Worried About Friend, Need Advice!

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-11-2009
Worried About Friend, Need Advice!
4
Mon, 12-23-2013 - 6:12pm

I have been friends with this girl for the last 20 years, and it has come to the point where I am in need of some serious advice.  I'm not sure how to approach her, so I was hoping to get some advice on this issue!  I'll try to make it short. Smile

My friend grew up with an emotionally abusive mother, she claimed.  Even though we were friends, she never invited me over and I only met her mother twice in our entire 20 years of being friends.  Even when we were in middle school and high school, I rarely saw her mother.  She claimed that she emotionally abused her and was not a good mother, so I just assumed that she didn't want me to be around her.  She would only go to school once or twice a week in high school, and when I would call her to see if she was ok- she wouldn't return my calls.  There were periods where she would cut off all contact for weeks at a time (I wasn't the only person she did this to).  She would say that she was too smart to have to go to school that often, that was usually the excuse she gave.  I never really questioned her about that. 

Part of me always believed that she exaggerated her family situation to get attention.  I don't know why I felt that, but I just got that feeling a lot.  

While we were in college, she randomly came down with a "mystery illness."  She wouldn't go to class, and would always complain about fainting, throwing up, and just not feeling good.  She claimed that the doctors could not figure out what was wrong with her, that it was a huge mystery.  This "illness" has been going on for the last 10 years, apparently no doctor can figure out what is wrong with her.  She told me and everyone else we know that she graduated from college at the top of her class, but I recently found out that she never even graduated.  

Fast forward to present day, we are both in our mid 30s.  I recently got married and have a daughter with another baby on the way.  She is single and unemployed.  In the last 10 years she has had two jobs, the first that only lasted for a year.  She quit because she felt that she was too smart to work there, and that the doctor who she worked for felt threatened because she was smarter than him (she was a receptionist).  The second job only lasted a few months, she said she quit because of her "illness."  Her mother (the abusive one), now fully supports her- pays her rent, bills, etc..  I know that she lies to her mother about her financial situation- she has a secret savings account and leaves her checking account emply, so that her mother thinks she has no money.  Her mother requests to see her bank statements from her checking account, she has no idea the savings account exists.  She claims that she can't work because of her "illness."

While this is all going on with her, she can be very deceiving.  To other people, she comes off as very smart and witty- she will lie about what she does for a living, and will always be the center of attention.  She pretends to be doing a lot better than she really is, and people really do believe her.  

Every single day she calls me, and expects to talk to me for hours.  I have a very busy daily life, and just cannot sit on the phone all day with her.  I rarely can get a word in- from the minute I pick up it's like she goes into a 30 minute monologue about her newest health issues and newest drama.  If I meet up with her for dinner or a night out, the entire time she talks about her illness.  Over the last year, she claims to have developed severe food allergies- so she has to question the waiter or waitress about every ingredient on the menu.  It seems like she really loves the attention that she gets when she does this.  Since telling me about these allergies, she has lost a ton of weight and almost looks unhealthy now.  

Every single time we talk, she will tell me how many times she threw up that day from her allergies.  She will go into gross detail, and will spend so much time talking about it.  She will tell random people she meets about her throwing up, and it seems to really put other people off.  I really think she does it for attention.

She was my bridesmaid in my wedding, and it was a total nightmare.  My sister was my maid of honor, but she wouldn't have it.  She demanded to be a co-maid of honor, and practically tried to take over the entire wedding.  She even kicked another girl out of my wedding party without telling me, simply because she didn't like her.  She caused a lot of unnecessary drama, it was really hard to get past that.  I honestly did not want any drama surrounding my wedding, so I did just let a lot of this go.  I think that was a big mistake!

