40-Somethings - When friends are not healthy to have...




Hermit Girl
08-29-2008, 10:05 AM
Recently, I had a realization about a long time girlfriend of mine, that it's been a long time unhealthy relationship. Backstory : she and I have been rather close for about 8 or 9 years maybe, and in the last year and a half she's been involved in an affair, left her husband, thus left our tiny little mountain neighborhood. I angsted for a long time. I'm dear friends with her husband ( which is how she and I met , as he and I played in a band together ) , but had not shared the time of day with him it seems, for the time *she* was my friend. It's as though I couldn't be friends with both at the same time, as though she became exclusive and wedged he and I apart. The big thing she and I had in common is that we both gained about 50 pounds together, and struggled to get rid of it together. We fixated on this , it seems, talking, talking, talking about exercize programs, diets, etc.... but neither of us really doing much. We nursed each other in the comfort of acceptance, which is healthy on one hand, but on the other, it does little to truely encourage change in the status of our miseries.

She all but abandoned me during the last year and a half, acting aloof and 'in love' when she was sneaking around with her affair boyfriend, and things just got really tense and dirty. In the recent months, since she's moved out, talking with her husband (my friend who's now soon to be her ex) about her, I've heard his side of the story about all the lies and deception he's suffered from her and her dishonesty was obvious though she denies even to me (maybe even to herself) . It's like I am now just seeing her for who she is, and not some sweet cozy totally benevolent best friend all these years, but perhaps secretly malevolent and deceptive person underneath the surface of things, and with whom friendship is detrimental to my focus and energy toward my passions in *my* life. The image of a parasite comes to mind, harsh as that sounds. Now that she and her negativity are out of my way of vision, I can clearly see my positivity and creativity unfold , and true proaction take place ! I was so incredibly burdened by her dismal self esteem , negative self talk, general depression, and often seemingly ingenuine support for me, I almost think the Settling for Failure was like a contagious thing she infected me with. It was one of those friendships that came together in misery and misery kept company. I have no reason to be miserable anymore.

It seems as if the struggle to let her go has been from a sense of attachment alone . I have been both sad and angry at her lately, struggling to 'move out of her life, and into my own'. Out of that cozy sense of being neighbors I guess, was reason I kept giving back to her, putting the time and energy into her life, as conversations were 90 percent about her life, her problems, her resolutions/failures/successes. I often felt drained by her, yet I think she was a huge distraction from committing to myself, and I thought I cared deeply for her. Now that our friendship has come to a mutual moratorium, as we both decided to to get some space from each other, I can't help but wonder if this is going to be the best thing to happen to me in many years. There were strange and sabotaging energies coming from her before everything changed, she often admitted she envied me, or coveted something I had , and had this seemingly ingenuine sense of support when I did something great for myself (like go for a difficult bike ride , or lose some weight).

I began to feel like my successes threatened her, and then I started to keep them from her. I felt many times in our friendship this strong undercurrent of competition, she even once or twice said to me that she thought competition was healthy between friends. I guess I'm just thinking that maybe it was an 8 year friendship with someone that was perhaps not so healthy for the longterm. I have been feeling resentfull toward her for a couple of years now, and well, I know I am feeling this very strong sense of resolve about her , and letting her go. I have some healing to do, but I am thinking without her bizarrre negative energy in my life, that perhaps I will do much better. I'm moving back into *my* life now.

I'd love to have some feedback. Thanks in advance !


DKRiley
08-29-2008, 10:50 AM
Hermit Girl - you should take up writing, you have an impeccable way of communicating. I think you are so very right and have a very clear insight on "the friend" .... Keep Going!!!

Alethea
08-29-2008, 11:14 AM
It was a parasitic relationship, you've seen it for what it was and now you can heal. You truly need to grieve, but not the loss of her as a friend, but the loss of a friendship you valued. Though it sounds like you are rekindling the friendship you had with her husband, and if you think about it, that's very telling. She tried to cut you off from one another, but the friendship is still there. Just my two cents, but that's the relationship I would focus on celebrating. I know that sounds rather like something a life-coach would say, but focusing on the positive and not the negative sounds more like where you'd rather be. Healing the mind/soul is just as important as healing the body. Good luck and stay positive!

No offense to life-coaches! ;)


suenami
08-29-2008, 12:33 PM
Hermit Girl, I think you will really be able to move forward with your life now. Some friends are with us for life, others are for a season, for whatever reason. You are healthier in mind and spirit now, I can sense it.

