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Well. . I just cancelled Christmas Eve.  I've cooked dinner every year (except last) for more than 20 years. The catalyst is my brothers family.  With the pandemic and political views, things hav

Same to Rose.  Happy Holidays

All sorts of thoughts wirling through my head, I feel the need to write them down.

 

We've all had that best friend that has lasted through the years. I've written about her more than once here.

 

We aren't as close as we used to be for a variety of reasons. After 40 years we've just evolved through life experiences. We share alot of the same friends and see each other occasionally in a group setting, but I am reluctant to spend time with her alone. I do, but not as often. Depending on her mood I often regret it, hoping to get the old G, but don't. She's very negative most of the time.

 

I realize she's always been rather narcisistic. Seeing I married one and dated another, it's safe to say I was once drawn to them. Now, years later I am repelled by them and their ways. I still love her. Even N's have good qualities. I've learned to navigate them pretty well, but in the text book way they don't have much use for you if they sense you are on to them.

 

G tends to be very manipulative. I won't let her manipulate me and she runs up against a wall when she deems herself the alpha female in the group and most gatherings or girls trip are run over by her. I am the only one who seems to put a stop to things I'm not willing to do. The rest either go along very relunctantly, though mumbling nasty things under the breath. Some follow like puppies. I just state my terms respectfully and calmly. I tend to be the catylist in some ways. The women look at me as if they need to chose sides. They don't. But I put it out there what I am not willing to do. It's apparent that she doesn't like my resistance and it creates tension.

 

I don't think she's even aware of why we aren't close anymore. G only worries about G and isn't terribly introspective.

 

She has been habitual debtor her entire life and has horrible taste in men. For the sake of space she's never been the same since she dating someone who didn't return her feelings, yet toyed with her in the cruelest ways off and on for 6 YEARS.

 

She now lies to us about him. She can months without seeing him and like bad cold he keeps returning. Being around him makes my skin crawl. He's a con artist and a master manipulator.

Our friendship has been strained over her need for support when she's destraught and then her need for approval when she with him. After a point I just can't hate him and like him at the same time. So for the most of us included, she knows she can't talk about him around us.

I also check in with myself about the lies. Interesting how the women know they are lied to but look the other way. It becomes a sticking point for me, because it's not how I define a friendship. Lies are for enemies and strangers really. Not best friends.

G got this wild hair to leave California and move to Idaho. Months go by and she makes an announcement that at 61 (and having filed bankruptsy more than once) she qualified for 350K and have made an offer on a house. She has an aunt out there but they will be 90 min's apart. As an optician for Costco, she gets a transfer.

 

She's moved away before only to come back so in a lot of ways this isn't a surprise, but while the rest of us are trying to square up and lean down in an attempt to retire someday, why would a woman in her 60's commit to a 30 year mortgage in another state for the first time in her life. She's done alot of things I don't understand but something is off about this one. As far as I know she hasn't been seeing the con artist for some time. But I am often fooled.

 

Until the truth comes out. The master manipulator guy, who's cheated most of the 6 years is going with her. He's been a couch surfer the entire time she's known him. In another life he was a wealthy entrepenuer with a brokers license and now he helps people with credit repair. Which it beyond ironic, seeing he is forced to live in his car at times, when G and his other girlfriend won't have anything to do with him.

So a man she cannot trust with her heart, she is trusting with her money. She has drained her 401k for the down payment and leaves next week. She insists he's only helping her get there, but has purchased his one way return flight. She has lied about the status of their relationship off and on for so long, I don't believe anything she says. As much as I can't stand this guy, in so many ways they are probably really perfect for each other.

An unknowing friend E, went by her home yesterday to pick up some paint supplies he left behind from helping her paint. He was shocked to see the guy there and his belongings in the moving POD. If he's coming straight back, why is his stuff. . . . ?

E packed up his paint supplies and wouldn't speak to G, drove away and called me practically yelling.

 

All her friends are disgusted and concerned. But we wash our hands of it. She leaves her lifelong friends, family and aging parents behind.

 

What's also sad is alot of her high school friends are my friends, but we are more acquaintance like, than best friends. G's been the glue that kept it together. Though it's been fragile and a little strained for sometime, we still made the effort to get together. I am prepared, in her absense to see very little of them.

 

My other group of friends are pretty covid militant. An occasional glass of wine on the patio once a month, with masks is about all I can expect.

I am sure the whole Covid thing influences my mood, but it just got a little lonelier

all of sudden.

Feeling like a breakup from a bad boyfriend. Overdue, but it still doesn't feel good.

