How to break up a friendship?
I am in the uncomfortable position of ending a friendship and I am the one who’s breaking up. It’s difficult because I am not really angry right now but I so want to be done with this.
This friendship spans over fifteen years. It’s been a difficult one from the start, I have never had a friend like this woman for a reason and am surprised that we’ve been “close” for this long.
For the entire span of the friendship, I have always felt I’ve been taken taken advantage of, lorded over, imposed upon and that I am the beta to her alpha. Of course there were benefits and value for me, I am not the biggest sucker out there, there’s probably about 50% bigger suckers than me. Encouraging thought.
I am avoidant, especially with this woman. I’ve allowed liberties and injustices that I’ve never imagined from people closer to me. I’ve analyzed and rationalized and overworked all aspects of how this friendship evolved to such a level in my life that I find it necessary to actually break up! How did I let myself get into this place?
We work together. Most of my friendships are work related, that’s really when you see people right?. I work in a very intense, personal environment where emotions can run very high. I work mainly with women, where emotions run even higher. This friend took me under her wing (in a way) when I started in the profession. We had a bit in common: a common origin, a home town of an hour’s drive away from our current city. I am certain it was that link, and my many taxis to our common hometown that gave this friendship life and sustained it.
From that common point I found myself, allowed myself to be a driver, companion, whipping girl and lackey to this woman. Again, it wasn’t all abuse. It was very novel for me, I looked up to her as she was an experienced professional in a new field that I was dying to excel in. She offered advice and protection but I took far more lumps than pearls of wisdom. She challenged my faith, my marriage and my foundation. I had vulnerabilities that I just couldn’t protect at that point in my life (shame on me) and she barged in and wrecked the room.
The friendship really began deteriorating when I became her supervisor. She was a nightmare employee, insubordinate, rude, incompetent with her responsibilities but those became my tasks. I was an even bigger whipping girl because I had the title to make her job better–which was to essentially do her job. She would never pull that crap with any other boss, just me. We had set the guidelines of her behavior to me years ago. She basically told me what she was going to be like as an employee by telling me, “Don’t forget about us little people”. Oh, it was quite impossible for me to forget about her with her daily meltdowns, poisonous attitude and bad mouthing me.
She basically drove me out of my supervisory position. I’m grateful I’m “little” again, I don’t have to put up with the behaviors although she’s still awful as a coworker. She will be my reason for leaving, if I do go from my current job (which I really enjoy right now). Thankfully my schedule is such that I have little to do with her, but when we do work together, it’s strained and uncomfortable and she is still poisonous to me.
I can live with being disliked, it’s actually quite easy because it’s clear. I can not live with a “friend” who feels entitled to treat me like crap. Of course I’ve pulled away, stopped calling, stopped picking up the phone, am incredibly busy on days she has free for me to cart her around. This is my design. I want to fade out from her awareness. I don’t want a scene, I want pleasant memories, I want her to think we were great friends but our lives have changed and we’re just not as close any more. It doesn’t have to be a scene with ugly drama, why can’t she see it this way?
Well she can’t. I have an e-mail from her, loaded with guilt and anger–“we used to be so close, I miss the time we spent together…” And I have to respond soon. Just seeing her e-mail in my inbox gives me stress. Knowing I have to couch my true answer makes me angry and knowing that I’ll be like a cowering dog makes me angrier. Venting on this blog that is writing purgatory helps.
I will reply, not call. I’m not going for the “It’s not you, it’s me” angle, that failed. I’m not too busy, I have to say that every time we are in the same place, she acts like she can not stand me. “It’s not me, it’s you. It is you.” And I just don’t want to be around that anymore.
I’ve learned so much from this woman, mostly how to set clear, immovable boundaries. How to be wary of fast and furious friendships. How to avoid sharing information I don’t want spread around. How to stop empathizing with, hence enabling bad behavior.
I am so ready to be done with this, I just hate the drama.