Author Topic: A friend cutting contact/ going to my BF behind my back - clarifications #2 & #7  (Read 8755 times)

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Rusty

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To quote the OP:    "Our relationship was GREAT for a while.  We even talked every other night on the phone for an hour or so."

Doesn't sound like she was doing this under duress.

artk2002

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To quote the OP:    "Our relationship was GREAT for a while.  We even talked every other night on the phone for an hour or so."

Doesn't sound like she was doing this under duress.

You've now said that twice, in slightly different ways. What's your point?  I see that you earlier accused the OP of being a "fair weather friend." That's an extremely unfair accusation. It's clear to me that you don't understand the impact depression can have on someone. (Besides, it's the reverse of the usual meaning of "fair weather friend." OP listened to Rora through all of her innumerable issues and only disconnected when her own issues became too great. A fair weather friend is someone who abandons a friend when the friend's problems become big. Rora would be the "fair weather friend" in this situation.)

She wasn't doing it under duress. That doesn't mean that it wasn't stressful. It certainly doesn't mean that, after being away from it for a while, she can't realize that it was stressful and draining. We can fall into very unhealthy situations without realizing that they aren't normal. Ask anyone who's been in a disfunctional family or relationship how hard it is to even recognize that it isn't right. It isn't normal or healthy to listen to someone's griping for an hour every other night, but it can seem that way when you're in the middle of it. When you suffer from depression yourself, you don't have a lot to give, especially to people who are extremely needy.

The OP is allowed to change her relationship with Rora in whatever way suits her now. It doesn't matter whether it's due to depression, or any other change. Rora was wrong to contact OP's BF in the way that she did.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Fleur

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To quote the OP:    "Our relationship was GREAT for a while.  We even talked every other night on the phone for an hour or so."

Doesn't sound like she was doing this under duress.

You've now said that twice, in slightly different ways. What's your point?  I see that you earlier accused the OP of being a "fair weather friend." That's an extremely unfair accusation. It's clear to me that you don't understand the impact depression can have on someone. (Besides, it's the reverse of the usual meaning of "fair weather friend." OP listened to Rora through all of her innumerable issues and only disconnected when her own issues became too great. A fair weather friend is someone who abandons a friend when the friend's problems become big. Rora would be the "fair weather friend" in this situation.)

She wasn't doing it under duress. That doesn't mean that it wasn't stressful. It certainly doesn't mean that, after being away from it for a while, she can't realize that it was stressful and draining. We can fall into very unhealthy situations without realizing that they aren't normal. Ask anyone who's been in a disfunctional family or relationship how hard it is to even recognize that it isn't right. It isn't normal or healthy to listen to someone's griping for an hour every other night, but it can seem that way when you're in the middle of it. When you suffer from depression yourself, you don't have a lot to give, especially to people who are extremely needy.

The OP is allowed to change her relationship with Rora in whatever way suits her now. It doesn't matter whether it's due to depression, or any other change. Rora was wrong to contact OP's BF in the way that she did.

I 100% agree with this post. I think people are being pretty harsh on the OP in this thread. It is pretty clear to me that Rora was in the wrong here.

ettiquit

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I think it's good that the OP gave her friend a heads up that she was going to be uncommunicative for awhile.  My BFF is bi-polar, and when she goes into a dark place and doesn't reach out at all (even just a quick text or email), it's frustrating and scary.  I may be a "normie", but I totally get depression - my mother is also bi-polar.  It requires a lot of patience though, to be close to someone who suffers from this.  I lost a close friendship years ago due to depression.  When she shut down completely, she cut me out - and when she got better, she never acknowledged how she treated me (and others).  I am a very understanding and forgiving person, but I don't absolve people with mental illnesses from any responsibility when they hurt others. 

I 100% understand Rora's hurt over this, and I think it's impossible to know what her true intentions were when she contacted the boyfriend.  If my best friend went to a dark place again and cut me out but still communicated with her boyfriend, I'd be contacting him to make sure she's ok.  If that makes me rude, that's cool.  She's attempted suicide twice, and this (for me) would be a safety before etiquette situation.

Rora actually ending the friendship seems pretty over the top though, so I think it might be safe to say that she doesn't have the patience and understanding to be good friends with someone who's depressed. 

OP - if you do have an interest in saving the friendship, I think it's fine to contact her, apologize for not being there and explain again what's going on with you, and if she responds well then you can chalk her past behavior as her having a bad day.  If she responds poorly, I'd give up.


Kari

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I think the OP is being judged harshly. You don't understand depression until you or someone you love goes through it. People expect the depressed to "snap out of it" or accuse them of acting selfishly.  Do you honestly think that they want their relationships with family and friends to deteriorate? Keeping up with friendships, especially with high-maintenance people, during the darkest moments can feel like trying to claw your way out of quicksand.

