20YearsAsAStep-Mom's picture

Best friend won't listen or support me now.

My BFF just told me very gently on the weekend that she finds my family troubles very draining to listen to and can't imagine how I deal with everything. She has been the best support I have had and always had very logical calm advice for me. I guess i have lost that now and I am so disappointed in her attitude. What kind of friend tells you to basically stop talking about your problems to them? I would never do that to my friend EVER! Sad

cant win for losin's picture

that is messed up. looking

that is messed up. looking back and being objective how much of your side of conversation evolved around your troubles?

No justifing her actions, cause i too would never actually say it out loud to a friend, but i would start to distance myself if the majority of the time i was always venting.

Some days are okay, and other days i plot my exit.

When all else fails, just give 'em $10

prozac_nation's picture

^^^THIS^^^

^^^THIS^^^

StickAFork's picture

^^This. So well

^^This. So well stated.

Listening to someone bitch and bitch about problems and doing nothing to change it gets draining and frustrating for others to hear.

She sounds like a really good friend, and even you say she did it "gently." Try to take a look at your situation from a different side and see if it looks any different.

Stick a fork in me... I'm done...

BuffaloGal's picture

It can be really difficult to

It can be really difficult to listen to someone go over the same problem over and over again, and not show any inclination to change the situation. I had a very good friend who was in a toxic relationship. Eventually every conversation we had was about the awful relationship, the terrible things he did, how hurt she was, what she said to him, on & on. But "he's a really great guy, and I love him, if only he'd . . ." After awhile, I just couldn't do it anymore. I had 2 deaths in my family in a week, and after she said "I'm sorry, how are you doing?" she immediately launched into the same old story. She really couldn't focus on anything other than the lousy situation she didn't seem able to leave. I wish now I had tried to gently tell her I couldn't keep hearing the same thing from her everytime we talked, but I didn't. I disengaged from my best friend. Just didn't return her calls and emails as often, didn't go out for a drink with her, just distanced myself. It was incredibly painful to see someone I cared about so unable to get off the hamster wheel of misery, I finally couldn't do it anymore.

Please consider the possibility that your friend may just find it too difficult to see and hear you in pain and not able to help you. After all, you can vent endlessly HERE, but IRL, people who know and love you may not be able to see you stuck in a rut forever without pulling away in emotional exhaustion.

dtzyblnd's picture

I honestly don't know. If my

I honestly don't know. If my BFF said that, I'd be crushed. She's my rock in everything. I couldn't imagine her telling me not to pour out my woes or me telling her not too. Sad

****
My IPOD says sometimes you just wonder, how did that sperm win the race??
(that goes for all human beings, not just step hell)

20YearsAsAStep-Mom's picture

I hear you DK - I have become

I hear you DK - I have become the type of person I never wanted to be and never imagined I would turn into a miserable untrusting fool.

20YearsAsAStep-Mom's picture

Thanks Turtles. I will do

Thanks Turtles. I will do that a lot more. Posting here I mean. Just feeling a little sad about BFF. Things escalated since the disengagement with SD 6 months ago so I guess 6 months is a long time to her. It isn't really that long in a 15 year friendship so far though in my opinion. I will pull the reigns in on myself and just stay away from her for a while if I feel like I might need to vent. Thanks to all the lovely ladies here too for listening. I am going to need to all a lot more in the coming days/weeks. Cool

Orange County Ca's picture

Of course none of us here

Of course none of us here know how much you complain to your BFF but apparently it is was than she wanted to hear and that's what counted wasn't it. Everyones tolerance is different and now you know what hers is. Not every friend will jump overboard should you fall.

I don't know where you are in your disengagement but have you read this article:

http://www.steptogether.org/disengaging.html

dispiritedstepmom2011's picture

a 'friend' of mine did this

a 'friend' of mine did this to me years ago. said that my problems became hers and she couldnt deal anymore. i told her to fuck off, HER son is pleasent to her then fiance (now husband). hell, her son begged to call his stepdad DADDY!!!!

no one but us knows what we go thru.

ItAlmostWorked's picture

Hugs to you, 20years~

Hugs to you, 20years~

sueu2's picture

DangerKitty and StickAFork

DangerKitty and StickAFork are right. You are agreeing with them, but you're still hurt and angry with your friend for saying that. You really shouldn't be. She didn't mean you any harm or offense. Besides, it takes a really good friend to be so honest. Try to examine what she said and the meaning behind her words. That requires introspection on your part.

in·tro·spec·tion/ˌintrəˈspekSHən/
Noun: The examination or observation of one's own mental and emotional processes: "quiet introspection can be extremely valuable".

