I have always prided myself on being a good friend, but unfortunately, I had a very bad experience at trying to be just that. I had met a lady, let’s call her Ann, in an organization that we both were members of. We hit it off, our husbands hit it off, and it was really a nice social relationship. Well, this went on for I would say about one year when things took a turn for the worst. She became extremely critical, sad, cynical, and very possessive of my time. This, unfortunately, went on for approximately ten years, yes can you believe it, ten years. You see, I always felt I would be able to help her overcome these insecurities and behavioral issues. I was never allowed to go to any other friends’ homes. If she found out she would call and make me feel like I had done something terribly wrong. I worked outside of my home, she did not work. If I did not stop by her house to see her after work she would call and again be very angry. If I did stop she would ask me if I was doing my “duty call”. I couldn’t win. When she came over, which was just about every day, and if any relatives or friends of mine would stop by, she would separate herself and make me choose who I would entertain. Eventually, no one but her came to avoid any unpleasant happenings.
She would demand my full attention while visiting with me. If I got up to do something like start a meal for my family, or have to pick up a child from an activity, she would be upset that she didn’t have my full attention and made my life a living hell.
During this time I must say my family suffered also. My oldest daughter, as I was told later in life, was actually physically hurt on several occasions by one of her children. Her children were about the same age as mine. My daughter never shared this with me as she felt I would reap a lot of upset if she brought this to my attention. Meals at our house were never regular as I was always involved in either consoling or handling a difficult situation with this friend. My oldest child would try to call home for rides or whatever, and could never get through as I would be on the phone trying to be a good friend and help this person with the problem or problems of the day.
We were told by many people to be upfront with her and live our lives as normal as possible, and be upfront with her on what was going on. On one occasion she was told that I was shopping in Madison with my sister who was then living in California and had come to visit. It was presented to her that this was o.k. and she should not be upset. Well, that night she took an overdose of pills. That took care of me ever wanting to get her upset again, and so the unhappy events continued as usual.
I could go on and on, but the last straw was when my sister-in-law put on a birthday party for me with my family and a few of my friends. When it was noted that my sister had been trying to get a hold of me, and my mother had called one of my other friends to see if I was there, it brought out a barrage of swearing and cursing at me and her finally leaving. At that point, I saw the light, knew I couldn’t do this anymore, and that was the last time we saw each other.
Looking back I wish I could change things, but I have to look at it as a learning experience.
Friendships are very important, but this one for me was a sad memory.