Feb 23, 2009

I think I'm a Bad Friend

Musings of A Beautiful Mess
Generally, I'm a great friend. I try to listen and give advice if asked. I usually give my opinion, but am always supportive of the other persons decision. I've always said "I may not agree with your choice, but that doesn't mean I won't support you and your choices". Lately though, this has been a bit more difficult.

One of my best friends has just broken up with her girlfriend. Her relationship with her girlfriend has caused her to put out friendship on the back burner many times. I've accepted this because it makes my friend happy to be with this woman. This woman and I do not get a long. It's gotten better, but I would never call us "friends". I've tried so many times to take the high road and be kind to her, but she really does not like me. I believe, she's jealous of me. Not of who I am, but what kind of friendship I have with my best friend. When I have a friend, they mean a lot to me. I enjoy spending a lot of time with that person. So, the girlfriend was jealous and tried to put a wedge between my friend and I. It worked for awhile, until my friend realized what was going on.

The relationship they have is not healthy. It's not just my opinion, but it's a fact. Her g/f controls her and she allows herself to be controlled. Her g/f calls her anytime of the day, tells her to get her some food and she goes and does it. It's a very unhealthy relationship, to say the least. But it isn't my relationship. It's my friend's. It's none of my business to pass judgment on their relationship. All I can do is be supportive and be here when my friend needs me. I've done my best to not talk badly about her g/f when she talks to me about their problems or whatever. I've really done my best to be kind and give support when needed. I've even gone so far as to invite her g/f over for dinner or to do something with us. She always declines, but I figure if this person is going to be in my best friend's life, then I better just suck it up and kill her with kindness. Which was working rather well. I'd hold my tongue when I felt I was about to say something unkind. I'd detach me personal feelings and try to be as neutral as possible. I've even gone so far as to give my friend advice on why her g/f acts the way she does.

Well, they broke up a few weeks ago. Usually they get back together in a matter of time, but g/f doesn't want to have anything to do with my friend. Although, I feel bad for my friend because obviously she's sad about all of this, I just can't bare to give her any type of emotional support. I've done it so many times and gotten nothing in return but hurt feelings on my part. They brake up, we become close friend again, they get back together and I'm nobody. It really hurts my feelings to put so much emotional effort in making her feel better when it's not getting returned to me.

Part of me doesn't understand why she's so upset. her g/f treats her like shit. She's even admitted it! She said "I'm having 'get shit on' withdraws. I miss my g/f". All she does is hole herself in her room. She doesn't eat dinner with us, she NEVER returns my text messages, she hardly ever talks to me anymore, and when I ask her to do something, she'll either not answer her phone, or decline for some reason or another. I know I need to be supportive, but I guess I just don't know how, anymore. So, I've just kind of let her be. I've allowed her to do her mopey thing and have her pity parties without acknowledging them.

On one hand I feel like I'm being a horrible friend when she's clearly in need, but how much do I give of myself to her? I know depression, I honestly do. I've been there many times. There's been many times when all I wanted to do was sit on the couch and wallow in self pity, but that's because MY MOM DIED! I know I can't compare the two, because her feelings are different from mine and she probably is feeling like someone died. But I can't keep on doing this. I can't keep up with her mood swings and try to help her when she won't allow me to help and I can't give all myself to her when all is well, I'll just get tossed onto the back burner again.

If anyone has ANY advice for me, I'd GREATLY appreciate it. Feel free to call me an asshole for not being as compassionate about her feelings as I could, because I kind of am. I just want her to be my happy friend again, or something close to that.

9 friends have commented:

Stacey K on February 23, 2009 at 11:16 AM said...

Is your life better with this person in it? Doesn't sound like she brings much to the party anymore. You're not being a bad friend, you're practicing self-preservation.

My best friend from high school and I were so close that I named my oldest child after her. Forward 10 years from that point and I had to make a break. I couldn't handle the drama anymore. She wasn't always like that, but by that point it was a one way street. I did the calling. I listened to the pain...nothing was ever returned. It's been 10 years since I last spoke to her. Sometimes I miss her, but my life isn't less without her. She chose to bury herself int he pain and drama. I chose to live my life without that stuff. One day I just didn't try anymore. I didn't call and she's never called me. She could call today and that would be great. I would enjoy it, but back then I couldn't be there anymore as the person propping her up.

