How do I tell my friend she is crazy?
November 19, 2009 2:46 PM   Subscribe

I have a friend who laments she cannot find a partner. She is gay (I am not) so when she tells me tales of past relationships and the aftermath of breakups I don't usually comment much. But this last time she reported actions that were boarderline stalking and she has not clue.

She met a woman and they dated for a couple of months. Recently they had a good weekend, became intimate and declared they were girlfriends. The next Monday the girlfriend went on antidepressent medication and broke up with my friend.

My now husband did the same with me when we had been dating about a year so I know it can happen. The meds mess with your brain chemistry for goodness sakes!

It has been a couple of weeks and the girlfriend has officially said she cannot handle this relationship at this time, period the end. Remember I am getting her responses through my friend but seems to me it is over.

The action my friend took after emailing, texting and calling to make sure it was over, is this: She took her diary and tore out the pages that were written when she first met the girlfriend and also had some entries about a past girlfriend. She priority mailed them to the girlfriend to "show her how she felt when they first met."

I think this is way over the line and frankly I am tired of having every phone conversation be an analysis of the whole relationship and what went wrong and will she ever call etc.

I want to (kindly) tell my friend she is obsessing and preventing herself from moving forward. I want to tell her she went over the line - no wonder she can's sustain a relationship!

How can I tell her? I have already said a lot of move one type words but she is not hearing me apparently.
posted by shaarog to Human Relations (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
How can I tell her? I have already said a lot of move one type words but she is not hearing me apparently.

Back away slowly. Not necessarily because your friend's behavior is borderline (that's hard to say. Some people might consider her gesture romantic. Kind of depends on the person receiving them) but because you are fatigued and losing perspective and need a break from this. Make yourself unavailable for a couple of weeks and when you come back into the picture, have a whole lot of new things to talk about.
posted by hermitosis at 2:51 PM on November 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


She's not hearing you because she's hurting. She probably won't hear you until she's had some time. A lot of people do completely irrational things like this shortly after a breakup. I would not say your friend was behaving like a stalker just from what you've said. It's not mature, but like I said... breakups make people (gay or straight) do crazy things, and she'll probably look back on this before long and feel a little embarrassed. I agree with hermitosis that you should probably make yourself unavailable for a little while. You want to be a supportive friend, and that's good, but even supportive friends need a break.
posted by katillathehun at 3:11 PM on November 19, 2009


I want to (kindly) tell my friend she is obsessing and preventing herself from moving forward. I want to tell her she went over the line - no wonder she can's sustain a relationship!

How can I tell her? I have already said a lot of move one type words but she is not hearing me apparently.


Usually when we obsess, it is because we don't want to think about something else difficult. Often it is past trauma, sometimes stuff going on right now. Find out what else might be going wrong and focus on that in your discussions with her. She may find relief.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:14 PM on November 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah. I'm in a similar situation and recently needed to get a restraining order. It is overwhelming and incredibly disturbing for the person who is the subject of such behavior. Here is how to know if you are being stalked by stalkingbehavior.com.

There are several signs that are good indicators of stalking behavior. It is also important to consider the intensity of such behaviors.

1. Persistent phone calls despite being told not to contact in any form.

2. Waiting at workplace or in neighborhood.

3. Threats.

4. Manipulative behavior (for example: threatening to commit suicide in order to get a response to such an "emergency" in the form of contact).

5. Sending written messages: letters, emails, graffiti...

6. Sending gifts from the seemingly "romantic" (flowers and/or candy) to the bizarre (dog teeth, a bed pan, a blood soaked feather) (Dietz et al. 1991b).

7. Defamation: The stalker often lies to others about the victim (claims of infidelity, for example).

8. "Objectification": The stalker derogates the victim, reducing him/her to an object -- this allows the stalker the ability to feel angry with the victim without experiencing empathy (Meloy and Gothard, 1995).

Any of these behaviors are not ok. Let your friend know she has already done at least one of these things. It is not love. It is not romantic. It is illegal.
posted by Sophie1 at 3:33 PM on November 19, 2009


She took her diary and tore out the pages that were written when she first met the girlfriend and also had some entries about a past girlfriend. She priority mailed them to the girlfriend to "show her how she felt when they first met."

