Toxic friend - it's killing me, and she doesn't even know.

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with_without
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 7/14/2010 12:46 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi all,

I'm new here. I've been looking for a place to vent. Just need to "bend an ear" or two.

Side note, I'm bipolar, but on the depressive side. Haven't been manic for as long as I can remember.
I take 2 mood stabilizers, and as of yesterday, I started Wellbutrin after successfully being off anti-depressants since Feb 2009 (was on them since 1993). I'm nervous about it, too, because the moment I got off the other antidepressants last year I started dropping weight, about 50 pounds in 7 months, and I don't want to gain any back. Anyway, I digress. Here's the reason I had to get back on an antidepressant:

I have a toxic friend. I've never had many friends in my life to begin with. When I was young we moved a lot and I was teased and bullied constantly - a big problem when you're 11, 12, 13 years old. Kids are evil to the "new kid" (didn't help that I was depressed, either - later diagnosed in my early 20's - incorrectly; it was actually bipolar disorder, diagnosed about 10 years later). Later in life it was hard to keep friends; either I alienated them when I was sick, or I didn't put enough effort in keeping them.

When I moved across the country about 12 years ago I started dating this guy (a "Mr Right Now") after my marriage fell apart. He introduced me to his next door neighbor and her husband. The guy didn't last of course but my relationship with the neighbor (mainly the wife) did. I'll call her "Karen" and her husband "Jack". They are loud, tacky Brooklynites. (No, I have no problem with NY. I'm from upstate, love NYC, have close family friends there, some family in the suburbs on my late mother's side, and have met lots of great people from there.)

Karen and Jack and I partied hard. We drank a lot and did I did a lot of stupid things that one would consider manic behavior during this period.  Neither one of these people stepped in to help me. Finally I crashed and burned, literally shaking in my office at work one day. I had to go on disability. I was diagnosed as bipolar at that time and went through intensive therapy. Shortly after I returned to work I lost my job. But I had kicked  forever and was on the path to getting better. I landed a new job and met a wonderful, drug-free man (I'll call him "Elliot") a few months after that. We married a year and a half later and are still together. During all these positive changes things seemed to be fine with Karen; in fact, she kicked coke too and she and Jack had a baby, and another followed shortly after. I know I had a lot of 'gossip material' for her during my rough times. I know she had told her friends about my shenanigans. I expected that. Whatever. I'm not close to her other friends. I rarely see them.

Several years ago Elliot's parents put one of their houses up for rent (Elliot's childhood home) in their upscale neighborhood with the eventual intention to sell. They hadn't completely moved all their things out, and it still had the shag carpeting, you know, the whole 70's works (they were the first owners of the house, had it built). I offered to have Karen and Jack speak with Elliot's parents (of course I asked his parents first) about renting the house while Karen and her family had their house renovated. I was a little taken aback to learn that Karen had managed to lower the rent pretty far, but at least my in-laws were getting a little income and they didn't have to rush to get started on their own renovations on the house. Plus, they were living in another house that they owned outright. They are, after all, in their seventies, they worked their entire lives to pay this house off, and the rent is financing their retirement. But, I pushed it aside in my mind.

Karen and Jack's house took a little longer than expected, so they needed the house for an extended period. No problem with my in-laws. When Karen's family's house was done, it was amazing how much money they sunk into it; I didn't expect marble counters (or granite, whatever the heck it is) and all that kind of stuff. It really flaunted their materialistic personalities, and I suspected they really couldn't afford this. One day Karen had expressed to me her disgust with the condition of my in-laws' house: as I mentioned, the ancient shag carpeting, the old, thick curtains, the cat dander, the live mouse that jumped out of the long-unused BBQ. I told her that I thought it was quite generous that the entire family got the chance to even live there, how the timing was perfect for them while they were getting their own house worked on, and the flexibility of the months my in-laws allowed them to stay. It really hurt my feelings. To top it all off, according to my mother-in-law, a couple of things ended up broken. I was absolutely mortified upon learning this. And I know the religious next-door neighbors must have had multiple coronaries with Karen & Co as neighbors with their loud talk, constant bickering and, oh, the cursing. And the neighborhood is very quiet in general to begin with. Can't speak for everyone else, but I was so glad when they moved out. At this point, Elliot's parents fixed the place up with new carpeting, paint, blinds and light fixtures. They proceeded to put it up for sale or rent.

It was around this point that my relationship with Karen was getting sketchy - but I didn't feel it yet. Now I'm verrrrry slow; it takes me a long time - a year or two, even, because I try to give people the benefit of the doubt and/or I ignore red flags - to realize that I am probably getting taken advantage of. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Karen's parents both died, and I don't think their deaths even occurred a year apart; I can't remember if her father had a heart attack, but her mother had lung cancer, Stage 4 when it was discovered, so she died only a couple months after the diagnosis. Karen inherited the house and a nice chunk of money. Shortly thereafter, Karen herself was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. It was discovered during a routine mammo while dealing with her parents' estate; an extremely stressful time for her. She had decided that she would start a tradition of a handful of us girls traveling on her birthday and make a big celebration of it. I agreed.

