Upset by my friend- am I too sensitive?(23 Posts)
So I have a friend I have known for about 10 years now. We met at work, where she was a kind of unofficial mentor to me. She was someone who I respected hugely, went to for advice and she was instrumental in the progress I made in my career, always encouraging me. She actually got me a place on a course which led to me doing a full masters which I have just finished where I got a distinction and I think I owe her a lot in terms of my career. She is amazing at her job, really inspirational. Also, we live round the corner from each other and we each have 2 dcs, hers are each a few months older than mine and so we socialise a lot with the kids together, and were on maternity at the same time etc. We both struggled through sleep deprivation together so had that I common too.
Last year I left our workplace and got a promotion elsewhere. A little while after that, she said she was giving up her extra responsibilities at work and cutting her hours. I knew she had been unhappy for a little while (so had I which was part of why I left) so I was pleased that she was doing something to redress the balance in her life and happy for her.
Anyway, recently I feel like whenever I see her she makes quite pointed comments about how much happier she is now and constantly talking about how she is so much happier having given up her responsibilities at work because Her DD is only 3 and "priorities" etc and all seems a bit pointed. Yesterday another mutual friend asked if she'd consider going for promotion at our old workplace as a job has come up and she said she had no interest in any of it and couldn't care less who gets what whereas in the past she'd be well up for that kind of speculation.
I get that her priorities have changed but he way she talks about "priorities" seems very barbed, looking pointedly at me as she said it. My own situation isn't for everyone I know, and we do have different circumstances (she is 10 years older than me, my DH is PT) and I would never dream of making similarly disparaging comments about other women's choices. It just seems ironic that she is someone who has always been so supportive and now has had a complete change of heart and is implying to me that my kids should be my priority which of course they are!!
I am just wondering if I am reading too much into this or what.....I did feel quite upset by they way she spoke to me yesterday.
She is probably a little jealous or in someways conflicted by her choice. Maybe given that she has always in the past been senior to you etc etc she finds it hard to see you being promoted. Whatever the reason she is being a bit nasty and if it carries on you might need to call her on it.
From what I can see she's not made comments about your choices though, you've just interpreted it that way. Maybe respond with 'isn't it funny how we're all different' next time and leave it at that.
Why not just say that you're happy for her and things are working out for you, too so go us!
Sounds as though she was senior to you and now she sees you as being senior to her. And even though she made her choice and is happy with it she is still a but conflicted about what she has done, especially when she speaks to someone who knew her when she was more senior. It's about her, not about you - try not to let it spoil your friendship.
You probably could make one clear neutral comment next time she says anything, let her know you have noticed. Otherwise if you just leave it it will probably pass.
I wouldnt be so sensitive about it. If you think she is having a go the bestt thing to do is to get aggressive with her. Get right up in her face and ask her if she wants some. She will panic Nd realise thst you dont take any messing. Itll all be fine afterwards. Youll be the mummy then and she will respect you more for it.
She's justifying her own choices to herself. Doubt she's even thinking about you as she says it.
I suspect she may want to reassure herself that she has made the right choice and hence the constant remarks about how she's got her "priorities" right. Beating her own drum so to speak.
On paper I can't tell whether she was actually implying that you don't put your children first or if you just imagined it.
I think JellyMould has given you very good advice. Remain calm and confident in your choices. If she doesn't let up then you have the choice to either have a frank discussion with her or be snarky back.
It's such a difficult subject and it shouldn't be. While you feel that she may have been judging you for your decision, she may feel the need to defend her decision to stay at home. In a perfect world all mothers want to do it all but we can't so we feel guilt for whichever decision we make and some people feel they need to justify it. In your position, if other than this comment you feel she is a lovely person I would just let it slide. And don't feel bad about your decision. We all do what is right for our families and circumstances and shouldn't feel bad about whatever that decision is.
I don't see an issue here. When the subject comes up again you hyst need to say that every time you see her you are reminded of how luck both your families are that your kids have a parents that can afford to work part time when so many families don't have that luxury.