Was this the best idea? No. Is she obviously confused and in pain? Yep. Be supportive of her hurt (although you don't have to comment on her methods of trying to sooth it) and let her figure out on her own what it will take to mourn the relationship.

I had a girlfriend once, and somewhat less than a year after we broke up she sent me a package with a few books I'd left behind, and a poem she wrote about a man and a woman of different names, where the man did the woman wrong (at least that was clear from the first few paragraphs, after which I stopped reading and disposed of it; it was a few pages long.) It did me no harm, and after a few more conversations, she finally seemed to get closure.*

So unless she poured ketchup on the pages and slipped a knife into the packaging, I think you should help her distract herself with other things and support the fact that it was an abrupt dumping, instead.

*if you recognize this story, and you're the girl, and the fact that I didn't read it all the way pisses you off, I totally understand and you can memail me to vent if you want.
posted by davejay at 3:42 PM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Any of these behaviors are not ok.

I think you'd need to be more specific about #5 before saying that it alone is "not OK."

posted by Jaltcoh at 4:07 PM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


i find your characterization of sending a brand-new ex journal entries "crazy" and "obsessive" more weird than your friend's behavior. the priority mail is a little weird but nowhere near as unusual as what i expected when opening this thread.

your larger problem with your friend seems to be that you find her inability to move on (after only a few weeks) as pathetic. but pathetic != stalking, it sort of demeans stalking to talk about it in that way.
posted by anthropomorphic at 4:21 PM on November 19, 2009 [10 favorites]


She's not in a place right now where she'd really be able to listen to you. If hearing about this bothers you, back away for a while, but there's nothing in your power that you can do to change her behavior at this point.

(BTW: This has nothing to do with queer/lesbian relationships. This is only about relationships and the fact that you say you can't relate to "gay" relationships doesn't come up in this case. Just sayin'.)

You can't reason with her. You can't tell her she's over the line. You just can't. She won't listen. It's not that she's being obstinate or willfully obtuse, but her emotions have pickled her brain. It happens.

Totally different scenario, but same basic point. I went through a divorce a few years back. At the time of the breaking up, many of my friends told me that this was for the best - the relationship was untenable and we'd both made each other totally miserable. They were right.

And I fought with THEM. Tooth and nail. It made things so, so much worse.

The friends who were most helpful at the time were the ones who just listened. Nothing else. Just listened and occasionally chimed in with the helpful "I know you're really hurting" and "This is really hard." (Sometimes the obvious really is helpful.) LATER, of course they told me that yeah, they knew there was nothing that could be done - and they didn't ever try to convince me to "fix" the relationship. They just listened.

If you can't be there to listen, and some people can't and that's ok - and no one can listen all the time, that's for sure - just back away and be there from a distance. Get really busy for a while, but ready to re-connect when this has blown over. The last thing she needs right now is feeling like she has to defend her actions to you - which is exactly how she'll feel if you confront her about what *you* think is inappropriate behavior.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:59 PM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


you can try to divert her attentions elsewhere into something constructive (volunteer at a domestic abuse shelter, or the pound, or a soup kitchen, or at at risk youth after school program) - maybe seeing people in suffering that isn't related to "she's just not that into you" will shake her up a little.

but, yeah, it might be annoying and little sad, but, at least by what you've written, it's not crazy or stalker like behavior.

I want to tell her she went over the line - no wonder she can's sustain a relationship!

telling someone who is hurting and broken hearted that it's obvious why they can't keep a relationship is not only a good way to lose a friend, it's also a little cruel.

what you can do is set healthy boundaries between you and your friend. you seem overly invested in her love life to a point that it's causing you strife. keep changing the subject if the ex comes up, if that doesn't work, politely excuse yourself. she'll either deal with it on her own or she'll find someone else to commiserate to, but there's no reason you have to entertain the topic if you don't want to.
posted by nadawi at 5:42 PM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey, I know you're upset, but I'm getting tired of talking about your ex. Anyway, I was meaning to ask you if you want to [y]

y is an activity you can do together that will engage her, get her out of the house and socializing.
posted by kathrineg at 9:42 PM on November 19, 2009


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