Friend with a flea

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square

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Friend with a flea
« on: April 22, 2021, 04:29:56 PM »
I have a friend who is pretty healthy despite being surrounded with PDs. Mother is a malignant NPD and maybe ASPD, chilling just to be around. Sibs have various levels of NPD and other. Married a violent psychopath - eventually divorced. Adult children have mixes of BPD and maybe HPD/DPD. You get the idea.

Somehow she stayed pretty healthy, though she is in the role of rescuing everybody - but has decreased her enmeshment over the years. Married a good man with issues but no PD.

She is a good person and I wish we could be real friends. The problem is that I canít talk to her.

With everyone else, she lets the other person talk. Her mother and adult kids constantly demand her attention. With her grandkids, she is attentive in a normal way. With her husband, she can talk normally but if he interrupts she lets him talk.

But with me, I canít get a word in. Talk talk talk talk. I am happy with her talking. But she doesnít know me. If I manage to say something, her eyes look in the distance and she rehearses what she will say at the first opportunity to break in.

Even if I try to share something heavy, she might make an effort but sheís thinking about all her own stories that she is reminded of, and will start telling me those.

She is a sweetheart. If I need a favor from her, she would drop everything. In the middle of the night, cancelling plans, anything. (I do NOT take advantage of this, of course - just saying she would do anything). But if I need an ear? No.

For a few years I just dealt. Thought maybe she could get her life off her chest if itís hard for her to find a friendly ear. But it never changed.

I withdrew eventually. I could live with an 80-20 talking relationship. But not 100-0.

But Iím wondering if anyone has any ideas I havenít tried? Iívebtried holding my ground when interrupted, but if I donít fold she will just impatiently wait for me to finish. I donít want to just talk, I want to be heard.

Not sure I have the guts to literally say ďI wish you would listen moreĒ - but am open to suggested phrasing to consider.

Any other ideas? I actually like her enough to try again, maybe. But I need some sort of change. How can *I* be different with her?

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chowder

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Re: Friend with a flea
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2021, 11:24:12 AM »
Hi, Square - I've got a friend who is this way also....she dominates the conversation, and if you try to get a word in edgewise she just gets louder and talks over you.   If you try to share something with her about the news of the day, if she happens to already know about it, she'll interrupt and hijack the story and tell you every single detail as if you didn't know it already.

I don't know about an answer as to how you could be different or what could be said to her.  I do find that other people have the same feelings, and have backed away from this person due to her verbal domination.  It's a shame she's not socially aware of her surroundings and doesn't read others' reactions.  I have struggled with this, because there have been some good times too.   If I spend some time away from this person and then go back, initially it's good to hear her voice, and then in no time I'm thinking, Ah, yes, this is why I needed the space.

The friendship had promise, I thought, and then it quickly became disappointing.  There was a time early on when there was a death in my family.  She sounded so wonderful and said, When you get back from the services out of town, if you want me to come over, I'll sit with you, chat with you, hold your hand, I'll listen, I'll cry with you.  Sounded like just what the doctor ordered, so I took her up on it.  She came and talked about herself the whole night.

The contact is becoming less and less, just simply due to her verbal domination.  It's not a give and take, it's not a sharing, and she's not there when needed as a true friend during some troubling times, to just be there and listen.  I do miss the good times, but the pendulum is swinging the other way due to the constant barrage of words.  It just is not an enjoyable interaction, and it's sad that the bad experience outweighs the good.   The friendship has become too expensive in different ways, and I come away feeling drained.  I do wish it were otherwise.

If you have a good experience with approaching her on her ways, please share.  It's sad, because the people in our circle are afraid of ruining the friendship by saying something, yet the friendships drift away nonetheless.






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notrightinthehead

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Re: Friend with a flea
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2021, 05:27:02 AM »
Same here, I have tried several strategies, talking over her, interrupting, speaking louder, telling her, I want to say something now, saying her name repeatedly and then speaking, my experience is the same just like Chowder and you describe so beautifully. She just does it so much better than me. I find that after only an hour in her presence I walk away with thightness in my shoulders, a headache of all the unspoken words, slightly irritated and totally drained. The strange thing is, we now live far apart and I sent her a Christmas Card and got a letter back from her, that gave me a similar feeling, just not so strong.  I have concluded that I will just have to accept that  in this relationship I will never get a word in,  not even in writing.
I can't hate my way into loving myself.

