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Opinions and advice sort on my situation(110 Posts)
I had first child in 97. He came early (7wks) so it was all a bit scary. I started NCT lessons but had only done 2 when baby arrived so didnt really bond with any one. After 6 months that were quiet grim (at home for 1st time ever, knew no one except for my elderly neighbours, that sort of thing)I decided to get out there and meet people.
I joined church tods and met J.and B. We got on quiet well and inspite J having habbit of lecturing about everything (from how well her ds slept to the MMR jab) things rubbed along.I detected that J and B got on better than me and J and would often find that I was excluded from conversations because I hadnt been at a particular outing or coffee morning etc but I didnt really mind. I had enough contact not to feel isolated and I had also made friends with C another new mum to the tods group. After a time we were a 4.
J`s lecturing and excluding manner grew over a period of time and I can think of many occasions where she`d greet my arrival at B`s house with phrases like "oh! didn`t expect to see YOU here" or tell me she was busy if I asked her out etc only to find she`d gone to the zoo etc with B.
I gradually became closer friends with C to the point that I asked her to be God mother to my second son and she asked me to be the G.M to her 3rd. I continued to see and be good friends with B who is the "salt of the earth" but over time, reduced contact with J as she always made me feel unwanted or uncomfortable.
My second child was born in 2001, also premature and after a vomit ridden 7 month pregnancy. J and B also had babies 5 weeks either side of mine. To cap my miserable pregnancy, 6 weeks after the baby came my Dad died at only age 58.
B and C sent me cards, offers of help etc but the only mention made of my absence from our group by J was in a telephone conversation when I invited her to my sons baptism. She said "in the nicest possible way, WE have got use to you not being around". I was very upset.
Last Sept J`s son, B`s son and my son all started in reception class at the same school. At the school gate, it was all I could do to get J to acknowledge my exsistance some days. She would often not even say good morning or look in my direction and if I ever made a point of making her notice me she`d say "sorry didnt see you".
Our boys get on well and things continued with J and I only seeing each other at school or in the company of B or C at tods.
At Christmas J had asked what we 4 were going to do about christmas gifts for the children. (The year before we had stopped our usual practice of buying them all gifts as there were now 10 kids and B & C weren`t as well off as J and I). I told J that I would fit in with what ever the others wanted to do. J said that every one was not buying gifts this year and thats how we left it.
The following week at tods, I half heard a conversation between J and C about organising christmas gifts. Privately I asked J what had changed the arrangements and she said she had decided to do things on an individual basis with C,B and I. I asked (jokingly) did that mean buying their children gifts but missing out my two - she said yes. She also pointed at my little one and said why would she buy him a gift, she never sees him and he meant nothing to her. I left.
B was upset and tried to patch things up for everybody.J said she had been misunderstood but I knew different.
Since then I have gone out of my way to avoid J. Ironically, for a while she made great efforts to say hello of a morning and engage me in conversation but I didnt bite. B and her continued to do the sort of things they had before eg take each others kids home from school, take their youngest (same age as my youngest) to clubs ect so I made a real effort to get to know the other mums and their kids so as not to appear to be "billy no mates ".
This actually back fired a little as B has recently told C that I`m not around that much and that I seem to have "readjusted my friendship group" I have not a clue what that means.
I had hoped that B would reolise that I avoided her only when she was chatting to J and that when J is not there I happily chat to B .
The final twist in my sorry tail came recently when I was asked by C to go to soft play outing with her and her youngest 2 children (to celebrate one of their birthdays).
My oldest asked why J and B`s sons had been asked to the birthday party but he had not. I said their wasn`t a party, just a soft play visit for the younger ones. My son was so sure it was a party I checked with C only to find that J and B (plus all their children) were going for tea at C house after school. C said it was not a party,just tea with a Birthday cake.
I told her I was hurt a/ that my oldest was not asked to either the soft play outing during the day or the tea party in the evening and b/that obviously she had felt J and I would not mix at a social function for a 3 y.o so had bumped me.
C replied that J and B go together as a set.
We havent spoken since. I dont feel she was the person I thought she was.
I continue to see B every week for lunch and our youngest play.
