Beating myself unnecessarily? A 20 year old feud reignited
January 27, 2020 1:11 PM   Subscribe

Me and my best friend's friendship was abruptly ended by her when we were eighteen (17 years ago!), because of what she saw as a betrayal of trust but what I saw as a potential lifesaving act (talking to her mum after she had told me she had tried to commit suicide several times, and also - crucially - that her mum knew about this, amongst other disturbing things which led me to feel, rightly or wrongly, that she was in immediate danger). She then badmouthed me to our mutual friends, saying she had never really been my friend, hated me, wanted me to have a terrible life, that I was selfish, made everything about me etc.

It took me about ten years to really get over this, as she was very dear to me, and then she got in touch when my dad died three years ago to say she was sorry about that and did I want to reconnect. I (respectfully) told her that now wasn't a good time, and that her dumping me had really hurt me and that I thought it was too emotionally intense time to open things up again. She responded with.....well, a hell of a lot of vitriol, and it's continuing, and I'm worried that some of it is true and I really am this awful attention seeking, selfish person. Please help me sort through this, or at least cope with being attacked like this.

I guess my biggest concern is that I'm a 35 year old woman, having her day ruined - and confidence undermined - by messages from someone who essentially seems to be as angry as she was when our friendship broke up about 17 years ago. I don't have to allow this to affect me so much, do I?

When I politely declined her offer to roconnect when my dad died, she replied saying she was so glad I'd said that, as she hadn't really meant what she'd said and had actually been drunk when she sent the message (which had said that maybe we should never have 'broken up'). She said that she just 'felt sorry for me because she knows I have a small family' (not true) and that I will always be 'selfish' and 'make everything about me'. She said I'd ruined her life when I told her mum about her suicide attempts (to reiterate - she definitely told me her mum already knew, and didn't care), that she'd never had a female friend since because of what I did to her.

Another thing she has said is that she always 'had my back', compared to my betrayal. This was in reference to a time my mum was worried sick about my whereabouts and this friend didn't tell her where I was, which was with a 35 year old man (I was like 15, and he was a peodophile policeman who had groomed me for sex). I replied that I wish she had told my mum, that with the benefit of hindsight I was surprised she couldn't see that this situation was terrible and should not have happened, and she has replied that here I am, trying to get attention again and not admit responsibility for my own actions, and that here I am being a 'victim' again. As someone that struggles with thinking about this situation, given I did consent to it at the time, this is very difficult to hear.

The reason I reached out to her mumabout being worried about her was because I was terrified. She sounded...disassociated on the phone, is the only way I can describe it. I hadn't heard from her in ages, and had also been told by her ex boyfriend's friends that she was doing coke every day, and that she had made 'suicide pills' filled with poison for her and her boyfriend in case of a natural disaster (as I'm writing this, I know it's not normal behaviour, yet I still feel awful about all of this). I called her and asked her what was going on, and she said she had been very unhappy but was better now, and had cut off all of the outside world, including TV, newspapers and any old friends for a fresh start. That would have been fair enough, but she then also told me she had been an alcoholic since she was 12, that her mum had found her with her head in an oven, and that her mum didn't care about her several suicide attempts. She said she was fine and to effectively leave her alone, and we said goodbye.

She was living in a strange city miles away, and I was genuinely frightened for her. I called her mum and relayed what she'd said (the bits that she said her mum already knew). Her mum replied that she was just attention seeking and needed to grow up. Friend then called later to say that she never wanted to talk to me, that i'd betrayed her by calling her mum, that she hoped I'd have a 'shit life'.

In our messages back and forth about this (the ones since my dad died) she totally denies saying her mum knew about everything. I swear to god she did. Even if she didn't, would the ethical thing to do have been to keep quiet even though she was asking for this? I was worried that she was very sick.

