Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ever tried to lose one before?

In general, I'm not the blow-off-your-friends type of person. In fact, I'm closer to the annoying friend who won't let your friendship die than I'd care to admit, most likely. But, I'm pretty sure that I'm not all psycho about it either. I feel a loss when I lose touch, try to reconnect, and then let it go if it is clear the other person doesn't really care about my friendship anymore. That's life, I suppose. We can't win them all.

A former friend of mine that I've managed to "lose" for several years now has been bombarding my old email account, the one I still use for mailing lists and potential spam-generating things, with messages from various sources trying to find me. From a reunions site where tonight I was sent an alert, a message and two posts were left on the site, to two days ago the "face" site where people reconnect, to a few other ones that I'd not heard of.

And, I sit silently not replying to these messages with the knowledge that she is going to eventually track me down. She is tech-savvy enough to do it, I know.

And, then I feel somewhat guilty for not replying back just a simple "hello" with a breezy update of my life. I mean, how hard would that be? But, then she'd learn where I live, how old my kids are and what is going on with me. She'd have the ability to reattach herself in my life, and that is not something I am willing to deal with right now in my life.

Before you think I am cruel, you can't understand unless you know the history of this person (which I have too little space and time here to detail). After a series of bad picks on flaky friends in college, I found myself at this point in my life where I needed a real friend who I could count on and who was loyal to me. And, I found that in this girl. But, I also found a little more than I bargained for too.

There were a few "Single White Female" type of moments. Times when she got irate to the point of yelling on the phone about me spending time with my boyfriend, or at my internship-turned-job my senior year of school. I was already engaged and planning a wedding. That did not matter, she was insanely upset and jealous that I spent the time I did with my fiancee and didn't put her higher on the list.

This all continued. She was in my wedding, because at that time I still valued that I had a friend who cared so much, but even deep inside I think it was more because I was scared to NOT have her in my wedding. There were positives though. We had the same warped sense of humor and she loved to go out and do fun things, but there were other things that bothered me. She was smothering at times, and tended to be unstable in her personal relationships with guys. A close friend of my family's confided in my mother than this girl went completely psycho and stalked her son, whom she'd only casually dated for awhile.

Things like that always nagged at me in the back of my mind. And, I should have taken heed early on.

After we were married, I kept in touch for a little while, thankfully as a long distance friend. She came to see my first apartment, and berated it along with my measly hourly salary and that of my husband's starter job (even though she stayed in college a good year or two more because she didn't know WHAT she wanted to do with herself). She acted really obnoxious and embarrassing around a close friend of ours with whom she actually had a crush. And several other weird little visits followed once or twice every year. I got to where I dreaded getting that email or phone call that she'd be coming through town, and my husband HATED it completely.

A year or so later, I hit my breaking point. I made a long drive to my hometown leaving my husband at home the weekend of her wedding, and begged my sister (who hates this girl) to go with me. At the wedding, I have never been treated so rudely. First, she informed me quite publicly that everyone there thought I was country teen sensation Lee Ann Rimes. (Rimes was still in her baby fat era, so not good for me. Plus, I was too old to enjoy this comparison, although now I wouldn't mind it. She, however, found it hilarious.) Then, she kept griping at me for not doing things or staying in better touch all evening. Then, after I'd sat through the awkward wedding and half of the reception, my sister could take no more and begged me to leave. I waited until she'd opened a rather generous gift from me and my husband, and I politely thanked her and went to leave.

That's when I got the "Heddy" SWF psycho look of anger from her, as she made a half jokingly comment/threat about how could I dare leave so early and she couldn't believe how I wasn't going to stay to the very end after all that she'd done for me. Again, this was all said publicly in front of her new husband and several other wedding attenders.

I guess I really pissed the girl off, I don't know.

It was then that I decided that this might be the first friend that I purposely try to lose. And, until just a few weeks ago, I didn't have a second thought about it. Until I started getting the emails, one after the other. "I'm trying to find you. Where are you? I miss you!"

And, that red flag went up again, with each email that has been received in my inbox.

It is normal for someone to want to look up an old friend after many years. Yes. But, there is nothing normal about bombarding their inbox with messages from 4-5 reunion/connection sites.

And, so, I sit silently and do not respond. If she does find me, I'll lie and say I never check that email account anymore or something. But, I feel nervous. What if she even finds me on here? What would I do? And, why can't I lose this person really?

Have you ever had a friend you needed to "lose?" When you read this, do you think I sound like an utter jerk? Go on, tell the truth now...



Blogger Thumper said...

Breaking up with someone is hard to do, *especially* a friend and not someone you dated. No, you're not a jerk. There are times when we have to divest ourselves of the toxic people in our lives, even when it hurts.

You're under no obligation to respond, and probably better off if you don't. If she tracks down your email directly, you still don't have to respond. If she finds your blog and leaves a comment, you're free to ignore it. If she manages to track you down well enough to get your phone number, you can speak to her and say you're simply not interested in revisiting a friendship long gone and to never call again, or just hang up without a word.

You don't owe her anything; you're not obligated to offer pretensions in order to spare her feelings. You don't have to lie--you don't have to respond to her at all.

