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Long time friend ghosted me


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Hello! I seem to be having some difficulty getting over a friend break up. I had this friend who I have been very close to for the past 13 years or so. In that time, there have been ups and downs and she has semi-ghosted me once in the past when she got a boyfriend. For about 2 years, she went from contacting me every day to hardly ever. She came back around when the relationship started to fail. We mended that with open convo, and I did truly let it go. I adored this friend, we had such a connection, unlike any I'd had before.

I met my now husband about 8 years ago, and that is when things started to change a bit. Not so much at first, but definitely once we got engaged, she changed towards me. At first she was supportive, and all the way through my wedding day, she was supportive. But I could sense her reactions to me were a bit more tense, she seemed more sensitive and less light hearted. 

A few years ago, she started becoming verbally abusive when she was drinking. I think her main issue is her alcohol abuse. Whenever it would end up being just me and her up and we were drinking, she would start insulting me. The first time was when my husband and I took her to the beach to stay in his family condo for the week. She started accusing me of only caring about money, about changing, she even asked me if I paid for my own cell phone bill and called me a liar when I told her I did? She apologized the next morning and said she was jealous of me. But then it kept happening. She would get drunk and tell me my husband and his family are bad people, tell me that she is worried about me. I now feel like she was trying to plant seeds of doubt to disrupt my marriage. We went on an international trip for our bdays, she brought her cousin and I brought my husband. She was rude to my husband almost the whole time, acted put out by him no matter what he did, would roll her eyes and give me a knowing look like we were in on something against him. It unnerved me. Late night, after they'd all gone to bed and she was drunk, she told me she could see me with our airbnb host more than my husband. Sensing that she was going to start again, I asked her to stop. The next morning I woke up seething over all of it and confronted her. Told her that he is my husband and I love him and he's never been anything but kind and generous to her, and if she is truly a friend, she will get to know him rather than try to alienate him. I honestly can't recall what she said in response. We did a day trip on our own that day, my husband and I, I needed the space. Shortly after we returned to the airbnb, she began to fall ill and said she was dying? Of course I took it seriously and tended to her. Her cousin was inconsolable and crying, and his partner helped me call the doctor. The doctor could find nothing wrong with her and could tell that she'd been drinking. But she thought she was septic, so she had to take a 4 hour ambulance ride to the nearest hospital, and they found nothing. I am certain that it was a panic attack. When I thought back, the only two other times I'd taken longer trips with her, she'd had them then as well. Once crossing the border to Cambodia, and once at a music festival. There is nothing wrong with having panic attacks, but it is a piece to the puzzle and I think there is more under the surface with her, mental health-wise.

When we returned home, we did talk about what had happened there, but I didn't feel like she was being honest with me or herself. I used to feel like we could resolve issues in a mutually honest way. But ever since I got married and the drunken insults started, her apologies became less and less sincere and more and more gaslighty. She told me that she saw things in me on that trip that she didn't like either. When I asked what her concerns were, she said something along the lines of, she likes to be up and about when traveling and we layed around a lot. Which I didn't quite get because the only thing she did that we didn't do was ride a horse on the beach for an hour. Meanwhile, she was almost constantly drinking. Also, it's true that we don't try to pack too much in to vacations, we can travel a lot more than she can, and so I understood why she wanted to pack more in. We did nothing to stand in the way of her doing that. And we actually took a day trip to another town while she stayed at the airbnb and got day drunk in the pool she was drunk peeing in the night before, (when I told her I didn't want to pee in the pool, she yelled at me "its STERILE!" like I was an idiot for NOT wanting to pee in the pool. This woman is an RN). So she's painting this picture for herself that she did so much more than us. When really all she did more than us was that horseback ride, and oh yeah, a 4 hour ambulance ride for a panic attack. I think it was just her delusional justification and her way of distracting me of talking about what really happened. The insults to my husband. The telling me I should be with someone else rather than him. The massive panic attack and what caused it. She couldn't talk about it. She has to keep those things hidden for some reason.

