dealing with how my friend treats me in regard to her sister

  • 14 Replies
  • 191 Views
*

countrygirl

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 270
Hi,

Recently, I've been getting along well with a difficult friend, but now we're approaching a visit from her sister, and whenever there's anything to do with her sister, I get treated badly.  Friends have advised me to say that she should spend the visit with her sister and that I will see her afterwards, but I've tried taking that tack, and it makes her angry.  She wants to trot me out when her family visits, so they can see that she does have a friend.   

On Monday, after presenting her with several birthday gifts,  I took her out for her birthday lunch.  It was pouring rain, and we could have ordered in, but she clearly wanted to go out, so I was fine with that.  Once I was ready and we were actually on the way out the door, she got a text.  It was from her sister.  She said she would answer it briefly, and I was okay with that, although I was standing there, on a cane, waiting for her.  (I say this not to ask for pity, but so you will know that her behavior was even more inconsiderate than it might have been.)  I was also leaning on a table, because it is hard for me to stand, even with the cane.  I figured she would just text something like, "Thanks!  My friend is taking me out to lunch right now, so will write more later!"  But no, she kept going!

Finally, I walked back into the living room and sat on the couch, while she kept typing.  After a few more minutes, I walked past her, saying that I was going to sit in the hallway because the couch didn't provide enough support.  She kept typing.  I sat there for a few minutes, but then said,  "Unbelievable!  Just unbelievable!"  A minute or so later, she was ready to go.

I didn't say anything to her, because I didn't want to ruin the lunch.  So we went to the nice restaurant of her choice, and I treated her to the meal.   The next day, she told me the sister is going to visit.  I've written other posts about her behavior during these visits.  Most memorably, she invited me to a special concert once, only to tell me, the day before the concert, that she would be going alone with her sister.  She'd also invited me to a play, ditto.  And, to add insult to injury, it was the same play to which my husband and I had treated her as a Christmas present!  Yet she expects me to trot out to do something casual with them, such as have lunch.  I must put in an appearance, but am not "worthy" to attend anything special.

I have never had any problem with how other people relate to their families.  My husband comes from a large family, and of course I've had many friends who loved their siblings.  Believe me when I tell you that this is something else.  Even though the visit is a couple of weeks away, I already feel tense.  I had suspected that a visit was imminent, because my friend had gone into a cleaning frenzy and a tossing out of stuff frenzy, and she also started talking about needing new clothes and new shoes, which she always does before the sister's visit.  She used to drag me on these shopping expeditions, and I would call it--at first to myself then, after many years, to her:  shopping for the trousseau.  It did feel as if I were helping a soon-to-be-bride shop for her honeymoon.  (My condition prevents me from these excursions, not that I would go along anyway at this point.)

I don't know what the answer is to any of this.  It is just such a strange thing.  I have even looked for advice on the internet, and can't find anything which fits the situation!  As the visit approaches, I find it difficult to talk to my friend, because I know how badly she's going to treat me during it.  In fact, my inclination is to start withdrawing from her now.  I don't think she finds her behavior a bit weird, nor does she care if she hurt she by inviting me to things and then disinviting me.  Once she told me that she does this because she "has nothing."  This is simply not true, and I see it as a way to manipulate:  I'm supposed to excuse her behavior because I should feel sorry for her.

*

Bloomie

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 11970
Re: dealing with how my friend treats me in regard to her sister
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2019, 12:50:13 PM »
countrygirl - you sound like a really loving friend. I would give a lot for a friend who would shower me with gifts and take me to lunch. What kind and thoughtful gestures these are. I ask this gently, but what are you getting out of this relationship because you deserve respectful, thoughtful consideration and a reasonable level of reciprocity.
Bloomie 🌸

*

countrygirl

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 270
Re: dealing with how my friend treats me in regard to her sister
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2019, 12:57:24 PM »
Thank you for your kindness, Bloomie.  It means a lot.

To answer your question, my friend is someone with whom I have so much in common, in terms of our likes and dislikes and in our world view.  But when it comes to "the sainted sister," I am treated as if I am a second class citizen.  Sometimes, I think I should just be able to let it go, but it keeps happening and so often in very insulting ways. 

Recently, I told a friend that it was weird how "here" the sister always seemed to be, even when she wasn't here.  He answered:  "She is ALWAYS here."  He is correct--that is the emotional truth.

I think about what I like about my friend, and wonder if I should just let how I am treated in comparison to the sister go.  But it is such extreme behavior.  To tell you the truth, I can not make up my mind.  I care about my friend, but this problem, like the sister, is always here.  If we are having a phone conversation and the sister calls, she immediately gets off the phone; she never tells her she will call her back.  Once, she actually shrieked, "It's my sister!"  And she hung up on me.  I later told her that she'd dropped me like the proverbial hot potato, to which she said nothing. 



