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Please, can anyone tell me what to do about this? Nobody really to turn to.(34 Posts)
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 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?
Is this the same as we had a couple of days ago but with all the backstory? Fair play for writing it all out.
I think you have anxiety issues and are projecting this onto your friends. I wonder if going to see your GP might be a better course of action than confronting your friends. They mean well.
You sounds really low and really anxious. Please don't worry about the hearing now, moving or not to music is so unlikely to be anything to do with hearing. Seriously, don't stress about that.
Take a deep breath. And think about some counselling or CBT.
Didn't want to read and run, I'm sure other MN folk will have more practical advice but I just wanted to say your friend sounds like a complete and utter nobber. Dump her. Pronto. It'll only get worse once the baby's out - I'm only 5 months (and a bit) pregnant and I came to a complete stop the other day when I realised those people who have been dishing out evil, unwanted, bitter 'advice' in a gleeful manner will just continue whilst the baby gets through her newborn phase, and potentially for... much longer than that.
I've implemented a baby talk ban with all concerned. Every time they try to raise it, I say 'I'm happy with the preparations we've made. We're on target. I don't need to talk about this right now. I'll ask you nearer the time if we need help.'
I know you said she's your oldest friend, but it often seems the oldest friends are the most toxic and hard to get rid of. Get rid.
It sounds like you need to avoid this woman for a while, for your own peace of mind at least.
In the meantime, I'd suggest you start finding some activities where you can make friends with people in the same boat as you. If you meet lots of new people, at least some of them will have a similar approach to parenting as you. Are you doing any antenatal classes? Or does your local NCT have a Bumps and Babies group? Make yourself less dependent on this woman and maybe it will be easier for you to tolerate her self-centred rants.
Loops yes!! It's me again... sorry...(!)
I know I am very anxious but in this case (ie this particular friend) I honestly don't think I'm projecting. What I mean to say is that yes, for sure the stuff about not having a nicer nursery etc is 'my stuff' BUT this friend has judged and criticised every decision I make for years. Everything from the area we live in to the other friends I choose... unless I do exactly as she wants, she finds a way to criticise.
I have NO other friends like this and would never take any casual remark any of them might make as a criticism of me because I know they are not critisicing IYSWIM? Other friends may ask questions but they don't ask why I haven't put our baby's name down for schools yet and then roll their eyes and call me hopeless when I say I just want to get a healthy baby out...
I think you have a couple of options- either try to avoid her for a while. First time mums are anxious enough you don't need her putting doubts in your head
- or sit down and tell her how you feel. She maybe doesn't realise.
I don't think your mad not moving, due to property prices in our area we have delayed moving for another year. Baby will be 6 months when we plan to move.
Every situation is different so please take what she says with a pinch of salt. I have a SiL very similar, they live in a huge house and can afford to save one of their salaries every month. We're not in that situation so sometimes I correct her, but mostly I just nod and change the subject
Don't apologise! I read that thread hoping you'd explain further, as the OP didn't do your anxiety justice.
I see what you mean by your friend being very opinionated. I suppose you have a choice to make. Is it worth telling her, or your DH telling her how fragile you are feeling and to rein it in? Or would simply avoiding her upset you more? (I expect).
She sounds simply like a negative person. You can either get her out of your life, either permanently or just for now, or you can change yourself to be able to deal with her personality type. What you can't bank on, however, is her changing to suit you. She might try to modify her behaviour, but I doubt she'll stop criticising you.
purrpurr - that is a great response, I may steal it! So far the line of saying, "we just want to have a healthy baby and we'll think about the other stuff later' is not working for me...
piprabbit that is a good suggestion thank you and I have already started to do that. Booked onto ante-natal course and joining a maternity exercise class. I generally have no problem making friends with nice people, they all then just bugger off and move abroad!! This particular (difficult) friend was made many, many years ago when I was a much less confident person (I know I don't sound exactly brimming with confidence now but I am much much better!!) and our entire relationship is built around me listening to her problems and her belittling mine...
loops I really really appreciate the post thank you so much!! I have had counselling about the whole hearing-loss issue before and it really did help so I think maybe I need another session or so.
She sounds like a total PITA who buys people's affections with presents instead of actually respecting them.
LittleMiss - I sympathise re your SIL. It does sometimes amaze me how some people have no idea that not everyone is as lucky as them! I think avoiding her is the best option really as, as I say, she is NOT good at being confronted even in a very nice and non-attacking way...
