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Wisdom of MN tribal queens required... hell, I have to dump my best friend

(55 Posts)
Fatbrowncat Mon 18-Feb-13 21:00:09

So we've been friends for 20 years. During that time we've lived together as flatmates, then when she married and had kids I was on hand - I mean always on hand - to help out with her kids, take them on outings, babysit and look after them. Birthday presents, Christmas presents, outings, the lot, for all 3 of them.

I've helped her set up her business, too. I'm single with no kids. She herself admits I have been 'supremely generous'.

I've lost my job, and with no partner, no family and no financial support, 10 months in I am struggling. Properly battling to pay for heat, light and food. Benefits if you are single are very minimal. I am also ill - sick with depression and agoraphobia.

I had hoped my friend, who now runs a successful business as a landlord, to at least offer to help me a bit. She hasn't - well, she's lent me 25 pounds after 9 months.

Today I told her how bad things were - power about to go off, etc etc. She responded by offering me one meal (no doubt hoping I would stay to do bathtime with the chidren).

Thing is, she's always been tight (notoriously so) but this is the final straw. I can't respect her any more. I feel quite sick when I think of the kindness I've shown - and what I've had back.

And I need to tell her she's dumped. Not out of revenge, but because I'm the guardian to her children, named in various of her legal docs, wills, etc., and I'm no longer feeling that is appropriate.

How would you do it? I do want to tell her why I'm slipping away because I do want her to go and stay away.

MarilynValentine Mon 18-Feb-13 21:06:15

Maybe you could say to her that you really need to borrow some money until you are back on your feet.

If she says no (with no good reason), you have your answer, and you can tell her you no longer want her in your life and why.

There's a possibility she may feel awkward/as if she would offend you re offering money.

Or she may not really have absorbed how scared you are right now.

Or.....she may be a selfish person who is comfortable to utilise others but not to help them.

But be straight-forward with her first.

fluffyraggies Mon 18-Feb-13 21:09:24

Could you write how you feel in a letter to her?

Would you want to explain the whole story as you have here to us, or do you just want a short sharp clean break?

OhToBeCleo Mon 18-Feb-13 21:09:58

That's a really tricky situation.

What I would say is....think of the kids. I take it if you've had a lot of interaction with them you must have formed a bond with them too? Do you want to throw all of that away as well?

Have you tried talking to her about how you feel about things?

BOF Mon 18-Feb-13 21:10:20

Can't you arrange to speak to her and say that you are feeling let down by the lack of support she has shown you recently, and that you feel disappointed after your long friendship?

It's got to be worth a try, surely?

HollaAtMeBaby Mon 18-Feb-13 21:14:52

Given that your illness is invisible (as opposed to a broken leg, even though it is just as serious and limiting), are you sure she understands how bad you're feeling? It sounds like she thinks of you as the strong sorted person you have been for her throughout your long friendship. You might need to be more explicit about how bad things are now and what support you need from her.

UnrequitedSkink Mon 18-Feb-13 21:15:19

If you were my best friend I'd be offering you my house to live in until you were back on your feet - no joke - and I know my best friend would do the same for me. She is not a good friend, I'm sorry. And very sorry for you too, what is your next step, have you been to your gp for advice regarding the agoraphobia? I assume it's preventing you looking for work?

FlatsInDagenham Mon 18-Feb-13 21:16:14

Are you really going to dump her before you've talked it through? Perhaps she hasn't clicked how much you need her help right now?

Fatbrowncat Mon 18-Feb-13 21:17:43

I am extremely fond of her children. Luckily, soon they will be able to see me independently, so friend would be surplus to requirements in any case.

Is the situation so tricky now?

Uppermid Mon 18-Feb-13 21:20:06

I think you need to have a proper conversation with her before you dump her, she might not know the seriousness of the situation. Let her know you feel let down and you need her help, she's not a mind reader

Fatbrowncat Mon 18-Feb-13 21:21:00

Yes I have been to the GP and am awaiting an appt. in a surgery I can actually get to (as opposed to the one 3 miles away they sent earlier).

I can't look for work. I am shaken, alone and frightened. I think she knows how bad things are, too. She has said briskly a couple of time 'You need to see a doctor' when I try and open up to her.

Fatbrowncat Mon 18-Feb-13 21:24:41

Thing is re having a talk with her, is that she will just turn it all to be about her, and it will be yet another strain for me - I'll find it painful and yet another effort with no certainty of reward, and I've rather done my time with them recently.

plantsitter Mon 18-Feb-13 21:24:48

You are sick with depression. I would not make this kind of massive decision right now.

Have you actually asked her for help? If you ask, she may come through for you even if it's not in exactly the way you would like.

