Out of the FOG

Coping with Personality Disorders => Friends, Neighbors, Acquaintances and Coworkers => Topic started by: countrygirl on July 12, 2019, 03:24:20 PM

Title: Friend controls contact
Post by: countrygirl on July 12, 2019, 03:24:20 PM

Today I've been thinking about how my friend controls, or tries to control, when we see each other and when we talk.  She no longer works, doesn't have a family, doesn't have a pet, doesn't even have a houseplant, nor does she belong to any clubs, yet she still manages to not be available!   For example, she likes to chat in the late afternoon.  I have told her that I prefer to talk earlier, because my energy flags in the late afternoon, and because I do have pets to feed and have dinner preparations.  She is an early riser, as am I, so she has all morning and much of the afternoon in which to talk to me, but she won't compromise.

Yesterday, I phoned her in the very early afternoon, because I wanted to tell her something which had happened.   Her phone went to voicemail after a number of rings.  I left a message, telling her I'd just wanted to chat, that it wasn't necessary to call back.   So I don't "blame" her for not returning the call, although I think a caring person would have.  But I'm sure she also didn't call back because I was calling before the late afternoon...

Here, I first wrote about some other examples, but I'm sure you already get the gist.  As another friend said to me yesterday,  "You have to abide by HER rules.  If you don't, she doesn't care enough about the friendship to change the rules." 

I am sure that control is a PD characteristic.  I would guess that because these people often don't feel in control of themselves that they try to establish some sense of security and order by controlling others.  But this is not working for me.  As well as there being no compromise, there is no spontaneity.  The friendship feels really flat, really existing by rote.

As usual in dealing with a PD, the best answer is to avoid them.  But, also as usual, if anyone would like to share similar stories and/or offer advice, I would love to hear it!                             
Title: Re: Friend controls contact
Post by: clara on July 15, 2019, 01:49:45 PM
Some people are just like this, countrygirl, because they're as you said--trying to exert control where they can.  WHY they need to feel such control I can't say, because it's beyond the usual sense of control we all try to have over our lives, in some degree.  It's beyond anything normal or healthy, but there you are--they won't change because they can't, and I would bet she'd rather give up her relationship with you than cede that control (because she'd see it as a type of defeat). 

I had a friend who was very similar, and got worse over time.  Everything in her life became more regimented over time, including her interactions with others.  It's her way or the highway.  If you want to be friends with her, you have to accept her various "rules."  I decided to disconnect rather than jump through her hoops, and while I still see her now and then, I'm only casually friendly with her because she's never going to change and I'm not going to compromise myself to her needs (she will never compromise to anyone else's).  And yes, she hasn't worked in decades, lives alone on disability, takes no responsibility for anything and doesn't hesitate to say she's going to do something only to change her mind at the last minute (and not expect you to mind).  Over time, she's developed a small group of friends who are willing to put up with her, but it doesn't include me and I don't feel I've lost much in the bargain.  I've come to realize she wasn't much of a friend to begin with.
Title: Re: Friend controls contact
Post by: countrygirl on July 16, 2019, 09:55:50 AM
Hi Clara!

Thanks so much for your reply.  And, as usual, you've hit the nail on the head:  My friend would rather give up the friendship than cede control.   

And thanks for sharing your experience of the controlling friend. My friend sounds very similar, doesn't she?  Both don't work, live alone, take no responsibility and don't hesitate to change their minds at the last minute.  For years, we've had this friend over for holiday meals.  Sometimes she will say she is coming, then will say she isn't; other times, she will say she isn't coming, and then will change her mind the day before.  This is so annoying, not to say insulting, and makes dinner plans feel really up in the air.  She gives no thought to us; it's all about what she wants to do. 

Years ago, I met a very intelligent, interesting person, who always seemed pleased to see me and with whom I had long, involved conversations.  But the catch was that I ALWAYS had to phone her.  We had a mutual friend who'd known her for a long time, and when I mentioned this to her, she said,  "None of us like it."  But as with your friend, some people put up with her behavior.  It was just too inequitable for me, so I stopped calling her.  I never heard from her again!

