Am I such a bad person?
Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive October 2007:
Am I such a bad person?
I don't think what I did was horrid, but, maybe I'm wrong.
I have a neighbor, who I've lived across the hall from for about three or four years. We have a friendship, although not alot in common. She's 13 years younger than me, unmarried (not even a boyfriend), no kids, no responsibilities. She's a very coddled girl. Her parents take very good care of her, paying alot of her way in life. Anyway, she began the "gift giving" phase of our friendship by leaving small gifts for my DD. We, of course, starting reciprocating, to the point that it's Christmas and birthdays. Well, I forgot her birthday. I had it written in my calendar for the 15th, which turned out to be a very busy day at work. At 4:30, I got an email asking if everything was OK. When I responded, yes, I realized it was her birthday and starting a singing email. She promptly told me her birthday was, in fact, the 14th and she was VERY hurt by the fact that I had forgotten. She then went on to say that she had "gone out of her way to be my friend, when I really didn't want to start a friendship, and she tries not to bother us too much and tries to keep in touch via email". I was taken back by this and said that "I was terribly sorry her feelings were hurt by the fact that I forgot her birthday. It certainly wasn't intentional. But the problem was obvious, from the email, that it's more than just the birthday. So, please don't feel you need to go out of your way."
But, I still felt guilty. So, I stopped on the way home and got a huge thing of flowers and a different card to write my own sentiments in (I had already purchased a book by her favorite auther and had it already). When I got home, she wasn't there, so I left the flowers, gift and card outside her door, so it would be the first thing she saw when she got home.
They were still there this morning. In fact, she had moved them out of the way, in order to get into her door!!!!
Is it really so terrible that I forgot her birthday? I mean, come on! We are not 12... I'm 44 years old, you are 31! It's a birthday, for heaven's sake!
(Going anon, just in case!)
Honestly. She seems very immature for her age. Sheesh. Then she didn't even appreciate the flowers you spent good money for. Maybe it's time to back away from this "friendship". She seems a little too-high-maintenance to me.
Ditto Dawn! Wow, she needs to grow up!
Double Ditto! A vast majority of my friends forgot my birthday this year. Life is busy and hectic, and it's hard to remember every little detail! I can't believe she was so immature about it!
Yes, she was being silly. But if you said to her that it was obvious she had a problem beyond the birthday and to please don't feel she needs to go out of her way for you, she probably took offense to that and felt you didn't appreciate her or her gifts/friendship. Unfortunately she'll think you ran out and bought the book after the fact, and never know you had it all along, meaning you didn't forget her birthday, just messed up the day. I guess I'd remove the flowers and gift so someone else doesn't steal them, and enjoy the flowers and keep the book for if she comes around again. Does she have many friends, or are you all she has??
She does have other friends, but not many. And, I'm starting to see why. Also, it's a "place in life" thing. Her friends, all in their early 30s are either already married and have kids or are now getting married. She has been to many weddings in the last few years. All alone. And from our conversations, she's never really had a long-term relationship ever! So, she has no understanding of priorities in life... home, jobs, husband, kids. She has her job and her apartment and her dog (which she has compared to my DD in the child-rearing, my DD, your DD way!!!)
As frustrated as I am about her reaction to this situation, I'm not wholly sorry it happened (I am about the way it happened). Her friendship came with alot of strings and basting! And I just have too much in my life to worry about constantly having to baste another adults ego and feelings!
WOW... saying that *outloud* really does make me sound like an anatomical exit!
Well, I would just let it go. I'd have a difficult time nurturing that time of "friendship" Real friendships are given and take. Honestly, I think I would be happy it was over if a simple act of forgetting something during a busy time for me was enough to send her over the edge.
Hope you can find peace in where you are w/ her. It's tough on any type of friendship to have it just tossed aside.
My first thought was that her behavior is similar to a Cockatiel bird. My husband's cousin received one for her birthday from her hubby, and then she took off on a trip to a different state for a week to show her other birds, and when she came back, her Cockatiel would have nothing to do with her-- as far as the bird was concerned, she had abandoned it.
She probably has always had problems with socializing and basically just growing up, which is probably why her parents continue to help her. They probably have always coddled her and given her special attention without getting her the help she needed in certain areas of development. She may also be mentally ill- still able to function enough to old down a job but not enough to be able to maintain life totally on her own.
I guess the best you can do is hope and pray that she gets the help that she needs. In the meantime, as you said, you can't allow yourself to become her lifeline. It takes a particularly special type of person to deal with someone with mental illness or emotional instability. You can't be that person at this time, and that's okay.
