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sunshinepoppy
01-18-2012, 12:11 AM
I am terribly disappointed with my best friend. I had a crazy experience having to do with healthcare (I won't go into the details here, not really relevant). I called my friend in the hopes that I could share this crazy experience and be validated. Instead, he said Oh, ok, whatever, if you sat so. He didn't really indicate he cared very much and made no effort to try to understand the situation I was describing. Then he told me about two of his own medical problems, and said goodbye.

I wanted so badly to be validated by someone in real life. I belong to a forum dealing with this medical problem, and people there understand and can sympathize, but online is not the same as real life. :cry I really wanted to share this experience. :cry

I have been noticing recently, different situations in which I have been disappointed by and hurt by this person. I had never noticed these types of things before. But I am wondering if he has been like this all along, and that me getting more mentally healthy is allowing me to see what was there all along. I think it might be possible that he has been disappointing and inadvertently hurtful in the past and that for some reason I had not noticed it or that I had managed to deny it to myself. I am wondering if increased mental health is allowing me to see that he is not perfect.

I am not saying he is a bad person or even a bad friend. We are all human and we all make inadvertent mistakes, and we all have our faults. No one is perfect.

But I am upset. :cry Really let down. :cry Hurt. :cry This was important to me. :cry

sisserbell
01-18-2012, 01:27 AM
Hi sunshine.

I have been in the same situation so many times before. I know on my end, I tend to build something up so much, in my own mind, and fortune tell how someone should ract or how I want them to react.

Did your friend know the importance of the conversation? Did you say this means alot to me that you know this? It is hard for individuals who do not struggle with mental health issues to understand how much sharing and talking means to us.

Maybe you should revisit this conversation with this same friend, maybe at a different approach and it will be more productive. Friendships are hard to come by.

Good luck to you fishy.

starforty
01-18-2012, 09:46 AM
This is a tough one. I can understand why you are upset. Were you able to call another friend? Was this guy friend maybe not in the right frame of mind? I mean, maybe something was going on for him that was making him focus on himself. Some days I am very self indulgent in my own problems, that I forget that my friends have their own problems and issues. I have to make a concious effort to be there for them. It's a give and take, and maybe he was having an off day?

And don't feel bad about wanting to vent or being frustrated- you should be able to do this with a friend! It's natural and what friends are for. I like sisserbell's option of revisiting the conversation with your friend. Sometimes I've even prefaced conversations with friends by saying "I just need to vent - you free for a few minutes?" That way if they aren't, they can let me know and/or be prepared for what's coming down the pipeline!

Let us know how you make out. I'm sorry you had such a frustrating experience in the first place with your healthcare.

axi
01-18-2012, 02:04 PM
I'm so sorry you didn't get the caring or validation you wanted. Can you call him back and say that you need him to listen to and sympathize with you?

I think that getting better mentally opens our eyes. We are able to realize that it's not always our issue or our fault and that others can have their faults, too. I think when we are in a bad place mentally, most of our energy is spent freaking out or embroiled in our inner turmoil, so we miss a lot of things.

I hope that the healthcare thing was or will be worked out.

sunshinepoppy
01-18-2012, 08:33 PM
:hugon sisserbell starforty and axi :hugoff

Thank you for responding.

Did your friend know the importance of the conversation? Did you say this means alot to me that you know this?

I didn't specifically outline exactly how important this was to me, but I was very clear that I wanted to tell him about this certain thing... that was the point of my telephone call.

Maybe you should revisit this conversation with this same friend

I am no longer needing validation, so I don't think I will bring it up again. There is the possibility I could try to tell him how hurt I was. But I am not sure that is advisable. I don't know.

Were you able to call another friend?

I think this is part of the problem... he is pretty much my only friend. I am actively working on pursuing new friendships, but the fact remains I lean on him a lot.

maybe something was going on for him that was making him focus on himself

Yes, something was going on. He has this sort of, kind of, not really girlfriend who is very messed up, drinks too much, denies her problems, gets freaked out and calls him crying and asking for attention, etc. She is very needy and demanding. He was trying to cope with her. I am not really sure why he called me back. I told him to call back whenever, if he got a chance. He said he might not be able to until the next day. So in the middle of his visit with her, he calls me and doesn't really pay attention to me. I don't know why. I have told him that him calling me in the middle of doing something with someone else makes me unhappy, I feel like he is shoe-horning me in. He actually makes a habit of this. I guess I should talk to him again about this style of communication, and how I feel when he does that.

