Another NM Magnet here with friend prob & feeling anxiety or is it anger?

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SpringLight

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Hi, All:

This is my first post in a long time.

After a lifetime of being a SG, Coming OOF continues to be very difficult to do, but it is vital. There really is no turning back now, is there? :sadno:

Sorry if this post seems a bit incoherent and disjointed. I'm not feeling my best today.

Background:
I am very enmeshed with my FOO because I am sole caregiver of my elderly mother. FOO probs abound and need to be worked on. But, like many of you, since joining this site, I am ALSO feeling the need to re-evaluate ALL my relationships.  I am realizing feelings of anxiety/discomfort/irritation/excessive anger are signals that what's happening in the relationship probably is triggering or pushing buttons relating to dysfunction in my FOO.

For many (most?...all?) of us... this journey can be as troubling as it is enlightening.

And rather than trying to figure out or diagnose possible PD's of the person in question, I am instead trying to focus on how X person makes me feel. How am I feeling after talking with this person? Anxious? If so, why? Defensive? If so, why? etc.

This has been extremely challenging because I have lived my life believing, I am always at fault--even if it means...my fault is... I'm "too sensitive."

The message growing up was  often "selfish" "ungrateful" and I had to work at pleasing  and accommodating people.  And while troubled people had troubles...I was told to always love the unlovable.

My life changed dramatically when  I went from being a strong person to someone who had many chronic illnesses and a few life-threatening acute conditions.. However, it just so happens I interact with people (friends, family) who are generally extremely healthy. So I often feel very alone.  I have learned to be very open about talking about my health--with anyone in Real Life. (Not here, because it is identifying!) However, I am verrrrry careful about not over-sharing, and I always make sure I keep complaints in check. In recent years have spent most of my time making the conversation about THEM, which I don't mind, well, up to a point. 

My life changed again when I became the sole caregiver of my elderly mother.  As a person with chronic illnesses. It's hard to imagine the life I lead...if you haven't been in my shoes.
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My current problem:

It involves a long-time friend. I'll call her Louise.

In the past 30 or so years, Louise and I have always lived about 600 miles from each other.

 I never really thought of her as having PD in any way (mainly because she's a very calm, steady person), but now I'm wondering about some N, or fleas, or the fact that she isn't as GENUINELY empathetic as I thought.  In recent years, I've realized she is projecting some of her own dysfunctional family stuff (her relationship with a sister) onto me. I don't think she's aware of this, However...it's definitely present.

Here's the prob...

Periodically, out of the blue, Louise  announces she's "coming to visit my home town", which she once lived in.
And I should mention that I am the only remaining person she still knows from around here.

She did it again, just recently--invited herself down....after no communication from her since Christmas. 

I fully understand that different people/cultures view hosting/ dropping in without an invite as a commonplace thing, but I don't think past the age of about 20, I've ever really liked it.  And I like to do the inviting, frankly, if and when I can and want to.

Since I've had chronic health problems and especially since I'm the only caregiver of my elderly mother, I now HATE having guests.
I don't have the reserve of energy that I once had.  I HAVE VERY LIMITED TIME AND ENERGY. I can't predict how I will feel. I can feel relatively well for a few hours, push myself hard to appear normal (and not "pathetic") and then crash.

But Louise's frequent habit of wanting to stay with me predates all that. She invites herself OUT OF THE BLUE about two times a year. 

The last time was the day after or before Christmas...."hey, I'm just driving by on the way back from my Aunt's in Xville. I'm going to stop by. Hope you're up for a visit. "

Um...no, I'm not. up for a visit....
(Christmas = Chaos for me.)

She has stayed with me a couple of times...but never recently.  She has asked a number of times and I've just flatly said "Sorry, I can't."

I've told her I'm just not up to ANY guests.  About a year ago, she came and stayed at a hotel. IN MY HOME TOWN.  But she wants to hang out with me. For several days in a row. That seems reasonable. And really, SHE is very flexible.... BUT...it's starting to irritate me that she keeps doing this. Suddenly announcing she's coming and expecting I can drop everything.

BTW, I think she would be fine if I visited HER and stayed with her...but, I can't travel at this time.

Of course I feel guilty as hell, and it makes me feel like a weirdo and A BAD FRIEND not to invite a friend to stay with me. But, with sole responsibility for my mother and my health challenges...and no money to pay a cleaning service...and a myriad of probs, it's too much.  I've given a lot of thought to this.  I can't do it.

