Unsupportive Friend(27 Posts)
Im a bit lost with this one. A very good friend of mine that i have known for about 25 years just isnt supportive.
I have been going through a very difficult and abusive separation from my children's father, my children are very young. This has been going on for a while (several years) and still not divorced!! She has become distant from me.
Then a month ago i called her and filled her in on an absolutely hideous situation that i have found my self in. With out saying too much i have been involved with ss and the police regarding something my children came back and told me, very serious. This is absolutely nothing that i have done, its a serious safeguarding concern regarding the kids and their father.
Since then she has only asked me once how i am! I totally understand that it probably takes quite a bit of energy to be my friend atm. But i know if anyone had told me what i told her i would have supported them 100%
Am i being unreasonable to be disappointed and feel let down by her?
Some people have their own experiences and this kind of thing can be triggering. Others just don't know what to say.
Maybe you just don’t have that kind of friendship. Just because it’s long-standing doesn’t mean you’re that kind of friend for her. If she’s never supportive in the way you expect it would suggest she doesn’t feel the same about you as you do about her.
It all sounds very intense, and that can be draining for friends. You've grown apart, best to move on, but be aware of how much you might be putting on others.
Hope things settle down for you soon.
Maybe she is at the end of her tether with you using her as your personal, unpaid therapist. She has a life and her own problems, too.
Yes it is, iv had a couple of spells of bad mental health as well the first one i was living with her and i later found out that she had councilling because of it.
She did say i just dont know what to say.
I kind of think that lifes going really well for her atm with a new partner etc etc and that my life clearly isnt so i guess she may not want her bubble burst. I get that i really do, but still carnt imagine not being there for a friend.
I kind of guess i feel she gets a bit irritated with me, carnt quite put my finger on it. Or she doesn't quite believe what i say, im not sure. We did used to be very very close.
Ha ha a bit brutle.. No i dont tend to call her and and moan (just this once) and im generally very upbeat. I always make sure i ask after her and am very conscious of still remembering other people have problems too.
It sounds as if supporting you has affected her own mental health in the past so she is distancing herself to protect herself.
Do you have any other friends or family who you feel could give you the support that you need? It appears that this friend is finding it all too much but can't bring herself to tell you outright that she cannot cope with handling all that is happening in your life.
Perhaps you could just contact her for fun things and hanging out. She could be your mental break from what is happening in your life. that way she will have the reassurance that she is helping to support you without risking her own mental health.
for you OP. I hope it all improves for you soon.
You aren't unreasonable. I'm sorry you've been going through this, and very sorry for the situation for the children whatever it is.
Over the last decade or so we've been through a lot in our home including death, cancer, special needs, a medically frail child and single parenthood. And I'm only in my late 30's. Some families sadly go through much trauma. A dear friend just lost their second baby from stillbirth. All of their friends go home from hospital with babies. Many of those same friends never ever contact them.
What I've learned with time and perspective, is that hard situations can make you a much better friend and member of the community. If anyone in my circle is facing hardship now I'm round with meals, baked goods and a hug, texting to see how they are and offering help. Because that's what I needed.
