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Am I being overly sensitive about a friend?

(15 Posts)
Fidel Sun 23-Sep-12 18:39:38

Feel a bit embarrassed about posting this as there are worse problems, but would like to get others opinion on something that has been bugging me for a while.

I have a friend who lives nearby and I see monthly. She often makes comments which are made in a jokey tone but make me feel put down. I visited her recently and am now upset with some of the things she threw casually into our conversation. I was talking with my friend about finding shopping overwhelming sometimes if I am tired. She made a comment in this slightly jokey tone ?Oh, you?re such a sensitive soul, aren?t you?? Later, as she had invited us for a meal, she asked if I was ok with the food she had made. (I don?t eat certain foods for health reasons). Feeling a bit guilty and embarrassed to be putting her out I apologised for my cranky diet. In response she made another jokey comment about how she was used to my cranky ways by now.

About the diet and tiredness - I have health problems in that I have trouble sleeping, something that started after the death of my brother in very tragic circumstances ten years ago and an ectopic pregnancy, both events happening close together. My GP has not been able to help with this so I have explored other non alternative ways to help with my health, mainly taking up yoga and changing my diet which has helped a lot in mitigating the effects of tiredness. I would understand if this was all I talk about but we talk about many other things and I rarely mention this diet or my tiredness, when I am feeling really tired I keep to myself and stay at home.

She once bought me a birthday present that was a medical encyclopaedia because I was ? a hypochondriac? (this is beginning to sound like a theme now), again said in the funny casual tone as if she was making a joke.
I always kick myself after for not saying anything but find it impossible to say anything to her and always come away feeling bad about myself. Although others may not perceive this I have low self esteem. When I was younger I was often taken advantage of by friends and I still have difficulty knowing how a good friend should behave.

On occasions in the past when I have been ill e.g. when I broke my ankle, this friend has never visited me even though we live within walking distance of each other. On the occasion of my broken ankle my husband had rang her up for her opinion on whether she thought I had broken my ankle and should go to A & E (she once worked in healthcare which is why he sought her opinion), she never rang back later to see what happened and in 2 weeks hadn?t called which I became very upset about even though we live within walking distance of each other and we often call on each other for a cup of tea etc.

I remain friends with her because there are many moments in our past relationship when she has been incredibly supportive and understanding (my fertility problems) It is partly because of these moments that I find it hard to tell her that I find her comments upsetting and also partly because I am wondering if I am being over sensitive (I was told I was oversensitive as a child)

Would anyone else be upset by such comments?

Pancakeflipper Sun 23-Sep-12 18:45:35

It would deffo irritate me and start looking at the friendship to see if the good parts outweighed the bits that upset me.

She might do it to make her feel like the top dog? Focusing on your 'weaknesses' to make herself feel great.
She might do it and think it is an 'in'joke' with the pair of you and not realise at all that she is hurting you.

So then you can either continue or say something to her. Don't cut the friendship off without saying why because it might be her being very thick skinned and not realising you are upset.

Fidel Sun 23-Sep-12 18:52:55

Think the 'in joke' might be right pancake. I don't want to lose the friendship as I like her otherwise. I just don't know how to stop the 'in joke' in the heat of the moment, I am not good at confrontation with friends. What do I say?

OrangeImperialGoldBlether Sun 23-Sep-12 19:06:35

I think you need to stand up to her. She is being rude and thinks it's funny to insult you. She's been a good friend to you at times, but not at others - it's dreadful that she didn't call after you were injured. Don't rely on her as you might with a better friend - it's clear you're a better friend to her than she is to you.

Fidel Sun 23-Sep-12 19:17:35

I kind of consider her one of my best friends. I'm not very good at friends am I? sad

Mumsyblouse Sun 23-Sep-12 19:20:15

I see two sides here, really. Firstly, it's possible to be good friends with someone and yet not rush to support them every single time. She's supported you through fertility issues, not about the broken ankle, which I don't see as a big issue really, unless you are sharing day to day stuff. I wouldn't ring a once a month friend about a broken ankle, I also think it's fine for people to be supportive for one issue but not for every one.

Secondly, people who have worked in healthcare, such as my doctor friends, are blunt to the point of rudeness about illness, they have a strong coping mechanism which makes them very dismissive of the general aches and pains we all get, it sounds like your friend is joking about it but that she thinks this is shared- you said you have a cranky diet, she said 'I'm used to your cranky ways by now'. This sounds like the gentle teasing and banter between friends, not anything meant to put you down.

