Thoughts on "passive-aggressive" longtime friend

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NotSensitive

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Thoughts on "passive-aggressive" longtime friend
« on: February 25, 2016, 06:04:30 PM »
I have been close friends with a woman I'll call "Rita" since we were teens. After coming OOTF with my PDSIL I am starting to second guess how sweet and helpless Rita really is.

To start, I have always felt guilty about how I've secretly felt our friendship was a burden. In our late teens/early 20s she struggled with anxiety to a point we would often leave or stop everything to accommodate what she was going through. During this time she also would not get her license. After a couple years of catering to and taxi-ing her everywhere I gently told her I thought she would benefit from outside help for her issues (rather than simply relying on me,) and she cried and labeled me an unsupportive friend. I felt bad that I didn't have more patience but I also felt that her condition was getting worse and I was simply enabling it. We got over that hurdle and it's been about 10 years. However the lack of effort on her part is still an issue.  90% of our contact/plans I need to initiate and take care of. For example) We've been on several vacations together and I am always left to figure out the plans/tickets/hotel/directions/check etc. She has no other gfs but considers my other friends her close friends despite only seeing them through me. That doesn't bother or anger me but I do find it very odd. She has ruined several special events in my life by getting so intoxicated I have to tend to her (oddly she does not have an alcohol issue outside of that). She is constantly in bad relationships with bad men and I am always very supportive when she shows up in tears after months of being MIA.

All this I could probably overlook except that I've recently noticed a darker side. Her behavior can be very passive aggressive and manipulating. For example she will insist on picking up a tab despite protest and then later tell people you are cheap. I have witnessed her being very insensitive to others, mocking people's looks and lashing out unprovoked at 2 of my dear friends. When she used the f and n word I was appalled and tried to explain how offensive those words were and she rolled her eyes. I teeter between thinking shes ignorant or just mean. She has been extremely tired and moody lately. I went through a very hard year to the point of a breakdown and she was radio silent.  When I did see her I felt she went out of her way to withhold kind words or gestures to me in a very covert way.

As I wrote this I see that it seems quite bad. I honestly don't know if I am finally seeing the light or just hyper-vigilant given my past? I don't know what to believe since I now see she paints herself the eternal victim in every scenario and is quite liberal with the truth. But her mom shows possible PD traits so maybe this is fleas? Thank-you all for reading.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2016, 06:14:05 PM by NotSensitive »

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Malini

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Re: Thoughts on "passive-aggressive" longtime friend
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2016, 07:02:41 PM »
It could be fleas, it could be a PD, who knows? What is clear is that apart from her social behaviour,  she is not being a good friend to you. In your post, you haven't mentioned one thing positive about the friendship for you, and I think that is reason enough to aske yourself why you would want to continue to invest time in a relationship that is more painful than pleasurable for you.

I have just ended two 40 yr long friendships. I recognise that I bonded with these women because the way the friendship went was familiar to me. I played the fixer, supporter role, I was at their beck and call as I did in my family and excused bad behaviour because I thought that was what friendship was - never having to say you're sorry.  :roll: I gave far too much and expected so little in return until my eyes were opened. Whenever I had a date with these friends, I got a knot in my stomach in anticipation of what I would be subjected to - I should have listened more to my gut.

I don't think it is hypervigilance, just vigilance, possibly your eyes have been opened enough to recognise that this is not a good, nourishing, nurturing, fun friendship for you and you have every right to say stop.
Will she change? Judging by the way she reacts to your explanations - I doubt it.

It was coming OOTF with my parents which highlighted the unhealthiness of these two friendships. As soon as I started implementing healthy boundaries, their nasty behaviour ramped up a notch, but this time I didn't excuse it, I called them out on it and when they continued to mistreat me I eventually was forced to disengage completely.

Unfortunately, shared memories are not enough to sustain a friendship that has gone sour and it was very difficult to let go, because they both revelled in the victims role and the guilt almost crippled me even though I'd been the mistreated one.
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Joan

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Re: Thoughts on "passive-aggressive" longtime friend
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2016, 11:36:41 PM »
I also ended two friendships. Like Malini, after years of letting it go, I called one of them out and it just got worse, to the point I went NC. The other friendship ended up in a different way, I just got tired of being there for her, being her audience and just vanished.

I believe your friend is somehow a burden you are carrying, since you do all the planning, all the hard work and still, she is the victim. I know somebody who is exactly like her, we took a trip overseas together and shared a room (it was terrible!!!). She is the kind that doesnt help at all, doesnt even plan, she just follows and we have to do all the hard work. And when things dont go her way she just pouts. I read somewhere its like driving and looking at the map at the same time meanwhile the friend is pulling the breaks.