She's not really a pushy person in general, but she'll start shooting down all my reasons. 

1) I've told her about my mother's health needs . And I don't think she "gets" it.  Even on the phone, she doesn't seem "responsively empathetic."
She is not at all mean.  But, while I listen intently to HER problems...she doesn't seem to be able to do the same for me. 
Or rather...she WILL listen, but she never gives any feedback. At most, she'll say "ohhhhhh."

Louise's sister, I'm told by Louise is a "whiny hypochondriac." In light of this, I discuss my medical conditions to Louise very clinically so as to not sound like her "whiny" sister.  But even then...I sense her lack of interest. Or maybe like other friends, she remembers me as my healthy self and can't accept this "lessened version?" I don't know...

2) I told her that there is a big ongoing drama in my family. There is. And yet, she didn't seem interested in knowing WHAT.
But I indicated that I would like to tell her. She said "Well.....maybe, if it would work for [me] I could join your family" in doing things. I :aaauuugh: don't think she'd mind dealing with the dysfunction. But, OMG... it would compound my stress.

She texted me OUT OF THE BLUE with this latest plan. I followed up with email. I felt a bit pressured and decided that I could get together for a relaxed meal at a restaurant.  But then she called me and we discussed HER plan.

I didn't "feel heard" when I told her that I'd be up and available for a meal....say, lunch--one day. But not trying to entertain or even spend time with her or anyone for three straight days.  At this point in my life. She seemed frustrated, and I get that. But I kept assuring  her "the problem isn't you."

She tried to accommodate my needs..."Well, if this weekend doesn't work out for you, how about the next one, or another one?"
 :aaauuugh:
Uhhhhmmm...no three-day weekend is gonna work with me at the present time. I can set aside some time for a meal.

Then she persisted: "Well, ok, but what am I supposed to tell my job? I've got to know which days...." She has a point, but... I felt controlled as I often do with my BPD-s. Except my BPD-s would be throwing an angry tantrum by that point in the discussion.

And that "OK, but I"ve got to know what days and what I'm going to do when I get  there..." (i.e., you've got to acquiesce to my plan?!?)

Sorry to ramble on. The prob in a nutshell. I KNOW I am really only able to see her for a lunch or a dinner. Yes, I feel very guilty because she's traveling all this way....but I can't promise her any more of my time...now or in the foreseeable future.

And now I'm feeling pressured, and ashamed, really ...which is the story of my life with my BPD-s. So it's pushing my buttons like crazy, and I'm getting inappropriately angry and of course, obsessing about this.  :stars: Argh...

If you've made it this far, congratulations! I mean, thanks for reading my post! :D

Feedback/thoughts/perspective/ideas...all appreciated!

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notrightinthehead

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Seems that you just don't feel like socializing at this time, not even with your friend. And somehow she does not get this. Or she really wants to spend time with you but you lack the energy for that. Do you think she understands how you feel at the moment?

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SpringLight

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Seems that you just don't feel like socializing at this time, not even with your friend. And somehow she does not get this. Or she really wants to spend time with you but you lack the energy for that. Do you think she understands how you feel at the moment?

Hi, Notright:

Thanks for your reply.

This relatively minor incident is, for whatever reason(s?) is one of those things that has sent me into a HUGE tailspin.  :stars:

I'm feeling highly agitated, anxious, angry, and a part of me feeling, once again, ashamed at myself for feeling what I'm feeling and for "overreacting."  And, I know when I start obsessing...it's imperative for me to stop and pay attention to what's REALLY going on.

Even on this compassionate, enlightened board...as I I was writing/venting this out, I thought...I felt...they'll think I'm selfish/nuts/making a mountain out of a molehill.  And over and over again I hear the judgmental voices screaming: "WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU?!!" :-[ I almost deleted the whole damn thing.  :-[

As I try to sort out my feelings...THIS is what I KNOW to be true for me: (Oh, and if this crap resonates with any of you, please let me know...)

Like the rest of you....I came OOF because I HAD TO. I could no longer tolerate my designated role, without going totally insane.

I think this volcano of strong emotions with Louise happened because some repressed emotions have surfaced. At this late date,    finally rebelling against my doormatty, SG role. I'm no spring chicken. I'm in my 60's...but I think I've regressed because now I am more enmeshed in my dysfunction FOO than I was when I was 16.  UGH.

