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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

I wanted to post this here because I am dealing with a bit of a dilemma and need some advice. I have a friend who I met about 7 years ago while I was at college in Iowa. I only knew her for about half a year before I moved back home, but even in that short of a period, she became an extremely stressful factor in my life. She was very clingy, inconsiderate and two-faced. I was actually quite happy to get away from her when I moved back to Chicago. The only problem is, she moved to Chicago about a year ago and has managed to worm her way back into my life.

I'm all about forgiveness, so I decided to give her another chance, and now I am wishing that I hadn't. She is still the same person, and I am coming to realize even more how manipulative, codependent, and inconsiderate she is. She always goes on to others about how she and I have known each other for so long and how I am her best friend, when honestly I have only been in contact with this girl for 2 years in total. Her negativity is weighing me down. She is one of those people who centers their lives around drama- she is always reciting the litany of awful things that have happened to her in her life, and loves to compare her circumstances to those of everyone else and tell them how perfect their lives are compared to hers. She blames others for almost everything that happens in her life, and unabashedly uses other people to get what she needs. She's extremely hyperactive and has no consideration for my belongings or space every time I have her over at my place. She never listens to anyone else, interrupts people when they're talking, and always needs to be the center of attention. At the same time, she acts so sweet, innocent and helpless that people are drawn to her. It's almost sociopathic. I know she has some mental problems that she is not dealing with (she is a compulsive liar and bipolar) but I don't think it should be my responsibility to take care of her at the expense of my own mental health.


About a month ago she had a rash of bad luck- she lost her job, and then the next week her cat had to be put down. I was there for her through all this- driving her around, letting her stay at my place and use my computer, lending her money- even though it stressed me out I wanted to be a good friend. But being around her so much made me realize how much she affects me. I just had lunch with her a couple days ago after two weeks of not talking to her. She found a new job and has a new boyfriend, so things seem to be going well for her. But I feel bad because I know that she wants to hang out with me on a more frequent basis and I don't feel the same way. I want to get my feelings out in the open ASAP. She knows of my plans to travel to Madison to see the Dalai Lama in May, and wants to come, but I don't want her along and don't want to give her any false delusions.

I am at a period in my life where I am trying to make more positive changes, and her negativity and codependance is holding me back. I don't want to be in a destructive, one-sided friendship anymore, but I don't know how to tell her this.

People have suggested to me that I just ignore her or lie to her in order to get her out of my life, but I don't think that's right. I want to be honest with her, and tell her that I need to distance myself from her. I also want to express some concern to her over the fact that she is not taking care of her mental health and it is affecting her life. I know that many of the mishaps in her life are brought about by the way people react to her instability, and if she were to take charge of herself things would get a lot better for her.

My questions are- How do I bring this up to her without turning it into a litany of things that I find wrong with her? How detailed should I be in telling her why I can't be friends with her? Is it appropriate to express concern over her mental wellbeing, or is that not my place? I know this will inevitably hurt her feelings, but I want to do it in the kindest way possible.
Any advice or anecdotes would be appreciated

Sorry that this ended up being such a long rant- I'm just a bit frustrated.

Thanks in advance!

~Julie
 

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i had a friend just like that all through high school and college. stop fooling yourself, she will probably always be a jerk to you. it sounds like she is using you. you dont owe someone like that any explination. just dont answer her calls. thats what i did. eventually she quit calling. if you have to talk to her, just tell her you dont want her in your life. her feelings are not your responsibility, you need to look after yourself


would you keep a boyfriend around that acted that way towards you? tell her to hit the road
 

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I am sorry to hear you are going through this. You need to get out of the relationship ASAP for your own health and sanity. I would write all of your feelings down and either send her a letter or talk to her in person if you think that would go better. If you send her a letter, I would not advise you to explain to her exactly what the issues are. Chances are she won't hear a word of it and it will only make her act like more of a victim. But you need to get away. And what ever you do, don't let her manipulate you into talking to her again.

I was in a relationship with a friend that was exactly like this but probably worse. She was extremely mentally ill (bipolar like your friend but also a low-functioning borderline) and filled with drama that she never wanted to move past. I was determined to help her (and prove to her that she had a least one real friend) and kept coming back to her every time she did something to disrespect me or hurt me. I was coming unhinged myself (I also have my own issues that I work on) until I finally couldn't handle it anymore. She was maniplulative and very possessive and would always threaten to break off the friendship/kill herself when I wouldn't buy into her drama. So one day she pulled the "we can't be friends anymore" bs again and I called her on it and said that I agreed and that I felt she didn't respect my boundaries. Well, she just lost it and to make a long story short she faked her own suicide and her family completely blamed me for her "death". Yes, they knew she wasn't dead but in a mental ward but decided to screw with me. For a month I thought she was dead until she actually called my parents (I had changed my phone #s and email addresses) and told my mother the truth. My whole family has been affected by this and it's taken me over the edge and back.