So that very year, for her birthday, several of us went to Vegas, where I'd never been. It set me back hundreds of dollars, and we treated Karen to a really expensive dinner. But, hey, she was really sick, and she is my best friend. Elliot didn't complain about my spending. At the time, we both had jobs, though I had switched careers, so I was back on the bottom rung as far as the paycheck situation, but he has always made good money. The funny thing was (sorta), I was literally at the airport, waiting for our flight home from this darn trip, when I learned that the company I worked for had shut down. I had to find a job immediately. After 3 weeks of one that I ended up hating, I found another.

While going through the above-mentioned job situation, Elliot's parents had told us they were still having a lot of trouble unloading the house, and had mentioned the possibility of renting it to us. Elliot and I never even gave the house a thought once Karen's family moved out, so this was interesting news. Xmas time 2006 rolled around and they handed us the keys. We absolutely couldn't believe what was happening. Do I need to tell you our decision? We moved in a couple days before the New Year, 2007. (Shortly thereafter, I had a brief stint in the hospital, but pulled myself together - but that's another story.)

But, after that Vegas trip, I found myself paying for a lot of things when Karen and I went out, mainly lunch and bar tabs (she got really drunk pretty often, and that's pricey, particularly at the places she chose to go). It never occurred to me that I may be going overboard. But, she's going through a lot, with chemo, hair loss, the whole thing. I made breast cancer awareness jewelry, sold it on ebay, and gave some of the proceeds to a well-known cancer foundation in her honor. I was there for her when she wanted to let loose.

For Karen's following birthday, same thing. We went to Vegas again. This time I lost my darn wallet (something about Vegas!) when getting out of the cab. Depression hit me hard, and I had to use Karen's credit card the entire weekend - including borrowing money for another lavish birthday meal for her. I actually spent one entire day alone in the hotel room, completely miserable. Incredibly, 2 or 3 weeks later, I got the wallet back, fully intact. Why the stupid cab driver didn't turn the wallet into the hotel concierge is beyond me (!!), but the stupid cab company shipped the thing to me. And Elliot paid Karen back, and was kind enough to add $100 for the trouble. Am I (actually Elliot in this situation, he was raised right) a good friend to her, or what?

Now I don't remember when this occurred exactly, but at some point, Karen suggested that we take turns covering the lunch/bar tabs when we go out. Took me awhile to fully realize it, but I found myself automatically picking up the check a majority of the time. And when a lot of alcohol is involved, it adds up. (I may have been stuck on the "She has cancer" thing in my mind - but actually, she had beat it at this point! She was done with chemo, her hair grew back, and she is now on year 5 being cancer-free.) I wish I never agreed to this stupid arrangement.

Folks, this gets worse, and I've already written a book here. Shall I continue? cry

Post Edited By Moderator (getting by) : 7/14/2010 5:09:17 PM (GMT-6)


with_without
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 7/14/2010 1:50 AM (GMT -7)   
Looks like Admin approved my entire post, so I am going to take that as an OK to continue. Thanks for letting me spill, Admin. I am so anxious over this situation I don’t even sleep anymore, and my doc doesn’t let me have Ambien because of my background.

Without getting into further detail this time, Yes, Karen and I went to Vegas for a third year for her birthday. And – guess what? Got laid off a week after I got back. I am so done with Vegas!

One event that really stood out for me that gave me an indication that things were really sliding was Cinco de Mayo of 2009. Karen and I hit a nearby local bar and grill. My, we had a blast. There were maybe 6 people there when we arrived. It was a gorgeous day. By the time we left it was not only late at night, crazy crowded and loud, and I had a very little buzz on; she was absolutely trashed (I’m twice her size and can handle more alcohol, plus I munch a lot). I had already (stupidly) closed out one tab of $135. Was hoping she’d close out the second one. Nope. She got up and proceeded to stumble down the sidewalk, in the dark. She was dining & dashing! I couldn’t find the waiter, so I decided I would have to call the bill in after dealing with Karen, who was at risk. My fun was completely done. I threw back some water, I drove her, in her car, to her house; it wasn’t too far, but beyond walking distance. When we got to her house, she went inside and went straight to bed. I had to ask her daughter how to get into her car; the door was locked and we couldn’t figure out how to open it; the keys were misplaced, probably in Karen's pocket. I called Elliot to come get me. Jack couldn’t drive me, he has a drinking problem and was passed out himself. I called the bar and, of course, settled the second tab ($150!!) after apologizing to the person who answered the phone; told her I had to split and take care of my friend first. Karen came by to drop my car keys off the next morning. I had two parking tickets. I mentioned the tab. Hoped she would eventually even things out. Couldn’t tell you if that was ever attempted on her part. Because I’m a total idiot! rolleyes

Each year (for many years), for my birthday, Karen would have a party for me in her backyard. She would have maybe 9 or 10 people there every single year, but really, I only knew 2 of her friends (I’ll call them “Rebecca” and “Charles”). I only see them when I’m with Karen and Jack. Rebecca and Charles have pretty much seen me at my worst – and now they see me at my best, and with Elliot. So, it’s nice that she does this for me, even though I bring my own cake and high-end beer for people. (I have found myself ‘monetarily scorekeeping’ by now, but yet have not changed my ways. Not healthy!)

