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Time to end friendship?

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  • #404117
    JemJem
    Participant

    Hi, looking for advice. Been struggling with how to deal with this situation.

    Been friends with let’s say Emma for 30 years. We briefly fell away for a few years during our teenage years.

    During those years I was badly bullied by let’s say Tara.

    A few years ago, Emma started a friendship with Tara. I can’t be around Tara, I have never forgiven her.

    Emma knows what she did to me, I explained it all when she first started spending time with Tara. She had continued the friendship.

    There have been a few occasions I haven’t went to some of Emma’s events because Tara was going to be there also.

    I have found that Emma being being friends with someone who hurt me so badly , strange. I feel unsafe in the friendship and I’ve been trying to distance myself to avoid any drama.

    Phasing out isn’t working , she keeps asking to see me. I eventually do cave and see her as I feel bad.

    I’m at the stage I would like to end our friendship. Am I right to be upset about this or am I being sensitive ? I don’t know how to end the friendship without there being an argument from her end. I am also worried that she will cause trouble for me.

    help

    #404118
    anita
    Participant

    Dear JemJem:

    Welcome back! You’ve been friends with Emma for 30 years. I figure you are 33, so you’ve been friends with her since you were 3, except for a few years during high school. Tara badly bullied you during high school. A few years ago (about 12-15 years after the bullying), Emma started a friendship with Tara. You then explained it all to Emma but she continued the friendship nonetheless. When you distance yourself from Emma, she keeps asking to see you.

    I’m at the stage I would like to end our friendship. Am I right to be upset about this or am I being sensitive?“- it is understandable that you are upset about this. I would be upset too, if I was in your situation.

    I don’t know how to end the friendship without there being an argument from her end. I am also worried that she will cause trouble for me“- I remember you were similarly worried February last year (“I am scared to speak to him about it as I feel like I can’t tell him why… in case he tells the other woman at work”). You were scared then to get in trouble with a woman at work (and maybe with the man as well), and you are scared now to get in trouble with Emma and with Tara .

    It is not surprising that you are scared of retribution, after all, you were badly bullied! I think that it is time to face this fear and do what’s right for you regardless of the fear. This is what courage is about: doing what is right even though it’s scary. (Of course it’s easy for me to say, all it takes is my typing into the computer. There are things I am scared of and haven’t had the courage to do yet). What do you think about courage?

    * You wrote that you told Emma about Tara bullying you a few years ago (when you were about 30). Didn’t you tell Emma about it when you resumed the friendship with her, in your late teens or during all your 20s? One more thing: when you told Emma, what did she say? Did she explain why she decided to continue the friendship with Tara in spite of her bullying you and your current feelings about it?

    anita

    #404119
    JemJem
    Participant

    What do you think about courage?——- I do believe it’s important to be brave. I have been many times in life. The reason I fear ending the friendship and telling her why , is I am scared she causes trouble for me , spreading stories . My family fear she tells Tara. To give you background , Tara is from a family of thugs , family members often at court, and she is a thug herself. Everyone who knows Emma, is surprised she would even want to be friends with Tara in the first place , never mind the pain she caused me.

    When we resumed our friendship , I had moved away and rarely seen Tara. And it was a painful time in my life and I suppose I felt ashamed that I didn’t stand up for myself properly therefore never spoke about it to Emma.  When Emma started a friendship with Tara, I told her then what had happened. Her response was “ oh my god that is awful !!!” However , she continued the friendship.

    What I really want to do is to end the friendship peacefully and tell her the reason. However the worry that she will cause trouble/drama for me is worrying. Hence, my family have encouraged me to phase the friendship out. Which I find myself quite cruel, and I would rather be honest. But again , the drama I may encounter may not be worth it.

    I really don’t know what to do and it is troubling me.

    #404120
    JemJem
    Participant

    <p style=”text-align: right;”>What do you think about courage?——- I do believe it’s important to be brave. I have been many times in life. The reason I fear ending the friendship and telling her why , is I am scared she causes trouble for me , spreading stories . My family fear she tells Tara. To give you background , Tara is from a family of thugs , family members often at court, and she is a thug herself. Everyone who knows Emma, is surprised she would even want to be friends with Tara in the first place , never mind the pain she caused me.</p>
    When we resumed our friendship , I had moved away and rarely seen Tara. And it was a painful time in my life and I suppose I felt ashamed that I didn’t stand up for myself properly therefore never spoke about it to Emma.  When Emma started a friendship with Tara, I told her then what had happened. Her response was “ oh my god that is awful !!!” However , she continued the friendship.

    What I really want to do is to end the friendship peacefully and tell her the reason. However the worry that she will cause trouble/drama for me is worrying. Hence, my family have encouraged me to phase the friendship out. Which I find myself quite cruel, and I would rather be honest. But again , the drama I may encounter may not be worth it.

    I really don’t know what to do and it is troubling me.