This trip sparked something in me that I couldn't un-spark. Whereas before, I was always on her side, defending her to other friends of ours who have had similar issues and stopped being friends with her as result. I now couldn't unsee something. Like how broken she really is and how she really isn't happy for me and my new life with my husband. How she probably would come between us if she could. She did try to kiss me on that trip while my husband was asleep. How she just isn't happy period and how it has been affecting me. For years, I would spend untold hours with her on the phone or in person, listening to her cry over this or that failed relationship. I enjoyed supporting her. But after this last trip, it started to feel like too much. It's like I just didn't have the energy for it anymore, I truly grasped her addiction to alcohol and certainly didn't want to go have drinks with her anymore, for her sake, but also because I was afraid of what she would say to me that I couldn't unhear.

For the first time I saw that something is truly off with her, mental health-wise, and I felt like it is something deep that she is avoiding addressing. She will not go to therapy. She would joke about how she'd rather pay me. But I increasingly couldn't handle it anymore, the constant drama and hours of crying on the phone. I have so much empathy, but after 10 years of the same stuff and her not looking at it and addressing it, it started to feel like her misery was just her warm blanket. And she wanted anyone close to her to be just as miserable as she was/is. She would joke about how she "does backstrokes in it", it being her misery. I got too close to her, I saw something she didn't want anyone to see. This is a big part of why she had to end out friendship, I think.

But I always wanted to keep her as my friend, just with better boundaries. I loved her. I worked up the courage to talk with her about this. Took me months, but I finally got the courage to have a convo with her about our co-dependence and about my need for better boundaries. She cried, told me she understood and she'd be surprised if I didn't feel this way. Told me I was the best friend she'd ever had. I told her I was so happy she handled it so well, that I wanted us to stay friends and this is why I was having this difficult convo, that I wanted us to both be healthier. That I couldn't bear any more drunken insults. That it's hard because I kept thinking the phrase "drunken words are sober thoughts" and she must actually think those things of me to be able to say them. She didn't reply to that. Still, I thought the convo went well overall. For several months after this, we did have a good friendship and there were better boundaries. Mostly, I was better able to end convos that didn't feel healthy, more quickly. 

Then Covid started. There were some zooms with friends. She got so drunk in one zoom that she started insulting all of us. Her dog was outside and we could hear him barking to be let in and she was about to fall off of her chair. We had to yell at her to wake her up and go let him in. After that we may have had one or two phone calls and then she just cut me off. She would respond to my texts, but her answers were superficial and unengaged. I let it go a few months then asked her what was happening. She gaslit me and told me she didn't know what I was talking about. She just picked a day and cut me off. I needed better closure, so I let it go a few more months and asked her what was going on. She said "I told you things would never be the same", referring to the convo I'd had with her about developing a more healthy friendship with one another. Like that explained how she just cut me off completely. In reality, I got too close to her. I saw something she didn't want anyone to see. This is a big part of why she had to end out friendship, I think. That, and the fact that I had better boundaries and that made her less interested in our friendship in general.

Since then, I'd invited her over a couple times and she turned me down. I saw her at a bday party and didn't feel anything towards her. Which is why I am so confused why I am still feeling all these things now. Maybe co-dependence dies hard? Maybe it's lack of closure? She sent me a song that I thought had some hidden meaning because the lyrics matched exactly what we'd been through, so I interpreted that as she was ready to have an honest convo. A couple months after that I sent her a text asking her for a hike and a pic of my new puppy. And she completely ignored me. That was about 4 or 5 months ago. Still no word. 

I have a strange feeling that she's lied to other people who we know in common, about what happened between us. I've had to tell myself, if those people cared about me they would ask for my side of things. I think that's where this recent surge of feels has come from. A spidey sense that she's done a smear campaign. I want to just let it go, and I know I will, in time. Its really for the best that she is out of my life, and I can honestly say that all of the people I am close to now are healthy people. I couldn't say that before when she was my closest friend. Something about, we are the sum total of the 5 people we spend the most time with? One of her drunken insults was that I'd changed. I told her I hadn't changed, but I think actually I did. I have changed. If we don't change, we're not growing. I like how I've changed. Around the time I started to see her differently, was when I was going to therapy and doing a lot of inner work. Saw my own tendencies and codependence and grew a sincere desire to have more healthy interactions with the people I am closest with. This is really what drove us apart, I think. She had no use for me once I got healthier and had better boundaries. 

Holy long post batman, and congrats if you'd made it this far. Still, felt good to write it all out!