I hope that the healthcare thing was or will be worked out.

Yes, it is all worked out. Thank you for your concern.

Thank you :fishy

:gimmehug

bellydancer
01-18-2012, 10:32 PM
Hi sunshine,

He may not have realized that what you wanted was validation, or he may not have realized what would be validating to you. In addition, if he's going through some of his own medical stuff, his mind might be on other things.

I agree that sometimes it can help to preface the conversation with "I just need to process this experience and I need someone to listen."

Have you considered that his girlfriend might actually be more annoyed that he's taking time away from his time with her to talk to you?

sunshinepoppy
01-19-2012, 12:02 AM
Have you considered that his girlfriend might actually be more annoyed that he's taking time away from his time with her to talk to you?

I have. I don't like that he feels the need to call her when he is with me. Equally, I don't like that he takes time away from her to talk to me. This is something that really bothers me about the whole deal. It's like... I always defer to her. I never try to pull him away from time he spends with her. I always say No, it's fine, do what you want to do. Because I am not going to pull him in half. I have suggested to him that we spend less time together so that he has time for other things. I have suggested that twice. She is very demanding,and he chooses to respond to her demands. So if he is going to do that, I am not going to make counter demands and insist he respond to me. I feel like that Biblical story about tearing the child in half. I am not going to play tug of war.

But it really bothers me that he acts like he has no choice to but respond to her and that it is not actually his decision. Like, she wants something, he must do it. The thing is... I am quite sure he feels that way about me too. I don't want to be an obligation. That is the big reason I don't like him calling me when he is with her. If he is with her, he needs to be with her. I don't want to be something he squeezes in out of obligation. That REALLY bothers me.

He said he would probably not call me until the next day. I said, ok, that's good, call me when you want to. Tomorrow is fine. I didn't want to force him to choose, I wanted him to feel free to devote his undivided attention to her. I admit I wasn't happy about it, but I did my best to not let him hear that. I did my best to sound light-hearted and casual.

But then he called me. HE called ME. In the middle of his visit with her. Why? I don't know. And at first I didn't know he was with her. She has a sleeping disorder,and sometimes he shows up and she is asleep, so he makes himself at home, uses the internet, makes calls, etc. I thought she was asleep and he had undivided time to talk to me. So I launched into my medical story. If I had known she was awake and expecting his attention, I would have told him to call me later. Why did he call me? I would have been happier to not talk to him at all than for him to call me and then not pay attention to what I was saying.

Now that I am writing this out, I realize how much this bothers me. It really does piss me off when he calls me in the middle of visiting other people. I would rather him not call me at all than squeeze me in between other things he wants to do. That makes me feel pretty shitty.

I guess it has also been eating away at me that he acts like he has no choice. He doesn't take responsibility for his decisions. She crooks her finger, he goes. That's fine, he wants to do that, he needs to do that. Not act like he must do what she says, even though he doesn't want to. I feel really really frustrated about the whole thing. I do everything i can to show him I am ok with the way he chooses to spend his time. I do everything I can to NOT be the one who is playing tug of war. You can't play tug of war by yourself, so I do all I can to not hold him like a rope.

As I said, I suggested a couple of times he spend less time with me so he has time for other things. I tried to get him to agree to that. I wanted him to do that. But I failed. So he has made his choice. He wants to spend a lot of time with me, he is choosing to do that. He is also choosing to spend a lot of time with her. She demands his time, I encourage him to spend less time with me. I seriously doubt he is happy with this situation either, but he needs to step up and take responsibility for his decisions. He is allowing himself to be pulled around. That is his decision.

What makes this all more complicated is that all his friends think she is bad for him and he needs to kick her to the curb. I felt neutral about it for quite a while. I wasn't going to tell him what to do. I didn't know her and had no real opinion about her. But then he laughingly repeated to me something REALLY AWFUL she said to him. She called him an emotional cripple because he chooses to have boundaries. And he passed it off as a joke. It became clear to me that she joked around this way all the time, calling him names and insulting him, and making the name-calling a joke. That changed my feelings about her and I told him so. I said that I could not be ok with that sort of behavior and that I was reluctantly joining the rest of his friends in saying she is bad for him.

I do not think she is a bad person. I am the only one of his friends that thinks that. I think she is really messed up, in denial about her drinking problem, self destructive and that she pulls others down with her. But she is not a bad person. I, of all people, can relate to having a problem and being in denial. However, I still thinks she is poison to him, as she is manipulative, insulting, demanding, irrational, inconsiderate. I I told him this.