What do you think - too sensitive? stupidly chucking away friends for un important reasons? or did I basically do right.
Crikey Toot, long post !
This seems like a long and complicated story but from what I understand, you did right. I have a similar, less advanced situation where a friend I knew before pregnancy became preg 13 weeks after me. We got really close and did lots together. Then friend met another preg lady at parentcraft (I like you, didn't go to P'craft) who was due within a fortnight of friend and lived just around the corner.
All 3 babies were born (though due to me being early and friend overdue there is now an 18wk gap between her DD and mine) they too go and do things like swimming etc and I never get invited, but whenever I phone friend and new friend they always seem friendly. I feel childish and petty for worrying about it but it still plays on my mind and my DD is 9mo.
I don't think you are being too sensitive. It's a shame C acted the way she did. You sound very mature and realistic and by that I mean, you are not rude towards J but are just not making an effort in maintaining a friendship that would be very hard work and one sided on your part.
I have a similar situation whereby friends of mine are good friends with a girl I shared a house with and did everything with for a number of years. Unfortunately we fell out but they continue to maintain their friendship. I have told them I have no issue with this and have no issue in attending events where my old friend would be as I hold no grudge against her in any way. She ended the friendship more than I did and I actually feel a loss for that but have also realised that life must continue.
Good on you for getting out there and making more friends and not being reliant on a small group. I can sense how hurt you are about all of this and can only suggest you have a one to one chat with C. Your message here is very clear and quite unbiased and I think if you communicate this to C she will have a better understanding of how things are. You aren't asking her to choose between yourself or others so remember to make that clear.
In an ideal world, which it's not so I don't know if this would work, I would suggest you get all three to sit down with you and explain exactly what you have above with them all. That way there can be no crossed messages or misundertandings and as I said earlier I really think you are handling this very well and would be able to communicate this well without having any of them feel you are picking on them (or words to that effect).
If you don't feel you can get them all together and talk about this then please also talk openly and honestly with B so that she realises. The last piece of advice for you would be to recap at the end of the conversation and just make sure they are all very clear about what you have said and meant. You don't want anyone walking away thinking you meant something else than what you actually did.
J doesn't sound like too bad a person, a bit mean, but maybe she really did say something that wasn't meant to be taken the way it was. I do that often and don't ever realise until someone tells me so can quite often have friends/people thinking one thing when I meant something completely different.
Honesty is the best approach even if it may be hard to say. If you do have a conversation with these people then remember to continually refer back to the way you felt starting sentences like - I feel. No one can dispute this as these are your feelings or beliefs. It's a trick I use often at work and it works for me all the time.
You really think people would grow up J sounds like the school bully. She is obviously a very insecure woman, and felt threatened people would like you more. You walk past her with your head held high! She is jealous and should get a grip.
Thanks Carmel, meanmum and Ejsmum. I will try to dip into this thread this evening while packing for the bank hol weekend. I`ll think hard about your advice and appreiciate the kind support.
just spotted spelling errors but the most embarasing is the sort not sought - oops!
toot I think there is alot of two-faced people in your circle. IMO I think that J has this attitude towards you could it be because her and B were friendly first (it looks like there come like a pair of bookends as C described) and you were seen as pushing and intruding into that friendship. If J,C and B were true friends they would not allow you and your kids to be treated this way. For example it takes you to "overhear" conversations about xmas gifts. WHY couldnt one of them approach you themselves and ask YOU if they were such good friends. C and yourself are supposed to be closer than J and B so why was your son not invited. They sound like a bunch of s***stirrers to me and that you would be better off without them IMO. I would concentrate on finding a new "circle" and let the whole lot of them get on with the backstabbing. Sorry but none of them are "friends" and you deserve to find some true mates. Hope this helps.
toots, i agree with doormat - none of these people have behaved like friends to you. I feel terrible for you, you must be very upset at the way you've been treated, but honestly, you will be better off without them. You certainly haven't been oversensitive - extremely tolerant more like!
Thanks for the input doormat and space monkey. I was /am upset. I am trying to make new circle - joining Mumsnet is part of plan.
