Seeing others in the place I was

Old 06-12-2013, 08:05 AM
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Seeing others in the place I was

I'm feeling torn up about a series of dysfunctional interactions with a friend and am just very sad at the realization that this is someone I really can't have in my life right now and I just needed to talk about it here.

In a way, I am in this place because I am healthier than I've been in the past and for that I am glad. We were friends who bonded at times over our collective misery with our lives and that's not really a basis for a solid or healthy friendship.

The bottom line is that I am seeing in her SO many of the same BS reasons I gave for SO long for staying in my miserable marriage and life and I am having a REALLLLLLY hard time not wanting to scream at her "what are you doing?????"

Rather than say that to her, I am confessing it all here to get it out in hopes it helps me think more level headed... I am just watching her in a tailspin and can't continue and I think that my solution right now is to have no contact because I can't be a friend to her as she self destructs and it is a really hard realization to have come to...

She is in a similar marriage to what mine was and as I removed myself from mine, she and I have had limited contact in the past year. I guess when I no longer was able to blame everything wrong in my life on my AH or others, and took control of my own life, she felt that she had nothing more to relate to with me and really backed away.

Our kids are friends and that distancing has been hard for them and it's not something I can explain...

Last Fri she called me terribly upset and asked if I could meet her. I was kid free that evening so I did since I care about her and was worried.

She was at a restaurant in town and drunk when I got there and bawling and a mess. She would not leave with me, wouldn't stop drinking, wouldn't give me her keys, etc... I sat and talked to her for a long time and watched her flirt with any man who walked past, behave really badly and embarass herself. Finally I told her I had to go and would either call her husband to come get her or take her keys to drive her home. She let me drive her home finally and I made it home very very late and was very very upset with the whole experience...

The reason she was out drinking was bc her husband (according to her) had called her mom and said that she was selfish, a bad mother etc... because she had been asking her husband to help more and had apparantly told him if he didn't start pitching in she'd take the kids and leave. He locked her out of the house, called her mom and had her mom call her. Her mom proceeded to believe her husbands version of events and called her names, told her she was a bad mother and said that if she left her husband she (the mom) would help the husband get custody...

If I hadn't had an experience almost identical to this w my own crazy mom this fall I wouldn't believe it could happen. So I understand her pain and hurt and despair- but the way she handled it I don't get and I can't tolerate...

The next day we saw each other at an event at our kids school and she told me to forget what she'd said and not mention the night before and that she was fine.... I was stunned but shrugged it off and went about my day....

Last night she texted me to ask how I was and how things were. I replied and talked about our kids a bit and asked her how she was.

This was her reply (and for some reason it has completely set me off and unsettled me)

I realize I don't get to own my life and choices because I love my kids more than I love myself. I hate what others have said and done and what I in turn have said and done - its just nuts- but I will deal with it and stay because what choice do I have, right?

I didn't reply that she does have a choice because we have been down that road and she just tells me I don't get it and that she has to do what is best for her kids (meaning she can't have the lifestyle she and they are accustomed to if she leaves).

I don't know if I am upset because I hate myself for having said those same things and subjected my kids for SO long to such horrors because I refused to leave or if I am mad at her for lying to herself so blatantly about having no control over her own life or if I am sad or all three...

Again, I am grateful to here and al anon and therapy for seeing it for what it is and for not being in that same spot anymore..... But it sometimes is lonely being healthy because I have lost a lot of friends once I stopped living such a lie in my own life...

Thanks for listening to my ramble... Just needed to get it out-- I guess I am just trying to sort out what it is that is so bothersome about that text... Or maybe it doesn't matter-- it bothers me, her behavior is dangerous and she dragged me into it Fri (I stayed willingly so I own that) and I can't really have that in my life... I guess I am grieving a bit that a friend I have known since my DD7 was a baby and had our kids grow up together, is someone I don't think I can have in my life right now and I am sad at having to have another goodbye and having to try and make it be okay for my kids yet again...
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Old 06-12-2013, 08:28 AM
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It is sad when we see our friends in pain - when we have walked a similiar path and have found help and freedom ~ we want that for our loved ones too ~

It just may not been her time yet - YET being the key word ~

Yes, I can understand healthy boundaries and limited contact with unhealthy people - but also recovery lets us know that we don't have to be A or Z ~ we can have balance in all areas ~

