Annoying friend


#1

I am looking for some outside perspectives on this situation.

Heres some background. I am married, with three young children (oldest just turned 8), homeschool the older two, and am 7 months pregnant.

I have this person whom I have known for a few years, and I am having a really hard time with her. She is very extroverted and I am not, and she stops by for “social” visits two or three times a week, usually without calling. She brings her children with her, and they are undisciplined and unruly. They have torn closet doors right off the hinges, jumped all over my furniture, broke a statue of my sons, and even if they did not break anything … they make such a mess that it sets me back DAYS in my duties.

When she comes she stays for as long as five hours at a time!! She takes no hints or even straightforward … “well I need to do school with my kids now”. She used to call all the time, then I stopped answering my phone and thats when she started stopping by unannounced. I have asked her to give me space, even asking her not to stop by or call for a week … She called everyday at least twice and as many as four times EVERY day that week. It was like I asked for space and it made her MORE suffocating. When I said something about it, she just laughed and says that her codependancy is being addressed in therapy, but does nothing to change her behaviour.

I have VERY limited time for friends and the friends that I do want to hang out with … I can’t … because she has STOLEN from me, not only the little free time I have, but also ALOT of the time that should be going towards my duties.

If I tell her I have to work, she just starts cleaning my house or something, but I need her to LEAVE. I CANNOT adequately fulfill my responsibilities while she is here for sp long, especially when she has all her children there. She takes my attention and the great number of children are either unsupervised or she sits on my stool with a cup of coffee, while I run around like a maniac trying to protect my house , the work I have accomplished and minimize the damage. She came yesterday at 10:00, I had two other little boys here on top of my own children and she brought her two youngest with her. I let her know it wasn’t a good time, but she blew me off and said she would “help” me. Well, her daughter ate at least two days worth of snacks I had bought for my family, while her 18 mo. old walked around smushing grapes into my carpets and stairs. I kept putting him back at the table with the bowl and when I was busy with another child he would sneak way again. Her daughter emptied out the contents of my closet onto the hallway, and when I was taking care of that the boy, was taking ALL the pieces of ALL the puzzles out and mixing them all up. I was so busy watching HER KIDS, that my kids plus the extra two DESTROYED my kids rooms, and by the time she left a THREE O CLOCK!! I was exhausted. As my husband walked in the door, I told him to wake me in a half an hour so I could make dinner. He tried to wake me … I COULD NOT GET UP … I was just sooooo tired. They ordered pizza with money we don’t have to spare, and I missed out on the opportunity to spend with my husband and family together (which is my absolute fave part of the day) because I was exhausted and SO CRANKY. I treated my husband badly and spoke sharply to my kids.

I am REALLY starting to resent this girl, who has no respect for the boundaries I set, and completely DRAINS me and FORCES me to neglect my family duties and other friends, that ARE my friends and that I WANT to be with. My family suffers, and after months of trying to get some semblance of normalcy in this situation with no results … I am REALLY beginning to DISLIKE THIS GIRL!! I have dropped hints, and I have been forthright and direct with her. I don’t know what else to do, and I am also resenting her because I feel like she is FORCING me to be RUDE (cause I don’t know any other way to get ther to give me space.)

I spent the first couple years offering up my suffering and attempting to be hospitable … but my vocation is not to her … it is to my family and she is hindering me!! If you have read this far and have any advice, I would really appreciate it.


#2

I think I should have posted this in the family life forum. Sorry.:o


#3

I would print out what you just wrote and exchange your reference to her, with her actual name and then give it to her. I know this sounds very uncharitable, but other than a lot of prayer and fasting for a trusting solution from God, thats all Ive got.


#4

Yeah, it does sound kind of uncharitable, but it might be better than what I will say if I “blow up” at her.:bigyikes:


#5

Wow, this woman sounds seriously disturbed. You call her a friend? I think it’s time to end the ‘friendship’. I wouldn’t stand for it. If she won’t leave you alone after that, get a restraining order.