I too, had a friend like that, in the sense that she was very competitive but I didn't see it for so long. She always made sure her kids were more well behaved than mine, she made sure to remind me how much more loving and sensitive her DH was (than mine---and SO not true!).

I am better and freer now.

You are, too.

-Susan

carinna
08-29-2008, 01:52 PM
I certainly hope that your title was worded wrong, and you don't think that all friends are not healthy to have. But this particular one certainly was. Be glad to know who she really is/was, and be more glad that she's out of your life. You don't need that negativity. :hug:

dolphinlvr
08-29-2008, 10:42 PM
Hermit Girl..another hug is needed:hug:

Over the years i had to let go of several people in my life cause they were toxic. I don't mind being there for friends when they are down but when they start bringing me down cause it is a constant I had to let go. I had another friend who go involved in the world of drugs and it changed her and i could not be around her anymore. I still love her but again i had to let her go cause she refused to get help and i di dnot want to be pulled into that world. My grandma would say to me, some people are in your life forever, some for a year or even a day but they are put in your life for a reason. You may not understand the reason. It may be a lesson you need to learn or you were there to help each other through a crisis. I am sure you have good memories too so take those and move ahead. Another saying of hers is if you take something from it, it wasn't a waste of time. Good luck with the healing!

Karen

Hermit Girl
08-30-2008, 10:43 AM
I have reread my first post and these words stand out >> "I have been feeling resentfull toward her for a couple of years now, and well, I know I am feeling this very strong sense of resolve about her , and letting her go." << I realize, that whatever the reasons for my putting the friendship on freeze, that I can *not* afford *any* relationship in my life where I feel resentful. Period. Out it goes. I have been doing a bit of social overhauling in recent months and have decided that if the relationship is not reciprocal in positivity, then out it goes. No room for any negative anymore, and no room for those who don't give back a sense of appreciation at least, as I can't afford dead-weight relationships either.

And yes, Carinna, the title should have read " When a friend is not healthy to have " .

hopefuldreamer
08-30-2008, 12:08 PM
This does sound like the relationship has become very dysfunctional. You are far better off without her, even though losing her might feel like a big loss. Allow yourself to mourn the loss of the relationship, and maybe even release it in a symbolic way. It will be a catharsis to you, and help you to move in a better direction. Remember, to thine own self be true.

hopefuldreamer

fatmad
10-29-2008, 04:16 AM
:devil:Hermit Girl you talk about BOTH of you discussing weight issues and NEITHER of you doing anything about it. I wonder if she felt the same way....
That hanging with you wasn't helping her weight issues either.
And I don't doubt she felt jealous and resentful for your successes, if she wasn't having them, and was unhappy in her life.
It sounds like there may have been a little co-dependence there.
On the plus side for you, look at the different ways you have handled your problems. You are working positively to improve you life thru weight loss, rebuilding healthy friendships, letting go of negative things, while she has an affair.
Personally, I have a real dislike for people having affairs. If their relationships are unhappy and they leave, then meet someone else, fine,
but having an affair requires duplicity, sneaking, lying etc. and I can't believe a good loving and healthy relationship can come from that.

My husband's best friend has a wife who is very whiny and negative. We cope by having my husband spend time with his friend seperately, and get together with both of them only when we are feeling strong enough to deal with her. We listen sympathetically, nod, are supportive, then avoid seeing her for a few weeks. And talk about selfish, she complained about another couple who are long time dear friends of us all, whose son had died. She was "getting tired" of their grief after a year or so, and that she "couldn't continue to deal with" their regular discussions about it because it "dragged her down". She is truly toxic, but we maintain the relationship for the sake of my husband's friend. But by acknowledging how she is, we avoid getting caught in the negativity, by employing coping skills to deal with it.

