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my old friend has gone off the rails since her separation.

(57 Posts)
susia Sun 07-Sep-08 21:14:06

Hi, I have an old friend who I have known for years. She split up from her husband about 18 months ago and since then has become increasingly intolerable.

I don't know whether what she says is true or not. The things she says about her ex husband are awful and it seems like he is behaving really badly, refusing to see one of their children and being horrible to her. However, I also think she is refusing to let him see the children.

She only talks about herself and her misery and although I really feel for her about her marriage break up she is in a much better situation than many people e.g financially. She will get the sum of the house about £250k when it is sold. She does however have to try to get a job for the first time in 15 years.

I do feel sorry for her but I am also a single parent (of one not 3 children) but have never received a single penny from my ex. I also think she is wallowing to the extent it is becoming really selfish. She thinks her situation is worse than anyone else's and is totally disinterested in talking about anything apart from herself.

She also says things like she will only live in a certain area (where houses are about £300k) and how children shouldn't have after school care/childminders cos it is not fair on them when this is what I have always had to do (I have always balance part time work with very little money in order to spend as much time with my DS but not working was never an option for me). So she makes me feel guilty for working.

When I last saw her I told her my Dad was really ill and how he was seeing a consultant in another town in preparation for an operation. She said I should be going with him. But for me the issue is childcare, my Dad and I have agreed that it is not appropriate for my son to go and I don't have many options of someone to leave him with overnight. So, as one of his Godmothers, I said, 'could you have him overnight (he is 6)so that I could go with my Dad?' and she said she couldn't possibly as she is a single parent of 3!

I have offered to help her many, many times. I have offered to have her 3 stay with me for a night, weekend, week. I have enough space and experience with children but she doesn't take me up on it.

Now a couple of friends of mine have said to me they don't want to meet up again if she is there. Last time we went out for example she said how noone understands what it is like for her etc to a friend of mine who is a single parent of 4 and has no money at all.
My other friend said afterwards that she'd rather not see her again.

I don't know what to do, she is a good friend and I want to help but has become such hard work. I don't know if I am being intolerant, I am trying really hard not to be or what I should do.

susia Sun 07-Sep-08 21:15:44

has anyone got any advice?

BouncingTurtle Sun 07-Sep-08 21:19:14

But she doesn't seem to want your help - she seems to enjoy playing the martyr. So maybe you should ease off contact and let her come to you? She doesn't sound like much of a friend to me tbh!

susia Sun 07-Sep-08 21:20:45

she used to be though - and I have tried really hard with her. She is my son's Godmother and I do really feel for her.

cheeset Sun 07-Sep-08 21:24:19

IMO, she sounds jealous of you. Maybe because you only have 1 dc to look after, you have a job and are less moaney?

Yep, jealous.

I haven't got any advise really apart from to try and stay away while her self pity is on overload. Only she can address these issues.

cheeset Sun 07-Sep-08 21:27:22

The nicer you are too her will only wind her up more and she will become more self indulgent IMO.

Keep your distance and if she contacts you asking why you haven't been in contact, maybe you could seize the opportunity and tell her you thought she needed to sort things out blah blah..?

susia Sun 07-Sep-08 21:29:23

I don't think she is specifically jealous of me. I think she is just miserable and can't see that although I have alot of sympathy for her that there is nothing she can do but try to make something out of the life she has. I also really think that if she could possibly come to some kind of agreement with her ex with regards the children it would be best for them. She cries constantly in front of the children too who are 6, 8 and 14 and says awful things about their father (which may well be true)

susia Sun 07-Sep-08 21:32:11

To be honest she has had an awful time of it - her mum died soon after her separation.

But she even says that her Dad who is in his late seventies doesn't help her by having the kids to stay. I said that maybe his age and generation and the fact that he is grieving too has made it difficult for him to do that. I know that my Dad of a similar age wouldn't know what to do with one child let alone 3.

Yurtgirl Sun 07-Sep-08 21:33:33

My only advice would be to sit her down with a nice drink and a biscuit and tell her straight - ie she needs to get a grip

250k is a dream sum of money - that would buy my rented house twice over with 10k to spare.......

I split up with my dh, it was horrid but hey life goes on

cheeset Sun 07-Sep-08 21:35:27

Jealous of the fact then that you are happier than her. The more you describe her, the more I think she should get a grip, those poor kids. It must be so hard to be left on your own with kids but you'd have thought she would have moved on in 18 months?

I just worry you may be at the receiving of her emotions as you are always there for her like a parent IYKWIM?

ethanchristopher Sun 07-Sep-08 21:37:30

sometimes its kinder to everyone to forget to call more and more often until the opposing party realises they ABU and call you back instead?

