Help handling toxic “friend”?

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JustAShell

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Help handling toxic “friend”?
« on: August 25, 2018, 04:56:29 AM »
I have a NPD mother and an NPD ex-husband (I’ve posted about both) so I know I have...issues. LOL.

My marriage messed up my life and my ex got me to give up my graduate school education and also got me to move across the country. It’s a long story.

Anyway, when we separated 8 years ago I was very lonely and isolated bc all of my close friends were on the other side of the country. I made a bunch of “Mom Friends” with women who had girls the same age as my daughter. Let’s just say I didn’t make the best choices bc I was at such a low point.

One woman who I thought was a good friend started to insult me in small ways at first. She is VERY status conscious and I attributed it to certian things in her background. The first mean thing she did was when I was interested in a man and she told me he’d never date me bc he was on a “higher level” than I.

Then, she traveled to NYC (where I consider home and where all my real friends lived) with me for my birthday celebration. After meeting (my very diverse and interesting friends) she freaked out and (after having too much to drink) and told me that none of them would be friends with me now bc I’m at a “lower level”, that no one would want to marry me because I have to be taken care of and that she was at a “higher level” than I but was still willing to be my friend. It went on and on. She was screaming at me on the street and I was trembling in shock. When we returned home she didn’t apologize. We had a group dinner and during that dinner she kept insulting me with all sorts of condescending comments.

I know what happened. She became friends with me and felt “superior” because I was down and out. Then I brought her into my “real life” and she freaked out bc she felt a shift in what she calls “levels”. I’ve never know anyone like this before (the NPD people in my life didn’t have this issue) so I was clueless.

Yes, I decided to put distance between us but we are still part of the same community and, for reasons I won’t get into, i still have to occasionally interact with her.

She is HORRIBLY hostile towards me and I don’t know how to handle it. I end up standing there like a whimp, smiling and laughing at her insultes. I have a long history of abuse and, though I’ve done a lot of work on myself, I still don’t know how to handle this with dignity. Just the fact that I “let” her treat me this way makes me feel bad about myself. I feel deeply ashamed when she’s being condescending and insulting me with “jokes”. The shame isn’t about what she says, it’s about the fact that I feel so weak while it’s happening.

Any thoughts?

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NoVoice357

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Re: Help handling toxic “friend”?
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2018, 10:41:18 AM »
Hello JustAShell,

I attract those PD 'friends' and I tend to freeze too. Passivity invites more abuse. PDs feel they are in control. They want to feel powerful and will not stop.

Defining your boundaries first, using Medium Chill and learning to respond assertively instead of being passive or aggressive,  can help you deal with people like her. Do not take the bait when she pushes your buttons.

Also non-defensive communication can be helpful.  "When you [make disparaging comments/ shout at me/ speak to me in a threatening tone], I feel it is unwelcome." This said in a neutral tone, assertively and with confidence. Pay attention to your body language (non-verbal communication) as to avoid giving her any kind of narcissistic supply. Keep it short and simple, you do not own her an explanation. Remove yourself from any kind of interaction with her whenever possible. You are busy and you have to go. There is book with examples about what to say to bullies like her. It is called 101 Responses to Workplace Bullying Behaviors by Susan Parker.

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moglow

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Re: Help handling toxic “friend”?
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2018, 11:32:23 AM »
She does it because she can and because no one calls her on it. You don't have to stand there and listen to it. Sometimes a well placed "are you quite through" in a firm tone and a steely stare lets people know enough is enough. I wouldn't engage further but brush it/her off as an annoyance, and change the subject. Or just steer clear of her and refuse to be drawn into conversation with her.

Are others responding to her comments? I'd bet not. I'd also bet at least some of them have been subjected to the same treatment and get sick of hearing it. Shutting down and withdrawing won't help you or them, and it might help to reach out to them. If it's condoned and others join in, it may simply be time to find others with whom to spend your time.
"Expectations are disappointments under construction.”  ~ Cap'n Spanky

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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StayWithMe

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Re: Help handling toxic “friend”?
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2018, 11:40:43 AM »
I agree  alot with your post with the exception that "controlling" people are the same with everyone.  Quite often, they are not.  they know to whom they need to be solicitous.  I always keep the focus on how people treat me.  any suggestion as to "well, that's just the way he/ she is" is flatly ignored by me.

If anything, JstAShell may want to observe how other people interact with this woman and get some tips on how to manage her and on human nature in general.

