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Toxic friend WARNING IT IS A WHOPPER!

(73 Posts)
JudgeJodie Tue 22-Jan-13 19:38:07

This will be be a long one!
Ok, so I have this woman in my life. She is godmother to my 12yr old dd and 5 yr old ds. For about the last three years she has treated me like shit on her shoe. She can go from full on buying ad-hoc friend gifts to complete and utter silence from one day to the next. In fact from one hour to the next. There is never an explanation for it, and when I pull her, most times she will tell me I am imagining it and this is just who she is.

So far so obvious. Dump the toxic friend. Only it is not that simple as we work together. In the same room.

A couple of years ago she was diagnosed with depression and was off for a fortnight. By this point we were barely speaking at all, all the effort came from me. I was treated to one word answers and grunts on a good day. Others in the office were treated fine.

Things started to get really bizarre. As an example we had a conversation on a Monday(one of her rare talkative days) about the masoods in eastenders. She said she hated corrie as it was caricatures of northerners, but loved eastenders, particularly the masoods. Cut to the Friday, some big storyline had happened with them in ee so I said "ooh did you see that last night with zainab" and she just shot back at me in a room full of people "I don't watch that pile of shit, I'm a corrie girl" and then turned her back on me.

I was baffled to say the least, it had been five days since our conversation so it was obviously said just to disagree and be rude. That was when I started noticing more and more her erratic behaviour towards me in particular. Tbf she was also rude to a few others as well but she saved the best of her venom for me.

So I confronted her. I took her to the board room and said we are going to sort this out. At first she was like a petulant teenager and refused to even look at me. Then she got angry and stared bringing up decisions that I had made with regards to work five years earlier (that were nothing to do with her and had no impact on her job). She said she didn't agree with them and that was why she was being funny with me. This was the first time she had admitted it. But FIVE YEARS! I told her it made no sense, and then we continued on the rollercoaster of emotions when she burst into tears. She then went with we hurt the ones we love and she doesn't know why she does it. She was glad I had pulled her about it and it wasn't going to happen again. Then she hugged me and, this is no exaggeration, grabbed my hand and started to skip out of the boardroom saying how happy she was that we were friends again.

Being as we were in a work environment I figured the best course of action was to go with it for everyone's sake and be wary going forward.

I was right to be wary as it wasn't very long at all before things returned to how they were. Only worse.

Time and again I would pull her about it only to be told it was in my mind, but then she would be ok for a day or two. So she obviously was aware of her behaviour.

The last time I pulled her was Christmas and she told me if I ever felt like she was being off with me I should just approach her at her desk and give her a kiss on the cheek. I told her she could kiss my arse, if she was off with me I would talk to her not fucking kiss her. This time she had been missing me off emails relating to a Christmas party being arranged by one of the bosses. I was supposed to be invited but had somehow been accidentally missed off four emails. She said she doesn't know how it happened and she can see why I would be suspicious. Then said she thought she had talked to me about it. Obviously this wasn't the case as she hadn't spoken to me in weeks.

So cut to this last week, and if you have stuck it out this far thanks!

I had to make a work related decision regarding disciplining someone. Never nice to do when you work in an open plan office but it was a business decision not personal. She came over and hugged me, told me I was absolutely right to do it, and it was about time.
This was on a Friday. Then on the Monday she was off with me as was the person on the receiving end of the disciplinary. I emailed her and asked why she was off again and she replied that she couldn't believe I had done it to such a nice guy and she was very upset by my decision. WTF!
I replied back and told her it was none of her business, and that I was confused by her reaction considering she had positively encouraged me to make things formal. She was clearly caught out being two faced and reacted very badly. At that point I got a text, silenced it before it had even finished as I was on the phone. She started effing and blinding at the top of her voice to me across the office about my phone. I ended the call and to my shame started swearing back at her. She couldn't believe that someone had called her on her two faced behaviour and tried to detract by moaning about my phone.
I told her to fuck off and we haven't spoken since. So the atmosphere is terrible now in the office. She has been telling people not to talk to me, snorting under her breath if they do and when I have asked them why on earth grown adults would go along with it they have said they don't want her to do to them what she did to me. Cheers!

Anyway I went to the boss with a proposition of moving her department to another room so we don't have to see each other and to my surprise he agreed to consider it. I didn't make anything formal but I did tell him why. Two days later he called me to tell me it was going ahead but would take a couple of weeks. This is because he had received other on the record complaints since we spoke. Don't know who, but pleased.

I can't sleep properly and it is on my mind all the time. AIBU to allow it to bother me so much? Should I just suck it up for a fortnight until she is in another room and I don't have to see her. I can't stop wondering why she has behaved like this towards me. I feel like I am going mad.

