You’re bringin’ on the heartache Takin’ all the best of me, oh can’t you see? – Def Leppard
Happy New Year! One of my uber-important best friends gave me the pink slip last night out of nowhere. I’d see her once or twice a week to practice yoga and we’d talk, smile, and hug goodbye. Her stupid Christmas gift is sitting on my desk. I’d gotten one-word answers to inviting her for dinner or checking in over the last few weeks. I could not tell if my friend was being distant because she needed space or if she needed company. She had a hard year, major unfairness, and a broken heart. I texted her: “Hey, I get a sense I shouldn’t text? You don’t respond. Please let me know if I upset you somehow. Not my intention.” She responded with this doozy of a text:
Anything that starts out with “First of all” and is this long can’t be good. Turned out she didn’t want to be my friend anymore, so decided she’d level with me in an arctic, nuclear text ending our friendship, offering no conflict resolution, and using her anger to hurt me as her latest target. I don’t knock her when we get together. My husband will tell you that I put the kabosh on anything negative being said about her and it’s only fucking praises that came out of my mouth. I was committed to keeping our friendship for the long haul. The best part of this text is where she tells not to respond out of respect. Respect! Blame and run—emotionally detach, shut me out, dump years of commitment, and justify it. This same thing was just done to her by a guy and it broke her heart. So she did it to me!
And let’s talk about the man who did that to her. My husband and I were never invited to hang out with him, though I found out much later that they hung with her other friends all the time! Weird. She didn’t like telling me about things that bothered her about him because I’d perceive his character based on how he treated her. She’d say things like he never introduced her to his friends then watched my face to later decide I’m judging her–a real setup. Last people she’d dated did some horrible psychotic things to her and I was there for her in the aftermath. But instead of exercising the self-respect that would keep one from shirking their friends with the next potential partner, I was left out of the fold for my unnerving clarity. Oh, and it was suggested I’d been blamed for her past alcohol use which started well before we met. He didn’t want us going out because she drinks with me? But I didn’t actually go out much and get up early, and I was the one who introduced her to exercise which is mostly how we spent time, so she really just sacrificed me to align with his sobriety. Her own personal scapegoat! I saw it clearly, shrugged, and forgave her. I forgave her each time she postured that her anger was in check by projecting on me about my anger. Her soundbite lately has been to say that my anger is scary—poor thing! Anything to avoid doing her own shadow work.
She desperately needs shadow work. There’s always something irking her. She’d eventually get mad at this uber-hyphen. Psychic wars at work, perceived slights left and right, cutting family members out of her life, policing her neighbors, becoming super cranky with passive-aggressive blaming and constructing conclusions based on anxiety and past damages; ruminating on whoever is left standing beside her instead of meditating to fight the inner critic who just wants to fight. This is her pattern. It was only a matter of time for me. No doubt she’s connecting with that old friend she crapped on in spades, now that her complaints in said text sound a lot like what she cranked on about her old friend. She has to be targeting someone to get out of facing herself and the rubs on her mirror. This text was such an awful projection that I couldn’t be sad. My response sucked:
And it got worse. The whole thing sent me into a tailspin, probably the intended effect. Why else blindside and discard me like a bad habit on New Year’s Eve? I know she started seeing a therapist because we always talked at length and I’d encouraged therapy and therapeutic writing. It was such a load of bullshit and I’ve already been through this since Covid started. She’s not the first person to lash out at me over their own insecurity. And she threw that loss of friendship in my face to hurt me. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have told her about it.
Do my female friends know that I don’t have any female friends? Anyone know why someone would accuse a girl of having no female friends? Is she saying that I need male attention or that she’s mad that she doesn’t have male attention? Very confusing. I also think she should be straight with her new therapist instead of putting her stuff on me and not the guy who cut her off and publicly said terrible things. She invited me to Thanksgiving last month, but I had an in-law gathering that ran late. I did consider us family, but I don’t need the kind of family that casually betrays you with a note to return her keys. The “woes” about me she mentions was about my family getting stranded out-of-town after a fire-related engine failure. I had to stay home to help figure out what to do as they were hours away in a town that had no open rental or mechanic shops. With a cracked engine block, we haven’t had a car in about a month. There was no offer for a ride. Just a scolding about my whining over telling her my woes for apologizing that I couldn’t make a gathering. I directly communicated that we’ve been overwhelmed with holidays and heaps of stuff and half the family getting Covid. Did she give a honk about any of this? No. Built a case against me. Why couldn’t I read her pain…I worked on healing her muscle issues for years. I started our exercise habits and got her into history walks, nature hikes and this whole time she thought I wanted her to feel bad about herself? I am not amused. This projector is like a Hammer horror film stretched to the wrong ratio. Hyphen hyphen hyphen. I wish I had a farm I could dance around while putting on airs; suck on a hayseed and ignore anything that isn’t practical or godly. She’s leaving anyway, so this was all probably just a convenient excuse to burn it all down with a bonus drama and victim sympathy. I actually understand burning it all down. Wait–was that condescending to say I understand? Sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry. Sorry sorry.
I can’t feel guilty over perceived slights after putting years of consistent time and energy into caring about my core relationships. Truth is, this resentment and relational aggression has been holding me back. I asked my friends not to reach out to make sense of it because an attempt there will probably be made to put tension on our relationships. I’ve seen this before. I’m strong, hard-working and unafraid to be proud of myself or my friends. It’s clear a number was done on her head as a child over thinking too highly of herself and doing anything expressive. She likes to call artists interested in many things narcissists! Perhaps she was kept small and maybe that’s why she’d go silent when I discussed things that mattered to me like my music or writing or engineering. How pretentious! I used to cover up the best parts about myself, so she’d feel comfortable. I finally started writing in prompt groups which she ignored. She’s not the first and I’ve moved on to supportive artists—not going to stop. I work hard on my stuff and have outgrown people who are uncomfortable with my growth or frame my rich inner world as selfish, just because theirs is detached with emotions unexpressed, jumbled, and un-communicated. And now, evaded for a grip on control! Poor victim not gonna take no shit!
Never feeling good enough had nothing to do with me, but she put her suspicions on a safe person who would have been loyal to her forever. Too bad, she absolutely deserves love as much as I do. But I’ll never give my power to her again. This heart is closed for business.