May 29, 2019 at 10:24 am #296255
Brandy, it’s good to know it gets better as the kids get older. Unfortunately, I still have a LONG time to go. My takeaways from this experience: my emotional resilience and self compassion needs A LOT of work.May 29, 2019 at 10:28 am #296257
Anita, given the current state of things I’m just trying to focus on moving on. I’ve been thinking about the questions you posed earlier and it’s good food for thought, and if given an opportunity, I’ll definitely be asking. Although my current plan is to phase out these women in the least awkward way possible. They aren’t bad people, but they also aren’t my people.May 29, 2019 at 10:51 am #296259
“to phase out these women in the least awkward way possible” reads like a good enough plan to me.
anitaMay 30, 2019 at 9:29 am #296461
The primary reason why I set out to explore mindfulness and meditation years ago was because of the distress brought on by my participation in these parent circles. When my oldest child had reached kindergarten age I was excited to register him in school envisioning nothing but harmony, close friendships with other moms, and volunteering at the school. Boy was I wrong! Here’s how it works in my area: There’s a group of “powerful” parents who basically run the community. The PTA president and her husband run in the same crowd as the board members of little league baseball, president of the athletic booster club, leaders of the boy scouts/girl scouts, president of the district’s fundraising organization, classroom moms, bible study leaders, etc. Many of these people attain their positions by making sizable donations to the organizations they want to lead. And they are all “friends”. They are tailgating together to local college football games, having exclusive parties, seated together at the fundraising events, controlling every aspect of your child’s school events, etc. So anyone in this group is pretty much protected; their kids are assigned to the baseball teams they want to be on, to the classes with the best teachers, and they all have each others’ backs regardless of their bad behavior, and the rest of the parents in the community are their pawns. I know, it sounds crazy and I’d never believe it had I not lived it myself!
So one day you decide that you’re going to take back your power, that you’re not going to play the game anymore. And the very second you do that you are free!
BJune 3, 2019 at 10:54 am #297191
Brandy, our community is the same but on a much smaller scale. What a crappy experience. Same moms doing all the events and running the show. I’m not really drawn to those parents, which is probably why this whole thing has me so shook. It was more about getting to know the parents of my daughter’s friends. Who knew? I’m refocusing my energy and slowly (but surely) transitioning from distress/sadness to anger/resentment. My guess is that she’s punishing me and thinking that I’ll be sitting here waiting for her with open arms, but I don’t play games.
Do you have any suggestions on where to start on mindfulness and meditation? I’ve dabbled in meditation, but not much experience in mindfulness.
KJune 3, 2019 at 1:10 pm #297235
I completely understand how you feel. Yes, that’s what I was doing too, trying to become friends with the parents of my kids’ friends because I felt that if I wasn’t then my kids would be excluded from activities, birthday parties, play dates, etc. Also because these women were a big part of my social life and I liked being a part of their group. Early on, though, my instincts told me to be wary of some of them; I ignored this in order to keep the friendships going (moms need friendships too!) and because my kids loved their kids. It’s a no-win situation.
And then, of course, once one of them turns on you for a minor human mistake the games start, the gossiping and the pretending. They can look you straight in the eye and pretend with you, try to manipulate you. You know what I mean. And if you react to it they’ll continue behaving this way. So the key is to walk away, let it all go, and to not let it bother you.
But how do you do that? The first book I read on mindfulness was A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. My problem was that I was ruminating on the unfairness of my situation, felt paralyzed in that I couldn’t properly defend myself and that my kids would suffer as a result. Honestly, I also felt rejected and sad. So this book helped me to get my mind off it, get out of my head. The other thing I would recommend is to get back to meditating, 20 minutes twice a day, and give it at least 3 months before you judge if it’s helping or not. After practicing mindfulness/meditation for a short time I learned that I’m not the one with the problem, they are. I also learned that my kids are fine, that the situation was much worse for me than it was for them.
But I’ll never forget what happened, especially when I see it happening to other unsuspecting moms.
Maybe others here can recommend better ways to get started with mindfulness.
BJune 7, 2019 at 7:21 pm #297925
Brandy, I’m so sorry you had such a terrible go of it with those women. It sounds like your takeaway was huge and you’re a stronger person for the experience. (And I’m reaping the benefits!) The things we do for our kids.
It’s funny, today I randomly ran into the husband (he was a stay at home dad, so he’s my primary friend in the couple) of the 5th couple in the group of friends and the ONLY two who were supportive to me. And I closed the loop on what happened (I’m truly committed to not repeating this story again, but he was inquisitive). And he essentially confirmed that one of the women manipulated the situation to create the drama. Now I feel no sadness and resentment, only anger. Confirms that they are NOT my people.
Having imaginary conversation telling them off, which I won’t do because it will feed the drama.
I will check out A New Earth and I will start my regular meditation again. Thank you!June 8, 2019 at 9:07 am #297989
You are welcome and I’m glad the stay-at-home dad was able to confirm some things for you. Thanks for the kind words and yes for me it was one of those experiences that I wouldn’t un-do because it taught me how important it is to not get dragged down by negative thoughts, to observe them and let them go. It takes a lot of work at first but then gets easier.
I too had those imaginary conversations telling those women off, and although putting them in their place would have given me immeasurable satisfaction, it only would have made things worse. I think assertiveness is important but maybe not so much in this context. If certain women are not accepting your heartfelt apology and are now distancing themselves from you, that’s their choice (however warped it may be) and you need to accept it. Confronting them only makes you look desperate which you are not. Get up, dust yourself off, and get on with your life. Like you say, these are not your people.
BJune 9, 2019 at 10:56 am #298121
Brandy, your response came just in time. Yesterday I ran into one of the women at our kids piano recital. The one I had been friends with for 5 years and introduced to the group. The one who let my mistake drop then backed away from our friendship until she was given permission to text me- which she did unapologetically. She’s taken the hint about our friendship being at a stalemate, but it’s clear she thinks I’m upset w her bc she “told” and not bc of how she abandoned me when I needed her support.
It’s tempting to schedule coffee and give her my version, tell her why I’m actually upset with her. But it would fuel the drama.
Please reinforce for me why this would be a bad idea? I feel deeply, I invest in my friends wholeheartedly. It’s getting better, but seeing these women regularly is a constant struggle and setback.
KJune 9, 2019 at 12:39 pm #298137
Part of me thinks it’s important that this woman knows exactly why you’re upset with her but I’m not sure meeting for coffee is the way to go. You already know you can’t trust how accurately she’ll describe your conversation to the others, so why set yourself up? Also, there’s a chance you’ll say something you regret which may blow this thing up even bigger. Maybe I’d write her a letter telling her how I feel and while I’m writing it I’d be fully aware that it’ll be shared with others in the group. I would not come across as angry because that could fuel more anger in these women, and I wouldn’t try to make her or anyone else feel bad. I’d keep it very short and I’d chose my words wisely.
There’s a good chance, however, that after writing the letter I wouldn’t send it for several days, maybe a couple weeks, maybe even not at all because there’s another part of me that believes that sometimes these things get worse when we try to fix them. Sometimes they work themselves out on their own if we are patient and can handle the uncertainty of the future. I think that deep down this woman, your friend of five years whom you introduced and welcomed into your group, knows that you are hurt that she didn’t support you when you really needed her to. I mean, how could she not know this?
Albert Einstein once said “You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it” or something like that anyway which to me means it may be better to wait things out, become more mindful before deciding on the right action to take, if any needs to be taken at all.
Sorry, I wish I had a better answer for you. Take a deep breath and try to calm yourself as best you can. Keep posting here and I’ll answer and maybe some others will too. Hang in there. 🙂