Hoovered, but I don't want to be an N's friend

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SpringLight

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Hoovered, but I don't want to be an N's friend
« on: December 20, 2017, 03:53:32 PM »
What do you do when you are regularly hoovered--every couple of months-- by a lifelong N friend--in a very superficial, non-meaningful way? 

This person, I'll call Ellen, I've known my entire life. We have stayed in touch for decades, and at various times, have been "close."  In the last 10-15 years, I've seen how very narc Ellen is.

But, I've come to realize that she's now a fair-weather friend.  I've also seen that our relationship is based on me providing an audience, and being N supply for her. For most of my life, I put her on a pedestal.  In the past 10-15 years, she has put very little effort into our relationship.  And frankly, we've really grown apart.

For most of my life, I gave this friendship top priority.  But as the years went by, episode after episode, the whole friendship seemed to be more draining than anything else.  Now she feels like a stranger to me.

I did a slow fade, and it seems as if Ellen didn't notice the difference in my communication style. . . She never bothered to ask if anything was wrong...BECAUSE SHE DOESN'T WANT TO KNOW!  This feels like her typical N self-absorption. It would never occur to her that SHE was responsible in any way for anything, with me, with her FOO, her husband, etc.

These days, she emails me every four months or so-- to tell me her "news" and when she'll be in the area.  She rarely asks even one thing about me, or my life. She NEVER asks about my M, for whom I am full-time caregiver.  She can NOT "do" difficult topics like aging, illness, death. 

My sense is that she "checks in" with me-- just to know if I'm alive, if my M has died, if I've moved. She puts so very little effort in the friendship.  She likes to collect a lot of friends, but I've seen her check in and check out with other people.

I have always been the dutiful friend, respectful, fair, kind, empathetic, communicative, responsive, never a game-player.   But at this point in my life I am (for many reasons) physically and emotionally depleted. I don't want to have an "our relationship" talk with her.  I don't want to play games.  I just want to not respond.

But this "ignoring" behavior feels strange for me. I don't do that. I was raised to be overly scrupulous about manners. NEVER make people "worry" about you, etc.

Oh, ^$&*(^&!!! Should I just stop ruminating and write a quick trite reply?

I'm already irritated that she's consuming too much of my very limited energy!  >:(

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moglow

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Re: Hoovered, but I don't want to be an N's friend
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2017, 04:04:15 PM »
As an old friend used to say, "a Hoover doesn't work if you don't plug it in." You could stop feeding into her stuff, in other words. Don't respond, or make it every bit as superficial as hers. If she's just emailing, route her emails to junk or block them altogether if you want. She may be completely unaware how she's coming across, but doesn't sound like she's much bothered one way or the other.
"Expectations are disappointments under construction.”  ~ Cap'n Spanky

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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looloo

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Re: Hoovered, but I don't want to be an N's friend
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2017, 04:18:31 PM »
It can be helpful to consider the “ignoring” (which is actually, drawing a boundary, not getting pulled in, and asserting how you want to direct your time and energy) as something like a personal assignment that you’re giving yourself—pushing yourself to do something uncomfortable and difficult BECAUSE it will lead to you becoming stronger. 

If you can take this step, and actively choose not to respond—and experience the discomfort that might come, you will be on your way to thinking, feeling, and living a much more self assured and confident life.  And i’m saying that as someone who is nowhere CLOSE to being particularly confident, lol!  But I have found myself in unworthwhile or downright awful situations, where I took a deep breath, asserted myself as necessary (and dealt with the blowback), and as scary and/or difficult as it was, it was 100% worth it.

If she doesn’t do difficult topics, there is a really good chance that she will just fade away anyway.  Good
luck!
“If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.”  Oscar Wilde.

"My actions are my true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand."  Thich Nhat Hanh

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SpringLight

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Re: Hoovered, but I don't want to be an N's friend
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2017, 07:48:08 PM »
As an old friend used to say, "a Hoover doesn't work if you don't plug it in." You could stop feeding into her stuff, in other words. Don't respond, or make it every bit as superficial as hers. If she's just emailing, route her emails to junk or block them altogether if you want. She may be completely unaware how she's coming across, but doesn't sound like she's much bothered one way or the other.

Moglow:

"A Hoover doesn't work if you don't plug it in."   :yes: True, true. 

I'm surprised at how much guilt and obligation this now-lackluster friendship has caused me. But I suspect that's because I've known her forever, and I've always treated her as this older, wiser sister. 

