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Old 09-13-2020, 09:21 AM   #1
nikon
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Default Wanting to end complicated friendships.

I'll try to be succinct....

I've been friends with a couple for the past 4-5 years but this year I fell out with one in particular and by default, the other. What led to that was the one person emotionally dumping on me constantly and her behaviour being extremely triggering in terms of self-harm and drugs (led to a huge depressive episode for me). I tried to put up some boundaries (can no longer collaborate with them on a project we were doing, am going to stay away for my own health) and obviously she reacted badly. Her bf didn't react as much and still acted normally towards me kind of.

We've had a couple of interactions since then and she has not taken responsibility for her part in this at all, and he hasn't either - he is defending her. Seeing them in person a few weeks ago was very uncomfortable as they mostly ignored me and didn't even look at me.

Now the boyfriend seems to want to chat again and get things back to normal. I have absolutely no desire to see or talk to either of them again - it doesn't feel like I'm missing anything with not seeing them. Only problem is that I belong to a whatsapp group with the bf and another mutual friend, and that is where he is wanting to reconnect. I'm not sure whether to subtly withdraw from the whatsapp group by not messaging, or just go along with it, or directly tell both of them that I won't be joining them again and why.

I've always found relationships and conflict difficult and this experience of putting up boundaries has often made me feel like I've done something hurtful. We are also in the same larger friendship group and I know that whatever I do will affect my relationships with everyone, and also be gossiped about by the girlfriend.

I'm also asking other people in my life for advice, but I obviously can't really talk to friends about this.
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Old 09-13-2020, 12:11 PM   #2
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Default Re: Wanting to end complicated friendships.

That's a significant number of ties. If you feel it's worth the time and energy you can address each one singularly.

Relationships are difficult as is conflict for us all. Or, at the very least all I know.

If it's helpful I had a friend move overseas and his preference ( I was close with his wife also) was telephone calls. In this relationship I preferred texting/chatting. The time difference was a slight annoyance also. What I came to realize was I didn't miss them. Yes, I missed having another couple to go out with. I did not however truly miss either one of the. In the past I was much better at keeping boundaries. I worked hard at reinstating them. So, I just stopped communicating.At times I felt guilty and nearly contacted them. I would have wanted to sever ties almost immediately if I had. Obviously I didn't have much invested in this relationship so that made it easier. I didn't feel I was being true to myself or them by continuing the relationship.

You've got a full plate with all above. My feelings? Anyone worth remaining friends with will do so when you cut the cord (however you do so). There will always be gossip. It won't last. There will be the latest greatest gossip come along quickly and your group will forget the foolishness with you. IMHO. Best of luck
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Old 09-13-2020, 08:06 PM   #3
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Default Re: Wanting to end complicated friendships.

The whole situation sounds toxic. I think you need to go no contact.
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Old 09-13-2020, 09:19 PM   #4
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Default Re: Wanting to end complicated friendships.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikon View Post
I'll try to be succinct....

I've been friends with a couple for the past 4-5 years but this year I fell out with one in particular and by default, the other. What led to that was the one person emotionally dumping on me constantly and her behaviour being extremely triggering in terms of self-harm and drugs (led to a huge depressive episode for me). I tried to put up some boundaries (can no longer collaborate with them on a project we were doing, am going to stay away for my own health) and obviously she reacted badly. Her bf didn't react as much and still acted normally towards me kind of.

We've had a couple of interactions since then and she has not taken responsibility for her part in this at all, and he hasn't either - he is defending her. Seeing them in person a few weeks ago was very uncomfortable as they mostly ignored me and didn't even look at me.

Now the boyfriend seems to want to chat again and get things back to normal. I have absolutely no desire to see or talk to either of them again - it doesn't feel like I'm missing anything with not seeing them. Only problem is that I belong to a whatsapp group with the bf and another mutual friend, and that is where he is wanting to reconnect. I'm not sure whether to subtly withdraw from the whatsapp group by not messaging, or just go along with it, or directly tell both of them that I won't be joining them again and why.

