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Feeling resentful over program friend's frequent contact


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One of my friends in my Al-Anon program recently had to give up his business and has moved into another Al-Anon friend's house. The last two weeks, I've gotten emails from him each day (addressed to me and many other friends in program) asking for help moving out of his apartment; each email each day had an update about the moving "game plan". He got about 8 people to move him out of his one-bedroom apartment over to his new place with another friend. He was not lacking in help. Other emails include asking us (again addressed to many of us) if we knew of jobs, offering various house maintenance services, etc, in order to make some extra cash. He's also calling me at least once every couple of days to ask questions; the other day he called me to ask if I could help him clean the rest of his apartment (I was not one of the people who helped him move. In fact, I never responded to his emails about moving) and then called the next day to ask if I had another program friend's number.

 

Yesterday, he saw me walking into my house (I live on a busy street) and honked and waved. I couldn't wave back b/c I had my hands full, but I noticed it was him. Then, 8 hours after he saw me from the street, he wrote me a text saying that was him who honked today. I wrote back and said I saw it was him but had my hands full and couldn't wave back and that I hoped he was well. Then he called RIGHT AFTER!! I didn't answer b/c I just don't feel lik etalking on the phone right now, especially b/c it was10:30 at night.

 

His voicemail said no problem about waving back, he saw my hands full. Also wanted to tahnk me for going to dinner with him after a meeting a few months back to talk about an issue with his parents and his business (we're both self-employed). He has thanked me for that a good 4 times since that night and again on the voicemail said what I said to him that night has resonated with him lately and it's always good to see and talk to me. I wrote him a text and told him I couldn’t answer b/c my phone is nearly dead but will see him at the meeting tomorrow night.

 

I'm to the point where I'm not answering the phone anymore and lying when I don’t!! I know that's awful b/c in our program, we give our numbers in case someone needs help and can't talk to their sponsor about it. I'm not a sponsor and I'm not ready to be yet (clearly) but don't mind taking calls sometimes.

 

But every day, emails. Every other day, phone calls. I understand he's going through issues. I really do. He was one of the first people I made friends with in the program and he even presented my first chip to me. We've been good friends. But the frequency of his calls and emails has left me feeling resentful toward him.

 

In our program, we're all about boundaries. I know I need to establish a boundary with him and tell him that the frequency of his contact is leaving me resentful. We're supposed to be honest with people in program without fear of facing judgment and criticism. Yet I find it difficult to do that. But I'm judging and criticising this guy and need to stop. I don't want to roll my eyes when I see his name pop up on my phone!

 

He's a very classy, nice, intelligent guy. He's got issues with his parents like I do (very similar ones), so we've bonded over that. I've gained a lot from him in meetings and one-on-one. But I think I need a break from him.

 

I feel awful b/c this is not very Al-Anon of me, which i don't have to feel b/c there's no proper way to live the Al-Anon program. You just do what you can in it. But I still feel bad and like I'm not using the tools of my program to work through my issue with this guy, when all the while he's using the tools of his program to get through his issues.

 

I plan to talk to my own sponsor about it tomorrow but still want some insight from others.

 

And before you bash me, yeah, I know I'm not being the right sort of friend to him right now. I fully admit that.

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Sounds like he has some dependency issues.

 

Rather than go find jobs for himself, he asks others to help him find them. Rather than move by himself, he asks others to aide him. (I haven't had any help moving to or from my dorm room either years, even though I had large pieces of furniture with me.)

 

That's probably why he IS an alcoholic....

 

I think you should talk to your sponsor because she probably has dealed with this before, but I don't think you should feel guilty at all. I bet you a lot of people are being put off by this guy.

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He's not an alcoholic. Al-Anon is not the same as AA. Al-Anon is the other side of the spectrum--for families and friends of alcoholics.

 

He definitely has some dependency issues. The thing is, he's one of those guys who is very hard on himself and lets his independence get in the way. And he's learned that it's ok to ask for help. Of course it's ok to ask for help, and that's all he's doing. He was self-employed with a good consulting business, but for some reason or another, it went under very quickly and he had to make some life changes to keep himself from going under as well. Hence moving in with a friend for a bit to save money, etc.

 

He's really just using the tools of the program to get through this--he's asking for help.

 

But I'm finding it's too much.

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I'm not inclined to bash you, but I am inclined to bash him. A classy guy? Maybe it's just my background and my strong level of "don't need anyone" independence coupled with my "always show consideration" ethos, but someone who is moving into someone else's house from the program, asking a lot people to help them move out of a small flat, bombarding these people with what are basically requests for money dressed up as offering services, asking people to come and help clean his apartment(!), asking people to forward other people's phone numbers so that he can hassle them, asking you to go out to dinner so he can moan about his problems at length, is not a classy guy. He's a user, plain and simple. It's me, me, me, and in his case an extra me just for luck. He hasn't stopped to think how all his requests and communication and favours might be affecting other people, because he's only concerned with getting what he needs to make his life better.

