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Feeling Guilty but Not Wanting the Friendship


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Hi my cyber buds of ENA.  I am open to advice.  So feel free to chime in or not.... Ugh

A while back I posted my own thread about ending a friendship.  And I have chimed in on other people's friend problems, siting my own challenges.

If I am honest, I have outgrown a friendship.  I feel really drained by every interaction.  It's effecting my own mental health.  But this friend is like the most clingy, emotionally, guilt tripping victim on the planet.  

After every interaction, I would avoid more communication... try to fade away.  Not respond right away.  But then she basically love bombs me.. sending text "just thinkin of you.  love you"  which I actually cringed every time.  It's so over the top fake.  If I knew someone is avoiding me I would pull back.

Maybe she didn't get the hint.  Which makes sense because she is so into herself.  I am not sure.  But from my perspective.  It's like she doesn't listen, she doesn't respect my decisions, she doesn't try to understand, she just pushes her agenda. 

I have tried explaining how I feel to her multiple times.  Sometimes she would apologize, but not change.  Other times, she'd say things like "As much as you complain about me, I wonder why you want to be my friend."  To which, I would say-- exactly what I am saying.  She would never hear that.  She would just keep guilting me.  Or saying weird things-- like she can't be with out my friendship.  Or get this-- I am such a great friend, I expect too much of her to be the same kind of friend.  

I started reading a great book about boundaries.  Its by Nedra Glover Tawwab, if you are interested.  In that book, it says, it's not healthy to punish people for not respecting your boundaries, if they don't know what the boundaries are.  

So in that vain, I thought, I was not doing the right things because I am super mad at this person.  I don't like them.  I don't like how they treat me.  I don't want to be friends and my avoiding her is not working.

A few weeks ago.  She asked me to meet her at a restaurant.  Ok.  So here is a major difference in opinions between us.  I am trying to be super cautious about the covid-19.  I stay home a lot.  I have a small bubble of people (3 or 4 people) I am around.  She is not.  She goes out frequently, she travels, she is around a variety of people and same with her SO.

So instead of giving a lame excuse. I pushed myself to be honest and I told her exactly how I felt.  That I don't want to meet her.  Frankly, it is her.  She is around too many people etc, for me to feel comfortable.  She completely skipped over what I said and did not accept my refusal or reason.  She said - well think about it.  We can wear masks and be outside.  whatever you want.  WHATEVER I WANT!?  

I was so mad.  Like here we go again.... her needs over mine.  It's fine that I don't want to me. But whatever is needed to meet is what she expects.  She couldn't just accept that to me, nothing about this pandemic has changed.  I am not vaccinated.  I am being cautious.  But to her-- she wants to get together. So I need to continue to think about it until I am on her page.  I pushed back and said no.  I am telling you am not comfortable.  She apologized, claimed she misunderstood.  (That's her new thing.  she's not smart.  She doesn't understand)

UGH

So then she texts me a few days later-- love you. I ignored it for a couple days. I finally just said-- I am sorry I did not respond to you.  I am not sure how I feel but I need space.  I know texting is not the best way to have a conversation.  But I am not ready to talk.  I hope you will respect that.  

So here I am.  I have not reached out again.  I don't want to.  I do feel guilty dumping a friend.  But I feel like this friendship costs too much.  Even writing this has been helpful.  I know I need to get away from this person.  Regardless of how long we have been friends and what mutual friends think.  

Thoughts?   

 

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You haven't done anything wrong but I think given her personality she's a lot more easygoing than you about going out. Can you go into a bit more why you feel guilty or bad about enforcing your boundaries? Maybe this is something you're not used to doing. It gets much easier with time. 

I also have a friend like this but she is about 10 years older than me and I think of her like an older sister. She thinks of me like a little sister. During the pandemic her family and her were traveling between provinces and her sons who are grown but still live at home did get the virus and unfortunately their family did get sick. Just weeks prior she was trying to convince me to go on a roadtrip with her which ordinarily I would love to do. We're both spontaneous and free spirited (don't need a lot of planning to have fun). She asked me several times to do this but I didn't feel good about it so let her know my concerns in a light way (she is also lighthearted and easy to talk to) and then left it. She asked me a few times afterwards and I also responded I wasn't sure. She wouldn't accept anything less than I was thinking about it. I did feel a bit pressured but didn't think anything of it. I only knew it's her personality. 

I think your friend has rubbed you a little raw and seemed insincere with her 'love yous' along the way. The friend I mentioned above doesn't do that. Actually she hardly texts at all which is great. 