Fatbrowncat Mon 18-Feb-13 21:26:48

Well, I know, I don't want to make major decisions about anything much, but my judgement isn't clouded at the mo - also, I need to start making positive steps to improve things. I think this might be one of them.

RandomMess Mon 18-Feb-13 21:26:59


Have you asked for any specific help? I really feel for you both for the situation and for being so let down by your friend

Fatbrowncat Mon 18-Feb-13 21:28:36

No I havent. Do you think I should say something as direct as can you lend me 500 quid? (or other sum)

RandomMess Mon 18-Feb-13 21:31:48

But would you be able to repay the money? If not I'd be wary of asking for for a loan. In what ways could she help you?

BOF Mon 18-Feb-13 21:33:01

No, I wouldn't make it about money. I agree that you need to get more medical help and delay making any big decisions while you are ill.

Fatbrowncat Mon 18-Feb-13 21:36:32

Yes I would repay it when I got a job, so no probs there.

BOF, part of being ill is taking steps to improve your life. And for me, ending a disappointment would be a plus. False dawns of hope are not helpful when you are as sick as I am - I don't need people in my life who aren't at least neutral or positive.

Lueji Mon 18-Feb-13 21:37:37

I agree with asking directly.

I know you are friends, but could she pay you to baby sit, or do odd jobs that she might pay other people?

Financial support between friends is complicated and a can of worms.

Would you expect her to help you again?

On the other hand, could you ask for her personal support, in finding some work, or improving benefits, and so on?

hermioneweasley Mon 18-Feb-13 21:39:37

There is a massive difference between being generous with gifts and expecting a friend to loan hundreds of pounds. You don't know her financial situation or cash flow. I think you need to spell it out and ask for the help you want, but think about alternatives to cash. With 3 kids and a business, she might not have it as opposed to being difficult or mean.

penguinplease Mon 18-Feb-13 21:40:15

I think you should write her a letter, tell her how down you are and how hard things are in real terms like you have in your post hre. Explain that you feel that there is an imbalance in your friendship and that makes you sad but for your own sake you have to move away from it.

Such a long standing friendship is worth a second chance and she might be frightened that you are vulnerable and not know how to reach out to you.

MarilynValentine Mon 18-Feb-13 21:40:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Fatbrowncat Mon 18-Feb-13 21:40:54

There's no way she'd pay me to babysit, I've done it for years and years free with no reward of any kind.

Personal support - she hasn't done much except find me a counselling group when I was facing eviction (when I called it was a counselling group for the homeless...)

LeChatRouge Mon 18-Feb-13 21:42:23

I agree with BOF.

Why not just withdraw a bit, don't instigate any contact for a while and see how you feel in six months?

I lost a best friend through a temporary situation once and miss her at least once a week ten years later.

Focus on what you can do to get yourself well, with professional help, don't focus on how she lets you down. Remember, you can't change people, only the way you react to them.

Fatbrowncat Mon 18-Feb-13 21:44:02

Well, yes, thanks - but I want out of the legal stuff - and that obligation. I dont need that hanging over me for 6 months.

Fatbrowncat Mon 18-Feb-13 21:54:39

I get you about friendships that are all about laffs and drinks - they wouldnt be appropriate to kick off about lack of support.

But this is not a relationship that's entirely about chat & going out - viz the family involvement with her kids, the babysitting etc etc. I have supported her a lot.

plinkyplonks Mon 18-Feb-13 22:00:33

I think you are concentrating on the wrong thing. Sort your depression out first, deal with the rubbish friend later.

plantsitter Mon 18-Feb-13 22:00:54

I don't think dumping her without talking to her would make you feel better in the long run. I think it would make you feel worse and sorry - that you weren't able to tell her you're feeling let down and that you hadn't given her a proper chance to help you.

Honestly it sounds to me that by saying you don't want to be her kids' guardian etc you are trying to hurt her. Which might be fine I suppose, but will not help you and might make things worse for you in terms of your depression and your practical situation.

MarilynValentine Mon 18-Feb-13 22:01:20

Who's post referred to superficial friendships only concerned with laughs and drinks?

HollaAtMeBaby Mon 18-Feb-13 22:05:23

If the children are old enough to see you independently, they are old enough to realise what's going on if you fall out with their mum. They will side with her even if they don't find out that you are refusing to be their guardian. If they do find out, it will hurt them terribly. Please do not stage any kind of confrontation while you are ill. It won't help matters.

Fatbrowncat Mon 18-Feb-13 22:25:31

Thanks - I posted because I need advice on how to deal with this issue without confrontation.

Fatbrowncat Mon 18-Feb-13 22:26:55

Holla - thanks- You're right. I would hope friend would have the decency not to tell the children about the legal stuff - it's not my place to bring it up.

