to ask you how to stop being the person people turn to when things are bad?(4 Posts)
I have three examples of really close, longterm friendships (one of 30 years, the other of 20 years and the other 5 years) that have fallen apart because I was too close to them during bad times in their life.
20 years one had a series of terrible relationships, often as the OW, lots of self esteem problems, disasters where I would be the first person she'd call and confess to me really irresponsible things she had done and I would not be judgemental, but help/be a shoulder to cry on. As soon as she got married to a very conservative man, she became very polite and civil, but kept me at a distance. I assume because I reminded her of that time in her life, even though I would have never brought anything up. I see her now at mutual friend's events and maybe once every 3 years for a coffee, and she is perfectly nice and catches up with me, but nothing even similar to the closeness we once had.
5 years one was a single mum, had lots of money and relationship problems, fireworks with her ex-H where they would get into physical fights. I helped her with money, babysat her children when she went on dates etc, assisted with pick ups and drop offs when she and ExH couldn't be in the same room, saw her at her lowest points. Then she met someone, got married and stopped speaking to me completely. Almost as if I reminded her too much of that bad time in her life.
30 years one is my most longterm friend who is almost like a sister to me. Went to school and university together. In the past four years she has been with a man who has treated her despicably, but because she wanted a baby has stayed with him. She had several abortions in the past and basically became obsessed with having a baby in the last year and decided she had sunk costs. All through the pregnancy, her DP was treating her terribly. Leaving the house and not coming back for days, complaining about how tired or ill she was, accusing her of trapping him. Baby arrived three months ago and guess what? She's not in touch as much. If I enquire how everything is, she says it's "perfect." her DP is "amazing" and her life is "complete." If I offer to visit she is vague about arrangements.
I don't expect things to be bad, of course. She's got what she wanted. And I don't expect her to be slagging off her situation or her DP. It's not that I want to hear the negative stuff, especially during such a lovely moment in her life. But I do expect to see and hear and share in the good things that happen to her as well as the bad.
In fact, I expect that of all my friends. Why am I someone who people turn to when things are not working out for them and how can I stop?
This has happened to me, too. I think if you're kind and empathetic you can attract emotional vampires.
When you're not needed any more, they move on. Sometimes I wonder if having someone who knows so much about them and their relationship makes them feel nervous. It does give you a lot of power - not that a decent person would use it.
As a result of all this, I've massively firmed up my boundaries, keep all new friendships light, and back off hugely at the first whiff of drama. Life's too short for that shit.
I agree with the other comments, but I'd be a bit worried about the friend with the baby. Do you think it's likely the DP has suddenly become an amazing partner and father? She may be in a very difficult place where she apparently has everything she has wanted for so long, and feels unable to say that actually it's really hard, or her DP's treatment of her has got even worse.
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