As you say,  "some people are just like this."  It is amazing that they would rather lose friends than change, but that's the way it is.  My friend has chosen to live in such an isolated way, and that should have told me something.   Instead, I saw her as a lonely person who was looking for contact!   The truth is that she doesn't want much contact, and when she does, she has to be in control. 
Title: Re: Friend controls contact
Post by: scapegoatnumerouno on July 16, 2019, 12:02:27 PM
In your last post you mentioned that your friend changes plans on you a lot.  You wrote that "She gives no thought to us; it's all about what she wants to do."  I would like to challenge that statement a bit.  Im guessing that this friend of yours actually gives a lot of thought to you and what SHE wants to do is toy with you.  Sounds to me like she has been playing these GAMES with you for years. 

I have a sister JUST LIKE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  for years I just thought it was annoying.  After I basically quit caring and playing into all of these "plan changes" it seems that she realized that she needed to step up her antics in order to keep my attention.  When this didnt work and I just ignored her all together she really lit it on fire and I have now been NC with her AND my entire FOo for almost 3 years.

It is my belief that you "friend" is just using you to flex her nasty manipulation muscles.  If you remove yourself from this situation, she will find a new person to TOY with. 

Best of luck to you.  In my opinion, its time you take care of yourself and leave this person behind. 
Title: Re: Friend controls contact
Post by: countrygirl on July 16, 2019, 12:45:59 PM
Hi Blueheart,

And than you for your reply.   

I recently noted to someone that I have been writing A LOT about this friend.  I so appreciate people who are responding.   I'm writing a lot because I am trying to work my way through this, and am finding it very difficult because I do like this friend, despite all the problems.  Unfortunately, it seems, though that "the answer" with PD is that, as someone else responded, "you can't win."  And I think that's an appropriate expression, because as you and others have pointed out to me, they do play games. 

I am sorry that you had to endure this behavior with your sister and that you had to go NC with your FOO.  I basically had to do that with my own FOO, in that I had to maintain a distance with them, physically and emotionally.  And I have found myself withdrawing emotionally from this friendship, which is a good thing, unfortunately.  It's also what happened with the PD friend I dropped about a year ago.  I used to enjoy being with her, as long as she behaved herself, but it reached a point that the bad behavior predominated, and I didn't even want to talk on the phone with her. 

A close friend told me a while ago that this friend sets me up TO hurt me.  I ran this one by my therapist (I have returned to therapy for a while, specifically to deal with the PDs in my life.),  and she didn't go for it.  But I think she did set me up.  And what you and other posters have said about game planning strengthens this belief.  Thank you, and I am sorry that you too have had PDs in your life.
Title: Re: Friend controls contact
Post by: clara on July 16, 2019, 01:57:55 PM
The thing about the friend I had--she's not a PD.  Not at all.  But I suspect most of her behavior is learned.  I've never met her family but another friend told me they all behave similarly, especially her father who apparently was quite manipulative and nasty.  So, during those times I was closer friends with her I thought she might be able to change somewhat if she experienced healthier interactions.  I always tried to be understanding and supportive of her because of her family situation, but nothing seemed to "take."  Her behavior continued, and continues to this day, because she's gotten used to living the way she has and change is too frightening.  That makes it all the more frustrating because, as a non-PD, I assume she can change, at least somewhat, if she gets the right help and makes some effort.  But it's not happened and at this stage likely isn't going to happen, so I gave up.  In a way, I feel  bad about it, but you can only do so much before you just have to disconnect, or even walk away.  The work of a relationship can't always be on one person!
Title: Re: Friend controls contact
Post by: countrygirl on July 16, 2019, 03:36:43 PM
I am so sorry that your friend wouldn't put in the effort to change, clara.  It does sound as if you gave her every opportunity.  It is very hard to walk away when you still like the person, very difficult to make the decision that things aren't going to improve.  I've had to do this with non-PD people in the past, because I found dealing with them too frustrating.   But it's always sad, for both parties. 

Sometimes I have felt as if I'm carrying the whole weight of a relationship, doing all the work of it, and when I've stopped doing that, I can see that it really doesn't function except when I'm doing all of the work.  It's too tiring, and then you see too that it isn't helping the other person.