So, just know that if your instincts are telling you to get away from this person then please listen. I had tried to end the friendship many times but was told that she would kill herself if I tried. I had to realize that I was making myself ill and ruining my own life by allowing myself to be taken advantage of. Good luck and I hope you can move on and put this behind you.
 

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alot of that is so similar to my old friend... she was bipolar and had a serious personality disorder. all the time i wanted her to know that i was the one person who would still stick around no matter what happened to everyone else in her life. she never did change, she spent some time locked up in a mental ward and has since refused to take any sort of responsibility over her life. as an adult now, i've come to realize that people are responsible for their own lives (who would have thought?!?!) and i was responsible for allowing this toxic person into my life all this while. eventually, i saw that i could also be responsible for ridding my life of people like her and it wasnt that hard after all. she can choose to get better on her own. maybe you can give her that boundary? that until she does that, you wont be in her life?

whatever you do, my thoughts are with you... best of luck
 

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I'm just going to jump on the wagon of people who have had similar friends. I'm not really wise enough to give you advice, but I will definitely share my story if it might help you.


My similar friend actually was my best friend, but her personality was nearly identical to the girl you're describing. Only difference is that my friend was also a drug addict. Although her addictions were just a symptom of a much deeper problem. And don't be uncertain- a lot of that behavior IS sociopathic. My friend got worse and worse over the years, ending my self esteem and contributing to me developing an anxiety disorder while she destroyed herself and sucked everyone in with her.

It came to a head last summer when she OD'ed on about 8 different substances and cut her wrists open. Me and two others intervened and drove her to the ER, she sat in a mental hospital for six days and when she got out, swore she'd never do drugs or lie or be crazy ever again. Found out two weeks later she hadn't set foot in rehab like she said she would and was doing coke in the bathroom at a bar. This was the straw that broke the came's back. I text messaged her ending it. She kicked and screamed and attempted to manipulate me for several months but I ignored her and eventually she stopped calling.

That girl was a drain, in every single way. Financially, emotionally. They call those toxic relationships. If you don't get out now, things could get as bad as they did with me and the others who posted here. The ONLY reason I stuck around as long as I did was because this girl was my best friend. I'd hate myself forever if I gave up on her before she made it literally impossible for me to hang on anymore. But the girl you're talking about is NOT your best friend. You don't owe her anything, and you won't be a bad person if you bail now.

I say all bets are off with people like this. If she's manipulative and clearly self-centered and has treated you badly for her own gain, then frankly I really don't think she deserves respect from you. What would she do with respect from you anyway? She certainly wouldn't recognize it for what it is, and if she did she'd just use it to hurt you somehow. Sociopaths are not capable of acting according to rules of right and wrong.

If I were you, I'd just spell it out for her. Only go into as much detail as you feel comfortable with. But don't lie or just start avoiding her- that isn't fair to you; you didn't do anything wrong and shouldn't have to compromise your own morality. If the girl is saying you're her best friend, then yes it's appropriate to express concern over her mental health. If she has half a brain she probably realizes anyway that she's sick. This is going to be uncomfortable and difficult any way you do it, but remember that you are a good person. Try not to feel guilty.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by elibrown View Post

If I were you, I'd just spell it out for her. Only go into as much detail as you feel comfortable with. But don't lie or just start avoiding her- that isn't fair to you; you didn't do anything wrong and shouldn't have to compromise your own morality. If the girl is saying you're her best friend, then yes it's appropriate to express concern over her mental health. If she has half a brain she probably realizes anyway that she's sick. This is going to be uncomfortable and difficult any way you do it, but remember that you are a good person. Try not to feel guilty.
I couldn't say it better myself. (nice post, eli)

I think the best thing you can do is just be 100% honest and very clear and direct with her. Just lay it all out on the "table" and tell her.

Sorry you are going through this, I know it must be tough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the responses and well-wishes everyone, I actually feel alot better about my decision. I just have to work up the guts to actually talk to her now.


Luckily, my friend isn't a drug addict, and she hasn't ever blackmailed me into being her friend with threats of suicide, but she does other more insidious things that are equally as destructive. Being around her isn't good for me, and it's definitely a toxic relationship. Hopefully I will talk to her within the next week... I think I am going to call her up on the phone, and then only if she requests it will I talk to her in person.

