needy friend (feel guilty)

(79 Posts)
saulaboutme Thu 24-Jan-13 11:06:27

One of the mums I know has become extrememly needy to the point where I'm now making excuses to dodge her everyday. I feel really bad but she has nothing to do and sometimes I need to just run off and do my bits for the day on my own. I have 3 DC's and I help a neighbour with some chores twice a week as she is disabled which is demanding enough.

I feel like such a bitch as she is a lovely person. She has problems which I feel can only be solved by her. She is in a bad marriage, in lots of debt, unemployed and health issues one of which is she is VERY overweight. As much as I have tried to advise and help her she would rather come and sit in my house or a coffee house and while the day away til she has to collect her children from school.

I don't know what to do but I'm abit angry as she tries to emotionally blackmail me when I can't meet her. Or don't want to meet her. I have been quite upfront with her but she wants me to support her in ways that I can't and handhold her for anything that could benifit her situation getting better.

What am I going to do? AIBU to not help her more, I feel abit stifled.

saulaboutme Fri 15-Mar-13 19:22:15

Thanks, I bumped into her today. She asked again where was I going and then sad face as I was "busy" So she was going to sit in the coffee shop...didn't rise to the bait.

she was having a good friend over after school for kids playdate so happy for her for that.

girlywhirly Fri 15-Mar-13 15:25:42

That's good to hear. Keep fending off the messages and calls.

saulaboutme Fri 15-Mar-13 00:35:40

Hi again, not sure if this is the best way, adding to last message, but just am update.

I have taken all the advice, thanks guys, and been strong and stuck it out. She hasn't been in my house for a long time, but the calls keep coming...

It's so obvious she wants to plot away all day and I've pretty much gone very cool with her. She's tried and tried to suck me in with the "I really need to speak to you" messages which turn out to be nothing. a mutual friend has been off work I'll and she has spent time with her slot but now friend has gone on recovery holiday so she if lost again.

On the up side she is looking into voluntary work.

My point is (deep breath) I don't feel guilty anymore. I really don't. So much has happened since my last post and I admittedly used the mantra distance and boundaries to get her away from this habit of emotionally blackmailing me. She does try her best but it's like water off a ducks back now .

saulaboutme Thu 14-Feb-13 14:28:49

Shotgun...made me chuckle big time xxxx

saulaboutme Thu 14-Feb-13 14:28:03

This will be our 3rd meeting. So happy he left the bitch and NewGF is lovely. Had to bite my tongue a couple of times as I thought I'm not getting into this subject and I'll keep doing it. I'm not worried but it crossed my mind to not be too into what's been going on with the loony ex, I am EX FRIENDS with her way before this.

Slatternlymother, lol, you never know...

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Thu 14-Feb-13 14:27:53

Sounds fair, Saul - I wouldn't want to deal with a meltdown either.
Thanks for the invite, btw - when shall I come round?! grin

slatternlymother Thu 14-Feb-13 14:20:30

Hmmm, wonder if we knew the same person OP... wink

girlywhirly Thu 14-Feb-13 14:10:27

You don't have to get too close or involved, just keep the conversation light and fun, skirt around anything that you would rather not talk about. It's fine to say 'I'm not prepared to discuss that' pleasantly. It would be unusual to discuss anything very personal on a first meeting with someone, I think.

saulaboutme Thu 14-Feb-13 13:56:19

On that note, I've just met DH's BF new girlfriend and she's lovely. He's just divorced from his bitch Exwife and she is making their life hell. New girlfriend has Facebooked me to arrange we go for dinner soon, totally fine. I'm cautious though as don't want to get too close or involved.
All this has made me think it's a lesson learned.

Distance and boundries.......

saulaboutme Thu 14-Feb-13 13:51:13

Fuzzpig it makes sense. I go along on my own too. Not feeling great about my life at the moment and I know I have to sort things out. I HAVE TO DO IT.

I'm there, I'm there, I am so there for anyone who needs me. That's why I'm angry as it's made me think maybe it's not a good idea to make friends with other mums because this will happen...

fuzzpig Thu 14-Feb-13 13:44:50

It sounds like it will take a while to really get through to her. Keep going! smile

Hearing things like your OP annoys me - maybe in a way I'm jealous though. I really struggle with life (health, emotions, everything ATM!) but I am the opposite of an emotional vampire - I really try not to ask anyone for help (apart from support on MN of course because I know people here will only reply if they want to) and usually struggle on alone, and I try to be there for others even when I'm not strong myself. Maybe I'm envious that somebody else is ballsy enough to seek RL support but angry that they totally take the piss with it and in doing so give 'struggling' people a bad name.

If that makes any sense. blush

<gets coat>

saulaboutme Thu 14-Feb-13 13:41:53

Dahlen,
Boundaries and distance.