The same month as the Cinco de Mayo incident, for my birthday, she asked me what I was doing. I laughed and hinted that I have this friend who has a husband who has a magic touch with the grill (Jack). So she said we’d have a party at her place. Immediately I felt crappy for imposing and said I was only kidding - please, no pressure. But she went ahead and invited people. I invited my male friend from my previous job. A day or two later I decided I wanted to invite a female friend from the same job; I wanted to get closer to her because at this point, I was pretty disillusioned about my friendship with Karen and really needed to branch out. So I asked Karen if I could invite another. She said no, the guest list was too full! What?! These were her friends, not mine! And, guess who bought the food?! Elliot and I fed strangers – and I couldn’t even invite my own friend. Wow. This was seriously getting out of control. And I said nothing.

A few months later, I decided to throw a quasi-surprise birthday party for Elliot. I decided to invite all the couples who attended our small wedding (4 of them – didn’t want to include family, which consisted of my in-laws – my family members weren’t present; that’s another soap opera). Elliot knew that Karen and Jack were coming as well as another couple we hang out with on occasion. The other 2 couples were Elliot’s coworker/childhood friend and his wife, and my birthday present to Elliot, a couple he hadn’t seen since the wedding; I’ll call them “Frank” and “Jean”. Elliot had always looked up to Frank, but the two lost touch. After some digging, I found him and was thrilled to get him and Jean to attend. What a surprise! I asked Jack if he would be so kind as to take over the grill so Elliot could enjoy himself. He said he would. I bought him a crass T-shirt that I figured he would like, a gift for helping out (I ply these people with gifts – and they fail me). I will sum up the particular failings in a list for you because I am exhausted. Karen and Jack showed up early to ‘help out’ with preparations.

1. I specifically requested that no kids attend. They brought theirs, even though they had ample time to find a sitter. I felt so crappy because the other couple with kids followed through. At least Karen and Jack's kids behaved and stayed out of the way. Karen and Jack didn't want to use an agency - said it was too expensive; yet the very next day they called to tell me they just got back from blowing a bunch of money at the casino.
2. As Karen took over the balloon tank, she said to Elliot, “So, everyone from the wedding’s coming, huh?” I was behind Elliot, doing the cut-throat signal. She totally blew my surprise, but then tried to blow it off by saying, “Almost everybody…” My beautiful Elliot said nothing; he played it off.
3. Jack snuck shots from my almost-empty rum bottle and proceeded to get stupid before the burgers were even prepared for grilling. Elliot caught him drinking from the bottle, but was a bit amused so he said nothing.
4. Jack proceeded even further to be an obnoxious jerk and didn’t bother helping Elliot with the burgers. I pulled Karen aside and told her we had an agreement. She said she’d talk to him. (I’m sure she didn’t say anything nice about me; that’s the way she is – and a huge gossip. By now I really didn’t care. Why did I care before, anyway? I never called her out on all the crappy things she pulled.)
5. Elliot told me later, but Jack gruntingly ‘helped’ him with the burgers, touching them without washing his hands.
6. Elliot and I had mentioned weeks prior that we were attending a Darwin convention (we are atheists) soon and were looking forward to it. Jack got in my face, laughing, shouting, “What are you guys gonna talk about, nothing?! HA HA HA HA!!" I said something in return, calmly, though I was seething, but he ignored me.
7. Jean observed this and pulled out one of those new tiny movie cameras and recorded the stupid conversation. Karen spotted her doing it and proceeded to have a conniption. Later, Jean asked me what was up with my friend, and I told her Karen gets like that when she’s drunk. I was so embarrassed.

There's more, if it's OK with Admin to continue....
(Want to thank everyone now for reading this. I realize it's horrendously long, hopefully interesting, and extremely therapeutic. This is the first time I've ever done this, and I may eventually get paranoid enough to delete the entire thing. If you have comments, please don't paste parts of my post in your reply.)

Post Edited (with_without) : 7/14/2010 8:24:13 AM (GMT-6)


with_without
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 7/14/2010 2:36 AM (GMT -7)   
Final post. Wow, this is getting a lot of hits. Thanks for "listening". You people must think I'm the biggest fool on earth. Probably so, but at least my heart is in the right place. I just have a ton to learn. I'm working on that...