The gift thing at christmas was very odd. I kept thinking the sort of gifts we use to give the kids were at the £5 - £10 end of the market so to be so fixed on not buying for my boys, she must really not have liked me. B and C did give my boys gifts and I gave their children gifts.
Having thought about it, I believe that basically C was/is weak. She probably didn`t intend to exclude my little ones but didn`t have the bottle to choose to be loyal/stand by me. Either that or she prefers to come out of this with 2 friends not just 1 (ie me).
For me, C and J had reached that stage of things that people on this site often talk about in that they no longer made me happy. I ended contact with C after the party thing because seeing her and knowing that I wouldn`t have done these things to her was making me sad and spoiling the whole day each time I saw her. I dont know if I`ll get to that point with B. She didnt have any gaps to "play" or come over during half term but at least I feel I have asked (cant be said to be "readjusting my F/ship group"again).
My youngest ds and B`s youngest dd will be in reception together with J`s youngest ds in a couple of years, I fear there is no neat closure to this.
I wonder if I should try really hard to keep up contact with B for sake of ds2 knowing someone when he starts school and for ds1, who is good friends with J and B`s sons?
I totally understand the hurt and anger you feel, its not nice when you go out of your way to meet and make new friends and then it all goes s*&^shaped. You feel so let down, as if its not worth the hassle. I joined a local group during antenatal classes because I basically knew no-one else with kids and knew I needed to have some contact with people after the baby was born. However our meetings post-babies have become point-scoring exercises with all those who feel superior B/F to those who bottle-fed (never mind that my DD was 6 weeks early and was born without a sucking reflex and I had to pump to get my milk out!!! but did I get any sympathy/empathy NOOOOO!). Now we meet up once a month and it feels like we just do it for hell of it, no-one phones (me)in between but I think the others phone and see each other and I really don't feel as though I want to be part of the group, but there's very few other people with babies of a similar age here so I think I am stuck with them sometimes. Its better than no-one, is my gut feeling.
At least I can talk to other mumsnetters without fear of judgement!
My Ds1 & 2 had no suck reflex either so I bottle fed just like you.
One of J`s fav` subjects for lectures was how natural and loving it was to B/F and how she wouldn`t feel close to her baby (or a proper mother) if she used a bottle.
I explained that the only way mine could be B/F was if they spent longer in hospital (connected to a tube feeder) until the docs were happy they had the strength to learn to B/F but that didn`t stop the lectures.
About your friends Moomicat, dont you think that if you fill up time with them, you`ll reduce the time/inclination you have to meet new friends? Thats the conclusion I`m coming round to.
I`ve read alot of the chat here on the relationship thread about friendship and some mums have some really good advice for us to follow.
You both seem to have been treated very badly by people you tried to make friends with. I agree with toot, try to limit the time you`re with people who bring you down. If you continue to see these people (or are low because you have seen them), you may not notice a friendly smile or an odd word that begins a conversation that could end in a new friendship.
It's strange to read this thread, as when I talk to my friends who are already mums (I'm still expecting...) they all say that friends met at antenatal classes are unvaluable and they really have made friends for life.
But reading here and other treads on mumsnet, I wonder if this is only a myth and everybody is too scared to admit that most of the times you only have a baby in common (I mean you share the experience of having a baby) with these people and nothing else.
I feel under pressure to make friends with the mums to be at my group, it's too early for me to say how it will end up but they all look OK so far.
There are other ways of making friends though, in fact I have already made friends with a lady I met in MotherCare just because we were looking at the same cot and found out we live not far away from each other, we are both iving far from our families and love cycling.
Guess mumsnet is a good starting point too.
Toot, J sounds jelous and quite narrow minded, but the others seems to follow her, and they are not 15 anymore and part of a gang a school, so they should be able to make their minds up about their own friends.
I would try and clear things with B, just to make sure she knows how you feel, also for the sake of your children as otherwise they will loose their friends too, and children at that age don't understand why, but their feelings don't need to be underestimated as something like this can ruin their trust in people.