Maybe by still being able to love this friend and be a part of her life (granted with healthy boundaries and respect for her choices) ~ maybe by her seeing you & your children survive and even thrive - she may find her own strength, courage and wisdom to make different choices for herself one day

Sometimes we are the only program people ever see ~

Not that you are responsible to save her but there is nothing wrong with staying in touch at a healthy level if you can ~

wishing her the ability to find a way to a better life - just like you have made that way for you & your children

Pink hugs!
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Old 06-12-2013, 08:46 AM
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Ms Pink- You sound a lot more compassionate and grounded than I feel. I feel some days like I am barely keeping it together myself so hearing excuses justifying keeping her kids in a toxic home and observing her alcoholic behavior (she admits she drinks far too much as a way to cope) is just too much for me right now. I feel SO selfish saying that-but I am worried to be frank, that I could very easily slip back into venting along with her, believing like her it's not that bad and becoming her again. I am afraid of that and doubting my strength to stay resolved to keep xAH out of my life... She is a friend who has pushed hard and not respected my choice to have xAH gone-- she told me last summer she and her family could not do a long standing family vacation with me and my girls anymore bc it would be too awkward for THEM with it being just me and not xAH too...

I guess what I need is to get myself healthier still and feel more put together (bc today I don't feel I am at all) and then maybe I can support her. Right now I am struggling to be healthy for myself and my kids and the dysfunction she is choosing to keep in her life is just too much for me right now...

Does this make me a terrible friend?
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:05 AM
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No, while I tend to go along with the view of Mrs. Pink, you do need to have your own boundrys for protecting yourself--first. Just what Mrs. Pink said (LOL). Protecting yourself does not make you a bad friend.

Maybe, wtbh, this is the time that the old alanon saying applies: "Don't just do something;stand there!" Back up---and just breathe. Let the Universe handle it for a little while--more will be revealed.

About that whole vacation thing...Hmmm.....I wonder....if her real discomfort was the "threat" of having a single woman around her husband......? I'm just spitballing here....

I remember, so clearly, how shocked I was when I divorced my children's father (severe narcissist), at the reaction of some of the wives of the couples that we had known. I was in my late 20's and was pretty hot---although, I didn't realize it at the time!! Some of the husbands made some subtle (and, not so subtle) overtures toward me. Now, I was not even remotely the flirtatious type---I was hurt and shocked by the whole scene!! It was then that my nieve little self became aware that many marriages that look good from the outside have some trouble going on behind closed doors.....sigh.

Sorry, I digressed a little, here.

Just hit an alanon meeting and don't beat up on yourself.

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Old 06-12-2013, 09:11 AM
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I'm sorry you are dealing with this, WTBH, and no, I don't think it makes you a terrible friend - I think it makes you someone who is finally putting herself first and doing what is best for her!!

I really empathize with you, as I have been dealing with an almost identical situation. I went to high school with a girl, and we were always friendly, but never hung out or anything. Fast forward almost 20 years, and we connected on FB. Long story short, we were dating almost IDENTICAL guys, only hers is 12 years younger than us, and mine was 4 years older. But the drinking, the cocaine use, the using us for sex, the not hearing from them for weeks, etc. So while we were both still seeing these guys, we of course, had a lot in common and a lot to talk about. Well, then I ended up getting dumped by mine, and she is still with hers. And I just kind of retreated and withdrew from everyone in the beginning, and especially from her. She was always one of those, "Hi, how are you? Okay, now let's talk about ME!!" kind of people to begin with. So it's not like I was really close to her or that we talked THAT often, but when we did, it was always about her and her guy.

