I just had an argument with a friend and feel really upset

I need to vent and ask for some prayers. I am so angry. I just hung up on a friend after a brief phone conversation. She always asks me about a painful story in my life: about my father with whom I am no longer in contact. She loves to probe and get answers to very personal questions and to tell me what I really feel and what I should do. It drives me nuts. I’ve asked her to stop before and explained how much it hurt to have her dig into my wounds and she was good for a while, but this time she got back to her favourite topic. I tried to change the subject but it didn’t work. I lost my patience, told her I didn’t call her to be tormented like that once again, and when she protested I started shouting at her. It went something like this: “You don’t understand: he was torturing me!! Torturing me!!! I’m not going to call you again and will hang up now!”
And I hung up.

I’m so upset. What an idiot of a woman. But I also feel bad for losing my temper like this. I really don’t want to speak to her again. I should have learned my lesson with her a long time ago.

Any thoughts and prayers are most welcome.

Wow! I’m very sorry about that. That’s a very stressful thing to go through, especially first thing in the morning. I’ll pray for you!

It sounds as though she is quite nosy. I can understand why you got upset, especially since the two of you have discussed her keeping her probing to herself. Sometimes we just have to take a step back when we realize that a relationship is causing more harm than good. Pray for her, and if you truly value the friendship and want to continue it call her in a day or two when you have both calmed down. Sometimes though, its just better to move on, but that is something you must decide. Blessings!

I’m so sorry. You have every right to be upset.

Since you’ve asked her before not to pursue this subject, and she ignores your wishes, I would suggest re-considering this “friendship.” Friends should be supportive. There would be nothing wrong with you cutting off contact.

It sounds like it’s time to love her from a distance. Pray for her. But keep your distance since she won’t stop dredging this up.

Thank you for the comforting words and the prayers.

Yes, she is extremely nosy. For the most part she is a nice woman but has a serious problem with telling people what they should feel, think and do, and in doing so manages to twist the facts in order to fit with her personal interpretation. :mad:

I don’t understand what is it about this story that makes people think they have a right to such behaviour. I really don’t understand. My father is a weirdo - a narcissist, and everybody in our family suffered so much. I could tell a million tales about his awful behaviour, his cruelty, his coldness, his manipulations, lies and dirty mind games, and that would still not show how much it all hurt. She witnessed a lot of it and still manages to twist the story into something else where he was the good guy for the most part and we were all overreacting. I am so disgusted by her, as well as angry with myself for not being able to choose friends more wisely. I guess this is one of those that I’ve been dragging along since my youth. I suffered through this topic for a few years with this friend and I guess today was the day when I just couldn’t take it anymore.

I’m so sorry that you were hurt, and then had that hurt dredged up repeatedly by this so-called friend. :frowning:

I have two thoughts on this…

(1) Your anger seems justified. There are times when I’ve yelled at my kids for doing something incredibly foolish. (Example: Yesterday my four year old picked up my nine month old, lifted her about five inches off the ground, and dropped her on the hardwood floor while giggling hysterically. You better believe I yelled!) When things like that happen I usually feel guilty later about yelling, but after speaking to my priest he reminded me that sometimes we need to get a little dramatic to show that we have boundaries. If someone randomly grabbed you in public you wouldn’t say “oh, excuse me, but please don’t do that, sir.” You’d yell “HEY!” or “STOP!” Your friend apparently wasn’t responding to reason and I hope yelling did the trick.

(2) Maybe it’s a little soon to start talking about forgiveness :slight_smile: but it can make a huge difference. Even if you make the decision to completely cut off contact with this person, forgiving her for what she did can keep you from mulling over it to the point that your anger becomes like poison to you. I recently made the deliberate decision to forgive all the people from my past who have hurt me. I did this under the guidance of a spiritual director and spent two hours going down my list of offenders. When I was finished I had forgiven everyone from the relative who had abused me to the sister who tempts me to gossip…and I felt amazing. I would never recommend that you put yourself in a position that will be physically or psychologically harmful to you, but forgiveness can make you feel like a new person. I am now able to look back on my past as if it is actually in the past - those things don’t haunt me anymore.