God, everytime I read a thread it's like reading my autobiography. I had same thing, met someone at baby group, two became 4 then 5 but one of them was very insecure and always had to be the one who's baby was the most advanced, slept less than everyone else, was speaking at 6 months - I jest not, he used to gurgle and she'd say "No, we don't use that language ...", worst family, best husband,I could go on but must cease. Any way that was okay until any of us had a problem then she would either have had it much worse or if she couldn't compete burst into tears. She was really low(sad not devious) and so desperate for friends but she was so needy. If she felt that someone was seeing more of someone she'd try and undermine, eg if you said you were going to try for another baby she would say something like "Oh x doesn't believe in having more than 1 she thinks its cruel" (Total b*****ks as well- person in question now has 2)
Anyway to come to the point eventually she phoned one of the group and slated me for an hour (I was there, my poor friend didn't know where to put herself) and three of us haven't arranged to see her outside group since although she was still at the baby group sometimes. Stupid thing was I felt guilty on her behalf so I'd go to the group so I could show no hard feelings then have to "shoot off" so that she could enjoy herself.
Now occassionally I bump into her and am always really nice but don't stop and talk. She still sees one of the group and always reports back that she was unfriendly but I haven't noticed.
Oh I waffle so much but what I am trying to say is that in a really short time it turned into Playground politics and for gods sake we were 30!! Just goes to show, you can't be friends with everyone just coz you've got children in common.
I`m scared to talk about situaton with B. I`m not sure if it would clear things up or end up worse.
As I mentioned C. has not been in contact since the party thing and B must know this so I dont want to get into a whole big group argument thing where I may have to defend my feelings towards J and C.
I worry constantly about how I have affected the children. B got upset with me just after christmass because her son felt he wasnt seeing my son enough. We were asking him over to tea every 3/4 weeks but in the other weeks we`d be asking other children from his school friendship group. B said her son felt he owned mine because he knew him before they started school.I just didn`t feel I had convinced her that I wasn`t doing anything wrong. Since then I always ask her son first (or most often) but I did get an ear bashing and it makes me a bit nervous.
Odd really,I only tried so hard to chat to other mums and had their sons over for tea to stop my son being as lonely as I get.
My second son is a bit less shy than DS1 so hopefully I can`t damage his friendship prospects too badly. I have also found a couple of kids in DS1`s class that have younger brothers who will be in DS2`S class. Us mums plan to get the children together a few times before they all start school. Ds1 seems ok so far in terms of friends also his teacher said he was very popular at parents evening. DH tells me not to worry but for all the reasons happy spider mentions, I do. Perhaps it`s a mum thing.
Runragged, you sound braver than me with friends who seem more willing to stand by/stick up for you.
toot, I've just read your messages and can see the whole thing is upsetting you. With reason, too. You've invested a good number of years in these friendships and your children are friends with each other. To turn away from these people is not something you want to do lightly. I don't know if I have understood all your story correcty, but here's is my take on your situation:
It sounds like J is an insecure bully. B and C are very aware that J and you do not get on. When B said you have 'readjusted your frienship group' could she have been referring just to your avoidance of J. Nothing more.
B and C might realise you like them still but feel caught in the middle. B has tried to smooth things over but failed. That was why C was running scared and this is why she was worried about having you and J at the birthday tea. So C compromised by inviting you to the soft play afternoon. After all you both have young children who are the same age. I'm not clear if the soft play invite was for you alone? Was J only invited to the tea afterwards? If so it sounds like C was trying to keep you separate from J while still seeing you on the day.
B and C may have little idea how nasty J is being to you and how much she is pushing you out of the group. After all, J is very nice (I ssume) to B, her best buddy. So do B and C think some of the not getting on problem is down to you? Hence them not supporting you fully.
Divide and separate is my advice. If you want to maintain friendships with B and/or C do not do it as part of the group. B and C sound OK on their own and if J did not exist they would be your friends, still.
For the time being give them a chance. Continue to see B for lunch. Arrange to see C sometimes, but not in the company of J or even B. If you do see B and C together it will still seem like the old group minus J. And it will further antagonise J as well. Add fresh faces into the mix. If you make a new friend, invite them along with either B or C.
Make it clear to B and C that you're maving away from meeting in the same social groups anymore. Why? because of your children. They are growing up and with the differing ages of siblings to consider, big group arrangements get too complicated. You find it easier to see one friend plus their children, but mostly no more than this. After all between you B,C, J and you now have 10 of the little rotters No wonder it's complicated meeting up in one place.