I valued the friendship because we've known each other for so long. We both have moved overseas and also domestically a lot. For decades. But we always "kept in touch" yet we have not lived near each other since childhood.   I treasured that relationship because of its longevity.

About 10-15 years ago, I kept noticing how negligent she was with basic friendship matters.  She became a bit pompous.
Enjoys feeling superior to others.

She wasn't really there for me when my F passed away, although she knew him very well.  (I think there was one phone call a few days after he died and that was that.)  When I had a catastrophic illness, when I was hospitalized for months, I didn't hear from her. I didn't really notice that negligence, because, at the time, I was surrounded by OTHER friends, family... But looking back, I see the lack of caring and support-- that she can't "do" certain things, so she disappears. No remorse about that.

I've also realized that she constantly criticized various members in her FOO for THEIR shortcomings.  She is never at fault for anything. I believed that notion about her-- for most of my life!

Through the years, I noticed that she has become...well,  flaky. She would send me one of her emails with her news. I would respond to each one of her points. And then ask follow-up questions ABOUT HER NEWS.  To make it a kind of conversation. She almost never replied. It was one and done, with her.  :blink:  As if she spent a total of 9 seconds composing her thoughts and then pressed "send."

What the hell is that???

For example, she might write and mention: "Mom broke both elbows."

I write: "Oh, no, sorry to hear that. How did that happen? etc."

She wouldn't respond to me after I responded to her.   I just wouldn't hear back from her.

Even if she had happy news: an exciting vacation, for example.
I would ask --How was your trip to Tahiti?

Again, nothing.  As if it wasn't worth the effort.

Her emails to me have been sloppy and half-assed for years.  A number of typos and punctuation problems, which I thought was just her poor typing. But then I mistakenly was cc'd on an email to a mutual male friend, a man I knew she was trying to impress. WOW! The personal email to HIM was long, well-written and flawless. 

She also makes reference to people without refreshing my memory about who she's talking about.  :stars: A few months ago, she mentioned her son's cats' names...she just assumes I would know the names....

Yes, I wonder if she gives any thought to how she comes across.  I also wonder WHY she even bothers to give me these updates on her life. Why bother typing a postcard-worth of news.  Like her own PR press release. Once in a blue moon, she'll ask "how are you?" but not usually.

Interestingly, this is a person I admired for her strength and talents.  While I have suffered from bouts of depression, she has never ever sought counseling for anything.  And until recently, I always perceived her as being "better" than I am.  After all, look at weak old me...with depression, anxiety.  Look how capable, emotionally strong and talented she is.

At this point in life, I'm finding people like this particular friend---who never "needed" therapy...are the very people who COULD BENEFIT with some therapy. Many of the older "untherapized" I find to be highly N and often self-righteous with little or no self-awareness... :-\

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SpringLight

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Re: Hoovered, but I don't want to be an N's friend
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2017, 08:23:42 PM »
It can be helpful to consider the “ignoring” (which is actually, drawing a boundary, not getting pulled in, and asserting how you want to direct your time and energy) as something like a personal assignment that you’re giving yourself—pushing yourself to do something uncomfortable and difficult BECAUSE it will lead to you becoming stronger. 

If you can take this step, and actively choose not to respond—and experience the discomfort that might come, you will be on your way to thinking, feeling, and living a much more self assured and confident life.  And i’m saying that as someone who is nowhere CLOSE to being particularly confident, lol!  But I have found myself in unworthwhile or downright awful situations, where I took a deep breath, asserted myself as necessary (and dealt with the blowback), and as scary and/or difficult as it was, it was 100% worth it.

If she doesn’t do difficult topics, there is a really good chance that she will just fade away anyway.  Good
luck!

Looloo:

Wise advice. I agree with what you are saying  This temporary discomfort I am experiencing may lead to me becoming stronger, more authentic. 

Still, I admit it seems very unnatural to ignore her email.    :-\

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leapsand bounds

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Re: Hoovered, but I don't want to be an N's friend
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2017, 10:50:30 PM »
I have a similar long-term 'friendship'.

Now, I don't respond to superficial 'check-ins' at all.  Occasionally, if there is something I can do for her, she phones and we have some great conversations, albeit very infrequently.  Because I won't respond to nonsense, if she wants something, she is forced to put effort into reciprococity in those conversations.  I don't expect a real relationship, but I do enjoy catching up when the conversation isn't entirely one-sided.  We have a lot in common, shared some foundational experiences, and I know her whole family well.