Sometimes, people enjoy their misery and are miserable because they do nothing to turn the problems around. What is very common, and no doubt you've heard the saying, "misery loves company." When we have problems and are feeling down, we want to vent and complain. We want others to know what we're going through. We want to be heard and know someone cares. But, other people don't want to be miserable all the time. People have their own problems and, if nothing else, they have their own ways of dealing with them. Their way may not work for you but because it's their way, they can neither understand nor tolerate the way you handle your problems if it means you are constantly dealing with the same problems or living a problematic lifestyle. And that means basically you are not handling things for yourself. She doesn't want to hear it anymore since it means you are not doing anything and not going to do anything. You have trained her to know you are just going to keep on complaining, so she can't see there ever being an end. She doesn't want you unhappy, but she can't solve your problems for you. Plus, it is exhausting to make suggestions when you don't take her advice and continue to complain.

Look at it this way: Were there a leak in your roof, you wouldn't leave it to ruin your house and your belongings. If you did, she wouldn't be able to understand why you keep complaining about the water coming into your house every time it rains and not having the presence of mind to call a roofer or use a bucket. If she gave you the name and number of a roofer or if she gave you buckets to place at the leaky site, she wouldn't appreciate you not calling the roofer and not using the buckets either. It would be beyond her ability to understand you not doing anything about the hole in your roof, not by yourself and not upon her suggestion.

I'm the type of person who complains in search of answers for understanding and solutions because I don't like being miserable, unhappy, or angry. So, my complaints are not repeated because I take care of the problem in whatever way is best for my life and those I love. That means I'm not afraid to put people out of my life, break up with a problematic boyfriend, or even divorce my husband if it comes down to no other solutions. Once I've tried everything I can think of trying (including enlisting professional help) and nothing else works, I have to entertain, if not implement, the seemingly unacceptable means to an end.

Stop being angry and hurt by your friend. It means you enjoy complaining and is more indication to her that you enjoy being the wounded victim always thinking someone did you wrong. She has not done anything to you. Prove to her and to yourself that you can and are willing to solve at least this one problem by calling her and thanking her for being your friend. Buy her a nice card or invite her over for lunch tomorrow. Give her a hug when she arrives, and tell her you still love her and agree with what she said. Then apologize for being such a downer and promise to be the kind of friend to her that she has been to you.

Janpes's picture

I am going a little bit

I am going a little bit through the same thing right now. Me and my bestie talked about everything at one point. Nowadays it can go a couple of weeks to even have a phone call. We used to speak or text everyday and see each other almost everyday to go to the gym or out for a walk.
Then 2010 I got sick and the illnesses dominated my life until mid 2011. During that time I felt her pulling away. I don't blame her though as it seemed every word that came out of my mouth was to do with being ill. I guess she just got fed up of listening to it.

Some people just have their limit and of course when we are in a downward spiral all we think about is the problem we have in front of us. God knows how hubby put up with me for that year and half, looking back I would have kicked my own arse for being a pain in one.

Don't feel to bad about your BFF everyone has their limits. Me I just get on with it now, we get in touch every now and again but it is not like before. These days I tell all my stuff to my hubby. over the years we have become very close and I now call him my BFF, he is my soulmate and someone who without a doubt will listen to my problems...hahaha as if he has a choice Eye-wink

lucy51's picture

I have a slightly different

I have a slightly different perspective. I lost my husband two years ago and many friends just dropped me. My problems with step kids continue to drag me down. A lot of people just don't want to be around people who remind them that bad things might indeed happen to them. I believe a true friend will see you through this bleak period of your life. Think of all the negativity that is expressed on this site! The terrible loneliness we feel. The horrible choices that have to be made, often after years of believing we could make it work. What we need is more support, not less. Therapists help, yes, but I still expect my friends to care and to call. We widows have a name for people who can't support us: "the don't get its."

Lucy

20YearsAsAStep-Mom's picture

It is so true. We have hoped

It is so true. We have hoped that over the years things would calm down and return to "normal". When things escalate instead, it is a shock and very hard to deal with. I don't think a few conversations will now make it all go away. Obviously it hurts my friend to see me suffering and it must be tiring to her. She has also gone through some trying times with her family and DH that seemed to go on for a long time, but I let her work it out - was her sounding board as much as she needed. I guess I can't expect that she has the same stamina as I in hard times. Therapists help but they cost a lot of money and it is a different dynamic when speaking with a therapist. I hope you do have some good friends who "get it" Lucy51, I totally understand what you are saying.