She just got done calling me in what I have learned to expect is the routine one sided phone call. Where she rages at me about something that happened during her 20 minute drive to work. My job is just to listen and not say anything until she tells me she has to go and hangs up.

 

Her neighbor volunteers to get a friend with a truck to get a bed someone offered to her for free and bring it back to put in the pod while she worked yesterday. (mind you, free help, free truck, free bed) This morning she notices a major piece to this modular bed in the back of the neighbors suv. Can't build the bed without it and the POD left at 7am in this morning. G is out of her mind, livid, yelling at her neighbor friend and telling me what an F'ing idiot she is. Sigh. But her other friend who's flight attendant will pack and ship it, freight to her. It's an amazing skill she has, to get everyone to do things for her. I guess I must have been that way years ago in another life. Because I won't do things for her now that she can otherwise do herself. Hence the shift in our friendship.

 

Not sure why I feel sad. . .but it helped writing it all down. I hosted a nice goodbye dinner for her a few days ago. She was distracted and negative but the rest of us had a nice evening. She even fell asleep in the patio chair.

 

I am so adverse to drama anymore. I can't for the life of me understand why some people feel most alive when they are in the middle of it.

Edited by reinventmyself
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I'm glad it helped to write it down!!! I'm so sorry -I know it's hard to let go of a long time friend with so much history, so many decades. I would think it feels impossible to have the right boundaries or even to figure out what those boundaries are.

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Exactly!

Thanks for the kind words.

 

Of course - I'm right there with you. Everyone talks about boundaries and I get that -I like to think of relationships in terms of that and I think what you're talking about is a whole different situation.

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  • 2 weeks later...

update on the friend ( I get this is boring and tedious to anyone reading, but I wanted to document it)

She's ready to leave, her belongings were shipped ahead and she should have left yesterday

BUT. . .Her escrow fell through at the last minute.

As it turns out she's only been offered a part time position in a new store about to open. She has the option of picking up shifts until a full time position comes up. I get she's naive and inexperiences (but seriously impulsive) but this ex, ex broker who's been advising her should have known better than banks don't fund loans over 300k for people without employment verification to support that she can afford it. They don't give you money because you said so, or the store manager says so. She is being hired as a part time employee, period.

 

She came by last night to use my pc. Apparently she sent that too. I have such a hard time having any empathy for her after a life time of dramatic stunts. Now the Costco due to open on the 15th, is now pushed back to the end of Oct. She left my house defeated to go home to her air mattress on the floor and her two cats.

 

She left saying that 'nothing ever goes right for her and 'she has terrible luck and bad things happen to her. I bite my lip because she doesn't want to hear it. But she'll never learn from her mistakes until she acknowledges that these are the consequenses of her decisions and choices. There isn't a person on this planet that thought what she was taking on was a good idea. But to her. . things happen TO her.

I am not totally heartless and I still can't help but feel bad for her. Even after 40 years of things exactly like this. She can't help herself.

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She left saying that 'nothing ever goes right for her and 'she has terrible luck and bad things happen to her. I bite my lip because she doesn't want to hear it. But she'll never learn from her mistakes until she acknowledges that these are the consequenses of her decisions and choices. There isn't a person on this planet that thought what she was taking on was a good idea. But to her. . things happen TO her.

I am not totally heartless and I still can't help but feel bad for her.

 

I read somewhere that a primary difference between character disordered people and neurotic people manifests in how they place blame.

 

Character disordered people blame everyone else when misfortune occurs. Bad things "happen" to them.

 

Neurotic people blame themselves when misfortune occurs. They ask, "what could I have done to prevent this? How can I make it better?"

 

Unsurprisingly, character disordered people and neurotic people often fall into relationships with each other, where the neurotic person always tries to make things better for the character disordered person, and the character disordered person just keeps taking more and more.

 

I thank my lucky stars that both my boyfriend and I are neurotic lol.

 

Anyway, I think your reaction is very healthy. It's normal to feel empathy when someone experiences a setback. Your involvement should end there. You should maintain a healthy distance from a person like this.

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I read somewhere that a primary difference between character disordered people and neurotic people manifests in how they place blame.

 

Character disordered people blame everyone else when misfortune occurs. Bad things "happen" to them.

 

Neurotic people blame themselves when misfortune occurs. They ask, "what could I have done to prevent this? How can I make it better?"

 

Unsurprisingly, character disordered people and neurotic people often fall into relationships with each other, where the neurotic person always tries to make things better for the character disordered person, and the character disordered person just keeps taking more and more.

 

I thank my lucky stars that both my boyfriend and I are neurotic lol.

 

Anyway, I think your reaction is very healthy. It's normal to feel empathy when someone experiences a setback. Your involvement should end there. You should maintain a healthy distance from a person like this.

