I don't know if I can manage this relationship anymore, but the problem is, I've got to. I will attempt to describe this adequately inside.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Friend situation. Girl/Girl. Friends for ~9 years, we have a local award-winning creative venture between us. In general we make a good team, but she has self esteem issues and her work situation is, to put it accurately, shit. In the past there have been issues where in order to make herself feel better, she's torn me down - spoken to me as if I'm not very bright, for example. The last time that happened, I told her in no uncertain terms that she doesn't get to talk to me like that - which is where the problem comes in. When she does this (and other mean, undermining, or just shitty things, like taking singular credit for work we do together, for example) she says she didn't know that she was doing it, she didn't mean to sound that way, etc.
My position is, this is not about who you are, this is about what you did. If you didn't know you sounded like a condescending bitch just then, well, now you do, so don't do it again. I'm not calling you a bad person, I'm calling you out *on your behavior.*
Problem is the resultant crying jags and repentant phone messages aside, this kind of thing always happens again. I know it's not about me - it's about her self-esteem - but it's fucking old as hell and I have no idea where to go with it.
Added on to this is that her expectations of me have nothing to do with her expectations of herself. For example - some time ago, she said, if someone asks me about Creative Thing We Do Together, I assume they are asking me about US helping them, not me.
Great. I took that to heart, and now whenever anyone asks ME about Creative Thing We Do Together, I assume they mean "us" and not "me," even if they are asking me directly. Naturally this week I found out that she's taken a gig doing Creative Thing, didn't tell me until she was forced to do so.
On the one hand, I don't care about this project and I would have told her to do it without me unless she really needed me. On the other hand, I wouldn't have ever done what she did. In fact, I was in the position to do so very recently and did not. So I feel betrayed and consequently I'm pissed off. But given the cyclical nature of our past conflicts, I'm not at all sure that confronting her will result in anything but denials of understanding why I'm not pleased, crying jags, and then more of the same later.
The problem, naturally, is that Creative Thing We Do Together is part of a larger venture and if I drop her like a hot rock (which is really, really where I am right now) it will have consequences beyond myself and within our friend group that are pretty unacceptable. And we've been friends for nine years so throwing that away, and our collaboration, seems stupid to me. I just can't get over feeling angry, and I also am out of ideas of how to present to her my anger, frustration, and hurt without getting more of the same non-results.
To be clear, I am not claiming I'm a saint. But I try really, really hard to do the right thing when it comes to this person, and I feel like I'm not getting that in return. It doesn't help that other people have sometimes commented to me about the way she treats me and other people. I KNOW that she's not a bad person, but I'm at my rope's end as far as coping with this and I need ideas about how to approach the situation constructively.