Of course, you don't have to be friends with her, you can just move away from the friendship. But, I think it's a shame, I don't see endless desire to put you down, but a way of coping with talking about your illnesses which is difficult for you (joking about it essentially). However, she is clearly sensitive enough to talk about your fertility.

I have a friend who does this, she's also in the medical profession and she's a dear friend and I wouldn't lose her, but I don't go to her about my medical issues, except factual stuff, she's too pragmatic and lacking sympathy!

As usual, I don't think one friend can fulfil every need.

dequoisagitil Sun 23-Sep-12 19:20:35

Maybe she does think you're a bit of a hypochondriac and is trying to jolly you out of it. It's difficult to know if it's banter she thinks you can take & enjoy or whether she intends to hurt you and there's malice in it.

Perhaps try giving it back, ie. taking the joke further yourself, or by joshing her about her foibles - she's bound to have some.

Adversecamber Sun 23-Sep-12 22:03:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Adversecamber Sun 23-Sep-12 22:07:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mayisout Sun 23-Sep-12 22:37:13

Insomnia is awful, something which I can atest to as a lifelong one, but I don't normally mention it to other people because, no doubt wrongly, I see it as something I am failing to do and rather than appear a failure I pretend I am fine, but do alter my life to fit it.
Sasha Stephens has written a good book on curing it and as she had insomnia for years can empathise with anyone else. Also Dr Gregg Jacobs' book is good.
But counselling and CBT would be the best way forward imo (nonexpert) as your sleep has been affected by the very tragic events in your past.
If counselling could help with your low self-esteem, which it should if it is good, everything else would be less of an issue, you would be able to laugh off her digs about your 'hypochondria' and if you felt more in control of life and confident then your existing problems would be less important.

PrimaBallerina Sun 23-Sep-12 23:14:02

I agree with mumsyblouse. yes you are being a little sensitive. She clearly cares about you and is there for you when it really matters.

In the nicest way, you sound like you might be a little needy at times and perhaps she finds that draining. It might explain why she is jokey and dismissive about the more minor stuff.

Nobody's perfect - I wouldn't lose a friend over it.

achillea Sun 23-Sep-12 23:24:25

I know who my friends are because they are the ones I have fallen out with but are still there for me. You need to stand up to your friend, it may lead to a fall out, but you may just as easily recover your friendship and it will be the stronger for it.

ladyWordy Mon 24-Sep-12 01:10:26

Your state of mind and energy levels when you are with someone - and after they leave - tell you fairly clearly how they are affecting you. If you feel happy and energised, this is a good person for you to be around.

But you said you always come away feeling bad about yourself, fidel. So on some level, this friend is not good for you - whatever is happening on the surface, and however much you tell yourself she is a good friend.

By all means assert yourself calmly if you are tired of the silly digs. (Do you tease her in the same way? Somehow I doubt it.)

At the same time I would look for a friend who isn't snide about your state of health, and just sees you as a nice person. When you have chronic problems, you really need that support.

ThisHasGotToStop Mon 24-Sep-12 01:29:32

My best bud is a bit like that but I like it really. She never lets me wallow, makes a big joke out of everything. I know she cares but it's her nature to joke and I always come off the phone feeling better. I'm a sensitive soul too but somehow its different with her, we call each other all sorts in jest but we don't mean it smile

Fidel Mon 24-Sep-12 10:49:07

Some interesting answers thank you. I am sensitive (despite counselling) and I think that is something I have to learn to live with. Some days I feel more sensitive than others and today I am feeling better.

Regarding being needy, on the one hand I think because my friend has been there for me in the past I am expecting her to be there for me now if only in a little way. I have had very little support with my insomnia and fatigue and counselling has not helped. It is the kind of health problem that isn't visible and so easy to dismiss and I just get on with it even when I am exhausted so in a way I kind of dismiss it myself. I actually talk to her very little about it and so on the occassions when I do i find it very upsetting when she treats it lightly.

On the other hand I have noted with my friend that she is very impatient with her own family when they are ill so it is not all about me.

I think I am needy (but not with her) and I probably need to do something about getting some support elsewhere. Not sure where but it helps to at least have that clear in my head.

I could probably do with some self assertion classes too. Does anyone know how to get these (cheaply)?

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