TheNaughtiestGirlIsaMonitor Sun 07-Sep-08 21:37:47

She probably is jealous of you. You have a job, and even though you don't own your own expensive house (?) she probably feels that your life is going ahead, job, perhaps a man, more friends than her.

Despite her financial good fortune, she's still angry and stuck in her marriage, and the injustices of who said and did what and so on. And I CAN understand that. My x gives us nothing, and I find his behaviour quite head-wrecking sometimes. I knwo I do talk about it to my friends, but I hope they don't think I'm going on about it ages after we split. tbh, my x is never going away, he'll always be a 'presence' in my life that I'll have to deal with and my friends know that. But I don't talk about him non-stop at all. Only when something has blwon up iykwim.

I vented SO much to my Mum, I really would have collapsed if I'd lost her on top of the relationship breakdown.

susia Sun 07-Sep-08 21:39:32

I have kind of told her to get a grip in that I said that she shouldn't expect her Dad to help her with the kids because of his age etc. And that she could rely on other people like me to help her. She said 'yes but you don't know how to look after 3'.

I said that although I don't have 3 kids I can manage at least for a weekend. We could even help each other out.

I have also spelt it out to her about the £250 k, said that it wouldn't buy her a house outright where she wants to live so her options are either cheaper house in less desirable area (but still nice area), or working part or full time to make up the mortage or both. That's when she said about childcare.

TheNaughtiestGirlIsaMonitor Sun 07-Sep-08 21:40:36

Ps, but I ahve moved on with my life! And I would love to own a house, but I just accept it won't happen and get on with things.. I agree that she needs to start counting her blessings.

susia Sun 07-Sep-08 21:49:00

I can't also understand what is going on with her and her ex - whether she won't let him see the children and is bad mouthing him to them or whether he really is refusing to see one of them (which is awful).

She doesn't make sense when she talks about it. Once she came round here one evening (she drove) and I don't know whether she was drunk, on medication or exhausted but she kept falling asleep and talking rubbish. After an hour, I suggested her call a taxi but she drove home.

trumpetgirl Sun 07-Sep-08 21:54:31

I think the problem is that your friend is used to sharing parental responsibilities with her husband, and is now finding it difficult to adjust to being a single parent.
However, I think you have been very patient and understanding, and a line must be drawn somewhere.
Also, from experience, I have found that the only reason that people won't let you babysit for them is because they don't want to feel obliged to do it for you.
I think that you need to do what's right for you, and if she's affecting your life in a negative way, you need to get some distance between you.
She's the only person who can sort out her life, just let her know that you are there if she needs you.

cheeset Sun 07-Sep-08 21:54:34

She sounds close to the edge? She rambles then? Mmmm, maybe when she is rambling you need to actually say stop! what was that? what are you saying? Get her to clarify and then repeat it back to her, maybe then she might actually see how she is?

susia Sun 07-Sep-08 21:59:11

that night I did try to get her to speak sense but she didn't. Her mobile kept beeping, literally every 20 seconds. I asked her what it was and she laughed and said she didn't know.

A couple of days later I asked her about the mobile and it turned out it was the service provider or something and it kept on I think because she didn't delete it (or something like that).

poissonfou Sun 07-Sep-08 22:00:29

it sounds to me as though she is one of those people who feeds off the attention; you're probably not the only one she mouths off to-i have a friend who does this and she will often vary the content depending on who she talks to....you have offered your help, she has refused now it's time to leave her to it
good luck

susia Sun 07-Sep-08 22:00:58

I agree also that she probably doesn't want to feel obliged to babysit for me. But it would help both of us wouldn't it and I wouldn't even mind doing it if it wasn't recipricated as my son loves having people to stay.

susia Sun 07-Sep-08 22:03:39

thankyou for your advice, it is sad but I do feel that I have reached the end of the tether with her. I do understand that her life is hard but is for alot of people, I don't know how to help her become happier and better company without making out that her problems are not important.

twinsetandpearls Sun 07-Sep-08 22:07:18

I think it sounds as if she is facing a breakdown and as someone who had one when she faced becoming a single mum I can to some extent sympathise. I expect I came across as self obsessed but I just felt there was no escape. If she is a long term good friend I think she needs your support.

SoupDragon Sun 07-Sep-08 22:08:30

I'm sincerely glad none of you are my friends.

susia Sun 07-Sep-08 22:10:47

soupdragon, but I have tried and tried. I have offered practical and emotional support. I don't know what else to do. My own life isn't problem free and she has no interest at all in my or anyone else's problems.

twinsetandpearls Sun 07-Sep-08 22:10:52

Oi I was nice!

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