I don't contact her, other than to get a phone number or something quick and simple.   Most of all, I expect nothing, which leaves me open to having an enjoyable chat a couple of times a year.  When i put the phone down, she's off my mind. 

I think this will always be the best i can do for both of us.  I don't feel hurt, or wish for anything more, or different.

It was difficult to put this into action, it went against the grain of how I am.  I don't ordinarily ignore contact from people.  I once tried to tell her about a very painful matter that was happening in my life and she was completely uninterested and unresponsive, like the biggest crisis I'd ever experienced was just a bore.  I wrote her an email saying I felt hurt by her dismissal and she defended herself and the possibility of inperfection with five pages of verbiage.  Feeling criticised was more important to her than anything that could possibly ever happen to me.  So, I decided to protect myself from any further hurt.

This probably sounds callous, but it is nowhere near as callous as she has been to me over the years.  I don't hate her, I'm able to enjoy her company every now and then.  Which is an improvement.

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Gaining Clarity

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Re: Hoovered, but I don't want to be an N's friend
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2017, 12:30:36 PM »
Hello Spring Light!

I could have written your post as well, since I just went through a similar situation with a friend who sounds identical to yours.

I can sympathize with you about how uncomfortable it feels to enforce boundaries with such people. But for your own sake, they are necessary. When I start feeling guilty about putting myself first (and it's an ongoing struggle), I try to remember that there is no shame in looking out for my own well being. As they say, "Their discomfort is not my problem." Because of our upbringings, many of us are SO conditioned to believe that our needs and feelings don't count. If we do voice/try to assert them, then we're told we're bad people. I think it's also why many of us attract/are attracted to those outside of our FOOs that treat us like this.

FWIW: I recognized that as soon as I set boundaries with my friend, she basically disappeared (and she's been in my life since childhood). So, she really did me a favor and just reinforced that I had done the right thing. When I start to question myself/boundary setting, I try to remind myself that if she really did care about me, she would have acknowledged my feelings/needs (instead of just her own) and made a sincere effort to work through it. For years and years, it's always been a one-way street with us too. I've had to make the effort at the expense of my time, energy and money to see her or it doesn't happen. Even then, she would always make a point of letting me know that I definitely wasn't a priority--just a back-up, an afterthought, no thought at all, an ATM, a sounding board, a ride, etc. And, it's not like I didn't let her know how I feel, I told her directly how her behavior made me feel (in a very tactful, gentle way...maybe that was part of the problem). It was pointless.

So, take care of yourself (BTW: how are you feeling? I know you have some of your own health issues aside from caring for your mom). It's not only imperative to your mental well being but your physical one as well. And don't feel bad about not responding to her every whim. As you said in closing, you already have very limited energy. Conserve it for what's important. It will get a little easier every time you enforce your boundaries.

Stay well, SpringLight  :bighug:

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SpringLight

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Re: Hoovered, but I don't want to be an N's friend
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2017, 08:27:03 PM »
Hi, "Leaps":

Thanks for sharing your experience.  No, actually you  don't sound the least bit callous to me. (I wish I had done what you had the courage to do.)

When your "friend" was so unresponsive and uninterested in your crisis, you did the right thing--you made an attempt to clear the air.  That's so important!

Generally, at my advanced age, that's not a problem for me--to initiate that kind discussion. However, from years of hearing about other conflicts this particular friend has confided in me about....Well, whenever she has any conflict with her family and friends is: IT IS always *THEY* WHO HAVE THE PROBLEM.  She would calmly dismiss the person as "lesser than", without thinking about her role in the conflict. She wouldn't be motivated to do anything to preserve the relationship.

My friend is similar to your friend:

You wrote:
"Feeling criticised was more important to her than anything that could possibly ever happen to me. "

 :yeahthat:

And yet...This friend and I have never argued, we have never exchanged cross words. In over 50 years!  And yet...look what happens when you sweep problems under the rug.

I don't think she would be a safe person to express my feelings. Not because she'd get angry. But because she'd calmly and smugly argue how unreasonable my feelings were.  I've heard her talk many times when her FOO of FOC or others have a conflict. She always portrays the other person as being "weak" "needy" or "hypersensitive."

And, she is soooooo self-righteous. According to her--"everyone depends on me!  [Everyone] would be hopeless if I weren't there and didn't do X, Y or Z." She prides herself on being tough, strong, competent, resilient and HIGH ENERGY. 