You have to ask yourself if you're reached that point yet. You might not have. You're NOT being an asshole. You've offered her compassion in the past and gotten hurt. It's natural not to feel comfortable doing that again. You're friend needs to learn to stand on her own and go on with her life. You can't do it for her. When she's ready to do it on her own, then she's ready for your compassion and support.

Kristin on February 23, 2009 at 11:28 AM said...

Honey...you have given and given and given and gotten nothing in return, You have been a friend but she hasn't. A friend isn't a friend only when it's convenient and that is what she has done to you. Don't beat yourself up over this.

Aunt Becky on February 23, 2009 at 11:54 AM said...

Man, that's such a toughie. If I were you, I'd try to be supportive from afar. You can't MAKE someone feel better if they're going through a tough time. I guess I'd try and reach out but not too much.

Then again, I have so little to give someone right now I can't imagine trying.

The Muser (aka Beautiful Mama) on February 23, 2009 at 12:12 PM said...

Well, I guess if it were me I'd just be honest with her...tell her how hurt you've felt, that you want to support her but are burned-out and are worried that if you do give support, she's just going to take advantage of you. I'd tell her how much you love her and how tired you are of not being loved well in return. I'd even share my concerns about the g/f...you know, "I think you deserve better and it's painful to see you letting yourself be abused. I know it's your life and I respect that and your choices, but I don't feel like I can stand by and watch someone drain the life out of you like this. I miss the person you used to be and it's hard to see you constantly give her up for someone who loves you so badly"...(I had to say something similar to a friend who was dating a truly controlling and emotionally abusive man). Best of luck!

restorethmysoul on February 23, 2009 at 1:12 PM said...

this is really a hard situation...but i agree that you should be supportive of her...being supportive during the break up may help her realize how she had been and help her to stay out of the relationship. thats just my two sense, thanks for commenting on my blog!

ICLW

alicia on February 23, 2009 at 1:28 PM said...

oh wow, this sounds like such a hard situation. And I can imagine it would be so frustrating and so draining.

But becuase she is your BEST FRIEND then I would encourage you not to give up. I only say this cause I have been doing the same lame thing to my best friend. With the whole infertiltiy thing going on I kinda shut everyone out of my life, including my best friend. When i did see her I was misrable and just a horrid friend. But she stuck by me, for 2 years of this crap! Must ppl would have walked away, but she loves me and knows me and took the crap becuase she is an amazing friend. I now realize how stupid I was and am so thankful she stuck around. I know the circumstances are different, but I really appreciated that insane level of friendship and maybe your friend will see that too.

Deathstar on February 23, 2009 at 3:49 PM said...

ICLW.

Sometimes being compassionate means NOT enabling her to be JUST a bag of misery when she's with you. She may be hurting you but she's killing her soul with her low self esteem. A true friend tells you the truth with as much tenderness and love she can muster.

What she needs is a therapist and then you may be able to be close again. Get her a list of therapists (maybe even one is gay/lesbian), let her make the appointment from your house, drive her there and let her know that you believe in her ability to find her own happiness. Invite her to volunteer with you at a hospice or go dancing or something that is active so you don't have to sit around and listen to her whine. If your friend was hooked on drugs, would you bite your tongue and be nice to her drug dealer?

If you don't have the energy for all of us, don't blame yourself. When she learns to love herself she will learn to love you and be there for YOU as a friend.

Liv on February 23, 2009 at 9:09 PM said...

It's so hard for us woman sometimes to maintain such relationships like these. Don't feel like a bad friend. If she continues to stay in a relationship that is not healthy there's some underlying reason there. And until she is able to deal with that she's going to continue to take you down with her.

Have you ever heard about how lifeguards are supposed to wait until the person they are trying to save has exhausted themselves? This is because if the lifeguard just jumps out and tries to save them, the person in complete desperation will pull them down and drown the person trying to save them. But, if they wait until they have reached the point that they almost can't swim anymore, they will relent to the "saving".

You can't save the person who hasn't reached that point yet without killing yourself.

Thanks for your comments my dear. I greatly appreciate it.

ICLW

awakeintheworld on February 24, 2009 at 12:38 PM said...

Wow. I don't know that I have anything better to say than anyone else, but you should really make taking care of yourself a priority, and if being her friend gets in the way of that, then maybe stepping back is ok. She is obviously in an unhealthy place.

Thanks for the kind comment on my blog.

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