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Has bereavement made me a horrible person?

(45 Posts)
Lostforaname Sun 20-Jul-14 10:10:24

My teenage stepdaughter died last summer after a very difficult and distressing illness. She lived with us full time. Since then I have been supporting my husband and stepson, both of whom have manifested grief in different ways. We also have two small children, one of whom was born just before the death. Obviously I have also been coming to terms with it all but my feelings are secondary to theirs. We are now dealing with quite challenging behaviour from my stepson too.

I am not very good at talking about things much but had a group of friends with small children who I saw every week. We all talked about our lives and I thought they were close friends, one in particular, who I saw a lot. I have been very depressed recently and sent them all an email apologising if I had been acting oddly or upset any of them. I got back a reply, presumably on behalf of them all, telling me they basically don't want to spend time with me, that I am exhausting and self centred and lots of other things beside. I had no awareness that they felt like this and no awareness that I was acting like that either. I was always interested in what they had to say and their lives.

I am devastated. I have asked other friends if this is true and not one says they experience me like that, but I see less of them. My behaviour is dated back to after my stepdaughter died. This is incredibly painful. Have I turned into a monster? My other friends say the email is vile and cruel and untrue, but I can't shake the words from my head.

lucidlady Sun 20-Jul-14 10:20:07

Hello. Have you spoken to the group that this email is supposedly on behalf of? Or is it just one person projecting? Were they all cc'd on the response? It does sound very cruel and definitely not the kind of behaviour is expect from friends.

Lostforaname Sun 20-Jul-14 10:25:17

It's all quite a complicated set of 'so she wrote this and I said that' type of stuff, but yes, it's clear that no one disagrees with her. I have seen one of the others in person and she cut me dead. I sent an email to all of them apologising profusely, telling them how much I admired them all as people, and wishing them the best in the future.

Tutt Sun 20-Jul-14 10:38:25

If they can't support or even try to understand just how hard this time is for you then you are better off without them.
So what if you have become self-centred at this time you are allowed,
A child who shared your life has tragically died and your grief is as it should be and should be understood or talked about face to face with empathy and kindness.
Please ignore these spiteful bitches and don't take on any of their comments, they are cruel and nasty! You deserve better.

sanfairyanne Sun 20-Jul-14 10:52:11

how awful sad sad sad

perhaps bereavement has made you act differently, but what is their excuse??

some people have no clue at all, or are even scared of, bereavement, especially when it is the death of a child. i am so sorry you have to deal with their selfish, cruel, self centredness


Lostforaname Sun 20-Jul-14 10:57:24

I've not, I don't think, talked much about it. But obviously I have without realising.

One of them has a child who has a serious chronic medical condition which I know she is very worried about, understandably. But I do KNOW that, and ask about it, and listen to her. But it mustn't be enough.

I think what shakes me most is having not realised at all they thought of me like this, and therefore acting like this and upsetting them. I wish they'd just said. Looking back they have all been distancing themselves for a while but I just took them at their word for being busy etc and didn't realise. I'm not normally insensitive but clearly I was with them.

CrystalDeCanter Sun 20-Jul-14 10:59:00

OH MY GOD, so your step dd died last year, you then had a baby and have had a year to cope with all of that (plus grieving dh and (understandably) difficult stepson) and your friends had written that you're exhausting and self centred.

You poor girl. What absolute fuckers. They are shit friends. Of course you can't shake the words from your head. I'd be devastated too. It's awful.

thanks have these as a tiny consolation.


It may not feel like it now, but you are better off without them. You don't need people like that around you - selfish, spiteful and just plain nasty. Don't worry about having caused them any trouble - it's nothing less than they deserve if they're capable of that kind of response.

I'm so sorry for your and your family's loss, and the difficulties you're now facing thanks

Lostforaname Sun 20-Jul-14 11:46:07

Thank you for your kind replies. I know I need to stop thinking about this but it's brought me to my knees a bit. I'm sitting at home right now scared to go out to the playground or the local fete for fear of meeting one of them again. And my poor little girl has lost all her friends (their children) and I feel guilty because I've behaved in a way that has isolated her.

GirlWithTheLionHeart Sun 20-Jul-14 11:52:01

They sound like a bunch of arseholes, so good riddance. No you aren't a monster, you're human and you're going through a lot

Be kind to yourself, get out there and meet new friends who will be there for you without judgment

0dd Sun 20-Jul-14 12:04:45

I think bereavement like this makes you less likely to put up with bullshit from other people.

I found myself having less time to listen to petty gripes and it showed in my words and even just my face when I hadn't said a word. Everyone has small complaints but some people have a lot of small complaints, it's hard to listen to so many when you are struggling with something 'big'! iykwim.

I wonder if these women were the many petty complaints type? They want everyone to offer sympathy for each and every one. So if you haven't 'hunned' them at every turn they are being stroppy with you now.