Prayers…again, I’m really sorry you had to experience that.

Prayers for you! When something in life has shaken me up & stirred my passions I find one thing that helps me is to take a few deep breaths, & exhale. I imagine myself picking up this tangled mess of a problem, filling my arms with it, & carrying it to Mary. I lay it a her feet, and say, “Hi mama, I don’t know what to do with this. I don’t know what to think about it, or how to fix it.” Then I give it to her. She steps around it & comes to me. Often she will pull me into her lap like a little child, stroke my hair, & comfort me. Then I am reminded that it’s a small tangle which God can unravel. I am safe, and loved! :wink: With God’s help, over time, this will be resolved. God will bless me with the wisdom, grace, and a few miracles to handle the situation. I am calm, and peaceful.

You are loved by God! You are his treasure. :hug3:

I know you don’t feel happy about how you handled it, but do not be hard on yourself. In the future, you will know to give yourself permission to cut someone like this off before you totally lose it. That would include a therapist. Your psyche gets exploration at your behest and on your terms, and no one else’s opinion overrides yours.

It would be fair for you to reconsider whether to keep up a friendship with her–this is not the behavior of a “nice” person, but someone who uses the rules of propriety and the reticence of others to “make a scene” to barge in where she does not belong–but certainly forbid any mention of the topic, including the last conversation, as a condition for carrying on future conversations. If she tries to raise the topic to say more than, “I am sorry, I was out of bounds, it won’t happen again”, just end the conversation then and there. Whether she gets that or not is her issue. Don’t concern yourself with it or worry yourself about it, and whatever you do, do not allow her to use any 3rd party emissaries to wear down your decision. Anyone like that needs to be told to butt out, too.

Not that you should welcome unsolicited advice, but since you admit she is a good person even after this argument, maybe she also meant well when she offered her opinion about your father. While it can be annoying when friends question the picture you take as fact, sometimes they notice things you miss because you’re too involved to take in the situation more broadly. If that’s the case, maybe she wanted to show you the other side of the story, rather than “twist” it or belittle your feelings.

You told her you feel hurt when she asks about your father, but when she continued to ask, you didn’t challenge her directly; your words didn’t really match your behaviour. While I think she’s at some fault, I wonder how much miscommunication was involved as well. It seems you’ve been stifling some bitterness toward her for a while, and if you answered her questions or skirted around your discomfort, it’s possible that she didn’t realise she was causing as much pain as you said. In any case, don’t feel guilty. You’re only human.

In the future make your point clear, but don’t waste time convincing people about why you expect something from them, either. Finally, I hope that you have someone trustworthy with whom you can share your family issues.

I really disagree with the previous poster Bezant. You have kept this “friendship” far too long. A good person, a good friend would never dream of bringing up painful things you have already said you do not wish to discuss. I could be wrong, I’ve been this forum a long time, I think you have had a problem with this same “friend” in the past and have mentioned it before.

There is something wrong with a person who behaves this way. Its immature, intrusive, selfish and self-serving and narcissistic among many other things. I have have childhood friends. I have childhood friends who have had trauma that I know about, and they know about mine. People who care about you would not behave this way. This is not a friend. This is a person who builds herself up by playing armchair psychologist, who has a sense of self-importance.

It is long over due for you to cut this person from your life. Even if she were to be correct in her assessments -which I absolutely don’t believe- your pain is real, your feelings are your feelings. Telling someone how they should feel is, besides accomplishing absolutely nothing positive, is absolutely 100% wrong. It is not her trauma, it is not her family -she has no business what-so-ever intruding. You certainly have not invited any advice, so she should respect you and keep her mouth shut. She has not. Pray for her and sever ties. Feel no guilt at all, she is wrong.

There are inveterate “fixers” out there who can be called off of certain cases. It takes a lot of firmness, but it is sometimes worth it. (Sometimes they also make really extraordinary pie crusts, for example.)

