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So hurt by best friend. Advice needed please

(28 Posts)
mumski Sat 19-Jan-19 08:51:24

Please be gentle. This might be a bit long,
As a couple we've had a really grim couple of years with bereavements, serious health problems. I started a new job lat year which turned out to be extremely demanding and stressful (work coach in a job centre) coupled with my husband being very ill and being told he may not live very long. Eventually it all got too much for me and at the beginning of Dec 2018 I went to pieces and have been signed off with stress related anxiety and depression since. That day when I left work I couldn't go home as we had workmen in so I phoned my best friend of 35 years and straight away she told me to come over - she is retired. We sat and chatted and I cried and shook then went home after an hour or so. We met on 12th Dec when she was lovely and supportive. (We've both got back ground in social services, care sector Samaritans etc). Then nothing!

Some days I was too anxious to go outside, go to the local shops, was a mess. Couldn't sleep, Felt so low and worthless, spent too much time on my own as family were all working. We got through Christmas just kept it simple just with our children. With counselling, the support of my lovely husband, family and other friends I'm improving and going back to work on a gentle "phased return" soon.
However what has hurt so much and keeps churning in my head is why I just never heard from her when I really needed help . No phone calls no messages. It sounds pathetic but I couldn't deal with ringing her as her husband always answers to phone and I just couldn't deal with talking to other people. I could see on Facebook she was fine, going to Christmas parties etc. I messaged her at the beginning of January saying are you ok? She messaged back saying busy but fine. I couldn't reply. I didn't know how, She messaged me a couple of days ago saying "We really must get together soon".
I just don't know where to go with this. I still feel quite frail emotionally and almost feel unable to explain how I feel to her. But it's been such a blow and is at the back of my mind all the time. Sorry this has been so lengthily but need gentle advice. Thank you

Liz46 Sat 19-Jan-19 09:03:13

My first thought is that there may be something wrong in her life. If this is the case, she may not feel able to support you but would not want to burden you with her problems.

ninathenana Sat 19-Jan-19 09:07:43

Very sorry to hear about your problems.
It looks like your friend finds it difficult to know how to help you, maybe that is why she is keeping her distance.
I susspect what you need is someone to just listen, put an arm round you and pass a tissue. Could you message her and say that you don't expect her to do anything other than "be there for you" I have a friend who has bouts of depression and she often thanks me for just being there.

I hope you feel better soon.

Luckygirl Sat 19-Jan-19 09:16:16

Having suffered with depression I know that one of the features is feeling hurt by things that others do or don't do and reading too much into their comments/lack of contact etc. There have been times when my unhappiness has centred on a particular issue or person, but when the depression lifts I feel better able to look at it objectively.

The temptation to reflect negatively is part of the problem and feeling a sense of worthlessness is a feature of depression. The fact that it has not been possible for you to get together with your friend for some time is feeding into that feeling and causing you to place too much emphasis on it.

It is easy for your illness to make you focus on one thing in particular and it keeps rolling around in your mind - and negative thoughts about it drop into your mind unbidden and grow there.

This is going to sound a bit harsh maybe - I hope not as it has helped me - but when I have been unwell and found myself locked in that situation, I tell myself that "This is not all about me." I ask myself if there might not be some other explanation for the situation other than something related to me. For instance, as Liz46 has said, there may be things going ion in her life that she is having to deal with.

Reading your post as an objective listener it seems that you have a loving and considerate husband, kind family, and other friends. These are all positives, as I am sure you realise. The fact that she messaged you spontaneously to suggest you get together sounds to me like a busy lady who wants to find a space to get to see you again.

I think that tings are really OK here - it is just that you are unwell.

Please do not get back to work too quickly - take it steady and be kind to yourself. flowers

littleflo Sat 19-Jan-19 09:16:59

I think it would be better not to mention to her how hurt you feel. Taking the friendship she has given you over the years on the plus side and this last incident on the negative. It is likely the one will overwhelmingly outweigh the other.

We can never really see into another’s heart and mind. Despite what she was posting, there is a possibility that inside their was more going on than you know. Naturally you are hurt, that when you needed her most she was found wanting, but perhaps she thought that you wanted to be left alone.

I have depression and at those times I cannot cope with other people. Those that know me intimately give me space.

