Monday, October 14, 2013

True colors continued...

Back in 2008, Bill and I were living in Germany and my "ex friend" got me reconnected with another person we both knew in high school.  This woman had moved to our county when we were all ten years old.  She was in my class-- back in the days when kids were grouped into classes that met all day.  Anyway, this woman, I'll call her "B", went to high school with us.  She had a really tough time of it because her parents had divorced when she was a baby and her stepmother literally hated her and used to lock her out of the house.  She had absolutely no relationship with her mother and her father and stepmother were abusive and neglected her.  She ended up moving out before we had graduated high school.  B is now in the Air Force and is stationed in Japan.

In 2008, B and her husband lived in Heidelberg, Germany and we met up with them when we visited Heidelberg for a weekend.  We had a nice time visiting.  It was the first time I had seen her since we graduated.  The whole time we were together, we talked about old times, including this mutual ex friend of mine.  B and her husband told me about how my ex friend had visited Paris with them and would sleep late every morning (ex friend is a night owl).  B and her husband wanted to get up and see the sights, but they'd have to wait for ex friend, who took her sweet time getting up.

Later, B was transferred to North Carolina.  Of course, Bill and I eventually followed her and ended up in the same area just as she was about to be deployed to Iraq.  We visited with her again and had pizza at her house.  There were more memories and her husband told us about how ex friend would hang out in a comic book store he owned before he and B got married.  He said he wasn't impressed with her-- it was before he knew her well-- because she was a bit of a poseur.

We moved to North Carolina and B went to Iraq.  Her husband moved to Maryland, which was where they owned a home.  They expected to be there for a year, but then Obama called the troops home from Iraq, so B's tour got cut short.  She had to come to North Carolina to start the process rolling for her move to Japan.  We went out to dinner-- just me, B, and Bill.  B told me more stories about how ex friend was angry with her for years because she had once kissed ex friend's ex boyfriend from many years ago.  I don't even think they were still dating when the kiss occurred.  Ex friend found out about it and soundly punished B by shunning her.  Then, for some reason, they hooked up again.  It's my guess they got together when ex friend wanted to visit Europe and was looking for someone to hang with, but I could be wrong.

As I was listening to B, she asked me not to tell ex friend about any of things she told me.  I didn't.  I told B that I wasn't really in contact with ex friend anymore; and over the years, I had realized that she didn't seem to value friendship with me very much.  There was a time when we would literally spend weeks of summer vacation together and have sleepovers every weekend.  As kids, we had a lot of fun.  As we got older, the friendship continued, but we went in different directions.  We had little in common, other than having spent a lot of time together.  It occurs to me that despite B's extensive training in intelligence, she is not that intelligent when dealing with ex friend.  She still values a friendship with ex friend, even though ex friend has been just as shitty to her as she's been to me.

At my wedding, I gave ex friend a card thanking her for twenty years of friendship and for being my maid of honor.  Her reaction was very odd.  She looked me in the eye and said in a nasty tone of voice, "Does this mean our friendship is over?"  She had apparently taken the card as a "kiss off" when I meant it as a sincere expression of gratitude that our friendship had endured for so long.  The funny thing is, I have known this woman for so long that I met her great grandmother, grandparents, and father... all people who have long since died (her grandmother might still be around but has severe dementia).  I'm pretty sure that no one else in her life, aside from family, has ever met these people.  I met her aunt and uncle and cousins who moved to California from Maryland.  Bill told me over breakfast this morning about an incident that occurred at our wedding that unnerved him.  Apparently, when we were practicing our vows, she stood in for me and was giving him seductive looks and made some comment to the effect of, "Relax Bill, pretend I'm knotty."  Then, when we were done, she said, "Don't forget your vows, Bill."

I noticed ex friend often made mean or snarky remarks about other people, especially those who were ex boyfriends or people who weren't friends with her anymore.  She would make crappy comments about people who weren't even engaging with her in any way.  One time, she asked me if I thought a mutual Facebook friend had had plastic surgery done.  I was a little surprised by that remark and said I thought the woman was looking really good.  This isn't to say I didn't sometimes agree with some of the things ex friend said... but I did notice she was a very negative person.  She once accused me of being moody.  And yet, over the years I observed a lot of moody behavior from her.  She'd make subtle digs all the time, but God help me if I reciprocated.

As I got older and started learning about psychology and social work treatment, I realized that my ex friend is at the very least a very insecure person.  But she also doesn't seem to let people go.  When she was engaged to her husband back in 2007, she made a point of telling me to make sure no one told her ex boyfriend from high school that she was engaged.  She had dumped this guy in 1991 or so, but apparently still carried a torch for him.  She didn't want her friends to tell him because she wanted to "preserve the friendship".  He lives in California and, from how she tells it, is still heartbroken over their breakup 22 years ago.  I don't know how she expected to keep that news from him indefinitely.  Seems to me you'd tell a friend when you're getting married.

As a side note, I remember ex friend told me that her former boyfriend had dedicated a certain Nine Inch Nails song to her...




Pretty telling, I think... if you know the lyrics.

I'm sure that if I ever confronted her about why she didn't tell me she was pregnant, she would say it's because she knew I had wanted kids and was hoping to "spare my feelings".  Honestly, though, I have many friends who are pregnant right now and I don't feel animosity toward them for being pregnant.  It's been many years since I was very close to this ex friend and I certainly wouldn't begrudge her for having a child.  And granted, it's none of my business, but if that was really how she felt about me, she could have spared me the underhanded bullshit and just unfriended me on Facebook (which is what our relationship has dwindled down to now).  I would be a lot less angry with her now if she had just done that, but I guess I'm not worthy of that much respect.

Something tells me she will eventually pop up on Facebook again or send me an email to tell me about her baby or whatever other news she feels compelled to share.  Or she'll want to take advantage of my super long memory or knowledge and she'll contact me for that reason.  I've watched her do it to other people over and over again.

I wish the church lady hadn't told me about this.  It's funny, too, because I hadn't talked to the church lady in a long time and didn't even know if she was still living.  Her email pops up and she drops this bomb on me... not knowing that I didn't know.  I'm sure ex friend didn't realize that people from the church I grew up in still know me and my family and keep in touch.  She'd be surprised to know how I found out about her big news.  The big news, really, is that this person that I spent many years being "friends" with was not a real friend to me.  And I had to get that news from an 80 year old woman who meant no harm.  Disgusting, isn't it?  For a brief instant, I was mad at the church lady; but it's not her fault.  I can move on now, secure in the knowledge that it's right to dump my ex friend.  Her next email to me will go unanswered.

Here's a good article about toxic friendships.  It was valuable reading for me last night.

And here's an even better song for ex friend...  I would dedicate this to her for sure.




3 comments:

  1. Some former friendships are beyond redemption.

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    Replies
    1. I agree. Sucks when the "friendship" is 33 years old, though.

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    2. It turns out the ex friend had somehow filtered me. I searched for her name and it came up, which means she didn't block me. So I blocked her. I'm sure once she figures it out, she'll be pissed... but if she confronts me about it, she'll try to make me feel crazy for doing it. It's for the best, really.

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