I can't see how what she said could be interpreted as taking a pop at you unless there is a history of more pointed comments you haven't mentioned. You do seem over sensitive and over-thinking this seemingly innocent comment.
Perhaps I am being over sensitive then. Also ignoring Steve's advice .
Good point about each family having a pt parent, I might point that out next time.
"She's justifying her own choices to herself."
Exactly this. She is feeling insecure about your progress at work and success, so needs to reinforce her own decisions as being the "right" ones. Many people feel the need to put down others' choices, even subconsciously, to stamp on any niggling doubts they may have (as we all do from time to time) about the choices they have made themselves.
Remember that's what it is, be confident in what you are doing, and let her comments drift over you. It's about her (natural) insecurities rather than because she actually thinks you are wrong.
She is justifying her own choice and probably has no intention of hurting you. With your dp part time your child has a percent around whereas her situation sounds as if it was different.
She relieved to have stepped away from the stress. If she does say any more it may be an idea to prepare a few sentences about how glad you are that she's so happy but you still feels great about how her help has got you to your own happy place, blah blah. And how lucky you are to have dp part time etc.
She's been a brilliant friend in the past so I very much doubt she want to hurt you. More like someone who goes on a fitness binge and wants the whole world to appreciate how marvellous spinning classes are or cutting out wheat or whatever.
I have recently given up a career and become full time SAHM while I figure out what to do next, for many boring and personal reasons. I was unbelievably miserable before though, and only realised it when I gave up. I may have been slightly evangelical about how awesome it is to a few people. I am loving having time to spend with the kids, and their behaviour has improved massively as a result of me not being a grumpy depressed cow for instance. I would hate for my friends to think I'm in any way judging them though. It was what was right for our family right now, everyone is different, both in terms of what makes them happy, and what their circumstances will allow, and I totally get that.
I suppose my point is that she might just feel similarly relieved and happy. I might start adding a disclaimer to my rhapsodising about how happy I am though! It is such a minefield, the expectations society has for women to both work (rather than being layabout unambitious housewives), but also involved and present parents (rather than be a, gasp, "career woman"). The only way to win at this is to be confident in your own choice.
I think it's more about her feeling divided about her decisions. She's validating herself when around you. You sound kind, but over invested in acknowledging this to yourself. I get the impression that boundaries on both sides are rather fudged. I read something lately along the lines of " Comparison is the thief of joy ".
Ask her once and once only if she has regrets then leave it to rest. You got where you are on your own merits. Yes, she encouraged & supported you. You're not forever in her debt. You don't owe her. Enjoy your friendship if that's what you want. Believe me, you'll look back & wonder where your time has gone!
It's classic projection. She's unsure about the choice she has made, is probably still adjusting to the change (and deep down maybe not even enjoying it that much) and is projecting it back on to you.
Honestly, if she was happy with her choice, then she wouldn't feel the need.
Or - she's just genuinely happy with her choices and oblivious to any offence she's causing? (I'm not actually the OPs friend, but feel like I could be...).
I don't feel that's the case at all here MS, but you could be right.
I do think in many ways it is a shame that she has stepped back as she was so very good at what she did but clearly she has made the choice that she feels best for her and I get that. Also she was at work ft for over a decade before she had dc whereas I got pg at 26 and so was still v keen to work ft as I was young and enthusiastic etc. She is a lovely person and a great friend so I probably just need to get over it.
Yep, mentioning being lucky you both have someone part time is good, as is mentioning how lucky you both have been to be able to have periods to focus on your careers, hers as she had a career first, yours because you have a career now, when so many women don't get that as their careers take a hit from having kids.
One thing I've learnt is you're judged no matter what you do. I have friends worked by ft who are judged for it as I am for not being employed. Might as well do what suits you and let everyone get on with what suits their situation.
I work pt, have all school holidays off and DH works ft.
My BF has a v high powered job, works long hours and her DH is a SAHD.
We're different but neither way is right or wrong, just what suits us.
I think YAB a bit sensitive. FGS don't take Steve's advice
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