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wanting to have the last word with a toxic frenemy

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  • #147405
    Joe
    Participant

    Let’s call this particular person Bill…

    Bill and I were students together on a work placement a few years back – in retrospect, I can see that the dynamic in our friendship – no, sorry, acquaintanceship/frenemyship (is that even a word?) was seriously unbalanced. This is a person who casually made fun of me and made ignorant assumptions about me (he happens to be conservative and because I dress alternative and listen to alternative music, apparently that makes me a satanist and an anarchist – yes I am not conservative like he is but I wasn’t happy about the fact he labelled me as being those things) and made fun about the fact I prefer spending time alone than with others. In general he just used to talk down to me or just make really patronizing remarks, and the first week we were on the placement he had belittled me in front of the group, which I wasn’t happy about. There are times when I felt I wasn’t able to get a word in at all.

    However, I guess it wasn’t all that bad, he did have his moments. There were times when I just glared at him for more of his stupid jokes (he’s one of those people who thinks they are god’s gift to the world of comedy but they really aren’t) and he would get annoyed that I didn’t find his idiotic sense of humor amusing. However, he did seem to find my sarcastic jokes and comments hilarious at times (I just have that effect on people). Some times he could be okay. I think we just weren’t meant to be friends because we rub each other the wrong way. It’s having these glimpses at Bill’s good points that make me wonder if I’m just magnifying all of his bad points, or if he is really just one of those people I can only tolerate in small doses (or none at all). Sadly, I think the cons far outweigh the pros.

    I always felt suffocated and drained around this group of people on the placement because they complained about everything and they all came across as being really self-entitled, as if they deserved to have their own way. This group of people were really judgmental and gossipy, and they used to slag other people off (so there is also a high possibility they used to gossip about me too, especially when Bill used to tell everybody my business.)

    A few years have passed but this group of people feel the need to have little get-togethers every so often and the thought of meeting up with these people again made my stomach churn so I’d make excuses (but because they are oh so kind, they would offer to reschedule just to accommodate me – part of me just wanted to scream “DON’T YOU KNOW HOW TO TAKE A HINT?!?” I wasn’t able to meet up with them even if I wanted to because I wasn’t earning a lot. Bill did offer to borrow me money, to which I refused. What, so the group can have a field day knowing I had to borrow money to meet up with them? I might not earn as much as they but I’ve still got my pride, you know…

    In these subsequent few years, Bill turned every phone call and WhatsApp message into an interrogation – “Have you got a job yet? How much money do you earn? When are you going to get married and have children?” There hasn’t been a lot of success of that front since I graduated and I am working towards my goals but I always felt that he was disapproving of the fact I wasn’t working in a corporate level job like he is. I would also like to add that it is NOT OKAY to ask a person how much money they earn. EVER.

    Last summer I thought I was going to be doing a placement in China – even though I pulled out at the last minute because of doubts, I was building up my confidence for this for a few months. Bill had been on the China placement the previous year. When he found out I was going he spent an entire 45 minutes on the phone to me putting me down about everything, telling me I’m a sloppy person, that the students wouldn’t like me and bringing up the fact I was miserable on the placement we were on together (everybody assumed it was homesickness but I wasn’t homesick, I was miserable because I had to spend time with those horrible people) and spoonfeeding me things I already knew as if I’m some kind of idiot. When he first applied for this placement he was acting all pompous and self-entitled, assuming he was going to be accepted onto it and making snobby remarks about the other people applying for the placement, saying things like “Oh, he’s trying too hard…”

    I’m just angry about the fact I let this person put me down this way – I’m angry that I tried to explain but he wouldn’t let me, he would just talk at me. I’ve been angry for the past few months and I can’t stop chewing on this bone (I’m not going to suddenly stop being resentful towards certain people, I’m the silently vindictive type!)

    I did get in contact with him last month because he happens to work in London, and even though I don’t particularly like this person I still needed to know he was okay after what happened at Westminster, because he is the only person I know who lives and works down in London. He was okay.

    But I feel that getting in touch with him has triggered him to want to have a get-together with the group from the placement, because another person from the group has tried to get in touch with me. I really have no desire to meet up with these people again, I use a different phone now and I haven’t given them my new mobile number.

