of brutal honesty, reminding her she has 2 healthy full-term children & suggest perhaps she needs help?
Maybe she only goes on so much as you allow her to?
She either has some major issues, or is just a bit of a bitch.
Either way, her attitude towards you is foul. And really I feel sorry for her sons
I would run away. Fast. Without looking back.
Sounds like a friend I have in RL. She smokes a lot of weed and I put the bitchiness down to the fact stoners always think they are right. She recently told me she is a better mother than me because she smokes joints every day and I smoke cigs. I know I shouldn't smoke, but honestly!
I stay friends with her though mainly because she holds no punches. I think everyone needs a friend like this who will be brutally honest. Sometimes she goes OTT and othertimes you aren't even asking for advice.
I just stay well clear if I feel at all sensitive and leave if I feel angry or whatever while there.
Luckily I have a lot of other friends
who cannot abide her and she doesn't so I don't feel as bad about her comments, but am aware she is probably a bit jaded having no one else to talk to.
I'd advise just keeping calm and staying away for a bit. You have clearly been friends for a while and she is useful/good to you for something?
What an unreasonable woman. Please don't take her horrible comments to heart. My own little ds is such a precious little thing. I can't imagine being gutted if I ever had another beautiful little boy like him. I have dds too and I don't get the whole 'boys are awful and everyone wants girls' thing. there seems to be a HUGE amount of women who hold that view.
I think she does have some issues, and I am worried about her mental state - because I can't understand why someone in their right mind would be coming out with stuff like this...
My husband thinks I should walk away from the friendship... I dont know.
We were like sisters in our twenties and saw each other through some really rough times - she was absolutely 100% rock solid and we both knew we were there for each other, no matter what.
She then got married and moved out of London and we started to drift apart. You'd have thought that having children roughly the same age would have brought us closer, but in actual fact our parenting styles are SO different it's ade things worse. They were really bad when I was suffering from PND and she was PG and when her DS1 was young, but have been better recently - if still a bit one-sided. She thinks I'm too much of a soft touch with my DDs, I find her a bit hard with her DS.
She seems very bitter about the way her life has turned out - when really she's nothing much to be bitter about. She's married (ok husband doesn't earn much, but she knew that when she married him - but she's resentful that mine earns more - even though he's abroad a lot, her husband is a nice guy but they have some ishoos..) has a two lovely DSs, a big house, runs her own business (but is pissed off that I earn more - even though this is only recently the case), nice car, supportive family living nearby, friends...
I suppose I'm in 'maintenance mode' with the friendship, if I'm honest, in the hope that sh'll coe out the other side of whatever it is...
But I'm torn between wanting to support her, because she's obviously deeply unhappy/dissatisfied, and feeling, well, that she isn't actually very nice anymore, and quite unkind.
I would hate to abandon her if she is actually depressed, but I'm finding it hard to bite my tongue and be in any way sympathetic, I really am.
Tbh if I didn't think it was depression I wouldsuggest adoption and how there are so many people out there who would be overjoyed with a healthy baby, regardless of gender. And that love is the most important thing for a child.
And hope that shocks/shames her.
That sounds really tough for you. I completely understand your dilemma.
it's hard to know if she has a MH prob or not.
So perhaps it's time to say - I'm worried for your mental state and for the sake or your children, yourself and our friendship you need to get help.
She sounds like a mixture of an entitled brat and somone in the midst of a life crisis who can't see the wood for the trees. Only you can decide how much is her actually not being a very nice person who can now compete with you and dislikes what she sees as falling short and how much is her saying things out of character because things behind closed doors have slid away from her and she's not coping, whether depression, PND untreated from last time or other issues - she does need help.
Tbh I would lay out my position, offer the help I could give and then leave it up to her. If her husband is bearing the brunt of this behaviour that may well be a good reason for their issues. But there is no point going on like this and it's unlikely she'll 'just come out the other side' on her own as she is either a fundamentally spiteful and unpleasant person or she's in need of professional support to get better.
how do you know she is resentful that your dh earns more than hers? and you more than her? how does that manifest? friends are supposed to be happy for you when things are going well, not jealous and resentful
if i were you, i would have it out with her in a gentle kind way; tell her the reality of your labours and say it was hurtful that she said you had a low pain threshold, its really unfair; say that you are worried she is so negative about her sons when she should be happy/ remind her of mutual friends situation...lay it all out for her.....if she is depressed/her heart is in the right place you will know by her response...
keep out of her way. her problems are her problem! i'm sorry for her 'bloody sons', but maybe she speaks more roughly than she acts.
