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AIBU?

To distance myself from friend

47 replies

MumofAnarchy88 · 08/01/2024 03:06

The Lion King Help GIF

So super long story...
I have a friend who has really been struggling with her mental health for the last 5 years.

We used to be super close until I fell pregnant with my 2nd child, during this time I was extremely ill throughout my pregnancy. I was passing out due to low blood pressure and at one point fell and split my head open whilst caring for my at the time 4 year old who is Autistic. This is when my friend decided she no longer wished to visit (she drives, I don't and we stay about a 15 drive away from each other in the country, but 2 bus rides away) .
Usually I wouldn't have had a problem visiting her and making the journey but given that I was passing out anywhere between 4 and 10 times a week, it just wasn't safe for me to do so with my autistic child.
So during my pregnancy we massively drifted apart. Then when I gave birth to my 2nd child and lock down hit and other than the odd like on social media we didn't really talk.
We ended up back in contact and I found out she had made a suicide attempt....I felt awful for not being there to support her and we started messaging again. I have seen her in person maybe twice in the last 3 years but we talk on the phone and message each other.

So my issue is she is always talking about suicide, I am constantly talking her back from the edge, offering to meet up spending hours calming her down and then she never follows through for a catch up and I don't hear from her for weeks or months. Also its probably worth mentioning my BF committed suicide when I was a teenager and it MASSIVELY effected me ...even now when I'm nearly 40.
My partner massively dislikes this friend and has suggested that this seems like a very unhealthy relationship.
When she gets in contact she is hysterical, and I spent hours calming her and then I don't sleep because my anxiety is through the roof, she then blanks me for several weeks while posting on social media, nature walks, coffee house visits, out for meals, lots of pictures in underwear showing her gym progress.and then boom out of no where I'll get a message saying she can't cope she doesn't want to be here and its just so emotionally and mentally draining.
She is frequently at her GP and on meds for her MH, she has been to therapy, I don't know what else to suggest. I have offered catch ups and outings, walks, to go to the gym with her for company to reduce anxiety (keeping in mind she isn't anxious to post very revealing pics all over social media but finds it crippling to walk into a gym fully clothed) .
St this point for my own MH I feel like cutting her off but because of my previous experience (which she is well aware of) I feel I can't....I am terrified that the one time I don't respond that she will carry out on the suicide (this is what happened with BF previously) ...I just feel so ill with the whole thing and I have my own family and own life but she just constantly expects me to drop what ever I'm doing and give her my full attention. I am a SAHM and my sons carer and my kids sleep very poorly for example its 3:05 right now and my son is awake after only going to bed at 11:30 ....I'm just so drained....but if I walk away and anything happens I know it would cripple me....HELP

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

166 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
2%
You are NOT being unreasonable
98%
eish · 08/01/2024 03:31

You absolutely must walk away. Her mental health is not your responsibility. I would send one last message to say she needs to seek professional help and you are not the person to provide that as it is effecting your own MH. Wish her well then block her and hide / block her social media.

MumofAnarchy88 · 08/01/2024 03:37

I think I need to agree at this point, she used to be so fun and we had a great friendship but that was going on 6 years ago now. I think because she has no family (that she speaks to) or partner ...I dunno i kind of feel responsible for her like if I'm not there she genuinely has no one. Then again she seems to have lots of new friends to go for coffee with, or out walks but refers to these friends as just acquaintances and not "real".
Its causing issues in my relationship because my partner can see the stress its causing me but can't understand why I don't just block her, he actually said this morning that he's starting to think I live for her drama and that really upset me because I actually feel completely trapped. I don't want to have this friendship but the fear of something happening to her (she is a mum) keeps me awake at night.

OP posts:
eish · 08/01/2024 03:42

No she is using you for her drama. I repeat she is not your responsibility. Listen to your partner, it is ruining your own mental health and life. You have to look after yourself first, you are also a mum. She is actually being very selfish and using you ( MH can do that).

MumofAnarchy88 · 08/01/2024 03:50

Yeah I know your right I think just due to past trauma its hitting a nerve and I'm struggling to cut ties, when it happened with my bf when I was younger I had to watch him be resuscitated on 3 different occasions I was only a teenager and when I did eventually split up with him he took his own life 2 days after and wrote me a letter saying how it was my fault. His mum and family found it and read it and then posted it to me. They stopped me from attending his funeral and I carry alot of guilt from that situation.

