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Am I just hard-hearted and mean?

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  • Am I just hard-hearted and mean?

    I think I have mentioned before, my friend that seems to be a bit maladjusted. Sometimes I just can't stand to be around her. I have said things to her gently, and I've said things not so gently. I love her and I don't want to be hurtful but enough is enough already.

    It's such a long story, but what do you do when a long-standing friendship is bringing you down? I try hard to keep positive thoughts and energy around me to feed on. It seems every time we go out, it's an overwhelming kind of "wtf is going on", sort of moment. She is completely hung up on a guy she never really dated, for a short period of time. Mostly I just let her vent and try to listen with no sharing of opinions. But inside I'm thinking, what the hell?
    She checks her phone constantly, cannot ​seem to manage a discussion about anything other than how terrible men are, and it's just so annoying. She's depressed. I get it... I can't help her self esteem and change her.

    I'm just not in that place. I do not understand how she can still be this way. I said something kind of harsh to her last summer, and it actually seemed to help for a month or so...til she met this dude that's done nothing but jerk her around.
    I am certainly no expert on relationship building, and I don't pretend to be. Her approach and her demeanor is just exhausting at times.

    We're both nearly 45, divorced. I have tried to distance myself a bit, then I feel kinda bad. She needs her friends right now.
    But for my own sake, some days I just have to say no to meeting her. I'm struggling with my own issues, and don't want to hear about how much she loved this man and was totally disrespected, how she hates men, etc....

    I've encouraged her to speak with a counselor, and try to work through the depression. She won't go. I hate seeing her fade into this person. I can't help really, but idk how to even be just a support for her anymore. Because I simply don't support this behavior or mindset...and everything I say, even gently, is met with defensiveness.
    It's her choice.

    She thinks I take dating hiatuses because of the men. I told her that I take breaks usually because I am unable to focus on it at the time, not because of the men. I don't always have the time or energy necessary to invest...such as now...
    I explained that I had been focused on work, possible promotion, my family situation and there's no time for meeting men or trying to build a relationship so I haven't actively tried to meet someone. Not because I am grieving the last relationship. I told her I am not too broken up over the last breakup to move forward. She thought that we were more seriously involved. I told her, we cared about each other, but it was just a few months and it just didn't work out. Nothing really to grieve. I was sad, but I'm over it...we are friendly and chat occasionally briefly. Wasn't the end of my world...his either.

    Anyway, I feel like a horrible friend. I don't know always how to draw a line on her messed up outlook and protecting my own. I'm not in a super positive place right now myself, but she really makes life seem hopeless. Changing the subject almost never works. She always brings it back, and it turns into a tug of war sort of dialogue.

    Thoughts? Suggestion for maintaining balance and boundaries while still being a positive influence, maybe?

  • "how terrible men are"

    your friend may have a point, at least in her case, her negativity is probably only drawing negative type
    men to herself......so in her case the men she's meeting may be "terrible" as she describes because that's what she's drawing to herself


    • kitty, you are a good friend!

      to make things easier on you.....are there any activities that you two like to do that you could just go have fun without talking a lot, and just being together in a less stressful way? Bowling, dancing, movies, museums?


      • I was struggling with a taxing friendship a while back. He would always call me crying on my shoulder and "borrowing" money. My wife and our other friend had couple of long discussions about it and finally I decided that for my own sake and his I was going to stop being so "loving" and "positive" and start being tougher, constructive, and saying what I felt.

        I told him I'm not loaning him any more money. When he had bad ideas, I told him they were bad (which they were often). He is really dear to me, but I stopped tiptoeing and worrying about whether or not I would crush his fragile ego and move him to attempt suicide (again). I felt better and enjoyed his company more and surprisingly he seemed to feel the same. I would dread his calls. Now I call him sometimes.

        I think you might be like me - one of those people that tends to overthink what's proper, pleasant, or civil and what will spare people's feelings. Sometimes it's not an issue, but with some people you just have to be yourself, tell it like it is, and just ignore stuff. They aren't worried about saying and doing the stuff they do. Why should you be? If someone is depressed or hurts themselves, that's on them - especially when the depressing situation is largely of their own making and they keep ignoring advice to get help and live differently.
        "Those sowing seed with tears
        Will reap with a joyful shout." - Psalm 126


        • amy, I have actually told her that. I have said that until she is in a better place mentally, she isn't likely to draw a keeper, and even if she does, she's too blinded to even recognize him. I told her that with her approach, she's finding what she's looking for, which is all the worst traits in men.
          She will change when she's ready...when she's seen the spiral she's been in for so many years. I'm not sure any of my advice or thoughts will help.