She says so, Quasi...
"Well it's all fine for you, cause your DH earns a fortune [he doesn't, he works for a charity, at a senior level so he does ok, but it's not like he's a hedge-fund manager...] whereas I have to support this family..."
"Well, you're just minted these days." I'm not. my business is doing well, but I slogged away for years for next to nothing, (while she was raking it in), to get to this point. They have had stacks of expensive holidays, she drives an Audi, they still own a rental flat in North London worth about £250k (at least). Hardly on the breadline...
I can honestly say, hand on heart I was happy for her when things were going great for her. I realised she made different choices that I would have made, but that in some ways they were paying off, while realising that I still, even given the situation and how well would have made different choices.
She's one of these "grass is greener" people, who perceives injustice about the way her life has turned out. I don't get it... Everyone makes choices, then you live with the consequences. That's life. No one 'did' any of this to her... (Not the CS... that wasn't a choice obv.).
I guess if it continues I have to confront her with it... That should be fun.
The hard thing will be to do that in a calm rational way without losing my temper. And I suspect she'll turn it back around and go on the attack.
I don't know whether to hope that she's depressed and acting out of character, or to hope that she's fine and just, well, become a bit unpleasant.
IllageVidiot, thats probably exactly what I should say... And I think you're probably right and it's a mixture of the two.
I feel for her son (who's lovely but already a bit cowed) and her DH who puts up with a lot of sh*t. He's not perfect, but he's a simple guy, really.
Hmm, I'd be tempted to say something to her, about being grateful for having two healthy sons. Life is not a menu where you can pick and choose and then moan as its not what you thought it would be.
Think you need to tell her that you're concerned for her mental state because she's started being quite nasty, about her children, and towards you.
If she responds that she's fine / you're having a go at her or whatever, then you can tell her that you quite simply can't deal with her crap anymore.
You sound like a good friend. Its really hard to work out whether its that you have just drifted apart and changed as the years have gone on, or whether there is actually something going on for her.
That's the dilemma, SirBoobAlot. I'd never forgive myself if I abandoned her when she needed a friend. You'd think I could tell, we've known each other so well, for so long, but I actually can't.
I know that depression can manifest in many (unexpected) ways.
I also know that unhappiness can sometimes make people behave quite unpleasantly.
But where do you draw the line and say enough is enough?
I have BPD. I'll never forget the time a friend said to me, "Right. You've been a total bitch the last few weeks. Are you going to tell me what the hell is going on?" - at first I protested and told her she was being ridiculous, but she just looked at me and I told her how crap I was feeling. I wouldn't have been able to do that if she hadn't given me the opportunity to.
Don't be harsh on yourself for not being able to tell. Like you say, everyone reacts differently.
Sir Boob... That's actually really helpful. Thank you...
She really sounds as if she is suffering from pnd dating back to her first baby. I think she may really need you now.
Fab, do you think that PND can manifest as being, well, a bit of a cow for four years? And hyper-competitive?
My experience of it was different, but I guess it can manifest in any number of ways...
Certainly she still seems bitter about her first birth experience and maybe that's clouded everything else... She certainly seemed very detached from her DS1 until he was about, well, three.... if I'm honest. She'd say things like "DS you're SUCH A PAIN - you were even a pain before you were born..." Which chilled me to my bones.
It's very easy to walk away from people who are acting unreasonably like this, much harder to confront them to find out their deeper issues.
But ultimately if you do the former you may never see them again, & if you do the latter you may help someone who is ill and they may thank you forever for it.
Or they may just be a complete arse but if you don't confront her you'll never know. I'd don a protective suit & speak to her. You may get a fiery response but as someone up thread said, it may help her to see her own life differently & open up to you.
If not, THEN you can walk away.
That's really sad. Being depressed can certainly lead to insecurity, which in turn leads to being competitive. And if she hasn't received any hep for it, it may well have just continued.
There are birth trauma teams that you can discuss your birth with - do you think that might benefit her?
Avoid her like the plague, she is being utterly horrible to you!
However, she does sound like she might have depression (the negativity is a big giveaway). Hopefully she has good people around her who will get her some help (if she is indeed depressed) or tell her to STFU if she's simply just a cowbag. My money is on PND though.
Some people always seem to find the negative in everything. They think that life is a competition (earnings, house size, birth, children etc). What they don't realise is that nobody else is playing or even aware there's a competition at all!
Your friend sounds like one of these people OP. Unfortunately, I also think there's some kind of MH problem going on here too, which makes her behaviour even more extreme. Her attitude towards her baby does sound worrying and could be damaging to him if she continues in this vein.