Personally, I think that the OP's friend made the situation all about her (contacting the boyfriend to ask why the OP was mad at her, rather that ask the boyfriend  -- or more appropriately the OP herself -- if there was something wrong.) If she's one of those people that only call to talk about her problems, then she wasn't missing a friend, she was missing someone to sound off to.

bopper

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I guess I don't have a problem with her contacting your Boyfriend...you were acting out of character and she wanted to see what was going on.

Also, although it is sad for you, she has every right to end a friendship whenever she wants, as do you.
You may not understand, you may not think it "fair", but for HER, the friendship was no longer meeting her needs.  It might be that she needs someone to unload her issues onto frequently and you were no longer available.   She may have been unhealthily relying on you. 

Or, she may be saying to herself that she tried for 6 months to get in contact with you and you would not keep the relationship at the level it had been in the past so she may have thought that you were trying to end it.   We will often counsel that here on E-hell..if you want to "break up" with a friend and you can't do it directly, keep being busy until they get the hint.

Now we are not saying that it is not sad because you had depression and you were truly trying you best at the time and really couldn't do more and that she was not able to understand that (did she know you were depressed?).  But you can't make her maintain the relationship.

I have a long time friend who has OCD/depression and sometime she contacts me more and sometimes less, but I have accepted that is how our relationship is and it works for me. Your friend may have not accepted that or it may not work for her.

Eden

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I think it's good that the OP gave her friend a heads up that she was going to be uncommunicative for awhile.  My BFF is bi-polar, and when she goes into a dark place and doesn't reach out at all (even just a quick text or email), it's frustrating and scary.  I may be a "normie", but I totally get depression - my mother is also bi-polar.  It requires a lot of patience though, to be close to someone who suffers from this. ...

I 100% understand Rora's hurt over this, and I think it's impossible to know what her true intentions were when she contacted the boyfriend.  If my best friend went to a dark place again and cut me out but still communicated with her boyfriend, I'd be contacting him to make sure she's ok...

Rora actually ending the friendship seems pretty over the top though, so I think it might be safe to say that she doesn't have the patience and understanding to be good friends with someone who's depressed. 

OP - if you do have an interest in saving the friendship, I think it's fine to contact her, apologize for not being there and explain again what's going on with you, and if she responds well then you can chalk her past behavior as her having a bad day.  If she responds poorly, I'd give up.

This perfectly captures my thoughts on this as well.

TurtleDove

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I think the OP is being judged harshly. You don't understand depression until you or someone you love goes through it. People expect the depressed to "snap out of it" or accuse them of acting selfishly.  Do you honestly think that they want their relationships with family and friends to deteriorate? Keeping up with friendships, especially with high-maintenance people, during the darkest moments can feel like trying to claw your way out of quicksand.

I have experience with various people in my life suffering from depression, and their behavior negatively affected me.  For me, when it comes to friendship I do not expect a depressed person to snap out of it or accuse them of anything.  Based on my experiences, I choose to not expect anything of a person who exhibits signs of depression.  I may choose to be there for them and try to help them, but I often decide that I do not need the drama.  Same goes for high maintenance people or anyone else whose friendship requires more work than I am willing to put in or who brings drama into my life.  It's not a misunderstanding of depression - it is a conscious decision that if I can avoid having someone else's mental illness of whatever form affect my life, I will.

Fleur

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I think the OP is being judged harshly. You don't understand depression until you or someone you love goes through it. People expect the depressed to "snap out of it" or accuse them of acting selfishly.  Do you honestly think that they want their relationships with family and friends to deteriorate? Keeping up with friendships, especially with high-maintenance people, during the darkest moments can feel like trying to claw your way out of quicksand.

I have experience with various people in my life suffering from depression, and their behavior negatively affected me.  For me, when it comes to friendship I do not expect a depressed person to snap out of it or accuse them of anything.  Based on my experiences, I choose to not expect anything of a person who exhibits signs of depression.  I may choose to be there for them and try to help them, but I often decide that I do not need the drama.  Same goes for high maintenance people or anyone else whose friendship requires more work than I am willing to put in or who brings drama into my life.  It's not a misunderstanding of depression - it is a conscious decision that if I can avoid having someone else's mental illness of whatever form affect my life, I will.

That seems fair. However, I would say in this particular situation, your words would apply quite as much to Rora as they would to the OP, if not more so. The OP may be depressed, but Rora is high maintenance.

TurtleDove

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That seems fair. However, I would say in this particular situation, your words would apply quite as much to Rora as they would to the OP, if not more so. The OP may be depressed, but Rora is high maintenance.