 

Someone needs to do this guy a favour and teach him how to behave in a more considerate manner. If you can do that, and I know that you'll be pleasant and polite about it, then by all means go for it. You don't need to feel ashamed about judging him; we all judge all people all of the time, and we are all judged ourselves all of the time. There's nothing wrong with that; consideration and equitable living requires judgment otherwise good natured people will be taken advantage of by the selfish.

 

Do talk to your sponsor about it tomorrow, and I hope between you there is a way to wake him up. I can guarantee you that if you're thinking these things about him, so are a number of other people, and it's ultimately in his best interest if he's nudged into behaving in a better way that stops people having to think these things. It may even turn out to be good for his business life; if he's managing to irritate people he knows through a program designed specifically for mutual support, then I can only imagine how much he will have upset paying clients.

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Karvala, it's really not like that at all. I didn't paint him in the best light.

 

By classy I meant he's well-groomed, keeps himself very healthy, etc. He's not like a lazy bum by any means. He's just fallen on hard times right now. He tried to save his business but he wasn't able to.

 

The person he moved in with is a good program friend of his. It's not like the guy didn't want him to move in; he invited him to come stay with him.

 

As for him going to dinner to mope about things, that's not what it was. We often go to dinner together after meetings, me, him and a few others. It just happened to be alone that night and got on the subject of his parents (he often talks me through issues with my parents).

 

The phone number thing, we all have phone lists of our frequent meetings and he called b/c he didnt have his list on him. It's not like he was calling to hassle anyone--I don't know why he was calling someone else and it wasn't my business so I didn't ask.

 

He's not a user at all. He's been very independent in the past and it's gotten him into trouble, so he's learning to ask for help, but it's too much. I think he's not able to find an easy balance so far.

 

I'm wondering though also if he's stepping on anyone else's toes. I know this guy--he's definitely not meaning to overstep any boundaries, but I feel like is with me, just unbeknownst to him.

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I have the impression that if you set a clear boundary with him he will respect it. You can do it!

 

i believe so too. he's not a user like karvala said.

 

on this site, if you paint someone a certain way, people are going to take it to the extreme (like if you list alllll the reasons why you think you're bf is cheating, of course people are going to agree with you and say he's cheating on you, unless you paint the other side of the picture). i failed to paint the other side of the picture and it seems this guy has come out to be a lazy, disgusting bum. he's not at all. i just think i haven't established a clear boundary with him, and i don't know how. but i know if i did, he'd resepct it. it's me who is having the problem.

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i believe so too. he's not a user like karvala said.

 

on this site, if you paint someone a certain way, people are going to take it to the extreme (like if you list alllll the reasons why you think you're bf is cheating, of course people are going to agree with you and say he's cheating on you, unless you paint the other side of the picture). i failed to paint the other side of the picture and it seems this guy has come out to be a lazy, disgusting bum. he's not at all. i just think i haven't established a clear boundary with him, and i don't know how. but i know if i did, he'd resepct it. it's me who is having the problem.

 

I understand and have a fair amount of experience with "program friendship/support relationships".

 

So, without censoring yourself, what would you say to him? (are you up for a practice?)

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I have no idea. That's the thing. I could be very simple and just say to him when I see him at one of the meetings (we both go to usually the same meetings each week) that the frequent emails and calls are overwhelming me and it's left me feeling resentful, and that while I'd like to be his friend offer support still, to please not include me on any emails from now on (he knows I'm self employed with a busy business and am trying to start the process of my own move as well so he knows I'm busy).

 

Is that good enough? The problem with me establishing boundaries is that I always feel like I need to supply lots and lots of explanation and it ends up being super awkward in the end.

 

When I decided to stop using one sponsor b/c I didn't feel she had the time I needed, he helped me figure out how to go about it. I felt like I needed to give her lots of explanation and he said I simply just ave to say that I felt like she coulsnt give me what I needed. I was sooo worried that I'd have to provide more to her. When I eventually told my previous sponsor what he'd said I could say, she simply said "I understand, and I'm glad you told me" and gave me a hug. She and I have remianed close, just not at a sponsort/sponsee level.

 

That's why I love my program so much--b/c the junk I come up with in my head is never what it appears and it's easier than I think.

 

So I know I could be just as simple with him and it'd be fine. I just get too in my head about it, hence the resentment.

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Have you thought about that fact that he might be attracted to you?