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She's jealous of your marriage and your status in life. And that's fine and not abnormal, but her reactions to her jealousy are.

She's not capable of the healthy friendship you want, sadly. It's trying to get her to do something she just isn't able to do because she doesn't want to. That's it in a nutshell.

I have a former friend I chose to detach from because she did some things that I think are not right. I'm trying to surround myself with healthy and moral people and she just isn't interested in being either, unfortunately.

I would focus on other friends and stop trying to get her to be a close friend. I'm sure you will miss her but it's just not going to work. Plus if she's insulting your husband it's time to leave her in your past. Your support should be with your husband, not her. 

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I agree. And my support is with my husband, for sure. I think you are correct, that she is not capable of the friendship I want/need. And yes jealousy is the main issue I believe. I think the lack of closure is the sticking point, that and the feeling of, did I never really know who she was? Or did we both just change and grow apart. I've never been so close to a friend before either. But I think that closeness was due to my own dysfunctions, i.e. codependence, that I have been working on healing the past few years. 

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"Closure" happens when you accept a situation. It's not something the person who hurt you or who left you "gives" you.

She might call you her best friend but ask yourself if she acts like a best friend. I would say no.

Just remind yourself she will function without you. She'll either choose to take steps to get healthy or she won't. There's nothing you can do to "get" her make better choices.

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11 minutes ago, Spring079 said:

I think the lack of closure is the sticking point, that and the feeling of, did I never really know who she was? Or did we both just change and grow apart.

Most likely yes you grew apart. However there is no "closure" in such situations because there is no definitive sort of break up. Clearly you both changed.

Some people grow alongside each other. Some people grow apart. It's ok.

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Closure is you accepting reality rather than clinging to the past and time invested into the relationship.

This woman has been your frenemy for at least 8 years. Most likely, she was toxic even before that, but you never recognized it as such.

The kind of destructive jealousy that you are describing should be raising all kinds of alarm bells inside of you and causing you to step way away from her. Yet, you seem confused and wanting to cling onto this frenemy situation. Why is that?

You mentioned that you've been to therapy and working on yourself and leaning how to get away from toxicity. In this situation, you still have some work to do on yourself. You are seeing it, but you are not letting go for some reason. Meanwhile, this woman has proven to be not only toxic, but actively looking to sabotage your life and your marriage. At some point, you've got to learn  some self preservation. Stop touching a hot stove kind of a thing. 

Continuing to engage with this woman is you repetitively burning yourself on a hot stove and for some reason not learning to quit.

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@DancingFoolyou are correct. I know this intellectually, it is why I set boundaries in the first place, but it’s still difficult emotionally. For reasons that I know are directly related to issues I need to work through within myself. It’s my rejection/abandonment wound she’s triggering. I’ve got some soul searching to do for sure, to untie all of that and release it. That’s why I’m having a hard time letting go. When I saw her a year ago and realized she’s not even that interesting, I knew it wasn’t really about her. It’s about me and what this situation is teaching me. I’m loyal to a fault. I’m loyal even to my own detriment. This is the core of the matter. I’ve often put others needs above my own and thought that was the “right thing to do” because it is “nice”. But there’s something even deeper. Like, wondering why I let it go on for so long. 

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Like, I was useful to her as long as I was a doormat and a free therapist. As soon as I stood up for myself and told her about my needs, she bounced. It’s as simple as that. I’m not so much pining over her and all her drama. But something in me hasn’t been able to totally let go emotionally and mentally and I think it’s because I haven’t fully processed the lesson here

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And if I’m being totally honest, maybe there was a side of me that liked the drama a little. Until I didn’t. It seemed to get worse and worse, or else I kind of woke up a bit as time went on. She was my own real life reality show. There was always another crazy story. Why do we like reality shows so much? That’s also a part of why I stayed around so long. 

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I recommend the book "Codependent No More". Also look into CODA meetings. You likely will find both of these resources helpful and enlightening.

Has your therapist recommended any reading material or courses of action to work on your codependent tendencies and fear of being unloved?

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Just now, Spring079 said:

And if I’m being totally honest, maybe there was a side of me that liked the drama a little. Until I didn’t. It seemed to get worse and worse, or else I kind of woke up a bit as time went on. She was my own real life reality show. There was always another crazy story. Why do we like reality shows so much? That’s also a part of why I stayed around so long. 