Several more similar things happened - another attempted dine & dash for one - that time Rebecca took advantage of me, too. But something was added to the mix. I had discovered that Karen had been sharing some really personal things that I had said to her. On two of the rare occasions that I hung out with Karen and Rebecca together, Rebecca made some jabs at me that made me suspect as such. The brick wall that I was building over the past few years was now cracking.

Recently, Karen and I had gotten into a discussion about the existence of god. She grew very upset at the mention of the word "atheist". Long story short (in this situation at least), I feel I can't even say the word in her presence, even though she doesn't believe in god herself (so she claims to me). She is not even interested in learning what the word actually means; she considers it a religion no matter how many times I've tried to explain it. She has raised her voice to me about it. She has officially, blatantly showed her disrespect for not hearing me out and basically 'not allowing' me to utter the word. The crack in the brick wall has widened.

Karen, Rebecca and I were at a bar. For some unknown reason, Rebecca decided to instigate something by muttering the words, "non-believer, atheist...". To which I shrugged and said, "Same thing." From Karen's direction I felt the heat. I looked away and Rebecca immediately said, "Karen, calm down". Folks, that did it for me. I have never uttered a personal word to her again. I am now mourning my female confidant. I am now rolling my eyes when she calls, blowing off lunch dates - I tell her I don't have any money, told her two weeks ago I'm depressed, this week I'm too busy. I say nothing of interest, just listen to her talk about her money issues, about the things that she buys, her trip to Hawaii that she's leaving for this weekend. She'll be gone a solid month. Basically I'll be on vacation, too. I believe she's feeling the vibe from me. She's been calling me a lot, "checking on me". I just mumble and laugh very little now and without much heart.

I am at a crossroads. I'm in my 40s and sick of the BS, but I have never had a friendship last this long. But is it a true friendship? Doubtfully. Karen and Jack have both screwed me financially and emotionally. Yet I am not sure I am ready for a breakup. I am afraid. I feel sick. But they will eventually ask what's wrong. Will I be prepared for that? I'm not big on kids, I have none of my own, but I've known theirs since birth. They're my biggest fans. I've taught them things, like little songs on the piano. I would miss them. (The rest of the lot - the friends - wouldn't be a big loss, at least.) This part of the situation is stressing me out to no end. Elliot is fantastic; he stays up with me and listens to me ruminate. He's not much on saying outright negative things about people, but he he thinks Karen and Jack's behavior toward me is weird; and that that have seriously questionable values. And he points out my good qualities.

Now for the good news. I am being proactive. I went online and placed and ad for friends maybe 10 days ago. Not online friends although I do appreciate a couple long term ones; real, local, breathing friends - and it would be great to meet some here on this forum, but I probably scared everyone away by now. Placing that ad was totally weird. I had 5 responses, but really only cared for 2, and we are emailing regularly. I met one woman in person today and will meet the other tomorrow. The one I met today was amazing. It was like we were friends for years, and merely hadn't seen each other for a while and were catching up. She is everything I'm looking for, and my ad was pretty explicit. I cannot express how thrilled I am. I am proceeding cautiously but thinking optimistically for the first time in years.

I suppose that's the end of the saga, even if it is a work-in-progress - there is still a Big Thing to deal with, eventually. I guess I don't really need too much advice; as you see, I've kind of started on that. Of course, it would be interesting to hear how others would handle this (A short and painless letter? A long, drawn out letter outlining these particular occurrences? Avoidance (my personal favorite) until the relationship is crippled?) - or if anyone else has gone through something similar.

*sigh* OK, yeah, some words of encouragement are welcome. I'm really stuck.

Thanks all, for your time.

Post Edited (with_without) : 7/14/2010 8:29:16 AM (GMT-6)


harrington49
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 355
   Posted 7/14/2010 6:39 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey With_Without

I loved reading the whole story, and the humour you added was great.

I think I would probably write her a letter and tell her what you have told us but directed to her and husband, she needs to know. Then I would sever ties with them, sure you'll miss the kids but they're probably old enough to ring you or come and see you if they want to.

I hope it all works out for you whichever way you decide to go, and I wish you luck with your new friends. I wish I had the courage to put an add in the paper for friends, I think you are so funny.
Harrington49


with_without
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 7/14/2010 7:32 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi harrington49, thanks for writing. wink

I did just finish up a rough draft, actually. It's now 7:30am here and I really should go to bed.

Regarding your comment about the kids getting in touch with me: they are only 8 and 6. Only mom has the phone and my email address. shakehead They could never get in touch with me on their own.

Post Edited (with_without) : 7/14/2010 8:46:32 AM (GMT-6)


Lotskibob
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 7/14/2010 11:00 AM (GMT -7)   
Loved the story, the letter sounds like a good idea to me. Why dont you try taking the kids out somewhere for the day, before you give her the letter. If they become accustomed to spending days out with you, they will pester their parents forever to let you take them out, even if you arent friends.