Since I came ootf I see things under a different light. I dont think you are hypervigilant, you are just paying attention to the details (and much more, actually).

I guess you knew the darker side of your friend, you just let it go. At least I did. A friend of mine was very disrespectful to me and a friend of mine (used something similar to the n word in my language) and I called her on it. Instead of taking it back and apologizing she made it even worse. Thats when I realized how narc she is. We exchanged a few emails after that "episode" that just made it clearer for me how arrogant and rude she is.

In the end it was a relief to go NC with her. I recalled our interactions over the years and how she portrayed herself as superior and made me feel second-class all the time. It was never a real friendship.

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alonenow

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Re: Thoughts on "passive-aggressive" longtime friend
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2016, 01:16:07 AM »
Friendship to me is a two way street
If you are the only one working at it ,making the calls or plans or maybe meeting them close to them instead of halfway it is time to let it go.  I see so many people being used and abused just because they might be alone.  Same with family members taking the crap just so you have a full table at holiday dinners.
I know there are moments when the balance can be out of whack.
Some people go thru crisis and need more support Temporarily but ask your self are you always the giver in the situation.  length of friendship should  not  be a  factor.

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Malini

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Re: Thoughts on "passive-aggressive" longtime friend
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2016, 05:02:18 AM »
Length of friendship just made it harder for me. These friends were so intertwined in my life, I was maid of honour, godparent, etc.

what is frustrating for me is they don't take a hint, and leave all the work up to me, as per usual. I explained a lot of stuff to one friend about what was not working for me and she made no changes to her behaviour. So when she visited this year, I was 'too busy' to meet up with her, which has never ever happened. I thought I'd carry this through by not writing a bday card and nothing for Xmas to reinforce the message.

On my bday, after 6 months of no interaction, I got a two page letter from her listing all her achievements and wonderfulness - no addressing of the fact that I'd been AWOL, no concern about why I might be (given that she knew all the OOTF drama with my parents).
So I wrote the breakup mail, for the last time, I managed the friendship and brought it to an end in a respectful and 'kind' manner.

Both my friends didn't go easily, so expect to experience a bit of pushback and think about how you will handle it in advance. I was made out to be the bad guy, like in my family - what else is new  :stars:
"How do you do it?" said night
"How do you wake and shine?"
"I keep it simple." said light
"One day at a time" - Lemn Sissay

'I think it's important to realise that you can miss something, but not want it back' Paul Coelho

'We accept the love we think we deserve' Stephen Chbosky

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Latchkey

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Re: Thoughts on "passive-aggressive" longtime friend
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2016, 02:25:30 PM »
Hi NotSensitive,

I too have had to seriously re-evaluate a long time friendship recently. You mention passive -aggressive as the main flea or behavior. Many do not know that PAPD (Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder) was in the DSM III but was removed in the DSM IV. Here is a rather long thread that was on this a couple years ago that you might find interesting.

http://www.outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?topic=21153.0

Best,
Latchkey
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NotSensitive

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Re: Thoughts on "passive-aggressive" longtime friend
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2016, 07:14:24 PM »
Wow! I had no idea PA was once classified as a PD! That (and this!) thread opened my eyes to the withholding aspect which I've been dealing with a lot lately. That and the being punished for having feelings  :unsure:

The poor ignorant act has run it's course. This last trip I told my husband it was exhausting, like being responsible for a child. What a time she probably had though! So many good points, you are all right this is NO fun and I'm sick of it. I appreciate all your stories and advice.

I definitely have my eyes open now. I don't see her very often as it is but I plan on axing my part of the initiating and if she asks about it in a PA way I'll "play dumb ". If she wants to confront the issue I will be honest but I won't hold out hope it will go well.

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Flighinthe sky

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Re: Thoughts on "passive-aggressive" longtime friend
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2016, 10:22:37 AM »
I read somewhere its like driving and looking at the map at the same time meanwhile the friend is pulling the breaks... made me feel second-class all the time. It was never a real friendship.

Can so relate. This happened recently when trying to make a new friend. It was exhausting, doing all the work planning & organising and also in my case being upbeat & positive, trying to make it a relaxing, fun time for us both.. yet with him pulling on the brakes, seemingly determined to make it a totally miserable, joyless time for both of us. He covertly put down every, single thing I said. After a few hours the list of things he didn't like was so long it could have reached Antarctica. I should have just left but felt obligated to stay and try, obligated to answer his intrusive questions and I was a bit scared to be left alone (scared of being lonely I guess) even tho I would have felt so much better if I'd just walked out. It's like I was a 'deer caught in the headlights'; I knew for certain I was having a bad time but for some reason couldn't leave, maybe I just kept trying because I believed I could turn it into a happy time.