Give yourselves some cooling off time. You may have outgrown the insincerity in her messages and she doesn't communicate the same way you do. It's a tricky time right now with covid and you are entitled to staying safe and going about your life that's best for you. I don't think you should feel guilty and if you do, explore why? Don't you feel you have a say in how you wish to live your life or limiting messages that make little sense to you?

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1 hour ago, Lambert said:

So here I am.  I have not reached out again.  I don't want to.  I do feel guilty dumping a friend.

This is the right thing to do.

When I was in my mid-20s, I literally had to break up with a friend. It was weird, disconcerting experience. But it was for the best. I had guilty feelings for a while, but I don't miss that girl AT ALL. She was a huge, demanding, pain in the ass. 

Stay strong, and your guilty feelings will fade as well. Do you think it might help you to block her?

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The only way to get rid of toxic people is to get rid of them - cut them out completely.

She did ask you a valid question though - if you dislike her so much, why do you keep coming back and interacting with her and being her pal? She isn't making you do anything such, you are doing it on your own. Something for you to think about because that's kind of messed up on your end. Your behavior toward her has been incredibly passive aggressive and that's not very nice at all. Why are you so uncomfortable with being true to yourself - you don't like her, don't pretend to be her pal. Should be simple and is simple, because nobody is obligated to be anyone's friend.

As for boundaries - NO is a complete sentence. You don't enforce your boundaries by talking about your feelings, but rather by acting consistently according to your boundaries and getting rid of those who try to bulldoze those boundaries one too many times.

When you talk about your feelings, you are making other people the custodians of your boundaries and what do you think will happen when the other person is pushy or has an agenda contrary to what you want? It's like going to a mall, giving your wallet to a shopaholic and telling them that if they spend all your money shopping, you'll feel very hurt. They might feel bad that you are hurt, but they'll still spend your money and shop away. The way you protect your wallet isn't by talking about feelings, but with a simple, direct NO. Can I have your wallet? NO. No explanations, no blame, no feelings, no accusations of the other person being a shopaholic, no debates.

 

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24 minutes ago, Rose Mosse said:

You haven't done anything wrong but I think given her personality she's a lot more easygoing than you about going out. Can you go into a bit more why you feel guilty or bad about enforcing your boundaries? Maybe this is something you're not used to doing. It gets much easier with time. 

I also have a friend like this but she is about 10 years older than me and I think of her like an older sister. She thinks of me like a little sister. During the pandemic her family and her were traveling between provinces and her sons who are grown but still live at home did get the virus and unfortunately their family did get sick. Just weeks prior she was trying to convince me to go on a roadtrip with her which ordinarily I would love to do. We're both spontaneous and free spirited (don't need a lot of planning to have fun). She asked me several times to do this but I didn't feel good about it so let her know my concerns in a light way (she is also lighthearted and easy to talk to) and then left it. She asked me a few times afterwards and I also responded I wasn't sure. She wouldn't accept anything less than I was thinking about it. I did feel a bit pressured but didn't think anything of it. I only knew it's her personality. 

I think your friend has rubbed you a little raw and seemed insincere with her 'love yous' along the way. The friend I mentioned above doesn't do that. Actually she hardly texts at all which is great. 

Give yourselves some cooling off time. You may have outgrown the insincerity in her messages and she doesn't communicate the same way you do. It's a tricky time right now with covid and you are entitled to staying safe and going about your life that's best for you. I don't think you should feel guilty and if you do, explore why? Don't you feel you have a say in how you wish to live your life or limiting messages that make little sense to you?

Hi Rose Mosse.  Thanks for responding.  

I do have a hard time with boundaries.  For a long time.  Like most of my life... But I think specific to this person-- it's because she always gets so emotional and looking back she is manipulative with her emotions.  She cannot deal with the least disappointed.  She will internalize it due to her low self image.  She really needs to seek therapy.  She has many traits that are unhealthy, but she surrounds herself with people that cater to her needs.  I was one of those people for a long time. It didn't bother me for a long time.  But over the last few years it has and now I am burned out.  

You're right.  I do have the right to live my life for me, based on what I want etc.  I feel guilty because I don't want to hurt people.  I just want them to leave me alone. LOL!

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28 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

This is the right thing to do.

When I was in my mid-20s, I literally had to break up with a friend. It was weird, disconcerting experience. But it was for the best. I had guilty feelings for a while, but I don't miss that girl AT ALL. She was a huge, demanding, pain in the ass. 

Stay strong, and your guilty feelings will fade as well. Do you think it might help you to block her?

Thanks, Jibs!  It is hard.  And you're right.  I just have to ride out it.  

I don't think I need to block her, because she is not reaching out.  If it comes to that maybe I will.  