This is really good insight into yourself. Usually, when we like drama, it's because we are lacking something in ourselves and our own lives. So, it's alluring to get involved with someone who brings that rush of adrenaline/excitement into our lives.

Thing is that there are so many different healthy ways to bring that excitement and adrenaline rush into your life that doesn't involve toxic and dangerous people. Food for thought.

Even more food for thought is what can you do/get involved in that would bring that sense of fulfillment and excitement into your life in a good way? I would explore this if I were you. People who have built a fulfilling life for themselves have zero patience for toxic drama simply because they have so many things to do that are way way way better and more interesting. You literally have no time for bs.

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I think it's really interesting that you were able to recognize and change your behavior after so many years of participating in such an unhealthy dynamic! That's really good!!

6 hours ago, Spring079 said:

Which is why I am so confused why I am still feeling all these things now. Maybe co-dependence dies hard? Maybe it's lack of closure?

I think that patterns and habits wear 'paths' into us, similar to how water carves paths through the earth. You are used to emotional energy flowing through those paths. But after a while, you will stop expecting it.

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6 hours ago, Spring079 said:

I have a strange feeling that she's lied to other people who we know in common, about what happened between us. I've had to tell myself, if those people cared about me they would ask for my side of things. I think that's where this recent surge of feels has come from. A spidey sense that she's done a smear campaign. I want to just let it go, and I know I will, in time. Its really for the best that she is out of my life, and I can honestly say that all of the people I am close to now are healthy people.

It sucks to have someone do this to you, but it's such a blessing in disguise. It's like a cleansing. You will feel better in time!

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Oof. I have very little to add that its not said already. Heavy drinking suggests some sort of an issue. In this case, probably unhappiness with her own life. Her jealosy at you, even lashings, are part of the bigger problem. The problem that is not you. Its all about her. I am guessing she is still not married and turbulent on the relationships. Healthy people would maybe took you as an example of what they want and aspire to that. Problem is she is not healthy. She is a jealous abusive alcoholic. And as such, she should go to therapy. However, as she wont, that is not your issue to deal with. You tried to help and that is just fine. She wont accept it. And that is also fine. Now you need to make a distance. As others have said, your closure is you accepting all that. You wont get anything from her. Aside of more dissapointment in friendship. if she is like that, you are infinitely better without her.

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8 hours ago, Spring079 said:

 there was a side of me that liked the drama a little. 

True, almost like living vicariously through someone else's drama. Like a soap opera. Try to think of it that way. You didn't lose a real friend, your favorite soap opera was just cancelled. That may help you put things in perspective.

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@DancingFool, I agree. I feel like this is what I started to realize when I started to work on myself, that her drama wasn't entertaining, it was exhausting. It became incredibly exhausting. I would sit on the phone with her listening to her sob for hours and I got to the point where I simply couldn't. Before I had the convo with her about boundaries, I tried doing it the easy way, I stopped answering some her calls, cut dramatic convos short, didn't give in to the bids for compliments or reassurance, etc. But that didn't feel honest to the value I placed on our friendship, which really was mostly in the first few years. I loved the person she was 10 years ago and was clinging to that idea of her, in total honesty. Even 10 years ago she was wild and crazy, but we were all 10 years younger. The drunk 40 year old at a bar just hits a bit different than a late 20-something.

So I had that convo with her because it felt more honest to be direct and open, as I'd always been with her. I'd never been so terrified to have a convo with a friend as I was to have that one, I did some meditating on it for a couple months and I knew I had to. But it just didn't work anymore. I was still being 100% honest with her, but I didn't feel like I was getting that from her in return any more.  Maybe that's actually when our friendship ended. 2+ years ago when she stopped being able to be honest with me. And like you say, it probably started well before this but I didn't pick up on it because I loved her so much.

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15 hours ago, Jibralta said:

I think it's really interesting that you were able to recognize and change your behavior after so many years of participating in such an unhealthy dynamic! That's really good!!

I think that patterns and habits wear 'paths' into us, similar to how water carves paths through the earth. You are used to emotional energy flowing through those paths. But after a while, you will stop expecting it.

