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Hi everyone, a very long story of past horrific childhood abuse, then 2 abusive marriages - dont really want to go into too much detail here. But because of this I fail at every relationship - with men and with friends.
Suddenly had a light bulb moment on here a little while ago whilst reading someone elses thread about toxic relationships.
I find it very hard to make friends and seem to go through life picking up people, then dropping them when they dont live up to my expectations or after knowing them for a few months, realise that I dont like them.
This is a never ending cycle which at my time of life is going to be very hard to break. But I want to do something about it.
Ive recently met what I thought was a nice lady on a Walking Group. We clicked instantly, had so much in common. Few weeks into this relationship I realised that she wasnt so nice after all and was talking nastily about several friends of hers that shes known for over 25 years.
She has used me numerous times for lifts out and free meals (Im a mystery shopper so that wasnt at my expense) and when I asked for a lift somewhere recently, I got a very caustic reply and was told no because it was out of her way.
I tend to mother people, because Im a very caring person, and I like to do things for people, but enough is enough. Im sick of doing all the giving and caring and always getting nothing in return.
How do I break this cycle?
I want to break it off with her and I want to tell her why so she doesnt contact me again. I dont want to make the friendship work with her, because shes a toxic person. Ive given all I can to it and have now seen her true colours.
Dont get me wrong, Im not perfect by any means, but Im too soft, attract people that use me and then I get annoyed and want to get rid of them.
Is is better to be alone with my own company than with people who are like this?
I belong to a walking group, not one person in that, ever asks how I am or anything about whats going on in my life. Even though I do to them.
Its all very wearying.
Why are people so rude, thoughtless, have no basic social skills or manners?
Help someone please and point me in the right direction to change this.
hi op, I wish I could give you some useful advice but I too am in the same boat as you, I am too caring and kind for my own good and 'friends' have taken advantage of that in the past, what I did do though is grow a spine and speak up and say no more! I literally have no friends now, well not the kind of friend/friends that I would like. I have one friend that is straight talking and decent but not know each other for very long and she is quite a bit older than I am so we aren't close friends. maybe me and you could be friends.. sounds like we'd make a good pair lol, I too wish people could be more like me instead of thinking that they can just use me as a doormat and use for what they can get but don't reciprocate!
Hi, thanks for the reply. So how are we both going to tackle this?!! haha.
I want to email this lady and tell her how I feel but I dont want the backlash. I can give it out but I cant take it back, I hate being criticised but I feel that if i just let things slide, its only putting off the inevitable.
I worry that my son thinks Im odd because I dont have a big circle of friends but not everyone does do they? Its ok to just love your family and have acquaintances, isnt it?
As you said "you wish people could be more like you" . I think that but you cant change people can you, so we either put up with it or find new friends.
I shall have a think overnight about how im going to change all this.
You could be me OP. I've driven myself crazy analysing all this. I've learnt to set stronger boundaries. Don't fill awkward silences with jibber jabber trying to make the other person feel comfortable when they've overstepped those boundaries. I've also adopted a new strategy. I try & deal with each situation using the armour of politeness. Not just withdrawing or cutting off until the next sitation crops up.
I spent 32yrs in a cult, & I'm trying to grow healthily in my emotional development. I feel so stunted, but Mn has helped me. All my immediate loved ones have noticed a change for the better these last 2yrs. A book was recommended on another thread. It's called "Find Your Own North Star" by Martha Beck. It could have been written just for me personally.
give her the cold shoulder, and make excuses if you have to but slowly shut her out, eventually she will get the hint or fed up and give up with you. I would love to make new friends, but i find it really difficult to do that, i also want to be able to and feel completely comfortable being myself around other ( i am a bit
mad quirky ) i find it hard to meet people who i have a lot in common with. Yoksha i will give that book a read, thanks for recommending it
I have quite healthy relationships so here is my advice.