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OMG, did I write this.  I am going through the same thing, in fact there will be a big talk on Wednesday-someone that I wrote about last month.

My friend likes to  boundary push, is a chronic complainer, and has complete disregard for my  wishes.   It is so frustrating and unhealthy.  I can't take it anymore.  

This is who they are,  and we cannot expect them to change.   I suggest that you  tell her that you cannot continue the relationship.  No need to tell her why, as she will not absorb it.   You could also block.  

 I feel for you, but  in regards to your sanity and happiness, it is best to remove these folks.   I think that we have both given way too many chances.

Good luck!

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4 minutes ago, DancingFool said:

The only way to get rid of toxic people is to get rid of them - cut them out completely.

She did ask you a valid question though - if you dislike her so much, why do you keep coming back and interacting with her and being her pal? She isn't making you do anything such, you are doing it on your own. Something for you to think about because that's kind of messed up on your end. Your behavior toward her has been incredibly passive aggressive and that's not very nice at all. Why are you so uncomfortable with being true to yourself - you don't like her, don't pretend to be her pal. Should be simple and is simple, because nobody is obligated to be anyone's friend.

As for boundaries - NO is a complete sentence. You don't enforce your boundaries by talking about your feelings, but rather by acting consistently according to your boundaries and getting rid of those who try to bulldoze those boundaries one too many times.

When you talk about your feelings, you are making other people the custodians of your boundaries and what do you think will happen when the other person is pushy or has an agenda contrary to what you want? It's like going to a mall, giving your wallet to a shopaholic and telling them that if they spend all your money shopping, you'll feel very hurt. They might feel bad that you are hurt, but they'll still spend your money and shop away. The way you protect your wallet isn't by talking about feelings, but with a simple, direct NO. Can I have your wallet? NO. No explanations, no blame, no feelings, no accusations of the other person being a shopaholic, no debates.

 

thanks, DF.  You're right.  And for the part that I bolded, I realize that now, too.  It was passive aggressive and not nice at all.  And realizing that, lead me to telling her to respect my space.  I couldn't bring myself to say I don't want to be her friend.  Should I?  

You're also right about me not being true to myself, in this situation.  I am not sure why.  As you said out of obligation. 

But you are right I was not being a friend either.  Neither of us are right in some of the things we've done.  And it's better to just keep away from each other. 

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You've outgrown the friendship... it's okay to let go. I would do the same thing. I can't imagine why a friend would behave like that but you mentioned she has other issues. I'm very sorry.

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4 minutes ago, Hollyj said:

OMG, did I write this.  I am going through the same thing, in fact there will be a big talk on Wednesday-someone that I wrote about last month.

My friend likes to  boundary push, is a chronic complainer, and has complete disregard for my  wishes.   It is so frustrating and unhealthy.  I can't take it anymore.  

This is who they are,  and we cannot expect them to change.   I suggest that you  tell her that you cannot continue the relationship.  No need to tell her why, as she will not absorb it.   You could also block.  

 I feel for you, but  in regards to your sanity and happiness, it is best to remove these folks.   I think that we have both given way too many chances.

Good luck!

Thanks, Holly J

I hope the responses I receive here, help you, too.  

In my case, I have tried talking to her multiple times.  I do think Dancing Fool provided some good insight into my own passive aggressiveness.  Which I did and do recognize.  

I struggle with the "I'm not your friend" it just doesn't seem nice. LOL.  It's like I don't want to be hurtful.... 

The problem with what I wrote to her was that it does rather imply that when I am ready to talk, I will reach out to her.  But I am not there yet.  The only thing I want to say is-- "Sorry.  But you are on your own now"

But considering I told her to respect my space.  I don't think I have to beat her over the head with I am not a friend anymore.

So I am just saying nothing right now.  I do feel bad about it. Even though, I also think it is the right thing.  

So I feel for you.  Those break up conversations with a love or a friend is so hard.  We give chances but things never change.  I know I have made mistakes too.  It's just a mess.  

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1 minute ago, Lambert said:

thanks, DF.  You're right.  And for the part that I bolded, I realize that now, too.  It was passive aggressive and not nice at all.  And realizing that, lead me to telling her to respect my space.  I couldn't bring myself to say I don't want to be her friend.  Should I?  

You're also right about me not being true to myself, in this situation.  I am not sure why.  As you said out of obligation. 

But you are right I was not being a friend either.  Neither of us are right in some of the things we've done.  And it's better to just keep away from each other. 

Boundaries are about actions - action here being that you simply walk away and stop interacting with her permanently. If she reaches out with some weird "I still love you", you simply do not respond anymore, not that day, not in another week, not ever again. Block her number if you need to.