          We actually do a lot already that involves little conversation. We saw a band last weekend and I think that's the first time in years that she didn't want to go home by around 10-11. she will sometimes stay out late with me, but she usually makes several comments about the hour or something that I usually just think she's not having fun or preoccupied with getting home for some reason.

          Still: she has been divorced for over 10 yrs, maybe 15? I don't remember. She is hung up on him, and has admitted to me not too long ago that she would take him back. He has been clear that he wants nothing with her, but occasionally he will yank her chain...make out with her or something.
          I have said that's foolish...she's allowing him to control her emotions. She has some guilt I think and desperately wants to right the wrong she did.

          So, she's dated very little. I did more in a year...hell, in a month, than she did since her divorce, up until a year or so ago. She's dated more recently.

          I do tiptoe around her but I do say what I think when she's going too far. This has gone on for all these years, so I have given up in many ways, and keep my mouth shut. it's pointless. She has to see for herself, to understand the situation she's put herself in.

          She has a completely different logic and can reason away the behaviors.
          With the most recent man, she was going on for awhile and I finally said, "you weren't dating, let's be honest, and he was not your boyfriend".
          her reply was defensive, "every relationship is different and ours is just moving slowly". she snapped at me a little and I told her that I can agree with that, but there are basics and fundamentals to everything. There are hallmarks and red flags and only rare exceptions to them. Her developing relationship shows signs of problems. face them now, or ignore them and hurt more later. She was inevitably crushed by this loser...I could see it coming but she believed everything he said. my advice to her was communication, ask questions and answer his honestly and then don't make assumptions based on any of it...

          it was a disaster...now her social media is jammed all day long with posts about lost love and all sorts of deep dark, emotional and heavy quotes. Its been months now...months since he basically ditched her. She barely knew him. And she's still strung out over it.

          Then I wonder, is she honest? did they do more than she ever told me?
          She's obviously just not emotionally healthy to be so destroyed by a relationship she'd mostly made up in her mind....
          I've thought many times just to cut the friendship. I just don't want to do that.
          Last edited by atskitty2; 04-28-2017, 01:01 AM.


          • kitty,
            you mentioned she has some guilt and wants to right the wrong she did
            she needs to forgive herself for whatever she did and if it was to the ex, ask him to forgive her (if she hasn't) , so she can move forward


            • I asked her that once...apparently the ex has forgiven her but he can never reconcile. He has told her that more than once, according to what she's told me.
              Their kids are grown now, so hopefully the instances where they are together will be less. Maybe that would help her. He has had multiple relationships, tho he's not remarried.

              I told her she needs to forgive herself! She needs to let it all go. I even asked her if she's interested in **him**, or if she just needs this opportunity to pretend she never messed up. They both have changed, and he may not even be what she thinks he is in a relationship now.

              I have encouraged counseling. I've told her I go at times for a little unbiased suppprt...trying to make her more comfortable with the idea.

              It just seems to be worse than ever. Now there's a sort of desperation in her attitude toward dating and life. Afraid she's going to be alone. I just am exhausted trying to be patient and listen to the rambling and despair.

              I'm hoping not to be without a partner too, but at least she has children and will likely have grandbabies....yet she's embedded in this deep dark hole...I told her she could be much worse off...but no, she's in dire straits and in her mind, there's nothing at all good to look at. Trying now to hold back her kids....and refusing to accept they're grown and creating a good life for themselves...in denial and attempts to interfere....
              I just...ugh....I have no idea how to listen to this at times without hauling her off to counseling by the hair of her head....
              Last edited by atskitty2; 04-28-2017, 09:41 AM.