I have had to STUFF, DENY and OBLITERATE my feelings my entire life-- with many of the PD's I've attracted so often in my life.

With THIS situation, I don't think it's simply a matter of "not feeling like socializing." I very much enjoy going out for a few hours socially when I can, I enjoy other people (non PD people! Thank God I have some of those in my life!!! They are not "perfect." But with them, there is a reciprocal respect and give and take.  And we don't keep score.

My plate these days is always full, but not because I chose this life. And not because I have a glamorous life or job. I can't share a lot of my mundane life for fear of boring people. I have to be a caregiver, literally 24/7.  I have my own chronic health issues which I, alone have to take care of. I have to mourn the fact that I am no longer the healthy person I was. (Fortunately, I do have good medical care.) Sometimes, in my "others before me" thinking...I can literally "forget" that I have to go to appointments.

My life is made up of a lot of boring, mundane tedious things.  But, I think, for the most part, I have accepted this stage of life. But these are often difficult waters to navigate.

I am depleted for physical reasons. But ALSO because of my FOO. (Another post for another day!)

 I like MOST people. I really like listening to most people. But I also  work very hard at being a good listener, never burdening (nor mentioning) my "issues" at all. Only when asked. And then, I keep it short and sweet.

With this friend..."Louise..." I realize she has some mild to moderate N and controlling traits which until I have ignored.

My FOO has taught me:


1. Don't EVER make anyone feel uncomfortable. If that happens, you must do everything in your power to rectify that. Including apologizing profusely. And often. Always take 100% of the blame, spend whatever it takes, monetarily to prove I'm sorry and that I want to "pay" for my offenses. So, that means if someone drops in unannounced, drop everything and be a good hostess.

2. I was told by my parents ,unlike any of my three sibs, to be kind to everyone. Turn the other cheek.

3.My M has recently exhorted me to "be extra kind to  family. It's the only FOO you have." I then asked her: "Have you ever said anything like that to my BPD-s, and my two N B's?" To my surprise, she admitted to me: "Uhm, well...no, I haven't." Sooooo...it's up to me to do all of the heavy lifting, giving, kindness, understanding...???? :stars:

4. Don't ever hurt anyone's feelings.  Ever. Be yourself but not if you hurt someone's feelings.

5. Give until it hurts. And then, continue to give.

6. Don't EVER be a burden.  And always remember...you ARE, from the FOO perspective, a burden, really. 
People will only like YOU, Spring, when you are your cheerful, enthusiastic,upbeat self.  And even then....just be a good listener and all will be good.
I have lived my entire life in dread of "burdening" people,
7. ALWAYS bend over backwards for others.


OK, you get the idea.

Woahhhhhhhh!!! This is a long enough of a post for now...! More info. specific to Louise (Part II) in my next post! :wave:


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Joan

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SpringLight, Im so sorry you are going through this. I totally understand, you are not mean, terrible or whatever awful thing you said about yourself...

There was a time I had family visiting from abroad, or a guy from a dating site (terrible, I know!!). I was supposed to entertain them, to be at their disposal 24/7, drive them to places, etc.

Im an only child and now a caregiver, somehow. Personally, every time I travelled abroad I arranged my hotels, my sightseeings, etc. Never expected anybody to do things for me (and they never did). But that same people expect royal treatment from me.

I think you are just drained and exhausted and you simply dont feel like it. Your friend may be nice, but she is not listening to you. Probably because you never talked about yourself (like you, Im a listener, I dont go about my own problems). So, uPD people think I dont have any problem.

Imho, you offered to meet her for a meal and she should be satisfied with not. Instead, she pushes for more. I think she is not respecting your boundary.

Again, like you, I was taught to put otherīs feelings before mine. Well, that boat has sailed....

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countrygirl

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Hi SpringLight,

I can so relate to all that you say.   Like Joan also, I was taught to put others' feelings first, just as you were.   

Also like you, I now also have medical issues, which are draining, and I simply don't have the resilience I once did, and there are physical limitations.   I had a PD friend who would say all the right things about my condition, but who really didn't feel empathy and who still expected me to host her at all times.  I explained that my condition had worsened, and that I was worn out from being POA for my elderly father.  But she still tried to push her way into visiting me.  After my father died, I was mourning and trying to handle all of his very tangled business affairs.  I explained how drained I was, but she still pushed.  Finally, I simply refused to let her park herself on me except once every few months, and she raged at me.   She had no empathy and no respect for boundaries, so I had to end the friendship.  (Her anger had made me want to end the relationship a long time before this.)

