Thursday, April 19, 2012

I'm Sorry But Jesus Says We Can't be Friends Anymore

Would you like to hear me rant about my personal drama? Because I'm going to.
Rarely, rarely do I ever write about personal drama while I'm in the middle of it, even here on my blog. I've never been that candid of a person and I am generally kind of proud and also I've always viewed myself as a storyteller kind of a writer, not so much a journaler. Cardinal rule of writing for me is to write when I have distance and perspective on events.

But sometimes you have to break your own rules. I feel like using my blog to vent. I'd also like to hear what you guys think about this, so chime in.

Being a Scorpio, I am fiercely loyal to my friends. I don't care where you live or what happens to you, if you are my friend, I will stay in touch with you at all costs. Facebook helps with this a lot. I don't lose friends if I can help it.

Problem is, every once in a while, people stop wanting to be friends with me and I absolutely can not deal.

I've gone on endlessly since 2008 about the loss of my friend A, to whom I haven't spoken since I was 24 and I'm 38 now. I still haven't gotten over that and she and her stupid husband blocked me on facebook and made a mutual friend unfriend me! That's an overreaction for God's sakes, but A had a valid reason for not wanting to be my friend. I won't rehash again.

Remember my friend Rachel? You can read about her here. One day she just disappeared from my life. I sent Christmas cards, called, everything and never received a reply. I asked a mutual friend and the friend always ignored my questions, so I never knew what happened. We never had a falling out. Nothing. It was freakish. What had I done wrong, if anything, I wondered?

Years past. I searched facebook. I googled. Nothing. I looked for her sister. Nothing.

Last fall I emailed her at an old email address I had for her. It didn't come back but I never heard a reply.

Then, out of the blue I got a facebook message from Rachel's sister Rose (all names have been changed). It was so bizarre to hear from her. Rose said she'd lived in my city for a few years and her husband worked at a restaurant I went to a lot! I couldn't believe it. She had recently moved back to Atlanta. We became friends and I found Rachel on Rose's friend list under a weird alias. I sent her a friend request and as soon as I did, she blocked me!! Since then she has come back under two other aliases and immediately blocked me on those as well though I never tried to contact her again after the initial ignored friend request.

Rose and I have written back and forth a lot and it turns out that Rose is the most normal one in their family. Rachel has agoraphobia and has become obsessed with a cultish religion that wishes to bring back the Puritan's way of life and beliefs. She was always religious, being a preacher's daughter and all, but she's gone off the deep end. She believes she has seizures and a neurological problem that makes her unable to walk so periodically she puts herself in a wheel chair, though she refuses to see a doctor and takes all kinds of odd supplements and oils instead. All of this is self diagnosed apparently. Rachel doesn't cut her hair. She only wears dresses and now believes that women need head coverings because angels are looking at us and marking down our improprieties for judgment day or some such madness and God have mercy on you if you've been running around bareheaded. She hasn't driven a car in five years and stays home to homeschool her two sons who Rose has suggested are on the spectrum. She hasn't said that but from her descriptions it sounds like a possibility to me. According to Rose, Rachel is self-righteous, condescending and totally intolerant of anyone who isn't in her cult. She believes everyone is going to hell. Rose herself is very religious, a born again type. Most people would consider her extremely conservative and possibly a holy roller, but Rose dresses normally, goes out in the world, nannies for a living and isn't totally opposed to alcohol. Rachel refuses to celebrate holidays because they are pagan and Catholic in origin, but Rose loves holidays and even worse than that, Rose sends her children to school, which is, I guess absolutely unacceptable. Rose is more of a modern Christian. Rachel is an insane Christian.

Rachel won't be my friend partly because her mother, who is exactly like her and the most controlling woman I have ever met, doesn't approve of me. She gave Rose a hard time for being friends with me and said it was a betrayal of Rachel. Their mom is exactly as insane as Rachel and her mother rules her and her husband's life.

I'm heartbroken over this. I don't understand why she would shun me now citing my "sinful lifestyle" when she was friends with me back when I lived in sin with my boyfriend in Atlanta. I knew she didn't approve back then but she somehow managed to tolerate it. So now that I'm a married housewife and not living in sin, what's the problem? It's so weird that suddenly the fact that I used to live with someone is now an issue.

Rachel was my best friend. We were ridiculously close. We loved each other dearly, passionately. We had so much fun together and so many memories. This wasn't a person that I just kind of knew. I felt like she was my sister. I'm utterly heartbroken that she would feel the need to block me on facebook. What does she think I'm going to do to her? I don't get her vicious behavior. I never bothered her or tried to engage her after my friend request. I'm not a threat to her or anyone for that matter.