Amongst the terrible things she's said in her many messages since (which I have replied to, to try and explain what happened on my side - apologising for the trouble he episode caused), one has been that I wanted emotional attention from her mum, and that was why I did what I did. I did have a close relationship with her mum, but that was not what the call was about.

She has said that I am a perpetual 'victim', that I make everything about me and that she felt 'trapped' in the friendship (she never told me this at the time). I feel like I was living in some kind of warped world where my best friend actually hated me, and I worry that I'm still overly dramatic and attention-seeking. She said that she always felt 'second' to me. I didn't feel like that - I thought she was the best person I knew by a long way. I am just struggling to think that her accusations have no basis as she did know me well, and I worry I'm still like this. I do think I can overshare and be overly needy from time to time, although I have learnt to moderate this and see a therapist etc for what is generally a high level of anxiety. Even asking this question is insecure, I know.

Background to our friendship: we were probably drifting apart for a while, although I didn't want to accept it. I found her hilarious and we spent ridiculous amounts of time together - every waking second for much of our teenage years. I didn't want to let this go, but she clearly did for a while. We were going down different paths - and the reason for mentioning this is that I think it may have added to her sense that I was a 'snob' (her words) and that I 'always made her feel less than me'. I was a straight A student, got a place in an Oxbridge University, whereas she dropped out of college before her exams and was hanging out with a boyfriend whose dad would hit her and say nasty things like he couldn't believe his son was seeing her, she had no tits etc. It was intense.

I probably did show concern about this, and suggest I thought she didn't need to be in this situation, and I do remember trying to persuade her to stay in college and finish her exams, which were about three weeks after her drop out. Just to be clear, I did not feel judgement towards her, but I did feel concern for her, especially when I knew she had started taking drugs etc. The people she was hanging around with were actually quite dangerous - like, mugging and robbing people - and I didn't feel comfortable with the situation. I probably felt jealous that she had picked that over me, I will admit.

I realise now that I probably came across as judgey. I didn't mean it like this - I was genuinely concerned about her and felt she was sometimes self destructive. She hardly ever spoke about her internal life or struggles, apart from these big dramatic moments when she would get very drunk and tell me dark things about her life that I had no idea how to handle (being around 12-14 when she told me these things). On the other hand, I was verbose, probably over analytical, anxious (still am - see my askfilter history) and probably took up too much space in the friendship. I did try and rebalance things but she would say she had a strong sense of shame whenever anyone was concerned about her, so it was hard to know what to do. She would also get defensive when I tried to bring anything up around her troubles, so it was hard to know what to do.

Anyway, I'm trying to give my sense of the situation because I am now feeling terrible about some of the stuff she is saying to me, over facebook of all mediums. I know this is probably silly and speaks to a lack of self esteem on my part and wanting too much reassurance from outside of myself, which I guess is one of the things that exhausted her as a friend. I feel terrible that at my age I can still want this level of reassurance, and like maybe I haven't moved on from my self centred teenage ways if this is the case. I don't know, is it normal to be so upset by this? Am I actually just really self centred and selfish?
posted by starstarstar to Human Relations (29 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Block her. Seriously block her and move on. Stop replying, stop feeding her drama supply. Please, she's is either actually mentally ill in which case she needs help you can't provide or she is a drama queen feeding off the drama, in which case you don't need her in your life. If the move on part of "block her & move on" is difficult for you then you need to find someone you can talk to yourself, but from what is admittedly just your side of the story this sounds like a very toxic relationship & no good for either of you.
posted by wwax at 1:19 PM on January 27, 2020 [109 favorites]

We obviously have only one side of the story here, but I can think of no possible version of this where "block her and move on" isn't the right option.
posted by Betelgeuse at 1:25 PM on January 27, 2020 [30 favorites]

I think it's normal to be upset by what she's saying because it's cruel and denies your lived experience. Frankly, she sounds really unwell. I agree--block her and move on. If talking to someone else (a therapist, an IRL friend, etc.) would help you, please do so.
posted by purple_bird at 1:25 PM on January 27, 2020 [35 favorites]

Wait, are you saying she has been messaging you vitriol for the last THREE YEARS?
posted by Omnomnom at 1:27 PM on January 27, 2020 [9 favorites]

This sounds very tragic, but it also sounds overdetermined. Your former friend has not had a life which makes her able to be sincere and present with you or, probably, to really access her own feelings. You did not make her life this way and you never had the sole power to undo her situation.

