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To not tell the truth rather than hurt somebody ?

(28 Posts)
SkelleyBones Tue 12-Jul-11 21:10:14

There's this woman who i've been friends with for getting on 4 years, am not sure how it happened but the truth is we've nothing in common and she's emotionally exhausting.
So much has gone wrong in this persons life if you saw it in a soap opera you'd think it was far fetched but i have actually witnessed it so I know it's true.
The latest is that she and her partner are struggling, she has a tiny baby. But she calls 3 or 4 times a day for a moan and i can't cope with it any more i have my own children, a job and a house to run, the negativity kind of saps your energy. We lost touch for about a year and stupidly i replied to an email. Within weeks it was as before just too much.
She does have a good heart so I don't want to tell to bugger off, but I thought about not giving her new contact details when I move. I just can't face dumping her it would be like kicking a puppy.

mo3d Tue 12-Jul-11 21:15:13

Friendships have to work both ways or it's not a friendship. You obviously don't feel your're getting anything back. I know that sounds harsh, but like you said a friend who is negative all the time saps your energy. There has to be give and take. If you're doing all the giving, then that's very hard on you.

Perhaps you shouldn't answer all her calls. This might lessen her dependence on you and then perhaps you can be proper friends.

AgentZigzag Tue 12-Jul-11 21:18:32

Wow! 3 or 4 times a day??!

That sounds intrusive.

I see what you're saying about not wanting to drop her when she's feeling vulnerable, but as you're not responsible for her you need to establish some boundaries depending on what you're comfortable with.

It might help to stop pussy footing around her scared you might make it worse and take a bit of control.

Perhaps by saying you're busy if she calls round, not answering the phone etc.

You don't have to sever contact completely, unless she doesn't take the hint and you feel your head is going to explode if you see her one more time...

WibblyBibble Tue 12-Jul-11 21:19:39

1. Get caller ID.
2. Don't answer phone to her more than once a day unless you know there is a real crisis going on.
3. If you can, try ad help her make other friends so she has a support network that isn't just you- e.g. suggest baby/toddler groups or something? I dunno. She sounds like she is very lonely and needs more support (not from you! from other people!) than you're able to give.

SkelleyBones Tue 12-Jul-11 21:24:03

It's on the mobile so we all (including the kids) roll our eyes and say it's bloody xxxx again.
There's always a crisis, really you couldn't make it up and it's never going to end. I can see the next one on the horizon already, like a car crash you can't stop.
Sounds awful but I honestly think it's more than any one person can deal with. I just want to hide.

AgentZigzag Tue 12-Jul-11 21:28:44

She sounds like she needs to visit the doctor if she's struggling so much?

I agree it sounds too much for you to deal with on your own.

northerngirl41 Tue 12-Jul-11 21:34:00

Instead of letting her whinge on (and if she's calling 3-4 times a day, then I am willing to bet there is a fair degree of repetition) then stop her and ask her what she's going to do about it to change the situation. If she hums and haws and says "Oh nothing" then tell her you can't help unless she helps herself, tell her to call you when she has figured out what she's going to do and you'll try to help her.

As much as bad things happen to good people, there's also a good deal you can do to improve situations like this, even if it's only changing your own reaction to them.

So for example, the kid has thrown up all over her new carpet, her instant reaction is to phone you and ask what you think she should do. Don't let her. She's a grown up and she needs to learn to deal with these things without constant reassurance that she's doing the right thing.

sausagesandmarmelade Tue 12-Jul-11 21:41:15

Sounds like compassion fatigue...

Sometimes though you have to be cruel to be kind. She is becoming too dependent on you...which isn't good for either of you.

I like the suggestion of caller display...and then weaning her off the dependency.

It's true that friendships work both ways....and you should be benefitting from your relationships...not having them drain all of your emotional resources.

SkelleyBones Tue 12-Jul-11 21:42:06

There more to it than that, it's not mundane stuff, it's things like her parents trying to take her baby off her, her boyfriend getting physical with her, she was on the game for a bit, really awful things.
DH is regularly speechless and looks at me like I'm making it up.
I've just got to cut her off I think there's no nice way to do it i guess.

create Tue 12-Jul-11 21:47:15

I had a rough patch 12 months or so ago and I know I was very demanding on one particular friend. He did his best to be sypathetic, but in the end he started saying things like right then do this this and this and had no sympathy whatsoever until I'd dealt with it.

Sometimes I'd go off in a sulk and he wouldn't hear from me for a few days (which probably suited him) sometimes I'd take heed and others it would spur me into finding my own solution. He did keep in touch though, so I knew I hand't been completely abandoned. My point is that by taking a firm line with me her was actually much more helpful and a much better friend.

That said we are good friends and our freindship is important to both of us, there have been times when it was him who needed the support. If it really is all one sided you do need to back away.

ohhappyday Tue 12-Jul-11 21:48:17

This is all her issues though - not yours. You have your own life to lead. By constantly being on the end of the phone etc your are facilitating this. It won't stop. Totally argree with everything Sausagesandmarmelade says.

Some people lead totally chaotic lives only they can stop it. You would only go round in circles i.e one thing would end another would begin. If you really feel you have to you could point her in the direction of agencies such as Womens Aid etc

create Tue 12-Jul-11 21:48:52

X post re the severity of her issues. If she has this level of trauma in her life, can you help her find the professional support she needs to take the pressure off you?

purplepidjincantatem Tue 12-Jul-11 21:51:59

Are you completely sure she's not making it up? Maybe she just likes the attention and feels like the only way to get it is through more and more interesting stories...