So I'm heartbroken. I don't understand it. I feel rejected and cruelly, without explanation. Rose told me to stop trying to understand them, but I'm an obsessive over-analyzer especially when it comes to rejection. Dating was horrendous for me for this reason. I get really attached to people I care about. I keep telling myself that Rachel is very ill and confused and has no grip on reality, but I still feel very sad and hurt by this.

I don't deserve to be treated this way and it makes me mad. I did everything for Rachel because she was kind of helpless. She had no life skills at all because her parents believed that girls lived with their parents until marriage and that women were never to work, although she briefly did manage a job when I knew her. She also never went to school and was homeschooled, so she had very little experience outside of her parents' home. I paid for everything without question when we were together. I even took her on vacation, all expenses paid and I was happy to do it. I drove her everywhere when she didn't have a license. She never said thank you but I used to think it was out of embarrassment and never worried about it.

But why block me? Why not just send me a simple message that says something like "I'll always cherish our memories but my life has changed in such a way that I just don't think we have enough in common right now to sustain a friendship." Or how about add me as a friend and say hello, nice to see you are well and then go on about your life, occasionally liking one of my posts? I mean seriously, how much effort does a tiny bit of polite courtesy take? Wouldn't that be easier than acting all dramatic? She even asked Rose "Why are you friends with her?" Meaning me. How nasty. How un-Jesus-like, unless Jesus is actually a fucking asshole and then it's exactly Jesus-like. I'm being sarcastic in case you're thinking about sending a lightning bolt, God. I did not actually call Jesus a fucking asshole.

His followers sure are though. Case in point.

About a month ago Rachel's husband had a sudden heart attack and Rose was near hysterical posting all over facebook for prayers and worrying and sending me messages getting me all in a tizzy saying that Rachel is so ill and her kids are so special needs and that they don't have any money and it just sounded like an utter catastrophe so I asked how I could help and I offered to send money, to contact mutual friends and see if people could chip in and help and I was going to have someone go clean her house because Rose said Rachel was too frail to clean it herself. I was going to send food, gift cards, whatever they needed to get them through and all after Rachel treated me like a piece of garbage. I was doing it all anonymously too.

But then Rose sent me a message asking me if I told Rachel's husband's parents about his heart attack and I was like HUH? WHUH? So I guess Rachel and her husband are estranged from his parents for whatever reason and don't speak to them, like I care, and they didn't want them knowing about the heart attack. Whatever. Not my business. I don't have a dog in that fight. And best of all, I don't know who his parents are, which makes this especially insane. I vaguely remember his mom from their wedding and what I remember was that she was a rude assed, Jesus freak bitch with a mushroom haircut and I don't remember her name or his dad's name. In fact, I barely remember his dad at all and I have no clue where these people live. Yet somehow, Rachel and her mother believe that I found them and told them about the heart attack in order to bring harm to their family and this is a level of crazy that my brain can't process. I guess it upset Rachel's mother so much that she thought she was now having a heart attack and had to go to an Urgent Care where they gave her medicine for lunatics, because that's exactly what she needs if she thinks I would do that, because again, I'd like to reiterate that I do not care about Rachel's husband's tiff with his family that I barely remember. Then Rachel's mom posted some such on facebook about someone severely damaging their family and I didn't see it because I am blocked but a mutual friend contacted me and I had to explain and they thought it was as crazy as I did.

This pissed me off so badly that I withdrew all offers of help. Fuck them, I said. But that wasn't the only reason. I realized that I'd been sucked in by them, one and two, I was going to do it because I wanted to stick it to them and be like, look how nice and generous I am even when you treat me like shit. Look what you're missing out on and look how much nicer I am than you. And that's not genuinely nice at all. That's passive aggressive and a half and I don't want to be that. If I help someone it should be sincere and with truly kind intentions, which I just don't have at all right now towards these people.

Then this past weekend Rose and Rachel got into it because Rachel has decided that Rose is going to hell and isn't religious enough to suit her and I guess they engaged in some back and forth postings of Bible passages on one another's walls, because that's exactly what the Bible was written for you know - to prove other people wrong in arguments and to make yourself look good. I'm an infidel and even I remember how Jesus felt about the Pharisees, but I suppose Rachel glossed over that part. Maybe her head covering fell over her eyes.