Although your friend doesn't sound as if she rages, and as you say might not be PD, but she isn't respecting your boundaries and doesn't really get your situation. I think that you need to tell her what you said here, to paraphrase:   Unless you've been in this situation, you might not really get it.  Then add,   I have no time or energy for more than a meal.   I know planning a visit of several days around one meal might not make sense for you, and if so, I will certainly understand if you don't want to stay that long.  I'm sorry that I can't give you more time, but it's taking all of the energy I have to take care of my mother and to take care of myself.   I hope you understand.   

That is all that you can do.   Then try to let go of the guilt, because the truth is that you really don't need any more weight on your shoulders, including the weight of your guilt. 

You sound like a good person, but you can't be all things to all people at this time.  You have to put yourself first,   I think you need to accept that you now have limitations.   You did not ask to be a caregiver and you did not ask for your medical conditions. Nor did you ask to be taught that you always have to put others first.   

Once, a first cousin I hadn't seen in a long time wanted me to make a six or seven hour drive to meet her at a resort for a weekend.   She already knew about my physical condition, but when I explained that I was unable to agree to this plan, she said,  "Oh, just have a glass of wine and forget about it."   If only a glass of wine were the solution!   it angers me when others are so dismissive.   What you say is true:  They just don't get it.   But some will get it more than others; some are truly empathetic.   If your friend is the right kind of person, she will listen to you and will accept what you say.   If she doesn't, you really are better off without her.   You need friends who are supportive of you, not ones who make you feel worse.     

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SpringLight

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SpringLight, Im so sorry you are going through this. I totally understand, you are not mean, terrible or whatever awful thing you said about yourself...

There was a time I had family visiting from abroad, or a guy from a dating site (terrible, I know!!). I was supposed to entertain them, to be at their disposal 24/7, drive them to places, etc.

Im an only child and now a caregiver, somehow. Personally, every time I travelled abroad I arranged my hotels, my sightseeings, etc. Never expected anybody to do things for me (and they never did). But that same people expect royal treatment from me.

I think you are just drained and exhausted and you simply dont feel like it. Your friend may be nice, but she is not listening to you. Probably because you never talked about yourself (like you, Im a listener, I dont go about my own problems). So, uPD people think I dont have any problem.

Imho, you offered to meet her for a meal and she should be satisfied with not. Instead, she pushes for more. I think she is not respecting your boundary.

Again, like you, I was taught to put otherīs feelings before mine. Well, that boat has sailed....

Hi, there, Joan! :wave:

And thanks so much for your reply. Yes, yes, yes! Like you, when traveling in or out of my country, I have NEVER had expectations of people who lived there-- to be my host, to be my tour guide, to feed me, to entertain me.

In fact, when  offered hospitality, I always check and recheck to see if it IS really THEIR genuine wish (and then I even give  them "outs"). I  assume I may be imposing.
"Are you SURE that's ok to drive that far....The traffic is awful, you know , and really  I'm happy to take a taxi..."

I have never invited myself, never "dropped hints" of needing a place to crash. NEVER! (I'm not saying this makes me more virtuous...it's just is not something I would ever feel comfortable doing. Because I can really empathize with how stressful it may be.
And maybe it's stressful, because I was raised to be THE BEST, MOST SACRIFICING HOSTESS ever. UGH.

And yet, like you, there have been a number of people who do just that to me.  :stars: (Not saying that this is "wrong" for others...BUT I have never hinted or encouraged this type behavior being done to me . And maybe, just maybe...those people would then consider NOT ASSUMING it was automatically ok with me!!!)

Another CHRONIC problem in my life is that people frequently drop over to my home, UNANNOUNCED, without even calling in advance to see if this is ok.  Such a pet peeve--especially in recent years.  They will drop by my Mom's place when they know I am there. Mom can NEVER say "no."

One friend in particular, An N, when visiting this area, would never commit to a time, never text, email or call me ahead of time. Yes, she had a cell phone and laptop....She would swing on by. ALWAYS be a surprise. She would always tell me how she was "squeezing me in" before going to the airport. So...it was "her way or the highway.  I mean...her way or the airway..." She was always dressed to the nines, while I could be half-dressed or in my bathrobe. Or on my way out, or even (TWICE this happened) entertaining other visitors! :stars:

She,  was never bossy or argumentative. But she, like Louise, if they don't get their "way"...they sound somewhat sulky, and miffed. AND I end up feeling FOG'd...and made to feel defective.