I also understand my friend's point of view. As much as it hurts, I know she is right. It is time to "shit or get off the pot" LOL.

LizzieA's picture

It's hard when you're stuck

It's hard when you're stuck between a rock and a hard place. And when issues consume you, as they can when it's your family. I've been there. Finally I reached my breaking point and I was done. I started to focus on myself and it was like coming back to life. The truth is, you can't change anyone else. And sometimes you will need to split from someone before they have the impetus to change. My problem is, when I'm done, I'm done.

20Y, who are you? What are you passionate about? What are your gifts and abilities? Think about that for a while and screw DH and SD.

StepAside's picture

My best friend has never said

My best friend has never said that to me, but during the peak years of dealing with nastiness from DH's family, I vented to her a lot. Toward the end of those years, she would change the topic as soon as I mentioned them. That stung a bit, but I knew what she was doing. It helped me really. Helped me to realize I was burdening her and a few other friends. I think counseling does help.

Smooth seas don't make great sailors.

Iluvmykids's picture

i have an issue with my bff

i have an issue with my bff also. she really doesnt want to listen but does andthen says something laways to make me feel worse. Even if i say things are going better and dh is coming around shewill always say your skids will do somehting to start a war again. . So even wheni try to look on thebrightside she is there shooting me down. really sux.

Most Evil's picture

I have had 'friends' like

I have had 'friends' like this before, but not any more. I am sure she does things that are annoying to you also but you have not told her to basically shut up?.

I would talk to a counselor or make the changes you can in your life, but I would also get rid of her.

I have had many friendships end because eventually you see what people are really like. I do not miss those people and looking back see that there were many signs before that that they were not really my friend.

It is a shame but sorry 'friend', life can't be unicorns and rainbows all the time for your benefit. Dur!! HUGS

My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.
~ Jim Valvano

lucy51's picture

I think it's true that there

I think it's true that there are times in your life when you have to shed "friends." I needed to do that after my husband died. Many friends dropped me, but I also dropped others who, in one way or another, made me feel worse. Often they wanted me to be better, held it over my head as a threat, really. Or they just made me feel bad in one way or another. It's hard to give up friends you've depended on, but I do believe it is necessary if they are not helpful or even harmful. The hard part for me has been going from my husband's death to the hell of the step kids over inheritance. It means I've lost even more friends! People are tired of my life, well, I am too. And I think the sympathy for step kids is not out there the way sympathy (even if it's just platitudes) exists when you lose someone you love. "Stepmonster" changed my life that way. I realized that there is practically zero support for bad relations with step kids. It makes one hesitant to speak out, even with "good friends." We really are between a rock and a hard place socially.

Lucy

sandye21's picture

20 Year, I have a good friend

20 Year, I have a good friend K. who has listened to me complain and I have listened to her complain. We have been there for each other, and I have felt very fortunate to have her ear and understanding when I really needed it. I believe she feels the same way about me. A year and 1/2 ago when SD had her meltdown and DH emotionally deserted me, I was a basket case. K. listened to me rant. When I said SD was banned from my house until she could treat me with respect, K. replied, "I'd never let her back in MY house!" Last week I listened to K. rant about the BF she had just dumped and I never felt the need to shut her up. I believe that true friends share, not just problems, the good things too. But there is a limit to everything. Friends are also honest with good intentions. I know K. well enough that if I wallowed in my problems too awful much and did nothing to improve the situation she would tell me to stop whining and do something about it. You wrote, "I guess I can't expect that she has the same stamina as I in hard times." Yes, you CAN expect the same stamina. Don't write off your friend yet but ask if this relationship is reciprocal.

You have been going through a heck of a lot, and I think you have been handling it quite well - most probably better than I would have. When it got really bad for me a year and ½ ago, and I felt the need to vent but did not want to burden my friends with another rant, I turned to journaling. It helped considerably. Many times I found the solutions to problems, and motivation or validation for actions by just reading back what I had written. And since no one was going to read it but me, I did not have to sensor or rephrase anything – which at times was very liberating. LOL Best wishes to you in finding the action you need to take next. Good luck.

saffron5567's picture

I'm not going to tell you not

I'm not going to tell you not to feel bad. I would feel awful if my friend said that to me and I'd probably be pissed at her too. But you might really have hit her limit. It sounds as if she was being very honest and it was probably hard for her to say it. You said she was very gentle when she said it, so it seems she wasn't trying to hurt you as much as she was trying to let you know her needs. You mentioned that she's been your greatest support. She deserves some credit for that because she did put the time in, even if she shut you off recently. You don't want to drop a friend like that without really making sure of it.