OP posts:
Tothemoonandbackx · 08/01/2024 04:01

When my mum started having MH issues due to a mentally abusive relationship, she managed to get a therapist, she eventually told me what had been going on, I asked her why she hadn't told me before, and she said her therapist told her to not unload everything onto family and friends as it then becomes hard for them to cope with and gives them undue stresses, by all means ask for the help you know they can proivde, but they as therapists are there to deal with the more complex issues. My daughter was a couple months old at the time and I was a first time mum, so had her to concentrate on and had all the usual stresses and that was the reason she didn't tell me initially, as she didn't want me to be worried about her and add to the load I had on my mind already. Your 'friend' is just using you as and when she feels like it, she may have issues around suicide, and of course you don't want that to happen, but she is using that to emotionally drain you as she knows she can, threats of suicide draw you in as it is awful knowing people do genuinely feel this way, but you can really only do so much. I'd definitely take a step back and just say that you really don't feel you're the person who can give her the help she genuinly needs, but point her to crisis teams, therapists, GP's etc.

BMW6 · 08/01/2024 04:07

Sorry but your bf was an absolutely wrong to blame you for his suicide. It was his choice and he sounds very unstable given his previous attempts. His family lashed out at you because that's a part of their grief - pinning blame on Someone other than the person who took their own life. Their anger should have been with him.

Don't think I don't understand. I've been in your shoes. I know.

Your "friend" (because she isn't really anymore is she) has got into the habit of using you as her Go To when she wants to offload, and it's a bad habit.

I doubt she's truly suicidal - IME those that really want to kill themselves make no noise about it.

I'd back away from this unhealthy dynamic and if she tries to offload on you again advise her to ring Samaritans because you cannot cope with it given your past trauma.

Coyoacan · 08/01/2024 04:18

I think you might need some therapy OP. And then tell your "friend " that your therapist has told you to distance yourself from her

MumofAnarchy88 · 08/01/2024 04:18

I actually used to work as a MHCA in a low forensic unit before my son was diagnosed so this is all advice I have already given her and to be fair she is on the phone to the crisis team several times a month, has paid privately for therapy and frequently visits her GP but at this point having worked previously with people who suffer from severe BPD I generally think she might be suffering from this as alot of her behaviours seem to be attention seeking behaviours. Even as a professional in this field we were rotated frequently to avoid staff burn outs because it is ALOT to deal with sometimes the staff were on more anti depressants than the patients. I have even suggested she sign herself into a mental health hospital for respite and further investigation but again its like nothing I say even helps unless its feeding into her emotions and reassuring her and offering help...help which she doesn't even take it just leaves me feeling soo deflated. Your mum sounds awesome! To take on her therapist's advice and put your needs before her own wants at a time she was really struggling shows what a great mum she is. Sadly because I was only a Health Care assistant I just don't have the tools to deal with the level of support she needs and to be honest even if I was fully educated on the subject I literally had to end my career in mental health to care for my son so I wouldn't and don't have the time anyway. I'm just a bloody soft touch because I genuinely do love her and care about her I just can't be the friend she wants me to be. She messaged me a few weeks ago saying she wanted to come to my house (after midnight) so I could cuddle into her while she slept.....this set alarm bells ringing because seriously 1. Its after midnight 2. What have I to do with my partner kick him out of our bed ?? And 3. As loving a person as I am cuddling up with any friend to go to sleep at nearly 40 years old just makes me feel uncomfortable.

OP posts:
Calamitousness · 08/01/2024 04:21

I’m so sorry for all you e been through. However, your bf’s death was not your fault and not because you left him. We all have left bf’s in the past and they don’t go on to commit suicide. It was caused by his own poor mental health. Your ‘friend’ is not a friend. That may be because she is so mentally ill she is not behaving appropriately. It doesn’t matter the reason, you are not helping her. She is not changing her behaviour and continues to treat you badly. You have a responsibility to your children. And your dh. I bet this is affecting you on a daily basis and how you interact with them. That’s not ok. They are the people who love you and who you love. Prioritise yourself and your family and block your friend. You can send a message letting her know you need to spend time on your own health right now etc. but please please know you are not responsible for her actions. I very much doubt she will carry out any threat but if she does it’s her actions due to her health and not because of you in any way. Take care of you.

MumofAnarchy88 · 08/01/2024 04:26

Yeah I wouldn't disagree, its something I have touched on (my partner and I have previously attended therapy) but due to it being couples therapy we didn't dive in very deeply to it. But I definitely have an unhealthy habit of allowing people to over step and struggle to put boundaries in place.
Like personally I would just love if adults knew what was appropriate and what wasn't as I don't feel like the expectations I have are personal to me I feel like these are normal boundaries to have ...but some people are just energy vampires. But I always end up feeling guilty for having to put my own needs first.....I'm a therapist's dream 🤣🤣.