So that is the drama that I can't allow myself to get unstuck from because Rose keeps telling me horror stories about Rachel and I get some kind of bizarre satisfaction or something from it, though I'm not sure satisfaction is the best word for it. It's more like I can't even believe the freak show of it all and have to keep watching it unfold because it happens faster than I can process it and my mind can't keep up with the crazy. Or something.

It also reminds me of my biological father and what a nutcase he is with his religious crap and shunning his family and rejecting me too. I think that's why this stings so badly.

And then there's this. Two of my former best friends have felt so strongly about not wanting to know me anymore that they have separately blocked me on facebook and have expressed ire about other people that they know being my friend too. I have to pay attention to this. It can't be a coincidence, although the circumstances are very, vastly different. Am I that bad? I don't know but I think about it.

In A's case I'm not totally innocent here, but in Rachel's I think I am. But maybe she remembers or saw something differently than I did.

Maybe they are both crazy and maybe my fault in this is that I chose and became enmeshed in unhealthy friendships with dysfunctional people and that is my brand of dysfunction. Lord knows I am no stranger to dysfunction. I'm not trying to make myself the heroine of my own story here. I am a fucked up wreck most of the time, but I'm oddly aware of it too in a way that other people usually aren't.

So yeah, that's that. That's my vent, my rant. I have no distance from it at all right now. I'm still upset though logically I know I shouldn't be. What do you all think?


Alessandra said...

Ouch. Being cut like that, for no apparent reason, does hurt. It feels... unfair. Like punishment for something we didn't know was wrong.

I think the hard part in these cases is to gain enough perspective to realise that it's got nothing to do with you. Like, at all. I don't think you could have done a single thing that would have made Rachel not cut contact; not even subscribing to her own brand of crazy (crazy is definetely the word here). I have the impression that you were not the only person she removed from her life - she probably did it to everyone who isn't actively taking part in the crazy.

Now, when it comes to the part you can actually know more about(that would be you), could it have been Rachel's religiousness that attracted you to her? Like, it would be a chance to get a super religious person to like you, and aprove of you, and say that no, you're not bad and on your way to hell (as you were told when you were a kid)? Maybe the small amount of crazyness she was already showing felt... familiar? I'm really just speculating here.

You are lovable. You are a good person. You have flaws too, and that's ok. You're not broken. Mmmkay?

Green said...

Oh Christ on a stick. Here's what I think, in no particular order. I think you have a big heart. I think you're human. I think you had such a weird childhoold, both with family and friends that you developed this fantasy of having normal friends.

The reality is that you have a lot of Big Shit going on in your life. The reality is that a lot of people can't handle people who have a lot of shit going on - they only want to be around people who have nothing going on, so they can gossip and make Something out of Nothing. But they can't handle real Somethings.

Maybe the two people who blocked you are shitty people. Maybe they can't stand to see you happy with a cute baby.

Rachel is Batshit Crazy. Rose is Mildly Crazy. Rachel will never again be the friend to you that you want her to be. Even if you two reconnected, she would not be a good friend to you - she would find out things about you, your life, and then tell you to scrub Baby Lawns with a brush because she's unclean for having come from you, a woman who lived with a man before marriage, you HARLOT. You must let them go. Mourn what you had, what you can't have now, but find a way to let them go.

I am sorry.

Shannon Culver said...

Mean people suck. Sorry. This recently happened to me too with not one, but two friends I thought were really friends. I'm still not sure what I did, but I can tell you that getting over the emotional hurt took a long time. I thought and thought about what I could have done to raise such ire. Now, I don't care. I have a little perspective, and though I still don't understand, it doesn't hurt me.
Sorry. You're great. I'd be your friend and if I got crazy or if you got crazy I think I'd talk to you about it. A lot. Before I blocked you on facebook.
Feel better. You're not them.

Anonymous said...

You recently posted about getting healthy - physically and mentally.

Why would you exhaust your personal resources trying to make sense of dysfunction? By definition it's not logical, so don't waste your time.

Move on.

Nourish and grow the healthy relationships in your life. You don't fertilize the weeds in your garden do you?


JTN said...

In most sincere honesty, your problem is that you don't suck. The majority of people are born, grow up, and die in the same place doing the same stuff day after day. Few of us actually get out and change. I did, and I have to occasionally deal with people who think I should have gotten married at 19, had a bazillion babies, and already be working on being a grandma at 39. They can't understand how I can be happy as a professor without children. They also project all their fears, stereotypes, and prejudices upon me as a way to focusing their anger about their own lives and the world at large. It's hard to not take it personally (when it is my own mother at times doing it), but I also realize that its just a symptom of something bigger than me.