You are absolutely right - you cannot be her lifeline. You have your dd to take care of, and yourself. She sounds very immature, "needy", and, frankly, just simply rude. To ignore your flowers and card is simply over the line, imo. You simply don't need that kind of problem in your life. It's sad, but it is not your responsibility. And no, I don't think you're a terrible person. I have frequently forgotten birthdays until the last minute or the day after the last minute (even my own children's some times) - that just happens. A gracious person, a friend, understands and lives with it, especially when you tried to make amends and spent money you probably couldn't afford.
I'm hearing the sound from the shower scene in the movie Psycho................people who cling in that manner sort of scare me...........
ummm, you are much nicer than me. I wouldn't have given her ANYTHING after she tried to make me feel guilty. AND if I had walked out and noticed she had moved the gifts and walked on by...I would have grabbed them up!!! LOL
She is wayyyy to needy!!! My best friend and I barely remember each others bday's and we laugh about it. We both have special needs kids in the home (read: STRESSFUL DAYS!) And we *get* that we both have a life. ;)
Thank you everyone for your words. I needed them. I went anon because I felt like a total sap for letting someone get to me like that.
For the better part of my life, I have been a VERY responsible person. I was the one who always did good in school, always held a job, always had my own place, was always the designated driver, always the one that had her wits about her. And, it seems that in that capacity, most of the "friends" I attracted were needy. They needed me to be the solid one. I was always the caretaker. Well, now that I have my own family, I'm tired of being everyone's caretaker and never getting anything back. I feel like I'm always listening to other people's problems and I'm the one pouring my heart out to a diary or a blog because there's no one to listen to me.
I've gotten so much better about getting rid of this in my life, but I still sometimes think if a simple thing like remembering her birthday would have kept things on an even keel, then, so be it. But, to H*ll with that! I don't need this in my life anymore. I have enough in my life without someone else stuff.
Karen... LOL about the Psycho thing. I'll make sure my door is double-bolted for my next shower!
Edie and I have been friends since September of 1979. We barely remember each other's birthdays. In fact, hers is next week, but I'm not sure which day (26 or 27). It's really never been an issue.
(I barely remember my family's birthdays, for that matter!)
(((Hugs))) You're right...you don't need this. I was/am much like you, Angela. I was the "stable" one, everyone's caretaker, wanted everyone to be happy, etc. As I've gotten older, it has been so freeing to realize that I am not responsible for everyone and their feelings. Let it go and DO NOT FEEL GUILTY. She can just deal with it.
Angellew, I know how you feel about attracting needy people. I have BTDT. It's very hard to draw boundaries with some people. I have found that whenever I had to draw boundaries, if that person accepted it, then she was worth keeping as a friend, if not, then maybe it was time to let go and move on. It took a long time, and lots of aggravation for me to get that because I'm the type of person who tries to love everybody.
Your "friend" sounds like she needs to grow up a little and by you holding your ground and not "petting" her ego, it's actually going to help her in the end. (((hugs)))
"As I've gotten older, it has been so freeing to realize that I am not responsible for everyone and their feelings."
Wow. Sounds like she puts a lot of importance on things that are bought, rather than people themselves. Wonder if that's how she is shown love from her parents?
Sad sad sad...she must be pretty lonely. I'd still be polite friends with her, but it is hard when you don't have much in common.
I can't believe she wouldn't even pick up the flowers...I wonder if she was just mad that maybe *no one* remembered her birthday???
Live is too short for people like her.
She truly does sound like she has mental issues. It sounds like her parents have spoiled her and never taught her social skills. What you have there is a classic example of co-dependence. They kind of "force" themselves into your life, and do kindnesses for you with the motive of receiving back. When it doesn't happen, they get very irate and resentful. Passive aggressive. That's probably why she has no relationship in her life and no friends. And, while you sound like the kind of person who would never turn their back on someone in need, you can't let them be spiritual "vampires" either, sucking the life out of you. Don't feel guilty a bit, and give her space. Be "busy" next time she wants to get together. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise.
Karen...instead of "Psycho", I was thinking more of the (ughh) boiled rabbit in "Fatal Attraction". Sorry... don't mean to scare you.
Karen and Hol ... I was thinking the same thing!!!!I agree with everyone else... now that the door has been opened , walk thru it and don't look back!!! You can be nice when you see her, but let the "friendship" go. DH and I have had to do that more than once in the last few years.It was hard to do, but we knew that these people were causing too much unrest( for lack of better words), so we went cold turkey on them , and we have never regretted it.After some time has passed, you will feel much better with your self
I agree, Wanda. There are people who are "toxic" and can make life very uncomfortable. While it is hard to end the relationship, sometimes it has to be done. I. too, have been there. At first, I felt guilty, but then it was very liberating.