I had many lovely friends who were a great help and I'm so so appreciative. But I will say a couple people dropped me in a very painful way. I never heard from them again. No condolences. No offers of support. No asking if I was okay and how the children were coping. In fact the weekend we left the hospital one unfriended me on facebook. This is a very respectable person, loved as a good soul in our Mum's group, a very nice lifestyle, is a teacher at the local primary. A couple mutual friends were aghast and without my knowing mentioned something to her and her response I've since found out was "well we don't have anything in common anymore, best to move on". Charming response (mutual friends horrified on my behalf by the way) and her response is one I would never have expected from a fellow mother. It's strange how people don't want to put themselves in your shoes and for a moment imagine the pain you are in. The other friend who did the same thing just has a very easy life, lots of luxuries and support, and I noticed despite the fact we were long term friends they really only hang out with couples like them - middle class, the budget for nice things etc. I no longer fit that bill. My child whose medically fragile couldn't meet at the community park for us all to play tennis with the kids like we used to - nothing fancy, just a park open to everyone that we used to often meet up at as a family, maybe once or twice a month for a match and a nice walk, a coffee/tea etc., or lager etc. We didn't see them for two years. Two years. We have a civil relationship but I'm not in a rush to get back to closeness. Nor do I wish them anything but goodness in their lives. I'm happy with the odd text and I still send their dc birthday cards. I probably get a text from them 3x a year, despite the fact her in-laws live a mile up the road, their children call me Auntie and we saw them at least twice monthly and used to have joint family dinners for Christmas and Easter. The only window I got into it was my friend saying "nothing has ever gone wrong in my life so I don't know what to say". And it's true, they are both from loving families, they both have good jobs they got through parent's contacts, they had no infertility, no special needs, never been in need, have jobs with good benefits and bonus', enjoy a couple holidays a year, can afford a weekly baby-sitter so they can go out, have involved and loving grandparents. They have no reference for suffering.
With many years behind us now I really think that some people are unable to cope with negative and challenging situations like in some way it will harm them, and other people are very good at playing the great friend, until serious things happen, and then that pretence can't be kept up. I am very lucky that we have such lovely friends, I volunteered to give back and help others in our situation and met so many lovely parents there, as well as friends from our primary school, neighbours, co-workers, people I've met dog walking and even people we've met by holidaying at the same cheap but lovely family run guest house. I moved away from where I grew up but also have friends a fair distance who check in and send me lovely uplifting texts full of love and kindness.
Make a community, know that you deserve better than friends like the one above, and go and be that great friend to others. I've come to see though it's hard to always remember, that once people show their crap to you, while it's shocking, it's best to move on, accept you are hurt and then remember it's their issue and you may never know why.
Wishing your family well.
Yes i have many other friends and a supportive family. Tbh i havent relied on this friend a lot but somehow feel quite let down by her.
I think it may be connected to where she is in life, she has met a new man who has children and is trying to juggle full time work and the new partner and family life.
We also had a disagreement a good few months ago. I apologised to her for upsetting her, even though i did and do believe in what i said. I get the impression there is some distaste towards me, maybe a bit of negativity, this started before we had a disagreement.
Im so sorry things sound as if they have been very very hard for you. xx
I guess i just dont get it, i would have been so supportive of her if it had been the other way around.
I remember telling her that my solicitor said hes behaviour amounted to abuse, her response horrified me "o just be careful as some solicitors want you to believe this so they get more money" That has always stayed with me, i understand why she said that but also thought it was wrong of her.
I think with meeting the new man she just wants to concentrate on her own life, as its all going swimmingly for her. Just makes me feel a bit sad.
I think sometimes when we depend on friends a lot and use them as support systems, we forget that they also have their stuff going on and that they aren't actually our counsellors. I think the aim is to be thankful for the support friends can provide when they can, and accept it and look elsewhere when for whatever reason they can´t. It sounds like there are many reasons for her not wanting to get involved at the moment. Maybe her own mental health, maybe her life is very full, maybe she is still annoyed after the argument. Whatever they are they are more likely to be to do with her own situation in life rather than anything you have done. Try not to dwell on it and find the help you need elsewhere.
Perhaps your friend doesn't know how to help you or what to say to you. Why don't you start the divorce process ? MN often suggest doing the Freedom Program. I also agree that everyone has issues going on in their own lives, that you may not be aware of like wider family, work, illness, etc
There is a similar thread to this on which I posted:
'I'm not excusing her (the friend) but she may think if she meets with you, that the time will be spent with you outpouring your woes onto her and sometimes we can be there for friends to do that but there are other occasions when we feel we can't for various reasons.'
I am severely disabled and in a lot of pain and sometimes getting through the day takes all my reserves and I have nothing left to give. Other days are better and I would be happy to listen to my friend's troubles.
You say she has met a new man who has children and is trying to juggle full time work and the new partner and family life and I can imagine that is taking up a huge amount of her time and energy. I'm not making excuses for her, just that sometimes there are two sides to a story.