Never slag off J to C or B. Let your motto be never complain, never explain. Try never to mention J and change the subject if B or C tell you her news. You do not want to know. You are far more interested your present friendship with C and B, not past hurts.
But be aware that C might be feeling the jealous wrath of J too, if she is getting friendly with B. You might have something in common. If this is so, be sympathetic but still resist the temptation to slag J off. B might also be getting fed up with J's possessivness, especially if she is a fair minded salt of the earth sort.
See how things go. Don't invest huge amounts of time in B and C - as you say you need that time to make new friends. However, decide for now that J is your problem not the others. Don't let J bully you out of these friendships or cut off your children from their friends. Don't expect invitations to old group events and don't get upset if you're not invited to them - you don't really want to waste your time meeting J anyway, do you. Life is too short.
I've probably not covered it all but I know how this sort of thing can hurt and fester, toots, so I thought I'd post something. I hope you soon find a solution that makes you happy.
Tigermoth - do you do this sort of stuff for a living? if not thanks for the time and thought you have given my probs.
I`ve jotted the answers to some of your thoughts/points .....
I do think B and C feel caught. I try to minimise that by never mentioning J to them. Easy to do with C but B is always with J at school (to such an extent that another mummy asked me were they related).
Soft play invite was just for me.
I dont think B and C know how nasty J is. She was always quiet careful not to be overheard. J is usually very nice to B but in the past has been ruthless with C. Since I left the picture she`s changed though eg C`s kids got invite to J`s sons 2nd B/day party (last year only B`s kids went) and she remembered C`s B/day (never happened before) that sort of thing.
I think I do want to keep contact with B and C but haven`t spoken to C since party thing (1 month now).
I have tried the not slagging off J bit since the xmas gift thing and thought it was working quiet well. I think it may have worked with B but C has just felt stressed (found this out during party thing rant).
I`m actually very scared to add fresh faces to the mix as you suggest. The last fresh face I added was C and now I feel it would have been better to keep her to myself. I`ve been concentrating on making friends separate to B or C. This is more difficult in B`s case as our sons are at the same school.
DH made your point about J possibly becoming jealous of C now she is closer to B .
Yes you are right, I dont want to go to old group events but some how I`d feel less gutted if I thought they didn`t occur - silly I know (stuff of the play ground).
Thanks again Tigermoth.
Tigermoth,your a brilliant advisor,ever thought of being a samaritan?
I know it's horrible to feel you and your children are being exclued from events you used to enjoy, especially since you are still friends with most of the people who are going. There's no easy solution to this, but in time it won't hurt as much, and really were the events themselves that wonderful anyway?
And now that your older children are at school, there's all those school events to go to and also those run by the PTA. Have you joined the PTA? Lots of new friend potential there and since you're all too familiar with playground politics you'll be able to spot them a mile off and act accordingly.
Even if J is being nice to C, I bet you're not the first person she has been nasty to. It's also likely that when C, B and J meet up, you are missed by C and B and their children.
I think you're right to keep lines open with B and C and continue to not mention J in their company. Hope C stops feeling stressed and remembers what a good friend, and godparent of her child you are.
Give it a year or so and all sorts of things could happen. B,C and J might fall out with one another and your friends will include some totally new people.
I don't do this for a living BTW. Your post struck a chord with me, however. I can relate to some of your situation. I used to live in a small road with friendly but also at times very cliquey and gossipy neighbours. When groups of them met up, the ones who were 'left out' for whatever reason were all too awere of it - we were all living on top of each other. Navigating the social set up was a nightmare. I never got into that NCT toddler group stuff because I was out at work. The idea scared me. When my oldest son was little I saw individual friends and their children. That was all I could personally cope with. Don't get me wrong, I love meeting groups of my friends, but have experienced the pitfalls if one of the group is not so nice.
tigermoth you should definitely be a counsellor. just remember toot what goes round comes around. i had a school friend who j really reminds me of, always nasty to me but never in an open way and in front of the others. we were a group of about 4 or 5 and continued to be friends through college into our thirties and all had kids together etc. it got to the stage where i had just had enough and i really kept my distance for a while. it seems that over time one by one the others have seen this person for what she is an insecure bully. we are all still firm friends but we rarely have anything to do with her anymore she seems to have moved on to a new set of friends.
