AIBU, WWYD, shes driving me bonkers(44 Posts)
Can you help me rationalise this; WWYD? I need to deal with this behaviour now, whilst its 'fresh'.
Core friendship group is 4 couples, larger group is 7 couples. It's unusual in that the men are the base, they all went to primary school, secondary, played football together all through their 30's. We are now in our early-mid 50's.
One of the (larger group) women has an issue with me. It didn't used to be like this, we were very good friends, look after each others children, days out, the occasional liquid lunch, not each others confidantes, but close enough.
Over the years she's had a dreadful falling out with one sister (not actually her fault) and the other sister and mother isolated her. She's had a lot of therapy/councilling and has absolutely zero self-worth/confidence. I have supported her in all this silly business with her sister (they still aren't talking); I've encouraged her to look and apply for other jobs, I've offered to help her with her CV, when she was in hospital over Christmas three years ago, it was me (out of our friendship group) that bothered to visit her, see if any shopping needed doing and offered to have her DH & 2xDC for Christmas lunch. I have never had the same emotional support back though. I don't think I'm a nasty person or a bad friend. I don't tell people what to do, I listen, nod and offer advice.
She also has a massive drink problem. I like a drink but I don't drink to a stupor. We all know she has a problem, it is the elephant in the room. At any event she is either crying, snarling or throwing up. The excuse for any of this behaviour is the issues with her sister. But it's been going on these past 20 years not just the past five years.
With me so far? That's the basic background. New Years Eve was another shocker. At times she makes me the scapegoat for all her problems. Apparently, I think she's thick and stupid, she tells people this. The basis for this is a conversation, some years ago, about nothing at all and I apparently made a throwaway remark "dont be daft!" I don't remember saying it, when she gets tanked up she hangs around my neck with the old 'I love you, I really do' ad infinitum until I get disentangle myself then it's like watching the exorcist as her head spins and her eyes narrow, and she starts again with 'I know you think I'm thick'. It gets to the point I sit in a corner and stare at the floor all night (this NYE I really wasn't feeling too bright so I wasn't drinking)
I need to confront this now. I've ducked the issue. We have a large friendship group; everyone else notices, everyone else knows it's nothing I'm doing. No one will confront her about her behaviour because of the tears and waterworks (three hours solid on NYE, whilst shooting me the evil eye). Her DH won't talk to her because they don't communicate. She's a deeply unhappy and troubled lady.
I'm tempted to go round now, whilst she's sober and have it out with her - but she will deny anything is wrong and brush it under the carpet. (But I would want a witness, lest she told people I was aggressive). I could text, but the written word is often misconstrued. I could write her a letter and tell her how she makes me feel, but that might get passed round. I could just wait until she's tanked up next time, then tell her a few home truths - but she will turn the waterworks on and play the victim card, I'll be seen as the bad guy because I am probably more verbally cutting than she is. If I did go that route, there would be no going back.
Some of you will say to remove myself from the situation BUT this is our friendship group and social life. These are my DHs closest and oldest friends.
I actually feel 'bullied'.
Why is she still getting invited to things? Surely nobody wants her there?
Are your ' friends' not sticking up for you?. Sound like the whole group is shit, I'd ditch the lot
Have you spoken to anyone else in your friendship group about her behaviour?
Could you take the person from the group that she is closest too?
You probably aren't going to get the resolve that you are looking for anyway as she isn't going to ever be a different person.
All you can do is tell her that you care about her and that you don't think she's thick or whatever it is. I would say that's how to get her to stop going on about it when you are out together. Although she may just move on to creating a drama about one of the others. Have a 'fall out' with them instead.
She's still invited because her DH is our friend. To exclude her is to marginalise him.
And I'm afraid I think we are all so immune to her behaviour, it's just kind of 'oh that's what Mary does'.
Probably because I brush it off, no one realises it's anything other than a passing annoyance.
It does need to be dealt with.
I'd have to say something! I think I'd be tempted to text her and say something like. I don't think you're thick. But you are getting on my nerves with all your drunken nastiness towards me. I'd like to stay friends but you're making it very difficult. Let's meet for a coffee and talk about it so it doesn't happen next time. A coffee at x would suit me: when are you free?
Does that seem doable?
Our entire group - male and female - talk about her behaviour - at length I'm afraid. Which makes us sound rather snide and spiteful, but we aren't
I agree with Dolly go there and have it out with her. It's a bad sad for you that you have to have a witness though
DoItTooJulia - oh thank you - you've just found the right words for me.
I would go and speak to her about it. Make sure to tell her that you're fed up of the 'you think I'm thick' thing. It's not true and you don't want to hear any more about it or hear that she's said it to anyone any more.
What are you actually planning on saying to her?
You know this will not end well. People with alcohol problems rarely say 'Oh yes, I said that when drunk and oh gosh, so shocked to hear it isn't true. I will amend my ways immediately'.