    #404121
    anita
    Participant

    Dear JemJem:

    I am scared she causes trouble for me , spreading stories… the worry that she will cause trouble/drama for me is worrying…  the drama I may encounter may not be worth it” – but what is it about Emma’s or Tara’s drama that is dangerous to you, what is it that is so powerful about their words.. or is it their deeds? If you imagine the worst that either one can do to you, what is it?

    I mean practically, how can any one of them harm you?

    I used to be so afraid of people hurting me in the future that I didn’t realize that all the hurt was already done to me.  I will be back to your thread in about 9 hours.

    anita

    #404128
    JemJem
    Participant

    Worst Emma could do , is if she takes It badly , turn nasty and reveal my secrets.

    Tara, if Emma was to tell her I ended our friendship because of her, verbal or physical(probably unlikely ) abuse in public if I were ever to bump into her.

    what do you think I should do ?

    #404129
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi JemJem

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re in a sticky situation.

    I have a question. It sounds like Emma and Tara have been friends for a few years. Why is it now bothering you to the point of ending the friendship with Emma. I’m curious as to what changed?

    You mentioned telling Emma about Tara’s bullying. Did you ever directly ask her to stop seeing Tara and explain how uncomfortable their relationship makes you?

    I think the answer to these questions might give you some idea about how to handle the situation.

    #404131
    JemJem
    Participant

    It has bothered me for years. However I first tried to over look it and out my feelings aside to avoid any drama. I suppose now I am just worn down. Putting my feelings aside then if she posts on social she is with her , I’m back to being hurt again.

    I never asked her to stop seeing Tara. As I felt that it would be controlling and that’s not who I am. I would have much preferred her to be loyal and to want to stop seeing her out of respect that she had badly hurt me, her friend of 30 years.

    #404132
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi JemJem

    Thank you for explaining!

    I can understand that you didn’t want to be controlling. The time might have passed to ask Emma to cease contact with Tara, since now they have been friends for years.

    Do you think it might be worth having a conversation with Emma about these feelings that you have been having?

    #404133
    JemJem
    Participant

    I’d like to but I don’t see things getting any better. My family and friends say she is what you would call a “toxic” friend. They think that she knows that it upsets me but she doesn’t care.

    #404134
    anita
    Participant

    Dear JemJem:

    What I really want to do is to end the friendship peacefully and tell her the reason“- this is what you really want to do, so do it. Honor what you genuinely want to do, this way you honor yourself!

    However the worry that she will cause trouble/drama for me is worrying“- there is often a risk when we choose to honor ourselves, that’s why courage is needed. Take the chance of drama and do what’s right for you, which is to end the friendship with Emma peacefully. Otherwise, you’re forever submissive to others out of fear.

    Hence, my family have encouraged me to phase the friendship out. Which I find myself quite cruel, and I would rather be honest“- your family and you are operating out of FEAR and it is not serving you well. Switch to operating out of honoring your genuine feelings and needs.

    But again , the drama I may encounter may not be worth it.”- any and all of the drama you mentioned will be worth honoring yourself!

    Worst Emma could do , is if she takes It badly , turn nasty and reveal my secrets“- (1) for future reference: if you have secrets, better you don’t reveal them to anyone (except in a professional setting such as in psychotherapy or a legal consultation). Otherwise, you are handing people a weapon they can use against you, or you are setting yourself to living in fear that your secrets will be revealed, (2) honor yourself: end the friendship with Emma peacefully and wait. Hopefully, nothing will turn nasty. I understand that there is a risk involved,  but this is where courage comes in: endure the fear and do the right thing for yourself.

    Tara, if Emma was to tell her I ended our friendship because of her, verbal or physical(probably unlikely ) abuse in public if I were ever to bump into her. What do you think I should do?“- carry a small pepper spray in your purse so that if you are physically threatened or attacked by Tara (or by anyone else), you can protect yourself. If Tara attacks you verbally in public, calling you names, let’s say, stand in front of her with your head held high, looking straight into her eyes, and with a strong voice tell her to go ***** (you choose the words, something profane perhaps), and have your hand in your purse holding the pepper spray.

    It (Emma’s & Tara’s friendship) has bothered me for years. However I first tried to over look it and put my feelings aside to avoid any drama. I suppose now I am just worn down“- the cost you are paying for not honoring yourself and your feelings is that you keep things inside, and it wears you down: you are paying with your health! So you see, you are afraid that the two women, Emma and Tara, will hurt you in the future, if they get upset with you, and yet,  you are already hurting by keeping your emotions inside and not doing what needs to be done.

