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Feeling weary with friends demands

(79 Posts)
hannafore Fri 16-Feb-18 12:12:38

Would love any advise. A friend of mine recently lost her husband very suddenly which was a shock to all who knew him. My friend has not been coping well so i have helped her around her home, stayed with her for a few days to give her support while her mother was in hospital and basically have given her help as she needed it. She cannot cook,cannot clean and with her husband enjoyed four holidays a year, twice abroad and twice in the UK. She is now asking me to go with her on days out on my day off (one day a week) and i cannot afford it having a home to run myself and my own family and limited finances. I have explained this to her so many times but she seems to have no concept. I am starting to make excuses to avoid her so any advise would be appreciated. I do like her and feel very sorry for her and do feel compassionate but she has become extremely needy and is calling me for help for things that i think she should learn to do herself. I have managed to talk her into going to bereavement counselling, and have arranged a gardener to deal with her garden so that is a start but any other advise would be great thank you.

MissAdventure Fri 16-Feb-18 12:17:00

Why can't your friend cook or clean?

Oopsadaisy12 Fri 16-Feb-18 12:33:03

Unless she is disabled, she is perfectly capable of organising food for herself, even if she buys ready meals and zaps them. If she in unable to hold a duster, then help her to employ a cleaner. Then you could set a date a couple of times a month for coffee and cake, go to her house and take it with you if money or time is an issue. At least you will be keeping an eye on her, but from a distance.
You’ve been a very good friend to her but it might be time for her to make new friends and get some new skills, ie cooking! I really don’t think that avoiding her will help, you will feel guilty and she will be upset, sit her down and have a talk and tell her firmly how you see your relationship going forward.

Christinefrance Fri 16-Feb-18 12:44:11

Yes I don't understand that either, or does she just not want to cook or clean?. I can sympathise as I don't like to cook but needs must.
You probably need to make yourself unavailable at times or you will be enabling this helpless state. There are plenty of good ready meals available to tide her over. Ease off gradually for both your sakes.

cornergran Fri 16-Feb-18 13:06:57

I can understand the impulse to support our friend hanna but you do need to be careful, there's a fine line between compassion and facilitating her helplessness. I'm also unsure why she would not be able to cook or clean. Did her husband take care of both? As she seems comfortable financially the gardener is an excellent start, then as others have said a cleaner next. As she feels stronger encourage her to go and learn to cook. If she really can't or won't then its salad or ready meals, no choice really. Theres a real danger that your friend will want you to care for her as her husband did, its just not possible is it? I do feel for you, we have been in a similar but different situation with a bereaved friend and it took some careful management to overcome the issues.

Amma54 Fri 16-Feb-18 13:17:17

I would also add that if she is clueless about finances as her husband used to take care if that stuff, as is the case with a good number of widows, she may need help with that too. You must put yourself and your family first.

hannafore Fri 16-Feb-18 14:05:09

Thank you for all the advise. My friend's husband cooked all the meals and they would eat out at restaurants a lot together. He took care of everything. As for cleaning that's how i met her as she employs me to clean for her every fortnight, but she does not do anything in between which drive's me wild. Her light bulb blew in her bed side lamp a few weeks ago and she waited for me to put a new bulb in for her!! I have also encouraged her to find an evening class for beginners cookery lessons but she doesn't want to go unless i join her and i already know how to cook so not interested. She has one other friend, who is her neighbour who at the moment is cooking for her. I'm just glad i don't live next door. I think i will take the advise and try to talk to her although she is not the easiest person to listen.

mollie Fri 16-Feb-18 14:14:17

Is she a friend or an employer?

hannafore Fri 16-Feb-18 14:28:52

mollie Have known her for about 6 years before i worked for her so both really.

Amma54 Fri 16-Feb-18 14:33:10

She is a very dependent sort of woman, isn't she? All I can say is to encourage her, within reason as you can't give her all your time, to become independent in all the areas you've identified. But it's not your place to take on these roles, she has to do it herself. Good luck.

janeainsworth Fri 16-Feb-18 14:39:50

Does she have any adult children?
I think you’ve already gone above and beyond anything that could reasonably be expected of you.

wildswan16 Fri 16-Feb-18 14:42:25

If she is reasonably fit and healthy herself then she may have many years left during which she has to cope with the day to day tasks of life. Never having done it before she will no doubt be feeling very helpless (along with still grieving for her husband).