I read somewhere this kind of person is like a frozen snake. You spend all your energy trying to thaw them out and when you do they bite you! It's a no-win, you exhaust yourself in the hope that you can warm them up and when you do succeed in that they just attack you anyway. I just wish I could be more alert to knowing a frozen snake when I meet one, that I could walk away quickly before I get stuck in the same mess. I feel quite resentful & irritated at the energy I've spent on him. And I agree with what others have said, somehow I'm the bad guy and he's the victim  :stars: yet I feel quite indignant & offended.

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SunnyandBright

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Re: Thoughts on "passive-aggressive" longtime friend
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2016, 11:16:27 AM »
Count me in as one more who has let two long time friendships go, over the last 5 or 6 years.  These were 30+ year friendships. 

It's hard to decide whether to let them go -- and it's hard to do it.  But I think once you think it out well (or once you hit that proverbial "last straw" --- I doubt you will have any regrets.  I don't. 
I think about what I could have done differently --- or sometimes I think "should I try to mend anything now that it's been 6 years?"   and the only answer I can come up with is "no."   Because I can't see anything changing - so why put myself through it again.

I'm not saying I was perfect.  I'm sure they had their gripes with me, too.  But I tried.  Anything that they could have taken personally was a direct reaction to something they did or said -- neither one had any problem with trying to make me feel "less than" or not included.   One was always (from the beginning of time) treating me crappy whenever she'd meet a new friend.  These friends would never last - and she'd be back.  It was things like calling her other friends on her cell --- while she was out with me!   I didn't have a problem that she had other friends --- I often went to her house when she had parties or had other friends over.  But over the years, it was just so obvious that she would barely even acknowledge my presence on those occassions.  It's not like I had to be the center of anything or fawned over --- but I might as well not even have been there.   I was never like that to her --- but once I decide that I would be.   I invited her to a party at my house -- and I didn't even ignore her like she would ignore me --- I just paid a lot less attention to her than I usually would.  She had a fit!   I tried to make it into a learning experience -- you know, "well,. you do the same to me -- and I don't tell you that I'm upset" --- (which maybe was wrong of me)  and even though she claimed that her eyes were opened --- things never changed.  I could write a book on the things she did to me over the years.  One of those women who would break plans if anything better came along, totally.   Plus one of her kids was a terrible brat (which you couldn't say anything about -- you just had to let it go on, even if it was at your house)

The other one was just a big bragger -- and if she couldn't top you personally, she'd top you with her friends or her brother.  Especially her brother.  Her brother stumbled in to a very lucrative job, with no education, not a lot of hard work, just stumbled.  I'm not saying he isn't intelligent -- but most of all, he's very charming --- just as she can be.  (they are two peas in a pod, really --- pretty much raging N's)  She told me about his marrige, his kids, the things he bought for his wife and kids, the trips they took, how wonderful they all were (except sometimes the wife was not so wonderful, according to her)  and even sent me pictures.  I barely knew these people!   She made me dislike them, just from the things she told me about them.   A party he was throwing (a birthday party for himself --- which she also liked to do, too)  and didn't want to supply food -- so he had it in a casino event room --- because there were snack bars and restaurants in the casino, so people could eat there.   (and then she wanted me to go to that party!  I declined)   
It ended when she said, "well his job relies on this company, and his boss --- his position hangs on one man.  If it ever ended,  my brother's whole empire could crumble." 
Empire?   Let's be clear -- this guy makes good money, but he's no Political Candidate.  Empire?   
The "friendship" ended that day.   Which meant I also never had to hear about her perfect daughter again, either.  She had another brother and a son --- but I almost never heard anything about them.   

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Arya

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Re: Thoughts on "passive-aggressive" longtime friend
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2016, 10:18:36 PM »
Me too. OOTF the people I was friends with started to come into a different focus. Many I just grey rocked out of their lives. If I get a call or Christmas card I'm polite, send polite appropriate response. But...I've noticed that's not what they want. The pattern of you being available for 4 am emergency BF break ups even though when you've just had upsetting news they cut you off after one sentence have to go.....that's what they want...the friend thsts always there and never has any needs for reciprocity.

I have one really good friend that worries me a lot. His mom is PD and he's overcome a lot and I'm soooo happy for him. BUT he's got a partner who I believe is exact replica of his mom now. Very passive aggressive. Anything he does is supposed to get kid glove treatment, anything my friend does gets brow beaten dissed. The partner also uses health problems to control, if you upset them they could have a heart attack, so you know you better be sure you absolutely never disobey or upset them.