Thank you! I agree, and what a neat way to look at it. She was definitely my bad habit. And the friend I engaged in the most bad habits with! We drank a lot together. I drink way less without her around. I also have a lot of emotional energy for other, more healthy friendships and am way more open to nurturing those friendships than I was when she was around. It really was that quote about being the sum total of the 5 people you spend the most time with, that got my brain wheels turning. I don't mind helping a friend through a tough time, and I need help through my own tough times on occasion. But its like she was always having a tough time. And it didn't appear to me that she had any plans of changing that. 

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@Kwothe28Yes, you are correct, she cannot maintain a healthy romantic relationship, I think it is largely due to her drinking. And the emotional instability. And I agree with everything you say. This thread is helping me to see that I need to give myself closure. I won't get anything from her, and even if I did have a conversation with her at this point, I don't think she would be honest and it would make me feel even more ***ty. I think she has to be a little delusional to continue her active addiction.

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I skimmed the previous posts and am not sure if anyone else mentioned it already. She tried kissing you even though you are happily married. Is it possible she had feelings for you for a long time? 

Regardless, I'm glad you are no longer enabling her issues and working on your codependence.

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@Rose Mosse, some of my friends think that may be the case. That she had feelings for me. I don’t know. We did become more involved than any other friend I’ve ever had. More intertwined. She was a bridesmaid at my wedding and the photographer caught a shot of her sobbing when I was saying my vows. I thought the words just touched her. Who knows? Either way, I agree, it’s best that I untangle myself from that drama. I wish her well. She’s not a bad person, just a hurting one. But I do think if I hadn’t set boundaries she would have come between my husband and I. My cousin had a similar situation happen with her and her engagement ended as result. I never thought this friend had feelings for me until I told the story to her. Before that final straw trip even happened. She warned me that my friend was trying to disrupt my marriage well before I even saw it. 

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4 minutes ago, Spring079 said:

@Rose Mosse, some of my friends think that may be the case. That she had feelings for me. I don’t know. We did become more involved than any other friend I’ve ever had. More intertwined. She was a bridesmaid at my wedding and the photographer caught a shot of her sobbing when I was saying my vows. I thought the words just touched her. Who knows? Either way, I agree, it’s best that I untangle myself from that drama. I wish her well. She’s not a bad person, just a hurting one. But I do think if I hadn’t set boundaries she would have come between my husband and I. My cousin had a similar situation happen with her and her engagement ended as result. I never thought this friend had feelings for me until I told the story to her. Before that final straw trip even happened. She warned me that my friend was trying to disrupt my marriage well before I even saw it. 

I'm sorry to hear this. Just avoid avoid avoid individuals like this as much as possible. There is no helping or saving unfortunately. I know you wanted the friendship but glad you're letting her go.

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You're doing excellent work. My heart goes out to you.

I recently had the same unfortunate dynamic with my childhood friend. She'd never been hostile toward me before, but a slew of drama and failed friendships and marriages surrounded her, and she further derailed during the pandemic. During shutdown she seemed okay during our talks, although she invented a lot of unnecessary drama about her job.

As soon as the bars reopened outdoors, she was there. I started getting calls later at night where she'd make no sense. She'd say I was supposed to have called her or some such nonsense or she'd get the crying charlies and rant in circles.

At some point I had the boundary talk, but mine was more like a parental rule: you can ring me any time of the day or evening BEFORE you go to a bar, but I won't answer your call after that.

Like your friend, she got it, but it wasn't long before she visited and got hostile enough at my home for me to ask her to leave. Next day I was sent a screen grab from my cousin, who she'd contacted a few hours later to accuse about something from 30 years ago...

Done. I haven't spoken to her since. I deflected a few texts over the year with kindness, but I can tell you this: nothing GOOD can come from continued involvement with a hostile drunk. In fact, something horrible and possibly life-changing could happen on a dime.

These are dangerous people. They escalate with other dangerous people. You get caught in crossfire, or road rage, or your marriage gets harmed--there will be some unintended outcome you can now avoid.

If not the liver, then the brain, is the most impacted organ from alcohol abuse. The deterioration increases over time. So while you may have adjusted your normal to accommodate increasing abuses, it's kind of like the 'boiling frog' principle--the heat gets turned up slowly while you don't recognize you're being cooked.

