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needy friend (feel guilty)

(79 Posts)
saulaboutme Thu 24-Jan-13 11:06:27

One of the mums I know has become extrememly needy to the point where I'm now making excuses to dodge her everyday. I feel really bad but she has nothing to do and sometimes I need to just run off and do my bits for the day on my own. I have 3 DC's and I help a neighbour with some chores twice a week as she is disabled which is demanding enough.

I feel like such a bitch as she is a lovely person. She has problems which I feel can only be solved by her. She is in a bad marriage, in lots of debt, unemployed and health issues one of which is she is VERY overweight. As much as I have tried to advise and help her she would rather come and sit in my house or a coffee house and while the day away til she has to collect her children from school.

I don't know what to do but I'm abit angry as she tries to emotionally blackmail me when I can't meet her. Or don't want to meet her. I have been quite upfront with her but she wants me to support her in ways that I can't and handhold her for anything that could benifit her situation getting better.

What am I going to do? AIBU to not help her more, I feel abit stifled.

saulaboutme Thu 24-Jan-13 22:16:10

Yes the endless sympathy. She is grieving for family, which I understand, and she is on Prozac from her GP.
But her grief and her problems have to be worse than everyone else. My sympathy is not enough and yes I think as I back off she will find someone else. Sorry to hear you were treated so badly Lariflete.

MomaP Thu 24-Jan-13 23:46:22

Purequintessence -- Pure brilliance, but I really wouldn't have the balls!! Pmsl.

MomaP Thu 24-Jan-13 23:57:42

OP, I feel like I must have some type of stench that attracts these type of leeches - harsh words, but true.

Both ladies I have become friends with up in our Army Married Quarters have been equally demanding. I remember being on the phone to my mum and asking her whether everytime I try to make adult friends, they're going to need me to hold their hands, and have them continuously in my home, 12 hours of the day, drinking excessive amounts of tea and crying!! I am sorry, but do they not have things to do, I have only one DC, I still manage to fill most days with chores, running around and when I'm not doing that, spending time with my DS, DH or having a cuppa in peace... and if I'm really lucky, I might actually get a chance tp read one chapter into a good book.

blah blah!!

My point being, I wouldn't for even a second, mind meeting for a coffee once or twice a week, or maybe arranging playdates, once or twice a week, but common.. some people still need their bloody hands holding.
We're far to soft to be blunt, so I think myself and OP need to come up with a strategy. grin grin

girlywhirly Fri 25-Jan-13 14:43:21

MomaP, do the women just turn up at your home expecting attention? Because you can always tell them (on the doorstep) that it isn't convenient at this time. You don't need to give any reasons or excuses as to why not, but you could sugar the pill by smiling pleasantly as you say it, and possibly suggest some other time instead but without specifying a time or date. I don't see a problem with suggesting you meet only a certain number of times a week on the basis of you are not getting things done and you are sure they must have loads to do as well.

Or what about carrying on with your jobs while they are there, wash the dishes or get the ironing board out, at least you will achieve something rather than sitting wishing you could get on with stuff. It is no ruder than they are being taking up so much of your time.

Have you tried sending the one who comes round to the other one's home? They could support each other, if they weren't both so self centred.

saulaboutme Fri 25-Jan-13 14:54:59

Sigh...update for today. So my friend rings me hysterical, she is in agony, can't walk. She has gone to coffee house and would I please come and meet her. Can't belive she has not gone tho hospital but there you go. Basically I take her to the hospital and wait with her. They say she has a torn arch in her foot probably caused by her weight. My day has gone. Had to make an excuse once she was in doctors hands. Oh boy, so anyway even though she was genuinely in pain she made such a scene it was embarressing.
I know I sound like a cow but I realised today she made this situation as dramatic as she possibly could, and wanted me to be there which I was. She called to say she was home but you know what her husband can now look after her. I will keep an eye from a massive distance as I can't do anymore.