Thank you for the replies and encouragement.

I think the problem is that a) I tend to give answers when people ask me about something, regardless of whether I want to have that conversation, and b) she does this to other people and has a reputation for being nosy and someone who doesn’t show any respect towards people’s feelings when she insists on talking about something. A good mutual friend experienced exactly the same thing in terms of being told what she felt about a difficult situation in her life and how things really were and got loads of advice based on that. This friend managed to put some boundaries in place and now the difficult topic is never mentioned. I’ve never managed to get to that stage with this woman.

I really don’t know what to say about her giving me another take on things. She twists facts. I’m not crazy, I know what happened. Why would I take her advice seriously if I know she twists facts? Again, this is not something that only I experienced. The mutual friend complained about this many times, for example. What I experienced with my father was traumatic. I suffered psychological abuse, and as a consequence I battled anxiety for several years and had daily panic attacks. I went into counselling for this. With something like that I don’t really appreciate people telling me ‘what really happened’. This is simply cruel. I was so upset I couldn’t sleep last night and kept going over the conversation in my head, and I also couldn’t stop thinking about my father and some things that happened just before I cut him off. I can’t deal with things like that anymore. I think I need a break from her.

Yes, you are right, I posted about this exact issue before. You have an amazing memory :wink:

I agree about the armchair psychologist who has a sense of self importance. She thinks certain things could never happen to her and feels like she has a lot of power over what happens in her life. The more I think about this, the more I am convinced that I shouldn’t bother with her anymore.

This is not a friend.

She should not need to tear you down to build herself up.

If she were a real psychologist, I think you could sue her for malpractice. If you tally up the reasons for giving this woman one of the limited close friend slots in your life, what reason could make up for her willingness to require you to do more than tell her where your boundaries are?

I predict that when you get your break, your breathing is going to miraculously improve. Don’t forget how nice that felt when you are tempted to let her back into a less formal relationship.

I suspect you are right. However, I have developed a little problem as a consequence of family trauma. Or maybe it is not a problem. I put up with all sorts of things from people when I care about them and always look for justifications and remind myself that nobody is perfect, myself included. But then I tend to reach a boiling point of no return when people step on my toes too many times and I end the relationship. I think it is a self defence thing: I simply don’t have the strength to deal with that person anymore and end the friendship because I don’t see how to go on.

Because I experienced terrible things from my own father I see no reason to hang around for more emotional beating from people who are ‘merely’ friends. Does this make sense? I have no idea if the way I cope with difficult people is a good one or not, but it is the only thing I can do: put up with things and give the person many chances, try to change what I don’t like, and then end the relationship if they fail to change their behaviour and respect my boundaries. This person has no sense of boundaries and is a repeat offender. This drilling into my soul has been going on for years. The worst thing about this episode is that it will take me a few days to get over it and calm down. This is how I lived for many years: recovering from conversations with my father for weeks, and then recovering from conversations with friends about the drama with my father for an equally long time. I must be doing something wrong. Or maybe I am just too sensitive.

Doesn’t sound like she’s a very good friend to you. Perhaps the friendship isn’t worth it. Be around people who make you happy.

No, you are not too sensitive, and it is not your past that is making this woman’s behavior beyond endurance. *You are being entirely normal. *You wouldn’t expect any of your other friends to let her grill them, would you? You don’t imagine that none of the rest of your common circle of acquaintances has nothing about them that she thinks needs her improving hand, do you? What you are describing could happen to any of us. You just had the bad luck to be what she considers an interesting target. The only thing that makes choosing you far worse is that it is more egregious that she’s doing it to someone who has already gotten herself professional help. Who does she think she is? Does she second-guess her friends’ physicians, too? Check the stiches, to see if the surgeon’s needlework is up to her standards? It would not surprise me if she does!