 

*

TriedTooHard

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 75
Re: dealing with how my friend treats me in regard to her sister
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2019, 03:06:21 PM »
Hello,  it sounds like your friend comes from a complicated family background, where appearances mean a lot.  I wonder if she also comes from a large family, where the larger the audience, the better they feel about themselves.  Or it could be having more people involved in the visit is an easy way for your friend to not have any intimacy at all with her family.  Whatever it is, it sounds like she has a very dysfunctional past with her family and unfortunately, doesn't have the ability to learn about it and heal from it.  It sounds like other friends have come and gone, but she can't self reflect enough to try and figure out that pattern.   Withdrawing from it seems like a healthy way for you to protect yourself.  You tried! 

*

moglow

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 13537
  • >^..^<
Re: dealing with how my friend treats me in regard to her sister
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2019, 03:25:18 PM »
Country girl, I hope you don't mind me saying but this friendship doesn't seem very friendly. It seems self serving on her part and you're summarily kicked to the curb as and when it suits her. I know we're naturally closer to some people than others, but to repeatedly and (dare I suggest) consistently treated this way by someone you consider a friend ... It just doesn't sound friendly.


Your options as her friend still exist, as they do with anyone. Maybe it's time to draw some lines for yourself, have or make other plans etc particularly when the sister is visiting. Cultivate other friendships that are more reciprocal, maybe then invite her to join you occasionally.

Basically I'm thinking it may be worth backing away or working towards removing your expectations of this person/people altogether. As an old friend said "expectations are disappointments under construction."

People are going to do what they do, and be who they are. It feels personal, but seems to me more often than not that really is who they are, period. They're not necessarily picking and choosing with me/you, but it may be more universal for them. That doesn't mean we have to roll over for it, but maybe rather that its time we decide if that's how we want our friends to treat us.
“Nothing exposes our true self more than how we treat each other in the home.”  ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

*

countrygirl

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 270
Re: dealing with how my friend treats me in regard to her sister
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2019, 05:13:27 PM »
Thank you TriedTooHard and moglow!

At times like these, I am so thankful for "Out of the FOG," because it does feel as if I'm floundering around in the fog, and your are beacons of light.  I was going to say foghorns, but even though foghorns are very beautiful, in a haunting kind of way, "foghorn" is not a very pleasing word! 

Yes, TriedTooHard, her family is very screwed up.  You are one hundred percent correct.   And, yes, moglow, even if she's "just being who she is," that certainly doesn't mean that I have to accept it. 

Since I posted my first message this morning, she phoned me and the shafting associated with the sister's visit has already started!!!   We had planned a two day trip a couple of hours away.  We've discussed it for quite a while.  So she suddenly called this morning,  and said she could go, because her sister is coming, which is next month.  This is two days after we celebrated her birthday, as I describe previously.

I could write more, but I am just sick from the whole thing.  Her behavior is so predictable:  I knew it was bad news that the sister was coming, and I was right.  It makes me feel as though I am dealing with an automaton (Is that the correct spelling?) instead of a person. 

*

moglow

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 13537
  • >^..^<
Re: dealing with how my friend treats me in regard to her sister
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2019, 06:54:06 PM »
Wait - she cant go on a day trip with you now because her sister is coming, a month from now?? Yeah no. I'd probably decline making any concrete plans that involve buying tickets or making reservations with her in future. We might talk about it but I'd believe it when I see it. This doesnt sound like someone you can rely on even to keep her word.
“Nothing exposes our true self more than how we treat each other in the home.”  ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

*

countrygirl

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 270
Re: dealing with how my friend treats me in regard to her sister
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2019, 07:18:55 PM »
Hi moglow,

And the plot thickens...   After telling me that she couldn't afford this trip, she called, suggesting that I rent a house in the area where we'd been planning to go, telling me that if I rented one for two or three weeks, she would go with me.  I had told her before that I couldn't afford to do this, not to mention that I have a debilitating physical condition which would require special accommodations.  When I mentioned the cost, she said that she would "help out."  I asked how she could suddenly afford to do this, and she said she would contribute what she could.  BUT I have no desire to retreat to the country with her for several weeks; this is HER plan, but suddenly she will help me out!  And note that she is suggesting this within hours of having said that she wouldn't be going on the car trip.   

I wrote a good friend about this, and he said that it was really weird.  What else can anyone say?  I guess that she is a real manipulator, who thinks nothing of trying to get something out of me shortly after having hurt my feelings.  Her sister is more than welcome to her.   Although I know that she pays for everything when the sister visits, because the sister told me this.  Crzier and crazier, and I throw myself into that crazy stew, because this person is my friend.