BOF Mon 18-Feb-13 22:30:30

Love, you sound in a really bad way. Can you put this to one side for the time being and get back to the doctor? I think you've got bigger fish to fry right now.

MarilynValentine Mon 18-Feb-13 22:34:30

Agree with BOF. It's so hard to see straight or respond as you may want to when you're mired in depression. We often only see out own point of view and lash out at such times.

Hope the GP appt helps.

Fatbrowncat Mon 18-Feb-13 22:35:45

Perhaps you're right - anyway, contact will be off from tomorrow.

I told friend this am I was selling my computer today (this will be my last MN for some time....) as I needed cash for food and power. They're collecting tomorrow, so I'll have no links with her or much of the rest of the outside world from the morning, bar the places my agoraphobia allows me to get to on foot.

nilbyname Mon 18-Feb-13 22:38:21

op I have been there....minus the financial worry, but I have felt very hung out to dry by someone I considered a very good friend. I spoke to her about it, and despite us being close, she has all sorts of personal things going on that I had no idea about. Get this, she didn't want to burden me with it as she knew I was going through a tough time.

I am sorry that you are having such a hard time, but perhaps you need to tell your friend that so explicitly and tell her what would help you.

Leave off the legal stuff for now...I think you need to be in a better head space to make such a huge decision.

Pilgit Mon 18-Feb-13 22:38:45

With all friendships we get into certain roles and it can be hard to see beyond them. It would seem that you are the one that does the supporting, does the rescuing etc. You are the one that is leant on. Up till now that is. She may not realise the situation you are in - not because she doesn't care but because she hasn't thought about it or recognises that you are in need. She isn't used to filling the 'rock' role in your relationship. So far she has tried sticking plasters to try and support you. This isn't enough but she doesn't realise it. It will be difficult for her to move out of the helped role that she takes in your relationship - this is not to diminish your situation or that she should be stepping up. She will be in denial over what you're going through as it challenges her world view. You need to talk to her, let her know that you need help - real help not just a shoulder to cry on. She may not have heard what you are trying to tell her as it doesn't fit with her view of you.

For what it's worth if you were my best friend you'd have a room in my house for as long as you needed it. But I am also like you in that I am bi-polar and have had real issues in the past but have always been the one that supports others. When I couldn't any more due to being in the depths of a major depressive episode I lost a lot of friends. Partly because they couldn't hack it but also because I never told them what I needed. People are not perceptive, they do not know what others need. Very few have the empathy to support others without having needs spelled out to them.

I hope things improve for you and I hope she steps up for you.

Depression does funny things to the way you see the world. Everything gets out of proportion. This is something I contend with all the time.

FlouncingMintyy Mon 18-Feb-13 22:38:53

FBC, your friend probably has no idea how to help someone suffering with severe depression. It isn't an illness that unqualified people can help you with, really. When she said you need to see a doctor she was supporting you.

Could you ask her if she could help you with going to CAB or similar re. debt management and ensuring you have the correct benefits? Even supporting you in going to the Doctors?

If you ask her for help with something specific I am sure she won't let you down.

Fatbrowncat Mon 18-Feb-13 23:07:02

Um, Flouncing, I haven't got any debts.

abbierhodes Mon 18-Feb-13 23:08:42

Don't do it. You are lashing out. You are hurting and you feel let down- rightly. She has not acted in the way you think she should have. She's being a shit friend, and you want to do something to make her understand this.
I get it, I really do.

But take some time before you do anything rash. Don't kid yourself that you will see the kids independently of her- it won't happen.

You need to withdraw. This is not the time to tell her how you feel. Write it down, all of it. Wait 6 months, and read your letter back. If you still feel like you want her to read it- all of it, without a single amendment- then give it to her. You have nothing to lose by waiting.

Please, please trust me on this. Once you've burnt that bridge you may never be able to rebuild it.

BOF Mon 18-Feb-13 23:15:39

Abbie speaks a lot of sense here.

FlouncingMintyy Mon 18-Feb-13 23:17:14

Apologies. I thought you were desperate financially.

Fatbrowncat Mon 18-Feb-13 23:19:54

You're right. At the moment I can't see any value in the friendship. I have been, as all point out, very let down.

The awful thing is she lost her job for the same reason - her boss publicised the 'sense of entitlement' shortly before she got the chop.

Many posters have pointed out that I've been the giver, and she is the taker. Well, maybe that's something to work on in therapy - all this giving and being surrounded by takers has self-evidently done me harm, given the state I'm in.

Hardly rocket science, is it - being surrounded by takers isn't healthy, and partic not when you're ill.