I like the idea of focusing on the healthy friendships. I hope your renewed friendship with her ex doesn't get based on bashing her, but on your liking of each other for who you and he really are. Then that will also be a truly positive friendship in your bank of people you can count on.
fatmad

JulieJ08
10-29-2008, 10:22 AM
I completely agree with not underestimating the power a negative person can have on us. But I also think that if you think too much in terms of what effect *she* had on you, you give up your power. You did have choice in the matter. She was negative, but you stuck around for 8 years! If you don't own that choice (and I'm not negating the power a negative person can have even when we ourselves make the best choices we can), then you're still vulnerable the next time someone like that comes around and appeals to some different weakness. But it does sound like you've had a weight lifted off your shoulders. I do think it's both harder and more important to choose your friends carefully, than most people really believe.

lovnmom
11-02-2008, 08:41 AM
Hey Hermit Girl, Long time no chat. I have to agree, it does sound as if you've made a wise choice to move on. It sounds as if "your friend" may not even care that you have. Good for you for taking care of yourself....I on the other hand am "the other shoe." I made a huge mistake and asked a long time 3FC friend if she'd like to share e-mail addresses so we could chat more regular and more easily...trusting and wonderful as she is she immediately shared her's. No disussing or anything. Sadly, my husband became upset at my willingness to share in this manner and said I was setting a bad on-line example for our children etc...long story shortened, I didn't give her my e-mail and asked if she'd continue PMing here at 3FC. I hurt her and she no longer wants anything to do with me. I feel awful in so many ways. I'm not looking for sympathy, just wanted to talk. Good luck to you. You've been doing great.

Hermit Girl
11-02-2008, 08:53 AM
:devil: <snip> I like the idea of focusing on the healthy friendships. I hope your renewed friendship with her ex doesn't get based on bashing her, but on your liking of each other for who you and he really are. Then that will also be a truly positive friendship in your bank of people you can count on.Fatmad, although you may have been trying to be the devil's advocate, you were supportive of my position. Thank you. I have recently come back to 3fc after being off and aloof for a couple of months, and noticed my thread being nibbled at. I'm happy to say that I haven't called or emailed my friend once, and I sense she's as happy about that as I am. It is a good long break, and I've been much more able to focus on my life than be constantly distracted by hers. Now, still , I haven't lost any weight, and I really want to start focusing on that. I have very little confidence that I can do this, and I'm not sure where that negative self talk comes from. Thanks again.
I completely agree with not underestimating the power a negative person can have on us. But I also think that if you think too much in terms of what effect *she* had on you, you give up your power. You did have choice in the matter. She was negative, but you stuck around for 8 years! If you don't own that choice (and I'm not negating the power a negative person can have even when we ourselves make the best choices we can), then you're still vulnerable the next time someone like that comes around and appeals to some different weakness. But it does sound like you've had a weight lifted off your shoulders. I do think it's both harder and more important to choose your friends carefully, than most people really believe.So true about giving up my power and empowering her (the negative, 'emotional vampires' in the world) My friendship with her evolved over 8 years, and I suppose we were more happy hanging out in the first 3 than the last 5. Misery loved the company, but I chose somewhere along the line to stop being miserable, and though she made some significant changes for the better career wise, I don't think she resolved to being a happy person. I think her having the affair was her desparate and very naive attempt to be happy, but I'm sure she can't possibly be now, as her boyfriend is still married, and she's living with her mom who she is almost subservient to (as she was her husband). I just am so glad I'm not in her life right now, as I can predict she is very attached to the tragedy and drama about her new boyfriend (he's still in an affair with her, though she split with her husband), and that is precisely what I couldn't take in the end.
I have to agree, it does sound as if you've made a wise choice to move on. It sounds as if "your friend" may not even care that you have. Good for you for taking care of yourself.... Yes, I'm sure she is happy I"m out of hers as well, as I was coming down pretty hard at her all of the time and passing judgement. It was difficult for our friendship to endure both ways. It had been over a year with her affair and I stayed with her through it until her husband knew (I then shifted my loyalties back to him, who had been my friend for 25 years) I quickly became sympathetic with him, as over a year of her cheating and lying to him (and no doubt to me) just made me sick. Feel free to pm me :D


I on the other hand am "the other shoe." I made a huge mistake and asked a long time 3FC friend if she'd like to share e-mail addresses so we could chat more regular and more easily...trusting and wonderful as she is she immediately shared her's. No disussing or anything. Sadly, my husband became upset at my willingness to share in this manner and said I was setting a bad on-line example for our children etc...long story shortened, I didn't give her my e-mail and asked if she'd continue PMing here at 3FC. I hurt her and she no longer wants anything to do with me. I feel awful in so many ways. I'm not looking for sympathy, just wanted to talk. Good luck to you. You've been doing great.I'm sorry your husband doesn't want you to have email penpals, that's a whole different matter.