just keep your cool and remember kids are far more resilient than we are they always bounce back good luck xxx
Forgive me if I am wrong but you sound a little "scared" of your friends and the whole situation. Please please don't be. I know that you are in a slightly difficult situation in that some of your children are in the same classes or will be, but even so LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO SPEND IT FEELING INTIMIDATED BY PEOPLE. I say this because I can very well remember a girl whom I absolutely hated at school who was good friends with one of my good friends. I think I spent a lot of time feeling in awe of her and wondering why she didn't like me and looking back on it, I wish I hadn't. I know this is easier said than done, especially when you have to come into contact with people. Last year when my SIL was being awful (turned out she was pregnant and probably very hormonal at the time) I was desperate thinking "god I have to see this person 3 or 4 times a year(she lives abroad), I cannot escape" and it was not a nice feeling. I sometimes try to think though - on my deathbed (a bit drastic as a thought but might work!), would I want to think that I had wasted time worrying about people who seem either to be bullies or easily led / not to care.
I had a slightly similar situation last year as well. In the first year of ds's life (he is now 18 months old) I was VERY friendly with a girl whom I saw once a week. At the end of the first year of our babies' lives we were no longer friends. I'm not completely sure why and do not really want to investigate so I no longer see her. We had a mutual friend (more friendly with me at first but then she got to know my good friend) whom I also no longer see. There are no bad feelings here, just lack of interest I think. However I am pretty sure that she still sees my good friend, especially since they are both pregnant with number 2 and as we all know that is a powerful (but sometimes shortlasting!) bonding factor. I think the fact that good friend and I are no longer talking did in some ways get in the way with my other friendship as suddenly neither one of us ever mentioned my original friend whereas we used to quite a lot. I know this is slightly different for me because they both live half an hour's drive from me and so I do not have to bump into them (I would only mind having to bump into original friend)... Just to say that I was a little depressed by the sudden turn of events but since then I have met other people - including a very nice girl who lives across the street from me and who has a 2 year old, and have found one or 2 other activities for ds, so in some ways I feel stronger and more independent.
I'm sorry if I have got any of my facts wrong with regard to your situation, but I just wanted to say to please please not feel intimidated by people who don't seem to be very nice and to focus on your own life and wonderful qualities as a mother / friend etc...
The other thought I had was that if J carries on being a total pain and you cannot avoid seeing her or being affected by her, perhaps you could phone her or talk to her and tell her that you feel uncomfortable with what she is doing or ask her why she is doing it... the results of such a situation may surprise you.
As I`m new to Mumsnet,I wasn`t sure what I`d get back when I first posted this problem. The advice has been really good - thanks. The best bit has been the feeling that I`m not on my own. Lots of you have written about your situations and this has helped me see that I`m not "socially odd". I`m not the only person in the world not to make instant friends from pre (or post) natal groups.
Marble I`m sure you`re right about the kids - hope so anyway and I`ll try not to worry.
Arabella2 I am scared. The little world that I`d built for myself has sort of fallen apart since Christmas. Add to this the loss of a parent, a second premature child plus a naturally shy disposition and here I am. I do see the truth in what you say though - life is too short to waste on people like J. Some of the other conversations on Mumsnet make a similar point in that they discuss how some friendships need to end because they stop bringing you happiness. Term starts on Monday, I`ll do my best.
Also on Monday B and her two youngest are due here for lunch. We haven`t had lunch for a few weeks now due to illness, half term, bank hol etc. I`m not sure what I`ll do ie be bold and talk about my feelings or continue with the individual friendship thing, independent of what has happened with J and C.
I`ll think it over - will post if I need help/comfort. Thanks again to all of you.
Hope it all goes well for you this lunchtime today.
It's a shame your friendship group has turned out this way. Everyone here has given sound advice. Please remember at the end of the day friendships are something to be enjoyed, not endured . It should not make you feel this way. I think group friendships, are especially tricky.
Good luck, do what is best for you.
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