 

Ouch.

Therapy 101, when my therapist labelled me neurotic. . lol

I forgot all about that.

I guess the good news is it means I am not disordered. . . ?

 

I've touched on this several times with this friend and maybe why it triggers me so much. My past history being attracted to and attracting narcisists.

 

It's curious to watch the majority of mutual friends still rally around her - to a certain degree. Granted, she's worn them out to some too, but the degree in which this repels me makes continually make me question myself. (probably the exact reason why I am writing about her)

 

If they have empathy and I don't, does that make me narcissistic? The circle goes around.

 

I just have a different (strong) reaction to her. I just need to accept it for what it is and let it go.

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If they have empathy and I don't, does that make me narcissistic? The circle goes around.

 

I just have a different (strong) reaction to her. I just need to accept it for what it is and let it go.

 

I would argue that you are simply not as neurotic as you once were, and that you're feeling anxiety because you're so used to being neurotic that you feel weird being stable.

 

Your feelings may have been strong, but your reaction was not.

 

Frankly, your reaction seems pretty even-keeled. You've given her the ability to help herself. That is enough.

 

You do have empathy. You simply choose not to react like the other women.

 

Your reaction was internal, and controlled. You felt sympathy for her, but you didn't try to solve her problem. You felt frustrated by her, but you didn't lash out at her.

 

Your reaction was actually less powerful than your friends' reactions. Their internal feelings compelled them to abandon their own priorities to address hers. Yours did not.

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  • 1 month later...

2 years today my Mom left us.

Much like the birth of my kids, I relive the moments. 'Where was i this time that year. This moment, this hour?'

I'd like to erase those memories of my moms final days. But they played out in technicolor.

 

I posted a small tribute to her on FB. I looked to upload a song but the links never work the way I intend them to. I had 3 choices of songs. They were ones that played repeatedly this time 2 years ago. I think of her everytime I hear them. I settled for a small acknowledgement and skipped the song.

 

I am sitting here working with music playing and all 3 of those songs played within an hours time. My first choice played (on a different device) immediately after I gave up trying to upload it.

 

I look around me. . coincidence?? I'd sure like to believe she's around. She'd be mad as heck that I was feeling sorry for myself and a little emotional today. But she didn't have a good relationship with her own emotions.

 

That and the timing of the holidays. It is a little better, but I associate Thanksgiving and Christmas with a really painful time. We (kinda) skipped Christmas last year by going to Mexico. I still can't listen to Christmas music.

 

My sons will spend Thanksgiving with their dad. I already wrote about it elsewhere here, but I won't be going to my brothers due to covid and number of people in the house. (that and they all think it's a hoax)

It's a constant readjustment. I'll spend Thanksgiving with S and his parents. I privately boo-hooed about it a little bit the other day. I won't see any of my family. Something I struggle getting used to. I cut myself some slack. I don't think you're suppose to ever get used to it. It's that small child voice in my head, that I don't know where I belong anymore. I think a shrink would label it as a tad of abandonment. Dramatic but fair enough.

 

I typically have Christmas eve at my home. But with babies and young couples, we've outgrown my dining room. I want to look into renting a tent, table and chairs for the patio, but i suspect there will be big run on these items. That and who knows what Christmas will even be like?

 

Like Scarlet . . .i'll worry about it tomorrow.

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Oh the Gone With the Wind reference -use it often.

 

I am sorry about your loss and I hope her memory is for a blessing. I cannot imagine. I hope your thanksgiving with S and his parents goes better than you think it will and I'm sorry about the family thinking it's a hoax. So frustrating.

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Oh the Gone With the Wind reference -use it often.

 

I am sorry about your loss and I hope her memory is for a blessing. I cannot imagine. I hope your thanksgiving with S and his parents goes better than you think it will and I'm sorry about the family thinking it's a hoax. So frustrating.

Thx Batya,

I can always count on you to say the nicest things

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Thx Batya,

I can always count on you to say the nicest things

 

I mean I try and it's all I can do - it's what I can contribute.

 

But -not sure if this will make you "feel better" but check this out. My childhood friend is in her 50s like me. Her older sister is late 50s. Lives in another state about two hours away. The parents live across the street from my friend. For thanksgiving sister plans to gather with: her two grown children, her two young grandchildren, her son's girlfriend and her parents at the parents' home. A marriage proposal is planned now for Thanksgiving.

For weeks now my friend's parents have been begging their daughter not to have a large gathering like this because of covid. Of course they will not go, neither will my friend and her family. Her parents do not know about the proposal but sent an extremely generous housewarming gift when their grandson and girlfriend bought a home together.