She has another group of friends, who I don't know, who are also single.  She hangs out with them very frequently, a few of them are much older divorced men.  I met these guys a couple of times, and they clearly are all alcoholics.  When she hangs out with these people, all she does is go out and drink.  From what I have seen, it seems like these older guys don't even like her.  It seems like she forces herself into their group of friends, and they just tolerate her.  She gets very sloppy when she drinks and will often meet random men at bars and go home with them.  She claims that nothing happens when she goes home with them, but I really don't believe it.  

About a year ago, she got a DUI.  She didn't even tell me about this, I found out after seeing her mugshot in the newspaper.  When I called her to ask her about what happened, she immediately went into defense mode and said that the police framed her.  She said that she didn't even drink that much, and doesn't know how she could have blown such a high number (.24!!!!).  Prior to her arrest, I always had suspicions that she drove while drunk- so I always made it a point to offer to pick her up or just to remind her of the consequences.  Apparently she didn't listen.  Her case is ongoing, and when I ask her about it- she pretends to not hear me and changes the subject.  

Another thing that worries me are her very short relationships.  She will meet men in bars or at concerts, as I mentioned before, will go home with them- end up sleeping with them if they continue to date her, then the guy will just cut off all contact with her.  After they cut off contact, she will call me and cry and complain for weeks.  She thinks that she can get them back, and will come up with this crazy story about how the guy knows how awesome she is and that he broke it off because he's afraid of how great she is and may be freaking out because she could be "the one."  

I know that we are friends and that as a friend I need to be there for her, but this constant complaining is absolutely draining.  If I try to offer my advice, she acts like I am not being supportive and will just bombard me with more complaining about her life.  When she complains about her illness, I point out to her that maybe she should stop drinking so much- that it is probably aggrivating her symptoms.  She will then come up with a crazy excuse about how alcohol won't hurt anything.  This is a big reason why I think she fakes her illness for attention, because I can't imagine how drinking almost every day could help the situation.

Do you guys have any advice as to what I should do?  There have been so many times where I have wanted to just cut off all contact with her, but I really want to see her through this.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 12-23-2013 - 8:21pm

Your friend exhibits signs that to me seem like mental illness--maybe everything she told you about her mom was a lie--obviously her mom isn't abusive if she's supporting her.  Then you know she does all these things for attention--the whole illness probably isn't true either, plus all the exaggeration, inability to hold a job, drinking, not thinking about consequences.  Since you are a mom now, what you absolutely have to do is to take care of your kids--this woman, although a long time friend, is not your responsibility and she's a drain on your time which should really be given to your kids.  Do you have any enjoyment at all being around her?  My guess would be no and you just do all these things out of obligation.  I think at some point, you do need to cut her off or minimize the contact you have with her.  You really can't do anything for her if she does not think she has any problems--that's often a sign of MI that everybody else is against her, she is the total victim, she's very smart & knows everything--and you just can't reason with someone who has a MI like they are normal (I know from experience having been married to a guy with bipolar disorder).

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Mon, 12-23-2013 - 10:56pm

"I know that we are friends and that as a friend I need to be there for her"

Friendship is a two way street. How is she there for you?

You know that she is dishonest (lied about graduating, lies to her mother about money), you know that she does dangerous things (driving while drunk, going home with strangers), you know that she has to be the center of attention all the time, even practically hihacking your wedding. If you met such a person now would you want to develop a friendship with her? You didn't list any good traits and I'm wondering if she has any?

You should try to figure out why you feel the need to "see her through this" and what "this" even is. Do you somehow "owe" her for some favor done in the past? She seems to have gotten more "eccentric" over the years so I think you should expect this behavior from her for the rest of her life, and if you are up to dealing with it forever. You have been there for her for 20 years which, IMO, fulfills any obligation to her that you might think you have. Completely cutting off contact would probably produce drama so I would suggest gradually cutting back how often and how long you can talk to her or see her, until it is infrequent or not at all. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Mon, 12-23-2013 - 11:32pm

There comes a time when you need to understand that "friendship" is a two-way street.  You should have seen that years ago.  Why do you feel you have to "be there" for her?  Has she ever "been there" for you?  She made your wedding a disaster?  You have a family of your own......and they're the ones you should be thinking about, worrying about, and taking care of. 