He frequently comes to me and tells me the awful things she does, and how bad it makes him feel. He gets mad, makes a decision to not see her again. Then he caves in and responds to her cries for attention. It's like, she cries, and that drags him back into the relationship he just vowed to end. She cries about her mother's passing away, about her cat being sick, about losing her house through the divorce she is going through. She has learned that all she has to do is call him in tears and that dissolves his resolution.

Gah, it's all so complicated. He's tried to break up with her at least three times now. He keeps telling me his mind is made up and that he knows she is bad for him and that he should leave her, he knows this with his rational mind, yet he can't seem to help himself. I am also one to understand such a situation since that is how I experience food all day long, every day. Not a comfortable way to live.

Well, it appears there was a lot more going on than him not listening to me, since I wrote this whole big long thing.

Anyone whop has made it this far, thank you for listening. I am open to any ideas anyone might have.

sunshinepoppy
01-20-2012, 12:50 AM
I am bumping this up because this is all very confusing to me and outside perspective would help me a lot. :ear

Hyzenthlay
01-20-2012, 02:39 AM
:hugonsunshinepoppy:hugoff

I've read this thread, and it's difficult because of the different factors you mentioned: your being mentally healthier and wanting to honour that, the fact he is your main friend, the fact you are worried about his relationship with his girlfriend.

I found that as I got healthier, I reassessed some of my relationships which I realised were imbalanced in some way. One friendship is better now, from me having discussed issues with that friend. Two friends I cut out of my life, and it hurt as I'd known them a long time, we'd been through a lot together, but they clearly did not respect me even after I tried to explain things. I think it's important you honour your healthy feelings.

I suspect much of the problem is his being your main friend. It makes the friendship and him very big and I guess any problems are magnified. I know there's not an easy solution.

As for his girlfriend, I think you need to step away, as hard as it is. He'll make his own decisions about her in his own time.

Would it be possible for you and your friend to meet up instead of talk on the phone? That way, he wouldn't be distracted.

sunshinepoppy
01-20-2012, 06:48 AM
I found that as I got healthier, I reassessed some of my relationships which I realised were imbalanced in some way.

I think something is imbalanced here, yes. That is a good observation. Gosh this is so tangled up. We became very good friends while he was single many many years ago. He found a girlfriend. She welcomed me into THEIR new life. She joined us, or I joined them, and it was a really nice thing for all three of us. But there was something inherently wrong with their relationship and they broke up after four years. My friend was absolutely crushed, while she bounced back quite well. So things continued. (They remained roommate. I don't know why.) My friend was essentially in mourning for about three years. Then it was like one day he woke up, and suddenly wanted a girlfriend. And found this new woman. Who made it very loudly clear she liked neither me nor his ex. She hated his guy friends too, but that was covert.

ANYWAY--- I had an untreated illness that finally was treated at about the same time, and it is like I woke up one day, also. I was no longer so sick I was a zombie,and he was no longer in mourning. I think both of us realized that the last three years were... not exactly wasted but... I dunno... empty? Sick? Definitely unhappy for both of us. And we both had an impulse to go back out into the world. But the problem is he succeeded in meeting this new lady while I floundered about and felt frustrated and still hadn't made any new contacts until last week. (New contact! Yay me!) Although, maybe meeting this new lady wasn't so great after for him,after all.

Long story short... he branched out and found new things to focus on, and I did not. So that makes things really imbalanced at the moment. He is still my most important friend, whereas he has now another new relationship. I am still very important to him, probably as important as I ever was. But it is definitely imbalanced now. Before our tandem "waking up" things were equal. They are not now.

I am doing my best to make new friends, but when you are not interested in dating, it is hard to make new friends. But I have been trying very very hard. I think my efforts are finally beginning to bear fruit. Thank god!

I think I need to try again to get him to spend less time with me. That has been a goal for a while now. But I think maybe I should stop calling him so much also. I don't have a new boyfriend to fill my social needs, but I need to find something else. In the meantime, I think I will just have to put up with being more lonely. How I will untangle our intertwined lives I don't know. But I need to do it. For real this time. I need to put my foot down, insist that he give up one of our weekly ritual visits. (We have three weekly ritual visits. Way too many, in our new changed lives.)

OK, this was a huge long missive. There is lots more I want to respond to, Hyzenthlay, but I think this is enough to think about for now. I'll com back later.