She's not a bad person, she's a hurting person who has been pushed off the path in life by some combination of abuse, bad luck, class, genetics and chance. But that doesn't mean that what you did was wrong or that you should feel bad.

We're all going to be faced with problems that are too big for us. People are hurt by the world and unless we're really lucky we're not going to be able to unhurt them. Often those people are going to be in real pain and feel a lot of real anger. In those situations, often you can't do anything without hurting them worse. They may get angry with you and blame you, but when you look squarely at the situation, you can see that there was nothing else you could do that would have made things better.

If you had reconnected, your friend would not have been healed and happy. She would still have been angry and hurting and would still have said angry, hurtful things to you - the fact that she responded with such vitriol shows that she is still in pain and out of control of her feelings and actions. You didn't mess this up. She isn't in a place where she can be a good friend to you.

We live in an age of therapy speak and I think people end up feeling like if they weren't literally a saintly therapist-figure in their friends' lives then they "contributed" to or were partly at fault for whatever went wrong - as though somehow the ideal state for a human is a sort of disinterested, feelings-less benevolence. In short, when you were a teen you had feelings about your friendship and that was normal. We all have feelings about our friendships all the time. We all "make demands" on our friends in the sense that what constitutes friendship is mutual care. It's not making demands on a friend to expect that they'll care about you, have feelings about your interactions, listen, share things, etc. That's what friendship is.

I doubt very much that you were any more "exhausting" as a teen friend than the average teen friend. Your former friend is in an unusual and tragic situation which leads her to narrate her experience as being somehow your fault.

Honestly, when someone is in the grip of this kind of hate and anger, there usually isn't much left to reconstruct of the friendship. She may get better and make good friends with whom she can process her earlier experiences, but she probably can't be a good friend to you, nor can you to her.
posted by Frowner at 1:30 PM on January 27, 2020 [64 favorites]

As Betelgeuse noted, we only have one side of the story here, but every time I came across a moment in this where she was accusing you of something, I felt her accusation could be more accurately directed at her behaviour.

You sound like a much healthier person with a much better relationship with what it means to actually be someone's friend (keeping deep secrets about suicide and abusive relationships is not friendship) than this person. Please, feel free to discount literally everything she says as the ravings of someone who values the wrong things in friendship and hasn't developed emotionally in the past 20 years.

It is normal to be upset by someone hurtling abuse at you, yes. But try not to be super upset, because this person is not well or rational.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:33 PM on January 27, 2020 [5 favorites]

Hi @omnomnom, not the entire three years, no - there was a back and forth about 3 months after my dad died, and then I blocked her. Then I stupidly messaged her a few a weeks ago saying she'd come up in conversation and that I really hoped she was okay and didn't want to leave things on a bad note, that I'd done what I felt to be the right thing and was sorry for any consequences, that I knew I could sometimes be a bit overly analytical, and that I hoped she could make close female friends again as she had been special to me etc.

I guess i didn't want to leave things on a bad note, but she accused me of 'shitting on' her original olive branch and then being self centred etc, and I stupidly let myself get angry and react to some of it (not in a terrible way - just reiterating that I did not feel I'd betrayed her trust).

I guess I'm treating her like she's sane, when really, maybe she is not and I need to recalibrate my idea of her in my head. I actually just asked my little brother what he had thought of her when we were growing up and he said 'honestly, creepy, and like you were just friends with her out of pity or something', which was a surprise. But looking back, I would say a lot of people found her strange as she didn't really have friends other than me. Maybe there was a reason, as nasty as I feel saying that.
posted by starstarstar at 1:34 PM on January 27, 2020 [10 favorites]

It's not silly of you to be upset. This is a really upsetting situation, and this is someone you care about who is clearly in a very sad, very lonely place.