Haha, I thought you should write a book, with false names, and then ask her to proof read it for you. at the end you should write in big letters 'Yeah, I mean you.

But then that might be my immaturity showing...

Post Edited By Moderator (getting by) : 7/14/2010 2:54:08 PM (GMT-6)


with_without
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 7/14/2010 8:07 PM (GMT -7)   
OK, here's my second rough draft. I'm thinking of reading it to her in person when she returns from vacation.
Constructive criticism, please.

***

Dear Karen,

I’m sure you notice that I’ve been pulling away from you. You deserve to know why.

Over the past few years, I’ve watched our relationship go downhill. I feel like I’ve become your doormat, that you take advantage of my generosity. It’s clear that ‘money’ and ‘things’ are much more important to you than our friendship.

Aside from telling Rebecca my business (as indicated from some fairly recent jabs), you have hurt me in other ways emotionally with your selfishness.
Elliot’s birthday party: You had ample time to find a sitter (you said it was too expensive to use an agency, yet you go gambling the next day); you blew my surprise to Elliot when you told him that everyone from the wedding was coming when I had been telling you two couples were a secret, and Jack was drinking directly out of my rum bottle, which resulted in his barely holding up his part of the agreement with the cooking. You never even apologized.
The -- movie: You called Elliot's phone while he and I were in the theater watching the show, insinuating it was time for us to leave. Then you wander off to some bar and expect us to come pick you up.
My birthday party: I wasn’t allowed to invite one additional friend because your guest list was “too full”. Yet Elliot and I ended up buying all this food for strangers.
Your HI trip and renting out your house: I couldn’t even believe you asked me if your entire family could stay the night here so you could make several hundred extra bucks. Did you even think to offer me a cut? No. Glad I shot down that idea. But see, these are just a few of countless examples of it being all about YOU, without any regard to my feelings.

You don’t listen. What really did it for me was the atheist thing; that was pretty much the last straw. You get upset at usage of the word, raise your voice to me, and refuse to even learn what the word means, unable to get it out of your head that it’s not a religion. You won’t even look it up in the dictionary. Atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist. There is no deity, bible, church, dogma, preacher, baptism, nothing. Being an atheist is being someone who doesn’t believe in any gods. Yet I feel I can’t say the word around you. You really get bent out of shape. And no thanks to Rebecca for trying to instigate something at Y Bar that day; I thought you were going to blow my head off for saying to Rebecca that ‘atheist’ and ‘non-believer’ mean the same thing. She enjoys starting trouble and that day was a big push for me to proceed in breaking this off.

You’re ungrateful. The negative comments you made about this house while living in it were not appreciated – Elliot’s parents accepted your low rent request and were very flexible to your needs when there were delays on your house renovations. Even the small things mean nothing at all to you. I brought over magazines that I paid for and give you to enjoy, bought you a magazine subscription, a decent bottle of wine simply for driving us to X Brewhouse (not in the van as I requested, because, again, you didn’t listen and all of us had to squish into your convertible), that sort of thing. Not even a simple thank you. This relationship is severely one-sided. I mostly give, you mostly take.

And the money. Oh, the money. Karen, you are very well aware that I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of money while with you. I’m not talking about when you were really sick and we went to Vegas for your birthday. That was different. I’m talking about after you got better and we were in agreement to split the bills. Granted, I should have grown balls and spoken up. But you should have taken it upon yourself like a standup friend would and paid me back when I was stuck with tabs that were almost $100, $200 and that $300 one from Cinco de Mayo – I even spoke to you about this very recently. You get too busy being halfway out the door from being completely wasted, so I end up having to cover it – you know I simply can’t and won’t do the dine & dash. For way too long I kept wondering, ‘When will she pay me back?’

Then you suggested we start taking turns paying for lunch. Now, when it’s your turn, and you’ve skipped several – because I stupidly pick up the check and/or lost track - you make little comments like, “How much was that X Bar bill the other day?” You nickel and dime me, too, and manage to get me to fork over cash - $10 or $20 here and there – for your purchases. Have you paid me back? Nope; I’m a * fool, and you’ve taken full advantage of my lack of assertiveness.

I tried for so long to overlook these things, hoping you would change, would somehow make it up to me; but sadly, my wait was utterly futile. My resentment toward you has been building over a very long period time and I’ve finally reached my breaking point. I am pissed at myself for not speaking up all those times, instead internally seething and finding myself mentally ‘scorekeeping’, particularly about the money. I have literally been sick over this for a while now – I hardly sleep and eat like * - and am even back on an antidepressant as of mid-July.

I have no earthly idea if this is salvageable, but I suspect too much damage has been done, even if you did pay up and apologize for your numerous selfish acts. It’s all a shame, really, because I did have a lot of fun hanging out with you and I haven’t known anyone as long as I’ve known you; we have a history. And then there are your kids - we have a relationship, too. But, like I said, I refuse to be manipulated any longer. And I admit, I am mourning the loss of my confidant. But I fear that my personal business will continue to be shared with others, and I don’t appreciate restrictions as far as what I can say or who I can invite to my own parties – in other words, I will not be controlled by you or anyone else. That is not a friendship.