 

My friend's sister is mad at her mother for continuously telling her not to do this (understand mom is in her 80s) - so she now plans not to tell her mom about the proposal (!!!!!). My friend has decided she has to stay out of this mess -what else can she do? How sad is that??

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Sending warm thoughts your way, reinvent.
Thx Blue ;)

 

I stopped feeling sorry for myself after speaking to friend who sacrificed her job and sold her home to move in and watch over her parents 80/90/early dementia/cancer. Yet she's learning she really can't stop them from doing things.

 

An old friend takes the parents to lunch in a crowded a restaurant acouple days ago for Dads (with cancer!?) 90th bday.

 

Lisa, her daughter's and their families had agreed to quarantine for the two weeks prior to Thanksgiving so they could feel reasonably safe celebrating together.

 

Now all bets are off and everyone is pointing fingers, upset and poor Lisa, who already has given up so much may be eating alone.

 

I think we are all a little kookie lately. How can we not be??

Edited by reinventmyself
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I think we are all a little kookie lately. How can we not be??

 

For sure! It's been such a rough year for so many. It is getting stressful to so many. I just keep hoping and praying that we get past the worst without too much damage done.

Hope you're keeping warm and safe reinvent.

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For sure! It's been such a rough year for so many. It is getting stressful to so many. I just keep hoping and praying that we get past the worst without too much damage done.

Hope you're keeping warm and safe reinvent.

Same to you and yours, Sherry!

 

As frustrating as it all is, in a weird way I am glad Im not alone. It keeps things in perspective.

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  • 2 weeks later...

S's parents have been in town over the holidays. Mom 81 uses a walker. Dad 87, frail, hard of hearing, COPD.

S keeps 2 recliners in the spare bedroom to bring out in the living room for their visits. S's home is tiny. Due to his parents limitations they basically only get out of the recliners to eat and return.

 

S had a brother and at 20 he passed away. Needless to say he is super close to his parents, but ultimately the week long visit is super challenging and draining. I remind him when they're gone he'd wish he had these moments back.

 

S's mom is a force to be reckoned with. They live a pretty isolated life 5 hours away. Mom has a HUGE personality and will talk at you until your ears bleed. I don't mind the first couple days, but much like other visits I have my limit.

 

The problem is her stories are mainly reliving every conflict she's ever experienced throughout her entire life. Raising her voice and growling to point you want to wince (but don't)

 

Last night, amongst them - 45 yr past little league stories.

"G*d dam it!! you won't treat my son that way!! You SOB!!!". . and so on

 

S's son and gf are present for dinner but her eyes and focus are directed at me 100% of the time. I look around. Everyone's eyes on their plates.

 

All meals S is cooking. 3×7 days, 21 meals. He hides in the kitchen and I'm alone w them. I show up, he disappears.

 

Most of all, she's speaks abusively to her husband. He's hard of hearing and very forgetful. If he dares to chime in and try to participate, she interrupts him, corrects him, mumbles disgust under her breath and rolls her eyes. I calmly defend him. " Sandra, he didn't hear that" He looks further confused, she doubles down with something else insulting.

 

It happens every visit. I spend maybe 4 to 5 evenings with them and by the 3rd or 4th I can feel the life run out of me and I abruptly make an excuse and leave.

 

I had planned on taking a day off yesterday, but S calls and he's cooking dinner for 6 of us. I could have said no, but didnt. I was drained, shut down and quiet.

 

Mom's wound up, viscously yelling stories through out the meal and barks at her husband. I bolted from the table, started doing dishes, circled the table clearing plates one by one and when the table was clear I excused myself and left to go home.

My departure was less than subtle.

 

Pretty sure having been in abusive relationships, I just cannot sit in the middle of it. That and being an introvert, I'm easily flooded and overwhelmed. But for them, this is their normal. At some point I start to feel violated ( sarcasm )

 

The bigger picture is she'll outlive her husband and her son will need to retrieve her, bring her home and/or find a place to keep her. 3 1/2 years together, S and I no future plans on living together for obvious reasons.

 

He loves his Mom but he's a different person around her. All 3 men, dad, son and grandson all keep their head down and don't speak around her.

 

Probably explains why I'm her target. That and I know she likes me. She wanted to send a check for $200 for my birthday. I caught wind she might do it and I told her not to. She sends me $199.99. I never did cash it. It just felt inappropriate and it made me feel indebted or pressured in some way.

 

They leave on Tuesday and I have one last commitment with all of them this afternoon.

The resistance I feel to go is overwhelming.