Back to Louise. Yes, my friend IS nice and has many fine attributes. I do NOT think she's a PD with whom I'll need to go LC or NC.

However..In our relationship, now that I'm comin' out of my FOG, there are some issues that I need to pay attention to.
Historically...I think I felt she was superior to me. In many ways, she is. And as a result, I made sure that I had make her the focus of our friendship.

I DO enjoy listening A LOT. I am an active listener. So I respond, ask questions, and remember what she's going through. She, on the other hand, will listen, but she doesn't offer much empathy.  She often will respond. "Ohhhh."

I have always been so sensitive to Fear/Obligation and Guilt....

I realize it is *I* who have ALLOWED her problems, her concerns, her opinions, her thoughts to be 95% of our relationship for....a long time.  Another kind of N thing she often does...is react to what I do/say by telling WHAT I should do something different or better.  And she seems to "disapprove" or challenge or contradict. Or when I insist on asserting my feelings, I usually hear a kind of condescending  "ohhhhhhh."

Thanks, Joan and anyone else who had the patience to read through all that.


Finally, all my empathy to you being an only child and caregiver.
That said...lucky you, no sibs to deal with! ;D

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SpringLight

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Hi SpringLight,

I can so relate to all that you say.   Like Joan also, I was taught to put others' feelings first, just as you were.   

Also like you, I now also have medical issues, which are draining, and I simply don't have the resilience I once did, and there are physical limitations.   I had a PD friend who would say all the right things about my condition, but who really didn't feel empathy and who still expected me to host her at all times.  I explained that my condition had worsened, and that I was worn out from being POA for my elderly father.  But she still tried to push her way into visiting me.  After my father died, I was mourning and trying to handle all of his very tangled business affairs.  I explained how drained I was, but she still pushed.  Finally, I simply refused to let her park herself on me except once every few months, and she raged at me.   She had no empathy and no respect for boundaries, so I had to end the friendship.  (Her anger had made me want to end the relationship a long time before this.)

Although your friend doesn't sound as if she rages, and as you say might not be PD, but she isn't respecting your boundaries and doesn't really get your situation. I think that you need to tell her what you said here, to paraphrase:   Unless you've been in this situation, you might not really get it.  Then add,   I have no time or energy for more than a meal.   I know planning a visit of several days around one meal might not make sense for you, and if so, I will certainly understand if you don't want to stay that long.  I'm sorry that I can't give you more time, but it's taking all of the energy I have to take care of my mother and to take care of myself.   I hope you understand.   

That is all that you can do.   Then try to let go of the guilt, because the truth is that you really don't need any more weight on your shoulders, including the weight of your guilt. 

You sound like a good person, but you can't be all things to all people at this time.  You have to put yourself first,   I think you need to accept that you now have limitations.   You did not ask to be a caregiver and you did not ask for your medical conditions. Nor did you ask to be taught that you always have to put others first.   

Once, a first cousin I hadn't seen in a long time wanted me to make a six or seven hour drive to meet her at a resort for a weekend.   She already knew about my physical condition, but when I explained that I was unable to agree to this plan, she said,  "Oh, just have a glass of wine and forget about it."   If only a glass of wine were the solution!   it angers me when others are so dismissive.   What you say is true:  They just don't get it.   But some will get it more than others; some are truly empathetic.   If your friend is the right kind of person, she will listen to you and will accept what you say.   If she doesn't, you really are better off without her.   You need friends who are supportive of you, not ones who make you feel worse.   

Hello, Country Girl:

Thank you so much for your response and for your validation!

It helps me so much when I'm all befuddled and guilt-ridden  to have someone spell out the right words. The truth, plain and simple.

"Unless you've been in this situation, you might not really get it.    I have no time or energy for more than a meal.   I know planning a visit of several days around one meal might not make sense for you, and if so, I will certainly understand if you don't want to stay that long.  I'm sorry that I can't give you more time, but it's taking all of the energy I have to take care of my mother and to take care of myself.   I hope you understand. "

Something else that has helped me when I'm feeling almost sick with guilt...is hearing the words "If she is a good friend, she will understand." Something so simple. And then I think, YES!!!! ...and then I remind myself... WHAT REALLY IS A GOOD FRIEND?