Don't leg them get to you too much. Make new friend. People who only know the changed you and like you for that.

cathpip Sun 20-Jul-14 12:08:31

After the death of a child you certainly learn who your true friends are and they are not them, if you are apparently exhausting and self centred then I dread to think what they are like. I hate to say it but they sound jealous, you seem to have topped the lot and stolen all their thunder and poor me this has happened by having the worst possible thing as a parent happen to you. Quite frankly I would be pleased that my little girl was not associating with their children. Xx

StickyEmInTheRibs Sun 20-Jul-14 12:13:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ParsingFlatly Sun 20-Jul-14 12:38:40

Oh Lostfor, you sound completely lovely.thanks

Here's them been mean and shallow to you, and you're generously worrying if you've hurt them. And I notice you're putting yourself last among all the needs in your family, too.

You sound really generous and always trying to do the best for others.

I think Odd and cathpip are onto something. I wonder if these "friends" have always rather traded on your kindness, and now you're no longer the endless source of sympathy they happily tapped. And - horrors - you may actually be in need of some effort and sympathy from them, even from the Chief Needy Person.

There was another thread about something similar - a group of friends where one was forever the Heroic Little Martyr, regardless of what was going on. When one tried to say, "Hang on, I've been going through XYZ this year and no one's really commented, why am I buying flowers for Jane having stubbed her toe," the group couldn't cope with her stepping out of role.

Whatever, they sound selfish and not at all like true friends. So sorry you've had this on top of everything else, and hope you meet new people much more deserving of you.

Lostforaname Sun 20-Jul-14 14:19:24

Thank you. I have always thought of myself as a nice person. I can be tactless, but I have never deliberately hurt anyone. I feel guilty if I seem grumpy to a bus driver.

I'm not sure I was particularly sympathetic before. But I'm not sure of anything. They're not complaining types that much, although they did discuss their problems - and I listened. I think they are all much stronger people than me, not in what they can cope with, but in their approach to the world. More secure might be a better way of putting it.

Chottie Sun 20-Jul-14 14:25:09

I think your ex friends have been extremely unfeeling too. You and your family have lost a beloved child after an extremely long and difficult illness, you've had a baby, you are supporting your DH and your DSS and bringing up young child.

I can't begin to articulate how uncaring and disgusting I think the email you have received is.

ParsingFlatly Sun 20-Jul-14 15:39:51

Well their approach to the world seems to be that if it's not working for them, and they're not getting what they want out of you, to ruthlessly dump you without regard for your needs or feelings.

I'm not sure if that's "strong" or not. They certainly end up coping with less than you do - because stuff slides off their slopey shoulders.

To an extent one has to learn to do that, just for self-preservation. But they just sound selfish.

Lostforaname Sun 20-Jul-14 21:04:46

I feel very touched by this thread. I do have other friends, who are being supportive and kind about this, and everything else, so I am lucky.

Everyone I've told about this has been so nice to me - even my boss (I kept bursting into tears at work so I told her why) called them a pack of bitches. I wish I could listen to them rather than keep thinking of what was said and how it must be true. I can't argue with their feelings.

ParsingFlatly Sun 20-Jul-14 21:54:26

You may well be talking more about your problems than when you didn't have problems! But isn't that what friends are for?

You can't give them as much attention now because you're giving it elsewhere. A good friend would be trying hard to support you through that - not whining that you can't be as generous to them.

Lostforaname Mon 21-Jul-14 09:41:56

I'm feeling incredibly anxious this morning. I took a long detour to work to avoid walking past my neighbour's house. The worst bit is that every time I feel bad, I just think it's an example of how self-centred I must be. So it all goes round in a circle in my head.

Baddderz Mon 21-Jul-14 09:48:23

Pack of bitches is right.
And until they are bereaved themselves they will have no idea what you are going through.
They should all be ashamed.
Pack mentality at its worst.
Ime these groups of random women that we try and forge friendships with on the sole basis that we have children a similar age never end well...or just sputter to a natural end.
Move on, op.
You don't need people like this in your life.

ParsingFlatly Mon 21-Jul-14 09:53:30

Oh Lost, I just want to hug you.

Of course you're allowed to feel bad when someone's been horrid to you! No that isn't you being self-centred! It's being normal!

You said in your OP you'd been depressed. Are you getting any help for that at the moment?

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Mon 21-Jul-14 10:00:02

I think everyone can be self centred sometimes. Its allowed!

What really makes them bitches is the way in which they have told you. They could have easily told you in a nicer way if thats what they really thought, but they chose not too. They are not your friends, real friends would tell you in a more compassionate way and say that they know you've been through a lot.

I would find some new baby groups, make some new friends for you and your DD. I'm sorry for your loss and I'm sorry these women were so heartless.

sunbathe Mon 21-Jul-14 10:06:33

Sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what you're going through. flowers

If they had something to say, they could have found a gentler way of expressing it.

What made you email them in the first place?

Trooperslane Mon 21-Jul-14 10:16:35

Fuckers from me too.

I also agree with the pp that bereavement does make you less likely to put up with any bullshit.

So, these 'friends' think that it's ok to ignore you, drop you and send a horrific, nasty email at the end of the year when

- your dsd DIED
- you had another baby
- you have been supporting your presumably devastated DH and dss and other child

You know what, I think they've done you a favour.

Even IF (and I'm sure you weren't) you had been awful and nasty to them, the thing to do would be to back off from you.

There is absolutely no reason to send that nasty bitchy 'we all hate you' email

I am seething on your behalf.

I'm so sorry for your loss thanks

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