Your divergence wasn't extreme because she did all the changing. You both changed in different directions. The more your life came together, the more she resented you, while hers falls apart.

I'm really sorry, and I feel for you. I miss the friend I knew before she went boozy mental, but I'm clear that I can't afford to stick around for her to cause a catastrophe that could ruin my life.

Head high, and recognize that someone who mistreats you IS willing, on some level, to cause you harm. Some people are best loved from far away.

 

Edited by catfeeder
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@catfeeder wow, thank you for your encouraging words and your personal story. My heart goes out to you as well with your friend, but I really admire how you were able to cut it off the minute it did you harm. This thread and everyone's responses are really driving home to me, how bad my situation was. It IS a boiling frog type of issue, and I don't think I truly recognized how damaging she was to me. Add in a little of my own delusion because I so badly wanted to believe if I just hung tight, she would come back around to being a good friend.

But sadly, I think you are also correct, due to her alcohol abuse, she is deteriorating over time. I had a similar situation with an ex boyfriend, who was an alcoholic. After we split (10+ years ago), he met and quickly married an unstable woman who convinced him everyone in his life was using and manipulating him (when, in fact, it was her doing this!), including his young daughter and his elderly parents. He has no contact with any of them any more, and the only rationale I can think of is, his brain just isn't firing properly due to the extended alcohol abuse. I see this with my friend as well. She has always been a heavy drinker, but it didn't affect her functional life as much as it seems to now. But it has definitely gotten worse and worse over the years. And she is a dangerous person to be around, and she is making these choices consciously. The gaslighting, the lying, she is not the person I knew 10 years ago. And it is like we were just peeled off from one another; I went one way, she went another. I saw it clearly in a meditation a few weeks ago, our energy just peeled off from one another in separate directions. And this was a good thing.

I think covid sort of acted as a catalyst to things that may have taken longer to develop under "normal" circumstances, relationships wise. Her and one other friend exited my life, but many more came back in. My high school friends and I rekindled our group dynamic, and they are a badass group of strong, entrepreneurial, thoughtful, kind, empowered women. The kind of women who don't compete, but lift one another up. They have been great supports, and we are there for each other through everything these days. We have a group chat and we know that whenever something happens to one of us, someone on the group thread is always there to offer support and encouragement. They are not competitive, everyone is happy in their own lives, and there's a sincere feeling of being happy for one another when good things happen. They have been such a blessing. T

The two friends who drifted during covid, I never felt that way. The other friend I lost, was someone I'd known for 20+ years. Nothing really happened to cause our going separate ways, I just decided to see what would happen if I wasn't the first to reach out. And nothing happened, lol. She is fairly close to the first friend, the one who suffers from alcohol abuse. I have a feeling the first friend has told her some untruths about what has happened between us, but I feel that if she cared about our friendship, she would give me a call and check in on it rather than just take her at face value. It is obvious to everyone that the first friend suffers from alcohol abuse, but I feel like since she can kind of fake it pretty well, and she is typically a fun person to be around, people can write it off like she's just a lovable drunk. Even on that last trip, her cousin had a bright orange shirt screen printed with the words "Who's got (her name)?" that he brought for her to wear. He was so proud, cracking up while he handed it to her. Making a joke of how someone has to look out for her when she's drinking. It struck me as odd even then. Maybe she is surrounding herself with enablers. I also think I have seen sides of her that possibly no one else has, besides her ex boyfriend. This is why she would wait until we were alone to tear into me. Which also shows how intentional it was. 

I'm sitting here thinking of all the other crazy stories of her drunken escapades and wondering why I myself didn't see it sooner. I think because she hides the dark sides well. So people think it's all fun and games because she isn't doing them harm. She really can be quite a lovable person, if you keep her at a distance. I got too close and I got burned. She likes to silo her friends. Like, she would never want us all to get together, she preferred spending time with certain groups separately. I think this was intentional, so none of us could compare notes. She was super close to two of our other friends, like spending almost every day with them. All of a sudden it stopped and she wanted to spend all her time with me. I remember asking her why she wasn't hanging out with them and she just brushed it off and said it was because they moved a little out of town, which made sense because they did. A year later I find out, because another friend of ours became close to them, that they had a similar falling out and they cut her off. I asked her why she wasn't honest with me and she just told me she didn't feel like I needed to know. 

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