Am I a Co-Dependent Caretaker? (Friend Edition)

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1footouttadefog

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Re: Am I a Co-Dependent Caretaker? (Friend Edition)
« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2021, 12:47:35 PM »
Maybe discussing your NC hits a little too close to home and she avoids the topic.  I can see where that would put a damper on the relationship if it causes heart pangs about what she is trying to deny.

It may be you need to fall back and wait to see if she gets past it or comes around.

It would be the same of you both use to drink together and you quit drinking and she is in denial she is an alcoholic and now you want to go places that don't serve alcohol.  Such would be to some a confrontion of their own issues that was too uncomfortable.

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DistanceNotDefense

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Re: Am I a Co-Dependent Caretaker? (Friend Edition)
« Reply #21 on: April 25, 2021, 04:48:38 PM »
Maybe discussing your NC hits a little too close to home and she avoids the topic.  I can see where that would put a damper on the relationship if it causes heart pangs about what she is trying to deny.

It may be you need to fall back and wait to see if she gets past it or comes around.

It would be the same of you both use to drink together and you quit drinking and she is in denial she is an alcoholic and now you want to go places that don't serve alcohol.  Such would be to some a confrontation of their own issues that was too uncomfortable.

I totally agree. Though if it causes her pangs....and she knows this is a huge upheaval in my life....then why try to spend time with me, while blatantly ignoring it? It's just like with my family, trying to cut out all the things they don't like (my pain) but still wanting to capitalize on what I have to give. It can cut a person right in half.

We've both been in tears talking with each other for hours, hugging each other, talking about the pain our families bring us over wine and dinner. It would take a huge load of effort on her part to pretend all of a sudden like nothing's going on with me and everything's peachy, and the change was very abrupt.

Again I agree with you 1foot, and that's also why months ago I decided to finally be direct and ask her, if what was going on with me/my fam was a lot for her. And she said, no, and shrugged it off. But that's not what I'm picking up on. I think she IS bothered, on either an unconscious or a passive aggressive level.

If she was honest and it doesn't actually bother her, then she still seems happy to elbow it aside while saddling me with all her troubles when we're together, and have that be all our close friendship is... and I dread that. (Never mind when I try to invite her to things that would be more fun and less one-on-one, we can still be friends and have fun together... it seems she wants all my focus and attention, free therapist style.)

The other option is she's being passive aggressive. She is a very PA/indirect person on the whole, so it's not out of character (and all the things perceived as "jabs" are starting to pile up...). Not long after I told her about NC, she abruptly dodged/avoided all my mentions of getting together and connecting in my greatest time of needed close friendship and support, and flaked out often. (Apparently during that time she was getting caught up in a fresh round of dysfunctional family stuff and becoming infatuated with a married man ... :roll:). Then, she blew up my phone with messages apologizing for all the passive aggressive things she perceived she did.

I feel like I'm trying to provide every avenue of continued friendship in a less close yet still relational way without making it all about me (while still making it enough about me that my cup feels full). She's making it passive-aggressively clear that's not what she wants and that's not enough for her. She has been sending unsolicited gifts that feel almost like "buying" back our friendship from before. In a way it does feel almost like a hoover and a desire for me to "get back in line" without being transparent and talking about the real problem itself, like I tried to do. It's just weird.

I even just got a message back from her just now, in response to my message about how I had been unwell over the weekend from the vaccine, got a lot going on, sorry I'm not available, etc. and all I got back from her was more or less a vague message like "oh well I was planning on asking you about all the great things going on in your life, based on your social media. OK be well." (?!?!?) I feel a little guilt-tripped! There is nothing very different about my social media it's the same old thing: my pets, my business, my DH, that's it. And we have never talked about those sorts of things together. So strange.

I've tried not to take things personally (I do think this is more about her headspace than mine), and I don't think it's called for me to just say flat out to her "you failed me as a friend," which is called for sometimes but in this situation it doesn't seem right. And, I honestly don't think that. I need to learn to meet my emotional needs myself and with my therapist, no friend is going to fill the hole family creates in my life, I made the mistake of putting that on her and it got things all lop-sided in the first place....instead of cutting people off, like I have done in the past, I'd rather retain people within several layers and degrees of closeness.

But I'm realizing it doesn't matter if she's either passive aggressive or completely unaware: both involve that I take everything off my plate to hold space for her issues, that's subtly what she wants. It's also what my family wanted of me, too, and it's just feeling icky. I'm sure there's a lot of her own projecting of her issues onto me as well and hoping I make up for her family's abuses, too - perhaps she saw a mother figure in me.