First of all don't jump in too quickly. You don't have to try and be good friends with people straight away. It would take me about 6 months of knowing somebody to offer them a lift. Don't look for people that you have 'loads in common with' straightaway. These people are often saying what you want to hear- look for the quiet people, the observers, as they are often the shy people who are actually more interesting ad better people once you get to know them.
Ask people questions then listen to what and how they answer. You can quickly tell people who are self centred, permanent victims or negative vs people who are positive, observant, witty or kind but you have to let other people speak not just look for things you have in common.
Be really clear with your boundaries. Invite people to things if you'll enjoy having them there and it's fine to say no. Value yourself and your time and others will as well.
I too can identify with your post. I'm too trusting [despite a difficult past and failed relationships] and let people into my life who have manipulated and disappointed me. I also get agitated when I see through the behaviour and refuse to be treated shabbily. When I have been genuine and done things to help others and cared.
I've had to walk away from some 'friends' who were toxic and have very few people around me. One decent friend and a couple of acquaintances, that's it. I am very isolated, very lonely but I'd rather this than be used, feel like I'm on eggshells and ridiculed in an unequal, unbalanced relationship.
I have no idea why some people are so uncaring and unfeeling and want to use other people except to think that they have no conscience. I think I give of myself too freely and should hold back much more. I do not know your next step OP except to say the same, and evaluate people and their hidden motives over a longer period of time before getting too involved.
I also relate a lot to this situation with regards female friends. And have also had a traumatic and emotionally abusive childhood. I've been doing a lot of work on myself these past couple of months and have noticed:
I often feel a strong initial attraction to critical and judgemental women. I want to please them, be accepted by them and be their friend. I think their critical / negative nature makes them funny, interesting and 'real'. My own parents were very critical and unkind (I am also very critical of myself), maybe this is why or at least part of it. This attraction leads me to want to 'fast track' the friendship, I get an unusual amount of validation from this person considering how long I've known them etc. Which I am beginning to realise is not particularly ideal or healthy and leads me into toxic situations.
The best friends I have, who have ended up lasting for years, I definitely did not have this initial strong attraction to. They were either growers, or circumstance led us to pal up, and we ended up staying friends.
So going forwards I am going to be suspicious of this initial attraction to these friends, take a step back and slow down. As a PP said friendships take time.
People with difficult childhoods have low self esteem. We are busy thinking about what other people might want, but we need to slow down and get in touch with what we want. Not smoothing things over with unfulfilling one-way conversations and asking people questions about themselves when you're not that interested is part of this.
Sorry if this is garbled - I am right in the middle of figuring some of this stuff out for myself so hope some of it helps.
Thank you all for your very enlightening and thought provoking replies. Ive already read them all several times and will continue to do so.
I can see a way out of all this but I realise its going to take time. Im going to work on myself and what I want and stop doing what I think other people expect of me.
If I end up alone, so be it, I still have my son and granddaughter who I know appreciate me for me and not what they can get out of me.
Thank you again. And if anyone wants to keep in touch please do so, Id love to hear from you and how youre getting along.
And Ill post more as I hopefully progress.
PS. Meant to say also, incase anyones interested, i took the bull by the horns and emailed the lady in question yesterday and just bluntly said I wouldn't be in contact anymore, had deleted her contact details, asked politely for her to do the same, said I was making some changes in my life and was only going to surround myself with people that I wanted to. That should have given her the hint! If she didnt like it, tough, she has plenty of other toxic people around her to fall back on.
I felt quite brave and liberated afterwards. Not sure how she will respond, if at all, if she does reply, Im not going to read it and get upset, Ill peek through squinty eyes and delete unread!!
There's something to this that I can't put my finger on, but it's something along the lines of "I'm nice but everyone else isn't. They're all out to get me".
im a very damaged person from things that have happened in my past. Im very self aware too. I always pick the wrong sort of person, which is my fault not theirs. Yes I am a nice person, but I certainly dont think everyones out to get me. One of my faults is that I expect everyone to be kind, caring, understanding and tolerant, the same as me, and theyre not. Thats not the same as thinking everyones out to get me.