If you reach out with something like "I don't want to be friends", you are again talking about wants/feelings and are opening things up for a discussion, which she seems to win every single time. Stop that cycle.

 

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5 minutes ago, Hollyj said:

""As much as you complain about me, I wonder why you want to be my friend."  

You really need to address why you continued.  

Do you mean for myself or with her?

I think it was out of guilt and obligation to a long time friendship.  It wasn't always this one sided.  

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I would go about life without her. Sometimes things people say bother us. Give yourself time to shake it off and stop that cycle from repeating itself. I don't think you have to spell it out for her, just side step and move on with your days. It's perfectly healthy and fine to limit yourself from what's bothering you. 

Given this particular dynamic, I don't think you owe each other anything. I don't reason with takers who take indiscriminately whether it's time, peace of mind or whatever else in my life without sharing or giving in return especially when it's pretty clear there's something under the surface that I can't or won't address. She has other issues you can't help with so don't try fixing her or helping her there. 

 

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5 minutes ago, DancingFool said:

Boundaries are about actions - action here being that you simply walk away and stop interacting with her permanently. If she reaches out with some weird "I still love you", you simply do not respond anymore, not that day, not in another week, not ever again. Block her number if you need to.

If you reach out with something like "I don't want to be friends", you are again talking about wants/feelings and are opening things up for a discussion, which she seems to win every single time. Stop that cycle.

 

Thank you very much for this.  You're right. Still and again.  haha.  I think I need to give myself permission to be the bad guy here and to be ok with it.  And by bad guy I mean just withdrawal the friendship.  No more contact.  

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1 minute ago, Rose Mosse said:

I would go about life without her. Sometimes things people say bother us. Give yourself time to shake it off and stop that cycle from repeating itself. I don't think you have to spell it out for her, just side step and move on with your days. It's perfectly healthy and fine to limit yourself from what's bothering you. 

Given this particular dynamic, I don't think you owe each other anything. I don't reason with takers who take indiscriminately whether it's time, peace of mind or whatever else in my life without sharing or giving in return especially when it's pretty clear there's something under the surface that I can't or won't address. She has other issues you can't help with so don't try fixing her or helping her there. 

 

Thank you, Rose.  I think this is solid advice.  And I am glad I posted on here.  I think just hearing that I am allowed to choose me is very empowering.  I am allowed to be hurt by things and decide I am done.  She knows I am mad.  I didn't just ghost the person. 

And you are definitely right-- we don't owe each other.  She does not owe me.  We were great friends for a time.  But now we are not being friends to each other.  

I am feeling like I don't count and my needs don't matter.  And I need to work on that for myself.  Removing myself from this situation should help that.  

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Using words like "bad guy" even if it's said in jest or lighthearted affects your view of yourself. Don't use words like that about yourself as you keep repeating internally that what you are doing is bad. It's negative self-talk and harmful in the long term. Maybe you'll get away with it this time but over time keep calling yourself the bad guy enough and you will carry that weight and guilt around on your shoulders wherever you go. The next event that calls on you to speak up or conduct yourself in a way that is positive to you but requires some strength, will fall back on that negative narrative you have been building up subconsciously. 

Give yourself more kudos. You've identified a problem, are working on leaving that friendship behind and looking forward on embracing more positive people or things in your life. 

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I'm glad you have communicated boundaries. Avoiding a person and the issue will usually lead to increased misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Not to say I haven't done that myself, of course. Just that I don't think it's a good way to handle things, and having also been on the other end of the situation (the one being avoided, me not knowing why or if I'm being paranoid) I can see how perspectives can become more and more estranged, leading to something like this.  

I think she was probably being genuine about meeting up outside (as in I expect she thought that was considerate), but this has evidently been building up for a long time so it's not really just about that one meet up suggestion. 

You've communicated your boundaries and been honest. Those conversations are so hard, and once you've had them, it makes you both accountable. Her, to respect your wishes, and yours, to respect your wishes too, by honouring your boundaries when they have been crossed. Sounds like you've done that and feel the way forward is to end the friendship. It might be worth giving it some space for a while so she can reflect (depending on what else she's done of course!). 

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1 minute ago, Rose Mosse said:

Using words like "bad guy" even if it's said in jest or lighthearted affects your view of yourself. Don't use words like that about yourself as you keep repeating internally that what you are doing is bad. It's negative self-talk and harmful in the long term. Maybe you'll get away with it this time but over time keep calling yourself the bad guy enough and you will carry that weight and guilt around on your shoulders wherever you go. The next event that calls on you to speak up or conduct yourself in a way that is positive to you but requires some strength, will fall back on that negative narrative you have been building up subconsciously. 