I've ruminated over this stagnating friendship for quite a few years.  And tried to be flexible.

Recently, I've seen with great clarity how her apparently "perfect FOO" (perfect on the outside) had/still has a great deal of sibling rivalry, and a lot of N tendencies.

Particularly with one sister of hers. I've heard how my friend talks about her SG youngest sister and how flawed that younger sister is, how bad her marriage is, how clueless and pathetic that sister is about this or that.  Really over the top...my friend has always been competitive with this sister.

Interestingly, I happen to be the SG youngest sister in  MY FOO.  Ahem....
Talk about transference! It took me decades to see it! :doh:

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SpringLight

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Re: Hoovered, but I don't want to be an N's friend
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2017, 08:41:33 PM »
 :heythere: Hi, again, Dear "GeeCee"....Good to see you! :hug:

Hey, look at that! Your initials spell GC--you've been elevated to Golden Child status on this Board. (I approve of the upgrade!!) ;D

You and your posts were in my thoughts, recently. Oh, but before I forget... first  things first, how's the dawg? :bigwink:

Actually, not too long ago I went back to review/rethink something you had written, and I think I found another post about your friend. (I evidently missed it when you wrote it.)  Wow, did that ever resonate with me.  :yes: I want to go back and reread that.

 "Even then, she would always make a point of letting me know that I definitely wasn't a priority--just a back-up, an afterthought, no thought at all, an ATM, a sounding board, a ride, etc. "

 :yeahthat:

There are so many examples of lack of interest, neglect, indifference and even disrespect. I mean, I'm an "easy" friend--I'm easy-going,  I don't take offense very easily, nor do I keep score, I don't have unreasonable demands. I am a very forgiving person.  You certainly don't seem like a "difficult"  friend either.

But there comes a point (often as we emerge from the FOG, I guess) that the patterns of bad friend behavior become too frequent, too constant, too much.

One of the things my friend  ROUTINELY would do-- when she came to town-- was to announce months in advance that she would be here from say February 1-16. Okay, now that's a good thing. I would mark it on my calendar. For years, I kept that period of time "loose"--especially weekends, and evenings. Her plans were always up in the air.

Often, we ended up just taking on the phone.  After I had "saved" certain times...

Many times she ended up just showing up at my door unannounced--minutes before her imminent departure-- without calling to confirm whether this was a good time for ME..

Yes, she has a cell phone with her. But yes, there was always some excuse why she didn't call, she was so busy with so many important things x, y, z (Oh, you know....everybody wants a piece of her, she's pulled in so many directions, everyone is competing for her time!!) and hey, the bottom line? "Springlight, YOUR PLACE WAS ON THE WAY ... And she added "if I didn't see you now, I wouldn't get to see you, so..."
 :roll:

The accommodating door-matty, no-boundaries person that I am...I would let in her to visit--in each and every time. Even when I was coming out of the shower, once. And at other times that were REALLY inconvenient.  She always would say: "it doesn't matter. I don't care about what you look like."

BUT I DO CARE. 

Invariably, when she arrived at my place unannounced, SHE was ALWAYS dressed to the nines, make-up, hair flawless. I, on the other hand, not expecting visitors-- more than often looked a mess. And I was in the middle of doing something.  So, even if it wasn't a long visit, it was disruptive, because I had things to do and wasn't sitting around hoping someone would drop by! :sadno:

I told her repeatedly-- in a very respectful, sweet way (putting the burden on ME, telling her how finicky I am about not liking surprise visitors...)
And yet, she didn't seem to remember. And I was always "squeezed in."  So, I was supposed to feel grateful?

A friend of mine said: "Hey, maybe that's just how she is--she probably is the type who wouldn't mind if you did that to her. "

AU CONTRAIRE! I actually heard her fume rather extensively to me--about the NERVE of a neighbor who just popped on over unannounced one day.  How awful that was.  :stars: How rude that was! I should have called her on that glaring double standard, then and there. Such hypocrisy! But I let that slide.

You mentioned the old adage:
"Never make anyone a priority who makes you an optional."  Such a simple, yet profound and important sentiment. It should be self-evident for all of us, but obviously for me (and others)...well, obviously, I'm still learning it.

You also wrote:
"Their discomfort is not my problem."

Ohhhh, that first struck me as being ..cold! Which speaks volumes about ME---what a people-pleasing doormat I've been most of my life.

