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Need to know how to support friend(8 Posts)
I have a very dear friend who I love very much who is making some dreadful decisions at the moment.
This will be long to avoid drip feed!
We became friends once I was dating my now ex dh and she was engaged to his best friend. Since the day I met her she has has her heart set on having children and being a mum, she married (after me) and we were very close and she has always said having children with her DH is her priority, over work etc and as far as I knew (from what her DH said to me and she reported that he said to her) he was also very keen and looking to start a family soon.
After being married for a few months, she thought she was pregnant- it was about six months before their 'we'll start trying' date (wanting to wait for pay rises and mortgage repayments to lower) and when she told him, his first reaction was: you will have to have an abortion.
She was devastated and coupled with family illness, the upset caused her to begin what I can only describe as an emotional breakdown and total leave of her senses. She's become someone I don't recognise. She began an affair with a married man (2nd marriage, current dw has cancer, three children) and has had sex with several other randoms- I've been honest- told her she is making bad choices, but supported her emotionally, encouraged her to make positive changes, but it's been a year now and she is now obsessed with the married man (who has lost interest in her) has had to have an abortion after getting pregnant and not knowing who the father was, split with her DH after confessing to the affaire and is now on another spiral downwards.
Sadly- I fell pregnant straight after her (I left my DH years ago and am now in a new relationship which removed me from our 'group' which is partly why I think she confides so much to me) and the timing has been awful. She struggles so much as I know she wants to be happy for me- but she sees me at the stage she 'should' be and I can see it's really hurting her. I hurts me! I really care for her and hate to see her hurting.
I pick her up when she needs me to, I listen to her, advise her, encourage her to have counselling (which she does now- but sporadically) and I don't think in helping. Last night she text to say she was thinking of ODing. I hadn't replied to an earlier message as I was busy, and worry that she sent that as an attention seeking text? Not sure. I had to contact her now ex and get him to check on her (still living together in seperate rooms whilst house is sold- they are amicable, he loves her a lot but they've accepted it won't work) and I don't know what to do.
Please please please, I'm desperate- who can I get her to talk to? I'm worried about her drinking, lack of eating, dangerous sexual behaviour and obsession with this married man. I don't recognise her as my lovely kind funny articulate clever friend any more- she's a shadow of who she was.
You're being a very good friend but I want to warn you that this may not end well and that, whatever happens, you must not blame yourself for the outcome and you must not allow her to drag you into her private version of hell. She has made some bad decisions & is compounding that with more bad decisions including the sporadic attendance at therapy. Sending texts hinting at suicide is not the action of a friend, it is a selfish attention-seeking ploy. Her life sounds bad but you and your family must take priority or you will suffer. Having seen more than one 'helpful' family split up in similar circumstances, I have to give you that warning.
If you genuinely believe that there are MH issues that have not be either diagnosed or treated correctly then you could contact her GP, explain your concerns, and see if they will consider a mental health assessment. In the meantime, if you get more suicide threats point her in the direction of Samaritans.
I agree that she sounds like a terrible attention-seeker. Why do you believe for example, that her husband ordered an abortion for what sounds like was a non-existent pregnancy? He'd told you himself that he wanted children, so is your only source of evidence for this 'abortion' statement, your friend?
More likely I think she rewrote that bit of the story to give herself an excuse for behaving very badly and screwing a MM whose wife has a life threatening illness, as well as other randoms, wouldn't be the average woman's response.
She sounds like an emotional vampire who creates havoc in other people's lives and does it for attention. Be careful not to get hired for a role in this drama. Your life might be the next setting for her new 'play'.
Thank you, I'm re reading your posts to try and figure out an action plan to move forward.
I acknowledge the dubious story of her DH saying he didn't want the baby- I know that she has told me he was depressed, I've spoken to him a few times but never about their issues and I hadn't thought to question it.
