Out of the FOG

Coping with Personality Disorders => Friends, Neighbors, Acquaintances and Coworkers => Topic started by: countrygirl on May 25, 2017, 09:23:34 AM

Title: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: countrygirl on May 25, 2017, 09:23:34 AM

I am so flooded with hurt and confusion that I feel exhausted before I've even begun to describe the situation. 

I have a PD friend for whom I have always gone the extra mile.   The other day, she had an attack of colitis, and she called me constantly throughout the day and night, to report symptoms, to debate about calling her doctor, to decide what she should eat and drink.  I helped her as best I could, including calling an expert on the digestive system.  When her symptoms subsided, she thanked me, saying she didn't know what she would have done without me. 

That day, everything which could go wrong was going wrong!   Toward the end of the afternoon, I even got a call from the obnoxious person who runs the cemetery in which my parents are buried.  This place is managed by a corporation, which requires hard copies of forms which you have already signed and faxed to them.  They did the same thing to me last year, when my father was buried.  This year, on the day before the first anniversary of his death, they contacted me again.  I could write an entire post about them!   At any rate, I took care of that, as well as a long list of other problems, and settled in for what I hoped would be a relaxing evening.  But at around nine, my Bipolar/PD friend, with whom I thought I'd established NC, texted me, and I had to answer because it concerned a business matter.   I texted her that I had taken care of the issue, and she then proceeded to criticize me, even though I had found the perfect solution to the issue.   I just repeated and repeated the facts, refusing to let her get a rise out of me, which was what she wanted.   Finally, she admitted that I had taken care of things well.(Big of her, since she hadn't even checked in about the matter for over two months, while I worked on it.) 

Then, yesterday was the anniversary of my father's death, and the same plumbing problems which we'd been having in his house happened again--exactly as they had last year on the day he died.  I talked to the same plumber that day.   Unbelievable.  On top of dealing with the cemetery this time last year, it was just too much deja vu to be talking to the plumber again.   And he was supposed to have worked on the problem yesterday, but didn't.  So I'm going to start my work day with a call to him. 

Well, that's a long preamble!  But it set the scene.  So yesterday morning, my PD (not the Bipolar/PD I mentioned before, but someone who has seemed like a good friend at times) said she just wanted me to know that she was thinking of me on the anniversary of my father's death. (I had mentioned the date to her.)   So things seemed okay with us, and I proceeded to start dealing with the whole cluster of problems which had arisen the previous day.  Later in the day, I checked in with the PD, who was at home, recovering from the colitis.  We went over all the symptoms, discussing everything she was eating, etc.   Then I asked her when she was going on a trip to her family's cabin, to which I had not been invited, yet again, despite her many promises, over years, to invite me.   Well, without going into details, it turns out that she had made plans to do something else, in addition to that trip,  and also hadn't invited me.  I have written before about how many times I have invited her to go places with me, how many times she has gone and has accepted my hospitality.   Most recently, she visited my family's home with me, on an extended trip.  So, this year, when she announced her visit to her family's cabin, without inviting me, I felt especially hurt.  We went over all of this some weeks ago.  But, then it turns out that all the while she had been leaning on me while she was worried about her health, she had been keeping more plans from me.  And I learned about it on the anniversary of my father's death, when I already felt so down.  When he died, I lost the last member of my immediate family.  Her excluding me yet again made me feel even more alone, and she knew this.

Last night, she said, "I am so sorry that I hurt you."  Her voice sounded warm; but there was no true warmth.  If you know that something you're doing is hurting your friend, why would you continue doing it, if there was a simple remedy?   And her words reminded me of how, four years ago, she invited me to a concert, and then disinvited me.  I may have written about this before, but suffice it to say that up until the day before the concert, we were excitedly discussing the concert, but the next day, she just mentioned that she and her sister had gotten tickets.   In other words, she didn't even say that they hadn't gotten a ticket for me; it was just implicit.  Then, that night, she texted me, from the concert:  "I'm so sorry about this."  I flashed on that last night when she said, again, how sorry she was.   Well, she IS sorry; she is a sorry excuse for a friend.  A true friend wouldn't just "talk the talk"; they would "walk the walk," and stop doing things which hurt me.  As is, her words not only seem empty, they seem downright abusive:  She knows she is hurting me, does it anyway and then expects me to forgive her, even though she is not going to change her behavior.