Thanks again... the support really means a lot to me.


~Julie
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegbunny83 View Post

My questions are- How do I bring this up to her without turning it into a litany of things that I find wrong with her? How detailed should I be in telling her why I can't be friends with her? Is it appropriate to express concern over her mental wellbeing, or is that not my place? I know this will inevitably hurt her feelings, but I want to do it in the kindest way possible.
Any advice or anecdotes would be appreciated
I've done that with two people I was friends with who happened to have serious mental illnesses and it back-fired on me both times. Instead of them leaving me alone, they just hung on even tighter. They both went into denial about their illnesses being unmanaged, and became delusional about my real feelings over the matter, and totally ignored the fact that I'd said I couldn't be friends with them anymore.

Even though I put my feelings to both of them in a very empathetic, gentle and respectful way, the rejection caused their illnesses to further destabalize and caused me a lot more hassle and unnecessary drama. If I was ever in the same situation again I would NOT choose to sit them down and have an honest conversation with them about the friendship, I would just cut ties without telling them and ignore them until they eventually gave up on me. It's not the nicest way to deal with a friendship but sometimes self-preservation has to come first.
 

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Pixelle that's exactly what I did with my friend- I just more or less vanished without a trace from her life. A text message along the lines of "We are not friends anymore. I'm serious. Goodbye." pretty much did it. I talked to her about her behavior and our relationship 3895756938 times throughout the eight or so years we knew each other. It did make her crazier like you said. Eventually I realized that if I said ANYTHING to her, she didn't really hear what I was saying...all she heard was that I was even talking to her at all, which is what she wanted. So I quit. She flipped out at first- called me 20 times a day for several months, snuck into my building and left a shrine for me in front of my door (I'm not kidding). But eventually she did get over it, for good.

But even though talking to her rationally backfired a million times before, I'm glad I did it. After I cut it off with my friend, I had this awful urge to write her a letter or something, anything, explaining why I did what I did, but I knew that further communication would just hurt us more. Then my friends pointed out something very significant- the girl already had all the information she needed as to why I disappeared, because I'd been telling her for years why she was toxic to me. Whether or not she realized why I left was (and is) entirely her choice, nothing I can do about it.

I think talking in this case might be a good first step for Julie though. So that way if her friend does turn out to be as crazy as everyone else's friends here and she has to just start avoiding her like the plague, at least she'll have the peace of mind of knowing that she did at least try to handle it like a rational adult.
 

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Bandwagon it is, and I agree that like most people ... I disappeared from her life as well.

It got easy after a while, Like eli, this girl was my best friend ... but she became addicted to drugs and sex and I wasn't willing to watch her kill herself for kicks when we'd had so much fun together while sober for so many years.

She started making new friends, had to transfer to our alternative school, and we just got too busy for each other. That was the end.

I stopped calling her, I wouldn't accept her calls, I refused to see her or speak with her and I made it end as it stood.
 

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personally, i would assert that you would like more time to yourself to work on your own things and do your own self discovery. this is not about wanting her 'out' but rather wanting more of you 'in.'

does this make sense?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post

personally, i would assert that you would like more time to yourself to work on your own things and do your own self discovery. this is not about wanting her 'out' but rather wanting more of you 'in.'

does this make sense?
Kind of an "It's not you, it's me" thing? It could possibly work. I am just worried that if I am not straightforward with her it just leaves her a segway to get back into my life and start doing the same thing again.

All the people who said I should cut ties with no explanations- I understand why you are saying this, but I just really don't feel right doing it. I've had friends disappear on me for no reason and it really hurts. At least if I talk to her and then afterwards have to resort to ignoring her, I will have made the effort to be civil. And she is slightly more reasonable than most of the people you guys have been dealing with.

I've been thinking of going the easy route and just sending her an e-mail, but I don't just want to alltogether ignore her. Maybe I'm being too nice, I donno. I like what elibrown said:

Quote:
I think talking in this case might be a good first step for Julie though. So that way if her friend does turn out to be as crazy as everyone else's friends here and she has to just start avoiding her like the plague, at least she'll have the peace of mind of knowing that she did at least try to handle it like a rational adult.


~Julie
 

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makes perfect sense to the average person. but how much sense does it make to a person with an unstable mental illness? most likely, they're probably not hearing a word you say.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post

personally, i would assert that you would like more time to yourself to work on your own things and do your own self discovery. this is not about wanting her 'out' but rather wanting more of you 'in.'

does this make sense?
makes perfect sense to the average person. but how much sense does it make to a person with an unstable mental illness? most likely, they're probably not hearing a word you say.
 
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