 But...that's really just another one of those great truths that we should all embrace. I mean, it's not as though these friends have paid any attention to OUR discomfort, right?  :doh:

Thank you for asking about my health, Gaining Clarity. At the moment, physically things are status quo. But I've been depressed for most of this year about my health and FOO and life! I also don't talk about it much in RL, but I know this is a safe and warm place to share.

I've begun to call therapists on my insurance plan. The response has been... underwhelming, no... actually it's been JUST AWFUL.
My God! I would hate to be suicidal or have a life-threatening mental health crisis and call some of these places.  First impressions count--they are important for any physician...but ESPECIALLY when you're shopping for a therapist. I'm stunned at how shabby these places seem from initial contact.

I called one place repeatedly, because the location was so convenient. Multiple times to different receptionists.  I asked: "Does Dr. X take XYZ insurance?" A basic question. But no one answering the phone knew what insurance he takes.

I was told I could leave my name and number and the doctor would call me back.  So he can tell me what insurance he takes????????
REALLY???? 

Forget about finding out /inquiring about whether these therapists have experience with PD's. I can't even get confirmation from one of them if they do indeed take my insurance!  :stars:

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Gaining Clarity

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Re: Hoovered, but I don't want to be an N's friend
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2017, 05:25:48 PM »
Hi SpringLight!

Thanks for asking about the pup. He's settling in nicely. Very smart and a lot of fun. They are such incredible blessings in our lives.

I'm sorry to hear about your T/insurance problems. One of the more egregious problems with the US healthcare system. You try to be proactive and they seem to do everything in their power to make it next to impossible to get the help and support we deserve. In the meantime, know that I and all of the other wonderful OOTFers are here to be your sounding board and support system.

Your "friend" doesn't deserve you. And the showing up at your doorstep unannounced seems to be a clear violation of your boundaries. My supposed "friend" can't even be bothered to do that but embodies the same attitude as your friend (everyone needs her, wants to see her, yada, yada, yada...).

I know "Their discomfort is not my problem." sounds really harsh. We're taught to take responsibility for everyone else's feelings, all while they dismiss ours. I'm guessing that's where this saying comes from. We can't and shouldn't own their feelings, any more than we should dismiss our own. Sadly, our supposed "friends" know we're like this and I think that's why they take advantage.

Like you, slowly coming OOTF has enabled me to see things very differently. Like needing glasses and doing without for years, just accepting the blurriness of things. Then one day, you say to yourself "To hell with it, I'm gonna get myself a pair of prescription glasses." You put them on...everything comes into sharper focus. You see things you never saw before. Things that you thought looked good, don't look so good now that you can see every detail. You also see things you never knew existed...the potential to have a life and people worthy of you. You slap your forehead and say, "Why didn't I get glasses sooner????"

I guess it's part of our life's journey and we're on different paths and timetables. After years of just accepting that things are blurry and distorted, I've finally decided to bring my vision into clearer focus, so that I can find peace, be more accepting of me and surround myself with loving, supportive and respectful people. It's my Christmas wish for you too...and all of our fellow OOTFers :)

Warm holiday wishes and hugs to you!

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cookiecat

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Re: Hoovered, but I don't want to be an N's friend
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2017, 03:14:07 PM »
Been following this thread (many actually) because I'm on the tail end of a dead friendship.  My biggest problems with completely cutting it are:

1) mutual friends

2) I care for her kids although I fear she has trained them to be users too

3) long foolish thought that maybe just maybe if I could just help her work thru her buried pain and emotions, she could be a reciprocal friend. 

I KNOW I was used as a sounding board, an ATM, a dumping ground, etc.   I know my needs or feelings were ALWAYS disregarded and ignored.   So why does a stupid merry christmas text with a 🎅🏼❤️ send me into so much agony???  How can someone treat a "friend" like crap and then use a fricking heart emoji????  Gahhhhh.   

Anyway, thanks for letting me vent.  Narc friends are the worst!!!

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SpringLight

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Re: Hoovered, but I don't want to be an N's friend
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2017, 08:14:49 PM »
Post-Christmas greetings to all of my fellow PD holiday survivors!  :wave:

A new mini-development in my N friend story... Another impersonal Christmas card from N friend's daughter.

On Christmas Eve, I received the yearly "holiday photo card" I get, from Ellen's married daughter, Jenny & her husband.
(My friend Ellen and her husband stopped sending any of their photo holiday cards when Jenny and the other kids grew up.)