She tried to turn the tables on me, too.  At one point she actually said that I should have invited her on a trip to visit HER family!   I replied,  "I am never invited, why would I think you wanted to go on such a trip?"   And I have never heard of such as thing!  No one suggests that someone should invite them on a trip to visit their own family!   I ran this by someone I know, who said,  "She meant you should have offered to pay for a trip to see her family."  What I said to the PD was:  "So now I am expected to invite you to visit my family home AND to invite you to visit YOUR family?!  When you never invite me."

It gets worse.... Toward the end of our conversation last night, she mentioned wanting to retire to my family's place!  (There is a rental house there.)  I told her that I didn't know whether I could afford to keep my place here and maintain that place.  To which she replied,  "You can afford a horse.  You can afford it."  What chutzpah!   And it's not true.  My horse is boarded nearly three hours from here, in an area which I can afford!  I do not have extra money!   This is like saying, "You have a nice car, so you can afford to maintain two homes."   She doesn't know what my finances are!   And even if I were rich, I would not want to provide housing at "a friendship price" to someone who was not a friend.  In fact, she didn't want a friendship price.  She wanted to live rent free, and for me to fire the person to whom I pay a small sum to keep an eye on the place and to pay her!   So she wants to live rent free, AND I am supposed to pay her!   

To tell you the truth, this all sounds so bad that I have to wonder--and I'm sure you are wondering--WHAT is the matter with me?   Why am I so desperate for "pretend warmth" that I delude myself into thinking that this person really cares for me?  In fact, I wonder whether she has planned to use me all along. 

In the past, she asked if her family could visit my family's place.  I said yes, and the next thing I knew, she was reporting that her brother said to tell me that he was going to ride his scooter to visit me.  I know that was supposed to be funny, but It really alarmed me that she had indeed issued an invitation so quickly.   Meanwhile, I am not considered worthy to visit her family, but they are supposed to feel free to visit the home in which I grew up.   

I am sure I will be posting more about this, because I feel as if my head is spinning and that writing about this is helping to steady me.  As always, if anyone has any feedback or advice about this, I would greatly appreciate hearing it.  I just don't know what to say to this friend anymore.   And even more than that, I want to recover from the hurt I feel, because even though she isn't really sorry about hurting me, I AM hurt. 
Title: Re: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: notrightinthehead on May 25, 2017, 10:04:00 AM
I would feel hurt too in your place. I don't know why you put up with so much nonsense from your friend, I know why I do it: low self esteem, being used to such treatment from FOO, conflict aversive, and terrified of having no friends left and all alone if I stop putting up with it.
Title: Re: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: clara on May 25, 2017, 01:18:39 PM
It's the whole "I'm sorry because I know I'm supposed to say that but I don't really feel it" type of apology they give, with the full expectation that you'll accept it and be done with it.  To them, saying "I'm sorry" is the equivalent of being sorry, which is what they're not.  They lack normal empathy, but know how to play the game socially.  Your instinct is correct--it's abuse because it's insincere, it's them treating you like a fool and expecting to get away with it.  As long as you allow them to do it, they'll keep doing it, and keep throwing any guilt they might have back on you.  The cycle really never ends until you (or sometimes, they) end it. 
Title: Re: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: countrygirl on May 25, 2017, 03:00:03 PM
Hi notrightinthehead and clara,

Thank you for your replies.  Yes, you are correct, clara, this "sorry" is manipulative and insincere.   And notrightinthehead, I had a very difficult, narcissistic mother, which set the template for having a high tolerance for bad behavior.  Also, in this individual instance, the person is very intelligent and can be a lot of fun to talk to and to hang out with.  She is my age, and is my "style" of person, bookish and casual.  But now I see the ugly side of her nature, and I have to learn to accept that this friendship is only hurting me.  She isn't going to change.  There's nothing I can do.  Still, it hurts, a lot, to realize this about her.  I don't want it to be true!
Title: Re: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: notrightinthehead on May 25, 2017, 06:45:42 PM
Yes, it might be hard to let go of the hope that she will ever invite you.
Title: Re: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: moglow on May 25, 2017, 07:25:07 PM
Alternative if you enjoy her company - accept that part of her and compartmentalize the friendship to the part that works. 

Her demanding/pushing for invitations to your family property doesn't mean you have to comply.  Decline any insistence on her part that you invite her or that she visit, and remember that No is a complete sentence. You don't have to explain why not - you're not inviting her, she's trying to invite herself.

It sounds like she's clueless and doesn't understand basic boundaries. She may be sorry on some level that she hurt you, but unless she changes her behavior it's an empty apology. What YOU can do is completely blow off any questions about her visiting your family's property, living there, etc. Blow them off and change the subject - or laugh, even. You -as in your family- has that taken care of.