So I am letting you go. Good luck to you.

Post Edited (with_without) : 7/14/2010 9:51:52 PM (GMT-6)


getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 40574
   Posted 7/14/2010 8:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Your letter is very well written.  You have many points of the onesidedness of this relationship.  But do you want to lose this friend forever?  If you give her this letter, you will definately do so.  People are people, some give, some take.  But they can only take if we let them.  Sometimes it is our fault for not saying "no".   And even though our friends are not perfect, they are our friends.  We accept them for who they are.  Accept their flaws becasue none of us are perfect.  If I were you, I would just gradually break contact with her.  Eventually she will go her way and you will go yours.  But once you send the letter, you can't take it back.  Think about it. 
 
Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
 
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies


with_without
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 7/14/2010 8:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Karen,

I would actually read the letter to her, not send it.
Honestly, at this moment I don't foresee going any further with this relationship. I had already admitted several times in the letter that I should have spoken up - but a REAL friend would have made things right. She never even attempted to. The more I ponder my situation, the more I am leaning toward saying goodbye forever. That is not to say I may not feel differently next week.
But I have a month to mull this over before she returns. I have a LOT to do in this time period. I am working on two brand new friendships now, cultivating another, and trying to understand why I allow myself to be manipulated by certain people. I know one reason is because of sheer loneliness. Well, that's not the case anymore; that was years ago when I had no one else (I had no family here then, but now I'm married). I think it got to where I held on because of the longevity. And then she got really, really sick... *sigh*

Post Edited (with_without) : 7/15/2010 4:18:45 AM (GMT-6)


with_without
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 7/15/2010 3:06 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi again Karen,

I've given this more thought (so what else is new?), and of course, as expected, I'm possibly swinging the other way.

I've just been lying in bed (again, what else is new?), staring at the ceiling, thinking up scenarios - one being just going to her house and picking up my box of wine glasses she is supposed to drop off before leaving for her trip this Sat. I'm already being aloof (it comes naturally now), and in person it will really show. She will point out this sunburn on half my neck and shoulder, to which I will respond that I went to X Bar (a hangout Karen introduced me to a long time ago) with my friend (that part is all true - and I had so much fun!) - which may or may not irritate her since I've been blowing her off about going out to lunch due to my 'lack of funds'. She may or may not ask if I'm OK, to which I will respond, "We'll talk when you get back from HI."

Upon her return I suppose I will go to her place again and talk to her - telling her that I've become increasingly angry over the past few years because of her selfishness and how she manipulates me. I will give her some examples of times she'd upset me and tell her there is the matter of at least $480 (her share of bar tabs - and I will point out that that's giving her a break!) that needs to be settled. And that some major apologies are in order...and whether she can handle this will indicate to me how important this friendship is to her.

Of course, this is just a fantasy. rolleyes

Post Edited (with_without) : 7/15/2010 4:15:39 AM (GMT-6)


harrington49
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 355
   Posted 7/15/2010 3:36 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi With_Without

Do you think she will be quiet while you are saying all of this or will she interrupt and then an argument will start because she will deny half of what you are saying and then she will say stuff that you don't agree with and then it will be one big cat fight.

I agree with the going to her house, personally I think you are very brave, but I think that is probably the best thing to do or maybe think about it some more and perhaps just distance yourself from her, blow her away so to speak like you have said.

Just my 2 cents worth. Good luck.
Harrington49


with_without
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 7/15/2010 7:10 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi harrington49,

I've thought about that and have no idea. I can tell you that it would be a total shock to her if I raised my voice. I've never done that to her, even with all the crap she pulled on me - always held my tongue. I'm not one to hit people or anything like that; however, there's the small possibility SHE would if it did get ugly. She recently hit a drunk man with a miniature baseball bat, but he was walking onto her property toward her and her children. Clearly a different situation.

Your "2¢" is very welcome, and worth more than that anyway. I have some time to listen to others' opinions and suggestions, so please keep them coming. Thank you.

with_without
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 7/16/2010 1:20 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi,

I have been reading extensively on Karen's behavior and came across something totally shocking. I believe she is narcissistic and may even have a disorder. Considering we all have some degree of mental issues here (otherwise we wouldn't be on this particular forum), you know that I'm not making light of this. But beyond the basic criteria listed for us in DSM manuals that describe our conditions, I found information on what it's like to be on the other side of this disorder and I almost cried. It described me perfectly, how I became and actively remain her victim. Further, I'm learning that a letter, particularly a scathing one, may be a really bad idea, because there is the possibility of some serious retaliation on her part. The draft that I posted above is tame and many pages shorter than what it is now. The current version is so explosive that giving it to her would be a certain death wish. I can't share it here; I can't share it with a single soul, it's that insane. Contrary to what you may think, it's not loaded with cursing or threats, but more the random trains of thought that pop into my head at all hours of the day and night when I think about what I'm going through with her. It tells her in a very raw way every emotion that comes to mind - positive and negative. I've never written any sort of letter in this fashion before, really, and this one would no doubt blow her mind, considering that over all these years I took her abuse, bottled it up, and acted as if nothing happened while in her presence. She has never seen me angry.