That all said, I think the healthiest thing for you is to stop interacting with her. It doesn't seem to be making her any happier, and it's having a negative effect on you.

I'm so sorry. This is a really sad situation.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:36 PM on January 27, 2020 [7 favorites]

Also, I don't think it's wrong for you to be upset with her. I will say that sometimes in these situations it can be easy to get stuck in who is right vs. who is wrong. I would suggest that it can be easier on you, emotionally, if you look at it from a place of compassion for your teenaged self. From a distance, you can see that you reacted understandably, from a place of caring, and that you may not have been perfect --- but that's okay. Likewise, her reaction is what it is --- rather than being wrong or right, you can see that she is hurting, that she is upset, and that it doesn't necessarily reflect on you as much as it does on her own difficulty moving forward.

I hope that is a helpful perspective. I always find it so funny (and frustrating) how easy it is to get into these fights again like it was yesterday. To the extent that you can step back from the "fight" part and look at is as something that happened a while ago, when you were essentially a child, and that as someone so young, such a serious situation wasn't really your responsibility to get "right" or "wrong," I think it will help.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:41 PM on January 27, 2020 [6 favorites]

Oh dear. This has been upsetting you for a long time. I really want to encourage you to have healthier boundaries with her. When you reached out to her recently, it almost seems like you were looking for her approval or forgiveness? There's not good reason to re-litigate what happened to her when you were teenagers. Even by telling us the whole story, you are looking for someone to tell you what you did was okay. So let me tell you: you were 17 years old and worried about your friend, and what you did was okay. You did the best you knew.

You are both different people now, and yet you are still fighting that same childhood fight. It's time for you to let it go, even if she can't or won't. You won't get her approval or get her to see your side, and it's time to stop looking for that.

Please stop interacting with her for your own sake, and please do get into therapy to process your emotions around this. You need to forgive yourself. You were a kid who made a pretty sensible decision, I promise. You can't save her -- and it's time to stop trying.
posted by bluedaisy at 1:42 PM on January 27, 2020 [37 favorites]

Yeah, most of us want to be a good friend and not leave loose ends in our lives. Understandable! But she can't give you closure (clearly), she mostly wants to continue to lash out. As others have noted, you did the best you could at the time (which sounds like the right decision for safety), and relitigating that now isn't helping either of you.

Block her again, and then look into some therapy, because that sounds like a very unhealthy dynamic, and having someone beside your brother to give you perspective on that may help you feel better about this situation now and encourage healthier relationships in the future.
posted by ldthomps at 1:46 PM on January 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

Ah ok, thanks for the update!

1) an emotionally even-keeled person would have blocked her yesterday.
2) you deserve to be even-keeled, content with your life and self confident. Even if you'd made wrong decisions as a teen, which I'm not convinced you did. You deserve to leave her and the past behind and enjoy your life now.
3) have you had therapy for all this shit? Including pedo policeman (ugh)?
4) I'm a big fan of "get you affirmation elsewhere". Can you go out and do stuff with people who love you? You may find the positive vibes you get from them are not as dramatic and satisfying to cancel out the negative dumps you get from her. Perhaps you'll have to recalibrate your feelings back to normal intensity. Right now you are in a drama spiral.
posted by Omnomnom at 1:56 PM on January 27, 2020 [7 favorites]

Also, about your brother's comment - it's not unusual for kids to be friends for not so healthy reasons. Including for pity or, as you seem to suspect, because it let you feel superior or indispensible or virtuous.

This is not healthy, mature but it is oh so common. As young people we try out all sorts of dramatic relationship models that fill unnamed needs in us. Hopefully, we grow out of the unhealthy ones.

