Crisis, Grief, and Healing => Main => Topic started by: Irene on September 11, 2019, 06:33:13 AM

Title: Difficulty with Friend
Post by: Irene on September 11, 2019, 06:33:13 AM
Hi, Years ago I joined this site after my mother had passed away and I found tremendous help from the members that listened and gave me advice. I will be grateful for the information I received here for the rest of my life. I have a lifelong friend who has been going through some issues for many years and for which she has been seeing a counselor. Two years ago, her stresses increased and she lashed out at me for not being supportive and that in the future, our communication had to be mainly about her. There have been a couple of instances in the last two years, where she has told me after becoming irritated with her feeling of me not being supportive enough, where she has withdrawn and told me that she needs time on her own and then a few weeks later, she would contact me again and we would continue on, often again with her feeling that I am not giving her the support that she needs. A few weeks ago, she called me one day, to tell me that she was facing a difficult decision. She called multiple times that morning and each time we discussed ways to solve the situation. That night I was packing to go away on a trip, but the next afternoon when I reached my destination I called her. She didn't pick up the phone, for the next two days and then on the third day she answered and told me that she was too upset that I hadn't called her on the Friday night(we had already spoken multiple times that day) to check in on her. I explained that I had called her the next day, and she was upset that it hadn't been the Friday night and that she didn't have the energy to pick up the phone when I called her the following days. After going to see a counselor as I was feeling so anxious about this continued sense of controlling behaviour on the part of my friend, I communicated with my friend how I felt. She later contacted me to say that she doesn't want to continue with this toxic relationship(and I agree that this is what it has become) and she is going to spend the future focusing on herself without contact from me. It's been a few weeks now, but after decades of friendship I know this friend and feel that she won't seek out the help that she needs, and instead will blame me for the fallout, as she has for the last two years. I know that without this help, our friendship is essentially over after a lifetime as the blaming and anger directed at me, has taken it's toll on me, and although I don't regret telling her how I felt about our relationship over the last two years, I do feel regret that knowing her so well, her anger won't dissipate and this will be the end of our friendship-one that was one of the most important in my life.
Title: Re: Difficulty with Friend
Post by: Tom on September 12, 2019, 09:25:00 AM
Irene -  Sorry to hear about the troubles with this friendship.  Grief can put a strain on friendships.  When we are acutely grieving it is often difficult to reciprocate and be of help to others.  We are in a mess and our own troubles rightfully come to the top.  Friends of grieving folks need to be able to take care of themselves and be as kind and helpful to the grieving person while at the same time making sure that they are taken care of.  Many a friendship has been lost from this sort of dynamic.  If someone demands a one way relationship use caution and be sure to consider your own needs.   
Title: Re: Difficulty with Friend
Post by: Irene on September 23, 2019, 10:52:26 AM
Yes Tom, my friend has been focused solely on her own issues for the last two years, and while I understand that life has been difficult for her, I find her need for me to contact her at undefined times of her crises, anxiety provoking and then her resulting anger, when I have failed to "perform" appropriately, even more stressful. I have since received a couple of e-mails from her, advising me that if I just accepted that I should have called her on the one night where she was under stress(but felt that she couldn't call me) we would be working towards fixing the issues. Unfortunately, a year ago, when she had a similar issue, she advised me that I was continually dropping the ball in terms of support and this would only happen again. At the time, I believed she was right and that was correct. I have bought the book, "Boundaries" as this was recommended to me, and I have suggested going to a counselor to work through this, but she isn't wanting to pursue this angle at this point in time. To be honest, I find after a lifetime of friendship, that being blamed for being the problem and being given the corrected path of making things right again, would be helpful to her perhaps, but would be a form of accepting abusive behaviour on my part. I just want to be accepted for who I am and if my support offered isn't what she needs, then I don't have any answers other than discussing this jointly with an unbiased counselor.