a very old painting from college I gave her
Yeah I know some of you are asking, "How come Peep is getting rid of everyone?" Yes sometimes I get scared. This is a lot of people, I have walked away from. They all held two things in common, they treated me like my mother and family and they all looked down on me.
I have examined myself, that I was far too compliant, too weak, too accepting of bad behavior for too long. Why on earth did I end up with all these friends who even socioeconomically looked down on me from the clouds while I was in the basement?
All I can say is that my upbringing definitely hurt my ability to choose the right kind of people. I also have had the crappiest luck. Some kind and decent friends died, and I moved away from other good people who weren't like this or lost touch. Yeah I know for the last ten years I have mourned moving from my old town. Even people left here, I miss like the art center folks and the people who ran my self help group. Online I do have great friends of course too. I have lost too many people. It has affected the faith crisis too. Finding out one of your "best friends" doesn't care about you either, can be hell on earth.
I found myself getting creeped out when this friend started reminding me more of my mother. You know the other abusers are out of my life, so you are looking at others, and things are reminding you. You get the big gun narcissists out of your life, and then you see the smaller gun ones, but who can just be as damaging. Sometimes when she spoke it would trigger me back to my mother. The coldness, the lack of emotion, the imperviousness about life and lack of fear, also stood out to me. She even would say odd things to me, when I spoke of vulnerability in life, "I know I will live as long as my grandparents did into their 90s."
Here's the weirdest thing for FIVE YEARS, I asked her to read my blog. She has computers, smart phones and full access to the internet, and she refused to come over here. What was that deal? I thought okay maybe she got busy, or distracted and one day recently I suggested it again, told her the name and everything, and she comes over here.... and the reaction is horrific... She hates this blog! Oh it's not the fat articles, she understands my metabolism and Lipedema, it's the ACON ones. She insulted it. It's the reaction like the relatives.
Basically the attitude is how dare you say you say you are abused and she tells me all my perceptions are wrong. Now this really floors me. Why? She SAW some of the verbal abuse. My mother used to call her a lesbian. Read the story of my first going no contact, she was there, and they insulted her too.
Where we ever really friends? She wrote this to me and invalidated my entire blog and me with this statement: "I will likely never know what financial challenges are, so I can’t put myself in your position, in reality nobody has had exactly the same life experiences, even children growing up in the same house will remember things differently. Everything that parents do while raising a child can be defined as abuse. Just because my mother had a temper and there was lots of arguing doesn’t mean I was verbally abused."
I got the "you need to let go". speeches too. What gets me, is she could see on this blog, my writing about them had diminished. Time alone has shrunk any talking about them. I don't know what is going on. Outside the weird house crap in the last year and resultant email, I am out of the loop. What gets me is I was supportive to her, when she talked about how her own mother engulfed her, and then went into dementia, but I guess when it comes to my problems, there is no equal billing.
She wrote me, "I have nothing to apologize for. I had a conversation about two houses, one that I actually went and looked at. As of now, that is all I have done. It has actually helped make some progress in getting my house organized; because when/if I do move this house will be packed ujp to be shown and a fair amount of maintenance work done before being listed. In my discussions with **** on this issue, she was in or above my position once and had friends in yours or similar to yours. At no time did they have a falling out, these people, some of whom I've met were always happy for her good fortune."
During our email fight, as she just came back with very cold narcissistic answers and talked down to me like an uncaring social worker, I decided I was done. I ended the friendship. I am sure I will be deemed the "jealous" loser. At one point she even blamed me for my husband's career problems. Like I chose any of that?
What is creepy is I didn't even talk about my family that much with her especially in the last few years. In the last year, they are ebbing away fast in my mind so it was even far less. I got the feeling it "bothered" her so I kept my mouth shut. Her family left her 2-4 million dollars, so maybe she's got a little more love for hers but what I noticed was empathy missing. When we met in college she was already 6 figures wealthy with money left direct to her from an uncle, but got more inheritances later in life, including the final in 2011 when her mother died. While I worked at the various jobs, she went through college in ease. She didn't have have to hold a job during graduate school when we both shared an apartment.
The very few times I brought my family up, she was defending them. It started weirding me out. I told her, "I think my mother got the house foreclosed on," It never went on the market after that one email. And she piped up basically saying "Oh your mother is still financially viable". It was weird stuff like that. She was against my adoption search, and to her, I did admit, I could have a genetic tie to ANOTHER relative, so why the anger, why the lack of support? Her and the Army friend exactly matched on these stances. These things all weighed on me for years.
In fact one reason things lasted as long as they did is because she came out to visit me, unlike the family. She would come out twice a year and spend a couple days with me. I really thought this was because she cared about me. You know letting actions speaking for themselves. I discussed coming out her way but she said, "That wouldn't work, there's no place for you to sleep." The logistics for me would have been very difficult. I put up with a lot thinking, "Well she cares enough to come visit a couple times a year" and thinking this way, I would set some increasing worries aside.
Sometimes when one is on the lonely end of life, and doesn't have very many real world friends they see, you can get stuck in the mode of thinking, "Well I am not going to challenge this friend, I got so few friends right now". ACON recovery changed that about me. I started being more aware of things. It brought a lot into question. I plan to write about this more later, but I realized from a Facebook group, even normal, thin, healthy and not clinically depressed women, are having problems making, keeping and finding close friends.
