Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Toxic friendships

(16 Posts)
Ezio Tue 03-Sep-13 11:39:01

I have a friend who likes to control the parenting when shes around my DD, constantly nagging at her, to the point DD isnt much of a fan of friend now, and she doesnt see her much.

Friend isnt as bad now that DD's godmother, gave nagging friend a verbal arse smack.

But your friends are something else. Just plain mean and nasty, ditch them, you'll feel much better.

OctopusPete8 Tue 03-Sep-13 10:34:06

I had this , and then when they had kids the poor thing was passed around like a parcel and were worse parents than anyone I know.

Cheekybubbles Tue 03-Sep-13 10:31:46

Leaven thank you for your post, it has made me think a lot.
They asked me to bring my DD along as they like to see her. My husband came to get her halfway through lunch so they had the best of both worlds really. Saw her for a bit and then we had peace! I'm the only one of all my friends to have a baby so I'm always really aware that not everyone wants to see her but they did ask to see her.

I am incredibly angry about how things went at lunch but I've tried to think almost impartially after reading your post. Unfortunately I've come to the conclusion that they have always snipped at me and used me to make themselves feel better about their lives. For example one constantly goes on about how poor I must be as she earns much more than me. The other flung herself, completely sober, at my (then new boyfriend) husband. She knew I like him, had never met him and just tried it on!
My husband has never liked them. He says he doesn't like watching them put me down and doesn't understand why I've stayed friends.

If this was someone else thread I would be horrified! I'd be saying to cut their losses and move on, life isn't worth this hassle! It's just much more difficult when it's your own friends I think.

I will cut contact. Nothing drastic, just not really see them and drift away. Now I've made the decision I do feel sad but also like a weight is off my shoulders!

Leavenheath Tue 03-Sep-13 00:41:49

After relationships that span 15 years, unless you are absolutely certain you are right that they have picked on you for all these years, I do think there are some options between seething in silence and cutting them out completely.

First of all, try to view the lunchtime meeting objectively. This is the most recent example and you're feeling very angry, so any decisions you make might be compromised by that anger.

Is it possible that as single childless women, they would have preferred you to come on your own yesterday? Bringing a baby along obviously changes the dynamics of a meet-up, so I wondered whether they expected your partner to look after his child, or someone else so that you (and they) could enjoy some uninterrupted friendship time?

Sometimes with friends, the irritation they feel they can't openly express comes out in other ways- hence the criticisms about dummies, when they might have actually been pissed off about your attentions being divided, or irritated with your partner/family for not giving you a child-free break.

If you've ever found yourself doing that sort of displacement , or you think that might be possible in your friends' case, it might be possible to overlook what they were actually saying and concentrate on what they were thinking but couldn't express without it becoming an argument.

In general with friendships, it's always best to say how you feel and if you've got real grievances, provide examples of behaviour you've found unhelpful. But then focus on what you'd prefer to happen and give them the chance to be honest with you in turn.

Try to separate yesterday's events from these feelings that they've always picked on you. Do you have examples of that? Or is your upset from yesterday causing you to magnify minor grievances?

FondantNancy Mon 02-Sep-13 21:02:11

"there are excuses for their behaviour. Or I make excuses. One lost her mum, they other has other issues in life. But is this the time to stop making excuses?"

Yes you're making excuses and you shouldn't. Everyone has 'issues' at some point. Bad shit has happened in my life but on the very, very rare occasion I have taken it out on a friend I have apologised profusely and made amends. When bad stuff happens most people are really grateful for their friends. Yours aren't. They're treating you like this because you've allowed them to get away with it for 15 years.

You said you see them once every few months. That's hardly close. Just let them drift away. Make excuses as to why you can't meet.

Cheekybubbles Mon 02-Sep-13 20:50:42

Thanks everyone.

And yeah shoogle is like jiggling about, quite harshly not really how I would hold a wee baby. Not a made up word.

Thanks everyone for your replies. It's like I'm only really seeing it clearly now they pick on my parenting. I'm not very confident and I think that's why I've stayed friends for so wrong. But I know deep down I'm doing my very best for my DD and certainly better than 2 women with no children and no thoughts of having children. It's really riled me!

I just don't like the idea of cutting contact, there are excuses for their behaviour. Or I make excuses. One lost her mum, they other has other issues in life. But is this the time to stop making excuses?