*

moglow

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 13537
  • >^..^<
Re: dealing with how my friend treats me in regard to her sister
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2019, 09:48:44 PM »
Well now. That takes balls. Big ones, actually. Still a no for me, even if i had the money (or she magically found funding) and I was willing to spend weeks in her company at this point. Thanks everso for asking, dear friend, but No.
“Nothing exposes our true self more than how we treat each other in the home.”  ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

*

countrygirl

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 270
Re: dealing with how my friend treats me in regard to her sister
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2019, 11:18:46 PM »
Just more unbelievable stuff from her, moglow.  I had to laugh at,  "Thanks everso for asking, dear friend, but No." 

And, yes, big balls, or big ovaries.   Chutzpah. 

 

*

Bloomie

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 11970
Re: dealing with how my friend treats me in regard to her sister
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2019, 11:23:59 AM »
Sounds like things are getting really clear with this person. That is quite an outrageous ask!  :aaauuugh:
Bloomie 🌸

*

countrygirl

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 270
Re: dealing with how my friend treats me in regard to her sister
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2019, 11:28:51 AM »
Hello again,

I'm feeling very shaky after yesterday's drama with my friend.

I wish I could say that things had settled down, but they have not.  I thought we were "normalizing" things last night, having a pleasant conversation, when she picked a fight with me over nothing; it wasn't even anything to do with her.  She clearly wanted to create a scene.  Over the past two days, she has started using the phrase "pushing back" for the first time.  In this case, she seems to mean that I am standing up for myself.  Another friend said I should say, "When you push at me, I will push back.  So, get ready." 

As she lambasted me last night, it emerged that she was furious  that I did not go for her "generous" offer of "helping me out" if I would be willing to rent a house in the country where we'd planned to take our small trip.  She wasn't willing to take the small trip, because that wasn't enough.  She had suggested this once before, and I'd told her I couldn't afford to do it, but she brought it up again (as I described yesterday), and is clearly furious that I wouldn't go for it. 

It was not enough that I just treated her to a nice birthday lunch on Mon., gave her what she called very thoughtfully chosen presents, plus a subscription to a magazine which she'd mentioned wanting.  I am starting to think that her main reason for being friends with me is to see what she can get out of me.  I hate to think this, and I don't think it's entirely true, but I fear it's a larger factor than I had considered.   

If you could have seen how warm and appreciative she was after we celebrated her birthday on Monday, you wouldn't have believed this was the same person.  As I write that, I realize that I can't believe she is the same person!  Which is real:  The warm one on Monday, or the cruel one yesterday?  Or are they both true?  And if they are, is it worth it to put up with this bad behavior?   At this point, I can't imagine ever feeling at ease with her again.  I know I shouldn't feel this way, but I feel very sad. 

*

countrygirl

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 270
Re: dealing with how my friend treats me in regard to her sister
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2019, 11:37:36 AM »
Hi Bloomie,

Just as I was posting, I received a message that another reply had been posted, and that I might want to review it before posting.  It's nice that the board provides that message; I've never seen such an option before.  I did go ahead and post, though, deciding that I would then read the new post and reply to it.

I agree that she made an "outrageous ask."  Good way to phrase it.  If you have the patience to read what I just posted, you will see that she was clearly outraged that I didn't go for her "offer."  I had told her once before that I couldn't afford to do this.  I was very generous on her birthday (I apologize for saying that about myself, and don't feel that I did any more than anyone else would do with a good friend, but want to clarify what happened before all of this), but clearly that counted for little more than nothing.   

I just posted that I'm starting to feel that her main reason for being my friend is to see what she can get out of me.  We do have a lot in common, and I know she's enjoyed our friendship, our long conversations, walks (before my condition worsened), and various trips, but now I'm starting to feel that THE most important thing to her is what she can get, and that it is never enough.  I am not a rich person.  I am middle class.  And even if I had more money, I wouldn't like feeling that money was the main drawing card.  Even as I write that, I feel this can't really be true--that she's an opportunist--but maybe it is?   I feel very shaky and confused.

*

Bloomie

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 11970
Re: dealing with how my friend treats me in regard to her sister
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2019, 12:17:29 PM »
countrygirl - this is all really confusing and you are hurting. It is perfectly understandable to feel sad when someone we value seems to be revealing themselves as opportunistic at the worst or insensitive and distracted at the least.

The good news is you don't have to figure her out or understand her and what drives and motivates her. It might be important to figure out if this level of connection with this person is building you up or tearing you down.

You don't have to not be her friend, but maybe the current level of contact and how much you do together is too much? Maybe take a few weeks "off" and a time out from the friendship and see how you feel at the end of that time about this friendship?
Bloomie 🌸

*

countrygirl

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 270
Re: dealing with how my friend treats me in regard to her sister
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2019, 12:35:38 PM »
Hi Bloomie,

Thank you for your response!

I have decided to "bland things out" with this friend for a while.  This is what I tried to do yesterday, but then she wanted to know if I was upset, and I honestly said that I was.  I now think she wanted to provoke me into being upset.