    But part of me wants to get in touch with Bill just to call him out on how he has treated me over the years. I am angry at myself for allowing him to have this hold over me and I am angry that this person put me down and at how arrogant, hypocritical and spoiled he behaves. Even though we live in different cities I still have this burning resentment towards him. Part of me wants to just confront him about this – not verbally abusive but brutally honest. I don’t suffer fools anymore, believe me (ask the two previous people who thought it was okay to belittle me, I soon put them in their place).

    I don’t feel compelled to continue the friendship but I need him to know how he has treated me is not okay. Even though the likelihood of this happening is pretty slim because like most egotistical people he would just deny everything, twist it all back on me and bombard me with more of his rhetoric (every time I did disagree with him, it would always begin with “Come on, Joe…”, or just flat out refuse to listen because I get the feeling Bill only hears what he wants to hear. I’m trying to work towards my goals and attain my own personal success, not HIS level of success. He DOESN’T get to tell me what I should work towards.

    Would this be another exercise in futility or should I just accept the fact he’s a pushy, selfish, self-righteous, self-entitled ignorant brat who won’t listen, cut off all contact for good and wait until the bitterness subsides (until I find more people to be bitter towards? Haha) Even if I do meet up with this person to call him out, I have no intention of continuing the acquaintanceship because it would just perpetuate. Is it just that I feel the need to have the last word and end it myself?

    Joe

     

    • This topic was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by Joe.
    #147413
    greenshade
    Participant

    Hey Joe.

    I have someone like this at work right now. He makes assumptions about me, questions my understanding, and directs political rants I have no interest in listening to at me even though I have asked him to stop.

    I was (and am) very rattled by this man and can barely be in the same room as him. I questioned my response to him, and realized his way of putting me down reminded me of my father, which is why my reaction is as intense as it is. It is also why I give him more head space and thought time than he merits.

    Do you think something similar may be happening with “Bill”?

     

    #147425
    Joe
    Participant

    Greenshade

    Yeah, I have already established that I used to let people walk over me and never letting me explain myself. Like I said in my post, I don’t suffer fools anymore and I stood up to the last two people who tried to treat me that way over Christmas.

    It’s just eating up at me and I just keep imagining this scenario in my mind where I confront this person and let him know that I’m not okay with the way he has spoken to me. Almost as if by having this confrontation, I’d get even with him.

    What do you suggest? Do you think I should just delete this person from my life or should I let him know that I’m not happy about him so I can put it behind me?

    Thankyou for your response

    Joe

     

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by Joe.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by Joe.
    #147431
    greenshade
    Participant

    I don’t honestly know. I’m similar in that I’m learning how to stand up for myself, so I don’t really have a working gauge of when to react and when not to. Trial and error, I guess? But also, maybe a list of principles would help? Like I’ll take action if  1)its effecting my work 2) my intent is compassionate self defense 3) its effecting my happiness; these are random, you could have your own list and base your decision on it?

     

    #147475
    VJ
    Participant

    1)

    “Non-reaction to the ego in others is one of the most effective ways not only of going beyond ego in yourself but also of dissolving the collective human ego. But you can only be in a state of non-reaction if you can recognize someone’s behavior as coming from the ego, as being an expression of the collective human dysfunction. When you realize it’s not personal, there is no longer a compulsion to react as if it were. By not reacting to the ego, you will often be able to bring out the sanity in others, which is the unconditioned consciousness as opposed to the conditioned. At times you may have to take practical steps to protect yourself from deeply unconscious people. This you can do without making them into enemies. Your greatest protection, however, is being conscious. Somebody becomes an enemy if you personalize the unconsciousness that is the ego. Non-reaction is forgiveness. To forgive is to overlook, or rather to look through. You look through the ego to the sanity that is in every human being as his or her essence.

    The ego loves to complain and feel resentful not only about other people but also about situations. What you can do to a person, you can also do to a situation: make it into an enemy. The implication is always: This should not be happening; I don’t want to be here; I don’t want to be doing this; I’m being treated unfairly. And the ego’s greatest enemy of all is, of course, the present moment, which is to say, life itself.”

    ― Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

     

    2)

    (https://www.eckharttollenow.com/new-home-video/default.aspx?shortcode=d0n49c)

     

    #147477
    VJ
    Participant

    post not submitted…re-submitting.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by VJ.
    #147573
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Joe:

    I vote for (responsibly) honestly expressing to Bill your feelings and ending contact with him because from your share, you do not perceive a possibility that he will take you or your assertion with him seriously.

    Following your assertion/ confrontation with him, I vote to “cut off all contact for good and wait until the bitterness subsides”

    In regard to your comment: ” (until I find more people to be bitter towards? Haha”- I say; associate only with people who talk and act respectfully to you and about you, people who genuinely respect you. That way you will not “find more people to be bitter toward”.

    anita

    #147597
    Joe
    Participant

    @greenshade

    The list of principles sounds like a great idea. I guess this whole issue does effect me because it’s almost as if the last conversation we had is on a repeat loop in my head.

    It’s interesting how you bring up the idea of an intention being compassionate self-defense, I don’t regard this as being compassionate. Maybe it’s just me being proud. I have my pride and it got wounded (like it has many times before), but this all coming from him deeply wounded me, especially the fact I couldn’t get a word in to explain myself. Maybe I just want to have the last word to get even, like some form of revenge. I’ve spent the past year teaching myself self-respect and bringing myself up after a few setbacks and failures. Maybe I do have a problem dealing with criticism and maybe there were some valid points to Bill’s criticisms but there is also relentlessly criticizing somebody just for the sake of it. I don’t need to be around people who constantly bring up my flaws or constantly telling me “I should do this, I should do that, why don’ I do this, why don’t I do that…”

    As for the affecting my work thing, perhaps this has only made me even more determined than ever to go after my goals, and I would feel more inclined to slay them if I didn’t feel like Bill was scrutinizing me all the time. Like I said, my success is not what his version of success is. I dance to the beat of my own drum.

    Thankyou for your last response, it has helped me a lot 🙂

     

    @VJ

    Thankyou for sharing this with me, and thankyou for reminding me that I still need to read this book. I purchased A New Earth last month and I haven’t gotten round to reading it yet.

     

    @anita

    How’s it going?

    I feel like this is something I should do but I don’t know how to go about doing it. Every time I’ve emailed or WhatsApped him messages, he just replies very briefly so I just get the impression he really isn’t interested in what I have to say and he’s just going to dismiss it. I remember sending him a message on WhatsApp but it took me a while to type something like “I’m good, how are you?” because the keypad on my old phone was broken, and he just sent me another smart aleck remark saying “Are you writing me an essay or something?”

    I did suggest meeting up with him a few times but he always seems to be busy when he comes back to his hometown every weekend, but every other time it seems like he feels that the whole group should meet up together instead and that just used to make me feel uncomfortable because I don’t want to go for any more of these get-togethers, but I didn’t want to say that out of politeness. Now I realize that I am not responsible for the way other people react.

    I kind of feel ridiculous about this whole thing – the last time I met up with this person face to face was two years ago. We have only spoken on the phone or sent messages since – we haven’t seen each other and I haven’t seen any of the other people from the group since but I felt like they had this hold over me. I don’t know how to go about doing this.

     

     

    #147653
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Joe:

    I’m well, thank you for asking. My advice: send Bill a short, simple, one line message ending with: do not contact me anymore. That would be your “last word” (in the title of your thread) with him and with the “toxic frenemy”- following it, there will be no more contact, you will make sure of it (no initiating contact with him/ the others and not responding to any such initiative on their part!)

    anita

    #147865
    breakfastat
    Participant

    Dear Jack – VJ’s response to your situation sums it up perfectly.  I too want to pick up this book and will head out today to get it.  I need this reminder every single day.

    My advice to your situation is to meditate until you see your ego in this situation and when you do, you will no longer have a problem.  It’s the life journey and so hard to do, GOOD LUCK.

    #147867
    breakfastat
    Participant

    Sorry I meant Dear Joe! 🙂

    #147869
    breakfastat
    Participant

    Whenever you are wanting to defend yourself – heal yourself instead. xo

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