OP posts:
HarrietTheFireStarter · 08/01/2024 04:47

I couldn't read your whole post because I felt so angry after the first 3 paragraphs.

She is not a.friend, she is abusing you. Her way of relating is control and manipulation.

I feel so angry on your behalf.

Undoubtedly she has serious mental health problems but to intentionally inflict those on others and to demand great chunks of their time and energy is awful.

I would advise you to write her a text/email saying that you can no longer be in touch as you are finding her demands excessive. Tell her that you have cared for her deeply as a friend and that you wish her the best, but you can no longer be there for her.

If it helps at all, you are not actually assisting her but rather enabling her toxic behaviour.

She is an adult. If she wants to end her life she is entitled to do so. If she wants to live but finds it unbearable, she can seek help from her doctor and the hospital.

eish · 08/01/2024 04:49

Please listen to @HarrietTheFireStarter

101Nutella · 08/01/2024 05:02

@MumofAnarchy88 so sorry this happened to you. Have you had therapy for it?

it was not your fault. You have a choice as an autonomous human. If you want to break up with someone that is very normal. His response was completely abnormal. There were clearly warning signs and his family couldn’t/didn’t get him the help he needed.

how utterly vile of them to post the letter to you and lash out. It wasn’t your fault. This isn’t your fault.
get therapy now to help you with your trauma and unresolved guilt. That should help you hold boundaries with people like this in future.

if a clean cut feels too unkind then don’t do that. Do what you feel is reasonable for you currently. Perhaps missing the call and only texting? Eg sorry can’t talk on phone baby is asleep. How you doing?
then do a slow fade of longer to respond. Then once you feel more comfortable you could reply to every other phone call. You could call an ambulance on her each time or the police to do a welfare check? Then you’ve done what you can do.

MumofAnarchy88 · 08/01/2024 05:02

Yeah actually writing it all down in context is actually making my guilt lift and anger rise. Seeing everything I've done and still do for her and looking back at how she effectively ended our friendship when I fell pregnant again and had health issues and even now how she has no regard for my relationship or my family is a bit of a joke to be honest. I'm actually pretty angry at myself for letting her take advantage for so long especially when my own family's needs are quite substantial and I've been wasting my energy. Thanks guys think the wake up call is finally connecting xx

OP posts:
MumofAnarchy88 · 08/01/2024 05:10

I've actually already tried this tactic and then every time I respond at all even if I've kind of made excuses for a bit as to why I can't talk immediately as soon as she has my attention or any kind of response its straight back to how it was. For example she told me she had been attending therapy and was doing better and I responded that that was amazing and I was really proud of her....she then had a massive meltdown about issues with a neighbour (male) and how she needed my partner to go down and "sort him out" which I obviously refused and told her to phone the police instead...she didn't respond for weeks and then I had a mail out of the blue with another massive drama and I just feel like any interaction is just negative and energy sucking. At nearly 40 I want to be going out for lunch and coffee with my friends ...maybe a cocktail and a gossip, or even a light chat over a cup of tea in the house and a nice walk. Not to say that if my friends ran into hard times I wouldn't be there I absolutely would but when its even interaction of the span of 5/6 years its just not healthy is it x

OP posts:
HarrietTheFireStarter · 08/01/2024 05:12

Thanks @eish

I just saw your next post OP, that you and your partner have trouble with boundaries.

I totally understand as I was just the same until a few years ago. It's hard for people who've been brought up with their needs respected to understand but there are lots of us who were neglected as children and consequently suffered into adulthood.

I didn't know what people were talking about when they mentioned boundaries, like literally no clue.

I attended a 12-week workshop for women who'd experienced abuse and in each session we learned a new skill ie how to identify feelings, ways to manage them, what we needed to maintain wellbeing..really basic stuff for most people but for me it was like trying to learn a new language.

I worked so hard; we had notes that I read and re-read, I tried to follow all the advice, I went to therapy etc

So it's not a quick thing but it is the best work I've ever done because now I am 💯 aware of my feelings, needs and boundaries. I can say yes, no or I'll come back to you without agonising over it. And as a result, all my relationships have improved, my income has doubled and I am now a happy person.

While I was "in training", I depended heavily on the phrases, "Let me think about it" and "I'll come back to you". It's a good way to buy time while you figure out whether to say yes or no.

