I've posted on several threads on ATS, and even started one last year. I am so glad to find a place where I can get this off my chest. Friend Number
One has been a good friend for most of the last 27 years. We relied on each other through a lot of bad stuff, and up until the last few years it's
been a strong friendship. About 8 years ago I noticed her getting very clingy, and wanting me to spend every Saturday with her while her husband stays
with his mother. Fine, I thought, I can keep her company sometimes. Sometimes has morphed into every Saturday now, filled with negative rants about
how she's the only one that knows anything about horses (she lives and breathes horse shows, and owns four show horses of her own) and everyone else
is so pitifully stupid.
Combine this with constant moaning about having to do the least thing for her elderly parents, both in their 90s and still at home. If she has to
pick up a loaf of bread at the store for them, I have to listen to two hours of complaining about how they totally dominate her life and take her for
granted. Then the least thing they to criticize her or contradict her in any way, ends up with a screaming cuss fit the likes of would embarrass a
lifelong sailor, and I have to step outside. I honestly don't know where all this is coming from.
She never used to be that way, and I do kind of feel sorry for her at times - she does not do well on her own by any means - and so I try to be
supportive and try desperately to rub off some optimism onto her. It's not working, and the last three or so years have been terrible. I almost ended
our friendship last year when she lead out one of her horses for me to use her huge expensive camera to take pictures of, and I fumbled for a second
with all the buttons. Never used it, never saw the buttons before, and it confused me for a second. OMG, I was the unlucky recipient of one of her
cuss fits. I almost threw the camera at her and walked several miles to get back to my car and go home. Silly me, I took it and tried to keep from
screaming back at her. Tried to keep the peace, but I'm just about done with that.
She's a few years older than me (I'm 48), and I believe she needs to grow up. I think one reason she leans on me so much is because she's driven away
everybody else who used to be friends with her. There again, I feel sorry for her, but I know I'm not helping her grow up any by sticking around and
taking abuse. It's so much deeper than that, though. I know it's difficult when your parents get to an advanced age, but I stuck it out and didn't
take offense for being asked to help with something.
The rages she takes out on her mother for not remembering and asking the same questions twice make me sick. I don't care if I have to answer her a
dozen times when she asks how I've been, I'll do it. It's not that big a dang deal. The woman can't remember any more. I don't see how my friend could
be so cruel sometimes. She didn't used to be that way... and yes, I've changed too over the years, but I hope for the better. I have a lot more
patience than I used to, but my patience is running out. She wants to travel hundreds of miles all summer to go to every horse show in the region, and
I meekly follow along because I'd rather go and be miserable than to try to stand my ground and get the pity party treatment... "I might as well get
rid of all my horses, I never get to go anywhere, all I do is wait on people who don't appreciate me, blah blah blah!!!"
Enough ranting about Friend Number One. Let's take a look at Friend Number Two. This one is just a few months older than I am, and we have some
similarities in our background. She had a much rougher time than I did growing up, and was abused so bad in so many ways it's a wonder she's in her
right mind. This friend rages like nobody's business that she's totally independent, but then I'm her unpaid therapist any time she feels insecure
I helped her get through her associate's degree, then her bachelor's degree, by co-writing papers and being a soundboard for everything from emails to
comments on other students' posts. Currently if her boss sends her a scathing email, she cusses and cries to me about it, then I have to help her
write a rebuttal. She shows me incident reports from where we work (in totally different departments) and I have to help proof them, or hunt for
discrepancies and correct them. That is not my job, and I definitely shouldn't be seeing those things, but there I go, rescuing her again. Any time
she is seeing somebody, she reads me their text conversations and then asks "What do you think he meant by this? What did he mean by that?" trying to
find something to be paranoid about.
Then when they break up, I have to listen to her complaining about how every man is the same and then she plays an endless list of songs on you tube,
in my office, on my supper break (we both work evenings), and I have to sit there and listen to it all.Yeah, we're also co-workers... that makes it
even harder to sever ties. Oh, and did I mention that while I'm barely getting by financially, I usually am expected to show up with a meal for both
of us? She has rough times too, but is generally in much better shape than I am. I recently lost my house, and along with the daily guilt over that,
sometimes she comes bouncing in and says what have you got to eat? I try to think of us both as much as I can when planning meals, but sometimes I can
barely feed myself. I don't have a problem with helping somebody, it just gets to the point I feel like I'm just being used, both as an unpaid
therapist and chef.
So here I am with my two friends. I work five evenings a week, give up Saturdays for Friend Number One, and rescue Friend Number Two most Sundays. I
know to have a friend you have to be a friend first, but dang it, when do I get some freedom? If I even wanted to go out and meet somebody, or make
new friends, or just enjoy some time to do something I like and am interested in, I don't have the time. I know we should strive for a life of
service, but there has to be a limit somewhere. I just want some time to be me. I let everything I need to do fly out the window for one friend or the
other, and I'm about done with it. I've even considered moving far away and quitting my job to escape all this stress. What I wouldn't give for a few
whole weekends once in a while, to do what I let go the rest of the time. Or even just rest! Day of rest... I remember those.
Okay, I feel a bit sane now. If anybody stops by to read this, thank you for putting up with my whining. If you have any real-life suggestions, that
would be great! I just love all those generic, well-meaning phrases like... Stand your ground, Explain your feelings, calmly discuss your feelings
with your friend... yeah right! Good way to get my head bit off again. But then that might not be such a bad thing... it would get me a few days off!
edit on 6-5-2013 by Gazrok because: Edited by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Paragraphs.