I've always found relationships and conflict difficult and this experience of putting up boundaries has often made me feel like I've done something hurtful. We are also in the same larger friendship group and I know that whatever I do will affect my relationships with everyone, and also be gossiped about by the girlfriend.

I'm also asking other people in my life for advice, but I obviously can't really talk to friends about this.
It does sound like she and her b/f are gaslighting you -- by refusing to apologize and hold themselves accountable for what they contributed to the downfall of the friendship between you all.

Deflecting blame is one of the common signs that someone is gaslighting you. The fact that your friend refuses to take any responsibility for her behavior is a sure sign she doesn't respect your feelings at all and is gaslighting you so that you will take on her guilt for her so she can justify blaming just YOU for her own behavior, which is something friends who gaslight other friends will do, when they have decided they no longer value that person as a friend.

You have to remember, real friends will take responsibility for their actions, esp. when they are to blame. They will not try to deflect their blame on to you, the other person. They will act like an adult when the friend confronts them, to let t hem know how their behavior has made the friend feel. They will acknowledge that their behavior was wrong, then they will apologize and it will be genuine.

From what you wrote, she sounds like she didn't view you as more than a fair weather friend -- someone she could use when it suited her needs, but she clearly wasn't interested in reciprocating your needs. Am I correct?

I was friend with a woman who was also an 'emotional dumper' and she basically used me for 8 years to text me or call me at all hours of the day to whine and complain and vent about her life.

Yet, if I reached out to her, she NEVER responded to my texts. And, she'd let my calls go to voicemail. When I would try to confront her, she'd deflect, calling me 'fragile,' and 'emotional,' and 'drama queen.' She called me names and gossiped about me, hoping to make everyone else in our friendship circle shun and reject me. It worked on some mutual friends, but not all.

The confrontation that ended our friendship happened over FB messenger (since she refused to discuss our dwindling friendship in person). That was 12 years ago. Our paths crossed once in an elevator. I was getting on to the elevator and she was on it already. But I backed out as soon as I saw her. Awkward!

I found some great articles/blogs online about gaslighting and friendships that you may find helpful with your situation. I think you should just end things with this friend b/c she has shown you for 5 years that you are not a priority to her in her life. She just uses you when it's convenient for her. Nobody needs friends like that.

How To Spot Gaslighting In Friendships

Gaslighting in friendships - "My friend gaslit me"

15 Ways to Tell If Someone Is Gaslighting You
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Old 09-15-2020, 05:51 PM   #5
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Old 09-16-2020, 07:39 AM   #6
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Default Re: Wanting to end complicated friendships.

Thanks all for your thoughtful replies.

@MtnWkr - I can relate to missing someone to hang out with, but not missing the individuals. I spoke to my therapist and that really helped. She always helps me see that I'm not as bad as I think I am.

With some people, including the female friend in this situation, I become completely naive when it comes to their views and opinions. I assume that whatever they say or think must be right - I think it comes from previous gaslighting experiences in therapy where I was convinced that my reactions were wrong, or the result of some failing on my part. It is/was hard to see that some behaviours aren't cool and my reactions are valid.

I think part of the last straw was that I ended up being her caretaker in a few instances, when I was not ok emotionally to take care of myself, let alone someone else. She confided in me about how other people had "betrayed" her (basically by doing anything not in agreement with her), which was a great guilt trip to make me stick around. I can feel anger coming up just writing about it. The advice I got from another mentor, and my therapist, was to avoid contact but not formally lay down no contact boundaries yet. And that our mutual friends don't necessarily think I've done something wrong.
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Old 09-16-2020, 03:32 PM   #7
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Default Re: Wanting to end complicated friendships.

I can relate to therapists who gaslighted me, it sucks. I'm happy that your new T is helpful!
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