I’ve been battling whether or not I should post this. Battling, because the majority of the time I believe it best to let sleeping dogs lie. But this continuously comes back to my view and strikes me as something that I must document – as a reminder to myself that I did the right thing.
About six months ago, I broke up with a friend. And it was a big deal. I had gone back and forth if I should break up for over a year. She and I had been best of friends for 10 years. For the last two years of our friendship, and with the introduction of my infertility, we couldn’t find a balance. She did not understand and got sick of listening to me. It only caused problems, because this topic consumes me at a time. And more often than not, she would “poke the monkey” and antagonize me – not in a playful way, but in a mean spirited manner.
This friendship truly turned into the furthest thing possible. What broke the camel’s back was an email trail that she ultimately stated that all she had for me was pity. It triggered my empathy post. And instead of her addressing my feelings, instead of her understanding my point of view, she retaliated with this comment:
This post saddens me immensely. I wish you could be so eloquent when communicating with your actual friends and not just in your blog.
I wish you knew how I have been trying for over a year to understand your point of view as an "infertile" as you call yourself(s). As a "fertile" (or so you like to call me) I am hurt by this post and frankly I am exhausted from trying my very best to avoid certain topics or words when talking to you. And since I have come to the realization that I have nothing but pity for you...not pity for your "condition", but pity for how you are now reacting to the world around you.
I don't know why you expect me to be able to put myself in your shoes, when you can't seem to put yourself in mine. You don't seem to want to even try to see my constant struggle to communicate with you and to gain the necessary understanding of your life now in order for us to remain friends.
I have read this post many times and I wish you could realize that although it seems some other "infertiles" agree with you - 2 Wrongs don't necessarily make a Right.
This comment made me realize that I had to cut my ties, I had to sever a relationship. And I had never done anything like that before. Sure, I had lost touch with people, but never had to say to someone “I can’t be friends with you.” Essentially, this was where I found myself. At this exact point of our lives, we could not be friends and it wasn’t to say we couldn’t be friends later. Because I was going thru something that was so immense and she had no ability to understand why this effected me so. After several hours, I wrote her this:
It really saddens me that we have gotten to this point.
You stated, “I don't know why you expect me to be able to put myself in your shoes, when you can't seem to put yourself in mine. You don't seem to want to even try to see my constant struggle to communicate with you and to gain the necessary understanding of your life now in order for us to remain friends.”
This statement says it all. You don’t think that it has been equally as hard to talk to you, to be friends with you?
Yes, Amy I recognize that you have tried. And I give you credit for trying. But, I am exhausted in how much I have tried as well and the fact that you don’t recognize it is bothersome.
Every time you made a comment or made a statement that was hurtful, I explained it to you. I told you what was going on, because I could put myself in your shoes and knew that you didn’t understand where I was coming from. But, at that point you also welcomed my comments or statements. As long as you could try to understand, I tried.
The “pity” comment. You didn’t even see how that could be hurtful, you ignored my feelings. You didn’t try at all to understand, you gave up. So I took your cue. You obviously did not want to be bothered to try any more. You didn’t mention it to me, you didn’t acknowledge it until today. Then how did you choose to reply, by a comment in my blog.
(Well, if you remember correctly, you told me a while ago that your blog was for you and only you. Any comments I wanted to make in defense should not be inserted in your blog. I only ask that you do the same for me. I blogged about it because I wanted all pity to stop not just yours. I don’t need your pity or anyone else’s.)
It is clear that we have both been trying to make a friendship work that is failing.
It deeply saddens me to come to the realization that we can’t be friends at this point in our lives. You cannot see my point of view or want to and in my opinion that is the basic point of being a friend.
Maybe in a year or two, we can be friends again when our circumstances change. But, now, it is just too hard. Friendships shouldn’t have to be hard.
Good luck with everything, I truly hope you get everything you want out of life.
She responded to me:
You are completely right.
We can't be friends right now.
I don't know how to be friends with you anymore.
Every time I try to talk to you, I upset you.
I have kept a lot of things to myself over the last year and I won't bother to bring them all up now, but please know that although you may think you tried....you did not try as hard as I did to be understanding of your every changing moods and I often felt poorly treated and underappreciated by you and I opted to bit my tongue to save the friendship.
Dianne, I was mostly trying to maintain the friendship because I feel like someday you will have found peace, but until then...I don't know how to be any nicer to you and I am constantly upset that you are always angry at things I say. I was hoping that by you being friends with me, you would be able to learn how other people may view things you say or things you do, but you don't care. Please be careful with yourself and your other friends. I hope you don't find that you push too many more people away like this. It would be very sad for you to lose more friends over this.
Good luck to you and I hope that you can find peace in what your life
Her reply solidified to me that we could not be friends. I always knew she had it in her - I'd been friends with her long enough to know she had a snarky side. I just didn't think she would react to me in that way. Crap I was only saying that we weren't good for each other for RIGHT now. And she completely shut the door on me forever.
Ironically, every time that I question my actions, I find something that validates me. A few months ago, you may remember this post on how lonely I feel at times. I just found out she responded to it on her own blog by saying:
Being single together and going dancing. I was in her wedding and we thought of each other as family...sisters. 12 years will do that. Then our lives changed. Her life became focused on becoming a mother. Not, BEING a mother, because she has not found herself "blessed" that way, yet. One of my very best friends (EB) is the mother of 2 children and I have not found it difficult to stay friends with her, at all. I love her 2 kids as if they were my own niece and nephew. Having a mom as a friend, is not the issue. Having someone who WANTS to be a mom...IS apparently an issue. That friend (D) has focused her entire life and everything and everyone around her on her wanting to have a child. It has enveloped her. And maybe it has changed her. She prefers to avoid going in certain public places...for fear of seeing babies or pregnant women...those upset her to see. It became increasingly tough to talk to her and to see her point of view on her new life perspective. D posted about being lonely and I ache to reach out to her. Part of me wants to tell her she deserves her loneliness, for pushing me away and out of her life. Eventually, our relationship became somewhat hateful and manipulating. She would take things out on me and use me to vent her frustration and anger. And I would "Poke the Monkey". I would provoke her or ask a leading question, hoping that it would make her think and recall old feelings in herself that would make her think twice about what she would respond or how she would treat me. Sometimes I just needed to get my feelings heard and though, I tried to hold back (a lot) things would eventually come out and I had a secret hope that she would sometimes revert to her old self and see things from her old perspective. It never happened. She would just end up mad at me and I was constantly apologizing to her.
I will not be linking it, since my whole point is to chronicle the events and not berate her. This entry solidifies that she didn’t understand. She will never understand. And my judgment was correct. We cannot be friends, and we can never be friends.
You may be asking why post this, well because I know I am not alone in having "friends" who don't get it. And sometimes it is OK to quit a friend; especially when they are more of a fiend. Infertility has been a blessing at times, because it has helped me realize who my true friends are and also to unravel the truth of other situations.
A, if you are reading this, I will never read your blog again and I would greatly appreciate it if you provide me the same courtesy.