I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive her, because it seems you are going to need lots of support in the future.

annsixty Sat 19-Jan-19 09:20:27

I wonder if she feels that you may want more from her than she feels she can give.
Because you were so down and "needy" that particular day, she may feel you will be like that every time she sees you and she wants her old friend back, the one who is fun to be with and she doesn't want to be listening to your problems when she feels she can't help.
Don't blame her, she may feel inadequate.
Try to get across to her that that isn't the real you, that you were grateful for her help that day and you want and need your relationship to get back to how it was.
I have expressed my thoughts badly but have been there and done that and after deep hurt
I realised what had happened.
Our relationship never quite got back to it's former closeness but did improve.

silverlining48 Sat 19-Jan-19 10:26:12

Hello * mumski* I was in a similar situation in 2017 with a friend of over 60 years. When I desperately needed a bit of support in a terrible situation she was not there, and I felt very let down. I wrote her a letter saying how upset and disappointed I was and I havnt heard a word since. I don’t think she could handle anything which wasn’t perfect and the cancer of two close family members was far too unpleasant for her to deal with. Our very long friendship is ended. A true friend is a friend not just in good times, but when things go wrong. I am sorry you are feeling let down.

MawBroon Sat 19-Jan-19 10:28:29

I hate the “we really must get together/do lunch/meet up” type of thing and can be very cynical, tempted to dismiss or ignore them.
You could give her another chance if you fell up to sounding more cheerful or upbeat and ring or email her to say
“Thank you for your kindness and sympathy, I really appreciated it. Can I take you to lunch /coffee next week
On the other hand, I have also just dropped people who have let me down, thinking life is just too short.
But give her another chance if you really value(d) her friendship.

BlueBelle Sat 19-Jan-19 10:28:57

I bet knowing you as a bright caring ‘managing’ person she thought after your break down with her that day that all would be well in your world and you were back to normal and she didn’t even think that you could still be suffering. No excuse at all in my opinion surely that’s what friends are for to care enough to check up : when my friends are ill or upset I always follow through at a few day intervals to make sure they re ok it’s the least you should expect from a friend
I don’t think you ll ever feel quite the same about her I think being truthful with her may end the friendship but then is it the friendship you want, or is she a fair weather friend if she’s been a Samaritan she should have more insight but unlike Annsixty I wouldn’t go begging for her to ‘understand’ It comes as a given she should have understood and looked out for you
Concentrate on getting better your family and friends that can give you care I hope things improve

MawBroon Sat 19-Jan-19 10:30:39

Is it bitter and twisted me to say that there have been occasions in my life when I have been badly let down and I have forgiven, but not forgotten sad

dragonfly46 Sat 19-Jan-19 10:40:57

Maw I think we have all been there. I find it hard to forgive and definitely do not forget. It changes how you think about the person and adjust your behaviour towards them significantly. The sad thing is they often do not notice.

I have found out who my real friends are recently. There are a lot who tell you they will do anything for you but very few who actually carry it through at inconvenience to themselves.

Mumski your friend may be a Samaritan but that is looking at problems objectively. She probably finds it hard to deal with your distress because maybe she cares too much. What Luckygirl says is very valid. Maybe arrange to see her again when you are not so distressed and see how it goes.

notanan2 Sat 19-Jan-19 12:11:29

There are several possibilities

A. She may have heard from other friends who had breakdowns (or have her own experience) that they found it unhelpful/extra pressure to have people checking in and asking how they are all the time, and might have (in this case wrongly) assumed that it was best to follow your lead re how much space to give you. Given that you called her in Dec when you needed her gives this assumption weight.

B. She may have stuff going on and doesnt want to "offload" on you given what youre going through.

C. She might barely be coping herself

D. She doesnt care.

^ so 75% chance that she isnt being uncaring

notanan2 Sat 19-Jan-19 12:13:55

Oh and E. She doesnt understand the gravity of it, have you told her? She wont necessarily know just because you had a cry on her shoulders that it is a full breakdown not just a bad day IYKWIM.

annep Sat 19-Jan-19 12:31:29

I think I would just text her to say "I thought you would have been in touch to enquire how I was."
It's strange that she suggested meeting without asking. Not reassuring.
Sometimes we don't get what we want/need/expect from people. Whether it is enough is your decision. You're not alone with this. Most of us have had similar things happen. It's just life. Human beings aren't perfect.

lemongrove Sat 19-Jan-19 13:06:58

I agree with Luckygirl and Annep and keep in mind OP that friends don’t see the full picture.Sounds as if she thought you just needed some comfort that particular day.
We never really know what’s going on with other people, and when I think I have been let down by somebody, I think that in my turn, during my life I have probably either knowingly or unknowingly let others down.
It was also a busy time of year, with Christmas and the New
Year.

sodapop Sat 19-Jan-19 13:28:18

I agree with dragonfly & Luckygirl. Your friend cannot be objective with you as she can with her Samaritan clients and may have found it too much to deal with. It's assumed greater proportion with you than maybe it should as you are feeling very low. I do think your friend could have contacted you in some way though just to show she cared.
I hope things improve for you soon.

