Should I get rid of all my friends?(46 Posts)
I'm toying with the idea of ditching all my friends and just starting again to eradicate all traces of my past life.
By way of background I'm not brilliant at the whole friendship thing and there is no-one I feel particularly close to. I divorced 4 years ago after a long and abusive marriage with a cheating narc ex and I am a single parent to three teen children, one with special needs.
I wasted all my youth in a shitty relationship where I just serviced my exH in every way possible, including financially, and never got anything back for myself and to an extent that is what I am still doing with the children (in my 50s now). I had counselling and realised that in many ways my marriage reproduced my emotionally barren childhood. Lovely.
I would love to move away for a complete change of scenery, preferably abroad, but I am stuck until the children finish school. I am really looking forward to being free to travel and live where I want when two of them go to uni. I recognise I will probably have one child with me always but s/he is a sweetie and will be happy to go with me.
So the friends in question are:
A. someone I used to work with. We used to be quite close but have drifted apart over the last year. She can be very snubbing of me and loves to remind me that she is better off than me;
B.someone I used live near but no longer do. She picks me up and puts me down when convenient which I don't really mind, but although she has been supportive in the past I can't get over the fact that she knew my exH was cheating as he brought his girlfriend to the same parties at least a couple of times but did not tell me.
C. A group of mums from primary school. We only ever go out as a group and they would not miss me if I never went again.
D. A group of former neighbours who are sweet but all happily married and tell me EVERY time they see me that there are some lovely men available even though have told them categorically that I never want another relationship again - the very thought gives me indigestion.
All of them are tarnished with my past life. I have thought about just fading them out so many times and only the fear that I might regret doing it has stopped me. I don't really care if I never replace them TBH, I'm fine with my own company.
I don't think anyone can or should answer this for you OP.
It's going to come down tonight you want to and if you can live without friends of any sort etc.
Personally, I'm fine with no friends. I've always been a loner tho and never social. The only issue is when the unexpected happens, say your house burns down, you have no friendly sofa on which to sleep. When I left my exwife I had to go to a hotel as I had no friends to call on etc.
Other than that I don't see an issue being alone. Makes for a cheap Xmas.
I do have a OH and a DD tho so not totally without human contact.
Should say, "come down to if you"
I don't know you but it sounds like you have been through an awful lot and a pattern in your life from childhood then throughout your marriage was one of being around people who were emotionally unavailable.
I think it's interesting (sorry for the armchair psychology) that your fantasy is to put yourself in a position where you can't be with anyone emotionally unavailable again because you will isolate yourself intentionally. To me, that suggests you haven't done the work on your own issues that would allow you to feel happy and secure in yourself.
It's a classic mistake to switch continents and ditch friends in the belief life will change, only to find you have your demons still with you. Get rid of them first. Then you might find other people more engaging to be around, because you may feel ready for intimacy on your terms, rather than denying yourself all contact.
Exactly what MrsMolesworth said. She speaks sense.
What, I can't ditch all my 'friends', travel around the world at my leisure, store somewhere that takes my fancy? Because my demons will come with me? Well that's very depressing.
Could I just travel and then deal with my demons?
As you can see, op, same position.
Thanks for the responses. I slightly take issue with you MrsM insofar as actually I think I am the only person I can rely on and the only person I do feel secure with and who has my best interests at heart. I'm not perfect, but I am a pretty decent person in many respects.
Other people use you for their own ends which might be fairly benign e.g. wanting more people at a party or to make them look good in a meeting or might be anything but (step forward my ex).
I do recognise that my view of life is a product of my past experiences, but isn't that true of all of us? Frankly I can't see that will change and though it was a hard lesson to learn as I used to be quite naive, I think it is a valid one. Ultimately everyone puts themselves and their own wants and desires first, some just disguise it better than others. It just took me a hell of a long time to learn that.
I do see the logic of your point Seeyou that friends can be a practical help, especially to a single parent where I might need backup in case of illness or something.
Goodness me, I have been thinking exactly the same thing as you OP! I couldn't think how or where to post - should I post in CHAT with a 'where would you settle if you wanted to start all over again, or in relationships with a 'i want to leave the past behind but don't know how to go about it'.. and here you've started the thread
FWIW i like springy's response but doubt has made me think like MrsM.
MrsM is absolutely right. You always take the weather with you.
If you move and find new friends you will simply repeat past patterns.
This is the product of damage:
'I think I am the only person I can rely on and the only person I do feel secure with and who has my best interests at heart'.
What you've learnt is only what selfish people are like. You haven't learnt what unselfish people are like and that they exist so you won't recognise them.