Clearly, she wants more beyond just a messaging relationship, even though that's the vibe she put out at me for months after NC: we're just messaging friends, even if you're grieving. I accepted that, but I guess the messaging only friendship only works out for her when she's inattentive and it's me chasing after her. Then all's well! Maybe that even makes her feel good. And during that time when she IS in the mood to be attentive to the friendship, it's so she can unburden herself but then drop off the radar for weeks, even months, regardless of whether I'm in crisis or not.

But when the script is flipped - nope! My inattention and focusing on myself during a hard grieving process is not good enough to meet her own desire for connection, and that is the only connection she has to offer, a deep one centered on her. That is the only way she feels valued between the two of us - "Please pay attention to me and my family stuff! Oh there's still family stuff going on with you? Hmmmmm." It feels like she is saying, now that I am not minutely attentive to every discomfort in a cycle she refuses to break.

The more I write about this, yet again the more the answer becomes clear (and sorry for this long ramble....)

Screw this!

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Cat of the Canals

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Re: Am I a Co-Dependent Caretaker? (Friend Edition)
« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2021, 08:27:11 PM »
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"oh well I was planning on asking you about all the great things going on in your life, based on your social media. OK be well."

It's like half guilt trip, half promising resources. Like, "Oh, here I was all set to talk about YOU YOU YOU, for once. No really, this conversation was going to be ALLLL about you this time! Too bad!"

Also (and it's hard without knowing the specifics, so maybe I'm reading wayyy too far into this), I wonder if there's even the passive-aggressive suggestion that you're lying about being unwell since you never said boo about it on social media. This is the kind of paranoia my PD mil displays, so again, I might just be projecting here.


But I'm realizing it doesn't matter if she's either passive aggressive or completely unaware: both involve that I take everything off my plate to hold space for her issues, that's subtly what she wants. It's also what my family wanted of me, too, and it's just feeling icky. I'm sure there's a lot of her own projecting of her issues onto me as well and hoping I make up for her family's abuses, too - perhaps she saw a mother figure in me.

I think you really found the heart of the issue right here. It ultimately doesn't matter if she's doing it with intent or not. The fact that you are feeling this jumble of negative emotions around this friendship isn't good for you. That's reason enough to gently detach from the relationship.

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DistanceNotDefense

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Re: Am I a Co-Dependent Caretaker? (Friend Edition)
« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2021, 11:30:30 PM »
Thank you Cat! (I love Arya from GOT btw  ;) )

I feel like I'm projecting too, but what you wrote is precisely what it feels like. Exactly why I've written here - to check myself!

And her message, from what she says it almost sounds like she's aware that she's been taking up all the room lately!

It almost makes me feel guilty that, unlike her, because I'm trying to focus on the good things (and publicly) despite FOO dealings, it must mean I'm doing so good (but I mean, not really? Pretty innocuous posts I've put out...) that I have nothing to complain about - but she does. It's like I owe it to her almost.

It feels like one of the 1,000,000 paper cuts an unwell PD person uses to drain you. Not major, but a little cut nonetheless!

And it's really going against the grain for me to not just give in and acknowledge this as icky (that's co-dependency for ya....and this has been what dealing with my dysfunctional FOO has been like to a T!), but I'm glad someone else sees it just from what Ive written. I've paraphrased of course what she said.

Thanks again, Cat! I feel pretty good about detaching, though it does feel weird, like I'm outright rejecting her...but then I do a double take and realize I'm clearly giving her options to still be my friend, just in a different way. I will continue inviting her to only friend group things and see if she ends up opting to just drop the friendship entirely, if it's not giving her the supply sponge she needs.

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Cat of the Canals

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Re: Am I a Co-Dependent Caretaker? (Friend Edition)
« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2021, 04:00:46 PM »
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I feel pretty good about detaching, though it does feel weird, like I'm outright rejecting her.

I am a recovering co-dependent caretaker, especially when it comes to friends, so I know that feeling all too well. My PD mother trained me to always put my own needs behind everyone else's. That if I *could* do it, then I should. It still feels very wrong sometimes to put myself first.

But you aren't rejecting her. In fact, you're mirroring her level of interest/engagement/effort in the relationship, which is a pretty healthy thing to do.  :thumbup:

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DistanceNotDefense

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Re: Am I a Co-Dependent Caretaker? (Friend Edition)
« Reply #25 on: April 28, 2021, 06:24:55 PM »
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I feel pretty good about detaching, though it does feel weird, like I'm outright rejecting her.

