Unfriendly 'friend'

(49 Posts)
AlfalfaMum Thu 03-Jan-13 19:13:43

I'm finding this really hard to write down, I guess it taps into some deep down insecurity. I will try to explain the situation as best I can, and would really appreciate your thoughts or advice, because the situation is causing me lots of stress/insomnia and I feel I need to confront it somehow.

We have been friends since our early teens. She has always been a bit difficult, and our friendship hasn't run smoothly at times. Over the years she has often treated me badly, not talking to me for no reason, ignoring me, implying that I'm an embarrassment to her etc. She also has a habit of comparing us, and can be a bit weirdly jealous, eg she once got in a huff with her boyfriend because he liked some music I was playing hmm

She moved to a far-off country years ago and I've only seen her every few years since. Last year, she and her DH came to stay for a few days, and she treated me like shit. She never had a nice thing to say, and kept criticising my children and suggesting they are spoilt, my parenting skills, my house, even my dog. For example, another old friend was visiting with their children, and I said "X's children are so lovely aren't they?", and she said "Yes, but then they are older than yours." Basically implying that my children aren't lovely (which they are, obviously wink). It was literally comments like that for three days. I ended up feeling very low and shitty, and it was a real eye-opener, a bit of an epiphany where I realised how toxic her behaviour is towards me and what an unhealthy dynamic we have. I must have been so insecure years ago that I just put up with it sad

I never did confront her. I drove them to another mutual friend's in the country where they were staying for the next few days. We all went on a walk, and whenever I spoke she would look away from me, or if I stopped to help my youngest over a stream she would just march ahead etc. I felt sort of ostracised, and it was a familiar feeling but one I hadn't felt for years.. She always seems to be perfectly nice to her other friends though sad
They were back in our place for their last night before flying back early the next morning, and we all went out for dinner as previously arranged, me, her and our DH's, and she acted all nice. I had been agonising over our so-called friendship for the days in between, but didn't feel it was the right thing to bring it up.

Since then I have kept contact to a minimum, not hard because she lives abroad. We are still friends on Facebook, but I feel that she only interacts when she wants to criticise me for something, eg I put up a photo of my daughter, and she commented under it something like "we need to see more photos instead of stupid competitions!" (I had been trying to win a holiday the week before blush). Which would have been fine if it wasn't the only communication she offered in months.. Whenever I comment on her Facebook, like 'Happy Christmas' etc, she doesn't reply or acknowledge. I'd like to unfriend her on FB and in rl, but that's so final and I'm scared..
Sorry, I realise this sounds so pathetic and petty.
But it's making me feel quite anxious...I feel that I need to confront the situation somehow, it's making me feel impotent and weak.

I have three children, she doesn't have any (by choice). A friend suggested this might be at the root of her behaviour, although i have lots of friends that don't have kids though, and we all get along fine confused

Thanks for reading.
So, what would you do?
Feel free to ask questions, I have to go and cook now but will be back.

SundaeGirl Mon 07-Jan-13 17:03:56

Well done! Glad you've decided to leave it. If I were you, I'd get your DP to leave it too. She really won't 'learn' from him and it'll make you look weak if he replies.

Very difficult to get rid of an old friend like this but definitely for the best.

wifey6 Mon 07-Jan-13 12:24:36

Well done Alf for putting an end to
what was obviously a very toxic 'friendship'. I hope it makes you feel more in control, empowered & happier (which I'm sure it will) to of stood up to the bully.
I too had a 'friend' who only seemed to want me if she wanted to brag, put me down or just be cruel. That soon stopped once I unfriended her on FB & realised I had taken the power & control back.
Wishing you all the best thanks

Mu1berryBush Mon 07-Jan-13 01:48:47

I had an old school friend like this. In my twenties she did things like imitate my mother's accent (making it out ot be really awful, it's not) in front of a bunch of people she was trying to impress. I played dumb and said 'who's that?' . There were literally hundreds of other things. She gave me nail varnish for xmas one year and said 'i know you like girly stuff' and the suggestion was she was above all that. I just stopped contacting her for ten years. Then we got back in touch again. I think she respects me for cutting her off tbh

AlfalfaMum Mon 07-Jan-13 01:37:39

Thanks for the flowers and all the support, too. I couldn't have got through this without you, Mumsnetters are the best smile

I haven't sent the reply (we've been too busy all day painting the living room for DH to have a look anyway), although it was indeed therapeutic to write it out, as suggested above I can see it turning into a nasty game of email tennis.
DH has drafted a very business-like reply to his email (which he wrote to save me the stress), but not sent that yet either. He'd like to send it because he thinks it could be helpful for her with other relationships. I might ask him to add something like "Please don't attempt to contact Alf again because she won't be replying."

Ah thanks Ruprekt smile I am lucky to have lots of lovely, supportive friends who wouldn't dream of treating me badly.

Mynewmoniker Sun 06-Jan-13 19:48:58

Do not reply
Block all contact
Keep yourself busy for a couple of days

You have been assertive in your reply; not aggressive or submissive, therefore you are not responsible for her reaction.

More flowers to keep you going thanks

Ruprekt Sun 06-Jan-13 13:15:47

Well done but do not engage with her now.

You have said your piece and it is best left now.

Well done! so therapeutic.

do we need to find you a nice friend now?

WeAreSix Sun 06-Jan-13 13:09:43

Write the reply but don't send it. Tell her honestly that she's toxic etc. put it in an envelope at the back of the drawer and forget it.