But if you suspect some of these impulses are still at work for you, this might be a good time to explore what that means with a therapist.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:06 PM on January 27, 2020 [4 favorites]

One of the hardest things to accept is that we can’t fix people. You couldn’t fix her at 17, you can’t fix her now. You did as much as you could back then, don’t feel bad about it! But eventually you have to accept that people make their own choices. You don’t have to wear hers and the fact that she’s trying to blame you for the decades of crappy decisions she’s made since then just says that she’s really unwell. Which is sad, but also not your problem and nothing you can fix.

Blocking and moving on is a kindness to BOTH of you. Giving her a forum to shift blame and abuse you is not helpful to either one of you. You need to disconnect and I really recommend therapy to help you heal and move on from this and your traumatic past. She should definitely do this too but somehow I don’t think she will. This is awful, I’m really sorry you went through this. Bravo to the 17 year old you for helping her back then. You might not have been the friend she wanted, but you were the friend she needed. Unfortunately the only one that can save her now is her.
posted by Jubey at 2:08 PM on January 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

Your friendship ended 17 years ago. You're 35 years old. Your friendship ended literally a lifetime ago from when it last existed. It's time to move on and heal in your own ways, where your feelings are your feelings and you are 100% entitled to them. But it's time to move on from them without her in your life.
posted by cgg at 2:09 PM on January 27, 2020 [8 favorites]

I don't know, is it normal to be so upset by this?

I don't have to allow this to affect me so much, do I?

These questions are like flip sides of the same coin.

With the first question, it's like you're asking for permission to feel hurt, even if you don't think it's right that you still feel this much hurt about something that happened so long ago and someone who is so far out of your life.

But high school friendships, especially the close ones that go south, can have deep roots. It's not silly or abnormal at all to feel upset by what happened or by what your former friend has been messaging to you. Especially since she has continued to message terrible things at you!

With the second question, it seems more like you're asking for reassurance that it's okay to put that hurt behind you and move on. I hope the answers in this thread give you whatever reassurance you need in order to start doing exactly that.

I understand the urge to not want to leave things on a bad note, or to want to get some type of closure, but you've done all you could have done here. More, even, and to your own detriment. Your former friend's behavior suggests that peace was never an option; the only closure you're likely to get here will be what you create for yourself. Another vote for team perma-block, and a fervent hope that severing this tie will help lift some weight off of your shoulders.
posted by helloimjennsco at 2:09 PM on January 27, 2020 [7 favorites]

Jesus christ, fuck this person.

She's displaying Trumpian levels of projection.
posted by notsnot at 2:10 PM on January 27, 2020 [8 favorites]

Also, its not too important to figure out who is at "fault" here... I mean, from what you are saying, its not healthy for you to be interacting with her... even if you were entirely at fault (which seems unlikely) your presence in her life is not actively helping her find peace, is it?

Sometimes we need to just separate and stay away, even if we want to help, we can't.
posted by RajahKing at 2:13 PM on January 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

Teenage you wouldn't have enough life experience to know that sometimes we have to make a decision about preserving a relationship with a dead person or pissing off a living one for maybe forever, and that both decisions suck but one of them is a lot harder to live with.

Not all relationships are meant to endure. Most don't. The one you were in wasn't going to, and you need to stop trying to win an unwinnable situation here by getting her to like you - she's not gonna, she doesn't wanna, she just wants someone to beat up and you keep signing up. You will survive not being liked by a terribly toxic person. Your life has been and will be much improved without her in it.

You're reacting to this like you're still 17, which is a thing we do when we experience trauma, it can fossilize the emotions that were associated with it. People can get super stuck in ancient history because that event gets such a hardened bubble around it, and processing it later can be incredibly painful. It seems like that might be what you're running into right now. Take a big step back and do the necessary blocking just to stop her attacks, and then maybe decide on some next steps you can take toward getting this processed and helping the dust settle.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:14 PM on January 27, 2020 [27 favorites]

Hi all, just wanted to think you for all of your replies. I knew the people of the green would offer sanity. You are all GREAT.

