Tag Archives: frenemies

Choices

13 Sep

depression-1A person with Bipolar Disorder experiences moments of Mania, where they are euphoric, have tremendous energy, and sometimes even feel invincible.  There is also a crash downward into Depression after the Manic episode occurs. Some people experience these shifts a few times a year, others can have symptoms  with shifts as often as several times a day.  It really depends on the person and their chemistry.  Those who experience contrasting moods to the extent that they happen several times a day tend to be very restless and irritable.  Auntie was one of them.  One minute she would be goofing around, having fun playing with the kids, and I’d see a glimpse of the woman I remembered. The next she was annoyed, treating the kids harshly, and stomping off in a snit, leaving my husband and I looking at each other in confusion over what had just happened.  Worse, the kids would be bewildered and ask, “What’d I do?”  The only person in the house who was “safe” from Auntie’s moods; at least directly, was my husband.  Auntie had been through several abusive relationships, and I think she had a fear of men; though she’d never admitted it.  I believe that was probably the only thing that kept my husband out of the line of fire.  She would come to me to complain about him instead.

Over time, I found myself dreading being home with Auntie and would find any excuse to get out by myself for a while. I didn’t recognize this woman, and I grew weary of pointless discussions that went on and on, in circles for hours, with no resolution.  There was a lot of finger-pointing and blaming going on and she took absolutely no responsibility for any part in anything that happened.  In her eyes she was never wrong and to hear her tell it, my husband, kids, and I were mean, horrible people who did things purposely to hurt her!  I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that this woman who had known me my entire life was accusing me of acting in ways I just wasn’t capable of.  The things she accused my husband and kids of doing were even worse.  She acted as if she thought everyone had some hidden agenda or ulterior motive.  I was constantly having to defend myself as well as my husband and kids to her and it was getting to be so surreal!  I wondered when she had gotten so bitter and cynical.  After all, Auntie had raised two children.  Surely, she had to have experienced these kinds of things before.  Why was she getting so bent out of shape over “kid stuff”??

I started going to Starbucks every morning after dropping my youngest off at preschool.  I’d get my favorite coffee, pull into the parking lot across the street and sit in the car.  I’d park in front of a small pond at the far end of the parking lot, the furthest away from the all stores and activity, and watch the mama ducks and their ducklings play follow the leader, while enjoying the solitude and my coffee.  It was during these moments that I would try to make sense out of the things that were going on.

After a while of taking time to myself each morning, I decided to have a talk with Auntie.  I couldn’t understand where her behavior was coming from and I wanted to see what we could work out to try to lessen the tension in the house.  The conversation wasn’t going as I’d hoped; we were getting nowhere, and I had decided to drop the subject for the day when Auntie confided in me about her Bipolar Disorder.  In the next breath she told me she didn’t need to be treated for it and she could handle it just fine on her own. She said she had been prescribed medication for her symptoms but was not taking it.  When I asked her why she stopped taking the medication if the doctor felt she needed it, she said she didn’t like how it made her feel.  She said she had only tried the one medication and had never gone for her follow up visit to let the doctor know how it affected her…

…next…choices part 2

 

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Frenemies Part 2

2 Sep

relationship is rightAbout a week later, I was on Facebook looking around and saw that my friend had posted some photos from her baby shower.  I looked at the picture and it was a picture of her, me, and the other third that we had posed for right before the shower began.  The caption read, “I would like to thank Jen and _____ for giving me my baby shower…” I honestly don’t remember the rest of it. I was the one who collaborated with my friend and her family to plan the shower. I was the one who spent the money on the decorations, the games, the prizes, all of it!  The other third comes back into the country a week prior to the shower, brings a dish, and gets 1/2 the credit for my hard work?? I was seething! I’d suspected I was being used, and now after seeing that, I knew I had! I felt like I didn’t even know who this person was anymore! I did know that I couldn’t talk to her until I was calmer, and it took me a couple of months at least.  During that time, if she called I would let it go to voice mail.  I didn’t want to write her off just yet; I felt I at least owed it to her to tell her how I felt and give her a chance.  I also knew that if I talked to her before I was ready, the conversation wouldn’t go well.  I knew in my gut that she would turn the issue back onto me and make it about how I’m too sensitive or how I’d overreacted.  As hurt and angry as I was, I didn’t want to end up saying things I didn’t mean or that I couldn’t take back. Several weeks later, my husband ran into her and she made a snide remark about me not returning her calls.  When he mentioned it to me,  l couldn’t help but laugh at the irony.  Although she was guilty of the same thing, when I brought it up to her, she told me to stop being so sensitive!

It was now December.  Eight months had passed since the baby shower.  In that time I’d gone to her home to see her baby, had a nice visit, and afterwards I decided again it was best to keep things to myself. I so desperately wanted to be wrong when it came to her!  As usual, it would only be a matter of time before something else would happen to have me kicking myself for not speaking up when I had the chance…

…next…new year…new life…

Frenemies

18 Aug

After a while, the other part of the threesome moved a few hours away for a job and though we spoke a lot at first, after a while I was out of sight and out of mind.  I started to see things on Facebook that would perplex me.  She would come to town and not bother to mention it.  She would go out with mutual friends and I’d see pictures with her tagged in them.  The worst was when I asked her what she was doing for her birthday because I wanted to treat her to dinner.  She told me that she was spending it with family, but maybe we could go to dinner the following day.  The following day came and went.  I called her several times and left messages.  She said she’d fallen asleep.  That evening, I was on my Facebook page looking around and what do I see?  Pictures from her “family” birthday celebration with none other than the “other third” in attendance.  Although I tried not to let it bother me, it did.  It felt like a slap in the face.  First I was confused, then I was angry, then I was hurt. Still, I said nothing.

A few months later, she and I were talking on the phone.  She was telling me about her new job, and she mentioned how busy she had been.  I remember thinking that she couldn’t have been too incredibly busy; after all she’d been to town several times and had gone places with mutual friends, but hadn’t bothered with me in months.  I wanted to call her out on it, but didn’t; thinking it wasn’t my place to question her activities.  She could do what she wanted.  I was upset about it, but as usual, I just stuffed it down deep and left it there. Another couple of weeks went by and she called to ask me a question that left me in awe at the sheer nerve of the request.  She asked me to give her a baby shower.  With every ounce of my being I wanted to say no, but I didn’t.  I heard myself agreeing before I could believe what I was saying!

After the call was over, I remember sitting there trying to rationalize it to myself.  Why me?  Well, the other third was out of the country again.  Was that it?  Always trying to see the good in people, I decided she must not have anyone else she felt comfortable asking.  She had family that was more than capable, but for whatever reason she didn’t seem to want to ask them to do it.  During the time I was busy planning her baby shower, buying invitations, making up games, purchasing decorations and making party favors, I would speak to her once in a while.  The conversations were usually about her shower and a little bit of small talk.  The day of the shower came and everything went well, although I felt really uncomfortable.  I didn’t know why; we’d been friends for years, but something just felt off.  A week or so after the shower I finally figured it out…

…next…Frenemies part 2