I know it isn't easy. You'll get a lot of posters on here calling you a mug, a doormat, a wet lettuce and various other abusive terms but the struggle is real. You need to start the journey towards agency and it will take a little while.

You could start by looking up Karpman's drama triangle, that may resonate with you. And from there, make time each day to reflect on what your needs are and how to fulfill them.

One method is to get a paper cup and write on the outside what you need to "fill your cup". For most people it is food, shelter, positive relationships, time alone and exercise, that sorta thing.

There are lots of self help books that you might find useful but if you can stretch to therapy it will be a wonderful investment.

BelindaOkra · 08/01/2024 05:14

I thought BPD reading your opening post because of the push/pull/needing you then blanking you. She sounds quite extreme though (which of course you will have seen in an inpatient unit).

Whether she has BPD or not is irrelevant I guess. Her behaviours sound incredibly difficult to deal with & you sound as if you have enough on your plate. Do what you need to do & don’t feel guilty.

Your bf’s family were very unfair to you.

eish · 08/01/2024 05:16

At nearly 40 that is a perfectly reasonable want! This is why you need to block her on everything following a message explanation that you are doing so. Think of it as looking after yourself for the sake of your children. If you fall apart they will suffer for it. You are not her person and don’t have capacity for her needs. Your are your partner and children’s person.

I repeat she actually sounds very selfish and I think enjoys the attention and drama.

MumofAnarchy88 · 08/01/2024 05:17

I'm gonna look all that up right now BelindaOkra, everything you've said is straight on point. Thanks very much for taking the time to offer advice x

OP posts:
HarrietTheFireStarter · 08/01/2024 05:18

Just to add that her diagnoses.are neither here nor there. Nothing makes her behaviour acceptable. She is responsible for her behaviour and managing her treatment. Supporting friend can sometimes mean telling them no.

romdowa · 08/01/2024 05:22

You definitely do not have to deal with this at all. You need to let her know that it's too much for you and that she needs to contact the professionals. If she then threatens suicide , well you contact the police and inform them that she's making threats to end her life and that she's a danger to herself. Then it's their responsibility

Alloftheskies · 08/01/2024 05:29

She's rinsing you. Wether she means to or she knows she's doing it.. she is massively taking advantage of you and draining you dry.
Your mental health also matters. She probably can't understand because her mental health is so bad she's probably very absorbed in herself and her own problems. But you need to protect yourself. I would cut contact. You shouldn't confront her because I doubt there's anything she can do to change at the moment and it will probably just make her even more dramatic towards you if you try to bring this up. But honestly I'd stop responding to her. This is not your responsibility. You've been there for her as much as you can but now you are risking your own mental health over it. You shouldn't be lying awake at night worrying about her. She's a grown woman not your child. It sounds like she is linked in with mental health services... she can ring them.. or there are also multiple 24hr mental health lines she could ring or message which are run by professionals. She shouldn't be doing this to you.

Catza · 08/01/2024 09:26

One thing that massively helped me when I was working in secure MH unit is realisation that we are not responsible for someone choice to live or die. The onus is on them. If they have capacity to make a decision about dying and chose to commit suicide despite our best attempts to support them, it is their decision and theirs alone.
When someone's entire identity becomes that of an unwell person, it is hard to find a way in as a friend or as a professional. In my personal life I want to interact with people who share the same interests. If someone only wants to talk about their suicidal ideations, then it's a no from me. I will absolutely support my friend through a rough patch but you've clearly come to a point when she considers you a carer. It's time to gently step away.

ManateeFair · 08/01/2024 09:29

My partner massively dislikes this friend and has suggested that this seems like a very unhealthy relationship

Your partner is absolutely correct.

Eyeballpaula · 08/01/2024 10:24

OP you news therapy to address what happened with your boyfriend ( which was not your fault).

This guilt is stopping you from putting boundaries in place and your friend is manipulating this.

I had to do the same with a friend with borderline PD. she was asking more and more of me at a time my own mental health was shaky as my father was dying. She would demannd more of my time and be annoyed i wanted to spend it with my father who had weeks to live. She also made insensitive comments about wishing she was teminally ill as he was dying. I know she was suffering with her mental health, but I drew the line at that point.

Once the boundaries were put in she pushed me away and the friendship ended - which is her choice to do. Like she had done with every other friendship.

I have no regrets or guilt. Its shit for her and I feel sorry for her, but I'm not responsible for her.

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