Have you seen the movie “What About Bob?”? It’s about a totally obsessively needy man and his narcissistic, egotistical psychiatrist. It’s very funny. This woman sounds a bit like Bob in the movie.


#6

Pull your car in the garage close all the blinds and don’t answer the door. Sooner or later she will get the message. Sorry but the problem starts as soon as you open that door. As you stated she just blew right by you. No one should have to tolerate this kind of a friend. Charity yes but being taken advantage of by someone who obviously has no other place to take her children should not be tolerated. So even if you do not have a garage just do not open the door.


#7

I don’t think you should have to hide behind your blinds. This woman shouldn’t require you to hide like that! You will have to be direct to her. She’s not going to ‘get the hint’ any other way! She’s proven that. The woman is disturbed. Her level of need is unhealthy and incredibly inconsiderate.

Ana, you are going to unfortunately need to be direct with her and tell her that you don’t want to see her anymore. It’s going to hurt her feelings, that’s true. But you need to do this. You need to make her leave you alone. Let her go fixate on someone else.

My son had a friend like this. He would call him twice before school, he was too needy, was possessive, etc. I put a stop to it, and he went and made a new friend. I later talked to that mom after they had gotten tired of this boy. He used people up with his neediness. It’s too much.


#8

I have actually thought of not answering my door before!!:smiley: The problem is, although I have no problem being direct … she just doesn’t seem to hear or be able to stop … I am VERY uncomfortable with hurting someones feelings.:nope:

This is part of why this has gone on for so long. It is obvious that it will take being RUDE for her to get the message … she is a nice person, just lots of problems I guess.

I was even thinking of having my husband call her and ask her to leave me alone … maybe she will “hear” him? What do you think?

Or maybe I could buy her the What about Bob DVD and say … “You are Bob!”:rolleyes:

Also, I know this is not MY problem, but she has a lot of issues, it is not unusual for her to call me from the parking lot of the hospital saying she is feeling suicidal … sigh.


#9

When she drops by unannounced, you are under no obligation to let her in.

Don’t hide by closing the blinds and not answering the door. You shouldn’t have to be a prisoner in your own house. Answer the door and say, “I’m sorry, I am busy right now. I will talk to you later.” Then close the door.

It will probably hurt her feelings but you are doing her no favors by allowing her inappropriate behavior to continue.


#10

Maybe you could tell her that you are not able to dedicate that much time to her since you have so many responsibilities and tell her that you would only be available on this day or that day from this time to that time. She doesn’t sound like she picks up on hints at all, so I guess the direct approach would probably work best with someone like that.


#11

Dear Ana,

I have a neighbor very similar to what you describe. I ended up placing the key to her apartment which she had given me in an envelope on her door mat, accompanied by an unopened envelope which contained a note she had left on my door mat for me to read … but which I very pointedly did not read, and made sure to make that clear to her.

At first she and I were mutual friends who would look after each other’s apartments while the other one of us was on vacation. Then we started having dinner together … so far so good. Then she, a Protestant, decided that because she liked me she wanted to attend Catholic Mass with me every Sunday. I offered it up, starting to feel at this point like she needed an ear to listen to her constant talking, and that she was laying a guilt trip on me because after all, how could I refuse to take her to church?

By then, you see, the clinginess was escalating to such things as messages on my phone machine saying, “I KNOW you’re in there because I SAW your car in the parking lot and if you don’t answer the phone I’m going to give the cookies I baked just for you to somebody else INSTEAD.” … And then notes slipped under my door. And then more messages on my phone machine claiming she had something “urgent” she needed help with, that would turn out to be crying wolf. When I ignored the phone messages and the notes, she began pounding on my door. Feeling that the charitable thing to do was answer because she WAS elderly after all and might really need help, one day I got up out of bed to help her … For the discomfort of my red eyes and disorientation suffered on her behalf, she asked, “Why do you look like that? Have you been drinking?”

