Getting Over Someone And Resolving Conflict
March 20, 2014 11:09 AM   Subscribe

How can I get over someone I can't seem to get away from, and resolve conflict/let them know they hurt me?

I wrote a question about this person a year ago here. Well, I did a lot of hard work trying to get over her, it was semi-successful but very hard and heartbreaking. About one month ago she decided she wanted to initiate hooking up with me.

Well, she apparently had no interest in me other than using me for a hookup and is now hooking up with/seeing another of my friends.

The thing is, she knew for a fact how I felt about her.

I cannot get away from this girl. She seems to know everyone that I know, and now she’s working her way into another friend circle that was a refuge of mine when I didn’t want to see her. As the lesbian world goes, everyone knows everyone. She’s already burned a lot of bridges with people for shady behavior with other people’s girlfriends. I used to trust her but now I don’t anymore.

And yet, I can’t shake this hold she has over me. I never completely got over her I suppose, and the fact that she will crush on all of our other friends and yet won’t even give me a second thought hurts deeply.

Never has one person been able to make me so angry to the point where I’ve literally punched a hole through my wall. Even now just thinking about her makes me almost shake with rage and feel like I’m about to burst into tears.

The thing is, I haven’t told her how much this whole thing has hurt me, or told her anything of what’s going on in my head. I strongly want to, but I don’t know if it will help things or make them worse. I tend to avoid conflict but I don’t know if that leads to me bottling up feelings and resentment. I just don’t know which is better to do. Am I even right to be angry at her? I feel like she has not been a very good friend to me.

How can I get over this person? I can’t seem to get away from her, and she just makes me upset. Do I just cut the friendship without saying a word? Never speak to her again? Or should I let her know what I’m thinking? I usually “let things go” but I feel like I need to share my side of this, and holding it in is causing me to carry around a lot of anger and resentment. I just don’t know how far to take it and how to do it. I usually avoid conflict at all costs, but this time I think bottling it up is making me boil over.
posted by christiehawk to Human Relations (15 answers total)
I strongly want to, but I don’t know if it will help things or make them worse.

Don't. Don't give her any actual power that she knows she holds over you. I came [thisclose] to doing this in college and holy cow, am I glad I didn't.

Make an anonymous tumblr or something and vent there, if you friend group isn't quite safe enough for that. Send yourself ranty emails. Take comfort in knowing that other people are seeing how manipulative she is.

This is the kind of conflict that it's good and healthy to avoid. Engaging in it will only increase the drama quotient and not actually give you any relief.
posted by rtha at 11:20 AM on March 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


Your "friend" is well known for shady behavior because that's who she is, and based on your question from a year ago, it is very clear she enjoys fucking with people.

Do not take the bait again. You will only get more of the same if you share your pain with her, so don't do that.

See a counselor or a therapist for a few sessions. Go to the library and/or Google for a book called, "The Sociopath Next Door," or similar reads (I am NOT diagnosing your ex-friend!! I am saying this book will help you, and help you gain perspective.)

It is totally normal to get manipulated and hurt like this until you start to see the signs, and therefore stop associating with the types of people who would screw with your life and your emotions like this.


In the short term, I'm going to propose a radical solution.

Pull back from your friends temporarily and simultaneously ice this person out entirely.

Hopefully your friend circles will be there when you are ready to come back, and this person will have self-destructed in the meantime without your help.

I think right NOW is an awesome time to take up training for a triathlon or similar, immerse yourself in a hobby sport that requires a lot of training and precludes socializing at bars and with your old friends for the time being.

At the end, you'll have new triathlete friends, your bod will be amazing, and your ex friend will have moved on to other friend groups and other victims.

Deprive this person the sustenance she's been enjoying by removing yourself from her sphere of influence and going total immersion into something really really fun.

And a few therapy sessions and a few books or websites to help you process what happened.

I wish you the best. Don't feel badly, this happens to everyone at some stage.

Good luck!
posted by jbenben at 11:31 AM on March 20, 2014 [10 favorites]

Dude, let it freaking go.

I don't even know why you like this chick, she sounds like an asshole. What you like about her isn't how great she is, it's how unattainable she is.

You don't even know her, and what little you do know isn't very nice. She's a total Drama Llama and a bit of a narcisist.

Get away and clear your head. Get a good friend to do a road trip. Spring is coming, and it's gorgeous out there. Drive for awhile, blasting your favorite music to sing to and sing at the top of your lungs. Do a long weekend, or even just a day. Get out of your old routine.

Divulge all of your feelings to your friend, listen to your friend talk about his/her romantic disappointments. Do a ritual to help you get rid of that horrible 'crush-gone-wrong' feeling.

Make a mix tape of songs that affirm that you'll be okay without her.

Honestly, you will look back on this part of your romantic history and you will giggle at yourself. We've all been there, so we know, and trust me, the sooner you let it go, the faster you'll be happier.