Thank you. :love

sunshinepoppy
01-20-2012, 04:44 PM
As for his girlfriend, I think you need to step away, as hard as it is. He'll make his own decisions about her in his own time.

I have been turning this over in my mind. It's sort of hard to step away from something that is a major topic of conversation. He spends A LOT of time talking about her. So I am contemplating asking him to just stop talking to me on the subject. I don't know though... is that a reasonable way to approach the problem?

What do you guys think?

Hyzenthlay
01-21-2012, 11:56 AM
:hugonsunshinepoppy:hugoff

I wanted to respond sooner, but I'm struggling myself this weekend and am finding it hard to be articulate! Hope you're ok today.

It's tough. I once had a friend so frustrated with my relationship with my boyfriend that she lashed out and said, 'I can't listen to this anymore!' and we never talked about my boyfriend again. Although I could see why she was frustrated, I thought that I listened to her relationship woes etc without judgement, so I couldn't see why my relationship was so 'bad' that it needed to be censored and I felt very hurt.

On the other hand, I have felt incredibly frustrated with one of my oldest friends because of the way her boyfriend treated her. I voiced concerns at the start, but then I knew there was nothing I could say that she didn't know herself, and it was up to her to carry on or break up with him. I didn't really engage in conservations when she talked about him - I would look at her and nod or smile to show I was listening, but I wouldn't say anything. As soon as there was a chance to change topic, I would.

The thing is, if you had a partner who your friend disliked, would you be ok with your friend saying that he didn't want you to talk about your partner to him? Also, if you were going out with someone, would you be ok with them seeing a friend who didn't allow them to talk about you?

It's not an easy situation for you, and I feel for you. Just be careful before you make any decisions.

sunshinepoppy
01-21-2012, 08:38 PM
The thing is, if you had a partner who your friend disliked, would you be ok with your friend saying that he didn't want you to talk about your partner to him??

Hmmm... yes, I see how this cold be problematic. The thing is, I have been in one situation similar when my bf was encouraging me to engage in self destructive behavior. My friends told me what they thought, I stepped back and evaluated the situation, and broke up with him because they were right. I doubt any of my friends would dislike any of my partners so much because I have the sense to kick people to the curb when they treat me like shit.

Also, if you were going out with someone, would you be ok with them seeing a friend who didn't allow them to talk about you?

I would hope that that situation wouldn't arise, as I don't treat people like shit.

I see where you're coming from... but really, I don't treat people in way that would give other people cause to dislike me so much. I have been violently disliked, but never for any rational reason. And I have no control over whether people are going to irrationally dislike me. I try very hard to conduct myself in a humane way. I make mistakes, it is true, but I don't keep making the same mistake of hurting the same person in the same way over and over and over. Once is a mistake, twice is a decision.

HOWEVER

I couldn't see why my relationship was so 'bad' that it needed to be censored and I felt very hurt.

I can definitely see things from this perspective. I can see how that would be incredibly hurtful.

I didn't really engage in conservations when she talked about him - I would look at her and nod or smile to show I was listening, but I wouldn't say anything. As soon as there was a chance to change topic, I would.

Actually, my friend (the same one) has started treating me that way about another topic. I feel very hurt by that, because it is something I have no control over. My medical problem is that I have to sleep with a mask strapped to my face, and I have adjusted very poorly, sleeping only three and four hours a night and feeling horrible from lack of sleep on a daily basis in a way that is hard to describe. I have been talking about my quest for the right mask and my lack of sleep for a while now, and yeah I can see how it would get boring but it is something I have no control over. I don't keep going back to the same abusive mask when all my friends tell me it is a bad mask. I am trying to find a solution. I feel pretty pissed about his behavior on this topic because I listen to his gf woes ad nauseam. I also feel his way of dealing with it is very rude.

I am very angry and it is hard for me to see other perspectives right now. I know I just asked for other perspectives, and I will try very hard to think about them. I will also refrain from making any decisions about how to proceed with my friend, until I have managed to think things over a bit more objectively. Decisions made in anger are not a good thing.

:hugon Hyzenthlay :hugoff thank you so much for giving me your feedback. I really appreciate the time and thought you have been taking to reply.

:gimmehug :gimmehug :gimmehug

sunshinepoppy
01-23-2012, 12:23 AM
Well, I feel quite a bit less angry, in part because I have not been in touch with my friend and have not had that irritation rubbed into me in the last few days.