Re MomaP, I totally see where you are coming from. You don't want to be labelled or anything but sorry your house isn't a drop in centre and it's just ok to say NO. I'm doing that from now on. People don't need to know WHY it's no, it's just NO. When you have time and it's convenient. That's my strategy, these women want sympathy and attention and sorry they'll get it when it's really needed. Not everyday and excuse me they've been around for 5 minutes!

saulaboutme Fri 25-Jan-13 14:57:25

girlywirly totally agree. My DH said the same thing last night, pair up the 2 intruders! Have to make that work...

girlywhirly Fri 25-Jan-13 16:42:00

Well saulaboutme, you've done your good deed for this week. Although I expect she will want you to visit her, and possibly get a few bits from the shops, etc. At least you can drop by for half an hour and leave, and no danger of her wanting to come with you. This will be a useful break for you and you can start to put in place your 'distancing'. I guess she won't be very mobile for quite a while.

Do remember that you can still choose whether or not to answer her phone calls or texts immed

digerd Fri 25-Jan-13 17:00:04

I don't understand how anybody can say that a demanding< selfish>, person who exploits your good nature is a nice person. What exactly do you find "nice" about her. I'm bewildered.

MomaP Fri 25-Jan-13 18:07:05

I know it seems very difficult to understand. When OP posted and made it clear there was emotional blackmail used, I understood straight away, having a "friend" just like it.
It's difficult when our good nature takes the front seat and insists we help these people, otherwise we'd feel awful people.

OP, Thank you for posting this, it's definitely reasurred me that I am not being nasty by wanting to get on with my chores etc.

Coincidentally, my friend went into hospital today too, due to stomach pain. All I can say is THANK goodness, she is visiting family an hour away today. wink

saulaboutme Fri 25-Jan-13 19:09:06

digerd, she is usually a nice person, she sees the good in people is one of her main qualities. girlywirly and MomaP. Yep now's the time. We all have our lives to lead and would drop everything for a friend in need. Today I saw a side to her that was a desperate outreach for attention and sympathy. Even though she had a genuine ailment, she blew it up as high as she could.

Thanks guys, I'm glad too to realise I'm not on my own. I'll keep you updated.

Where's that bottle of wine???

DizzyZebra Fri 25-Jan-13 19:31:35

I don't think you are doing anything wrong or have anything to feel bad about. I can't deal with even the most laid back person for too long. You need a break from people sometimes.

I think you need to be firm about times - If you're busy instead of just saying you're busy say 'i'm free at X time/Xday and we'll have a nice coffee', If she 'pops round' and you can't think of anything, then keep it short, make her a coffee, 20 minute chat maybe and then just say you're going to have to get a wiggle on as you have things to do elsewhere.

sukysue Fri 25-Jan-13 19:37:19

I have one of these FRIENDS and it's physically and emotionally exhausting. She really annoys me she moans about her money men work health family and never not once do I get to speak of my worries. I am fed up with it to be honest. She's lovely but I think I have finally had enough . I am not bothering half as much as before and feel much better just gradually bother less and less but do it very gradually op. Good luck x

ItsintheBag Fri 25-Jan-13 20:15:43

Just keep backing off.Its all you can do.Even if it means making yourself really busy for a while.Have a back up of excuses too.I am never good at thinking something on the hop.
I attracted somebody like that.I moved to a new area and really don't know anyone, but met this girl.It was fine to start with but she got well a bit single white female on me.
I have got out visits down to once a week now,but she texts me all the time.I have ignored them,I used to text back but it just made her worse.
She had a family loss a few months ago and I am trying so hard to remember it but I sat opposite her in her house this week and thought,I am a good friend for her, but she really isnt for me.
She isnt happy for me if anything good happens,if I brought something for my home she either buys the sameconfused or as she would notice it kinda mocks it.Even my DH notices how she is.
But she is the only person I know.blush

saulaboutme Fri 25-Jan-13 20:19:31

It's funny as I started this post knowing what I had to do and felt like a total bitch. it's obviously a problem. She does do that as well it's not a two way conversation and trying to advise a grown woman who seems to have no intention of trying to improve her situation is exasperating. Things aren't easy but fgs TRY.