Honestly, I wouldn't accept invitations from her either - she's shown that she can and will pull that out from under you at the last minute as well. Yes, it limits the friendship, but isn't it already?
Title: Re: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: countrygirl on May 25, 2017, 07:55:29 PM
Hi notrightinthehead (I have to laugh whenever I write that!) and moglow,

Yes, n.r.i.t.h., it is hard to let go of the hope that she will invite me.  But I have to work on that, because it will never happen.   

And, moglow, I think you're right about cutting off any mentions of my family's place at the pass.  And it's true that when she does invite me, she often disinvites me at the last minute.   

I've told her that she treats me as if I am someone to be hidden away, as if I'm not worthy to appear in public.  She denies this, but it is how her behavior makes me feel.  And, last night, on top of everything else, when I meant to call her from my contacts list, I inadvertently called her sister.  But I didn't realize that was who I'd called.  I saw a number I didn't recognize, and thought I'd hung up before the phone rang.  But the next thing I knew, her sister had called me.   So then my friend wanted to know what had happened.  I explained, and I apologized to her sister, who said it was fine.  But my friend continued to grill me.  And this morning, she called and started grilling me again!  I explained that I had her sister in my contacts list right below her and that I had dialed her by mistake.  (I didn't figure that out until this morning.) So, while she was on the phone with me, my friend started e-mailing her sister, to explain--again!     Can you believe this?!   All because I hit the number inadvertently, with my large thumb on my phone's small screen (I have an old phone).   

I told my friend that she was treating me as if I had done something horrible, when all I'd done was make a mistake!  She claimed she wasn't upset by it.  "Oh no?" I said. "Well, why did you text your sister last night, question me about it last night, and then get up this morning and call to question me again, and then e-mail your sister about it while you were on the phone with me?"   

Why in the world is she behaving this way?  At this point, I feel as if I am in science lab, trying to understand the behavior of a strange species.  If anyone has an explanation for her behavior, please let me know.  Why did it bother her so much that I had inadvertently called her sister?
Title: Re: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: Joan on May 26, 2017, 12:10:49 AM
Im so sorry you are going throu all this. I read your previous post about this friend and was really annoyed by her behaviour.

I wonder what you are getting from this "friendship". Honestly, she is not reliable at all and thats one of the basis of a good relationship. You cant trust her, she uses you when she needs you. Happened to me before, in a different scenario. It seems to me she keeps the fun part of her life to her friends, and you receive the part thats not fun (you listen to her problems, deal with her illness, etc).

Honestly, Id go MC and let things slow down to NC. Wish you peace.  :bighug:
Title: Re: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: countrygirl on May 26, 2017, 10:27:43 AM
Hi Joan,

Thanks for your reply.  My friendship with this woman reminds me of that children's nursery rhyme:  "There once was a little girl with curl right in the middle of her forehead/When she was good, she was very good/But when she was bad, she was horrid."  When things go well with this friend, we are really on the same page.  That is why I am always so hurt when she behaves badly.  But I am working on accepting that she is not going to change, and that the bad times upset me too much.

Last night, I told her how her reaction to my hitting the wrong number on my contacts list was really insulting to me.  She claimed, of course, that she hadn''t over reacted.  But I pointed out that texting her sister, grilling me about the call, then grilling me again the next morning, then saying she'd e-mail her sister about what had happened WAS overreacting.   And I told her that her behavior toward me in general when it came to other people made me feel as if she found me to be an embarrassment.   (I don't think she does find me an embarrassment, but that is how the behavior can come across.)  She then told me how much the friendship meant to her, and said all of these complimentary things about me.  But, as a friend said when I told him about this,  "Where's the beef?"   Words, no matter how beautifully expressed, become hollow if behavior doesn't match them.
Title: Re: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: clara on May 26, 2017, 12:35:29 PM
I know how hard this all is.  I had a uNPD friend who would never, ever, introduce me to anyone (except his current SO) as his "friend," as in, "this is my friend, Clara."  No, he always introduced me as his co-worker, his former co-worker, his co-author, his-something just not a friend.  And it bothered the hell out of me but I never called him on it despite always wondering why he did it.  It almost seemed a subconscious way of admitting that we really weren't friends at all, and he was rather defining me to others as to how he was using me.   This, of course, only occurred to me after I'd gone NC with him.  It made it a whole lot easier then to deal with the decision I made about the so-called friendship!
Title: Re: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: countrygirl on May 26, 2017, 11:18:57 PM
Hi Clara,

Yes.  It really is very hard.   I'm sorry you had that experience with your friend.   It is very painful not to be acknowledged.  To me, it always seems somewhat unreal when someone denies and betrays me like this. 