Be totally blunt with yourself. This lady is not the kind of person you want to partner up with. She's bad news.

Laugh it off and love yourself.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:32 AM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Dear OP,

Upon seeing your username, some small bell rang in my head and I thought, "I could have sworn there was more than just one question about this crush." So I went back and checked out your history to refresh my memory.

What leaps out at me is that this seems to be kind of a pattern: You have a crush on someone, you can't really gauge their level of interest, you get very invested in them and are immensely hurt if they do not reciprocate or if they only are interested in a bit of physical gratification with you. This seems to happen a lot. Some of it seems to be rooted in what looks like a bit of trouble being assertive when it counts, and/or a less-than-healthy tendency to let people walk all over you and take advantage of you. Sometimes, if you're lax enough about your own boundaries, you might fall back enough that people wind up taking advantage of you without having any idea they're doing it.

I think the changes that would be needed to make a dent in this pattern are large, sweeping changes which would require a lot of work and a lot of alteration to aspects of yourself which are very deep-rooted. So while others might have decent advice about how to handle yourself in the short term, my particular advice for the long term is that if your insurance covers it, it might be a good time to start talking to a therapist. Please don't doubt for a moment that we'd love to help you with this, but the changes needed and the work that will be required is unfortunately a bit outside the scope of what this website can provide for you. I nevertheless think that if you sit down and just kind of unpack where these behaviors are coming from with someone who has a chance to ask questions and interpret the answers, the results will very likely come as a positive, happy surprise.

Thanks for reading, and good luck.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:33 AM on March 20, 2014 [7 favorites]

Own your side of the street, and move on as best you can.

Motives and expectations aside, you invited a toxic-to-you person back into your life after putting in some hard work to put them behind you, and the consequences of making that mistake can really suck.

I've been there too, more than once... with the same person even... so there isn't a single shred of judgement in the above sentence, and nor should it be anything to use to beat yourself up with.

It's another installment in a lesson called (insert name here). You know now, unequivocally and irrefutably that this person is not good for your heart and head. It doesn't mean she's a bad person, or doesn't have any excellent qualities to her, it's just that they way you are, and the way she is, for right now, does not work.

Don't do what I did, hopelessly pining from afar. Instead:
Trust your gut down the road.
Make more mistakes, hell, make them all, but don't fear them, learn from them.
Find out what you want and then who you want.
There is no such thing as "The One."
Only One feeling, One love that I carry, that is mine to give and is awakened within me by those who are capable of stirring it.

Don't carry the hurt around with you and let it color your view of otherwise good people. Not everyone you meet will be echoes of her, and for now this person, this resentment, is being kept alive by you alone.

If it's meant to be, it will be, and if it's not, well, it won't.

Distract yourself, you will likely need to separate yourself from people and places she is or will be, at least short term. Third parties need to be informed of your difficulties, and acquaintances may be lost or put on hold. I can't expect a friend to cut someone completely out of their lives, but if they value my feelings, they should use some discretion about topics of conversation and who is going to be where.

And one last thing, I promise you. Promise you... that down the road, the pain will be forgotten, her face will lose its impact in your mind, and you will wonder what the hell all of this was all about anyway.

There is no joy so great, no pain so sublime
That will not fade before the grindstone of time.
posted by Debaser626 at 11:45 AM on March 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

To sorta build off of what FAMOUS MONSTER is getting at...

Sometimes we have blind spots that make us susceptible. While you might have a history with crushes gone wrong (a blind spot and candidate for self-work you need to do,) right now you are dealing with what is termed a Bad Actor, someone who is willing to use your blind spots against you for Reasons.

These two things get entwined, and it's hard to know how much is your responsibility, and how much is the Bad Actor's fault when you are deep in the situation.

I can tell you that 1000%, once you identify someone is a bad sort, it is really really important to remove yourself from their sphere of influence before you can get your head on straight.

I think it is common to miss the self- work you have to do because you're so busy blaming the other guy.

The thing is, once you identify the other guy is hurting you, step one triage is to get away from the problem, step two is the self-work and all the rest.
posted by jbenben at 11:46 AM on March 20, 2014 [4 favorites]

I would get drunk and listen to the Offspring's Self Esteem. They are talking directly to you.

"I wrote her off for the tenth time today
And practice all the things I would say
But she came over
I lost my nerve
I took her back and made her dessert
Now I know I'm being used
That's okay man cause I like the abuse
I know she's playing with me
That's okay cause I got no self esteem"

Seriously. It's helpful to know you're not alone.
posted by three blind mice at 11:47 AM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

When I'm shaking with rage at someone, I've learned that some part of that rage is usually directed at myself.

Journaling is usually a good way for me to get my feelings out without making any friendship/relationship situations worse, and also to sort through how much am I angry at this person and how much am I angry at myself.