I wish you the very best of luck.
If she ended up having counselling as a result of one of your previous episodes then it's not surprising she's taking a step back! It's not normal to need counselling as a result of helping a friend so the fact she did suggests that you must have been quite hard work. And you do sound quite demanding in a full-on sort of way (not trying to be rude by the way, it's just you sound like you expect her to be there for you rather than hoping she would be). It is very draining when all you seem to hear from a friend is negative. Maybe you could do with a counsellor to offload on and to help you work through it all. Then you'll not be relying on a friend and will be able to spend more enjoyable time with her?
Orange I have started the divorce process, 2 years ago!!! its been fraut with cout cases etc.
Yer maybe i do have an expectation for her to be there, guess thats just want i thought friends did. But i also except that my situation is draining and long winded. Thanks for all the advise.
It’s probably too much for her to cope with. I’m assuming she has her own family? I’m going through similar with a good friend who is having a breakdown and I’ve had to be absolutely honest with her and tell her I cannot cope with supporting her as much as she wants me to. It was really getting too much.
Different friends provide help and support in a variety of ways. Accept the positive support you're getting from friends and family and don't dwell on what you think is lacking in others behaviour. Everyone has a lot going on in their lives and you need to understand that your issues and problems don't necessarily take on the same importance for others. Sometimes, if you can't provide the support a friend needs, the best thing for you to do is step away.
I work in an environment where mental health can frequently be an issue, and the domino effect on people around them can be startling and something we aim to avoid by signposting people to professional help.
If you feel like it, tell us your woes on here or the Relationships Board may be better. There are a lot of people who have experienced what you are going through and are happy to share their support and advice.
If anyone in my circle is facing hardship now I'm round with meals, baked goods and a hug, texting to see how they are and offering help. Because that's what I needed
You sound like a very supportive friend, in large part because of your own experiences.
Please do remember though that what you needed may not be what your friends need. For some, coming round with baked goods etc may just be an additional burden.
We also had a disagreement a good few months ago. I apologised to her for upsetting her, even though i did and do believe in what i said.. In what way was she upset? Was there shouting or a harsh exchange? Also agree with pp that the fact that she needed counseling after you lived together probably has given her trepidation!
I hope you manage to find your way through all your difficulties.
Some time ago on another forum we were discussing friendship and reciprocity. I made the comment that it is a privilege to be in a position to help a friend in need. So many of us these days are 'just about managing' - not just in the financial sense but also in the sense of having so many different balls to juggle, so many complexities to balance. Often people simply don't have the 'head space', if you like, to take on others' troubles.
If your friend struggled so much the last time she supported you, she may have taken the difficult but wise decision not to get involved so much this time - we are encouraged to fit our own oxygen masks first...
What did humans do in times of trouble and distress before "go and find a counsellor, friends are not for burdening with your troubles" was born... Did Neolithic humans have counsellors to palm people off onto when they couldn't be arsed, I wonder.
Just seems like a fairly shitty version of friendship to expect people to be fake and positive 100% of the time without ever having a down day or a period of needing support from those around them. That's only really going to work for the people with the dumb luck to have easy lives where nothing truly bad happens to them.
After traumatic events, the initial advice is generally to talk to friends and family members and take support from them - only involving professionals at a later stage if the trauma doesn't naturally resolve etc. Because the evidence is that people heal better that way rather than immediately being pulled into therapy. And they don't stand much chance of healing if those close to them are telling them they have to bottle it all up and pretend to be fine, lest they appear too "negative".
Remember though, Ptah, that friendships mean different things to different people. I could see you as a friend to turn to with my troubles whereas you might see me as more of a friendly associate to just have drinks and a laugh with, and yet you might have people that you consider close proper friends who you'd be there for 24-7. Equally you might see me as a very good friend but have put up with my negative refusing-to-seek-help for 2 years and have lots going on in your own life and therefore you've taken a step back from me, while still being there for others who use you for advice and support while they try to solve ongoing issues. It varies. I don't think it's possible to assume that everyone has your back all the time.
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