 

They'll be back the end of December

Edited by reinventmyself
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S's parents have been in town over the holidays. Mom 81 uses a walker. Dad 87, frail, hard of hearing, COPD.

S keeps 2 recliners in the spare bedroom to bring out in the living room for their visits. S's home is tiny. Due to his parents limitations they basically only get out of the recliners to eat and return.

 

S had a brother and at 20 he passed away. Needless to say he is super close to his parents, but ultimately the week long visit is super challenging and draining. I remind him when they're gone he'd wish he had these moments back.

 

S's mom is a force to be reckoned with. They live a pretty isolated life 5 hours away. Mom has a HUGE personality and will talk at you until your ears bleed. I don't mind the first couple days, but much like other visits I have my limit.

 

The problem is her stories are mainly reliving every conflict she's ever experienced throughout her entire life. Raising her voice and growling to point you want to wince (but don't)

 

Last night, amongst them - 45 yr past little league stories.

"G*d dam it!! you won't treat my son that way!! You SOB!!!". . and so on

 

S's son and gf are present for dinner but her eyes and focus are directed at me 100% of the time. I look around. Everyone's eyes on their plates.

 

All meals S is cooking. 3×7 days, 21 meals. He hides in the kitchen and I'm alone w them. I show up, he disappears.

 

Most of all, she's speaks abusively to her husband. He's hard of hearing and very forgetful. If he dares to chime in and try to participate, she interrupts him, corrects him, mumbles disgust under her breath and rolls her eyes. I calmly defend him. " Sandra, he didn't hear that" He looks further confused, she doubles down with something else insulting.

 

It happens every visit. I spend maybe 4 to 5 evenings with them and by the 3rd or 4th I can feel the life run out of me and I abruptly make an excuse and leave.

 

I had planned on taking a day off yesterday, but S calls and he's cooking dinner for 6 of us. I could have said no, but didnt. I was drained, shut down and quiet.

 

Mom's wound up, viscously yelling stories through out the meal and barks at her husband. I bolted from the table, started doing dishes, circled the table clearing plates one by one and when the table was clear I excused myself and left to go home.

My departure was less than subtle.

 

Pretty sure having been in abusive relationships, I just cannot sit in the middle of it. That and being an introvert, I'm easily flooded and overwhelmed. But for them, this is their normal. At some point I start to feel violated ( sarcasm )

 

The bigger picture is she'll outlive her husband and her son will need to retrieve her, bring her home and/or find a place to keep her. 3 1/2 years together, S and I no future plans on living together for obvious reasons.

 

He loves his Mom but he's a different person around her. All 3 men, dad, son and grandson all keep their head down and don't speak around her.

 

Probably explains why I'm her target. That and I know she likes me. She wanted to send a check for $200 for my birthday. I caught wind she might do it and I told her not to. She sends me $199.99. I never did cash it. It just felt inappropriate and it made me feel indebted or pressured in some way.

 

They leave on Tuesday and I have one last commitment with all of them this afternoon.

The resistance I feel to go is overwhelming.

 

They'll be back the end of December

 

Oh my God that sounds so awful! I laughed several times reading this because it just paints such a crazy picture... but I'm so sorry you have to deal with that.

 

Why are family members sometimes so nutty?!?! I don't get it. Like... it doesn't' have to be that way. You can just be nice. Or simple polite and civil.

 

Why on earth are people crazy?! It only makes life harder than it needs to be in my opinion....

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On a more serious note... if you plan to stay with S, he can have his mom placed somewhere. It doesn't sound like it's physically healthy to be around her, even for him!

 

He shouldn't be the caregiver, in other words. He can do right by her (have her taken care of), and still have her live somewhere else when that time comes.

 

My husband's parents are abusive to each other, too, and it's REALLY awkward being around that.

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Thx M ;) I dont know all the fine details, but when Dads gone she only gets a portion of his pension. Moving her to CA will be costly. That and in NV retirement taxes are better for seniors. S will likely have to subsidize the difference.

No matter how you slice it, he'll place her but she'll be even more demanding of his attention.

S panics that she's so difficult she wont get along with anyone. I keep reminding him that's her cross to bear, not his. ( I hope)

Not matter what. It will be a wild ride.

Edited by reinventmyself
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Oh my God that sounds so awful! I laughed several times reading this because it just paints such a crazy picture... but I'm so sorry you have to deal with that.

 

Why are family members sometimes so nutty?!?! I don't get it. Like... it doesn't' have to be that way. You can just be nice. Or simple polite and civil.

 

Why on earth are people crazy?! It only makes life harder than it needs to be in my opinion....

 

Yes this!!! I too am so sorry you had to deal with this.

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