And then, suddenly, I think of a whole paragraph of attributes that sound like I'm quoting the New Testament. "A good friend is kind, patient...etc."  And so as to not be a hypocrite, I ask myself if this is what I do, or try to do, or, am willing to do as a good friend to that person.

Then I have to remember, is this REALLY some selfish whim, some arbitrary thing. HELL NO! I've pondered and pondered days and days over things like this.  In the past, asked friends what I should do. I've even had one sleepless night because I felt. "I'm a bad friend. I'm selfish."

By the way...

I have had a few friends and family members like the one you described in your post. I smiled when I read that they "say all the right things about my illness." By the way, as a general rule it really helps to have a well-known illness.  ;D Anything that's rare or obscure...THAT is just too much effort for most people.

Oh, I can so empathize with your situation with your friend who INSISTED on coming down after your father's passing. What a terrible time to host anyone. I'm sure that there are people who really enjoy having people stay with during such days. But, who would ASSUME that a grieving person/family would want that?! I winced when I read that. It happened to me. Friend invited herself to my mother's home--already filled with family-- so that she could come to the funeral. That friend would probably have been very independent....but, but....just having ANOTHER  person to worry about, to think about.  My family doesn't even know her. Grief is already waaayyy too exhausting, and those post-death days and weeks are so unpredictable. 
The fact that you had so many other things to do in the aftermath....oh, what a nightmare.

As for your cousin's "just have a glass of wine and forget about it." :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

Dismissive is right!... And I dislike when OTHERS justify those kind of people and say: "Oh, she wasn't dismissive. She was just trying to be kind."  :sadno:

Here's another beaut I've heard from a friend with multiple chronic illnesses : "Your problem is that you take too much medicine."

See...our health problems are a "problem" (mainly a problem to them, you see, it puts a damper on THEIR plans !!) that needs to be solved ASAP. And being Nish, THEY assume THEY can solve the "problem"--one that a myriad of health specialists have failed to do.  :stars:

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countrygirl

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Hi Spring Light,

You are so right that our problems are seen as THEIR problems.   When I first became ill, I was training a horse for someone, and I had to tell her that I couldn't ride him anymore.  This angered her, and she immediately starting telling me what I should do to become well, including some very ill-advised and dangerous surgery!   I couldn't believe it, except that I could.  She was such  a Narcissist, that all she could see was that she was being deprived of a service.   

In my younger years, I once suffered a badly broken leg, and so a friend with whom I owned a horse would have to do more of the work for the horse--until I was better.  Her response?  "I can't believe this has happened to me."   That says it all, doesn't it?  It hadn't happened to her!   

At any rate, I hope you will stop feeling bad about not being able to do what you once did.   And I do think that it's true that people who really care about you will understand.   Just tell her, yet again, that you don't have the time or the energy.  I ended up telling that person who kept wanting to impose herself on me that most of the time when she was here what I really wanted to do was go in my bedroom, stretch out on the bed and close the door.   

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SpringLight

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Hi Spring Light,

You are so right that our problems are seen as THEIR problems.   When I first became ill, I was training a horse for someone, and I had to tell her that I couldn't ride him anymore.  This angered her, and she immediately starting telling me what I should do to become well, including some very ill-advised and dangerous surgery!   I couldn't believe it, except that I could.  She was such  a Narcissist, that all she could see was that she was being deprived of a service.   

In my younger years, I once suffered a badly broken leg, and so a friend with whom I owned a horse would have to do more of the work for the horse--until I was better.  Her response?  "I can't believe this has happened to me."   That says it all, doesn't it?  It hadn't happened to her!   

At any rate, I hope you will stop feeling bad about not being able to do what you once did.   And I do think that it's true that people who really care about you will understand.   Just tell her, yet again, that you don't have the time or the energy.  I ended up telling that person who kept wanting to impose herself on me that most of the time when she was here what I really wanted to do was go in my bedroom, stretch out on the bed and close the door.

Oh, Countrygirl:

I wish I could tell you I was SURPRISED by those two anecdotes. But, alas, no. :sadno: To Narcs...your real value is being USEFUL to them. So, if you could no longer ride, then, you were no longer useful.  To her, I mean.