You are easy to hate and pick on if you look back at everything you have accomplished in the 10-15 years. I've read your blog for about 5 years and you have done amazing things with your life. Your friends have made different choices. They sound like they are trapped in crappy lives where their best hope for happiness is through fear of the almighty. Their world may be bad now, but they will be rewarded someday for their suffering. Couple that up with some mental illness, and its a witches brew of resentment for others who are not mired in the same bad place. In their mind, my guess is your success is not the product of hard work, good choices, and luck, but some unholy bargain with Satan and evil that will reward you here for a moment but "they are smarter and see that for what it really is..." and they will not be tempted by your path to hell.

Their lens have been altered by poor and limited choices that self-reinforce and justify their own issues. For most people like this, their world contracts and gets smaller and smaller until they are not even religious enough for their own narrow brand of reality.

You got out into a world where your choices continuously expanded your world. My guess is your friends will never in a million years admit this, but if you could crack open their skulls, they are deeply jealous of your life. They probably cannot process that objectly so it manifests itself as hatred, resentment, and fear because you have to be contained like a disease in their world.

You have probably become their boogeyman who steals all their spare change, spreads all information they don't want told, and tempts everyone they know onto the path of hell.

It's hard not to take it personally, because it hurts, but in a weird way, its a compliment because you have made yourself better.

kerry said...

I'd say Rachel chooses to act this way because she likes the drama. She likes defending herself against attacks- it makes her feel more righteous.

I agree with Green who says Rachel will not be the friend you want her to be anymore. It's likely not your fault, anyway, though she would tell you it is. Because things can't be *her* fault.

This really sucks that these friends are turning out to be not such good friends after all, but how much energy are you going to spend mourning someone who doesn't have the good sense to want to be your friend? You're a good person. And people should want to be around you. If they have any sense.

I don't know how to get you to let go. I don't know how it works for someone to whom it doesn't come. I've done rituals to get rid of things and people, I've meditated, and I've just let it lie in the back of my head. But then I apparently have a decent tolerance for ambiguity.

Gina said...

It's not you - it's The Crazy. I know it sucks and it's hard not to analyze everything. I had a friend in college who I was really close with - we were inseparable. After she dropped out, we stayed in touch constantly. And then a year later, I transferred to a college in her city and we made plans to get together. I ended up having to cancel for a legitimate reason, but when i tried to reschedule, she hung up on me and never took my calls or spoke to me again. That was 20+ years ago and it STILL bothers me.

Sunny said...

What a painful turn of events. I didn't go back and read about the first facebook blocking from A, so without knowing the details, I'll offer no other comment. But on the Rachel/Rose/their Mother situation, I think the problem here is you are looking/hoping/wishing for sane behavior from people that don't seem capable of it. If that's the case, and it seems to be, it's a toxic situation and best left behind. Maybe the relationship with Rose is salvagable, but maybe only with some boundaries. Dare I say you are way above people like that? Don't lower yourself to their level.

Christian Marie said...

Sigh. I am a Scorpio too and I think we just feel things deeper than other people. This can be both good and bad. Good in that this aspect is what makes you a good writer- you are able to articulate stories and situations in a way that engages people. The bad is that you are too hard on yourself (trust me). I have the same challenge.

In my case, my mother in law has shunned me and blocked me on facebook. She claims to be a Christian. She has sent me nasty notes with "have a blessed day" at the end. Crazy.

Its hard, it's hurtful and you dwell on it because you must- it's just part of your process. You will gain distance... but here's the thing. Stay open to this. Something positive will come out of it.

Miss Kitty said...

You're better off without these fuckers. Why put up with crazy dramatic shit when you're not even related to them? Rachel's certainly batshit crazy, as Green notes; the rest of them are, too, except it hasn't come out yet.

You cannot make these people happy, and you never will. Once I realized that about my dad's family, I felt comfortable walking off and never ever speaking to them ever again. Seems that you recognize why you may have been sucked back into the drama--re-playing stuff from how your bio dad rejected you--and if you can realize you're OK, and that your DAD is the one with the problem, then stuff like Rose/Rachel throw at you won't bug you.