Well, it didn't take very long for my friend to prove that her words were indeed hollow, because today, less than twenty-four hours after she said how she was going to try harder to include me and to show that she really did care about me, she was horribly verbally abusive.  I would describe the whole scene, but I'm sure it would bore anyone else but me. 

You know, it's always been my experience that when people tell you they are going to change that you can be sure they won't.  Generally, it takes less than twenty-four hours for them to demonstrate that they aren't going to change, though.   My friend wins a dubious honor, I guess.

I am so worn out and depressed from dealing with her this week.   I think that's one reason I can't describe the latest incident.   Suffice it to say that she becomes furious at me when I was standing up for myself  and turned the tables on me, which is what she always does.   Then I ended up apologizing, in order to save the relationship, and now I feel as if I've demeaned myself.  I really wish I hadn't done that.   
Title: Re: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: myworldisgood on May 27, 2017, 04:22:39 AM
Somehow you care more about the relationship than about yourself.😏
Title: Re: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: countrygirl on May 27, 2017, 08:52:33 AM
Hi myworldisgood,

The way it feels to me is that I care about the relationship because of the good parts of it, and that I have to decide when the bad outweighs the good.   When I am excluded and stand up for myself, she becomes angry and tries to turn the table.  Then I think it's time to end it, but when things calm down, all is well, until the next time.   What I wish I hadn't done this time, however, was rush in to smooth things over.

Ever since going NC with my long term friend who refused to get treatment for her Bipolar Type 1 disorder, I have zeroed in on this friendship, and have been less tolerant of this bad behavior.   I am standing up for myself more, and whenever I do, she goes ballistic and  immediately turns the tables.   I just wish I hadn't smoothed things over yesterday.   I have a tendency to do this, because it was the family dynamics in my family of origin.   Everyone, including my father, stepped in to smooth things over with my mother, who had a hair-trigger temper.   So it's not that I don't care about myself so much as it is that I'm programmed to try to calm down the angry person.  It's something I try to work on.   

Just to add a correction to what I said yesterday:  I meant to say that it usually takes most people more than twenty-four hours to prove that their words about changing are hollow.  Not less than twenty-four hours.
Title: Re: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: notrightinthehead on May 27, 2017, 11:04:45 AM
I think you are on agood path to emotional health. So you slipped, now you get up, dust your crown and get back on track. Maybe read JADE again and Medium Chill and even grey rock as well as boundaries.
Title: Re: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: Malini on May 27, 2017, 05:27:43 PM
I think once we've identified behaviours that are toxic to us in family or friends, we recognise it more easily and it does lead to us acting more assertively, setting boundaries where before we didn't realise that we were in a codependent or abusive situation.

You are worth more Country Girl. And I assure you that you will find new friends that can offer you all the positives you are holding onto in this friendship without any of the toxicity and abuse.

When I came OOTF with my parents, my newfound knowledge led me to end 3 very longtime friendships and IT IS A RELIEF! I spent (wasted)  so much time analysing the friendships, agonising over what I should have done differently and generally feeling hurt and sad by the treatment that was meted out to me by my so-called friends. It just ended up with me feeling unlovable and unlikeable, and that is not true as other friends cherish me and nourish our friendships. Anything that is so much hard work and so painful, for such meagre returns is not worth it. Instead of wasting your time, energy, kindness and sensitivity on people who don't deserve it, find new friends who will appreciate you and care for you as you deserve..
Title: Re: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: myworldisgood on May 28, 2017, 12:51:55 PM
this is very clear, an abusive cycle....please take a break and look at things from a distance.
it is ok to disagree in a relationship but what you refer to is not a disagreement.

you are simply not allowed to care for yourself. you get punished in a way if you do so. this is the "unhealthy" thing. and this abuse will remain even you share some "nice" moments.
in my eyes, her emotional control is repeating and you try to compensate abuse with the good times in order to remain in the relationship.

all the best!

Title: Re: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: Seichan on May 28, 2017, 01:06:55 PM
It's so true that as long as our PD parents are speaking in our heads, we tend to hook up with people (partners, co-workers and friends) who treat us just as badly. In fact, as scapegoat in my FOO, I've more than once found myself in a friendship with someone who's popular and treats other people well, but treats me with the contempt to which I've become accustomed.