So I'm swinging again on just distancing myself, slowly, till I'm completely separated from her. *sigh*
Thanks for listening.

PS - Sorry for my failure in contributing to others' posts yet; I admit I'm guilty of that, yet so fully immersed in this I am not quite ready to get out of my own head for anything else at present. But I'll get there.

Post Edited (with_without) : 7/16/2010 2:27:01 PM (GMT-6)


getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 40574
   Posted 7/16/2010 3:36 PM (GMT -7)   
I think you are right in distancing yourself from this person.  But you can't blame her completely, because she can only take advantage of you if you let her.  So you are partially to blame here, if you are placing blame.  I would just accept the type of person that she is.  Try not to diagnose her in your mind.  Break all ties gradually, and get on with your life.  You don't want to complicate this in your mind anymore than it already is.  Writing down your feelings is a good thing to do.  Write it all down, put it somewhere and then try not to think about it.  This is a lesson learned in life.  No real right or wrong going on here.  Just two people hanging out.  Try not to make it more than it is.  You still have good memories of times with her.  Don't poison that.
 
You have got your life to live, with or without her.  I honestly think that this is getting blown way out of proportion in your mind.  You are creating a problem when you don't have to.  I have had people take advantage of me too.  But I would rather be taken advantage of because I am a good person, than to go the other way and not trust anybody.  That is a horrible feeling, believe me.  You can end this on a good note if you want to.  And I think that would be best.  Just my opinion.
 
Here is a poem that I think you will appreciate
It is called Desiderata. 
 
Hugs, Karen


  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
 
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies

Post Edited (getting by) : 7/16/2010 4:43:16 PM (GMT-6)


with_without
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 7/16/2010 4:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi,

Oh, I certainly do share the blame. Getting Karen to do me a favor is highly stressful; I feel like I have to ply her with gifts - and she "wins" in the end because she fails me anyway, twisting everything to suit her. She has that (un-deserved) power, and when I see this now I feel so foolish for falling for it time and time again. Not to mention when she needs something (money), I'm there at her beck and call even though I am deeply resenting both of us for my giving in, because I know in my heart I am being screwed.

This is the profile of the victim, only repackaged in my own words and experiences. It was extremely hard to admit and it injured my pride. I kissed her @$$!!

Yes. I allowed her to suck me dry. It was very cleverly done; she is very slick. I had expected to be treated with respect in return and patiently waited like an idiot, continuing to let her dupe me, only to be let down.

With all due respect, I don't think it's fair of you to say that his is getting blown out of proportion in my mind. Of course I've had people take advantage of me, too - plenty - and also because I am a good person...why else would one get taken advantage of? This just happens to be severe, consistent, multi-layered, and branched out in multiple directions; it not only affected me personally, but the people I'm associated with. I'm not talking about a friend who slept with my boyfriend, or stole $100 out of my wallet, or wrecked my car, or even the same person doing all of the above. I don't want this to be taken the wrong way, and it may be: While having a friend sleep with your boyfriend, steal you money, and wreck your car is completely uncalled for, can most definitely cause anguish and pain and deep feelings of betrayal, requiring a swift dumping of this so-called "friend", this ain't Judge Judy. This is a personality who has that power to get me back under her thumb. I need to learn how to avoid that. That is, after I figure out how to get away from her, at what volume, at what speed, and how far.

Also, you are saying I am creating a problem 'when I don't have to'. I disagree. If that were the case, would I be here? Would I invest so much energy into putting my thoughts here or on paper? Or reading other people's stories who are experiencing the same thing, gathering ideas on how to handle this? Or making new friends? I think creating a problem would be knocking down her door and punching her in the face. If anything, I'm tackling the * out of this. Yes, it is time consuming. Isn't all therapy?

Further, you are suggesting that I don't trust anyone. Nothing could be further from the truth. SHE is the ONLY person I do not trust. This predicament has not altered my thinking in how I trust others.

I also want to clarify here that I did not run to a psychology textbook and play "match-the-diagnosis". I tracked down many people's stories and several had written well-documented accounts of their experiences on this matter. The whole 'narcissism' thing was a gradual finding - merely the latest step in my personal quest to solve my problem. I'm basically documenting everything here. I hope this is OK.