Sending an email like that is odd, certainly not typical behaviour of closing down a friendship. In future, just withdraw.
I have many friends as i love people. Those who do something to annoy me, i just avoid for a bit. In these circumstances it sounds like you put too much pressure on one person at a time. Why not extend your social circle, are there meet up groups close to you, or another sport you can join?
Yes I understand youre thinking but once I make up my mind to do something I have to finish it there and then or it just gives me something else to fret about. And yes youre exactly right, I do put too much pressure on people to conform to what I expect of them. Thanks for the reply, thats given me something to think about and work on. I do appreciate everyones input.
I play sport once a week and enjoy that very much but it takes a long time to establish yourself in a group of people so Im taking that slowly because I dont want to ever give up the sport because of my issues.
But you see, your way is unusual. Look at the traits of friendly, popular people and try to adopt a few. Weird behaviour alienates you and also makes you a target for those who sniff out vulnerability.
Weird behaviour? You dont seem to have much empathy. Ive already posted that Im a very damaged person from years of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. I find it hard to even get out of bed some days with the demons I have running around my head. I try my best to see the good in people but I seem to be in a pattern of lurching from one bad relationship/friendship to another. Maybe its too late to change. thanks for your input but telling me im weird is unhelpful.
I know what you mean OP. I have a similar trait whereby I have the urge to totally shut people down and officially 'end' the friendship, as you have just done. I did alot of soul searching along the lines of it can't always be something wrong with other people! There must be something in me that is attracting these people. These days I do often still attract the same types but I take it in my stride and don't invest too much, I had a recent example of a situation with a newish friend where in the past I'd have done the whole 'cut off' thing but instead I very gradually withdrew, to the point where there are probably not even aware I have. No drama, I'll probably even meet her again for a drink to catch up in the future but I've mentally ticked her off as a 'friend'. I feel much better for it!
Whilst I get it in a way that you're empowering yourself by sending this email. I wouldn't have done it either. I agree with other pp, just withdraw. That's where the armour of politness helped me. There's an old proverb - " You catch more flies with honey than vinegar ". You can achieve much more in a dignified way by just asserting your boundaries. Less is more in this case I'd suggest.
This bit, One of my faults is that I expect everyone to be kind, caring, understanding and tolerant, the same as me, and theyre not. as an example.
Is it not more of a case that sometimes we're all caring, tolerant, kind and understanding and sometimes we're not? You included?
You've just described me op. Caring, helpful and gets used. I just explained on another friendship thread that last year;I had to cut two friends off because they were so intense that I felt I could not breathe and one I felt used. You just need to start by delaying your answers to texts, to eventually not texting. And saying you are busy even if you aren't.😩
Op have you ever had long term help/ counselling in regards to your upbringing and relationships? Because in all honesty I think it will be very very difficult to learn to nurture future friendships in a long term healthy way if the issues of the past have not been addressed. I can't begin to imagine what you may have been through but I don't think it is something that can be rectified all alone or quickly.
And for what it's worth good friendships have ups and downs and take a bit of work. Go slow and don't write people off too quickly
You seem to see things as very black or white. I have good friends but they're not perfect. But l accept their faults as l need them to accept mine. Sending that email was a very strong reaction. As already said just go gradually into friendships and gradually out. Then there is no big drama.
When someone starts to badmouth someone else just say...hey hey be careful now or something like that. I learnt that from my dad years ago as that is what l heard him say to people who started gossiping.
An old book called How to make friends an influence people might be worth a read.
But basic advice is slowly in, slowly out.
Hi just wanted you to know your not on your own, although not the same exact circumstances Iv found since Iv been pregnant the only time people have really contacted me is when they want something or need me to ask my boyfriend if he's got friends with lifts or that are single it's times like this when you realise who your friends are I would be straight with the person and say why don't you pay for once maybe in a nicer way and say because the last few times it's been me paying for everything and it's not fair a friendship should work 2 ways.
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