Lariflete Fri 25-Jan-13 20:56:31

Yes, yes, yes to trying! That is what makes most situations like these so frustrating when people just won't take any responsibility for themselves.
Definitely don't feel like a bitch for only wanting your own drama in your life wink

RabidCarrot Fri 25-Jan-13 21:03:25

She sounds a nightmare, and clearly is going to do nothing to help herself or make her life better.
Just tell her you are sorry but you can not deal with her any more, clean break

Cosmosim Fri 25-Jan-13 22:12:39

You sound so nice. Honestly if someone was that hysterical, I would tell them to hang up and get the cafe to call an ambulance for them. And insist she get off the phone with me so can call her emergency contact/relative because from her tone she's going to need a stretcher and aren't those brought in by ambulance given priority in a&e anyways... And dial tone.

You need to turn off / silence your phone. And if she's well enough to hobble to yours look at her puzzled in doorway and announce you're in your way out. Practice looking shocked at her rudeness when she suggests she'll only be a minute and repeat. You're too nice and she's just going to take advantage of you 100 fold now. I'm sorry but from your posts, her actions show only consideration for herself. How is that being a friend to you?

saulaboutme Tue 29-Jan-13 19:39:49

Today she called me. Quick catch up. I say can't meet am going to see a friend. She spent about 30 seconds trying to guess which friend. I was so mad. I had to say I'm not telling you who. I am not in a rush to have another catch up. she is pretty desperate to still have someone to hang out with. again keeping distance.

EldritchCleavage Tue 29-Jan-13 20:12:13

I think sometimes you have to stop advising. Just listen. And if you're asked for advice, say things like 'Well, you've been here before, haven't you. What do you think you should do?" etc. If you don't feed the constant hunger for sympathy, you may just find they seek you out less. Hard to do though.

My mother (who is lovely) can be like this with reassurance. She would get very anxious about things and wants people to reassure her that everything would be ok. But we had to keep on doing it. And it drove me mad and then I got ratty with her, then hated myself for it. And after I'd got ratty-guess what? My mother needed more reassurance.

My very nice therapist told me that you don't always do people a service when you take on the caring role. Sometimes it just feeds the need, rather than quenches it. So I stopped giving my mother reassurance. I told her the truth-I didn't know, I was worried too. I stepped out of that role, and not only do we get on a lot better, I think she polices her own anxiety better too.

saulaboutme Tue 29-Jan-13 20:48:04

Thanks it's true. But she is a negative and any suggestion and it's hand holding. I have to stop advising. And I'm so tired of having to dodge her. Really a shame and a was said earlier on, what makes her so nice when she is selfish and manipulative. She really pissed me off today

saulaboutme Thu 07-Feb-13 13:47:47

I wanted to give you another update. Have still distanced myself, many phone calls dodged and coffee requests dodged. in Monday she asked me if she had done something to offend me as we had been getting so close(?) and now she doesn't see me. I was annoyed because she ED trying to guilt me into seeing her. I told her no I'm very busy and I'd see her soon. I know I should have told her truth. I couldn't, I felt she would take it badly and the truth will hurt. She is now being very snidy and a mutual friend told me she said the same to her and about me too. She is lonely and bored and has still not found that she can't depend on me to fill her time.

valiumredhead Thu 07-Feb-13 15:12:15

Oh blimey, you did the right thing, no good would come of telling her the truth!

fromparistoberlin Thu 07-Feb-13 16:22:33

LOL at Yakshemash!!!!!

girlywhirly Thu 07-Feb-13 16:52:48

What is so ridiculous is that the woman can't see that her behaviour is the very thing that will drive people away ultimately. I can't see why you can't answer her honestly, when she complains about never seeing you, that perhaps she perceives your friendship to be closer than it is. That you have a right to have a private life and get on with it without being questioned by her about what you do and who you see. Also that bitching about you with a mutual friend isn't helping your friendship at all. She will either be contrite and apologetic and hopefully back off a bit, or get uppity, in which case you call time on the friendship.

You could also say you're sorry, but when you say you're very busy, you mean it and she must accept that she can't get you to drop everything when she calls.

What about suggesting that as she seems to have a lot of time on her hands, that she find some classes or hobby groups to join, to meet people with similar interests? (I am not hinting at diet and exercise ones!) Achieving something through these would improve her self esteem and she would actually have something positive to talk about.

valiumredhead Thu 07-Feb-13 16:55:17

Oh yeah that would go down well I'm sure " Listen, I'm really busy but you should do some classes and I'm sure you won't be so needy then!"

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