Since I got dumped, she's tried to get me to go out with her and has sent me messages on FB, which I sometimes don't even respond to, because I just don't FEEL like it and I just really don't want to hang with her. She's been careful about not going on about her guy too much since she knows my relationship ended, but she does still mention him and his latest ridiculous behavior. And I feel like you do, like I want to say to her, "WHAT do you want me to say about this guy?? You know he's exactly like C, and it's only a matter of time before this whole thing explodes in your face, like it did to me!! As long as he is using drugs and alcohol, he is NEVER going to change!!" (And actually, I always thought her situation was a bit worse, because this guy has already gotten 'physical' with her when he was drunk/high and she also overheard him telling his roommate that he could sleep with her if he wanted, that he wouldn't care - nice guy, right??) But I don't know, she's still seeing him (when he chooses to actually acknowledge her existence) and mine is long gone, so maybe it WILL work out for her (although, I know that unless this guy gets clean, that's probably not a good thing), and I have to admit, a part of me is jealous that she still has her guy and I don't have mine any longer. Again, I know that for me, that is going to turn out to be a good thing in the end, but it still stings a bit.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I know exactly how you feel, and I am doing the same thing - just distancing myself because whether due to my own jealousy or due to the painful memories hearing about her guy brings up for me, it's not good to put myself in that situation and subject myself to stuff that could affect my own healing and recovery. You're not a terrible friend, WTBH - you're taking care of YOU.
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:20 AM
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WTBH, I understand what you're going through and it definitely hurts. I notice as I become healthier just how unhealthy I was before and it's happening with I thought were friends of mine. They just expect the most outrageous things from me without me opening my mouth, ugh. Well before I was such a codie looking always to be accepted that I took it but not anymore, even if I lose people I thought were my friends. I actually mentioned to my mom that I was going to start being good to myself and her reply was "Well it's about time!" sad that it's taken this long to finally understand this.
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:55 AM
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I don't think you are a bad friend at all. First of all, the issue of boundaries is spot on. It's important you protect your boundaries at all times. I had to make some tough decisions 7 years ago with my best friend who recently died from alcoholism. I hated doing it, but we were traveling down two very separate paths. I needed something more than she had to give, as her utmost priority was alcohol. She needed an enabler and I've never been great at that. So we parted ways until last year when she got sober for 6 months. We reconnected, had a great time as if no time had passed at all, and then she relapsed. The rest of that story is obvious.

Anyway, I think you handled it well. You listened, you made sure she got home safely, and you didn't judge her to her face for her choices. It's amazing when it finally dawns on us that we have choices to watch others believe they don't. And I think you're right that she is more afraid of losing her lifestyle and having to take responsibility for herself and kids that its easier to stay comfortably miserable. Some people are just like that.

I also think you are an example to her, which is why she continues to reach out. Keep that in mind. It doesn't mean you have to do anything specific, but just keep in mind that you are setting an example of living well that might plant some seeds for her in the future.

You are doing great, WTBH. Probably far better than you know!
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Old 06-12-2013, 10:39 AM
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I think your reactions to everything seem very natural and consistant with you personal growth. I personally had many friends before I left my STBXAH but since then I have weeded out people who are really not contributing anything positive in my life. I have had friends fall away because our situations were too similar and I think it was too painful for them to see the changes I was making.

I have stayed friends with one women who is in a long term marriage with a man very much like my ex. But she is very very equipted to handle him. She could rule this board she is so grounded. She just chooses to stay with him and it works in a weird way for them. I truely don't judge her for her decision to stay.

I think you are just growing as a person and your conflicting feelings about your friends and her situation just shows how far you have come. I think you may feel weird about her text for the same reasons I do. She says she loves her kids so much she stays, but we both know that it is better for the kids to provide a stable drama-free life and maybe have a little less. I think we have both been in her shoes and that you figured it out and she has not yet and maybe never will is a hard pill to swallow.

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Old 06-12-2013, 10:56 AM
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I think you are a wonderful HEALTHY friend ~

which may make it where you can't spend a lot of time with her ~

but what time you do spend with her or talk with you will let her know that there is another way not by preaching, throwing AL-Anon books at her, dragging her to meetings, etc. - remember this program is attraction not promotion

You are not responsible for saving her -

You are only responsible to yourself to live a healthy recovery life the best that you can ODAT
and by doing that you give her an example of what her life can be whenever she chooses to do something differently

That WBTH is the definition of a great friend!

By her HP's grace - hopefully some day she will be ready and she will seek answers the same way we all did ~

Pink Hugs!
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Old 06-12-2013, 11:03 AM
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I think you are being a good friend and there is nothing wrong with 'distancing' frin a 'toxic' friend for a while.

Continue to work the program you hope she finds. Many times, just like in AA it is ATTRACTION rather than PROMOTION.

Your growth is showing!!!!!

Love and hugs,
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