But, every Christmas (since I attended the lavish wedding of Ellen's daughter Jenny, back in 2012), I've been a recipient of Jen and husband's yearly holiday card. Even as my 50+ year friendship with her mother is now, well, defunct.  :-\  And while she seems to be a nice young woman...I know OF this young woman, but I don't know her. The last interactions I had with the daughter-- were about the wedding gift I gave them, a few weeks before the daughter's wedding. At the wedding, all that was said was how beautiful the wedding was, what a beautiful bride she was...etc.

Before I begin my Christmas Card lament...I want to preface this by saying..I think it's fine for anyone to send any kind of card.  Whatever you and your SO and/or family want to do, do it.  I don't want to come across as judgmental.  And of course, it's fine NOT to send cards, too.

However, for ME... I need to put a little effort and PERSONALIZATION into my cards. I won't send a card without some regard for the recipient. An inquiry, a comment, a recollection, a remembrance.  Two lines or two paragraphs. Whatever. 

For me, I don't see the point in sending a card with preprinted greetings--withnothing else.  I mean...my strong feeling is that holiday/Christmas cards are supposed to be about CONNECTING with people, wishing them good things.  So, it's find to send the pre-printed stuff, the Christmas letter...but DO personalize it, with a personal note, if you haven't been with in touch all year.

It wasn't too long ago that I was sending 30-40 cards. But these days, it's dwindled down to about a dozen--tops. Which isn't that unusual, I think.

Now, here's the lament part....

Since the first Christmas after marrying, EVERY CHRISTMAS, my N friend's daughter has sent out these photo card productions-- multiple photos of Jen and husband--photos of them, artistically displayed, seen posing in all the wonderful places they've visited during the year that passed.   No handwriting, no personal note.

Behold how beautiful and photogenic they are. All see the love the have for one another, all the fun they are having.  The daughter and the husband are very good-looking, and the card is always creative and clever. This card is always gorgeous to look at...but, for the 5th year in a row...it felt once again like " Here's us. LOOK AT US!!"

And  this year, since they've had their first baby, it screamed: "LOOK AT US and OUR BEAUTIFUL BABY."   So the holiday card was packed with all sorts of exceptionally lovely baby photos. Stunningly beautiful photos, I have to say.  That family does have adorable children.

The thing is... I don't really know this young woman at all. Most of what I know of her came from her mother, told to me, written to me over the years.  But I love babies, and sure, photos are great.

Typically, I'd be the first to reply, gushing and ooohing and ahhhing.

My first instinct was to grab a card of my own and let the daughter know how impressed I was with THEIR  card (I was impressed--it's a work of art ) and tell her how beautiful the baby is. But after the initial smile of happiness reaction for the new mother and my friend

I then felt: "Waaait. what's the point, here?"

I mean...I don't know this person.  The daughter of my N friend. This card-sending is completely impersonal. It has always felt like an extension of the narcissism on Facebook.

These cards never include any handwritten signature nor quick personal note.  I get it. They're busy with the baby. But...this is how it's been since they've married.  They ARE a gorgeous couple, the card is a work of art....but my connection with them is nil. 

It's all so lovely, but it feels self-promotional and nothing else. I have a feeling that I'm one of about 500 people who get their cards. And if the daughter asked, I'm sure my N friend would encourage the daughter to send out these cards to me.  If only as a Hoover, to turn my attention back to them.

Of course, being the N-supply to my N friend all these years, it feels unnatural NOT to reply. I feel a bit guilty ignoring this.

Yet, I no longer see the value in ANY one-way friendship.

Thoughts, anyone?

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SpringLight

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Re: Hoovered, but I don't want to be an N's friend
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2017, 10:45:55 PM »
Hi, CookieCat:

I see you, too, had a holiday "N-teraction"  with an N friend!  Feel free to vent!  We all need to do that-- and it's just part of getting OOF. 

How long have you known this person? Do you think you're the only one of the mutual friends that feels the way you do about this friend?

Feeling "disregarded and ignored" is not something that you'd want to feel from anyone, not from a store clerk, and much much less from a "friend."