Well that is fairly damning. So there's no hope for me then? Put up and shut up?
Sorry, I can't believe that. I'm more inclined to think that where I find myself is circumstantial. The people I know are the product of the past life I lived with my ex and so they have certain things in common with him and the life we lived then.
I agree with you Andrise, you can only really rely on yourself.
No, bollocks, I don't believe that. My personality may well have been learnt to a certain extent but I've known some wonderful people.
Doesn't mean I want them in my life.
Change is as good as a rest.
Move from one place to another its a fresh start. New people, new places. Same you? maybe, but a new place brings a new perspective and new ways to grow and change and fight those demons, fight them on your terms, without the shadow of your old life.
Fuck it. I'm moving to Sicily Alaska.
There's every hope for you, but the work you need to do is on yourself not your location. That's not say a change of scene wouldn't do you good.
But you certainly don't need to keep friends who put you down and failed to tell you your husband was cheating.
Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.
I admit I am a selfish person and I agree that the only person who you can really rely on is yourself but I am very lucky to have some wonderful friends. My advice, having been a parent and also having suffered illness, is to keep a few in reserve, for practicalities.
Selfish yes but also realistic until you can replace with better, wherever they may be.
Don't try with them. Years ago, I cut off anybody who came out with anything like 'six of one and half a dozen of the other'. I left an abusive man and anybody who wouldn't hear that/believe it/acknowledge that it wasn't just six of one and half a dozen of the other, they had to go.
Recently I started making a lot more effort with a friend who lived further away, in the past i'd found time for the easiest friends but then I felt very let down and concentrated on another single parent friend.
I think believing that you're worth better friends, or people who are better friends to you, that sends a message to yourself. From you to you.
Mmm, personally I am so imperfect myself I am very tolerant of my friends minor misdemeanours.
I can't get over the fact that she knew my exH was cheating as he brought his girlfriend to the same parties at least a couple of times but did not tell me
I have to take issue with this. This is a very hard call to make. More than one person has lost a friend by telling things like this. I understand how unpleasant it was, but that is why mumsnet is invaluable where if we can criticise the behaviour of someone's husband honestly, without risking losing a personal friendship.
I do think you should continue to take therapy, OP. Not for you to decide to keep your friends, but for you to realise how very human we all are and yet we need each other.
How long to beat the therapy path though? 6 years (not including endless courses for evades) and I still manage to catch crap friends in my net.
Lately I've been thinking there are a lot of dicks about. This is absolutely true, no matter how you look at it, how fucked up you may be.
Yy I know about 'doing a geographical'. But I'm still meeting dicks at home so I may as well meet dicks somewhere nice/different.
I remember years ago I moved house and someone told me a story.
A couple move to the village and ask their neighbours "what are people like here?"
"What where people like in your old village?"
"Oh very friendly and helpful, lovely people"
"You will find them just like that here!"
Another couple move in and ask the same "What are poeple like here?"
"What were they like in your old village?"
"Oh very unfriendly nobody bothered with us."
"Sadly you will find them just the same here!"
I think you should cut off these people who add nothing to your life. But don't live in isolation, choose kind friends and be selective. There are lovely people out there!
Oh Mrs M nailed that one. But it isn't condemning you to isolation. Your 'friends' may not be the friends you want so if you have the time and capacity a bit of counselling may enable you to get what makes a useful friend. And allow you to rule out the users. Freedom programme too
Well, it all depends on what you think of as a friend. To me, you have described mere acquaintances.
I've done the Freedom Programme about 4 times. I'm still meeting dicks.
This may be a depressing thought, or not, depending, but imo if you've been fucked up in childhood you never quite get rid of the stain. Yy you learn a lot, a huge amount, in therapy; you shed hoards of shit; you learn all about boundaries, you protect your boundaries, you know how to do it. You get rid of users/dicks.. eventually - but it takes a while to build a friendship and sometimes it isn't apparent until a way down the line that they're dicks. Yes you get rid once it is apparent. But I think if you've had crap childhood it's harder to roll with the losses, to bounce back. It's easier, more peaceful, to settle in with yourself bcs you know you can be trusted.
That's not to say I don't go on seeking out and enjoying friends and friendships but I'm wary and my hopes aren't high that I won't kiss a lot of frogs in the process. I'm not sure that isn't actually a positive thing, healthy.
Yes I agree Springydaffs most of the time the dicks reveal themselves after a while.
Have you come across the users? God they sniff me out all the time!
What about the "everything will be great if it's all on my terms" friends.
My latest shock was a friend (who I thought was so lovely) revealed themselves as very nasty and bitter. It seems she only likes it when my life was going shit!!
Join the discussion
Please login first.