The affair is what has driven me to despair, to be honest. I don't want to hear about their sex life, she is so confused and makes sweeping statements and grand claims that she almost immediately contradicts: sex with the MM was the best she ever had and she was bored by her DH. And then that her and DH have a very adventurous sex life and that wasn't the problem. Seriously confused. I always point these inconsistencies out to her in a bid to make her see it doesn't make sense, but it doesn't work.
My DP has always really liked her, supported me in supporting her (given us space if there is an impromptu visit, drops her back off to the station, has had her stay on the sofa at his flat before I even had moved into the flat etc) but last night, after the OD threat, it has shaken him as much as me. I can't understand why she feels so desperate- it is not that bad.
Today she hasn't contacted me, I have text but had no reply. Her ex DH text to say she was ok and went for her driving lesson.
I'm going to investigate contacting her GP- will ask her DH about who she is registered with. I'm also going to contact her sister and see if she can encourage her to pursue the therapy. I just want my old friend back- but totally see why I need to withdraw as I'm obviously goin to get 'sucked in' and only make it worse.
"I can't understand why she feels so desperate- it is not that bad."
Trust your judgement. You said yourself that you'd been a bit slow to respond so it sounds like she wasn't desperate but had merely upped the ante to an OD threat to get your attention. Same with the contradictory sex-life. To me looking at this from the outside the inconsistencies you describe in her various stories suggest it has more to do with her trying to sound interesting than having genuine problems. Sometimes being a friend means telling someone you don't want to hear about it any more. 'None of my business'. Once you stop being that reliable listening ear, sofa for the night & emergency phone-number.... you'd be amazed how quickly you get dropped and replaced.
I would take a big fat step back from this person for a while. Get on with your life and leave her to hers. Wouldn't call the GP, sister or ex partner for the time being. I don't think you'll ever get your old friend back but, if you stop being her safety-net, you may find she's a little more careful up there on her high-wire....
As hard as that is to read, cogito, I think you're right. It's almost identical to the advice my mum gave me today- they've heard the whole saga right from the beginning. I hate sounding judgemental, but I hate her affair and I hate her defence of the MM as a 'good father' as to why he won't leave. I want to be there for her, but I'm sickened by the way she convinces herself their 'holding each other in the dark and loving each other is more important' than his responsibility to his wife and children. I think this has got worse since I've been pregnant as I'm just more emotional about this stuff, and not the best person to listen.
Going to hold fire and see what happens. I don't think I'll hear from her for a while and I sent one text this morning which she has ignored. I'm not gonna chase her anymore. Feel so sad.
I've got to ask this OP. You said your DP took her home and also let her sleep on his sofa when you weren't there. Has she ever tried anything on with him or given any hints in that direction?
The more you tell us about her, the more she sounds like a compulsive liar and drama vulture. How long did you actually know her before she changed? Also looking back, was she always a bit like that but it's you who's changed and you've developed better nouse about people and situations?
Oh no- I was there, but not living with him at the time. I just appreciated the way he let her stay at his place- before it became officially our place, if that makes sense?
I've known her for a long time (3/4 years, 1 year of very close friendship) and she was literally NOTHING like this. Very content, happy to plan her future family, we spent loads of time at the gym together, running together- wholesome nice things! It has only been this last year where I've watched her change into this other very sad and desperate person. Her level of obsession for this MM really makes me concerned for her. Especially given they work together and he is significantly senior to her. I worry that if it continues, they will find a reason to sack her to make it easier for him.
I haven't heard back from her still. I'm so angry and still worried. I get on with her mum and sister really well, and I know they're equally despairing but I'm sitting on my hands for now, as clearly my interventions are going to feed the drama rather than resolve it.
Oh, and I put to my DP the suggestion that her husband never refused the abortion, and he agreed that it was plausible. Just so sad. I don't know what she's turned into and she has hurt so many innocent people. The wife and kids know about the affair and despite knowing how upset they are, the MM's DW's further cancer treatment- she won't stop.
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