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Please, can anyone tell me what to do about this? Nobody really to turn to.

(34 Posts)
emeraldgirl1 Sat 05-Jan-13 15:45:43

This is long - so apologies.

My oldest friend is under normal circumstances pretty bossy and opinionated but usually it doesn't bother me that much..

I am 7m pregnant now. She knows (or at least she WOULD know if she ever really listened to me!) that we delayed ttc for many, many years as we were worried about a) finances and b) passing on my DH's hearing loss to a baby. She did nag and nag me for years about why we weren't just having babies and never seemed to get the message that it was a difficult subject.

She also has a long history of being judgmental and opinionated about property matters. Despite the fact she comes from a very very wealthy family and can easily afford to live in a large house in a lovely area, she has never accepted the fact that - - er - we can't! We would have loved to have moved to a nice family home before even starting ttc but we could not afford to. We would love to move NOW to a nice family home (we currently live in a small 2 bed flat) but we are still saving and will not be able to move for another 6 months to a year. That is just life; we cannot afford to do anything else. She has gone on and one about what a 'mistake' we have made not moving before the baby is born and doesn't seem to get any hint that we could not do this (obviously I don't want to actually come out and say ffs, we can't AFFORD it, as I think finances are private things and don't want her stickybeaking any further into it).

She ALSO has a long history of being opinionated about baby-rearing methods: she used one particular method (won't say which one) and has said to me in the past not even all that jokingly that she would not let me and the baby come and see her if I don't use the same method as my child will be a horror if I don't do exactly what she did with her children...

Yesterday this friend upset me on the phone because she started asking where 'on earth' we were going to put the baby. I said of course the baby would sleep in with us for 6 months. Incredulous, she asked, 'seriously, you're not planning on turning your study into a lovely nursery with pink walls etc?" I said no, because I will need it to work for at least the next 2 months. She said, "oh, for god's sake, Emeraldgirl, you're so hopeless! Maybe I should temporarily adopt the baby and have her come and live with me until you sort yourselves out!

A hilarious 'joke'. I laughed it off (wasn't sure what else to do) but put the phone down as soon as I could and cried. It touched a raw nerve as part of me would obviously love to be able to provide more space and beautiful things for the baby; I know those things don't really matter but my friend really upset me as she honestly seemed to be saying that it was Bad Parenting not to have got a beautiful nursery all ready. I know that it's not, but it upset me nevertheless. I was also upset because I know I should have said something and I get depressed by the fact that she can be such a bully.

I had to see her today (couldn't cancel...) and she started on about schools - what on earth are we going to do about schools, because lots of schools need names putting down at birth (she has not even considered that we could not afford private or may well not want private even if we could!!!). I tried to put a stop to it by saying, "look, we just want to get this baby out healthy and safe and then we will think about next stages." This is very specifically an issue with me because I have been so worried about our baby being born hearing-impaired AND because I have general anxiety about other disabilities (I am generally a very anxious person and pregnancy has been hard in that regard. Again, my friend would know this if she ever listened to me). My friend laughed and said, 'oh, for God's sake, if it were up to you and your DH you would never get ANYTHING important done! You'll regret it when you don't get into any schools because you left it too late!"

Again I left as quickly as possible and came home.

Now I am thoroughly upset and fed up. I have always been the very best friend I can be to her, supported her through awful things in her own life such as divorce, and I feel completely bullied and belittled. I dread the moments like when she realises I am NOT going to use her child-rearing methods, as she is so critical. My other close (and nice!!) friends live abroad so it is hard to find anyone to rant moan at about this!!

She is in some ways a good person, she is very generous and buys lovely things for the baby and says she will help when the baby comes (oh, Lord, please no!!) and I don't think she has any idea she is being quite as insensitive as she is. She is however NOT a person you can criticise - the last time I told her I was unhappy with something she had done she didn't speak to me for almost 2 years (not an exaggeration). I have avoided her as much as possible since being pregnant but we are very old family friends and I can't just never talk to her or see her.

In addition I am struggling because I went to a concert with my friend today and her and her other friend kept asking if the baby was kicking to the music... telling stories about how their children always went berserk when loud music was played. I have told her how worried I am that the baby can't hear and yet she still kept asking. FWIW the baby WASN'T kicking to the music and now on top of all the other crap I am stressed about the deafness issue all over again.

Sorry for the rant sad I am just really feeling quite battered and bruised right now.