Loops - yes, it was all a bit of a mammoth post just now! Felt as if I came across as completely bonkers when I posted yesterday (as opposed to just my normal bonkers ) because I didn't give any real context or anything... It's a long history with this friend and I knew she was always going to be difficult about pregnancy. Essentially she wants another baby of her own but isn't with anyone at the moment... I think sometimes her aggression about our choices is because she knows she wouldn't do it that way and gets frustrated as she would love to be doing it at all! Which I have huge sympathy with but right now my patience is quite limited and I am hormonal and knackered and can't just shrug it off IYSWIM.
"our entire relationship is built around me listening to her problems and her belittling mine"
Oh god, just ditch her. Seriously.
But do keep going with the counselling. And keep strong, you'll find that it all falls into place, no worries.
Thank you loops you have made me feel so much better - actually thanks everyone. I just needed to get the last couple of days off my chest.
Have been reminded of how this friend behaved when DH was made redundant a few years ago - I knew that I needed support and also that I am very bad at asking for it so I took this friend out for coffee and specifically said, 'the next few months might be quite difficult so I hope you don't mind if I use you as a bit of a shoulder to cry on if things get tough and I don't want to stress out DH." She said of course, no problem, and then NEVER ASKED ABOUT IT ONCE AGAIN for the next 6 months. And on the (very) rare occasion that I brought up his job hunt etc she looked bored and changed the subject...
I do often wonder why I am still friends with her...
No advice but just wanted to say my DD never reacted to music (even when loud) when I was pg and her hearing is fine so don't panic, it doesn't mean anything
Thank you lilliana - I have been told that (by lovely people on MN) and I know you're right - I know I'm being over-sensitive. Also in all honesty, there's nothing I can do about it right now! We took the decision to have a baby knowing what we know.
Honestly at the moment all the baby seems to react to is food - I eat, she goes mental with excitement!! Good to feel her kicking no matter what though.
Neither did my dd react to music in the womb. So that's not anything to panic about. She's 4, hearing fine.
Furthermore, are you aware that the hearing test they do at birth in some hospitals (in some, they do it when the baby is a few weeks old) can sometimes not be done because baby's ears are naturally a bit clogged from pg/birth? Again my dd had this and the hearing test was not possible in hospital when she was a day old. But not indicative of problems.
Anyway your friends sounds rather selfish and I would limit contact. Try also not to worry yourself - my ds is a worrier and I always say to him that worrying doesn't achieve anything - instead it's better to make a plan.
A friend does not treat another friend like this or make them feel like this. Personally? I'd concentrate on your health & happiness (and that of your child). It sounds like this is how this woman behaves generally and so it's unlikely to change any time soon. If I were in your shoes, I think the 'friendship' would end/we'd gently drift apart. Re not having a nursery etc, not only are you right it's not needed, but your baby will not miss out AND it is advised that babies sleep in same room as parents for at least the first 6 months to reduce the risk of SIDS. Don't spend any more time trying to justify or excuse your very valid lifestyle & parenting choices to someone who sounds like they don't really care but just want someone to control to make themselves feel better. As others have said, concentrate on other friendships & finding new ones. You deserve to be around people who love you for who you are & can enjoy healthy balanced relationships.
Ah this thread explains things much more clearly
and will be a less harsh audience than AIBU!. This woman clearly had a massively negative effect on you. Being pregnant (and eventually being a Mum) is tough enough without someone dictating how you do it and criticising how you've done it so far! I don't think you're doing anything wrong with saving up to buy a home - obviously you've been very patient to wait to TTC as long as you did.
I thought of one other option - you could write her a letter. Clearly she doesn't listen when you talk. She might she shocked to realise how you actually feel. I wonder if she even realises she's doing it?
I guess my question would be - you have other friends who support you and a loving partner - do you actually gain anything from having her in your life? If the answer's yes, you need to tell her how she makes you feel. If not, life's too short and I agree you should ditch her. You've got enough to deal with!
Toxic friend. I think you need to limit/avoid/stop contact with her and get on with enjoying your pregnancy and then newborn in a couple of months. You will make new friends going to postnatal groups and the like, and I bet you will feel much better for 'ditching' her.
Emerald, I just wanted to give you a big virtual hug - what a horrible thing to deal with while pregnant.
I agree with other posters I think you need to get some space from this woman, start attending 'bumps and babies' classes with the NCT if they're close to you (they're free and you can attend now to make friends, you don't need to wait until you have the baby) and if she wants to meet up, just start making excuses about how you've got other plans or you're so tired you can't manage (I'm sure she'll moan at you for being pathetic but you can nod and smile knowing you're pulling one over on her :-)
Sometimes, regardless how long someone has been in your life, you have to cut them loose, and if you don't want a confrontation, just do is subtly and slowly or if she's that sensitive (to not speak to you for 2 years) tell her exactly how you feel, that will buy you some space.