The last straw came when she called me on the phone while I was waiting for business calls concerning job interviews at a time when I was unemployed, after I had distinctly told her I needed to keep my phone line open.

Now if I happen to see her, I smile politely and say “hello” but that’s about it. She’s told me she wants to start coming to Mass again with me “because she likes me better than another girl” … and I just said, “Oh.” When I told my sister this, she asked, well does your neighbor sincerely want to convert to Catholicism? I replied that it sure didn’t seem that way to me … she just wants to talk my ear off every Sunday for as long as she possibly can.

All’s I know is, when I cut ties with this person, it lifted a load of stress off me. Yes, I know I’m looking for friends … very much so. That said, my mother told me that regarding this neighbor, I do not deserve to be treated as her lackey.

That’s my experience. Hope it gives you some food for thought that you can compare your own situation to.

~~ the phoenix


#12

[quote=dulcissima]Maybe you could tell her that you are not able to dedicate that much time to her since you have so many responsibilities and tell her that you would only be available on this day or that day from this time to that time. She doesn’t sound like she picks up on hints at all, so I guess the direct approach would probably work best with someone like that.
[/quote]

I have tolde her those exact words … she nods, and of course she understands, and than nothing … same ol same ol. Time limits mean nothing to her , as she will stay way past what was allotted for the visit. I think I am just going to have to come right out and say GO HOME!! Would it be too mean to say, and never come back!


#13

[quote=SemperJase]When she drops by unannounced, you are under no obligation to let her in.

Don’t hide by closing the blinds and not answering the door. You shouldn’t have to be a prisoner in your own house. Answer the door and say, “I’m sorry, I am busy right now. I will talk to you later.” Then close the door.

It will probably hurt her feelings but you are doing her no favors by allowing her inappropriate behavior to continue.
[/quote]

I’ve said that to her, but I have never ended it with shutting the door. I am going to have to do that. I have tried to avoid being so blunt thus far, but I think it is unavoidable.


#14

That’s my experience. Hope it gives you some food for thought that you can compare your own situation to.

~~ the phoenix

Thank you, and yes, it does sound familiar … esp. the guilt trips. She does the inviting herself to go to Mass with me on Sundays too. Or stopping by unannounced with a “little something” for me … normally some item that I have absolutely no use for … nor want … that ends up in the trash or donation pile as soon as she leaves. The phone messages that are urgent or the pitiful tear filled voice begging me to call her as soon as I can. She drains me.

I appreciate all the replies thus far. I guess my intent in posting was to see if it was sinful to perhaps be a little rude. I don’t want to, but I have gone from hinting to being direct with no results. And that it is okay to end the friendship.

Thanks everyone. Ya’ll are great!:slight_smile:


#15

It doesn’t help that she is CONSTANTLY telling me I am her only and best friend and how she is so thankful to God that He led her to me.

It makes me feel very guilty.:frowning:


#16

[quote=Ana]It doesn’t help that she is CONSTANTLY telling me I am her only and best friend and how she is so thankful to God that He led her to me.

It makes me feel very guilty.:frowning:
[/quote]

There is a difficult patient type that doctors call “the dependent clinger.” They try flattery “oh, you are the only doctor who understands me” and “you have to help me, I’m at my wit’s end.” College professors run into the same thing.

A good answer I have heard is to let yourself off as not up to the job… because if you’re not a mental health professional, you’re not.

“Sarah, you have very serious problems, far bigger than what I can help you with. You’re so kind to say such wonderful things about me, but our relationship is not making you better, it’s making you worse. You really need professional help. For your own good, you need to leave and not come back. I’m so sorry. Goodbye.” “JUST LIKE THAT? YOU’RE LEAVING ME?!?” “Sarah, I can’t help you. It’s time we both admitted it. Goodbye.” Then shut the door, and if you have to call the police, refuse to let the woman into your home again.

Brace yourself, because after that she is going to barrage you with attempts to get back in with you. Reject them all. Steel yourself as if it were one of your own children. This really is tough love. Her behavior is totally unacceptable, but this woman is never going to quit doing this if you don’t make her quit.