    I want to add another post to this in regard to fear, but I want to send this first.

    anita

    #404136
    JemJem
    Participant

    That is all so helpful. Thankyou so much . And you are bang on about me and my family operating out of fear. We are quite an anxious family

    #404144
    anita
    Participant

    Dear JemJem:

    I went looking for your fear in your previous threads and found plenty of it. I don’t want to focus on details of past events in your life.  I want to focus on the FEAR FACTOR (yours, mine and everyone’s):

    On April 2018, more than 4 years ago, you wrote: “I am also petrified… I’m 29 and worried that I won’t meet anyone…  I’m also petrified of… petrified…  I am also scared…I can’t seen to move on from all these feelings of loss , hurt , rejection and fear.  Please help me… The last year was unhappy due to my anxiety and depression… I kept battling within myself as to whether it was just my anxiety and negative thinking…  he was unhappy with a member of family that I’m close with and wanted to give them into trouble which I didn’t agree with him doing, so that was causing stress and he kept It going . I felt so stressed out (about)  the potential conflict and told him how I felt and he said I was making a big deal of it…  I started panicking and thinking more about breaking up..  I ended the relationship as I felt that the rest of our lives would be constant disagreements… I feel that I’m weak now. I used to be so confident in myself and now I feel hopeless , sad and I hate myself and blame myself for everything“-

    – you are afraid of different things, one of which is having a potential conflict with another person. You are afraid of upsetting someone and causing them to want to hurt you and then proceed to badly hurt you. Fear affects how you/ we think, it makes us think negatively as we magnify what we are afraid of, thinking and fearing the worst case scenario, “making a big deal of it”. In this case,  you were afraid of having a potential conflict with a member of your family, afraid that you will get hurt as a result. Your fear fueled lots of disagreements and arguments with your then live-in boyfriend, and panicking, you broke up with him.

    Interestingly- but not surprisingly- it is the fear itself (or better say, giving in to the fear) that ended up hurting you, not what you were afraid of. In other words, the potential conflict you were afraid of didn’t happen (did it?), but your long-term relationship ended primarily because of your fear. Giving in to the fear caused you to fee weak, hopeless, sad, hating and blaming yourself.

    February 2021: “I feel nothing but insulted by this. My head is telling me to tell him to f*** off but at the same time… I am scared to speak to him about it as I feel like I can’t tell him why I don’t want to see him any more in case he tells the other woman at work…  fear is if I tell him I don’t want to see him anymore and he asks the reason , my reason would be that I’m offended and hurt… And I am worried that If I am honest with him about my reason , he may tell the other woman that I told him , about what she told me… I’m scared it will cause friction and trouble in the work place”-

    – Being afraid of potential conflict yet again, afraid that if you are honest with people about how you feel (insulted, angry, offended, hurt, in this case), it will cause friction and trouble. Your fear that your words will be used against you.

    July 2022: “I feel unsafe in the friendship and I’ve been trying to distance myself to avoid any drama… Phasing out isn’t working , she keeps asking to see me… I don’t know how to end the friendship without there being an argument from her end. I am also worried that she will cause trouble for me. help…  The reason I fear ending the friendship and telling her why , is I am scared she causes trouble for me , spreading stories . My family fears she tells Tara. To give you background , Tara is from a family of thugs , family members often at court, and she is a thug herself”-

    -afraid of potential conflict, friction and trouble, drama yet again, afraid to be honest with people, afraid that your words will be used against you, and afraid that other people’s words will hurt you. You want to peacefully end your friendship with Emma, but you are afraid of war, as if peacefully ending a friendship is a terrible crime or offense worthy of war.

    my family have encouraged me to phase the friendship out…My family fear she tells Tara…. you are bang on about me and my family operating out of fear. We are quite an anxious family“- somewhere in your family history, someone overreacted to someone, and the latter suffered terrible consequences for little things, such as a benign word that was said (or a facial expression that was made) that was taken out of context and misunderstood. Fast forward: everyone gets scared that any word or expression (however benign or peaceful) may cause big trouble.

    It has bothered me for years. However I first tried to over look it and put my feelings aside to avoid any drama…  I am just worn down…  I’m back to being hurt again“- it is the operating out of fear that is causing you to hurt. Your efforts to avoid external drama are causing you internal drama which is wearing you down, causing you to fee weak, hopeless, sad, hating and blaming yourself.

    It is time for you to stop operating out of fear because it is not working for you. It is working against you. Better stand up for yourself, learn assertiveness skills (there are online resources, books and workbooks on the topic) and honor your feelings and needs by honestly revealing them when it needs to be done.

    Is your life experience convincing enough to stir you into changing what seems like a familial and ongoing  fear-based modus operandi into courage-based modus operandi?

    anita

    #404149
    JemJem
    Participant

    That post is amazing. So helpful. I agree with it all and it was good to actually see it dissected how much fear controls me.
    I definitely need to explore this further and try to overcome it .  I honestly can’t thank you enough

    #404151
    anita
    Participant

    Dear JemJem:

    You are very welcome. I appreciate your appreciation of my post. Exploring this further and overcoming it will take time, ongoing intentional effort and patience. It will not be easy but it is possible, and you can do it!

    You are welcome to post again anytime and I will be glad to reply whenever you post.

    anita

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