 

Hes obviously in the program for a reason so this type of behavior is expected. I know it can be annoying for someone to call frequently. Usually, when you dont pick up for a while or dont call them as much, people get the hint. However, that doesnt seem to be working.

 

Ive never viewed you as the type of person that has issues voicing opinions so I suggest using those same tools to resolve this situation. I suggest speaking with your sponsor on how to handle the situation because you also dont want to set him back in his progress.

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Qut, it's funny you say that b/c when I was reading my post before I posted the thread, I thought "wow I've made it looks like he's really into me!" Haha

 

But no I don't think that's the case, mostly b/c I see him acting the same way with others. Plus he's sending the emails to a lot of us, not just me.

 

As for speaking my mind...it's sad really b/c I'm all about telling others how to live their lives (not usually a good practice to have!) but when it comes to me, I can't stick up for myself!

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I've had to figure this stuff out too.

 

So, basically you need to tell him how often you can communicate with him and still maintain your own life.

 

How often is that?

 

I'm not sure. I just want to stop rolling my eyes when I get a call or email from him. Just seeing him at meetings a few times a week and talking then would be enough for me; it always has been. I've never been one to call Al-Anon friends when ihave an issue. I usually just call my sponsor or come here. So I'm not sure how much is too much for me b/c only one other program friend calls me to talk through things, but it's rare. So this is a first for me.

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I'm not sure. I just want to stop rolling my eyes when I get a call or email from him. Just seeing him at meetings a few times a week and talking then would be enough for me; it always has been. I've never been one to call Al-Anon friends when ihave an issue. I usually just call my sponsor or come here. So I'm not sure how much is too much for me b/c only one other program friend calls me to talk through things, but it's rare. So this is a first for me.

 

Reminds me of people on the band list server that email the list serv (which, in turn sends out a mass email to everyone in band) and then they talk about their everyday life.

 

The purpose of the list serv is to send mass announcements. Mostly, it's for band director use only. But, other people can use it to ask for rides or announce that they found part of a uniform.

 

However, there is always that one guy that wants to promote his own life using the list serv. I, too, roll my eyes.

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Right! How do I get past doing that? I don't mind offering help when people need it but sometimes it gets to be too much, especially when I'm busy with work and just want to chill sometimes. I don't live and breathe Al-Anon like some of my other program friends (not knocking that they do, but I just mean I can't exactly relate to their frequent need and use of the program...I work my program very differently).

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I'm not sure. I just want to stop rolling my eyes when I get a call or email from him. Just seeing him at meetings a few times a week and talking then would be enough for me; it always has been. I've never been one to call Al-Anon friends when ihave an issue. I usually just call my sponsor or come here. So I'm not sure how much is too much for me b/c only one other program friend calls me to talk through things, but it's rare. So this is a first for me.

 

There is an easy way out of this. You can say that you've been feeling weird about all the contact and you've been advised that for the time being you aren't having personal contact with men.

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No I don't think I'd say something like that b/c one, there's no advising in our program, and two, I don't think it'd make sense to say I shouldn't have contact with men b/c I go to coed meetings and have lots of male friends in the program.

 

I don't need to lie. I know I just need to get out of my head and lay down a boundary and say he's overwhelmed me and I need him to take a step back.

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I never return his calls, nor did I respond to even one email he sent around daily about moving from his apartment. Yet I still got a call from him about helping him clean his place. I don't think he gets hints! The only reason I wrote him a text last night after I got his vm was b/c he'd written me just before he called and I'd responded so he knew I was by my phone. I made up a lame excuse about not being able to answer and wrote him back that.

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Maybe being honest with him would be for the best. If he is a classy guy he will understand that you are there for him, but you need your space aswell.

 

This is normal human behaviour in times of trouble we reach out for people who we feel most comfortable with. It not like he knows that its annoying you . Plus maybe its only for a little bit of time , as you said times are hard on him..so go easy on him.

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I definitely don't think he's not allowed to feel down and ask for help so I'm not criticizing that. But it's the frequent communication b/c I always have a problem with too mich communication from anyone. I'm just wired that way.

 

Last night at the meeting, the topic was surrender. When he shared, he shared about how he's learned to ask for help and was humbled to learn that he can't do everything alone. That's a big step for him (b/c I know how he's always had a problem with asking for help, based on knowing him nearlt 2 years now). I'm very proud of him for asking for the help b/c often when you grow up in an alcoholic home, you learn to be so self-sufficient that it becomes a character defect rather than a good quality. I know that's what happeened to him and can relate b/c I'm often the same way.

 

So for him to ask people for help is great. It's just too much for me to hear from him so often.

 

I didn't get to talk to him after the meeting last night but I know I should say something and just be honest. He's not one of those people I'd have to lie to to protect his feelings b/c he's bigger than that. I just need to get out of my head about it.

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