I am still trying to figure out how to take care of myself and be a good friend at the same time. I really don't know how to detach myself from the strong dislike I feel for the (sort of) gf, and I don't know how to let go of my very strong urge to continue underlining all the ways in which she is hurtful to him. And I suppose when I put it that way, what I have been doing so far has not been so great anyway. I just can't seem to help myself. She does hurtful things, he tells me about it, expresses his inability to leave her, and I say if it were me I would get rid of her in a certain way. It's not like I am alone in this. His very good guy friend says the same exact things. But I see now how it isn't very helpful. If it had been helpful or effective, he would have left her months ago.

But I don't know how else to handle the situation. Should I tell him how I feel and how frustrating and hurtful it is? Should I just stop responding, as you suggest? That feels sort of crummy. I don't really appreciate him treating me that way with the mask thing.

I guess I'll muddle through somehow. I won't do or say anything decisive until I have figured things out more. :sad

Hyzenthlay
01-23-2012, 01:33 AM
:hugonsunshinepoppy:hugoff

I'm afraid I don't have anything new to add (but I can see why the discussions you've had about your mask make you feel reluctant to do the listening but not engaging thing).

I just want you to know I'm still reading and I hope you find the right solution for you. :gimmehug

sunshinepoppy
01-25-2012, 03:01 PM
:hugon Hyzethlay :hugoff

Thank you so much for talking to me about this when I really needed it. You've been a great help to me. :gimmehug

I am feeling much better, much more detached and calm. I talked about this with my T today and I have three items on a list of my difficulties with him, some of which I will discuss with him tomorrow. Prioritized list:

:bullet Don't call me in the middle of doing something else. I prefer quality time when you can devote your attention to me and we can really enjoy our conversations. If I call, you don't have to call back immediately, take your time in responding, don't interrupt your activities for me, that is ok. I will tell you if I really need to talk to you right away. Otherwise, do it in your own time.

The reason I will be framing it this way is because talking with my T helped me piece together some of his possible motivations. I believe he interprets my messages as a demand he respond immediately. I think even if I say later is fine, tomorrow is ok, he still hears me making a demand for instant response. I might be wrong, but I think this may be at least part of the problem.

:bullet Perhaps we should spend less time together as our lives have changed. I propose we see each other every other Monday, every other Sunday. (Right now we visit both on Sunday and Monday.) That way we would spend two days together instead of three, but we could keep our ritual visits. (He is mildly OCD and clings to ritual activities.)

I don't know if he will go for this, but I can try very hard to get him to agree to either that, or just scratching our Sunday visits.

:bullet I feel hurt you are so bored with my medical problems (sleep, mask, etc.) you can't even pretend to be interested. Maybe you don't understand how important this is to me. I will try to tell you when something is important so that you can understand what I want.

I am not at all sure about this last item. I am extremely anxious about broaching this subject. I am very unsure how to communicate this idea. I find it really hard to make requests, to ask for things for myself, to let people know I am hurt. Any suggestions on how to frame this one would be greatly appreciated. Our session time ran out before my T and I could discuss this one at length.

In general I am feeling much happier now that I have accepted that his life has changed in a major way (new social contacts, new social activities) and that therefore our relationship must change also. Accepting this has helped immensely. Resisting this fact created a lot of misery for me.

pantherr
01-25-2012, 03:30 PM
Those sound like great ways to facilitate conversations about the three things you two really do need to talk about. I especially like the way you worded the first one. I'm sure you won't have a problem there.

As for the third - yes, you do need to bring it up, but like you I find it VERY hard to let people know I am hurt. Not sure if I have any solid advice for you there, I just wanted to offer my support and to hear what others have to say. Also, it's really speaks a lot about how great of a friend you are that you are willing to work so hard on making it work out. :)

sflathinker
01-25-2012, 03:31 PM
Friendships change as we evolve. We grow distant or closer at times and opposite sex friendships tend to also fade some in that time spent together will dwindle. I wouldn't be ok if my bf spent a significant amt of time with another girl, yet I think its very healthy to have many aquaintences and a handful of close friends, including opposite sex friends.

Remember, she is his choice. She's not forcing him to do anything. Perhaps he likes dominant women who are needy. Perhaps your perspective is clouded because he complains to you about her.

I've told my bf not to call me when he's occupied or with friends and if i call and sense he is busy I ask him to call back later because like you, I want full attention. I want that from everyone but with jobs, husbands, babies, kids....I've had to learn to relax and take what I can get. Because friendships change and I have to change with them.