I didn't realise how much this thing with her had bothered me over the years until writing it out here, and I think that @LynNever (I don't know how to tag??) you are right in that this is probably trauma, or I wouldn't feel sick like this. I guess it's also very unusual to have this level of hatred targeted at you, by someone who clearly has been holding it for a long time. It's...creepy.

I have spoken about her in therapy, years ago, but not much and probably not enough. I'm noticing a lot of self-hatred coming up around the things she says which I clearly need to deal with. I think in general I can give 'damaged' people waaaaay too much leeway, and then I'm surprised when it doesn't work out, which I really shouldn't be. I believe I choose healthier friendships now, for sure, although I still have my moments of wondering what is healthy and what is not because I know I have this tendency (and everyone is somewhat damaged or strange up close, right?)

The 'Trumpian levels of projection' made me laugh. I do agree I need to have strong boundaries around this, and that looking for her approval is pointless. I wonder whether my relationship with my extremely critical, and somewhat damaged in many ways, mum has anything to do with this. I have tried to fix that many times over the years as well, never quite giving up on her seeing sense, and of course loving her despite her cruel behaviour over the years. One to explore in therapy for sure!

Thank you all so much. I really needed some soothing there and confirmation I am not indeed as mad as this lady says or indeed a 'victim' for feeling upset about this. I am always blown away by how wise and generous people are here, and feel like I've learnt a lot over the years (mostly through lurking) about what it means to be a proper grown up. Still some way to go, but definitely getting there.
posted by starstarstar at 3:09 PM on January 27, 2020 [19 favorites]

As always in similar situations, I am going to point you to Captain Awkward, the queen of boundaries. This particular response is about a daughter dealing with a dad but her dad’s behavior is reminiscent of your friend’s behavior. But because this is your friend (or rather ex friend) and not your dad, you should absolutely do what everyone is encouraging you to do. Block this person.

I am so sorry that a creepy pedophile was involved with you and your friend did not realize what a terrible idea that was. I am so sorry that you were literally trying to save your friend’s life and she continues to be unable to appreciate your good intentions.

You don’t have to continue being upset about this. You can block this person. When you start to feel upset about it, let yourself feel the feels for a bit and then refocus your attention to something else. You have spent enough time on this. Closure is what you create by moving on, it’s not something dependent on another person. Good luck!
posted by Bella Donna at 3:13 PM on January 27, 2020 [4 favorites]

Also, I've just had a random memory (sorry for thread sitting). I remember once witnessing a fight between this friend and her older sister. They fought a lot. She literally was trying to stab her with a knife. Like, using all of her strength, laying on top of her sister, with her sister holding her wrist so that the knife wouldn't stab her in the face. If she had slipped, she would have literally died. My friend was using all of her force, but was maybe 4 years younger and weaker. I dragged her off of her and sat them down and told them this needed to stop. I get that sibling fights happen, but that was maybe a level beyond what was normal.

I also remember her aunt telling me to lift my top up (which I didn't do), and pointing out that my breasts were developing at a faster rate than my friend's, who had 'no tits'. Friend later got a boob job.

That family was not well, really.
posted by starstarstar at 3:21 PM on January 27, 2020 [5 favorites]

Wow. That adds some context--what a complicated and unhealthy dynamic everyone must have been a part of. It sounds like you've learned a lot over the years about what is healthy for you, and are continuing to make growth in that area. It can sometimes feel disorienting to feel like you're taking a step "back" on something you've been working on, but a lot of times, these kinds of acute situations give an opportunity for continued growth, development, and confidence. I think, going forward, that you can be proud that you figured out that there was something going on and that you needed third-party input to get a handle on it. That is an important strength, and you should be proud of how you're handling this.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:26 PM on January 27, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm 34 and I can only vaguely remember the traumas of when I was 18. For me, the strangest thing is the level of detail and discussion of something that happened 17 years ago, when you were both basically still children. There is nothing to discuss with her. You're a different person now, with your own life. Block her.
posted by thereader at 4:52 PM on January 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

Your friend sounds highly distressed (mood/personality disorder level distressed) and she also sounds super mean. No stable 35 year old adult would be mad at you for trying to keep her from killing herself; no kind 35 year old adult would be trying to tear you down the way she's currently doing. I still have friends from adolescence and nobody picks fights about what happened back then.