I'm just rambling on now! So do I just stop contact? Is it that simple? It feels so nasty but I don't really want to see either again.

AlfalfaMum Mon 02-Sep-13 17:17:31

Have you only just realised how condescending they are to you? If so, maybe think about sitting on it a while before taking any definite action.. You could try asserting yourself more in their company, eg when they start criticising your parenting choices, make it really clear you're not interested in their unqualified unsolicited advice. Have a few choice retorts up your sleeve, "Jeez, who called the mummy police?!" or a more frank "I'm not up for having my parenting picked apart today, can we talk about something else?".

On the other hand that might seem like too much work, like you're having to change from the lovely gentle person you are, when it's them who are the problem. I'm not very confrontational myself, and have pretty much decided I'd rather have friends that are kind and don't need to be confronted!

I cut off an old friendship earlier this year (I'll see if I can find the thread) in fairly similar circumstances. A friend who had always talked down to me now extended her criticism to my parenting and my children, and that was the big turning point for me.

You have two choices really: stand up to them, or cut them loose. Either way, it will be a positive move for you.

VileWoman Mon 02-Sep-13 17:00:08

As far as dummies go tell your friend they are recommended to help reduce SIDS. Otherwise, pass the beandip. In other words, say 'Oh, that's interesting' then change the subject whenever anyone tells you how to parent.

onesleeptillwembley I know this comment is outwith the thread topic and I don't mean to derail but if you don't know a word it doesn't mean it's made up. Don't be so rude.

runningonwillpower Mon 02-Sep-13 16:57:17

Friends who make you feel bad aren't worth hanging on to.

(And it's oh so easy to be a childcare expert if you haven't got one.)

I'd withdraw quietly.

FondantNancy Mon 02-Sep-13 16:50:00

Why are you friends with them? They've picked on you for 15 YEARS??? Good god woman! Honestly, a dumping is well overdue.

colafrosties Mon 02-Sep-13 16:45:12

They are probably jealous of your lovely new DD and are being very childish in trying to take the wind out of your sails. Are they like this when you see them individually or do they seeme to gang up on you?

Pawprint Mon 02-Sep-13 16:44:50

They sound nasty and I would avoid. Don't doubt yourself as a parent - I did everything 'wrong' in some people's eyes; pfb had a dummy until he was about 4 yrs, formula fed, ate out of jars etc. I had several Smug Mums at toddler group trying to 'help' by being catty educating me about the sins of all of the above.

pictish Mon 02-Sep-13 16:34:49

Shoogle - Scots for jiggle, shake.

OP - yanbu.

Onesleeptillwembley Mon 02-Sep-13 16:32:06

? Shoogle? If you make up words it doesn't make sense.

Cheekybubbles Mon 02-Sep-13 16:29:05

Ah that's huge!! Sorry!

Reading it I know I should just cut my losses and move on. But a tiny part of me thinks that's not very polite!

Cheekybubbles Mon 02-Sep-13 16:27:59

I've tried to write this 3 times. It just seems so petty compared to others real problems on here!

But it's eating away at me so I will get it off my chest and ask for a bit of advice.

Backstory.
I have 2 friends from high school. Over 15 years now. Both have always picked on me very subtly, I'm reasonably shy and polite and can occasionally be trampled over in my personal life. I see these friends once every few months. One more so as her mum just died suddenly so I try to support her. Neither have children or long term partners and neither want children.

Yesterday we met up and I took my 10 month old PFB. As soon as we got there one picked her up with no warning and shoogled her about. She cried and to be honest that set the time for my DD for the rest of the day! She is teething and quite whinging. The shoogling friend gave me DD a crisp without asking and always always acts like she knows best where babies are concerned. I am slightly fed up of her know it all attitude.

The other friend gave a sharp intake of breath when I produced a dummy and then lectured me throughout lunch on the dangers of dummies and how awful it will be when my DD can't speak properly. She then lectured me all the lunch about various other things from food to sleeping. All the time basically suggesting I was a sh*t parent.

I left feeling drained, upset and doubting myself as a parent. Today I am just angry! What gives them the right to think they are better than me. My DD is a beautiful chatty wee baby, is hitting all her milestones and is always well dressed and looked after. Nothing to worry about or suggest I don't look after her well.

O god this is huge, sorry! Basically I think I am brave enough now to cut contact with these 2 women. But I can't help feeling I should explain how they made me feel? Or do I just stop talking to them?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now