I'm no equestrian expert, but...isn't the job of training a horse-- a working relationship... of TWO able-bodied beings? You and the horse. If the horse is not well, hypothetically. you might  be hurt or injured. If YOU are not well, but you agreed to train the horse...that would adversely affect the quality of training. Not to mention a possible worsening of your health.

Isn't that a no-brainer?

Furthermore,  if any rider falls off the horse due to the poor health of you or the horse....who's going to pay for your medical expenses?

"I can't believe this happened to me" said to you about your broken leg!!!! If THAT isn't classic N...I don't know what is!  :roll:

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countrygirl

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Hi Spring Light,

Thanks for your reply!  All that you say about training horses is spot on.   

I was in no shape to ride that client's horse.  (And now haven't been able to really ride in a number of years.)  But that client thought I should try a dangerous surgery, just so I would be able to ride for her.   In other words, she didn't think I should ride without that surgery, but thought I should have it, post haste, so that I would be in good enough condition to ride.

But my worst experience regarding my physical condition and another person has been with the PD friend from whom I had to withdraw.   She had such a hair-trigger temper, and I told her, countless times, that tension was horrible for me, yet she never tried to control herself.  Then when I had to withdraw, she was furious.   In a way, it's sort of funny:  I withdraw because of her anger, and tell her so, and her response is--surprise!--more anger!   Yet she repeatedly said how bad it was that I had such pain, etc., all the while refusing to stop causing so much tension which caused me more pain.

Your friend has a different temperament, fortunately for both of you, but she is having trouble accepting that your life has changed.   I think you could tell her how much YOU hate it that you have your medical conditions which create limitations, but that given that, you are doing the best you can while also caring full-time for your mom.   As I write that, I think about how incredible it is that someone would not get that you are feeling so drained.     

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SpringLight

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Countrygirl:

In addition to this friend and hosting problem...I  also had a bit of a dramatic FOO-induced  meltdown earlier today.

I desperately felt I had to get my mind off of THAT...so, I went here to read your post.  Which turned out to be very therapeutic!
I must say thinking about horses...just thinking about horses and riding-- has calmed me down immensely. (A totally unintended POSITIVE consequence of reading your posts!)

When everything is going to hell in a hand basket... I almost always can be soothed by "creature comforts." I should remember that.  Ahhhh....

FOR ME (and likely for YOU)... animals (and certain types of music) hath hath charms to soothe me and "the savage breast."

Gee, I'm so sorry you have been not able to ride for many years. I can't imagine that that loss is easy for you. There are a few
things that I am passionate about that I can not do anymore. But my way of dealing with that is to view it as a "just for today, I can't ride" type thing.  And that isn't being Pollyanna. It's realistic. Possibly, you may never ride again. But you might very well ride again. We really don't know what the future will hold. What (benign) therapies may be available. So...just for today....

The ridiculous medical "advice" that you were offered by that Narc...was just that. Ridiculous!   As foolish as it is RUDE.  Wait--did I say you were "OFFERED" the advice?  What I meant is...you were ASSAULTED with the unsolicited "advice."

I have a medical background  I also have quite a few family members/friends who are physicians, and nurses. I can't tell you how often we have discussed variations of this topic--arriving at a proper diagnosis and deciding how to treat. It's such a complex topic, even when there is a definitive diagnosis.  Before resorting to surgery...a good diagnostician must pore over a tremendous amount of information.  A thorough examination of the patient and discussion of options must be discussed. Because, and it is no surprise to anyone...medicine is not an exact science. What an arrogant thing for this person to assume to know what's indicated/best for YOU.

Even if this person had a medical degree and had decades of experience, it would be irresponsible, foolish and did I mention rude to insist you pursue ANY surgery, much less a surgery known to be risky. Without studying the facts AND getting your permission!!!

If your medical condition has anything to do with your back or spine....be aware that you'll probably receive more unsolicited advice than most patients!  Everyone has a "back surgery" story to tell!

Your "friend" with the hair-trigger temper...sounds EXACTLY like my BPDsis.   Hair-trigger temper and an angry refusal to take responsibility for their unpleasant behavior, much less refusing to CALMLY reflect on what you are saying.

You told your "friend" that tension is terrible for you. It's really a shame that you would even have to say that to ANYONE.  There probably isn't a medical condition in the world that is NOT exacerbated by tension and stress. Anything involving PAIN as a symptom is bound to worsen with stress. 