This woman has delusions, and she's a user!  Because she has no real life, she thinks that you should be available to her for hours on end when I'm sure that you have better things to do with or for your family.  She very obviously has some kind of mental derangement(s).  She'd probably fit several categories in the DSM IV!

It's not like she doesn't have friends......she has her single & divorced alcoholic friends, who are probably just like her so she fits in with them comfortably.  There is nothing you can do for this woman.  You can confront her about her delusions, but she's not going to agree with you, and will probably get mad at you.  Better that you just cut ties with her and start putting all your attention on your own family rather that allowing this woman to drag you down.  It's a hard thing to do, but you have to for your own sanity.  I cut ties a year ago with a woman I'd known for 60 years!  For all those years, she was critical of everyone, including me.  If you didn't do things the way she did,  then you were wrong!  She unfortunately has an autistic grandson, and she refers to him as retarded.  She criticized one of my sons for "living with" a girlfriend (I didn't like it much either) and stated that HER children would never do such a thing because she sacrificed to give them 12 years of Catholic School....that was many years ago, and now one of her "good Catholic" daughters is divorced and living with a guy......in fact, he's the second guy since the divorce.  The straw that broke the camel's back for me was the fact that years ago I was friendly with a gay couple, mentioned it to her, and she went into a tirade about homosexuals.  Then she asked if I'd allow them to be around my teen aged sons.  I said of course, why not? She said they're going to make your sons gay!  I even let that ignorance slide.  About a year ago, she'd called me and asked if I knew that a certain TV star was gay.....and I said yes.  She said she liked his show.  I couldn't resist.....I said "how can you like a GAY man's show"....and she said "what's wrong with that!  There's nothing wrong with being gay!  My nephew is gay and he's a wonderful young man!" 

This woman is as irrational as your friend, in a different way......but I want to tell you it was a year ago that we had that conversation and I just had HAD it.......and told her I was sick of her twisted opinions and I didn't want to speak to her again.  She called me a few weeks later, and I hung up on her.  She has problems, her children have problems, but all she wants to do it tear other people down, and I am SOOOO happy to be rid of her! 

You have to do the same.  Get her out of your life!  She's like a slow acting poison......and you have more important things to think about and do than worry about her.  She needs psychiatric help, but she's never agree to it.   Good Luck!

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-11-2009
Tue, 12-24-2013 - 12:23pm

Thank you all so much for your responses.  I definitely see that I can't waste my time with a person like this, especially when I have a family of my own.  The reason that I questioned how or if I should continue to be there for her is because at one point she was a really great person, she has just progressively gotten worse over the years. Maybe I should have stepped in earlier, but I think that the straw that broke the camel's back was her recent DUI arrest.  That's when I really realized she was going off the deep end. 

One of the replies was pointing out had she ever done anything for me as a friend- and now that I think of it, she really hasn't.  She did throw me a nice bachelorette party, but then towards the end of the night got mad at me because I wasn't drinking!  My sister, who I am so incredibly close with, couldn't make the party because of a snow storm and had originally asked her to reschedule, and she refused.  I didn't find that out until after the bachelorette party. 

I do think it's best to take a big step back from her and let her handle her own life.  My husband also thinks that she has some sort of mental disorder- he literally cannot stand her.  If she ever comes over to the house he makes it a point to leave so that he doesn't have to deal with her.  He thinks she is incredibly narcissistic and has some delusional disorder. 

After I posted last night, she called me around midnight and left me a long babbling message about how she met this great guy at the airport bar and how all of her plans on her trip got messed up because she thinks she broke her foot and her mother refused to pay for another night at the hotel for her.  It was basically a drunken three-minute long message complaining about her life.  Now after reading all of your comments, I am really starting to see there is nothing good coming of this friendship anymore.