Has to be my new mantra huh...

saulaboutme Thu 14-Feb-13 13:39:35

Shotgun, no I haven't told her like it is, really, really, wanted to at it's peak put just couldn't due to definitely having to deal with a meltdown. That's why I've had to stay away from her.

Come over, have a coffee, relax, chat, gossip, cry, laugh! But then please go home and yes we can do it again! But not everyday...when do things get done!

Dahlen Thu 14-Feb-13 13:39:32

Boundaries and distance.

I attract needy people like moths to a lightbulb hmm. Fortunately, I have now honed my ability to deal with them so that they don't take over my life and allow me to spend time with non-needy friends and family and doing my own thing. This has, however, taken time and many situations where I've put myself through ridiculous hoops to help someone who really didn't deserve it.

The main thing is to be honest. You don't have to be unkind or horrible, but there is nothing wrong in pointing out that the needy person has to fix the problem themselves and that no amount of tea and sympathy is going to change anything. Try something along the lines of "I really feel for you; it's shit. Poor you. Unfortunately, while it's not your fault, only you can make it better because that's the world we live in. No one can do it for you. So what do you think you can do about it?"

Repeated a few times, I find this usually does the trick. If they have anything about them, they will start to look at the problem in terms of solutions. Sometimes, having the focus redirected on to their own behaviour is enough to make them stay away. If neither of those approaches work and they keep turning up, you have to resort to something like, "Look I sympathise, I really do, but I cannot fix this for you, you seem unwilling to make any changes yourself, and I cannot devote any more time and energy to being a shoulder to cry on unless I see you at least trying to help yourself." (at which point they either try to change or they flounce off in a spectacular strop and you never hear from them again, which is a good result in itself).

saulaboutme Thu 14-Feb-13 13:33:53

To add to your replies (therapy),

"I think it's good that you are emotionally withdrawing from her now, as it means you will find it easier to stand up to her when she tries emotional blackmail."

Yes! the withdrawing had to be done, I may actually say to her, " I had my own shit going on that I didn't want to discuss with you have been too emotionally draining. So sorry if your upset that I didn't put you before me!"

Also can't stand it when new "friend" want's to know your whole ins and outs and has been in your life 5 minutes. She has got under my skin with that. My family, friends, aquaintances, other parents DH, DC's are not yours as well as well as anything about them. (breathe)....

LessMissAbs Thu 14-Feb-13 13:31:29

I think there must be some psychological reaction that is standard with the draining feeling that comes from such needy people. I felt exactly the same with my needy housemate (the one who I posted about wanting me to sit and talk with her while she sat on the toilet with period pains).

I could literally hardly bear to speak to her at the end, but she happily moved out and has moved in with her supervisor from work. I think this sort of person's idea of friendship is often based on selfishness, and once you begin to withdraw from her, she will move quite quickly onto someone else and forget about you.

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Thu 14-Feb-13 13:31:25

She does sound like a nightmare but ine thing I notice is that you claim to be 'telling her like it is' - but nowhere have you indicated you have actually done that.

You've told her you're busy and practised avoidance tactics - fair enough, but tbh I can't see how things could be much worse if you did what Fellatio says - find a way to explain she's taking up too much of your time and expecting too much of you. She might turn nasty but it sounds as if she is anyway.

And she's no doubt pretty thick-skinned, so won't come to the conclusion by herself that it's not you, it's her.

You're achieving the aim of not seeing her, but do you think you'll ever feel entirely comfortable about it unless you tell her your reasons? Genuine question - you're not actually obliged to her, so maybe I'm just being precious suggesting you come clean? I'm rubbish at this sort of thing

saulaboutme Thu 14-Feb-13 13:24:48

Cortana this is it. There's a time to go isn't there? Similar to your intruder this lady won't do anything to help herself, I hope she proves me wrong! My consolation is that she doesn't like being out at night so doesn't lurke around at that time of day. You did the right thing to cut her off and it's just ok to say "no..no...NO!!" it's arms length isn't it? I just hate that she's taken advantage and made me not like her very much. It's a case of poor me, look at me, I'm sadder that everyone and I will not help myself or do anything progressive so I can stay sad...wow..I know I sound like a bitch but I've had it.

ChairmanWow Thu 14-Feb-13 13:17:02

* I obviously didn't expect to be a crutch and be used for convenience*. You've hit the nail on the head there.

I had a similar 'friend' years ago when I was a student and a couple of years after. She had an eating disorder and was very insecure generally so I fell into the supportive friend role. She gradually came to rely on me more and more whilst refusing to acknowledge or seek help for her problems. She would come round or phone at all hours, usually in tears and expect me to talk to her for hours. Literally 2am phone calls because she'd had an argument with her boyfriend.

I had a bit of a breakdown in my mid-20's and couldn't cope with her demands any more. When I told her about my struggles and tried to get some support from her I didn't see her for dust. She had totally used me all those years. It's interesting but sad to hear of so many others who've had similar experiences.