In 6 months there might be something for me - but you're all right, I shall withdraw, which might help me heal, but find the strength to put an ending on hold for the sake of the children.

DioneTheDiabolist Mon 18-Feb-13 23:22:01

OP, could you go to the benefits office to apply for a loan? They may be able to help you out and it is paid back at a low level.

Fatbrowncat Mon 18-Feb-13 23:24:16

I have applied - they refused by mistake. Six weeks wait for a review.

Fatbrowncat Mon 18-Feb-13 23:29:27

I am living on 12.32 a week - most of the ESA goes on bills.

Mimishimi Tue 19-Feb-13 00:27:08

Did you help her financially with her business and did she pay it back or did you help out in other non-financial ways? Do you currently owe her any money? She might be reluctant to lend more if the first sum has not been repaid. I would just ask her outright that if she has any work for you (babysitting, collecting rent, whatever) that you would really appreciate it. If you don't owe her any money currently, just ask her outright for a loan and see what she says.

springyhops Tue 19-Feb-13 11:47:12

I hope I haven't missed the boat (ie your pc is sold sad ) but I have recently dropped an enormous tranche of 'friends' for very similar reasons. ie when the going got tough, they vanished. I didn't even bother to let them know, they were just dropped. They've called, I don't reply (I'm screening my calls). I am so up against it that unless people tip up pretty much fully then I don't have the space for them.

I have to tell you OP, it has been joyous. I wouldn't bother talking to her iiwy. Just drop her and see to the logistics as and when.

All the best in your recovery. It is already getting off to a splendid foot by ditching the dross.

springyhops Tue 19-Feb-13 11:48:15

mixed my metaphors there blush

Fatbrowncat Tue 19-Feb-13 11:53:59

Springy - cheers - in my gut I know that the way forward is to bin the takers.

I'm also keen to ease out unhelpful family. When I hinted strongly to my parents that things were desperate, Dad suggested I sell something. I had to ask them not to stay for a meal - twice - after handing over birthday presents. Not a penny help from nearest and dearest.

Mimi - I gave her free advice worth several hundred. And yes I do still owe her 25 quid. Which I will repay on Friday.

I day left on the pc - buyers have delayed!!!!

springyhops Tue 19-Feb-13 12:01:42

I am in a very similar situation re stupidly low finances. It's an 'experiment' I am getting tired of now ...

oh yes, do ditch 'unhelpful' people. YOu know what they say about you find out who your friends are in a crisis? well, it's true. it smarts like hell but it's good to find out. Gives you a glint in your eye ime.

Off with their heads OP.

So glad you've been given a reprieve re PC smile

Higgledyhouse Tue 19-Feb-13 12:20:27

Far brown cat; did you say she runs a successful lettings business? If so my first port of call would be to ask her if you can live in one of her properties free of charge for a period of time. I wouldn't dump her yet I'd give her further opportunities to help you but I think you need to be very clear on the help you need and ask for it. I really hope she comes through for you!

Hi FBCat

Echoing to a degree Higgeldy <and in a different way been through/am going through fire when might have expected help from those I had previously been emotionally if not financially generous to - waves at Springy from those issues> it may be worth sending family/friend a tailored email to both along the lines of:-

Hi X

As you my have gathered I am having a really hard time with XY and Z at the moment. I've been spending time working through these problems/issues and I'm trying to find a way to resolve. Specifically I'm trying to find a way to get ABC. If this is something that you or anyone you know may be able to help with in the shorterm I have a plan in place as to how to compenate/pay back if is was a possibility.

No drama if not but when the going gets tough, the tough have to be resourceful and I am looking at all options.

Regards Y

You can then take the response as is to take a view as to what your next steps in terms of how you feel about the friendship might be. I hope this doesn't sound Pollyannaish. I write as I was in a recent cirumstance where I felt for SURE my parents SHOULD have realised how hard things were, how much I needed their help. They did not offer (I thought a clear issue) I did not ask and was very resentful. Later, they (I think genuinely) didn't realise that I was in so much need and wished I had been explicit. I don't know your circumstances and if this is appropriate but perhaps worth a shot before throwing the baby out with the bathwater etc etc...Good luck xx

abbierhodes Wed 20-Feb-13 01:19:02

OP- you say your parents didn't pick up on a 'strong hint' and that they didn't invite you for a meal after you handed over birthday presents.

I think you're too good at appearing capable. If I was short of money for food I wouldn't be buying presents, and I sure as hell wouldn't be 'hinting' to my parents, I'd more likely be sobbing in their living room.

Now I know this is just a difference in personality, but it sounds to me like no-one knows how hard up you are. Tell them, please. If I were your friend/family member I'd want to help- if I knew.

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