Re: nursery, we had a second bedroom in our house that was meant to be my sons, but we actually never had it ready for him until he was 2 years old - until then, we slept in his room on a sofa bed, and he had our room.
They don't need their own room or space, all his toys were in our livingroom and that is where we spent most of our time, bedrooms were just for sleeping.
Good luck and hope you get this woman out of your hair - she is a bully - you're right and nobody needs a bully in their lives, regardless of how sorry you might feel for her.
I think I read a very similar post a couple of days ago. If this person is upsetting you then don't see her for a while. She is just making you feel bad and that isn't what you need at the moment. I think you have to think about yourself and it doesn't seem to be doing you any good whatsoever being in contact with this person. This should be a happy time and she shouldn't be spoiling it for you.
HavingALittleFaith - yes, sorry, you're another poor soul who read this half-story on AIBU y'day!! Yes, people can be a little harsh over there, I know it's great that people express their opinions but you can get some really unkindly worded answers. I do appreciate that I hadn't explained things properly yesterday but even so I felt a bit tender about going back on there today... People on this board are much kinder, even if they give you a really honest opinion!!
I could write her a letter... still, she's not the kind of person who'd respond well to that... after we fell out of contact for a couple of years (when she didn't like something I'd said about her behaviour) I eventually wrote a letter apologising for what I'd said - she got back in touch to say thanks so much and she'd love to see me again, but she never said sorry herself (even though she'd been quite critical of me at the same time!!) And has never said anything since that implies she thought she had done anything wrong: I apologised and so that was it as far as she was concerned! She tends to fall out with friends after a 5 or 6 year period because they do or say something that she doesn't like...
Sadly I don't gain anything at all from having her in my life It makes me sad because we have known each other for 25 years and grew up together and I hate the fact that my oldest friend is someone I don't really like very much We don't actually have much in common any more apart from sharing her problems. Cutting her out of my life completely doesn't feel like an option as our families are close. I am limiting contact as much as possible at the moment and hoping that a new baby will be a great 'excuse' not to spend time or make calls that exhaust me!!
backwardpossum - you're right, she is toxic. DH tells me this regularly and can't understand why I put up with her!!!
My oldest friend went from being a sweet, kind girl to judgmental, fussy and intensely critical of me. It happened gradually over a number of years.
i eventually (after years of trying very hard) stopped being friends with her. After an initial period of missing the nice person she used to be, I came to the conclusion that I don't actually miss the bitter, judgmental person she became. It's sad but people do grow apart sometimes. This may not be the case with your friend and you may get through to her. But friends should be able to be honest with each other.
Keep this woman away from you! And your baby- she will drive you crazy telling you how to bf, how to hold your baby( youre doing it wrong....!" and generally making you feel useless.
It's not good for you or your baby to feel stressed so tell her your Mw said you have to keep quiet ( invent a dragon Mw) and also ensure you are never alone with her after birth, always with someone who can say " what nonsense emerald doing a lovely job, time to go now..."
I had a mate like this ( no more as dh had enough and she made me feel I was in an exam all the time.
Lavenderhoney - the exam comparison is very apt!! Actually she makes me feel more like I am in a court of law, having to explain every single decision to a judge (her) who is biased against me from the start and not listening!!! You are right that I do not want to have her 'advice' after the baby is born. I am actually confident enough that I will do roughly the right things and I will go spare if she keeps telling me she did it differently. She went on and on at me about doing the rearing method she had chosen before I had even begun ttc! I am a bad person if I do not do it apparently and my child will be uncontrollable...
LOVE the idea of a dragon MW...
Gingerbread I am so sorry, it is awful when you feel you have lost touch with an old friendship and have nothing in common any more... I agree that it is better to end these kind of friendships. I wish I could do so in this case...
I think your 'friend' needs to
shut the fuck up take a step back!!,
Op if it were me I would actually probably print off what you have written, blank out your username so she can't have a dig at you on here, and post it through her door on your way to an antenatal club to make some new friends! Friends are easy to make if you look in the right places, it's daunting I know but taking the leap is always worth it. There are always coffee mornings or mum n bump groups happening and they are always very welcoming xxxx
Er, why exactly are you friends with this woman?
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.
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!
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!
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
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.
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...
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
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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