Keep up the avoidance and stay strong! It's best for her as well as you.

girlywhirly Thu 14-Feb-13 13:15:44

Meeting the friend with others in a group is the best thing. Watch how others deal with her, and also how she behaves around them. I bet there will be someone who is good at managing her when she starts on about all her problems, even if they just change the subject before she has gone on at length about them. It is isn't as easy to corner you. Depending on how well she knows the others, she may actually not moan as much as she might feel less likely to get away with it.

I think it's good that you are emotionally withdrawing from her now, as it means you will find it easier to stand up to her when she tries emotional blackmail.

Cortana Thu 14-Feb-13 13:02:18

You're doing well, you need to stick to your guns.

I had a 'friend' who would come to my house whenever she knew I was in with the intention of sitting around drinking tea, eating dinner with us. She would overstay every night often leaving in the small hours. We dropped hints that we were tired and needed to be up for work and school in the morning. We could ignore the door and she'd sit outside and wait for us to "come home". She's leave things here and if we refused a visit text over and over she needed to pick up such and such and had to come down "now".

We did an activity together twice a week. She'd turn up hours before the activity and then hang around for ages after. Eventually I stopped giving her a lift as it was the only way to get a few minutes with my family. I was then accosted by her Mother for leaving her to make her own way there and back, in the dark "late at night". Activity finished at 8pm. This a 27 year old woman.

I cut off contact. She was obviously hating living at home with her parents and wanted to be out. But hanging out at my family home, ignoring any help in terms of finding her a job and getting a place of her own wasn't helping her.

Was only then I realised how much stress this woman-child had caused me.

Katla Thu 14-Feb-13 12:20:57

I think a bit of the truth won't hurt. If you keep making excuses not to see her then she may continue just to turn up at the door/ call all the time which I would personally find worse.

I once had to sit down with one of my neighbours and say, whilst I personally did not have a problem with her, I did not like or condone her behaviour to another mutual aquaintance (who she used to call a cow and to fuck off to her face and they would scream at each other confused grown women it was like the playground ) and I wasn't putting up with that. She then stopped doing it (at least in my company) but it also stopped her bitching about the other person as I'd made it clear. It was a hard thing to do (as I'm 30 years younger) but maintained the relationship (I'd not say she was a friend though). Otherwise I was just trying to avoid her and she text all the time to go ride our horses together. Sometimes I also just have to say 'no, I just need some space so I'm going to ride my horse alone today'. She huffs a bit as she is too afraid to ride alone but otherwise I feel resentful when she tags along and I dont want her there.

Sorry that's so long but I'd say to be honest but pleasant and see her on your terms and how much you are willing to help her. Be brave smile

saulaboutme Thu 14-Feb-13 11:27:06

Hi there, have still managed to avoid. She text on Monday and as usual asked "where are you". Anyway actually asked to come and see me, said no. Very tired, catch you soon.
The next I will see her will be when there are others there, find myself very unintersted and kind of less caring because she's zapped so much energy from me. Unfortunatley it is what it is and I obviously didn't expect to be a crutch and be used for convenience. I know she has the hump with me and it's a relief as if she says blah blah haven't seen you etc...I feel better for telling her like it is. Busy, busy, only my own mother can question why I haven't been in touch! Yes I've grown a pair ha haa!!
I tend to analyse why people are the way they are, I've always been like that. So much good advice guys thank you so much xx

FellatioNels0n Fri 08-Feb-13 12:08:41

God, how awful for you. She is an emotional vampire. I have never understood how people end up with some other woman sitting in their house drinking tea and just sitting for hours on end, watching TV, or just passing the time while you try to go about your business. shock I have always managed to avoid friends like this but my sister used to be a sucker for them and barely had her house to herself for years on end when her children were small.

People like that use people like you as a way of escaping their own mundane or chaotic reality, and avoiding dealing with everything they are not coping with in their life. I am afraid you are just going to have to take the bull by the horns and tell her that you just cannot deal with that amount of contact, and that living in one another's pockets is really not your style and that you are starting to find it stress-inducing and claustrophobic.

Let her down gently and diplomatically if you can, but I suspect she may take it badly and go on the turn. That is a shame, but ultimately it is her issue to deal with, not yours and at least it solves the immediate problem.

girlywhirly Fri 08-Feb-13 11:32:36

I understand, valium. It seems as though saulaboutme has managed to fend off this friend lately, and I totally agree that she shouldn't have to explain herself.

I feel sorry for the friends' DH and DC having to live with her it must be thoroughly miserable for them.

I think, saulabout me, you will have to keep going for a while longer with the avoiding tactics until this so called friend gets the message. Keep reminding yourself that her problems aren't yours to sort out and she has been dismissive of any advice or help you've given, and yet has seen fit to manipulate and emotionally blackmail you as it suits her.

What exactly would you want to keep seeing her for, when you get so little in return and it is making you miserable?

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