100% agreed!  I was mostly responding to what I perceived as the idea that people who do not cut slack to people with depression do not understand depression.  I wouldn't say I "understand" depression, but I believe that some people with various mental illnesses are not capable of being the type of friend to me that I would want.  This means that I choose to not be close friends with them.  Same goes for high maintenance, but I was responding to the post I quoted in the earlier post (whoa, that got confusing!)

Fleur

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That seems fair. However, I would say in this particular situation, your words would apply quite as much to Rora as they would to the OP, if not more so. The OP may be depressed, but Rora is high maintenance.

100% agreed!  I was mostly responding to what I perceived as the idea that people who do not cut slack to people with depression do not understand depression.  I wouldn't say I "understand" depression, but I believe that some people with various mental illnesses are not capable of being the type of friend to me that I would want.  This means that I choose to not be close friends with them.  Same goes for high maintenance, but I was responding to the post I quoted in the earlier post (whoa, that got confusing!)

No, I totally understand you! And I think that we agree. I don't think that this case is about understanding or not understanding depression-it is about the negotiation of boundaries.

EllenS

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Have not read all replies, but if Rora thinks that phoning every other night is the only way to be a "real" friend, she has a very skewed perception.  I dont' even always speak to my dad that often, and we are very close and live 3 houses away from each other.

I could understand her wanting to check on you after 2 weeks, along the reasoning of "last time she broke contact she was extremely depressed and in crisis, how is she doing?"  But wanting to keep it a secret and getting mad are very bad signs.

Not calling someone for 2 weeks is not an etiquette or moral failing, unless you had specifically promised to do so.  You do not need to ask permission to not call someone because you are busy or upset.  When people punish you or withdraw from you based on you doing normal, healthy, appropriate behavior - that is a sign that they are not looking for a normal, healthy, appropriate relationship.  It may be wise to let this one lapse, as you move into a life full of healthier people.

Cami

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Have not read all replies, but if Rora thinks that phoning every other night is the only way to be a "real" friend, she has a very skewed perception.  I dont' even always speak to my dad that often, and we are very close and live 3 houses away from each other.

I could understand her wanting to check on you after 2 weeks, along the reasoning of "last time she broke contact she was extremely depressed and in crisis, how is she doing?"  But wanting to keep it a secret and getting mad are very bad signs.

Not calling someone for 2 weeks is not an etiquette or moral failing, unless you had specifically promised to do so.  You do not need to ask permission to not call someone because you are busy or upset.  When people punish you or withdraw from you based on you doing normal, healthy, appropriate behavior - that is a sign that they are not looking for a normal, healthy, appropriate relationship.  It may be wise to let this one lapse, as you move into a life full of healthier people.
I am continually perplexed by an attitude I see expressed on this board that the only behavior one should ever expect is one that has been explicitly promised.  Do people really live their lives in some sort of verbal contractual arrangement system with friends and family?


rashea

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Have not read all replies, but if Rora thinks that phoning every other night is the only way to be a "real" friend, she has a very skewed perception.  I dont' even always speak to my dad that often, and we are very close and live 3 houses away from each other.

I could understand her wanting to check on you after 2 weeks, along the reasoning of "last time she broke contact she was extremely depressed and in crisis, how is she doing?"  But wanting to keep it a secret and getting mad are very bad signs.

Not calling someone for 2 weeks is not an etiquette or moral failing, unless you had specifically promised to do so.  You do not need to ask permission to not call someone because you are busy or upset.  When people punish you or withdraw from you based on you doing normal, healthy, appropriate behavior - that is a sign that they are not looking for a normal, healthy, appropriate relationship.  It may be wise to let this one lapse, as you move into a life full of healthier people.
I am continually perplexed by an attitude I see expressed on this board that the only behavior one should ever expect is one that has been explicitly promised.  Do people really live their lives in some sort of verbal contractual arrangement system with friends and family?

No, I think that generally if you are changing the status quo, you should let the other person know. But, the OP did. And I don't think it's all that odd for a friend to say, "I'm overwhelmed right now, so I won't be able to talk on the phone for a while."

OP, I think you're better off moving on. I too deal with depression, and I get the urge to stick your head in the covers. My friends understand when I disappear for a little while. And if they didn't, that doesn't mean there is something wrong with either of us, we're just not a good fit.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

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Magnet

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I have read this post and replies with great interest as I have a friend who has "gone turtle" due to depression.  As hard as it is for the person suffering depression, it is hard on the friend who is cut off due to depression.  We don't know what is going on, we don't know if the person is safe.  If we call, we are nags.  If we don't call, we don't care. 

I agree with etiquett that it is difficult being a good friend to someone who suffers from depression.  I miss my friend. 

To the OP, I suggest that you contact your friend and try and mend fences.