They are more likely to call you a liar, and it will get much worse in the meantime.
I'd go around with someone and suggest she has some alcohol issues - she's in a pattern of behaviour where this has become her personality. She probably feels huge guilt which leads to the next binge and now she's in a cycle she struggles to get out of, knowing what she has said each time.
She may be crying out for help but you need to let her realise it's not about the sister thing, but something she used as a crutch before then that has got to a point that has become damaging - but you want to support her. The best way would be if she would realise this herself and ask for help but it sounds as though she has done counselling. Perhaps suggest a psychotherapist and ask her to tackle her drinking at some point with them?
I think you sound like a good friend but you are angry at the moment. Showing her that you were hurt and offering supportive suggestions - not ultimatums - will be good for her as she won't be wondering what you are thinking which could lead back to negative cycles. However caution is needed as if she feels attacked your words will become an attack.
I know it feels as though she likes being the victim, but in reality no one does. I think it sounds as though she's been crying out for help for a while.
Agree with the PPs, all good advice. The also a bit of me which makes me think there needs to be a parallel approach to her DH too, by one of the men from the group (not your DH). You said upthread that her and her DH don't talk so someone needs to keep him in the loop. Perhaps even say to him that it is getting to the stage that you guys are considering not inviting them as a couple anymore because of her behaviour, but that you all still want him there so you don't want to do that. How would that go down with him and who would be best to do it?
Also, what's stopping you from telling the rest of the group how much this is upsetting you?
I like the text but I wouldn't use the words "drunken nastiness" (even though that's what it is) I think she will latch onto that - in a bad way. ("You called me a drunk/you called me nasty") I'd just say "I'm finding the way you are towards me on our nights out more and more upsetting and more and more difficult to deal with."
How about going round,having a coffee & asking if she has any New Years resolutions. You could say yours is to be more honest & kind & so you want to tell her that her behaviour makes you upset,it's unfair & unwarranted. Tell her you don't want it to continue & that you're speaking to her away from the group do she can reflect when she's sober. It'll be hard to say & harder to hear. Ultimately it may not end well but I don't think I could tolerate another 20 years of it,good luck!
Her DH is very very nonconfrontational, an ostrich. He knows there's a problem. Ther have been events as their house where he has said "its easier to have it her, I can just shove her up the stairs into bed when it's all too much".
There's also an element of him whispering "and how much have you had before we came out?" - then she says "oh you're so moany, you don't like me enjoying myself", loudly drawing attention, then to the group it will be "He moans all the time, hates me having fun".
ChuckSnowballs - you're so right.
It's not going to end well. She is a functional alcoholic by sound of it and likely to have zero insight or self awareness. She will be driven by alcohol and you will pose a threat to her if you challenge. A text is going to put her on defensive and act like caged lion. You will end up wrong footed.
Talk and get your husbands support. Can he have a word with her husband who is probably struggling with effects of drinking?
If not, don't engage with her at next social event wait for her to ask what is wrong. Say what you need to,say in public so it can't be misinterpreted.
Here is zero point in having it out with her. She will not remember what she has said or done when she was drunk - or she will pretend that she has no idea. You will just been seen as persecuting her. She will twist it as you attacking her, poor her she can't remember what she said how could she, she was a little tipsy and if it was that bad then surely someone else would have said something after all? And no one else has a problem with it, have they - it's just you. You will be the only one complaining about her behaviour and her drinking and you will become the scapegoat.
i think you need the support of your close friends. you don't need to get them together for a bitch-fest, but could you tell them individually that it's really getting you down? if more of you are in the loop then you have more chance of changing the dynamic when she starts. someone who knows her may also have an idea.
i wouldn't send any texts referencing her drunkenness - it won't get her onside it'll just put her back up. can you meet for a coffee? i wonder if you said something like 'on our nights out you seem to get very angry with me. i'd like to understand.' and then take it from there.
you're not going to fix her alcoholism or her problems. but maybe you can change this destructive dynamic against you.
what a difficult situation. you sound like a great friend, but she's used up all the goodwill years ago.
I doubt if you can get a resolution to this if she is in the grip of alcohol addiction?
I wouldn't talk to her if it was me, as I hate confrontation and I would be too afraid of the huge scene that seems likely to ensue? But if your friendship group talks about her, you might as well try to be constructive together:
As pp asked, why not tell them how upset you get, and ask people to intercept.
Tell her you don't think she's thick
Socialise without alcohol - new year and all that. Why would you drink when one of you so plainly has a problem?
Posted too soon - that's how her mind is working. Unless you have the support of the others and some back up, there's no point. Why are your friends letting her do this to you?
I'd go with what doittoojulia has said.
I agree with wondermike in that there is little point in confronting her.
She probably won't be sober at any point in the day.
The group knows how she is.
Next time she is hanging off you, just disentangle and say 'stop it' repeatedly, and tell her DH he needs to make her stop it.
The men need to speak to her DH. She needs proper help.
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