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Anyone care to comment on this letter: I'm trying to ditch a toxic 'friend'

(57 Posts)
mamadoc Tue 20-Nov-12 23:59:31

A brief background:
I met this lady 5 years ago at a toddler group. Her DD is 2 yrs older than mine and we've nothing in common so I never tried to encourage the friendship but she is very persistent. I also felt sorry for her as she's had a hard life.

I noticed along the way that her friendships never last long (usually 6mo max) and she will often fall out spectacularly with people and be very rude to them and then seem to wonder why they no longer want to see her. She has no contact with her family or ex-partner for the same reasons.

2yrs ago her DD was taken into care due to allegations of emotional abuse against her. At first I didn't believe it as I had never seen anything to suggest it (little girl always well dressed and fed and lots of toys etc) but gradually as I've supported her through long legal proceedings I've begun to feel that I was not told the whole truth.

She has really sucked me dry in terms of time and energy expended on her not to mention constant borrowing of small amounts of money, lifts, use of my internet, phone, printer etc. DH and my DC were sick of her always being around their home. It also was not reciprocated by any care for me during hard times in my life. I decided finally that enough is enough and told her that I'm not giving that level of support anymore. I said that I was not going to do anything related to the court case and limit to social chat once a week or so max.

This resulted in her sending me many abusive text messages and e-mails accusing me of stealing a toy that I thought had been freely given to my DC (I sent it back recorded delivery) and various other things. Also calling and hanging up late at night just to disturb me. I actually feel physically sick when I see there are messages from her. I worry what else she might do as she is so unhinged. Make malicious reports against me? Vandalise my house? Make trouble for my kids at school?

I am planning to send this letter and then block her from everything and never respond again but I am frightened of provoking her further. What do you think I should do?

^I find the tone of your e-mails and text messages aggressive and intimidating and feel quite distressed when I receive them (I don?t know if this is your intention but its how it comes across). I cannot now think of any legitimate reason you could have to contact us since I returned the toy. For these reasons I am from now on going to delete any messages from you without reading them. Neither DH nor I will be making any further response to any communications from you via whatever medium.

In your e-mail to DH you actually said that you were sorry to have upset me, that it was not your intention and that you did appreciate all we have done for you in the past. If you meant that then I hope that you will respect our decision not to have any more contact at least for past times sake.

If however you do continue to contact us despite being clearly told not to I will regard this as harassment and reluctantly I will be forced to seek advice as to what action I can take to prevent it.^

MrsjREwing Wed 21-Nov-12 00:47:25

If it was me I would take her call, say something like I am sorry you are hurting, as an adult I have to care for myself, be happy and take care of yourself, bye, broken record every time.

mamadoc Wed 21-Nov-12 00:49:20

I had thought of changing all my contacts and will do if it doesn't stop just I've had these for a long time and there's always the worry you'll forget to tell someone.
We have caller ID so I know its her (or can be witheld no.) but by then the aim of getting me out of bed, charging down the stairs worried a family member has died is achieved.

MrsjREwing Wed 21-Nov-12 00:52:18

X.posts.

Rescuers are enablers using drama to distract themselves, she needed to be brought to the library showed how to use the pc and printer when you sat there for support reading a book, not you beavering away when she sat there like a babywoman.

orchidee Wed 21-Nov-12 00:53:30

Take some comfort from knowing this person has a reputation and an officially-known history, so if things escalated from now you'd have that on your side. Hopefully she'll move into the next drama soon. You may recall how things petered out with her previous friends-then-enemies when she attached herself to you.

I think there are some online organisations that can help and advise you, some that have been setup in individuals' names perhaps to deal with stalking and bullying? I'm sure there.must be some... And of course the police or ss (who must be well aware of her tactics) .

Like you say, a lesson learned. I hope ignoring her helps this end quickly and quietly. Please don't worry about her threats - ignore, ignore and deal with it if it happens.

mamadoc Wed 21-Nov-12 00:54:28

Interestingly she never actually calls me so I could speak to her just hangs up or indirect stuff texts and e-mails mainly. She was always like this with other people too and would try to get me to ring or write letters instead of a direct conversation.

I could try always responding to emails and texts with something like that. How would that be better than ignoring?

MrsjREwing Wed 21-Nov-12 00:57:40

You are giving boundaries, wishing her well and the be happy bit is a reverse psychology thing. Should stop her trying to persecute you, it is staying in middle as leaving drama creates a victim.

orchidee Wed 21-Nov-12 00:59:39

Re: phone calls. Maybe try having her numbers blocked from yours? If not, yes changing your numbers may be a good idea.

If you can be strong and ignore all contact I'm sure she'll move on soon. Just don't start to feel sorry for her when that happens! All rose-tinted "she wasn't that bad, she was having a hard time" sympathy smile.

mamadoc Wed 21-Nov-12 01:02:30

Ouch Mrs jR!
An enabler using drama to distract myself.
Shall have to think about that.

I did try a lot of signposting to CAB, women's resources etc but none were so convenient or cheap as me. It would have done her a lot more favours I now see if I had done less. I was quite frightened of her reactions to being told no which were extreme. It seemed like it was an all or nothing situation but maybe it wasn't.

Fundamentally as I've now realised she needed someone a whole lot more skilled than me to handle these dynamics. I did even try to look into advocacy in care cases which was what was needed but this only seemed to exist in London.

mamadoc Wed 21-Nov-12 01:05:37

Thanks for your posts too orchidee. Good point that her known history should help convince people that any allegations are untrue.