I have never been a drama llama but equally I am no walkover. Pretty pissed with myself for letting it get this far actually. I didn't want everyone in the office suffering and they were happy to throw me under the bus! I have been looking at bullying websites but it feels ridiculous to give it that name as I am a confident grown woman.

So as not to drip feed some important points.

She weaned herself of her medication after the depression only four weeks into taking it.

She has no boundaries with regards to her manners. She will best blatantly rude to people that everyone goes foetal!

I can think of at least four people who have worked under her and been the best thing since sliced bread only to be hounded out of a job weeks/ months later for some perceived slight to her moral compass. None work related but they went anyway. The way they dressed. They had cheated on their husband. Decided to marry someone she deemed was controlling.

A friend of hers for over twenty years was treated exactly the same (ignored, ostracised etc) out of the blue but she told anyone who would listen it was because he had feelings for her.

She has withdrawn from social contact with work mates. This was the only social life she had. Without sounding mean she has no friends outside of work and spends all her time with animals. Although she has recently taken up with a young girl from work who happens to be the disciplinary boys girlfriend.

What can I do to switch off from this situation? It feels better just to get it written down.

bongobaby Tue 22-Jan-13 19:42:57

Switch of from her, she is insecure and jealous of you. She needs to deal with her issues.

DoingTheBestICan Tue 22-Jan-13 19:43:59

She sounds awful,if I were you I would just ignore her for the fortnight and only speak to her with someone else there,so she can't say you said things you haven't,

JudgeJodie Tue 22-Jan-13 19:47:21

Thanks for reading! I was careful about saying she was jealous as it is an easy one to jump on although that is what my friends and sister think. I have noticed though that if someone has something nice happen in their life she either makes snide comments about it, or ignores completely. Give her some misery though and she is like a pig in shit!

saintlyjimjams Tue 22-Jan-13 19:48:44

Well she's clearly not well, but she will have to want to sort that out - you can't.

Just keep your head down and enjoy the distance when she's moved to a different room.

Molepom Tue 22-Jan-13 19:48:49

Wow.

First thought - she's a fucking nutcase or really ill.

At least you have made the start to get her department moved into another room, until then you are just going to have to front it out.

Keep emails, ALL OF THEM, from EVERYONE so you can compare if necessary with others anything else you may have been left out of. Texts, ditto keep every single one of them. The only other thing I can think of is stay polite but in general IGNORE, IGNORE AND IGNORE some more.

What has HR got to say about it ?- and yes, it IS bullying wether you are confident or not, it's still bullying.

McNewPants2013 Tue 22-Jan-13 19:49:53

Ignore her, it's only 2 weeks

DameFanny Tue 22-Jan-13 19:51:01

Why can't you get some more evidence and put in a formal complaint? Who's going to be in the room she's moving to - are they going to be able to cope?

ExpatAl Tue 22-Jan-13 19:52:28

Gosh, there's a lot in that post. You're reeled in because you can't understand her behaviour so think one more interaction will sort things out. It won't. She's hurting you and affecting your life negatively so I suggest you just keep your interactions on the professional level. For everything else it might be an idea to go to counselling to help you sort this out because you've known her for quite a while and in a way become quite conditioned. She's treating you so badly because she feels she can and bizarrely will quite value you for that.
I had a toxic friend - not as bad as this - and in the end cut off contact completely. I had to ignore urgent calls/texts/emails detailing drama after drama, all of them escalating and all of them a pack of lies. My life is so much calmer and I'm a much nicer person myself now.

JudgeJodie Tue 22-Jan-13 19:53:46

McNew - I know 2 weeks isn't very long in the big scheme of things, but good lord these last two days have been soooooo hard.
I think it is because I am in control of the situation for the first time and it is not in my nature to be ignorant. I work with lots of people who would not be on my dinner party list but I am polite and professional. Goes against the grain to be rude.

ExpatAl Tue 22-Jan-13 19:54:42

P.S. I expect your friend is ill, same as mine. But you can't heal her and you need to protect yourself. You will be spending quite a lot of energy on this which would be better changed to positive energy for your family and your own life.

Darksideofthe80s Tue 22-Jan-13 19:55:28

Was she always like this?
It sounds like she's quit the meds too soon, but that's not something you can help with at the moment.
Chin up two weeks will fly by, and yes kep all emails texts etc.

LesbianMummy1 Tue 22-Jan-13 19:57:08

Suck it up for a fortnight but keep any texts or emails incase they are needed.