I kind of think the way your relationship busted up might mean that when you re-encounter her now (still mean!) you might get a little dragged back into your own adolescence, sort of the way people regress when they visit their families of origin. If I were in your shoes I would block the heck out of her, and then I would do some grounding exercises to recognize that I was an adult and it's 2020 and all that. And then I might do some lovingkindness exercises and wish her well. But well-and-far-away.

Take care of yourself; hope you feel better soon.
posted by sockanalia at 5:20 PM on January 27, 2020 [7 favorites]

You want closure and forgiveness, and you deserve them—but you're not going to get them from her, and you're not going to be able to start figuring out how to close this incident for yourself until you stop trying to get her to close it for you. She is the person least qualified to offer you a way out of these feelings, because she puts you right back in them every time. Stop replying, stop explaining, stop reaching out. She, the actual very ill human person, isn't who you need to hash things out with anyway; you have to reckon with the things she represents for you (the people who didn't protect you from the pedophile, the conviction that you don't deserve a giving friendship, the anxiety that your negative self-concept has been right all along... or several or all of these things or something different) which you can only do on you own.
posted by babelfish at 5:45 PM on January 27, 2020 [2 favorites]

Witnessing attempted murder sure just adds a few thousand exclamation points to what was an open and shut case anyway. Please block and avoid this person. You know that a person trying to murder another is not … I don't even know what to say. Normal? Okay? Like I don't have an actual word for how JUST DON'T MURDER ANYONE.

It can still hurt to be rejected and told hurtful things even if they're clearly not true. It doesn't matter if they're true or not, they can still hurt. Nothing about you is broken for that response.

But now it's time to block and it will fade. You will be okay. That woman? Not so sure. But that is not. your. problem.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:29 PM on January 27, 2020 [6 favorites]

This person is dangerous, stay away from her. She's a liar, has a had time with reality, happily left you in danger when you were young, has a death obsession and you've seen her be violent. Yes it's sad she's mentally ill etc but she clearly falls squarely into the dangerously disordered individual category. Block her and move on, she's more like a stalker you feel bad for than a friend.

I am not interested in helping people like this at all and I seem to regularly give friends pep talks on walking away from people who are bad news. It's hard for people who were raised to put others needs first but really, run don't walk. Your brother is right, she is creepy and she's trading on her mental illness to be abusive to others.
posted by fshgrl at 10:21 PM on January 27, 2020 [4 favorites]

It sounds like you both went through some really hard things when you were young. Young enough enough that someone--not another teenager, an adult or adults--should have protected you. That wasn't your fault or hers. Now that you are an adult, if you were reading a similar account from the distance of a stranger, wouldn't you have compassion for those teens, rather than judging the choices they made reacting to things they shouldn't have had to deal with in the first place? Do that for yourself if you can.

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about how limited our choices are when dealing with other people's mental health struggles, even when they are having an effect on our lives and even when we really want to do the right thing by them and ourselves. Often, the only choice that actually helps anyone is a choice that also ends the relationship. It doesn't make either person bad. It's just the consequence of making the choice. That's the case with the choice you made as a teen, and it's the case again now. For me, seeing--really seeing--when those two things are inseparable doesn't make it less sad, but it does make it more possible to affirmatively accept and move forward.
posted by lampoil at 6:48 AM on January 28, 2020 [3 favorites]

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