Does anyone have any advice for how to handle this in future? Anyone have a friend like this? Or would anyone mind just being nice to me because I feel so low right now?

legoballoon Sat 05-Jan-13 17:12:42

Er, why exactly are you friends with this woman?

emeraldgirl1 Sat 05-Jan-13 17:19:04

legoballoon - it's an excellent question.

Known her for 25 years and so now our families are v close (ie her mum and my mum etc, her sisters are also friends-ish of mine, her dad is a kind of mentor and older friend to my DH)...

As I said in the OP, she does in SOME ways mean well and I think she THINKS she is being helpful at times when she gives 'advice'.

Er, what else... She can be good company when she is not criticising or going on and on about what a hard life she has...

Really it's the fact that our families are kind of linked now that is the problem.

butterflyblues Sat 05-Jan-13 17:21:50

Hello, I just read your story and it reminds me of a few (ex)friends I've had in my life over the years. Women who have made comments such as "are you really sure you love him, I mean this is for life you know" on hearing of BF and me getting engaged; all sorts of other toxic comments that thankfully I've forgotten.

My only advice is to get shot of the people in your life who make you feel this way. They are false friends and extremely toxic; usually, they are simply jealous. You need people around you who make you feel safe, secure, happy and good about yourself.

Best thing is to press the 'dump' button. Sad but necessary sometimes to keep your sanity!

x

legoballoon Sat 05-Jan-13 21:11:09

Maybe keep things polite and civil, but discretely move out of her social circle. Doesn't sound like she 'adds much value' to your life!

ElliesWellies Sat 05-Jan-13 23:40:43

I think that some people, e.g. your friend, just love to give advice. They like to think they're being helpful, even though in reality, they often are not.

FWIW, I think the things she has been saying sound ridiculous. If it makes you feel any better, we lived in a one-bedroom flat until DS was eighteen months old. He turned two last month, and we have a bedroom for him now, but he still prefers to sleep in our bed room.

HavingALittleFaithBaby Sat 05-Jan-13 23:46:13

I wouldn't see her without other people around. Tell your family how she's been so they can support you if she starts. That way you can establish some distance without cutting her out.

TwitchyTail Sat 05-Jan-13 23:50:32

Your friend sounds insensitive, self-centred, and a bit daft. I have plenty of friends/acquaintances who are much better off financially than me, and all of them are perfectly aware that not everyone is in a position to buy an expensive large home, afford private schools, have a dedicated nursery room for the baby etc. Does she really not get it, or is she trying to make herself feel better about her own life by surreptitiously belittling yours?

I second the advice to discreetly move away from such a close and apparently toxic relationship with her. You don't have to fall out or cut her out of your life - just work on developing other friendships and keep her a bit more at arm's length. And I would definitely have an honest chat with her to set some boundaries. There's no shame at all in saying "we'd love to but we can't afford it", or "thanks for your advice but we'll make our own decisions once the baby arrives safely" with a smile and a change of subject.

I would ditch her as she seems to enjoy using you as her emotional punching bag. Se sounds like a prize arsehole! Any person who feels the need to constantly criticise and belittle someone who they are claiming to be friends with...they are simply not worth wasting your breath on explaining why you don't like the way they treat you...

I had a falling out with a 'friend' when I was around 30weeks with DD because she couldn't believe I had the audacity to give her a christening gift for her DS that was (in her opinion) cheap crap! I bought a lovely outfit from mothercare and a little 'it's your christening' photo book! They cost just under £30 and I was a student at the time so couldn't afford more (I stretched getting her something for that amount TBH) her reasoning was that her other god mother (she asked me last minute to be godmother) bought a "gorgeous moschino suit, a silver rattle and gave her £100 gift card for Mamas and Papas...she obviously cared more as she spent her money on 'friends' DS. The funny thing is that both 'friend' and other GodM were on income support, with all other benefits that came with that as single mums so should have been more understanding about being skint... I didn't speak to her until after DD was born and she came back saying the other GodM had turned into a bitch as friend didn't have the spare cash to go out with her and she had lorded the fact that she had spent £200 on her DS...we actually barely speak now...

The long winded point I'm trying to make is that, right now, you need supportive, understanding friends around you not nasty, bitchy ones that make you feel shite when you need to be pampered and feeling good IYSWIM

tinyshinyanddon Sun 06-Jan-13 04:07:45

People first, then money, then things.
I think you are prioritizing appropriately as I do with dh. And yes it's annoying when people ask WHY we are not buying things.

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