Unfriend them all, and walk the hell away. You have a new life and are a new person. These toxic people know on some level that you will knock yourself out to try to please them, so they keep treating you like shit...FUCK THEM ALL. It's their hell, and they can burn in it. You do NOT have to prove to anyone that you're good or worthy. I went through the same hell for years, and only in the last few have finally decided, "Fuck it." You're a great person with many newer, better leave these assholes in the past where they belong. (The Buddhist philosophy of "idiot compassion" applies here...these people are trying to hurt you, so it makes no sense to show them any niceness, or even get within 50 miles of them.)

You're awesome! Hundreds of Wide Lawns followers, a crazy kitteh, a husband, and a baby can't be wrong! :-)

[end rant]

Anonymous said...

OOOooo... Jesus is so going to kick them in the naughty bits for behaving like that.

My inlaws are Pentecostal. One sister-in-law is exactly like Rachel. I take great pleasure in 'accidentally' swearing in front of her and never forget my manners by offering her husband a beer. He, by the way, once said, 'The worst thing we ever did was educate the Indians.' Riiiiight. That's what Jesus thinks, no doubt.

They're crazy. Think about it - anyone religious enough to that point has had the cheese not just slide off the cracker but rocket off with whoops, tweets and explosions.

You're a beautiful soul, WL. Never doubt it. Don't let assholes grind you down.

- Maureen

Melanie said...

You poor dear. My knee-jerk reaction is to tell you to run, not walk, away from all of them (including Rose). I think you should be THANKFUL that you no longer have to deal with Rachel, someone who is clearly unbalanced.
But if you want to explore your own emotions on a deeper level, do what I did and google "Buddhist philosophy of "Idiot Compassion"" that is mentioned in Miss Kitty's comment. I found an interesting, detailed explanation of that concept on the 4/28/10 blog post at enlightenmentward dot wordpress dot com. I think if you read this, it may help you make a healthy decision about how to go forward. (And avoid second-guessing your final conclusion.) Best wishes.

Alison said...

Oh, hun. I do know how you feel, but I think most people put on a brave front and say, "well, I didn't want to be friends with her anyway!" (like my crazy friend did when I finally stood up for myself against her rotten treatment).

When I was 21, my fiancé suddenly changed his phone number and never spoke to me again. Now, I have a healthy grasp on reality and I can tell you that this was ENTIRELY unprovoked. We were young, sure, but we had a healthy relationship. And then...nothing.

It's been around 10 years since then, and my heart still hasn't healed. I still can't trust love because I feel like even a "sure thing" is fleeting. I found him on Facebook recently...but you know what I did?

I blocked him.

Love of my life or not, I don't need the drama. I don't need to live my life on someone else's terms--and although I'd like some closure (which I'm sure you would too) I know asking would be fruitless.

Closeness or not, good friendship or not, sometimes you need to cut ties. And it sounds like speaking with Rose is only pulling you into the drama that is THEIR life--not yours.

Carolyn said...

I think you like a lot of people that grew up in an abusive household(myself included) are a fixer. Sometime we collect broken people to be friends with. Some people are so broke they can't be fixed and when they turn on us it always hurts. Co-dependent relationships are the norm for us,,,and it's us that need to change. Please try to remember "If you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you always got". Please let those ex-friend own their own crazy. It really is them , not you.

Anonymous said...

Schaudenfreude can be fun. BUT. These people are using you to feed their need for drama and that's hard on you. It's not anything you did, people like this are attracted to people who want to fix things. (See Carolyn's comment.) It sounds like you were nice and supportive when you were younger, and now she expects you to do the same thing despite her craziness and drama-llamaing. She'll get angry when you don't but you know what? That's her, not you. You can just ignore it and let it be her problem if that's what's best for you.

One Mean MFA said...

Husband says, "I don't have time for people who don't have time me."

I had a friend do the same to me around August. I've known her since we were 14. I'm still upset and sad, but Husband's advice is quite logical.

I say, screw it. Instead of expending energy on these "friends," love the ones who you know love you.

Miss you.

Anonymous said...

Without knowing enough about the circumstances to offer a thoughtful reply, my gut reaction is to say that I'd cut contact with Rose and, as another commenter said, mourn the loss of Rachel, once and for all, and let it go. Her energy is toxic and polluting your space via your connection with her sister, I think. It might be very, very hard to do, considering that it's a final cut with Rachel and the end of the understandable satisfaction that goes hand-in-hand with being in on others' drama. As a wife and mother just shy of your age, I promote ongoing cleaning-up of my shrinking personal space. I attempt to fill it with people with whom I share mutual affection and support. Obviously negativity can't be entirely avoided, but I minimize if I can.

About Me

Blog Archive