              • Originally posted by atskitty2 View Post
                I just...ugh....I have no idea how to listen to this at times without hauling her off to counseling by the hair of her head....
                you're funny kitty

                the kids grown up probably isn't helping as now she has empty nest syndrome

                maybe she should forget about men totally for a while and just enjoy the freedom she has now and rediscover herself without the role of wife, mom to little kids.....just be HERSELF, take up a hobby that doesn't involve men


                • They are friends...they have always shared parenting and still spent holidays with the kids as a family...traveled together at times. All of which I think was detrimental to her over time- it enabled her to hold onto this idea...even putting up with his girlfriend tagging along at times when she was uncomfortable with it. She wouldn't speak up for herself.

                  I realize the empty nest syndrome is hitting her too, but this is nothing new...my tolerance and patience has come and gone over the years. I am fighting my own battles and I really just don't enjoy getting out with friends, only to have more garbage piled on. I do care for her so it isn't easy to just ignore and let her run on and do my own thing. But it's exhausting. Saying what I think is met with defensiveness or excuses or reasoning away the circumstances.

                  She needs help...she needs an eye opener...a light bulb moment to shake her to her core. I'm afraid of what that may look like for her.

                  I introduced her to a male friend of mine who's the opposite. Not as dating, we just all went out together once . very energetic and upbeat guy...he basically couldn't stand her. She wouldn't contribute to the conversation and he told me he completely understands why men can use her...she has no personality and just has no presence about her at all. He shared some other harsh observations from a male perspective that I'd not even keyed in on...

                  I am blabbering now...venting...I accept I cannot influence her. I just don't know how to be there for her and be a good friend, which im determined to do, without sacrificing my own mental health.


                  • I've been there Kitty........ still am sometimes. It's hard to find that balance of trying to be a friend to someone you care about who happens to mentally be taxing to you. Especially when it's consistent and behavioral not just situational. You may have to do as I did, and find a way to distance yourself without being unfriendly about it.

                    "Be what you're looking for."


                    • Originally posted by atskitty2 View Post
                      I just don't know how to be there for her and be a good friend, which im determined to do, without sacrificing my own mental health.
                      The spoon theory. You only have so many spoons per day. If you use a spoon on your friend by going out or talking a long time on phone, one less spoon for you. So you may have to give up cooking for yourself that day or give up your shower. Because once your spoons are used up, they are gone until next day.

                      So some days, you may just have to tell her, you need that time for yourself that day and make plans for a different day. And spread out the times with her a little longer in between, to preserve your health and energy.


                      • I have done that amy, and it definitely helps. I have also left plans tentative occasionally in case I just don't have a spoon left for her that day lol. That way I can spend time with her if I'm up to it.

                        I think I'm probably doing all I can....I've been told to find new friends, by a family member I shared her story with. I also agree with that, but it's not too easy to do either.


                        • We went out last Saturday evening. Several little annoying things popped up, but I looked past them. Things that were more difficult to overlook: She'd gone out the night before so she wasn't up for much on Saturday, but had said she wanted to go out dancing, and this and that...she didn't tell me that she changed her mind until after dinner.
                          She had to pick up her daughter at 10, which again was smack in the middle of our "plans", and she didn't tell me until I'd already committed. Not a huge deal really, but I had planned and dressed for an evening out, not just dinner and home...

                          I had a rough couple weeks and needed a night out to unwind. She had indicated that she was up for the same. Had I known she'd be yawning by 11, I'd have made plans with others. This sort of thing happens rather frequently. I don't get every weekend off, so my weekend is valuable to me. I should probably ask immediately before going out if her ideas changed, because saying what I have in mind never seems to matter.

                          I feel small and petty for being bothered tho...just seems silly, but I get agitated by it a lot.


                          • sorry kitty that you had a rough couple of weeks and didn't get the chance to unwind like you expected


                            • I think my friend is finally going to see a counselor. I fear she is really nearing some sort of point of no return and I'm concerned. We went out on the spur of the moment one evening recently and had a few drinks and talked. I was rambling about work and I look over and she's got tears in her eyes...at a bar, full of people. I didn't know what to say. She'd had her vent period and I thought she was done. I was telling some ridiculous story from work.

                              She showed me a pic of her swollen face from crying all night. She is really struggling and I have encouraged her to see someone. She needs to process all this grief differently. She is a mess.

                              I'm not always the best person for comfort and nurturing when it comes to this stuff, so I felt like an ***. I just had no idea how to comfort her. What she's upset about is reasonable and understandable, and I feel for her. Her management of it I fear, will destroy her.



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