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clara

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Re: Help handling toxic “friend”?
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2018, 02:10:13 PM »
I had an old friend from high school who would do this.  It slowly ratcheted up as we got older, but I let it go because we were "friends" and had been for a long time.  I didn't want her out of my life but I was starting to wonder why she was in it, as well.  It finally occurred to me that she enjoyed having someone she could look down her nose at because she felt badly about herself in comparison to our other friends (who were all doing well in their lives) so I was the one person who was worse off than she was.  She finally found an excuse to ditch me when she met a guy who had some money and a nice lifestyle to offer her.  she didn't want me around to remind her of her own past.

I think these types of relationships are self-limiting.  There comes a point where the other person either gets tired of looking for things to knock you for. or finds someone else who is a more interesting or agreeable target.  Confronting them seems to accomplish nothing because they'll deny what they're doing, or say we misunderstand.  They don't accept that there's anything wrong in what they do because they either don't have or don't want to develop the self-reflection to get to that point.  They move on when they feel they're not getting what they want out of the relationship.  Your part in the relationship is entirely tied to them.  And I understand the issue of being in a social group where you can't avoid them.  I belong to such a group and there are a number of problematic people within it.   I just ignore them as much as possible.  If they come around to insult me, I don't respond to them.  I allow my behavior to speak for me, not them.  If others can't see past the bad behavior, well, I figure that's on them, not me.  People have to make their own conclusions about it, and most of them eventually come to the right conclusions (a few never will but they're lost causes).

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JustAShell

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Re: Help handling toxic “friend”?
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2018, 06:17:59 PM »
Thank you all for all of this feedback. It makes me feel less alone and I really appreciate it.


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UnoDxtrsMumHM

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Re: Help handling toxic “friend”?
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2018, 08:35:41 PM »
I have a NPD mother and an NPD ex-husband (I’ve posted about both) so I know I have...issues. LOL.

My marriage messed up my life and my ex got me to give up my graduate school education and also got me to move across the country. It’s a long story.

Anyway, when we separated 8 years ago I was very lonely and isolated bc all of my close friends were on the other side of the country. I made a bunch of “Mom Friends” with women who had girls the same age as my daughter. Let’s just say I didn’t make the best choices bc I was at such a low point.

One woman who I thought was a good friend started to insult me in small ways at first. She is VERY status conscious and I attributed it to certian things in her background. The first mean thing she did was when I was interested in a man and she told me he’d never date me bc he was on a “higher level” than I.

Then, she traveled to NYC (where I consider home and where all my real friends lived) with me for my birthday celebration. After meeting (my very diverse and interesting friends) she freaked out and (after having too much to drink) and told me that none of them would be friends with me now bc I’m at a “lower level”, that no one would want to marry me because I have to be taken care of and that she was at a “higher level” than I but was still willing to be my friend. It went on and on. She was screaming at me on the street and I was trembling in shock. When we returned home she didn’t apologize. We had a group dinner and during that dinner she kept insulting me with all sorts of condescending comments.

I know what happened. She became friends with me and felt “superior” because I was down and out. Then I brought her into my “real life” and she freaked out bc she felt a shift in what she calls “levels”. I’ve never know anyone like this before (the NPD people in my life didn’t have this issue) so I was clueless.

Yes, I decided to put distance between us but we are still part of the same community and, for reasons I won’t get into, i still have to occasionally interact with her.

She is HORRIBLY hostile towards me and I don’t know how to handle it. I end up standing there like a whimp, smiling and laughing at her insultes. I have a long history of abuse and, though I’ve done a lot of work on myself, I still don’t know how to handle this with dignity. Just the fact that I “let” her treat me this way makes me feel bad about myself. I feel deeply ashamed when she’s being condescending and insulting me with “jokes”. The shame isn’t about what she says, it’s about the fact that I feel so weak while it’s happening.

Any thoughts?

Yikes, I'm so glad I took the time to read your story. I'm sorry you're stuck where you are. I've only very recently gotten to a place where I don't have to interact with anyone very often and I am, recovering mentally. I have been sleeping a lot and having a lot of life altering realizations... I really hope you're sent an angel, I experience the same frozen/docile state that you experience as well when I am being attacked). I have even adopted a personality that is not my own in order to deal with difficult people and I am not myself anymore, it's hard to explain and painfully lonely feeling so guarded from all the "bad" people out there that are waiting for me to slip up. I am a magnet as well, it has something to do with my temperament, but when they realize that I am aware of their deviousness they become hardcore HOSTILE and play tricks and games with me. It's horrifying stuff... I is you well.  :-*
« Last Edit: August 30, 2018, 12:49:01 PM by Bloomie »