Then block her.

Very therapeutic smile

Block her then on phone and Facebook.

Don't entertain her.

She knows exactly what she has done.

But your dh could do a very quick reply along the lines of

She feels you put her down and treat her differently to other people.
You make her feel crap. And when you came to stay you were rude. You never had a nice thing to say, and kept criticising the children , her parenting skills, the house. It was literally comments like that for three days. She ended up feeling very low and shitty, and it was a real eye-opener, a bit of an epiphany where she realised how toxic your behaviour is towards her and what an unhealthy dynamic it is.
She is a much more secure person then she was years ago with better self esteem. Please don't bother either of us again.

CheungFun Sun 06-Jan-13 11:20:22

I agree with the other posters. If it was me I'd turn off my mobile and go out for the day. Fwiw I think you made the right decision in not continuing the 'friendship', friends are supposed to like you, not be horrible.

BluelightsAndSirens Sun 06-Jan-13 10:31:50

Please don't reply. If you do you will still be allowing her to be in control.

Best to get off facebook and go out for the day.

I agree don't reply to her. Write all the reasons down for your benefit, not hers.

pictish Sun 06-Jan-13 10:24:39

True Sundae.

I agree - she will already know the reasons...she is just seeking to undermine them and you, as she has always done.

If you must reply (and I don't think you have to) keep it very short and clipped, simply affirming that it's not up for discussion.

SundaeGirl Sun 06-Jan-13 10:19:33

Agree don't reply. She is trying to wrestle back some control and undermine your decision, which is why you don't need her anymore.

She'll know the reasons why you want the friendship to end, no need to spell it out anyway.

pictish Sun 06-Jan-13 10:09:35

DO NOT SEND THE LONG REPLY!

Just don't. She will just send an equally long one back counteracting your explanation. She'll turn it all around to you being unreasonable/neurotic/too demanding and sensitive and whatever else she wants to say to justify her rudeness over the years.

A simple 'I have said everything I need to already, and have nothing to add. Live a good life. Alfalfa.'

Don't reply just block her (and get your DH to block her too). I agree that any reply will just keep communication going back and forth.

Maybe write the letter out and then burn it. That way you've got it off your chest without leaving yourself open to further negativity from her.

vintageviolets Sun 06-Jan-13 08:35:54

I think if you reply, it will start a stressful game of 'email tennis'
She will keep picking at your every word & analyse & question it over and over.
Just ignore her now & well done.

I have just had to do this with family.

I got emails, texts, landline & mobile calls. I had to ask them to stop & leave me alone

. Then they said they would send a letter. So still they weren't listening to what I wanted.

Another firm NO from me and they've finally got the message after 4 weeks.

Please don't let her do this to you, it's bloody draining.

Thinking about it, I'd suggest you leave it a few days and if you still want to send it then you can (though what you sent her before was perfectly civil and said what was needed). It would also let her know you're not going to jump to respond every time she writes to you, it was your decision and you need to not let her take over. She sounds like the kind of person who won't take this lying down and will get nasty about it, don't let her suck you into a nasty end to all of this.

Thinking about it, I'd suggest you leave it a few days and if you still want to send it then you can (though what you sent her before was perfectly civil and said what was needed). It would also let her know you're not going to jump to respond every time she writes to you, it was your decision and you need to not let her take over. She sounds like the kind of person who won't take this lying down and will get nasty about it, don't let her suck you into a nasty end to all of this.

I'd keep it simple too, or ignore, though I also know how theraputic it is to write a letter you'll never send. You could just stick to 'I just don't like you and would rather not keep in touch anymore.' No apology though!

knackeredmother Sun 06-Jan-13 03:33:18

She sounds unhinged and you sound like you are getting stronger by the minute. It will probably be therapeutic for you and an eye opener for her, if you send that email you've written. I suspect the right thing to do is ignore but I personally would want to let her know all the reasons you've said on here.
Don't let her draw you in to apologies or self doubt, you know you've done the right thing.

Earlybird Sun 06-Jan-13 03:30:19

Don't send her the long reply, or any reply at all. You've said what you need to say.

Any listing of grievances and specifics will add fuel to the fire - she'll argue, and try to say you're unreasonable. And then she'll probably sling mud your way. Delete her from FB, and from everywhere else you can. Do not engage further - it will just prolong things. Just leave it now.

Very brave of you, btw.

AlfalfaMum Sun 06-Jan-13 03:20:59

Well, she is livid, and is demanding to know what she's done to deserve this. I have a long reply written, but need DH to tone it down proof read it before I send. I had wanted to avoid the pettiness of listing grievances etc, but she reckons this is the most cold and callous thing anyone has ever done to her (hyperbole much?) and apparently I am also very immature (I don't think anyone has said that to me since my teens - and it was probably her said it then hmm) so I feel like I need to explain myself. I wish I could just say, "because you are fucking TOXIC!".
She has also emailed my DH to ask him what's wrong with me!
Oh well, it will all be over soon. I do feel a bit sad for her and sorry, but I also know I need to be true to myself, and that she hasn't been a good friend. I have plenty of dysfunctional relationships in my family, I don't need that with friends too.

Emsyboo Fri 04-Jan-13 14:26:21

Well done very brave but the fact you feel a weight has lifted means it was the right decision smile
Yeah! X

BodyOfEeyore Fri 04-Jan-13 13:35:30

You've done a brave thing.

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