I am a recovering co-dependent caretaker, especially when it comes to friends, so I know that feeling all too well. My PD mother trained me to always put my own needs behind everyone else's. That if I *could* do it, then I should. It still feels very wrong sometimes to put myself first.

But you aren't rejecting her. In fact, you're mirroring her level of interest/engagement/effort in the relationship, which is a pretty healthy thing to do.  :thumbup:

I wasn't planning on responding, but did want to come on here and say, thanks for saying this today Cat - I needed it today more than I thought.

This friend uncharacteristically blew up my phone during work yesterday with several memes, videos, etc. I guess to keep my attention - DH said "I think she's understandably worried about the relationship, don't you think??? Wouldn't you?" And again, I experienced a tizzy of doubt like I was being cruel or something (my DH can be a social doormat, and in my shoes he'd be bending over backwards for her probably)

That said, if she was worried about the friendship, she can tell me that point blank....instead of rapid fire meme sharing that's out of character and out of the blue...  :blink: :unsure:  :wacko: I think at this point in my growth if a close friend were doing the same thing I'd ask them outright too (Which I did with her!)

I only liked the messages....did not respond with any words....gosh it feels odd !
« Last Edit: April 28, 2021, 06:52:15 PM by DistanceNotDefense »

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DistanceNotDefense

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Re: Am I a Co-Dependent Caretaker? (Friend Edition)
« Reply #26 on: April 28, 2021, 07:34:03 PM »
OK another update. This is getting crazy and I didn't think it would get this crazy, wow this friend of mine has been VERY good at being covert all along.

I've gotten two emails from her in the last twenty minutes. (We NEVER email each other.)

One is over 10 paragraphs long and is sharing a BIZARRE level of information, including photographs about things we never talk about, and every last detail and feeling in her personal life. And then the other is just more photos, apparently there wasn't enough photos in the first email.

Not even a single "how are you doing" in there. Just "here's what's going on with me."

I feel overwhelmed. She has no sense of boundaries.

It is clear now to me that I'm very good at attracting people who are unstable but can pass on off as normal for various periods of times and then feel they can drop all pretense and show me.....well, too much.

I've opened the door to crazy - help. :wacko: :wacko: :wacko:

!!!!!!!!

 :ninja:

« Last Edit: April 28, 2021, 07:36:12 PM by DistanceNotDefense »

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Cat of the Canals

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Re: Am I a Co-Dependent Caretaker? (Friend Edition)
« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2021, 05:50:52 PM »
YIKES! Even quietly setting a few boundaries seems to have triggered some sort of desperation in her.

My uPD mil is like this. In fact, she is right this very moment in a cycle of bombarding my husband with texts and photos and phone calls. Her attempts are so one-sided that it's abundantly clear she only wants his reassurance. When she senses him pulling away, she starts demanding constant attention. And usually what happens when he doesn't respond is that she goes into full waif mode: "TELL ME, MR. CAT, WHAT I HAVE DONE TO DESERVE THIS?"  ::)

I think it's becoming more and more clear that your instincts here were dead on. Don't beat yourself up about not seeing it at first or for trying to give her the benefit of the doubt. Some people are excellent at disguising this kind of thing. My PD mother is a master and has lulled me into complacency many times, even after I considered myself OOTF.

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DistanceNotDefense

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Re: Am I a Co-Dependent Caretaker? (Friend Edition)
« Reply #28 on: May 01, 2021, 07:23:15 PM »
Thanks again, Cat, for chiming in...

I haven't answered the email yet...and I don't think I will. It was too much  She attached stuff like old family pictures, pet behaviors (and pictures of her pets), it even got hyper specific about her dating life, and even kind of said something to the effect of "I'm also grieving!" Because her FOO won't give her details about a certain death (and there's the rub - her family is scapegoating her again).

I mean, we've talked about close, personal stuff but this feels like an about-face. To be almost like "I can't be bothered" for months and then abruptly too crazy for comfort, and not reading between the lines or self-aware at all.

I do feel for her, though. And her desperate messages months ago, saying "I always end up alone is something wrong with me?" And I had to just skip that one over.

And now, it's really happening to her again. Except it's me distancing from her now. It makes me feel bad. I do feel that if she brings things up in a more direct way, or if she gets confrontational, I'm going to have to be honest with her and maybe lose her as a friend.