Give yourself more kudos. You've identified a problem, are working on leaving that friendship behind and looking forward on embracing more positive people or things in your life. 

Amen to that.  I wholeheartedly agree.  The words we say about and to ourselves matter.  Thanks for calling it out.

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18 minutes ago, Lambert said:

Thanks, Holly J

I hope the responses I receive here, help you, too.  

In my case, I have tried talking to her multiple times.  I do think Dancing Fool provided some good insight into my own passive aggressiveness.  Which I did and do recognize.  

I struggle with the "I'm not your friend" it just doesn't seem nice. LOL.  It's like I don't want to be hurtful.... 

The problem with what I wrote to her was that it does rather imply that when I am ready to talk, I will reach out to her.  But I am not there yet.  The only thing I want to say is-- "Sorry.  But you are on your own now"

But considering I told her to respect my space.  I don't think I have to beat her over the head with I am not a friend anymore.

So I am just saying nothing right now.  I do feel bad about it. Even though, I also think it is the right thing.  

So I feel for you.  Those break up conversations with a love or a friend is so hard.  We give chances but things never change.  I know I have made mistakes too.  It's just a mess.  

They always do.  I respect your advice, greatly.  

DF was spot on.    

Do you think you will block or speak sometime in the future.  

It is awful.  I am not looking forward to it.   It is so funny that it has taken so long for me to put it all together, but I do think that it has gotten MUCH worse during Covid.   I know that I am far from perfect and I have asked her to be brutally honest-bring a list if necessary-so that I can improve on my own flaws going forward with others.   It's sad as she had been a very good friend-in fact, she is one of my medical POAs-and so there was a close bond.  Some things are not meant to be forever. 😞

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1 minute ago, elsewhereagain said:

I'm glad you have communicated boundaries. Avoiding a person and the issue will usually lead to increased misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Not to say I haven't done that myself, of course. Just that I don't think it's a good way to handle things, and having also been on the other end of the situation (the one being avoided, me not knowing why or if I'm being paranoid) I can see how perspectives can become more and more estranged, leading to something like this.  

I think she was probably being genuine about meeting up outside (as in I expect she thought that was considerate), but this has evidently been building up for a long time so it's not really just about that one meet up suggestion. 

You've communicated your boundaries and been honest. Those conversations are so hard, and once you've had them, it makes you both accountable. Her, to respect your wishes, and yours, to respect your wishes too, by honouring your boundaries when they have been crossed. Sounds like you've done that and feel the way forward is to end the friendship. It might be worth giving it some space for a while so she can reflect (depending on what else she's done of course!). 

Thanks, Elsewhereagain.  I agree.  Space, space and a little more space is needed.  And I can let go of the pressure to soothe her.  That's on her now.  I am free to focus on me.  

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15 minutes ago, Lambert said:

Do you mean for myself or with her?

I think it was out of guilt and obligation to a long time friendship.  It wasn't always this one sided.  

For you.   I think many of us drag things out too long.

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2 minutes ago, Hollyj said:

They always do.  I respect your advice, greatly.  

DF was spot on.    

Do you think you will block or speak sometime in the future.  

It is awful.  I am not looking forward to it.   It is so funny that it has taken so long for me to put it all together, but I do think that it has gotten MUCH worse during Covid.   I know that I am far from perfect and I have asked her to be brutally honest-bring a list if necessary-so that I can improve on my own flaws going forward with others.   It's sad as she had been a very good friend-in fact, she is one of my medical POAs-and so there was a close bond.  Some things are not meant to be forever. 😞

Thank you!  I greatly appreciate and respect your advice, too. 

I can see how I am not always right and I do toxic crap, too.  Like hey we are all just living here.  Trying our bests.  I know for me, her invite to meet outside, was not that bad on it's own.  It's just the build up of so many hurt feelings.  It's hard to fix.  

And I agree with you-- covid has made things so much worse.  I know I am passive aggressive.  And I am really working on that.  That book I mentioned about boundaries, helping me see.  We all kinda default to passive aggressive.  It takes practice though.

I hope your conversation is productive and you work some things out. 

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6 minutes ago, Hollyj said:

For you.   I think many of us drag things out too long.

I definitely do...  I realize through this thread I sound pretty uptight and critical of a friend.  But it has been a long time coming.   

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6 minutes ago, Lambert said:

I definitely do...  I realize through this thread I sound pretty uptight and critical of a friend.  But it has been a long time coming.   

Not at all.  

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