I know you're hurt and it will be awkward for a while with her, but it sounds like she just needs a breather. And maybe she was doing you a favor in a way - giving you a reflection of who you've become faced with all this family crap. Maybe you have become consumed with it and maybe it's not good for you or the people around you.

Regardless, try to give her and yourself a break. We need all the friends we can get and maybe she was just having a bad day too, right?

StepAside's picture

I agree saffron, the value of

I agree saffron, the value of true friends make quick forgiveness a must. My own brother was hung up on a subject for a long time. I'd talk about it with him, and after some years, I lost interest. It was the same topic, same words, over and over. So I started changing the subject. I think he got the hint. It wasn't doing either of us any good to keep rehashing the past. And I could hear his voice get animated more and more when he talked about it. Didn't seem like it was helping him either.

I tend to dump my issues with my DH's family here. I work more on having a reciprocal relationship with others. I listen to what's going on with them, I tell them what's going on with me. Unless there's something immediate and disconcerting with DH's family, I don't even mention it anymore. I know my friends and family are as sick of hearing about it, as I am sick of dealing with it.

I think the same goes for any topic that just gets talked about too much. I hurt my back, and for 9 months straight I was in severe pain. That's all I talked about, until I realized I was wearing my DH out talking about it. So I stopped talking about it, but was still thinking only about it until I had surgery. I hurt so bad, but was taking DH down with me, so I had to deal with it the best I could.

Here's to going back to the gym to sweat it out. I took a break but will be back in the saddle Tuesday.

Smooth seas don't make great sailors.

20YearsAsAStep-Mom's picture

HI SA, just wanted to say

HI SA, just wanted to say thank you for your great support and hope your back is better now and you are not in pain. Things are always harder to deal with when we have pain or other health issues for sure. Smiling

20YearsAsAStep-Mom's picture

Thanks for all the great

Thanks for all the great feedback. BFF called me last night - I think she is worried that she hurt my feelings but I was SO HAPPY to hear from her. I did not mention ONE WORD about my whoes only good things that went on in the week and she told me about her week. She was on vacation and was doing lot's of fun stuff and I let her talk too. Good for me - yay! You ladies are a life-saver in more ways than one. Even when SD troubles spill into other parts of our lives - you ladies are always here and you ALWAYS listen and I THANK YOU ALL for that. Thank you thank you thank you. Eye-wink

saffron5567's picture

You done good, 29Years! I bet

You done good, 29Years! I bet she was delighted to talk with you and really share. We all step on friends sometimes. The good ones forgive us! Glad this worked out.

StepAside's picture

That's wonderful! So glad to

That's wonderful! So glad to hear it. It's so hard to get best friends, that it's terrible to lose one. I'm glad you two made it past this.

Smooth seas don't make great sailors.

Not-the-mom's picture

Your post didn't say if she

Your post didn't say if she didn't want to see or talk to you any more. It sounds like she just doesn't want to constantly hear over and over again about your situation.

Any best friend should be able to be honest and open with us. If she can't take it any more, she can't take it any more. She has needs also, and she can still love and care for you, even though she has honestly told you she can't help you in this area.

I had to recently tell a new friend to stop calling me. She was abusing the relationship. It was hard for me to do, and I did it as gently as I could. She is also doing this same thing with others I know - calling them, talking only about herself - always seems to be in a crisis or drama. It gets draining. She has a counselor whom she needs to deal with these issues with.

Try to understand your friends position. If need be, seek out a good counselor - read some good self-help books, read these posts - make needed changes and not just complain endlessly. Many of here have been in your situation, and have learned that it is our responsibility to take action and not allow others (your husband and your stepkids) to treat you with disrespect.

One thing that has helped me and many others is to start a JOURNAL, and complain there all you like. Smiling Write down your thoughts, feelings, frustrations. In doing this it helps you vent and see any patterns you need to change in yourself. You can look back later and see how things have changed or not changed, and gives you insight into what to do.

Good luck.

Keep the faith!

StepAside's picture

Sorry to pry, but you told a

Sorry to pry, but you told a "new" friend to stop calling you? And you know others whom she vents to? So does that mean you and some of her other "friends" have been discussing her?

