Friends (OT)

frustrated like nobodies business's picture

i have a friend who is currently going through a VERY trying time with her H. i've known her for 15 years and when she started dating H a while back i saw some warning signs that he was a verbal abuser and extremely dependent on my friend. he isolated her from a lot of her family and all of her friends except for me. we went back and forth about it and i decided to leave it alone because i felt my advice was falling on deaf ears. anyway recently they got into some issues with infedility on his part..with M and F which she obviously wasnt aware of. i tried to get her in a safe place and help her look for any resources she may find useful during her difficult time. as the days passed however her anger subsided and it began to look as though a divorce was no longer an option and that she was considering staying with H. i began to back up and give her some breathing room because i was starting to feel i was OVER advising her and making her head even more confused than it already was. here we are a bit more than a week after she learned the disturbing news of her H's double life and i feel like i was getting overly intertwined in her life to the point of having a short temper at home. the entire situation with her just began to literraly make me ill to my stomach. i know she needs me but i had to take a step back this past weekend and anyalize what my role was in helping her and how i could help her without it having such a bad effect on my home life. anyway today i got an email from her where basically she didnt understand why i hadn't been there for her this weekend. she said she felt she had no one to talk too or no where to turn. i feel HORRIBLE AND SO SELFISH. but at the same time BF and i are starting counseling today to deal with our own BM issues. any advice out there on where to draw the line at helping a friend? i know this isnt step related but it's eating me up so bad...i feel very guilty and at the same time very angry that she may choose to continue her life with H when it isn't in her best interest or their childs...arrggghhh...i feel like i dont know my place and like if i'm not trusting her to know what's best for her own life. HELP! any advice would be appreciated.


northernsiren's picture

Focus on yourself and your challenges. I've had several friends in the course of my life that I've had similiar problems with. I tried and tried to be there for them, picked them up emotionally after a huge fight, took the middle of the night phone calls "please come get me". The worst and most illustrative was a friend who got pregnant by a complete assh*le right out of high school, he did drugs, was an alcoholic, couldn't hold a job, had an assault record, and a viscious temper, and they lived together in "affordable housing". I tried to be there for her, but each time I went over her house, it caused a huge fight between the two of them, and was extremely uncomfortable for me, but I kept at it, b/c she was my friend.

When the baby was about 2, she got pregnant again. One night I went over there, and she told her bf she was going out with me, despite the fact she was 4 months pregnant, OBVIOUSLY pregnant, and sitting down, he turned around and began punching her in the stomach in front of me, screaming at her. What could I do? At 5'5' 120 pounds, I jumped on this 6 ft tall man, trying to pull him off of her, meanwhile, 3 of his meathead friends are just standing there, watching all this happen, poor screaming 2 yr old right there, and these big guys did nothing as he threw ME across the room, and then started choking me.

Eventually the cops arrived, the neighbors had called. Her BF left in handcuffs, and made the guys leave, and so she and I and her baby were alone there. I eventually fell asleep on the couch and awoke to him sitting in the easy chair across the room, staring at me. he had climbed up the outside of the building, and knocked on their bedroom balcony window. She let him in, I couldn't believe it.

I tried so hard over several years to convince her to leave him. I let her and her child sleep at my parents house even, talked to her over and over again, to no avail. Eventually I had to say "enough". You can only welcome so much stress, pain, and drama into your life before something has to give. If the person isn't willing to help themself, how are you supposed to continue to give a damn? We all have in born resiliency, and ability to cope with stress. When you sacrifice your reserves for someone else, it is an effort of love, but if that person doesnt' love themselves, it's wasted, and often all that comes out of it is that you've given them what they needed in the moment to make it through, and stick with the situation that much longer. Now your own relationship is suffering b/c you're bringing home so much of this. I say step back, and take time for yourself, focus on you. She may very well NOT know what's best for her in her life, but you're never going to be able to make her change until she's ready, at least that's my experience.....

CplStv's picture

I've been there, and Finally had to say..." I have My Own Life, and Need To Deal With It . I will still Be Here, for You, but NOT to the extent of it's Interfering With My Relationship, etc." It Was Hard, and I Felt Like Shit occasionally, when I couldn't Rescue Him from His Own Stupidity, but I Needed To Prioritize, and He Just Couldn't (Read SHOUDN'T) be a Top Priority, like he was when I was Single and had Much Less Responsibility...

Sometimes We just have to let People Sink Or Swim, on Their Own, even if it Hurts...


Kids are the Best and Worst Things We can do to Ourselves. When We have nothing else worth living for, We'll go on, for Them, but Oh How We Miss Our Freedom...LOL

Sita Tara's picture

Will respond to you saying,

"I'm so sorry. We were having some issues to work through. With all you have been going through, I didn't want to burden you with my own personal problems."

Now....if it's a true friend, she will answer with "Oh my God. I am so sorry I was so selfabsorbed that I didn't see you had something going on yourself. You have always been there for me and I am here for you too. Please, let me know what I can do."

And a fairweather friend?

Will say, "Oh really? I'm sorry to hear that. Now back to ME and MY problems."

So I suggest that simple approach and judge by the response if the friendship is genuine and reciprocal.


"Om Tare Tutare Ture Mama Ayurpunye Jnana Putin Kuru Svaha"
~Sita Tara Mantra