A person who has sought out my friendship mainly by calling me with her worries and complaints has now become angry at me.
After a few years of trying to be a good ear and give as much advice as I could I realized that this person complains too much. Her life is filled with joys that are not celebrated as much as the smaller concerns are dwelled on. I started suggesting to her to look on the brighter side. I became more and more pointed with my suggestions that she is not the only one to ever go through what she is going through and that maybe she needs to buck up a little. It seems, in retrospect, that every time I said something to encourage her to see that things were not so dire, she took offense and attempted to convince me that her case was indeed unusual and no offered solution had worked and how she just had to suffer…
She still sought me out. Somehow I became more and more resentful and also very judmental of her. I started disliking her for her weakness, I started resenting her for things she was happy about. etc.
This was mostly unconscious for a long time.
Then I met a new person in our circle who had been hurt by a few people in our circle and had shared with me. I reassured her of gthe good heart of one person who had hurt her and tried to make her feel more comfortable in our group. Amidst this type of sharing this particular friend of mine came up and we both shared how we felt the same negative feelings around her and how hard it was to take her ways. We tried to stop ourselves from discussing it excessively to avoid the sin of gossip, but for me it was such a relief to have my years worth of unpleasantness diagnosed by this new person who seemed so much more perceptive than I. I know we did talk about it a bit too much. But we did stop ourselves and made an agreement to not talk about it anymore.
Okay that was a long way of saying I talked about my problems with this person behind her back. But we never said horrible things about her, we just said we didn’t have what it took to be her supportive friend because she just worried too much and had a deeply negative view of too many things.
I realized that I must stop my contact with this friend of about 6 years to stop the negativity so I did. Then a few months later since we do have some ties through her children, I felt guilty and we exchanged a few letters. I wrote her a letter at one point congratulating her on something and I said that a certain other circumstance (her mother living with her) in her life must be a blessing. She wrote back that the circumstance was not a blessing, how could I ever even suggest that, the circumstance was causing her to live in a nightmare and etc. SHe had suggested that people like myself never suffered such circumstances… on and on about the horrible state of her existance. AGAIN.
I couldn’t resist one last time of trying to help her see clear. I suggested (AGAIN) that though her circumstances were understandably unpleasant and that she should try and get out of it, it wasn’t something that she couldn’t get over. I also shared with her how I had experienced something similar and had found it very difficult, but now things are better. I thought I was providing her with a better view point of her situation so she could relax and trust God a little more.
In response I got three pages of angry writing defaming my character, telling me how awful I was, how she pitied my husband, how I shouldn’t pray for her, how she hoped her children would forget me, how I should pray for my own children that they not be affected by by vileness, how I was so sinful, how she knows of others who hate me… How she knew that I talked with others in a vile backbiting way behind her back…and other things that I have blissfully forgotten.
I was protected from the attacks of the letter because I had prayed before I read it and had received a very kind letter from another friend just moments before. I do not need to be reassured that I am okay. I know I am sinful and I know what my next talk with my spiritual director will be about in terms of improving my character. I know nobody deserves a letter like that, so by easy deduction I certainly don’t have to take it personally. By the grace of God I am not taking it personally.
SHe asked me to never contact her again, but the letter is so nasty I imagine it would cause her pangs of regret later on. I want to let her know that I am going to forget the letter, except that I am now even more aware of the consequences of my judgmental ways. I want to tell her that we needed a break in our friendship and that time would allow me to become a better person and that God willing our paths would cross again and we would be able to have a fruitful friendship.
SHould I write her something like that?
SHould I apologize for the hurt I caused her? SHould I mention forgetting the letter?