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square

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Re: Friend with a flea
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2021, 12:24:41 PM »
Yeah, exactly, I feel drained.

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clara

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Re: Friend with a flea
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2021, 02:03:10 PM »
While she may be willing to "drop everything" to help a person out, that's not the only definition of friendship.  To me, friendship is being there for a person both physically AND emotionally, and she doesn't appear to be willing to give emotionally.  I once knew a woman like that--helpful and kind and considerate, but it was pointless trying to have a conversation with her.  It was always all about her and had to always be all about her.   I stopped associating with her and while it was unfortunate, it was also unavoidable. 

When I evaluate a friendship, I do one thing, and that's ask myself if I feel better or worse after being around the person.  If I feel worse, I take the person out of my life.  There are enough things in life that can bring you down, without you being able to do much about it or avoid it.  So why accept another issue?  I think people like that can change, having a flea isn't the same as being a PD, but she has to want to change and she has to do the work towards it.  But she's likely not going to change towards you unless she has to.  She's developed a  habit when she's with you, and I honestly don't think anything would break her out of her habit other than telling her straight out that you're tired of these one-sided conversations.  And even if you did that, I doubt she'd understand what you were saying. 


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TriedTooHard

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Re: Friend with a flea
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2021, 04:59:13 PM »
Yes, its very draining. 

Your choice depends on how much you're willing to handle, before it affects your own well being.

I had a friend like that.  She also gave great gifts.  To the point where you'd feel confused and embarrassed about why she was giving something so much more expensive than what is standard in our circle.

The gift solution was easy.  I stuck to gifts that were standard for our circle.  I'd tell her she didn't have to do so much.  It didn't matter, she'd turn around and almost immediately show up with something more expensive.

Finally I tried to talk to her about the talking, and other issues.  It happened right after she was really awful to one of my neighbors.  After how she behaved, I had no choice.  I felt really sorry for my neighbor and cared more about that relationship, than the friendship with the talker.  I was very private and diplomatic.  It didn't matter, the talker just argued on and on and on about why I was wrong and she was right.

She had a completely different version of events than me, and I was right there.  I guess that's called gaslighting these days. 

Currently, I see her around and am polite, but she's found new people to talk at.  At first, they thought she was so sweet.  But, I'm now seeing signs that these new people are tiring of her faster than I tired of her.  Probably because they don't come from the same background as me and others on this forum.  Only time will tell if these are fleas and if this talker will see that, and do the needed work on herself.  For her sake, I hope she does, but I won't be waiting around to see if that happens or not.  At least I'm being polite so if one day she does see the light, she'll remember that I was private, diplomatic, and polite to her.

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JenniferSmith

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Re: Friend with a flea
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2021, 10:50:10 PM »
Your post made me think of a post I made here a few years back, where I was struggling with a friend who had some good qualities, but she constantly interrupted me and I never felt heard or listened to. She focused on her problems and rarely cared about mine.

You can read it here - there were some really good replies in there that you might find helpful -

https://www.outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?topic=67965.0

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square

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Re: Friend with a flea
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2021, 01:21:00 AM »
Thanks! I read it! Some grwat thoughts.

I see you disengaged. I still am interested in thinking about my friend though. No FOG on my end, she doesnít need me and doesnít try to pull anything on me. Iíve pulled away in the past and she respected that.

The negativity would bother me but my friend is very positive.

Spring Butterflyís first post made me wonder if I could address things in the moment. Like if I was talking and her eyes went unfocused and she rehearsed what she wanted to say, maybe I could say ďlooks like you wanted to say something, go ahead and then I can finish my story.Ē Dangerous, yeah, but if there is any hope, maybe it could bring it out front. I could just keep talking and not be heard, and Iím not liking that. She might notice if I point out in that way that her focus on what she wants to say is apparent to me and affecting our communication.

So she could either take my offer and then LISTEN, or better yet realize she isnít listening and try harder right at that moment.

Or she might just take the ball and never give it back.

But I think itís worth trying. Iíll at least know thereís no hope and decide what level of contact I want.