Religiosity impact upon old friendship

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daughter

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Religiosity impact upon old friendship
« on: January 02, 2021, 06:39:26 PM »
Longtime friend is also supernuminary in Opus Dei religious sect. She's been member for 40+ years. OD organization I'd call "Scientology for Catholics", because they share traits of secrecy, exclusivity, social separation, shaming and monitoring of members actions and recruitment of friendship circles.  OD has noted preference for wealthy recruits, to fund organization leaders via large-scale donations, free labor, costly classes, and eventually, estate-planning transfer of assets.

Our friendship was seemingly able to usually transcend our religious differences, aside from invitations to participate in Opus Dei events that weren't overtly religious. OD wants its members to actively recruit friends, but I wasn't a responsive candidate. And I did, however, catch a sanctimonious vibe ever so often. Her "prayerfulness" was overt, and her tendency to deny herself simply pleasures, which as she aged, morphed into miserliness and self-denial of conventional things, made it increasingly difficult to socialize outside of "tea and cookies at home".  I'm talking about a college-educated wealthy woman buying her groceries at a salvage store, refusing to join our lady friends for restaurant dinners, relying on me to buy her clothes at thrift stores, and living in a rundown home, even while she held an executive job.  We're in same profession, met through work but became close personal friends. In her 60s, her hygiene and grooming declined, and her willingness to socialize with non OD folks (except me) curtailed. It was increasingly frustrating for me, but we remained good "phone friends" and I remained nonjudgmental. . 

I usually post as "SG daughter of two malevolent nod-enmeshed parents". I'm NC for 8 years, did so only after much emotional damage done to me. I did therapy, am in good headspace, and had discussed this friend's emersion into OD nether-world with therapist, knowing friendship could/would end as my friend's religious fervor seemed to engulf her. Nonetheless, I was stunned to be literally cut-off from all communication weeks after she retired. (Her cell-phone and email both were work-provided; no personal or home phone).  I'd provided her a lot of support and "kind help" over three decades of friendship, and flummoxed by her disconnect.

Yes, all along there were the obvious OD commitments and related peculiarities.  The religiosity could be self-congratulatory in a "look how martyr-like and saintly I can be" self-denial that could encroach on my boundaries too.  Now it seems like she really was a passive-aggressive NPD-like personality who reveled in self-denial and piousness.

Anyone have similar experiences with super-devote friends?  I'm trying to process this, and was trained by my parents to assume every bad thing that happens is always my fault for my sole blame. Here, in this instance, I'm not able to find my "fault".
« Last Edit: January 02, 2021, 06:52:51 PM by daughter »

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looloo

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Re: Religiosity impact upon old friendship
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2021, 07:05:25 PM »
I can look at your situation as being the inevitable natural consequence of your friend’s priorities.  Your relationship was seemingly “ok” due to your efforts and her workplace tools of email and phone.  Once she retired, it’s impossible to maintain any relationship, especially since whatever contact you had in the past was entirely on her terms. 

I’m sorry that she’s acting this way, and for the effect it’s having on you.  It doesn’t sound like a healthy or happy way to live

“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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daughter

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Re: Religiosity impact upon old friendship
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2021, 12:22:30 PM »
Yes, you're right.  She "went silent", from her initiating calls several times a week, to a little crazed as her retirement was finalized.

But I've ability to contact her.  We live close to one another, our city and vacation homes.   Her vacation home (which goes to OD when she dies) is by mine. I can't bring myself to reinitiate contact, feeling uneasy, and "discarded" again -as my parents already did to SG me.

Don't know if I'm entangling my own personal history with this specific friendship situation.   She knows that history, which makes her seeming shunning of me even more hurtful.

i don't  know if I was "convenient" for 3+ decades as "sounding board" and "emotional support" (her unhappy marriage and FOO) until Covid made us all miserable.   I doubt our close sister-like friendship was that shallow. Perhaps she's become unhinged, become hermit-like and stuck in religious fervor.

She hasn't followed Covid protocols, was still attending several OD classes in-person as recently as Sept, which made me wary to see her myself.   I'm/we're in our mid-60s; she doesn't attend to her medical care unless emergency treatment.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2021, 12:36:41 PM by daughter »

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looloo

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Re: Religiosity impact upon old friendship
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2021, 03:20:17 PM »
I think relationships like yours can be “real” in the sense that they weren’t “shallow” - the feelings and perceptions you had were real and true.  But you’ve discovered that the foundation was never solid enough, reciprocal enough, to withstand the stresses of both your own growth, and her devolving.

“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