SkelleyBones Tue 12-Jul-11 22:05:57

I think the chaotic life is spot on, I don't think she enjoys the drama but can't seem to think through situations to see where they will end up.
She is terrified of SS so won't seek help in case it's used against her by her parents, no idea if that's true or not but that was her response when I suggested the GP.

Bast Wed 13-Jul-11 02:24:10

She'll cope you know. If you reduce your contact with her to a once a week call, she'll cope!

When she rings, don't answer. Whatever the crisis, she has to learn to have faith in herself that she can deal with it.

Being a supportive friend is commendable but sometimes, we support people in the wrong direction IYSWIM?

I've had a very soap drama-esque life at times (the shame!) and my good friends dragged me through, carried me to a point, then gently and kindly shoved me upright and insisted I start living again ...and I did!

If I go too quiet they call or visit me and give me the required kick up the bum wink ...but our friendships have recovered their equilibrium and I am glad to be a useful (as opposed to useless, which I was!) friend to them once more.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 13-Jul-11 07:20:13

My friend has a very good way of dealing with emotional leeches. In response to over-extended whingeing and moaning her reply is 'So what are you going to do about it?' or words to that effect. Keep throwing the problem back on this woman, make it clear you're not prepared to keep listening to the same old whines, keep challenging her to do something, and I guarantee she'll stop calling eventually. You stop becoming a place to rehearse her woes and it's really not what people like that want.

fastweb Wed 13-Jul-11 07:35:29

her reply is 'So what are you going to do about it?' or words to that effect

I'm stealing that (scribble scribble)

I think screen your calls for now to wean her off focusing all her dependence on you and the golden rule is if your heart sinks at the thought of giving your contact details to somebody..then don't.

You may also want to check out dependent personality disorder. I'm not diagnosing her, she very well may not have an actual PD, just be currently demonstrating similar behaviors, but researching it can give you some ideas as how to manage her in the short term at least.

If you think that detaching yourself may end up being very difficult for you or even unsuccessful then possibly check out this book from the library (I'm still waiting for my copy to arrive, so I can't say personally how good it is, it's just I've seen it highly recommend on forums for people dealing with PD's and "PD like behaviors" being a feature of one or more of their relationships) Emotional Vampires: Dealing With People Who Drain You Dry

mo3d Wed 13-Jul-11 08:08:56

When are you moving skelley? Do you have time to wean her down to 1 phone call a day and then leave without giving your contact details?

I wonder how you will manage not to give your details. It sounds like she might be the kind of person who would ask for them.

fastweb Wed 13-Jul-11 08:13:19

OH bugger, ignore the book, just checked the index and it doesn't cover dependancy.

VelveteenRabbit Wed 13-Jul-11 08:28:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thursday Wed 13-Jul-11 08:42:03

good stuff VelveteenRabbit

i had a friend like this, she was utterly exhausting and you just have to free yourself from it. it wont cure them, but it wont crush them either. most likely scenario is they find someone else to latch onto. mine attached herself to my brother for a while and told him what a dreadful friend i was blah blah. he soon discovered the truth there hmm

friends like these arent friends, they arent interested in you or in actually getting any advice for their various traumas. when was the last time she asked you how you are? listened to your problems or just had a conversation about something mundane without turning it round to herself? when you stop answering the phone and listening to her several times a day, you'll become useless to her anyway and she'll find someone new.

fastweb Wed 13-Jul-11 09:22:01

You see.. they NEED to be unhappy, they will find things to be unhappy about and imply everyone around them is to blame


I think the main issue that needs to be addressed when stuck in a relationship like this, is that the Drained is under the impression that the Drainer wants them to find resolution to their problems or issues.

Whereas in reality you are likely to find that resolving problems merely causes the Drainer work and effort, in the sense they then have to find a new problem to fill the void in order to maintain their preferred status quo.

Which goes some way to explaining why they are very resistant to taking even obvious and simple to enact advice and solutions on board, because to the Drainer the primary "risk", is that the solutions will work.

As a serial Drainee (trained at mother's knee) I find it very hard to bear that in mind in practice rather than just in theory. But the more you do it the better you get at it.

I've found I need to haul out my maternal filter and use that as my primary lens to be able to maintain distance and resistance to these kind of people.

For my son's sake I am willing to be seen as hard, uncaring and unavailable. I don't want these kinds of people around my house modeling this kind behavior and I don't want to model the response I was trained to produce either.

Plus the huge amounts of time and energy are better focused on my son and our family, given that actually helping somebody in concrete manner is so rarely on the cards.

That doesn't mean I won't help people in crisis full stop. I just take care to try to avoid falling once more into the trap of being part of somebody's personal theatre of "poor me ! rescue me !!! (but not to the extent that you make my problems disappear for pity's sake!!!)".

If seeking help\support\succor smacks of being the point of their existence, rather than a reaction to a blip that they are seeking to resolve, my instinct to "help" has to be battered down and replaced with a more "head not heart" outlook, which reminds me to stay well clear.

The most I'll do now in the case of the former is suggest professional help, starting with a visit the the doc. Because ultimately that is the only place they are going to find any hope of real help for what ails them, anything else just helps ingrains the behavior and delays the possibility of a concrete improvement in their lives.

EveryonesJealousOfWeasleys Wed 13-Jul-11 10:41:01

Excellent posts VelveteenRabbit and fastweb <stores away for later>

robingood19 Wed 13-Jul-11 10:45:57

Yes, people who are blunt and tell their view of the truth in all circumstances, can be pests.

SkelleyBones Wed 13-Jul-11 11:16:46

Oh she's very blunt, when discussing any of my blips I get told in no uncertain terms everything i'm doing wrong, that my children are stupid, marriage is a disaster you name it.
9.04 the first phone call came through today ...... god knows what has happened now ..... I have decided i'm just going to cut all ties.

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