Family Life & Relationships <
05/06/2016 at 22:50
im currently going through IVF, had 5 cycles to date and 5th cycle failed in April. If I'm honest, I feel emotionally broken but I'm not one to "offload" onto friends so I don't say much and put on a brave face, as it were.
this post concerns my "best friend". We were very close at college and lived together. after college we moved to different states and obviously drifted somewhat. Kept in touch of course but distance meant we didn't spreak so often. Friend in question has always been needy and I have always gone above and beyond in my support for her.
fast forward 10 years and we're at the 'here and now'. my friends father died suddenly 3 months ago and she had been estranged from her for some time. I immediately sent a card and called, sent text messages etc. She sent a text to thank me. I tried to call but she didn't answer. I understood why of course and sent a text telling her I was thinking of her and that I was here whenever she needed to talk. No reposnse (again, this was fine, she needed to deal with it in her own way).
A month passed and I had some serious family issues which took up all my energy. Added to that I have been having ivf (which failed again) and my thyroid has totally packed up so I need to sort this before stating a 6th IVF cycle. I was bereft this month and didn't speak to my friend.
A few weeks later we had a 2 hour phone call about her dad. I didn't tell her I was doing IVF and it had failed again as I didn't think it was appropriate. She had her own major problems to deal with and it wasnt about me.
fast forward to yesterday. We all
met at a friends house to meet her new baby. This dos take quite a bit of courage because I find babies hard to be around. Friend corners me in another room and aggressively tells me I've been a useless friend and "haven't bothered to contact her". I am ashamed to say I broke down in tears and said that I felt I had but she hadn't retirned my calls and I didn't want to harass her. She said that wasn't good enough and I should have kept calling. i told her I had had an awful time this past month but I had been thinking about her. she said she would have dropped everything if she were me. I left shortly afterwards.
she sent me a text message later saying that she didn't want to fall out but she was disappointed with me. I explained that I didn't want to fall out either but I felt I had tried to contact and support her. She said she wasn't expecting me to reply with this (i think she expected me to grovel and apologise profusely). She said "we need to talk over the phone".
what would you do in this situation? I never expect support from people and have always supported her but I have had my own shit to deal with and she won't accept that. i feel so weirdly shaken by this.
22/07/2016 at 04:50
It sounds like your friend wants more from you than you are able to reasonably provide, given both of your circumstances. It doesn't seem like she is out to hurt you, she is understandably ignorant of your own troubles, and maybe if she knew, she would have behaved differently.
On one hand you could try to explain calmly exactly what you have said here, to her. If she is compassionate enough and cares about you she would probably apologise for assuming you had no troubles of your own.
On the other hand, some people, while well meaning and not at all malicious, are not capable of handling their own personal misfortunes without losing their temper and becoming rude. They are unable to see that other people might be suffering too, because they are blinded by their own suffering.
Please don't feel like this is your responsibility. While you could choose to be charitable to her and give her the unjust apology she is hoping for, to soothe her, and reminding yourself that your conscience is clear and that is enough for you to know, nobody is obligated to take unfair blame upon themselves to keep others happy.
It is not fair on you that she refused to accept your perfectly valid reasons for your behaviour and lashed out at you, because your intentions were good and you tried hard to be kind to her when you knew she needed kindness.
For exactly the same reason, it is not fair on her for others to hope for compassion from her, or understanding, or even just plain reasonableness, during her own time of stress because, just like you, her capacity to be perfectly nice and adult and understanding (in the way others would hope for) is not always 100% when she is under unfortunate stress of her own. She had no unkind intentions either, just like toddlers throwing a tantrum are not inherently trying to cause their parents to suffer. She just isn't capable of being considerate to you, at the moment.
If she is repeatedly harsh towards you, in good times and in bad times, though, and this is not just a result of a temporarily diminished capacity to be her best, then it may be better for you to consider making some friends who tend to be a positive effect on your life. That doesn't make you or her a bad person, it just indicates that your paths in life no longer fit for a comfortable and healthy friendship to continue.
22/07/2016 at 09:50
If you truly are 'best friends' then she should be asking about you & your life as much as she is telling you about hers & you should not have any fear of unloading your own frustrations & dreams in confidence.
I'm seeing a lot of 'flags' in her behaviour. Could she have a social communication disorder or autism? She seems to be prioritising herself above all others & expecting you to 'drop everything for her sake'...you aren't children any more, you are both adults leading your own separate lives (it would take a very patient partner & employer for you to tell them that you were taking 'time out' to support your friend for however long she needs you ).
Yes, a phone call may be needed but it may be the time for some home truths to be aired (it might not be the most pleasant of calls ).
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