I make long lists--everything that happened during the relationship, everything they did that hurt me, every reason that it hurt, etc. Something about seeing it all written down and only coming out to say, two pages, or something before I'm repeating myself makes the problem seem more tangible and manageable. Even if it's six pages or ten pages of blinding, raging hurt -- it always comes out to a finite amount, and I can tackle that.

And I also make lists of all the reasons I am mad at myself (for being suckered, for not being over them yet, for being this angry, etc.), everything I did that may have contributed to the problem, exactly how doing each of those things may have contributed to the dynamic, what else from previous relationships might each of these things I did be an echo of, what I'll need to do differently in future relationships so this doesn't happen again.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 11:51 AM on March 20, 2014

Another vote for cutting off contact. Take a step back from your friends group. Not completely, but hang out one-on-one or in smaller groups with people you are closer too and trust more. Don't talk about her. If they bring her up change the subject.

And yeah, take up a project of some kind. Triathalon, Toastmasters, learn to knit, pick up bass guitar, volunteer .. Something to channel your frustration. It's also a great excuse if someone from your friend group asks why they see you less ("Yeah, I'm just in training for this marathon / practicing for a concert / knitting scarves for baby pandas / building houses for the homeless"). Look for an activity that will provide you with an opportunity to meet lots of new people. Not for dating, but to ensure that you don't feel isolated and tempted to return to the friend group that she is currently circulating in.

Don't have anything more to do with her. Don't explain.

This stuff happens. You'll be ok.
posted by bunderful at 12:02 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

+1 to all of the above, but I also give you permission to be cold to her. Don't try to have a heart-to-heart where you tell her how she hurt you - lady, you are way above that - but it's ok for you to freeze her out. Ignore her in conversations, don't make eye contact. As women sometime we are socialized to smile and make nice. It's ok if you don't. She's didn't treat you very well.
posted by amaire at 12:06 PM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

As much as i normally hate passive agressiveness, or silence as opposed to communication... this really is a situation in which yea, just don't ever talk to this person again.

I did what you were describing once, and wrote a huge note about how frustrated i was with how someone was completely playing me.

All i got was a really weird, "Wow, i think you read way too much into this and thought this was something it wasn't" kind of response.

It only served to make me feel even more like this, and second guess myself as to whether i was the crazy one/the one being weird/etc. I mean, looking back on it now i can tell there was really dumb bullshitty behavior on their part, but at the time it was just a complete kick in the balls.

I agree with famous monsters advice also, but PLEASE don't write out any rant like this. Especially this long after the fact. Not only will you regret it, but there's a strong chance that person will talk to other people about it and then it'll become some dumb gossip thing. Especially in an incestous, tight knit group of friends.

Cut her off and deal with your own frustration and hurt separately.
posted by emptythought at 12:26 PM on March 20, 2014 [4 favorites]

Talking to her does not sound like it will be productive. This just sounds like ammo for her schemes.

But you DO need to get out your feelings. two possible tricks: Write it down. A nice long letter that ONLY YOU WILL SEE. Maybe read it out loud to yourself. Then burn it. release all the shit in the flames.

Another trick I like is to picture myself bundling up all the emotions in a physical representation of them, and destroying it.
posted by Jacen at 12:35 PM on March 20, 2014

Came back to add something. I already suggested that you cut back on spending time with the friend group that she is part of. If you do go somewhere (with friends or alone) and see her, leave.
posted by bunderful at 2:42 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

should I let her know what I’m thinking?
What do you think you would accomplish by sharing your thoughts with her? Or rather, what do you hope to accomplish? Is it worth possibly being hurt, again?

The thing is, you chose to hook up with this person who you knew didn't want to date you, who has a history of burning people. So a pretty important thing you should do is forgive yourself for making a mistake. She may not have been a good friend to you, but you haven't been a good friend to yourself. If you had a friend who was feeling as you do, what would you do to make them feel better? Try doing those things for yourself.

Minimize contact with this person as much as possible and spend time with other people. You don't actually need to actually address a conflict with this person in order to resolve it within yourself. I wouldn't vent much about her to people in either group because, as you said, everybody knows everybody and additionally, others may not see how things went down in quite the same light you do, which may only make you feel worse. That's what therapy might be better for.
posted by sm1tten at 4:29 PM on March 20, 2014

Here's the thing. It is going to take a lot of energy to pull yourself out of the hole she threw you into, emotionally. It's going to take a lot of time, energy, and work to find the situation that is RIGHT for you. Whatever energy you spend on her, you have less of for the task at hand. Spend your energy getting away. Don't spend any of your energy engaging. You have hard work ahead, and whatever you spend on engaging with her is wasted. Don't give her any more. Spend all you have to give in getting away.
posted by htid at 5:24 PM on March 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

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