A Dilemma

  Let me start off by saying that, as shameful as it sounds, I don’t have many friends. Oh, I have acquaintances, I have people I can nod at and maybe chat to a little, but real friends, I can count on one hand. It’s been this way all my life; as a solitary person who likes her own space, I don’t tend to do the things which build friendships for my age group. I don’t go out drinking (I go to the pub, but that’s an entirely different social scene), I don’t drop everything to go to a party, I don’t work, I don’t study, and I left school at thirteen, leaving all friendships behind.

Regardless of this, I’ve always  been able to have at least one ‘friend’, someone I can spend time with, go shopping with, have coffee with. Of course, I also have my boyfriend, so I’m not alone.

Because I live at home with my mother, who can be quite strict and judgemental (without always meaning to be), I’m not afforded the same opportunities as others when it comes to socialising. She watches me like a hawk, and at the slightest hint of my fibromyalgia flaring up or my anxiety getting worse, she crowds around me and drops hints about how I should rest, take it easy, stay in bed, have some time to myself… and because I no longer wish to fall out with her over such trivial things, I usually go along with it. It’s easier than turning a simple request to go out into a balls-out argument with tears and shouting. I hate that, I can’t take it, so I just accept defeat and stay in my bedroom, watching the rest of the world carry on without me. Oh, I know I should be stronger and more assertive, but I simply don’t have the strength to be that way any more.

I’ve spoken before of my friend who has bipolar type 2. She’s a very full-on person, very in-your-face and demanding at times, but I love her to bits. She was there for me when I split up with J, she was the one person who knew the full story of what happened at that festival (including how he put his arm through a wall, when he was aiming for me). I’ve also been there for her.

Suddenly though, I can’t take it. It feels as though she’s demanding far too much of me, and I don’t know what to do. My mother suggests I should let the relationship between us fade away until she latches on to somebody else, but isn’t that cruel? My mother has a natural aversion to mental illness, I think her dream for me would be for me to become friends with somebody ‘normal’, but when you’re crazy, how do you meet normal people? And why would they put up with me? I make friends with the mentally ill because they’re like me, and because they understand in a way nobody else can.

In the past few weeks, she’s:

  • Turned up on my doorstep with no announcement, and insisted I go shopping with her. No problem there, apart from warning would be nice. I could’ve been having a bad day, after all.
  • Asked me to cut her hair, when I’ve already said no several times before. I gave up hairdressing due to the extreme pain it caused me, and she knows this.
  • Told me (today) that she’s bought a rabbit. Never mind that she’s in debt, she has nowhere to keep it. I used to work for an animal rescue, and to hear that she’s leaving it at her parent’s house, just like the kitten she ‘had’ to have then left for them to deal with, makes me feel uneasy. She hasn’t even neutered that cat, months after buying it (or rather, getting her boyfriend to buy it for her).
  • Asked to borrow money off me, when she has no way of paying it back.
  • Insisted I entertain her because she’s bored, on regular occasions.
  • Phoned me over and over, when she knows I’ve been ill, then waited for me to log into FB, and posting messages on my wall asking where I am.

I don’t know. I’m just ranting. It sounds so trivial written down, but when I’m trying to deal with fibro pain, anxiety, illness and just generally getting through the day, it mounts up into a big upset I can’t deal with. I feel like I can’t do anything without  her. I met S’s auntie and uncle two weeks ago in Manchester, and when I told her I was going, she seriously asked if she could come along. Well no, she said “take me”. It’s not the first time that’s happened, it’s quite regular that she’ll want to tag along. I have no problem with that at all, but sometimes it’s obvious (to me, at least) that certain situations are for me and me only. Meeting my boyfriend’s family is something for me to do. After all, I couldn’t expect his relatives to pay for her meal and drive her around, could I? I just would never ask to be included in that sort of situation, it’s manners.

I know I’m just offloading, and I’ll feel better about this tomorrow, but I do worry. If I let the friendship go because it’s causing me too much stress (which I can ill afford right now), I’m back to having no ‘real’ friends. Just S, and I can’t rely on him entirely, it’s not fair on him. I can’t meet potential friends, really, and keeping friendships is difficult when I can’t be relied on, when any day could mean I’m stuck in bed crying in pain, having to cancel plans and potentially having to stay away from pretty much everything for weeks on end. With the best will in the world, the average person doesn’t want to deal with someone so troubled, someone who can’t be relied on and who can go into deep depressions for no reason. I’m not like other people.

I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to be battered down by demands either.

I don’t know what to do.

This always happens to me.

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4 Comments

  1. I have people tell me the same thing about friends. The only thing I do do is go to school but have such social anxiety and awkawadness that I don’t make friends. I meet my friends in the hospital or through programs, they may not always have the same diagnosis as me, but we can relate. I had a friend a few years ago who was like you decribed she was clingy and most times just thought of herself; I kept telling myself having this one friend is better than none. Eventually I just had to call it quits she didn’t take it well, and still bothers me from time to time; but it was one of the best things I ever did then I could work on my problems not just trying to solve hers and be there for her all the time.

  2. Well I think, if you talk to her in a calm and serious manner and explain, that you don`t mean to hurt her, with your critisism, but that she should pay more respect to your needs and your condition, and she does not improve after this conversation, then you should probably let the friendship come to an end.
    She seems to be an “energy vampire” at least at this point of your relationship.

  3. I have to agree with Astrid – talk to her calmly about the problems and only if she continues in the same way as she is now, let the friendship drop. I know online friendships aren’t the same as face to face but I’ve found people I meet through forums etc who I would now classify as true friends (complete with surprises in the post). Feel free to message me if you want to chat.

  4. Even though I’m WAY older than you are, I’ve had the same experiences with friendships. We moved around a lot as I was growing up and I continued the pattern once I got out on my own. Always being the new kid in school made it difficult for the painfully shy child I was to make friends. By the time I’d get good friendships going, we’d move again. Because I thought I was “weird,” not knowing I had a mental illness, my mood swings were trying on others — not as much as they were on me, but still . . . I’ve always had one or two really good friends and now that I’m older I realize that’s all you really need and all you can really have. By that I mean that most people seem to be friendly, but only superficially, and you simply can’t rely on them to be there during the hard times/crisis times of your life. That’s simply a fact. Fair-weather friends, acquaintances, etc. — it’s only superficial. These people come in and go out of your life for various reasons or are only meant to be in your life/you be in their life for a particular reason and then they’re gone. It’s the ones that are there, no matter your past interactions and no matter that you get on each others’ nerves now and then, when you get hit the hardest by life that are you true friends. I’m blessed to have a sister, although we’re separated by miles, and two friends in town I can count on. They are with me for the long haul and will be with me into eternity. I realize I’m reading old posts, trying to go through your blog from the beginning, and therefore don’t know where you are today. However, it is my prayer that you find a couple of good life-long friends that you know without a doubt you can count on and who can count on you.

Send me love.

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