Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Feeling Guilty

Last summer I told you about a friend who had let me down...repeatedly... and about how I thought I had reached my breaking point. 

I had. 

I backed off from the friendship. I could not get her via the phone, so I sent a heartfelt email explaining how I felt. The response I got began with, "I haven't read past the first paragraph, but..." and I honestly just deleted. I felt that if she didn't have time to read my complete thoughts, then I wasn't going to put anymore effort into things. 

In the meantime, I'd started to reevaluate another friendship and and I began to feel that this was another one I might be better off without. I sound like an awful, selfish witch, even to myself, but I just felt like I didn't have anymore to give.

That said, I still kept in touch. There were periodic texts, usually initiated by her and I sent birthday wishes and a Christmas Card.  Each time she indicated she wanted to resume the friendship and my response was always the same, "Let me know when you want to get together." I figured I was not willing to make the effort, but if she really meant it and was willing, I would certainly go along. She never followed through. ~ Big Shocker.

Our girls, however, were friends and were missing each other. The Girl was adamant that her daughter be included in the birthday festivities last week. For my part, I really felt that the children shouldn't be punished for the parent's issues, so I sent an invitation. She got in touch and accepted and again indicated that she missed me and wanted to "put the past behind us." I told her she was welcome to hang out the night of the party and then I forgot about it...

Until the day of the party, when I got a text...cancelling.

Some things never change.

She did still send her daughter.  She had her mother drop her off.  Her mother got my ear. 

Apparently things have not gotten better for her. In fact they are worse. Things did not work out with the guy. ~ No surprise there.~ According to her mother, she hardly ever leaves the house, has not found a job, and is just getting bigger and bigger.

I'm at a loss. I feel like an awful person for turning away from a friend in her time of need, but I'm not sure I have it in me to go down this road again when nothing has changed. 


What would you do in my shoes?

20 comments:

Leah said...

Have no guilt! "Surround yourself with greatness!" Surround yourself with people who pull you up, make you be your best. Life is too short to be dragged down into someone else's drama. Of course, be kind, compassionate and continue to be open as you have been; your door seems open to her if she ever needs, but you can't drag her through that door. I think it's so important not to make the kids suffer either, so I applaud you for that. So glad I found your blog!

Alison said...

It's hard. But you know what? You did try. And she's clearly not in the head space to give your friendship another real go. So I say, let it go. Focus your time, energy and love on the friends who do the same for you.

I'm sorry about the friendship losses though.

Angelwithatwist said...

Some people, and she sounds like one of them, are not happy unless everyone else is miserable. Individuals in that mind set can be damaging to everyone they come in contact with. I think where you are right now is where you need to be. Self destruct takes no prisoners and she is looking for one to be in her same funk

Andrea B. said...

I'm really glad she sent her daughter. I was going to be pissed if she made the girl sad. :( But yeah, I feel you. Sometimes friendships just drain the heck out of you and you give all you can and you know when you're done. Huge hugs, my friend. I'm sorry you're losing someone you've cared about - but I think you know it's time to let go.

Michelle Nahom said...

Sometimes you just have to let go of friends. And sometimes they come back into your life. We're better off focusing our energy on the here and now most of the time! It is hard to lose someone you care about, but it sounds like you've tried.

Diane said...

She sounds like a person who is determined to be miserable. You tried.

Aleta said...

Some people don't want to accept an olive branch, not matter how many times and ways it is offered. The best that you can do is to offer it and let them accept or not and just keep on with your life.

My sister-in-law is like that, sadly. I've tried countless times to reach out to her to no avail. She chooses to not want a relationship with me and I think a lot of it is cultural, she's not from the States. There's not much more I can do and I have a life to live... so I move on :)

Bev Feldman said...

That is definitely a tough call. Ordinarily, I think I would have said to let it go. But I recently reconnected with a really close childhood friend who I had lost touch with for 4 1/2 years. I felt like I was putting in all the effort in the friendship, and by the end I was hurt and mad by her seemingly lack of interest in maintaining our long-distance friendship.

I missed her, though, and found her phone number online a few weeks ago. It turns out during that time she had gone through a very tough couple years, and had actually pushed away everyone who was close to her, even though this is when she probably needed us the most.

In some ways I felt sad and guilty that I hadn't tried harder, even though I didn't know what was going on, and I regret those few years we didn't have together. But at the same time, I was reaching a point where I felt like she didn't appreciate our friendship anymore, and those years apart made me realize how important she was, and we had an awesome reconnection.

So kind of a long story in a response to your post, but I definitely understand where you are coming from, and i think you have to listen to you heart, whatever it is telling you.

The Dose of Reality said...

Don't blame you a bit for this...sometimes you can't stick with a friendship, even when they need you. It is okay.-The Dose Girls

Ilene, The Fierce Diva Guide to Life said...

I am someone who hangs onto guilt and blames myself for things a lot of the time time. I would probably try to be there for that friend - but if - and only if - it didn't mean compromising myself or putting myself in a position where I would be drained of all energy from the exchange. It really is OK to let go if that's the right thing for you.

Chris Carter said...

Oh how I hate those guilty feelings and having to let friends go. But we need to understand and accept that some people make us "unhealthy" and if we have already tried, it is time to let go for our own "health". I say good for you! I think it's so important to weed out people that are toxic in our lives...so that we can be used to bless those who are there for the taking... make room for new friends!!

Tricia said...

You know what I'm going to say here.

*Do Not Hang Out With People Who Suck.*

That's the rule. It sucks sometimes to abide by it, but you know it is what is best for you.

AiringMyDirtyLaundry said...

I don't blame you. Sometimes we just have to get rid of the toxic people in our lives. I've had a few that I've had to drop. Some were going through hard times but I just had to stay away. I knew it would only end in trouble.

Thankfully I have true friends that I can lean on and they know they can come to me too.

Shell said...

Remind yourself that it is not your job to fix other people.

If she does reach out, you can consider what she needs.

But- you have to take care of your kids and yourself and your job and Lawn Boy and all that FIRST.

Maureen Hitipeuw said...

This post reminds me of my own friendship that just ended in February. You are right tho...sometimes you have to think about your self first. I know when I give and give and give it left me empty at the end and it's not healthy.

Heather said...

Don't feel guilty. I echo everyone else. You can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped. I think some of the evaluating of friendships comes about because you are in a good place in your life, in a healthy relationship, and feeling good about yourself. You don't need to bring yourself down!!

Jennifer said...

It is really hard to help someone that is not willing to help herself. You know? You don't have to be her savior. You've tried, and sometimes trying is enough.

Babes Mami said...

Stay away and let her come to you if she decides to. Unhappy people can/are toxic and if they are set on being unhappy (which I'm fairly sure she is) then you can't change that. She has to want to change that.

Cyndy Newsome said...

From where I'm sitting, I think you're doing the right thing. You can't force someone to be a good friend and you can't do all of the work.

Melisa - Mommy This & That said...

You tried. You put the ball in her court and she did exactly what you thought she would do. Do not feel guilt because you are not responsible for other people's happiness but your own (and by proxy, your kids.)

4 1/2 years ago I let my friendship with my supposed best friend die out. We were living in the same state, only 30 minutes apart and she could never find time to hang with me. She ended up moving and came back to town and never called me. It hurt me to think so many others were important to her. I cut her loose and while I still think of her, I don't let it consume me. I made myself available to her and she dropped the ball. As we get older, we need to live simply and let certain baggage go. It does not make us a bad friend, it lets us be better friends to those that truly care.