1:06 PM, July 13, 2007  
Anonymous Lissa said...

I had to get rid of SWF type friend. She had told everyone she was going to move in with my husband and I and be our live-in nanny; we don't have children. She also called my house during a praty she could not attend and threatened to commit suicide because I did not cancel the party. This all happened within a week's time. I dumped that crazy bitch fast! I found out about more crazy stuff I didn't know about that everyone else was afraid to tell me. Why? I needed to know this stuff. She called me on and off for years and e-mailed me, they always find you. I just held firm each phone call, " I don't ever want to speak to you or see you again." and ignored the e-mails. Eventually, she either got it or found someone else to stalk. Don't let her back into your life! Stay strong.

5:18 PM, July 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG, I had a friend like that, too, and I totally understand where you are coming from! In fact, I think it has affected my friendships for years as I've been scared to let people too close after that! For years I worried she would track me down, and in fact, she eventually did, through an online reunion site. I even replied and was glad she dropped it when I never sent her another message. But even as I am typing this I am worried she will somehow come across this comment and come find me & threaten me about it! I started to write more about this but I really don't want to share it online where it could be findable, seriously. I have started to think lately that someone should write a book about toxic friendships like this, but I don't want it to be me unless I did it under a pen name, because wow, would she be mad!

--Alison (sorry, I posted as "anonymous" because I'm not even willing to link to my blog from this comment!)

11:30 PM, July 13, 2007  
Anonymous Kate said...

Yep, don't reply. I finally got rid of my "SWF" friend. Lots of horror stories there. Another friend (male) contacted me years after I thought I'd lost him and he turned out to be schizophrenic and is now stalking me. I'd pretend like you never got the e-mails.
Be free!

8:51 PM, July 14, 2007  
Blogger Crazy MomCat said...

OH my gosh, ladies! Your stories make me realize that I may not have as serious of a case of a SWF friend as I thought!

Alison, find a pen name and write that book. It sounds like there are a lot of us hiding from former psycho friends out there that could read and commiserate!

11:33 PM, July 14, 2007  
Blogger Nicole said...

Do NOT reply to her!!! You've managed to keep her at bay this long, don't give her a foothold! I have a SWF in my life right now and believe me, if you give an inch, they'll take a mile...

12:11 PM, July 16, 2007  
Blogger sophie said...

There is no obligation to be friends with someone. I think the least amount of contact seems to work best.

Some people act as anchors in our lives, and there is no reason to put yourself through that.

Good luck.

5:38 PM, July 16, 2007  
Blogger Crazy MomCat said...

Nicole, we must talk. And, I'm so glad you posted something again--you've been missed!

Sophie--the, perfect analogy for this person. Thanks!

12:42 AM, July 17, 2007  
Blogger PEACE said...

Don't reply, I wouldn't even check that email account ever again! Don't feel sorry for her. These people are great malipulators and count on you feeling sorry for them.

I had a guy that just wouldn't take no for an answer when I was going through my divorce and he found out. I guess he thought he could "help me through these rough times." He would call several times a day, send flowers, cards and then one night held me hostage in my office for over six hours! I was terrified to leave work that he was waiting for me and would follow me home.

Don't initiate any contact what so ever!!!!

12:42 AM, July 17, 2007  
Blogger TastesLikeCrazy said...

I hate to be the dissenting opinion here, but I've been in a very similar situation and I think that you should blatantly end it.
Obviously she doesn't "take a hint" well and it's only going to get worse. She will find you; they always do. (That sounds kind of scary doesn't it?)

She will end up finding your blog and then you're really going to be screwed because you won't be able to fib your way out of it.

I'm a bit on the passive aggressive side at times and I would probably have someone send her a link to this post. :) That's just me, though.

I really hope that you get some kind of closure to this though. I know how stressful and draining it all is.

2:23 PM, July 18, 2007  
Blogger Sitting said...

I have three requirements for friends, that the relationship is enjoyable, reciprocal and low-drama. That's not to say that I don't support my friends through rough times -- I do! -- but a person who is CONSTANTLY needy is not a good fit for me. I have shit to do.

I'll echo the other comments here. You should avoid this woman or send a message that you have no interest in talking to her. I would be careful if you choose to respond to an e-mail: remember that the location from where an e-mail was sent can be traced. Don't send her a message that you don't want to be found and give her a (relatively) easy way to find you!

8:36 AM, July 19, 2007  
Blogger Hestia said...

Run run run away. I've been here and it never ends well. RUN.

9:26 AM, July 19, 2007  
Blogger Aunt Vanessa said...

Sorry I haven't commented sooner, but I'm in agreement with most. I, too, had a "friend" like this who I tried to get rid of by ignoring. Although I haven't seen her in years, she still tries to contact me via e-mail and Classnotes, but I always ignore her and hope eventually she will give up. Good luck to you on this one!

3:41 PM, July 23, 2007  
Anonymous V said...

Sounds like a scary scary woman. :0) Aren't you worried she's gonna find this blog somehow? Best of luck!

5:57 PM, August 02, 2007  

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