Post Edited (with_without) : 7/16/2010 6:14:21 PM (GMT-6)


getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 40574
   Posted 7/16/2010 5:11 PM (GMT -7)   
Yes this is okay.  I meant that I went around not trusting people because of being used and hurt before.  And I found that getting used was better than me being paranoid.  And I was.  There are many people that use other people out there, but in my opinion it is better to leave gracefully than have a confrontation.  But maybe you would be better off to bring this to light and put closure onto it. 
 
Nobody knows what goes on in another person's mind.  She may be doing this without really realizing what she is doing.  How many years have you two known eachother?  How long has this been giong on? 
 
Sometimes in life we have to accept people for who they are.  Nobody is perfect.  I am not telling you what to do, I am just telling you how I feel.  And how it looks to the objective eye.  Somebody who is just reading what you have written.
 
Do feel free to share here, there are many who understand and want to help you.
 
Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
 
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies


with_without
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 7/16/2010 5:37 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi,

I wondered that too...if she knows what she is doing. I'm thinking yes and no. There is most definitely a sense of entitlement; she is used to getting what she wants, and is a master (mistress?) of manipulation to keep that entitlement flowing. But once that entitlement is threatened, she is suddenly made aware that she is pushing things too far. This is where she can either 1- back down (but, oh my, never show it!), then turn on the charm so you are again her dog, or 2- lash out at you, make you feel like crap, and again become her dog. It's extremely difficult, because all the while, you're still being manipulated. Something is off, and making you uncomfortable, but you can't put your finger on it. I'm sorry I can't explain it better.

I've known her since 1998.

I know we have to accept people for who they are and that no one is perfect. I'm bipolar/depressed; I'm all over the place, and I try to see myself as others would. (I'm trying to not look like a self-centered jerk right now, as a matter of fact, so forgive me if I come off that way; it's not intentional.) I've also had to accept myself, get over myself, learn to at least get along with myself and that's a constant struggle. I would imagine none of this is new to anyone here. I've alienated people, used people, worked too hard for friendships, was dumped on. Karen found my vulnerability: I moved to this town, had no family here, and certainly had no friends; but she was the one person who accepted me, so of course, why would I not be grateful? She was the only long-term friendship I've ever had. The best part is, while with her, I've gone full circle. I was drifting downward myself when I met her. Then I hit bottom, went to the hospital, got on meds, tons of therapy. You know the drill; we are all a work in progress.

More than likely this had been going on forever. Only it had become more clear to me as the years went by and I'd been working on my own self-awareness.

As far as closure, that's why I'm here, gleaning info on how to do it, right? wink I just have to weigh any suggestions against how SHE may take the news for backing away...would she paint expletives on my house or just stop inviting me around?

Thank you again for your input, and for letting me share here.

Post Edited (with_without) : 7/16/2010 6:55:36 PM (GMT-6)


getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 40574
   Posted 7/16/2010 5:54 PM (GMT -7)   
It really hurts when we realize that we got hurt by somebody that we have trusted for a long time.  I can see how you would feel resentful now that you have realized what is going on and that this friendship has been all onesided.  She not only stripped you of money, she stole your trust.  It is going to take you a while to heal from this, I can see that.  Do some nice things for yourself for awhile.  Treat yourself good.  Like you say, we are all a work in progress.
 
Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
 
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies


harrington49
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 355
   Posted 7/17/2010 2:43 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi With_Without

I think you should just distance yourself gradually, not be available to go out with her, don't take all of her phone calls, etc you know what I mean.

To me, it sounds like you have been there for her the whole time, to catch her when she is about to fall both emotionally and financially. I am glad you have woken up, realised that she is not a friend at all but a giant user. I think she sounds like the type who will move onto someone else as gullible as you were - sorry to be blunt. But you've woken up, you're not gullible any more so good on you for that.

She is probably pulling you down when you are battling to stay up, so my advice is to pull away. don't argue with her because she could be dangerous like you say.

I have to say I have been very entertained by your posts, you sound like you are loaded with personality which is probably what attracted her to you as a friend in the first place.

Good luck, keep posting and hang in there.
Harrington49


with_without
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 7/17/2010 9:53 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm pulling away, quietly, and accepting what I've lost as a loss (the money). I've become needy (mostly because of this experience - she played on my past severe loneliness and current insecurities) and I hate that; I don't want it to kill my current and future relationships.

Thanks for the advice, I'm taking it. cool

Post Edited (with_without) : 7/17/2010 10:56:34 AM (GMT-6)


getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 40574
   Posted 7/17/2010 10:06 AM (GMT -7)   
You are doing the right thing.  Try to forget about the money and know that this was an expensive learning experience.  You are a good person and what comes around goes around.  She will get hers one day, and you wont have anything to do with it.  She can't continue to do this, it will catch up with her.  You probably aren't the only person that she has used in the past. 
 
I want you to stay a good person.  Don't ever let her get you to stoop down to her level.  You are above that.  I know that it makes you angry, it would me too.  But you are a good person as I said and you will come out on top. 
 
Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
 
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies

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