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cookiecat

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Re: Hoovered, but I don't want to be an N's friend
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2017, 12:15:51 PM »
Hi SpringLight,

You are definitely correct, it just took me awhile to see it.  Unfortunately this "friendship" was pretty textbook, me being a people please/fixer/rescue and her being a professional victim and all-around miserable person.  I've known her for about 10 years but only became really close in past 4 years while she went through a divorce.  I helped her emotionally, financially, intellectually, was basically her on-call support system 24/7.  I'm ashamed to say I even neglected my own family for her.  I started seeing red flags but then some event would happen where I felt sorry for her again.  I could go on and on but it's pretty much the same old story---she became entitled, self-absorbed, selfish, etc...  I say became, but when I try to think back, I realize I really didn't know her that well before I became one of her only support systems (she didn't tell anyone and swore me to secrecy about divorce for 6 months, another weird thing).   Meanwhile I've found out so many things she lied to me about, about other people, etc... 
Most of the mutual friends see that she is a selfish person, but unfortunately, she knows how to garner sympathy easily.  She has had some bad things happen to her, but her response to them are so bizarre.   I really did think I could help her emotionally until I realized she didn't want that kind of help, she only wanted financial help and for someone to stroke her ego and confirm her victim status. I just couldn't do that anymore.  She was never there for me during a very difficult time with my teenage son.    I just truly don't understand someone like this, with no empathy (she says same short/pat responses to everything yet expects others to dissect every problem in her life and rehash it because "she's bad with words").  Ugh.  I was conned is the bottom line.  It felt good to be needed and get all that attention (she would text all day/every day.  I was never even a texter before her 😳), she would complement me constantly, how smart I was, I give such good advice blah blah.  I fell for the whole thing.   It's just very hard for me to believe someone could treat another person the way she treats me and others.  That's where I get stuck.  But I know I need to let it go and learn from it 🤷🏼‍♀️

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Gaining Clarity

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Re: Hoovered, but I don't want to be an N's friend
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2017, 03:36:58 PM »
Welcome, Cookiecat! Nfriends do stink but the upside is that because of our need to vent and get advice, we get to know the supportive, amazing people on OOTF!

You wrote: "It's just very hard for me to believe someone could treat another person the way she treats me and others." I think many of us here feel the same way. I also think it's why these people are drawn to us/take advantage. 

SpringLight:  :yeahthat: on the impersonal Christmas card thing. I spent YEARS sending beautiful photos cards, taking the time to write something personal in each card. After faithfully sending out about 60 each year and receiving a pre-printed card with no personalization or in many cases, no card at all, I finally wised up this year. I've tapped out of the card circus for good. Just can't spend the time, money or energy anymore when I get little to nothing in return. One year, I did not send a photo card. Just a pretty Christmas scene card with a personal note. I had one longtime "friend" say to me upon receiving it, "If you don't send me a photo card, I will just throw your card into the garbage without ever looking at it." With holiday card friends like that, who needs enemies???

You wrote: "This card-sending is completely impersonal. It has always felt like an extension of the narcissism on Facebook." So spot on. I think that's precisely why many people send them (and if I'm completely honest, maybe that's why I spent years sending beautiful photo cards...maybe I wanted to prove that I was worthy, hoping I'd get the validation I so desperately wanted and didn't get from my FOO). I have a SIL who literally doesn't communicate with me, her brother or our son. Yet every year, she has a professional Christmas photo taken. Sends it with no note and posts it all over Facebook multiple times to elicit compliments  :sadno:

Question: Do you think Ellen's daughter knows that your friendship has fizzled? Maybe the daughter is in the dark there. Or perhaps, she's just indiscriminately sending cards . Maybe she is like the old me...looking to prove her worth and get validation.

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SpringLight

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Re: Hoovered, but I don't want to be an N's friend
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2017, 11:28:59 PM »
Before I forget again, a belated WELCOME to you, Cookie Cat!

I, like you, (and so many of us here)--am another recovering people-pleaser/fixer/rescuer.  We get it.  :yes:

In any relationship, I think it's ok to tolerate a certain amount of self-absorption, selfishness, domination of the conversations--in the other--AT TIMES--especially when our friends/family member is going through something tough.  It's part of the "friendship contract."

But, that sense of "ENTITLEMENT" you mentioned...now that's truly an ugly, malevolent trait.  And a "LACK OF EMPATHY?" Well, that's toxic and totally unacceptable in any kind of meaningful sustained relationship.

Giving "short/pat responses" to YOUR problems?  While expecting you to ' dissect every problem in her life and rehash it because "she's bad with words").    :upsidedown:   Bad with words?  REALLY???  Maybe she should try expressing herself with... hand signals, instead?  :wacko:

She sounds like a classic emotional vampire. With experience, reflection, and knowledge of the subject--that you can glean on OOF and elsewhere--you'll learn to spot an emotional vampire a mile away.