It upsets me soo much and I've had a few tactful conversations w my friend that the dynamics concern me. A few times he's called me very tearful and upset that the partner has crossed a line, controlling disregarding his boundaries.....but then few days later he acts like we never had the conversation. I visited him once at home got along fine w the partner, perfectly nice time.....untill a few weeks after  my friend told me his partner says I am never allowed at their house again. Kaboom, just like that. My friend knows it's manipulation. I have no desire to get into power struggle so I don't visit them. My friend only calls me from his car on his way home from work...if his partner catches him on the phone he has to get off. It's terrible, it's not just me either, it's done to all of his friends. They only interact w the partners friends.

It's amazing what our programing from family dynamics can make us recreate later in life. OOTF we start to see it. It's very sad. I think exciting too though...since I've purged my social scene and connections, done work on me and my fleas....I'm excited to go out and create the kinds of connections and friends that are healthful based on reciprocity and genuine interest/ respect/ enjoyment of things together about each other etc.

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FinallyPeace

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Re: Thoughts on "passive-aggressive" longtime friend
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2016, 04:17:02 PM »
Friendships, I feel, are different levels in our lives.  BFF, casual, acquaintance, Christmas card/once a year contact, etc.

You can't be "all things to all people."  Although, some people think you should be.   :o

I've let friendships go when it's gotten to the point that it's "all work and no play" for ME.  I don't care if I've been friends with them for 2 years or 20 years.  They've run their course or I think of it as a season in my life.

Typically, when I am friends with someone, I will be friends for life (barring any weird, crazy stuff :upsidedown:).  I had one friend that I've been friends with since we were 14 years old.  Been friends for 25+ years. I had some MAJOR stuff going on in my life that she knew about.  Out of the blue, I get an e-mail from her telling me what a horrible friend I was, that I wasn't there for her and that when her 15 year old cat died, I didn't even acknowledge the pain she was in. :wacko:  I didn't even know the cat died!!!   :stars: 

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.  lol   

I reevaluated everything because I was always driving to her town to see her/kids, called, e-mail, etc.  I had a mutual friend of ours read her e-mail and asked her if I was missing something.  I was assured by the mutual friend that it was utter craziness.  I wrote back the friend and told her I was sorry she felt that way, I had always participated and initiated the friendship and I thought she was wrong, but "best wishes in the future." 

I didn't talk to her for years after that.  I'm casual friends on FB, but that's it.
"Behind the smile, a hidden knife!"
― Ancient Chinese saying describing passive-aggressive behavior
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Frazzled

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Re: Thoughts on "passive-aggressive" longtime friend
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2016, 07:50:08 PM »
Length of friendship just made it harder for me. These friends were so intertwined in my life, I was maid of honour, godparent, etc.

what is frustrating for me is they don't take a hint, and leave all the work up to me, as per usual. I explained a lot of stuff to one friend about what was not working for me and she made no changes to her behaviour. So when she visited this year, I was 'too busy' to meet up with her, which has never ever happened. I thought I'd carry this through by not writing a bday card and nothing for Xmas to reinforce the message.

On my bday, after 6 months of no interaction, I got a two page letter from her listing all her achievements and wonderfulness - no addressing of the fact that I'd been AWOL, no concern about why I might be (given that she knew all the OOTF drama with my parents).
So I wrote the breakup mail, for the last time, I managed the friendship and brought it to an end in a respectful and 'kind' manner.

Both my friends didn't go easily, so expect to experience a bit of pushback and think about how you will handle it in advance. I was made out to be the bad guy, like in my family - what else is new  :stars:

Wow, so many parallels to me and an uBPD ex-friend. We helped each other a lot over 9 years; him helping me get a job that eventually led to my moving out of state and being a witness to my marriage, and me helping him get his driver's license. However, when my husband and I noticed his behavior deteriorating, he completely denied any responsibility and blamed everything else under the sun. Eventually, after yet another one of his outbursts after which I got a nasty cold I stood up to him, listed some of his many outbursts over the years, and gave an ultimatum: Get therapy now or our friendship is over. Of course, after my final email to him, he called me a "clown" and a "bitch" and cussed me out, which nobody else my husband or I know do.

Now he claims he is getting therapy, but is likely still secretly sending my husband angry texts, with racial/ethnic slurs and just the latest in a long list of empty threats of hurting my husband. He is likely claiming to be in therapy just to appease my mother-in-law, but my BS detector is going wild.

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bopper

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Re: Thoughts on "passive-aggressive" longtime friend
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2016, 03:48:47 PM »
You are probably a nice person who thinks the best of others.
Unfortunately, these are the types that PDers can latch on to.

Stop initiating anything.
"Vacation? Oh, I already have plans. DH and are doing a romantic getaway." and then don't give details."Oh, we don't have all the details nailed down yet."

She is lashing out of your friends to try to make them go away so she can have more of your time.

Don't call...unfriend her or make her an acquaintance on FB.

If she calls you, start being very busy
Just because they are incapable of loving you, doesn't mean that you are unlovable.
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