Well, I've cleared the decks now and I'm much more choosy about who I want in my life.

countrygirl, you pre-empted my reply to your first post when you wrote
Why am I so desperate for "pretend warmth" that I delude myself into thinking that this person really cares for me?
Except my question was going to be: Why on earth would you call this person a friend?

You've said she's the little girl with the little curl, that you and she are sometimes on the same page. Only you can decide whether she's worth it. But if it echoes your relationship with your mother ...
Title: Re: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: moglow on May 28, 2017, 03:06:59 PM
Respondents:  Please feel free to express how you have - or might - respond to situations with which you are familiar, but know that punctuating your response with "run" messages is in direct conflict with our guidelines. 

From our guidelines:

Giving Advice:
Feel free to share how you have coped with various situations - that's the purpose of this forum! But please avoid making blanket statements like 'You *should* do this and that' especially when you don't know the person well. Another person's situation may be very different from yours. Often, people need to come to their own conclusions in their own time frame.

We have created a number of different forums to make OOTF a safe and encouraging place for a diverse group of people. Members who are committed to a relationship sometimes feel uncomfortable with comments which advocate immediate separation or 'no contact'. Members who have exited an abusive relationship often feel uncomfortable with statements which advocate unconditional commitment. All members have a responsibility to be sensitive to the needs of other members.
Title: Re: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: countrygirl on May 28, 2017, 11:36:22 PM
Hi moglow,

What are "run" messages?   Thanks!

I have read everyone else's comments, but will wait to reply tomorrow, when I hope to have more energy!   Thank you for your replies.
Title: Re: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: moglow on May 29, 2017, 08:43:50 AM
People in earlier messages were telling you to run from this friend/friendship. Those responses have been edited, as it's in violation of our guidelines.
Title: Re: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: countrygirl on May 29, 2017, 02:43:08 PM
HI moglow,

Thanks for explaining "run" messages.  I thought I was getting it in context, but wanted to make sure.   At any rate, I think it's a very good guideline.  I know that I seem to move at glacial speed when it comes to ending relationships.   I'm not comfortable ending things until I have tried to make it work.
Title: Re: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: enufbs on May 29, 2017, 04:45:35 PM
I do understand your tendency to ameliorate the angry. I've been there myself, but you should know that sometimes what happens when you do this is that the angry person loses respect for you, which sounds like what might be happening in your case. If you are concerned that your friend is angry (especially angry at you for standing up for yourself!), perhaps you can say: "You seem angry. Are you angry?" In this way, it keeps the anger her problem, instead of yours. I've done this myself, with my sister, and it threw her off completely, which was the whole point. She was then stuck fumbling for an excuse as to why she was angry. I've read that it forces the angry person to own their feelings and prevents them from sullying you with them.
Title: Re: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: countrygirl on May 30, 2017, 09:04:22 AM
Thank you n.r.i.t.h. and Malini,

I hope you're correct that I'm on the path to emotional health, notrightinthehead!   But I know it will take me forever to work through things with this friendship.  It feels very complicated to me.   Although I think, of course, that Malini is right about how suffering and agonizing for so little in return is probably not worth it.  However, although I think this, I don't feel it yet.  I often have a lot of lag time between my thoughts and my emotions.   Thank you for your encouragement.   And I am trying to work on this in therapy, too.  In a way, I find this blog more helpful, because there is such a wealth of experience here about dealing with PDs. 
Title: Re: When hearing "I'm so sorry" from the PD feels abusive
Post by: countrygirl on May 30, 2017, 09:14:03 AM
I thanked nrightinthehead and Malini in the previous post.  Now I want to thank myworldisgood, seichan and enurfbs.

myworldisgood, you are correct that I am punished when I stand up for myself.  In fact, over the weekend, my PD told me that she'd told her sister how badly I behaved when I stood up for myself when I was shafted over the concert.  Yet now she expects me to join them when they celebrate the PD's birthday.   It is natural to vent to others--it's what I'm doing here--but it is not right to tell the person that you've complained about them to someone with whom you then expect them to interact!   

Seichan, I do think this friendship echoes the one I had with my mother, at least in some ways.   I am working on this.

efurbs,  Thanks for the tip about "You seem angry.  Are you angry?" It reminds me of what a friend told me to say when others say something offensive, simply to turn to them and say, "Excuse me.  What did you say?"  Like your statement, it forces the other person to own up to what they are saying.