You have to stand back. She won't starve and if her home gets messy that won't bother anyone either. Keep an arrangement with her that you will see her in x number of days when you come to clean, but won't have time for anything inbetween. The one concern I might have is whether she has good financial advice - sounds like they might have been quite well off so perhaps make sure there is a professional involved to help her?

cornishclio Fri 16-Feb-18 15:30:00

I think you need to stand back and make her do some things for herself. She sounds like she must be pretty wealthy. After all few of us could afford to be able to employ cleaners, gardeners and eat out numerous times a week. Is it laziness that stops her doing stuff for herself?

I would not try to talk to her about it but just offer as much help, advice or time as you feel able to give. You are employed as a cleaner, not her companion. Do you really see her as a friend or do you just feel sorry for her? Friendship is normally two way and I fail to see what she is giving to the friendship.

hannafore Fri 16-Feb-18 15:53:49

Thank you for all your advise. Its a great help to hear advise from a different perspective. She has no children and has fallen out with her nieces and her brother but lives with her ailing mother who has just moved in with her but its a bit like the blind leading the blind as far as looking after each other. She has sorted her finances out and is well off so no worries there. The most concerning aspect for me is that she said that if her mother dies she will go and hang herself from one of the beams in her house which scared me to death and that's when i sorted out bereavement counselling for her. This has made me feel very anxious now and have had some worrying moments about it all.

Baggs Fri 16-Feb-18 16:21:06

Making threats like that is emotional blackmail. Perhaps that's where her talent lies and why her husband did everything.

janeainsworth Fri 16-Feb-18 16:49:32

If she is threatening to kill herself hanna perhaps you should talk to someone at Samaritans about the best way to respond.
I don’t think suicide threats can be taken lightly.

Christinefrance Fri 16-Feb-18 17:02:55

That is worrying Hanna you need to let her GP know about it. However you have gone over and above what can reasonably be expected of you. You can't and shouldn't take on responsibility for her care and mental health. Be strong for your own sake.

Madgran77 Fri 16-Feb-18 17:19:11

If she cant cook and doesn't want to learn, she can buy ready meals ...all the supermarkets do them or she could order from Wiltshire Farms or similar. But others will have to stop being manipulated into doing her work for her ...otherwise she will have no incentive to bother!

Telly Fri 16-Feb-18 18:52:20

You are going to have to stand your ground and be firm about just how many hours you want to be with her, and what hours you want to work. It sounds as if she may be paying you for a few hours but expecting you to be a companion out of the goodness of your heart. The relationship is not on an even footing. You need to put your family first, you have already gone over and above what can reasonably be expected.

MissAdventure Fri 16-Feb-18 18:56:25

You're going to have to establish boundaries and make sure you stick to them, or else your working hours are going to be swallowed up as you do more and more for your friend.
She needs to learn how to stand on her own two feet now, and it won't help in the long term if you end up shouldering the brunt of everything.

OldMeg Fri 16-Feb-18 19:28:11

Sorry, but this woman has to grow up at last and deal with her life. It’s not up to you. However I suspect she will always find some kind, but gullible, person to use. Let it not be you.

Crafting Fri 16-Feb-18 19:44:16

If she is well off, how about suggesting she gets some home care for her and her mother. Someone could come who would clean, cook go shopping go out with her. It sounds to me as though you have been a good friend so now is the time to suggest she gets more help at home to tide her over this period.

hannafore Fri 16-Feb-18 20:23:14

Thank you for all your kind advice. I agree I need to establish boundaries with her and intend to do so now before it gets out of hand. Writing my feelings down on this forum has made me realise that I have been too soft and it's quite right that she has to learn to be independent and make adjustments to her situation. I also notice when i'm with her she never asks about myself or my family its always about her. I am actually encouraging her to look for a job as she is only 58 or as she doesn't need the money to do voluntary work which I think will help her to give something back in life which is in itself very satisfying. Here's hoping 😃

OldMeg Fri 16-Feb-18 20:48:53

True, these kind of people never ask about you or yours.

Charleygirl Fri 16-Feb-18 21:45:47

58, she is carrying on as though she is 98. I do not profess to be the world's best cook but the vast majority of the time I cook for myself until I get bored and then decide to have a ready meal. Surely she knows one end of a vacuum cleaner from the other- if not she can always learn. We all did but rather sooner than 58.

You must think about yourself because she appears to be rather selfish especially turning on the emotional blackmail.