I don't know if I'd categorize that relationship as a friendship. At best, it sounded like an acquaintance.

My best friends would never talk about me to someone else. And they'd never tell me to stop calling either. They might slap me upside the head, but they'd never toss me.

Smooth seas don't make great sailors.

Not-the-mom's picture

No, I know the same people

No, I know the same people she knows. She told me that the others she had been talking to were getting "tired" of her complaining. I didn't know the whole situation then - so I gave her a chance - waited to see how things went with us.

As time went on, I could see why the others were getting frustrated with her. She tended to be melodramatic, and didn't seem to really want to listen to or take others advice.

From what I could see, she was a person who seemed to NEED drama in her life. She seemed to go out of her way to either find, or create drama. She was addicted to it. If things were too quite, she was uncomfortable. A "hysterionic personality".

Maybe the below information will help explain better.............

"Histrionic personality disorder is one of a group of conditions called "Cluster B" or "dramatic" personality disorders. People with these disorders have intense, unstable emotions and distorted self-images. For people with histrionic personality disorder, their self-esteem depends on the approval of others and does not arise from a true feeling of self-worth. They have an overwhelming desire to be noticed, and often behave dramatically or inappropriately to get attention. The word histrionic means "dramatic or theatrical."

In many cases, people with histrionic personality disorder have good social skills; however, they tend to use these skills to manipulate others so that they can be the center of attention."

I am NOT saying that "20YearsAsAStepMom" is a hystrionic person, but I was just saying that there are people and times when it can be necessary to let someone know that you find their demands on your friendship draining.

Keep the faith!

just tired's picture

20 Years, here is your

20 Years, here is your OP:
"My BFF just told me very gently on the weekend that she finds my family troubles very draining to listen to and can't imagine how I deal with everything. She has been the best support I have had and always had very logical calm advice for me. I guess i have lost that now and I am so disappointed in her attitude. What kind of friend tells you to basically stop talking about your problems to them? I would never do that to my friend EVER! "
++++++++++++++++++

You have received excellent thoughts from posters and you've had a subsequent conversation with your friend in which you stopped yourself from making the conversation all about you, and you had a great talk with your friend. I want to point out some things from your OP:

1. You did say your friend told you gently, so she was trying to be kind in telling you what she said.
2. She said she can't imagine how you deal with everything. That is great empathy that she offered you.
3. You stated you were disappointed in her attitude, and you wondered what kind of friend tells you to stop talking about your problems to them.

I know when she said that to you, it must have seemed so harsh. And good for you that you've figured out that this site is a better place to vent....people here are better equipped to understand what you're going through.

Please allow me to tell you about a similar situation I had, where I was the one in your BFF's role. My BFF got involved with a man who, at first, treated her wonderfully. Then as things got more serious and they got engaged, his behavior began to change. When she would complain to me, I would try to gently get her to see the patterns in his behavior that she was describing to me. About a month before her wedding to this guy, she was complaining to me and I asked why she was marrying him because all she ever did was complain about him. She didn't have an answer.

She went ahead and married him, and what do you think happened? His behavior continued to worsen, and he became very abusive. Fast forward one year and all she's ever done is complain more & more about him and their marriage and how he treats her. Our conversations had, at one time, included things about her work, my work, her children from her first marriage, my marriage...life in general. Finally, it got to where it wasn't what you could call "conversation"...it was just her monologue of how miserable she was.

One day I'd had enough. I told her that I just couldn't do it anymore and that I needed to take a break. She would always be my BFF, but I just couldn't handle her marriage troubles anymore. I still loved her and would always be her friend, and hoped that she could figure things out, but that I needed a break.

I'm sure it likely hurt her feelings, just as you were hurt. But, by only complaining to me, she was able to vent...but she never DID anything about her situation. When I unplugged, she began actually looking at her marriage and the place she'd gotten to and realized how miserable she really was.

The break I asked for helped both of us. She has separated and is filing for divorce from her abusive husband. She & I have reconnected and we are now able to have actual conversations....balanced with things about both of us.

Your friend was doing both of you a favor. She was trying to save the friendship, and the only way she knew to do that was to try very delicately to help you understand that if you continued on with one-sided, non-stop complaining, it was going to be more & more difficult for her to be supportive.

And in the final analsyis, unless she is also a SM, she will not be able to fully understand what you go through....what we here go through. She can only understand up to a point, and then she can only tell you how draining it must be...

In addition to venting here, perhaps you could find a therapist...someone who could work with you on some coping strategies and setting boundaries.

Best to you....