Meantime, if you are not ending this relationship any time soon, I would SEVERELY limit the time you spend with her, listen to her, text with her. 
« Last Edit: December 27, 2017, 11:30:50 PM by SpringLight »

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SpringLight

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Re: Hoovered, but I don't want to be an N's friend
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2017, 12:36:53 AM »
Hey, there, Gaining Clarity:

I smiled--in recognition-- while reading about your FORMER Christmas card habits. Yes, that was me, too!  ;D

Except I didn't send any photo cards. BUT, even though I never had kids--I have KEPT all of those many family photo cards I received from that bygone era--and stored them in my photo albums.  Lots of 'em. Why do I keep them? I don't know!

As for your friend who promptly tosses Christmas cards in the trash, if, upon opening them,  they don't meet her standards...well, doesn't she just embody the true spirit of Christmas!!! :bigwink:

And your SIL's obligatory card...wouldn't you love to know what she thinks when she sends them out?  Perhaps I wonder if some of these people hire people to send these cards?  Again, very heartwarming and personal--NOT. What says love, warmth, caring, and connection more than a preprinted card with absolutely no personal touches. :stars:

You asked  "Do you think Ellen's daughter knows that your friendship has fizzled? Maybe the daughter is in the dark there. Or perhaps, she's just indiscriminately sending cards . Maybe she is like the old me...looking to prove her worth and get validation.

Hmmmmm.  I really don't know, G/C. I doubt my Nfriend would dare describe our friendship as "fizzled"-- to her daughter.  I think, if she communicated anything to her daughter, she would point to ME as being the culprit, for not being "in touch" as much. Or for being a "difficult, distracted" friend. And how she is always the one who initiates contact!

I DO get that feeling that the daughter sends cards rather indiscriminately.  The card was breathtakingly beautiful and was created by the new parents-- solely to elicit compliments. 

I was a bit surprised to get that first Christmas card from the couple, sent the first Christmas after her BIG wedding.  The photo card featured MORE photos of the bride and groom at the wedding I had attended, earlier in the year.   I  thought that would be was a one-time only thing. I don't think I have ever responded to her. Not out of malice, but just because....I really don't know her. She couldn't really know me. But each year, those cards keep coming.

I suspect I simply represent  someone from the "MOM'S CHILDHOOD FRIEND" category.  And one of the hundreds of guests who attended their wedding.

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Gaining Clarity

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Re: Hoovered, but I don't want to be an N's friend
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2017, 01:19:14 PM »
Hi SpringLight!

I think you're spot on about how your friend might be portraying your relationship with her daughter. And as we've already experienced, the daughter likely is an indiscriminate holiday card sender  ::)

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SpringLight

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Re: Hoovered, but I don't want to be an N's friend
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2017, 08:11:42 PM »
Hi SpringLight!

I think you're spot on about how your friend might be portraying your relationship with her daughter. And as we've already experienced, the daughter likely is an indiscriminate holiday card sender  ::)

Hi, Gaining Clarity

I think we really need to create a new acronym here.  ;D

IHCSS ( indiscriminate holiday card sending syndrome ) :aaauuugh:

Imagine this TV ad:

ANNOUNCER:
"Do you or does anyone in your household seem to need...

...constant  validation of  self-worth--especially around the holidays?
Do you crave excessive amounts of attention, positive regard and endless compliments about how beautiful you and your family look?
...Do you feel that the holidays, and the world at large just wouldn't be right, unless every person you've EVER met-- is aware of how breathtakingly wonderful you are...how enviable your life seems?

If so, you may be suffering from....

IHCSS!

 :aaauuugh:

P.S.
I have heard nothing further from the IHCSS-affected daughter. But today, I received ANOTHER message from the mother, my Nfriend. (I previously ended up replying to her Flying Monkey (a nice, genuine person) friend...and therefore, she must have heard and  knows from him that I'm still alive and reachable.)

She gave me a point-by-point of what happened during the holidays, and mentioned that she's leaving to go home. It was signed with "Lots of love to you and to the entire SpringLight family."  That was a rather large and unexpected increase in affection/warmth factor.  Haven't seen that her include that kind of salutation in...a long time.   

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Gaining Clarity

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Re: Hoovered, but I don't want to be an N's friend
« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2017, 09:41:24 PM »
I love it, SpringLight! You come up with the best material. I see a humorous book on the subject in your future  ;)

Hope the mother reaching out to you is a sincere attempt to improve your relationship and not hoovering.

Happy New Year to you and all of my fellow OOTFers!