She sounds like she might have split personality or some other disorder but can not treat you this way.

If things get worse in that fortnight go back to your boss fingers crossed for you it will be over soon

therugratref Tue 22-Jan-13 19:57:08

She sounds unwell to me.

DrHolmes Tue 22-Jan-13 19:58:17

This sounds awful! I wouldn't think too much about your colleagues as they just want to keep out of it I suppose and also do no want to put up with this crazy, crazy woman! If I were you (and your colleagues) I'd be making a note of everything, keep every e-mail and use it against her in one big case to your manager in the hope of her being disciplined.

JudgeJodie Tue 22-Jan-13 19:58:53

Thanks expat. I agree I do feel conditioned by it. I have had another toxic friend and I cut her out of my life completely. I had a little grieving period afterwards for the friendship I thought it was and that was it. Not so easy with the work situation, otherwise hand on heart I wouldn't have seen or heard from her in years.

Just to clarify I have a small group of close friends I have known since I was four (over thirty years) and a wider circle of friends and mates so I am not generally prone to losing friend and falling out with people!

LineRunner Tue 22-Jan-13 20:03:18

I had to make a work related decision regarding disciplining someone. Never nice to do when you work in an open plan office but it was a business decision not personal. She came over and hugged me, told me I was absolutely right to do it, and it was about time.

Juat wondering - but how did she know?

JudgeJodie Tue 22-Jan-13 20:04:10

She will be moving to a room on her own. She spent 25 years working on her own before moving to open plan. Never really settled into the very different environment. She had been prone to these periods before but perhaps not as noticeable for most as she could shut the door.
There is part of me that still feels sorry for her as I suspect it has to do with mh issues and my conscience says I would want someone to make me see sense/seek help.
And oddly I haven't kept a diary (although I have emails and texts and could very quickly put one together) because I wouldn't want to humiliate her in front of colleagues she has worked with for so long. Not that she has any qualms about humiliating me.

pigletmania Tue 22-Jan-13 20:04:50

She obviously has MH problems, But tat is nt your problem ad no excuse to treat oeople like shit. Why the hell did you ask her to be your dc godparent! Really I woul have nothing more to do with her, other than in a professional capacity, be civil to her but tats it, if you do com across her keep conversation to a bare minimum, just in a professional capacity

elfycat Tue 22-Jan-13 20:05:01

She sounds like she has a MH problem, probably related to her depression and not looking after herself medically.

This is not your problem beyond friendship (initially) and not at all now. Look after yourself from a work point of view. Minimize contact and as others have said keep all communications. I would advise not having any more one-to-one chats with her unless you involve HR as there a potential for you to be accused of bullying and do not discuss her at all in the office for the same reason.

Hang on in there and hopefully you will get a bit of space soon.

JudgeJodie Tue 22-Jan-13 20:06:42

Line runner, the incident had happened in front of the whole office. Pitfalls of open plan I guess. She had seen me have the discussion and then go to the boardroom with his managers. Put two and two together and came to support me.

ExpatAl Tue 22-Jan-13 20:09:02

Yes, agree with everyone who says to keep all emails texts. Also keep a diary. She's obviously quite manipulative and will up the ante.

I'm sure you do have good friends. It's because you're a nice person that this happens to you. You probably also have strong friend ethics which has kept you embroiled in this.

CrapBag Tue 22-Jan-13 20:09:09

Wow she sounds unpleasant. I am glad your boss has listen to you and she is being moved.

Blank her completely for 2 weeks then have nothing to do with her ever again. No one needs friends like this. The reason she probably doens't have any outside of work is probably because of this behaviour and no one will put up with her for the long term.

Clearly others in the office can see what she is like with their comment about them not wanting her to treat them the same. Doesn't say too much for them really. Hopefully with her being shoved off to another floor, they may come around and ignore her as well.

Coconutty Tue 22-Jan-13 20:10:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pigsmummy Tue 22-Jan-13 20:10:40

For a minute I though you worked with my sister, I am having issues with her and wonder how her colleagues cope with her.

Best thing you can do is stop thinking of her as a friend,p (she isn't) stop trying to rationalise any of her behaviour (it isn't rational), keep all the emails, texts and keep a diary of her behaviour, You can't win this battle with HER demons, look forward to a peaceful life but expect venom when she moves room. It's all about her so she will play the role of the sensitive hurt woman but you know that this isn't the case don't you? Try to distance yourself, change mobile number if you have to, she will find someone to listen to the "why me" rant that will follow. Email is her choice weapon, can you ask IT to monitor it? Can you ask HR to give her a "gentle" reminder of misuse of email in the work place?

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