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I have a friend who I've been close with for over 25 years. We were friends, and our spouses became friends too; we did things together... movies, dinner, etc.


Since my friend's husband died, she's become someone I don't know. At first, she was lost in denial, but she was calling me 4-5 times a day. After a few weeks of this, I suggested a therapist might be helpful and I felt I was filling that role, but wasn't competent at it (I don't deal well with loss). I didn't realize at the time that she was angry about what I said, but she did back off the calls.


Flash forward two years now, and her angry has taken over. It's not just me. She has become a horrible gossip. She's jealous of others. She's always angry at somebody. She's "gone off" on me three times now. I can't call it a fight because it was just name calling on her part, pointing out all my flaws, some real, some imagined.


This last time she called angry (tone of voice) when I was deathly ill (I told her up front) and started a "fight." She told me I was exaggerating how sick I was and how much pain I was in. I did fight back on that telling her I really was as sick as I said, and it didn't make sense for her to compare her prior illness with mine since she's never had this condition.


I emailed her after that explaining that I really was as sick with this condition as I said I was. I wasn't sleeping, I couldn't eat, and I was in 24/7 agony. In response, she sent a hateful, hurtful email filled with name calling. She also mentioned that I was a bully for telling her to see a therapist and it was "right after (her husband) died." (Shouldn't a bell have gone off when she wrote that?)


I haven't heard from her since. We were supposed to go on a mini-vacation that very weekend and I was SO looking forward to that for months and was trying hard to get well enough to go, but of course, she went with her other friends and left me behind.


I couldn't allow myself to be angry when this went down because of how sick I was, so I went straight to being hurt and disappointed. It's been a couple of weeks now and I've thought a lot about it. We never had these type of interaction until after her husband died. It's like every negative dark-side thing about her has taken over. I think she's stuck in the anger part of grief. I think it's being directed at me because of our intimacy. I have been there for her through all this when other fled.


So, what can I do other than remove myself from the situation? I don't know if she'll every try to contact me again. I don't want her in my life the way she is now, but I do feel badly for her when I realize she's not okay. With me gone, she'll have to find other targets for her anger, and will likely get herself in trouble at work or with family.


I'm interested in hearing what other think. BTW, she can't hear anything helpful coming from me. And I am afraid of letting all that negativity back in my life because it WILL have an effect on my health.

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Thank you for your responses.

No last emails or letters though. Let her have the last (ugly) word since she needs that ego boost of that more than I. I don't want to continue to welcome more abuse and nothing could be heard as helpful in her current state anyway,

Moving on. Will be spending time with other friends and mom and the dogs and my hubby. Life is too short to take crap for trying to be helpful (no good deed goes unpunished, as they say). The chapter is closed because I closed it :)
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Paula, wonderful suggestion and a very gentle yet firm way to close the relationship and move on, and forward.
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stargazer,,,,I believe that people come in and out of our lives to teach us something...some folks are meant to be with us all our lives, some folks are only in it for a short while. If we are wise, we come away from every relationship knowing more about ourselves.

It might help you if you wrote her one last email telling her how much her friendship had meant to you, how sorry you are about her husband passing, and how much it hurts that the relationship has turned into an unhealthy one for you. It'll be a "good bye" email - designed for you to be able to put a period on it and move on. Once it's sent block her emails, don't answer the calls, don't interact again with her - allow yourself to be done with it. She has her own lessons to learn and it's healthier for you if you let her learn them elsewhere.

Good luck, sweetie. It's always hard to lose a friend, but sometimes its what is best.
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a lot of people get s*itfaced if you suggest a therapist for them . evidently they live with the delusion that they are a - ok in the head and dont need anybodys help .silly losers .
during my divorce i attended classes for children of divorce AND anger management classes . got arrested for pills 5 yrs ago -- drug and alcohol classes . phsycotic event during a rough hepc treatment -- had to spend time with phsycologists and phsyciatrists .
i learned from and enjoyed every one of these classes and took them seriously .
its not an admittance of failure or weakness to admit you need helped thru a particular situation by professionals .
your friend shifts blame and lies to herself about needing help . ( two valuable things i learned about in the anger mngmt course . ) another great thing i learned about was lies of omission -- you know - where people tell half of the story and omit the parts that might show themselves in a bad light ..
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Cut her off and move on.
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She has a career and her own friends (many from old jobs), but she did depend on him for a lot. I used to think to myself "Princess," not in a mean way, but she did have a guy who treated her like a princess and I was happy for her for that, but did worry what would happen if he passed. He did a lot around the house, did all the heavy and dirty work, and took care of the computer and finances. Plus they did most everything together... went out a lot to dinner, movies, visiting family, etc. And because he was often ill, she took care of him (something she says she doesn't miss, but having been there before myself, it is a loss of purpose).

I think she did turn him into a saint after he died, so she can't be angry at him for having all this stuff suddenly dumped in her lap, but she is angry. You are correct that if one doesn't acknowledge and deal with these emotions, they come out sideways and at whoever is closest at hand.

I do feel "lighter" since we broke contact. I didn't realize how much it was weighing on me. I did try to be helpful (bully that I am) with stuff she didn't deal with before such as finances and computer stuff and postmortem legal issues (I have those skills), but that clearly wasn't appreciated and was misinterpreted.

Thanks for listening. I appreciate it.
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I suppose there are any number of reasons that your former friend turned so hostile against you. It's not just that she's angry, but it sounds like she is h3ll bent on hurting you too. Since, she was insulted that you suggested she see a counselor before, I'm not sure it would be any different now. I think I might stay away from her. I might consider that she is unstable and move on.

I have had to disassociate with a few people throughout my life due to their unacceptable behavior. I never regretted it. I'm a nice person who treats others fairly and I don't deserve to be treated cruelly. If someone does that, I know they have a really bad issue and I don't need to be around them.

You can make your decision about this friend. Perhaps, some day she will realize how wrong she was and ask for forgiveness. Or maybe not.
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I knew someone who changed in a similar manner. She was very dependent on her husband, even allowed him to deny her the privilege of learning to drive, although she did so after he died. She wasn't as hostile as your friend, but she became catty and made inappropriate, snide remarks about people. She was an acquaintance, not a close friend, and given the changes in her personality, I just dropped her and never contacted her again.

I'm wondering if your friend had a life of her own, a career, a job, friends outside of the marriage. If not, and if she was very reliant on her husband, she could be reflecting anger not necessarily at him but at the situation of now being left alone.

I hate to sound like I'm spouting pop psychology, but some women can in fact be so dependent that they're literally lost when their husband dies and they're left to fend for themselves. And they resent not their husband, but life, perhaps others who aren't in the same situation or don't understand.

Her mental state has segued into one of hostility, defensiveness and aggression. I doubt there's anything you can do about this, or the relationship, except to acknowledge the changes as well as the fact that you have no influence or control.

I'd cherish the better times before her husband died but move on with my own life. Energy vampires only drag others down; she'll have to find her own way out of this mental morass, if she even wants to. Some people do thrive on being negative.
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