If she says she is going to commit suicide, tell her you are going to call the suicide hotline, and then do it. You can’t bet that she’s bluffing. She may truly need to be committed.

Whatever you do, don’t feel guilty. You did the best you can, what you still have to do is not going to be pleasant, but it is not your fault. You may make mistakes and not do this in the most gracious way imaginable. Do not punish yourself. You are not a professional. This is your first time dealing with a borderline personality. You’re doing the best you can. You’d do well to line up a friend or a counsellor of your own to help you through this, but do it. Ending this now is in everyone’s best interest.


#17

Wow, can you get your husband involved?


#18

First, forget about hurting her feelings. You have gone to heroic lengths, and sacrificed your own children, on the altar of “don’t hurt feelings.”

I don’t say this lightly, as I am practically paranoid about hurting feelings myself.

This woman is either mentally ill or she is no friend. In the first case, you need to decide if you can take her on as a project, and to that it sounds like the answer is “no.”

At this time it’s her against your family. She doesn’t see it that way. I agree with printing out your message and giving it to her. Maybe it will hit her harder than you thought, but once it’s gone this far it may be very difficult to avoid because if she wakes up to what she’s doing she may realize how destructive she has been and become depressed. That isn’t your problem, though, at this time. (More likely she will be upset, but still clueless, but at least she knows that what she’s doing is DEFINITELY not welcome.)

You will have to set terms, “I cannot see you until Thursday night, then I will have a time to go out for coffee after 6 pm” and if they don’t set, cut her off.

Undoubtedly she thinks that she is helping you, as she would probably help you if she were able. We’ve had one friend, who was actually a good friend of my wife’s for a long time, and she kept pushing herself too far – most notably coming in while I was on a business trip, painting (crappy job) one room and actually making my kids change bedrooms and rearrange the whole kitchen – all running right over my wife. I got very angry and Julie was able to resist future attacks, but eventually they (she and her husband) started snubbing us, and guess what? I don’t miss them. Their son is a good friend of my son but they are both 19, the kid is very nice, so in that way we’re OK. The daughter is a bit “wilder” than our kids can tolerate, and a little more lying-to-mom about where she goes.

You do what you gotta do, and let the chips fall. At that point there will be no time for regrets as you will have to pick up the pieces. It actually might seem strange having all that privacy for a while.

Alan


#19

Put the chain on the door, open it, and tell her that you are so sorry she did not call ahead. You are busy, school is in session, and you cannot entertain. Then close the door. Alternately, don’t even answer the door.

She is rude, and she is NOT your friend. Friends do not behave this way.


#20

[quote=Ana]It doesn’t help that she is CONSTANTLY telling me I am her only and best friend and how she is so thankful to God that He led her to me.

It makes me feel very guilty.:frowning:
[/quote]

she is manipulating you. She obviously has serious boundary issues. She cares more about her neediness than you. It is not doing her any favors by allowing her to behave this way. Print out the opening of the thread, it needs to be that honest and blunt. Be very clear that "My first responsibility is to my family and you do not respect the boundaries I want in our friendship. You care more about yourself than my family and myself. I have tried to work this out with you a number of times, but you refuse to listen. You must leave now. I care about you but will not allow you to take advantage of my family and myself anymore. Give her the letter and shut the door. Be firm yet kind and do not budge. IF she makes some kind of excuse or tries to play the guilt trip, know that she is manipulating you and refuse. Please do not call or stop by. I will call you when it is a good time for a visit.

IF this doesn’t work call her husband and tell him that this is becomming a serious problem. If that doesn’t work get a restraining order. This is not normal or acceptable behavior. This kind of obsessive clinginess can lead to much worse things.

Don’t be manipulated. Don’t fee guilty. You have tried everything. She is the one intruding upon you and knows exactly what to say to “play” you.

I have been in situations like this before with neighbors, but it never got this bad.
Be strong!


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