This does sound like the relationship has become very dysfunctional. You are far better off without her, even though losing her might feel like a big loss. Allow yourself to mourn the loss of the relationship, and maybe even release it in a symbolic way. It will be a catharsis to you, and help you to move in a better direction. Remember, to thine own self be true.

hopefuldreamerYes Hopeful, "To thine own self be true, thou cans't then be false to any (wo)man " (as the direct Shakespearean quote goes) :D I am far better off now, and it was a very difficult 3 months (still not quite over) of mourning, however, I have had my old friend back (her exhusband) to share with. In so many ways he is much better of a friend in a supportive way to me, because there is no undercurrent of possible jealous rivalry.... he truly and genuinely wants me to succeed. It is better now than it was before , and thankfully my husband has no issues with my re-enstating my old friendship with him.


--------------

Just to post the latest : It's been 3 months of no contact and her husband and I have been performing together in his band since June. I helped him paint his little studio and decorate it with his own art and his own things right after she moved out, and it looks a hundred times better ! Yes, we talked an awful lot about her, but do less now. It had been a really difficult thing for us both, he losing his wife, and I my best friend. We're tight friends now, like we use to be before they were married. We both view 'her' definitely as a wedge that came between us. NOw... I have a closet full of nice clothes to wear while playing gigs, but only a couple skirts fit, so, for the right reasons now...I want to lose some weight ! :D

avi0903
11-04-2008, 09:57 AM
I just came across this thread. So first I'll say to Hermit Girl, absolutely you did the right thing in letting this friend go. Also, I'll say it takes courage. I've had a friend now for about 15 years, and on and off she'd drain me with her toxicity. In the years leading up to my divorce she would listen to me try to work my way through my feelings, she would seem supportive, but when around my husband she would literally throw herself at him, and tell him that she defends him to me. I remember feeling so betrayed by her! At times through the years I would go for weeks ignoring her calls, or telling the kids to tell her I'm busy. I never actually had the courage to tell her I don't want to be friends anymore.

Recently I told her how much she had hurt me. She apologized, profusely, but she's still in my life. Still hurting me. I made a party recently for my daughter (baby due in January), and invited a few of my friends, she among them. She didn't come! This hurt. Then I ran into her at the store and she came over to me asking about the party, saying she loves hearing about parties, but not really apologizing for not coming.

I guess I'm wondering where the courage comes from to really break free from toxic relationships. Is it a self-esteem issue? Since overweight people probably suffer from low self-esteem, I wonder if staying in unhealthy relationships is prevalent among the overweight.

I certainly stayed in my unhealthy marriage for too long. (but got out eventually!!!!).

fatmad
11-04-2008, 02:39 PM
I think these people wouldn't be so toxic if they didn't have the power to hurt us. Otherwise their behaviour would be annoying, but wouldn't have a lot of power.
I agree that some of us probably have self esteem issues, whether before or after our weight was a factor.
I was not a fat child, but was unpopular, and bullied and acceptance and friendship is something I still crave. The thought of giving up a friend was a real hardship for me when I was young, and my first real friendships in junior and high school, (no one really a good friend in grade school!) were lifesavers.
But I also wouldn't be surprised if the roots of eating disorder started then, going for comfort food when sad. I just had a metabolism that could handle it then, and now I don't.
As adults, it can be harder to make friends, and it is a slow process, usually, to becoming true lasting friends. So giving someone up may be especially hard if your social life would go downhill.
I miss having a buddy to go out for a drink after work with. Or couples to play cards with.....These people have not entirely left my life, but no longer live close enough for it to be a frequent option.
So giving someone up also means putting yourself out there to make other friends.
I am enjoying the yoga and pilates classes I signed up for in my new area. I hope to make some friends there, the women are mostly my age, and level of fitness, working to get more fit and active, so I have hope.
fatmad:hug:

livinglife
11-09-2008, 10:12 AM
Hello hermitt girl, hows things going. I was looking around here and stop was the word. Boy oh Boy I know just what your talking about. For 3years now I havent spoken to a long life friend. She did me so wrong I feel and the worst part of the whole thing is, is that her daughter and my son live together. That sure does put a dapper on things. I think of her all the time I hate to say i do miss her but my heart says to stay away. i'm confused . So on another note good luck with everything. negative is a bad thing thats not something that anyone person needs. enjoy life. is the way to go.bye for now, nancy