This is the thing: You don’t have to have a past history of abuse to be a volcano–someone who sits silent for a long time until they rumble, and then rumble, and then kablamm! they can’t take it any more, and they let their tormentor have it. There are many people with a quiet temperament who are subtle in letting others know the others are being intrusive. These are not people with a lot of (how do I put this?) insensitive clods among their close friends. They occasionally shock a clod or two who doesn’t think such a sweet thing whom everyone loves and wouldn’t hurt a fly could tell them what lake to jump into and what rock to dive from in such exquisite detail!! Yes, well, the people who saw all the warning signs waving were happy to see it. About time…maybe when even Sweet ______ tells her she’s a nosy biddy who needs to mind her own business, she’ll finally believe it!

It is also not necessary to have a past history of trauma to not want the kind of grilling you are getting from anyone. You did not invite it, she has no right to it, there is no reason anyone with any kind of past would appreciate her nosy intrusions, and you don’t need any excuse to tell her to bug off! She would also leave* anybody *fuming for days afterwards, because her offense is so unbelievably self-important. There are some spiritually-advanced people who could forget this kind of an incident without effort, but honestly, they are few and far between. The rest of us mere mortals marvel that you didn’t throttle her a long time ago. That doesn’t make you “less than”. It just means that for whatever reason you have an awful lot of patience.

Do the rest of us a favor. Draw your boundaries, and don’t apologize for it. It is your right, and the more people who draw the line with her, the more likely it is that lightning will strike and she’ll have a conversion. It happened to St. Paul, so you just never know! And by all means, do not chalk this up to some shortfall in yourself. Occam’s Razor says this is all on her!

As for the problem of sharing with others bringing on as much of a problem as you solve, my guess is that you admire your friends and think they are as patient and discrete as you are. You are probably an unusually patient and kind listener, and keep getting your surprises from the understandable mistake that you think they have equally high standards of friendship. That may be where you are going wrong. You may need a pastor or a professional or maybe one or two friends who are as good at this as you are for your sounding board. Try to forgive the rest for not having this as a long suit, but also try to narrow and write down your list of those you’ll trust with this kind of thing in the future. With the rest, avoid including them in your venting. That might help. It is worth a try. :shrug:

Don’t kick yourself when your friends make mistakes at being friends, though. That is also par for the course, and it happens to everyone, even the “healthy” ones (whoever that is). That your friends aren’t always perfect does not mean you did a thing wrong. It just means you have humans for friends, and make your own decisions without a crystal ball. If you make mistakes, don’t beat yourself up about it. The natural consequences of the mistakes is punishment enough, don’t you think? So let that be your penance, and feel free to let yourself off the hook for any more.

I know, that is work for you. I’m not saying force yourself to do it. I mean give yourself permission to do it. OK? OK!

Thank you.

I need to stop feeling guilty for reacting when people hurt me. Discussing such things here is a reality check and helps every time. I am grateful to everybody who has replied, offered advice and prayed for me.

It is a lot easier to start doing something than to stop doing something. I used to tell my catechism kids to treat guilt like a smoke detector. When it goes off, you look to see if it is a true alarm or a false alarm. If the alarm is false, you re-set the detector, but you don’t take the batteries out.

It is entirely naturally to feel a need to check yourself when you’ve been harsh with someone. Of course you will be driven to do a self-examination when you’ve hung up on somebody–wouldn’t you think anyone would? That’s OK. It is normal to go back over what was said and to decide, “Yes, I did fine, and if I had it to do over, I’d do it again” or to decide, “Wow, that was a bit much. She didn’t deserve that.”

When you get stuck over what it all means, look at the short list of trustworthy people, but do not beat yourself up over getting stuck. People get stuck in trying to figure out their feelings. It is OK!

I guess I’m just suggesting that you change from trying to not feel guilty and over to trying out some different tactics when it comes to handling the guilt feelings that all of us who are not sociopaths are going to feel from time to time. It could just be that you don’t have a bad habit of feeling guilty too much, but only have a skill at dealing with guilt feelings that needs some development. That is more attainable than stamping out guilty feelings, believe me!

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