DoraMarr Sat 19-Jan-19 13:32:59

But you friend WAS there for you, on two occasions, and she has contacted you since. She probably thought that your husband and family were looking after you, and was waiting for you to contact her when you needed her. Don't assume the worst- just focus on how lovely she was when she told you to come over straight away when you were in crisis. Can you text her to make a date for coffee if you don't want to talk to her husband? Look forward now, and don't imagine slights where there probably aren't any. Best wishes for your further recovery.

grannyactivist Sat 19-Jan-19 13:51:51

I absolutely agree with DoraMarr. I am often the 'friend in need' and after 'being there' for someone I generally tend NOT to chase people up afterwards, leaving it for them to set the pace, as oftentimes people may be feeling a little embarrassed or overexposed when a difficult situation has been shared.
As for the timing, I am only now getting time to breathe after a very hectic Christmas/New Year period, so it's reasonable to assume others are in a similar position. Please get together with your friend again and give her the benefit of the doubt.
I hope you're soon feeling on an even keel and are being kind to yourself. flowers

starbird Sat 19-Jan-19 14:01:35

Your friend sounds lovely, she was there when you needed her and then I am sure was busy with family and Christmas. She probably assumed that you were OK as you did not contact her again.

I suggest you make a firm date to meet and take her a bunch of flowers.

Meanwhile how is your lovely husband doing? It seems to me that he should be the centre of attention right now. It will be hard for you of course and you do need to stay strong - perhaps see a doctor as it sounds as though you may be suffering from clinical depression which is very real. . Do you have to work at this stressful job? Can you reduce your hours? I am really sorry that you are going through this hard time. 💐

luluaugust Sat 19-Jan-19 14:33:20

People do have different ways of dealing with other's problems, she did step up straight away at the beginning and I do think Christmas intervening probably has something to do with lack of communication. It sounds like she is picking up now and wants to see you. She may have thought you were busy over Christmas yourself and not realised just how bad you were hence her not asking how you were.

Telly Sat 19-Jan-19 14:46:44

I can relate to how you feel and have been treated. However it is quite possible that she thought once you were in the family fold you would be OK and it seems that you have been coping, at least a bit better now. Take her up on the offer to meet up and don't let this cloud your life, I don't think it is what she intended. I would think that she was probably expecting a thank you from you! It is just a problem of miscommunication. Hold on to your friendship, they are hard to come by.

Lollin Sat 19-Jan-19 15:09:30

I would say ask her how she is. Even if she appears to be having a ball she may actually be barely holding her head above water. Even if she says fine and talks about the good lufe she seems to be having she may not but unable to actually talk about any of it. There could be any number of reasons and one could be that she cannot cope that is no more a weakness than someone who is having to cope and one of their ways of coping is to talk and expect help from those around them.

annep Sat 19-Jan-19 15:20:18

Telly made a good point. about thanking. Although I wouldn't expect thanks but maybe she does.
I have let people down and been let down. Don't take it to heart. We all just do our best.flowers

mumski Sat 19-Jan-19 17:48:10

So much good advice and wisdom from everyone.

She has known me long enough that this was not just a bad day and I was facing significant stress. I had already been referred to a counsellor through work to help me deal with the potential loss of my husband. We got married in September and hoped for many years together.
As Nina said "what you need is someone to just listen, put an arm round you and pass a tissue". I just needed to know she cared and had some time for me.

I think Dragonfly hits the nail on the head: "It changes how you think about the person and adjust your behaviour towards them significantly."

I'm still not sure what I'm going to do, but just writing about it has helped even though it has made me feel anxious thinking about it.
Thank you for your kindness and thoughtfulness xx thanks

annep Mon 21-Jan-19 13:17:13

Talking is good. wishing you well.