What would I do? Well, the sensible thing for your own sanity would be to leave her to it tbh. However, if you're feeling strong I would try to talk to her. See if you can encourage her to speak to a professional about the way she's feeling.
Why do you feel you ought to be sympathetic? Maybe you owe it to your friendship and your own conscience to be supportive (which doesn't necessarily mean nice: it can mean giving her a kick up the backside), but this guilt is entirely misplaced.
If you do feel guilty after any confrontation, sadly, you have another friend (and probably more than one) who needs you at the moment.
She sounds awful.
Either suggest she gets help or distance yourself from her.
YANBU to feel how you do, however...
...I think birth experience is a very personal thing, and it can't really be compared to what has happened to other people, so as OTT as she sounds (and the personal comments are definitely out of order) I'd be inclined to cut her a bit of slack on that front.
On the whole I think she sounds desperately unhappy and the only way to move forward is to have a reasonably gentle but very honest discussion with her and get it out in the open. If she admits she is struggling and needs help, you can try and support her and hopefully the friendship will recover in time. If you get a load of self-pity and verbal abuse back, you know it's time to call it a day.
She doesn't know what she wants in life, does she? If she'd had a girl, that would have probably been a Big Drama too. She sounds deeply unhappy, and unless you are prepared to have a big heart to heart, then I'm afraid you'll need to back away.
Also agree with what SirBoobALot said re birth trauma.
Mine wasn't great (also ended in EMCS) and I felt very upset, angry and bitter about certain elements of it until the HV brought my notes out and went through them with me when I was diagnosed with PND.
My perception of what happened was quite different from what actually went on and it really helped me come to terms with what I had previously thought was a combination of my failing and bad decision by the medical team.
I'm so sorry you have to listen to this rubbish.
She sounds incredibly self absorbed, and unless she is ill, I'd have to talk to her about it.
Births, early days with a newborn, it's all tough, and a good friend would be supportive, not knocking others down. It's such a stupid thing to be competitive about because so much is out if your control.
Don't let her jealousy and insecurity get to you or make you feel bad about the joys you have in your life. You haven't stolen them from her. And try and direct her to talking to a counsellor who might be able to
help her untangle some of her problems.
What about her dh? Is he aware about how she talks about the boys?
Yes, he must be... She says all these things in front of him. Also that she blames him for the 'boy genes', because he's one of three boys (she has a sister...).
He's lovely with their DS, which is a blessing, and he's home a lot, do does the lions share of the day to day.
He's just given up, I think. Keeps quiet just to keep the peace, most of the time, but I know they have blow ups. I don't know if he things she has MH issues...
She sounds like a massive cunt. Get rid.
SirBoobalot speaks a lot of sense.
Call her on her bitchyness and tell her that what she is saying is nasty, and not at all normal, and ask her to tell you what is going on.
Be ready to tell her straight that you wont take her crap any more and walk away.
DB it sounds like you don't just want to bin her and after years of friendship, I can understand that.
But you're not obliged to put up with shit either!
I would tell her. Tell her she's being a cow. Tell her she's draining you. Tell her how lucky she is to have a healthy baby and how horrible she's being (who slags off their own newborn ffs!)
If she's ill, it could be the opportunity she needs to speak out and the jolt she needs to get help.
If she's just a Class A bitch she'll probably blow up at you and end the friendship anyway!
I would distance myself personally. Regardless of the reason, there is only so much you can do for someone.
Some pics on facebook - she's smiling at least...!
And she's had to have a blood transfusion, so feeling a bit guilty for being pissed off at her, clearly she's had a rough time.
A transfusion isn't usually required after a CS is it?
I had one after my PPH with DD2 but that was only because I lost over half my blood volume, I'm shocked at the thought of that much blood loss in what I would imagine is a 'controlled' situation. Maybe I'm ignorant/naive though...
Arranging a visit next week. Which will be too soon to take her to task in any way but ought to give me an idea of how she is, and how she's behaving to her boys.
Maybe the lovely baby will soften her up, (second time lucky?)
Who slags off their newborn ffs?
Those with postnatal depression - I think this woman needs a lot of help
Go see her, bring her some nice body lotion stuff and a box of dark chocolate (great for iron) and some nice lovely present for her baby.
Just be there for her, to start with.
Regardless of whether she is depressed or not, she is an adult. Her son, on the other hand, is a very small boy being told by his mother "DS you're SUCH A PAIN - you were even a pain before you were born..."^.
