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Long term friendship help - scared to confront her
How would you approach a friend in this situation?
Last Christmas my best mate
presented me with the opportunity to heal from an ongoing stressful situation
where I was at my lowest point mentally, taking the highest dosage of meds and
trying to hold everything together by single parenting my 2 kids, studying
part-time and working full time. When I and the kids came up north to holiday
last year (she lives here; happily married etc), she was very concerned about
my mental health and when I said, at my lowest point, ‘I don’t think I can face
going back home’ (looking back rationally, I feel it was a panic attack) she
said ‘so don’t’ and long story short I stayed here. She helped me tie up loose
ends at home with the house etc. My daughter stayed with me but my son – who is
in year 10 – begged me to let him go back home and live with my folks and keep
going to his high school. I let him and it’s the hardest thing I’ve done. Even
though he’s doing well at school and life, he has asked me numerous times to
please come home - my parents aren't enough for him (in terms of parenting and
support). He is a very mature kid and understands the reasons I made such a
knee jerk reaction but now that the dust is settling, I don’t know how much
longer I can continue to live here. Its isolated and ts not for me long term.
But. I’ve healed. I’ve sought counselling, am completely off meds and have really landed on my feet.
The downside is I miss my son terribly and now that I am doing a lot of self-reflecting I am starting to miss home. I and my daughter want to return. My mate, unfortunately, has said on 2 occasions she does not support this and if I went back she would never forgive me or speak to me again.
And now, I find myself where I always seem to find myself – forgoing what I want to make others happy/to not rock the boat. Apparently, my going back home is going ‘backwards’. I actually got a ‘don’t be stupid!’ when I mentioned it the other day. Apparently, I’ll be back to my anxiety and what I was before - riddled with mental health issues.
I’m seriously looking for any kind of advice – does my friend have a point? Of course, I want to do what is right by my kids and me as a family but I also need to factor in my mental health.
How on earth do I approach her – and risk losing 20 plus years of friendship!? I get where shes coming from - shes concerned I'll end up in the state I was before but I feel like I'm being manipulated.
Thanks for getting this far
I understand your dilemma.
Re: "My mate, unfortunately, has said on 2 occasions she does not support this and if I went back she would never forgive me or speak to me again"
I'm sorry to say there is no other description of that comment than "emotional blackmail." It is unacceptable but, you are torn with such pressure.
To me it is a no brainer, returning home. Let's talk about your son.
At his age, friends are everything and he is the one more torn and hurt right now. Go to him. Be there.
I dont know why your friend is so clingy. If she had your interests at heart, fully, she'd be supportive of your needs and choices, whatever they were. Her demand suggest she has her own needs of you, to the point of pressure.
At the end of the day your sin could hold it against you down the track. I'd suggest you return and get settled. If, in years to come family grows up to be more independent, you could make a decision then.
I'm sorry if this rather strong view is given but I'm concerned over that pressure factor which isnt in your best interests.
Thnaks for your thread. I u derstand your dilemma.Tony has given you his opinion and thoughts.
I can u derstand your friend wanting the best for you but putting pressure on you is not a way to show friendship,
Your son needs you and misses you. Your daughter and you want to return.
You have worked hard to improve your health. Only you know what is best.
maybe you can say to your friend that you appreciate all her kindness but you feel it is in everyone’s best interest you return .
i think when people are faced with change like your friend is they can react and say things they don’t mean.
Thanks for both of your replies.
TonyWK - your view is not strong at all; I wish I had set healthy boundaries many years ago because this is the problem. I haven't - and now I struggle to do that. But the 'damage' has been done and she feels she's allowed to talk to me like that because 'she knows better than me'. Starting from a young age, with a very emotionally manipulative and blackmailing mother, I found it difficult to set boundaries because in her eyes either I did what she wanted me to do or I would suffer and she would not be there for me. Sounding very similar to what I am experiencing now.
Was involved with my kids dad for 15 years - he always did what he wanted to first, before putting our family above his selfish needs. Did I leave him? I had opportunities to but I didnt. Because I put him and my kids first. Kids need their dad; he needs them; we are a family, etc.
Along the way of these 2 long time relationships, my friend has seen the devastation I felt and now is super protective. Which is lovely - but she is using the same tactics that both mother and ex used to get me to do what she thinks is best for me. 'If you do this or that, I am not going to talk to you' or 'you have made so many wrong decisions in your life, you need to listen to me from now on'. Theres so much more of that.
I am so, so very tired of my letting these things occur - I am so afraid of losing the people closest to me that I have enabled this situation. Now, at 43, its a major rut I am finding difficulty getting out of.
Quirky - thanks for your kind words. Unfortunately, the things you suggested won't work. I've tried. She is adamant.
I thought that moving and healing was my 'life test' but I think that cutting the cords off the emotional manipulation is. This has really shown itself over the past few months.
I know I need to be strong and put the needs of my family first but this is probably one of the hardest things to acknowledge - and somehow find the courage to do.
Thankyou for replying.
There could be several reasons why your friend dominates the way she does- because she finds it easy to do to you, is possessive or some irregularity. As long as you know that it is wring of her to do it, thats all that matters.
What you need now is for you to plan your return. Find the courage. If she hinders you then it will need to be done in secrecy.