MrsjREwing Wed 21-Nov-12 01:05:54

No she needed to learn the skills herself.

Yes ouch, I felt the same when it was pointed out to me. I still get drawn in from time to time.

orchidee Wed 21-Nov-12 01:06:03

I really think you must ignore her texts, emails etc. From what you've written, this woman needs someone to blame at all times. Currently it's you. Taking responsibility for her decisions and the consequences is alien to her, why would she start now? No she needs someone to blame for the problems in her life, currently its you, so anything you say will be twisted to fit her view of the world. She cannot change her opinion and say "oh actually I have been unreasonable, here's someone trying to help, she did her best but the court case was always going to end that way..." No, her head would explode. She's in denial and you can't change this.

arghhhmiddleage Wed 21-Nov-12 01:06:48

Do zilch grin. Don't pick up the phone or respond to anything at all. Engaging on any level will just encourage her to keep going bitter experience. If she doesn't stop the police may have a word, they did in my case, but I think it does have to be prolonged and excessive before they involve themselves.

It can feel uncomfortable at first, especially when you have been fairly close to someone, but total disengagement is the way to go. The majority of people will stop if they are getting nothing back.

AmberLeaf Wed 21-Nov-12 01:13:41

Disengaging is the only way with someone like this.

You cannot be rational with an irrational person.

mamadoc Wed 21-Nov-12 01:14:38

Mrs jR v. interested to know how you have recognised and contained rescuer tendencies. eg any good books or do I need therapy?!

It has been pointed out to me before, I am aware that I do it but I think I normally have a sanctioned, boundaried outlet through my job. I was on mat leave when I met this lady and again when the court case started ?connected.

orchidee Wed 21-Nov-12 01:14:54

If her recent communications since you suggested reducing support and contact have become abusive then I really think you must close this off. You tried the honest approach when you said you were taking a step back. Her response was to attack you. This is surely a long-running pattern of behaviour for her, with all the other ex-friends finding they had to stop all contact.

mamadoc Wed 21-Nov-12 01:16:54

Really ought to go to bed now but thanks all for really interesting perspectives and advice. I love mumsnet for that. Will still check thread tomorrow and won't send letter!

MrsjREwing Wed 21-Nov-12 01:19:28

Read.

I found "The games people play" Eric Berne was a good place to start.

I struggle when it comes to being a parent with rescuer role, gets me into trouble.

Rescuer and victim were my roles. I moved to persecutor a few times as well.

Thing to ask yourself is what are you distracting yourself from?

goralka Wed 21-Nov-12 01:46:12

so can you move around the triangle in one relationship mrsewing?

TheKindnessOfStrangers Wed 21-Nov-12 08:59:13

OP I think you should send her one final message stating unequivocally you want no further contact with her (and keep a copy), because if she does continue to harass you and you go to the police they'll ask you if you've made it clear the contact is unwelcome (this is what I was told by Women's Aid when I was being harassed by somebody). She does sound irrational and probably won't heed what you say, but you'll have done the right thing.

MrsjREwing Wed 21-Nov-12 09:10:03

Yes, think of an alcholic and their spouce.

A night out starys, spouce wants to rescue situation, akly is looking for an excuse to drink uses controling spouce's behaviour turns spouce into perpretrator who ruins fun, alky turns into perpretor spending money, making a fool, ruining next day with hangover etc, turning spouce into a victim. Next day spouce gives alky silent treatment, has a go etc, turning alky into victim and spouce into perpretrator.

PickledFanjoCat Wed 21-Nov-12 09:13:00

I'd just ignore her

Attention seekers thrive on attention be it good or bad.

When nothing comes back she should move on.

Unless she becomes more scary to be honest I'd call the police then.

goralka Wed 21-Nov-12 10:45:11

Thank you MrsEwing, that is exactly the relationship I was thinking of funnily enough! You have opened my eyes!

MrsjREwing Wed 21-Nov-12 11:08:09

It is detailed as a game in the book I mentioned called "alcholic".

I one going in with one of my dc, with steeling food. She would set up situations so that she could put me as a perpretrator and herself as a victim, then she could justify steeling food, she would feel she was no longer the victim then the guilt and shame would set in and I would eventually note the missing food be perpretrator/victim then try to rescue her.

I then kept pointing out to her the game as I spotted her setting me up, I would say what was going on, she would get mad at me, I wouldn't engage in game just break it down. I would then find missing food, again say "so you stole to feel bad about yoursel, to make me feel bad, I am not doing this anymore" it took months and months for the game to end, she kept trying it on.

goralka Wed 21-Nov-12 11:13:06

I remember that book on the bookshelves at home, wish I had read it now...
(goes to Amazon)....very very interesting MrsE

janelikesjam Sat 24-Nov-12 00:07:26

You could send her one last text or email first saying you have decided you do not want to continue having any more communication with her (no further explanation is necessary from you). Then block and ignore. Keep it simple.

She sounds like an absolute nutter and these people do exist, I am really sorry you have met someone like that. If it were me I would tell my manager, have a meeting with him/her re. your concerns, I think there is a good chance you will be received with sympathy.

I would also keep records of all her past harrassment and abuse. Its very unfortunate, but I think she will calm down within a year or so and she will find new outlets for her insanity. Her poor daughter too sad

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