I've never known pain to improve with tension.  You should have asked her how...do HER symptoms respond well to stress and tension??? :stars:
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As for my friend, Louise... I have some serious thinking to do. I want to preserve this friendship. But I need to figure out
WHY she seems not "get" that I don't do the hosting thing any more. 

As for me, I have only just recently FINALLY taken her off the Friend Pedestal. For me, I've overlooked a  lot of N tendencies when I put the person on a pedestal. Which I've done with some friends, bosses, coworkers...

I have finally allowed myself to acknowledge  some dysfunction N stuff with her that I think I need to think about and work on. So as much as I resent the stress and angst this has caused, it's probably a good thing that this happened. It's forcing me to
look at the bigger picture of our friendship.

I've thought back over the years. She has done this "inviting herself" thing--more than 20 times. I have probably hosted her two times. Then there were times when she stayed in a local hotel, but wanted to spend 3-4 days hanging out. She is NOT awful  to be with.  But, the point is...over those 20 years, my life has NOT gotten easier--to be able to be a hostess.

I think I bear some responsibility in this.  When someone like Louise invites themselves...my default reaction is never.."Does this work for me?" Instead, my first reaction is...to quote the medical oath:  "FIRST, DO NO HARM." LOL!!! 

You see, I am responsible for everyone's happiness. Always have been. I really don't have much value beyond that... :upsidedown:
My immediate response to this:

This is what Louise wants! What kind of awful friend am I to say no to such a "reasonable request." Hasn't this poor woman suffered enough, nearly always hearing me turn down her spontaneous need to visit.

At the root of this.....I think I feel guilty for having already said "no" too often. I feel like I am hurting her feelings. Without honoring or even considering MY feelings and MY circumstances.

But, on the other hand...it's not like I EVER invited myself to her place....Or anyone's place, for that matter. 

Anyway, enough of that for now.

Thanks again for your post!

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SE7

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Hi SpringLight, I'm just responding to the word 'magnet' used in your title for this thread :) Thank you for that word because it's how I feel right now, like a narcissist magnet ... I'm feeling very triggered right now because of a bad exchange online with someone in a political forum who I don't even know (I posted a separate thread on this in this section).

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countrygirl

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Hi Spring Light,

I was busy with the horses all weekend, and so feel exhausted today!  But it was worth it!   

I understand all that you say about how it is difficult to say no, but how you have to think about yourself.   I am in a situation where a friend wants me to go on a longish trip, and I just don't feel up to it, physically or emotionally.   What i hate about this is that I feel I "should" go, because a while ago, I said I would.   

I'm glad that you find hearing about the horses relaxing.  I find being in their presence always calms me and make me happy.   I know that I will not be able to ride again, except for occasionally getting up and walking a horse around.   But I still love seeing them, and managing their care and training. 

It's great that you feel the situation with your friend has caused you to rethink the friendship overall.   

I really want to write more, but am just too tired!  The good thing is I know you will understand this!    But wanted to say hello, and to tell you that I did read your posts!  Take care.

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clara

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SpringLight--I just wonder if  your friend has become immune to your needs due to her own background.  She may be a PD, or she may have simply had to deal with so much "stuff" with her own family that she no longer responds in a normal way.  Thus, her insisting on visiting you while ignoring all your reasons why it isn't a good time.  In any case, it's obvious she's not hearing you because she doesn't want to.  You can't change her and you can't effectively communicate with her.  It sounds like she immediately shuts you down no matter how you approach her. Yet you don't want to hurt her by being too blunt with her, and that's a reasonable attitude.  A lot of us hate hurting others or just the perception of having hurt them.  Many of us were raised to accept the behavior of others no matter how unreasonable, while being severely restricted in how we're supposed to behave.  We always have to be the ones who are forgiving, understanding, compassionate etc. etc.  It's a classic control tactic--do as I say, not as I do.  Make my life easier by giving me what I want, but don't except anything from me in return.  If you grow up with this, it becomes extremely hard to make what it feels like are demands but are actually just reasonable requests.  Saying, "I expect you to respect my feelings in this, or my reasons" isn't out of line but can feel like it.  Many times we don't know how to be effectively assertive.

Personally, I think your friend is something of a lost cause.  You have to decide whether or not you want to remove her from your life and the consequences of that decision.  My go-to rule is, if you're giving way out of proportion to what you're getting, the relationship isn't worth it.   Put yourself first, for a change.  Others do it, and they instinctively recognize it when you're doing it, as well.  And if they don't like it, too bad on them.