Fuck, that chills me to my bones too, OP.
I really think you have to call her on this - maybe along the lines of what she thinks is going to be the consequence of this behaviour of hers.
Part of me suspects that she is just a bitch, who is showing her true colours. You mentioned that you were now earning more than her, but that this is a recent state of affairs. I do wonder if she was able to be
lady bountiful 'friendly' as long as you were her 'inferior'. But now that she can't quite pidgeonhole you that way any more, she can't quite manage friendly. She has to be the top dog, and the sort of things she uses to measure this (money, career, possessions) do all scream 'shallow' to me. She seems unable to appreciate the real worth of healthy children, a loving husband and financial security. Bit of a bitch.
*You mentioned that you were now earning more than her, but that this is a recent state of affairs. I do wonder if she was able to be lady bountiful 'friendly' as long as you were her 'inferior'. But now that she can't quite pidgeonhole you that way any more, she can't quite manage friendly.*
Whereyouleftit - I have a horrible feeling that in regards to our friendship you might have hit the nail on the head here...
Her attitude towards her children, well that's different. And far worse.
I'm a grown up, They are 4 years and 4 days, respectively.
Now is definitely NOT the time to call her on the latter. But it might be necessary to tackle the way she feels about her children sooner rather than later.
The two are separate issues, which may or may not have the same root cause, (unhappiness/depression) I guess. But probably need different handling at different times.
Hold up - her 2nd child is 4 days old?
If so then please just wait until she has had a chance to actually sort her head out? I don't think it would be fair to say anything even slightly stand offish to her at the moment. Who wants those first few weeks tainted by a friendship going sour? Yes it may all be her fault, but still...
Good luck OP, hope you get the result you need.
I had a 'friend' like that. I regret not calling her on the things she said, but I distanced myself and she eventually deleted me from facebook. I've not heard from her since.
I think that you should read up on assertiveness to help you handle this. You should call her on the things she says about her sons and about any digs at you.
ATourch, yes, I know it's totally not the time.
The thread was started because although I knew I ought to be sympathetic after her disappointment at a second CS, I found the things she said about her second DS so chilling, and her attitude so petulant and the things she said to me about about my supposed 'low pain threshold' (as opposed to her need for an epidural which was apparently because her labour WAS actually painful), so totally out of order, I was finding it really hard to be the supportive friend she probably needs.
I probably ought to be going over there tomorrow, but to be honest I can't face it...
For my own sanity I'll probably leave it a week or so. She has local friends too. I think she'd like me to come over (and bring food) but tbh I'm feeling pissed off, so it's probably best for all concerned that I leave it until either a) I'm in a better frame if mind or b) it's a more appropriate time to call her on any outrageous comments she makes either about her DSs or me...
Agree with you it would be worth waiting. Because if anyone those things to me / acted like that to their children, I'd find it very difficult to hold my tongue.
You sound like a brilliant friend; even though you're so annoyed at her, you're still being considerate.
YANBU - She is!
I'd have casually said to her before now "did you mean that to sound so bitchy?"
but I'm quite blunt.
You sound lovely OP and I agree with some of the others (more sensible) who said maybe wait until she is feeling more herself, after the birth, before speaking to her about anything.
If you call her/see her in the mean time keep it brief.
Her hormones and emotions will be all over the place having gone over her due date and then having given birth recently. She is probably a good candidate for PNT. The put downs aimed at you are to make her feel better, don't take them personally as they are more about her own state of mind. She is entitled to be unhappy about the birth or sex - yes there will always be someone who has had a harder time (like your other friend) but that doesn't mean she can't feel hard done by. Hopefully she will gain a bond with the new boy - maybe you can encourage this. If you are a good friend, then put your arms around her and support her. She sounds like she needs it. Acknowledge what she is saying 'yes, it must be frustration to have a c-section' or 'yes, i know you really hoped for a girl'.
If you don't really care for her, then do walk away though.
You could always challenge her 'I really care for you but I'm worried about how you are at the moment. You seem so unhappy with things and if you are slipping into PND you should really chat to your HV/MW. I'm happy to help where I can of course'
I get that Blue...
But this latest tirade (or four) just the latest in a four year long episode of this kind of thing...
I'm prepared to believe it could be PND following the birth of her DS1... But it seems to have been going on a long time in that case, without especially worsening or reaching any kind of crisis...
But that's probably just that really my only point of reference for this is my own PND, which took a rather different course.
Definitely can't put the last four years of this down to 'hormones' though...
Untreated PND will go on for ever if not treated in my experience.
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