We did have an intellectual compatibility. I made the error here too of mistaking her shyness and remove from other people for being a possible fellow Aspie. She never was diagnosed and rejected the label herself but I could talk to her about art, and politics and other subjects other people did not get.
We could have fun touring museums, going to restaurants, and watching movies, though I noticed more and more we could talk about everything in her life, but many subjects on my end, were "unacceptable". I enjoyed time with her and focused on the positive, I liked going to the places we did and many of our activities. We had a long history together. Maybe that is limited in keeping a friendship going too as people can change with time. We roomed together for two years in college, and then had an apartment together while I was working at the juvenile home and she was in graduate school.
There was problems though even years ago. A lot of times she did hurt me. One time she visited with this other mutual college friend who was a bridesmaid in my wedding too, and they kept making fun of me together and ganging up on me. I stopped having that mutual college friend visit me, but that remained inside my mind. I thought of the treatment when we were living together and she got with a young man, I had noted interest in first. I had missed a bullet and a half as he moved in with her while cheating on her, and would go on to meet my husband a few years later but that first betrayal was there. In 1995, she had come to visit me in Chicago, and she was horrified by my poverty, and she something like "Why don't you have a trash can in your bathroom?" it was something stupid, and thoughtless, and we got in a giant argument, and I made her get out of my car dropping her off near the bus station and we would not talk for more then a year and half. So trouble was brewing even years ago. No relationship is perfect, but even then as I look back on our history, I realized she looked down on me and had little respect.
Religiously she had introduced me to the UU when I left my family's church. She grew up in it but later left it. She did not like it when I became a Christian and sometimes would make joking references to God being "my invisible best friend". I never told her of the recent faith problems because I didn't want to be told, "I told you so.
However especially in the last few years I felt everything was not safe to talk about there were also other issues as you will see. The conversations from my end felt more strained. She would happily chat about her friends, and life, and I was interested but she took very little interest in mine. I know I changed with time too. She would tell me at times she was lonely and I told her, I faced loneliness as well, and sometimes it seemed to me we were connecting then but maybe not given what happened later. I sought more closeness with her, since the friendship had survived for so long but in many ways she just kept slamming the door in my face and that reminded me of my mother and other relatives too.
One thing affecting the visits, is as I aged, my health has declined, the shopping got more restricted, I couldn't go to as many stores without facing serious fatigue. Our visits were planned during non-housebound times, but I was slowing down.
Recently during our last conversation, she noted irritation even with someone else she knew for talking about abuse as a child and adult and their resultant depression. This gave me immediate flashbacks to how my mother would talk to people, anyone relaying troubles was a problem. Sometimes I feel like warning this person, but I've been down that road long enough to know I could be buying trouble and would not be believed. One statement in an email deeply troubled me where she wrote that an ACON threatening suicide on a message board only wanted "attention". Here we see out and out disdain and lack of empathy for abuse victims. When she came out against so ardently against ACONs, that crossed a line. She must have found me on an ACON message board I go to, googling the term "fivehundredpoundpeep". I used to post the same things on there I do here, sometimes trying out topics before blogging on them. She wrote me this:
"Let’s discuss that whole narcissist concept/diagnosis. Just because you spend a lot of time on that board, doesn’t make you an expert on the topic. And from my perspective, you seem to have become one yourself, having to be right about everything and be the center of attention; accusing me pf being loyal to people I have had no contact with in more than 2 decades. **********has a friend who is on your ACON board and has been threatening suicide for the last 6 months just to get attention from anyone who will listen. Message boards are a good outlet, but they are not a sole form of therapy that makes anyone into an expert on any topic."
Anyhow, during my recovery process, and I am finally moving into the "What Next?" phase, and trying to figure out what to do with my life free of abusive people, she did not offer me much support. She was always defensive of my family to the point, I limited bringing them up even during the more painful early NC days. Around here now, I tell people I have no family and infer except for my husband that they are all dead. It is easier that way. Some online FB friends and others who read this blog know the true story but for new people who are local, it is something I want to shut the door on. There was one point where I even said to her straight on, on the phone, "You knew I was abused why do you keep defending my mother?" "Don't you even remember how she treated you?"
Remember the Army friend, the one who hoovered me? Millionaire now ex-Friend and Army ex-Friend went to the same high school together. Millionaire friend introduced me to Army friend. We had mutual visits with each other for years. The Army friend comes from a multi-million dollar family too. When her parents die, she will be as wealthy as the other friend too if not more.Both of them grew up in one of the wealthiest suburbs in my state.
Yes I know it's weird that poor me ended up with such wealthy friends from a state college but remember my family had money too though my immediate family was more in the 6 figure range and outer relatives were more wealthy like them.
What is strange is remember when I talked about looking up things and trying to get the truth, I looked up my Army friend and found out she lied to me for (30 years!) about where her father worked. He worked for at a company that had massive multimillion dollar supply contacts with the US Army, and then I found out this company where he was vice president had major and multiple contacts with the specific branch, office and government agency my parents worked for. It kind of explains to me why she skyrocketed in promotions. Her father is retired now, but I found myself wondering, "Were my friends chosen for me?" I know this sounds VERY strange, and I wonder if it is just a coincidence and don't want to become a conspiracy theorist about my own life, but it bothered me greatly. Their defenses of my family grew so strident, and it made no sense even from their end. This is why I wondered about things even if I am wrong. The Army friend betrayed me in some serious ways. The other webs I had discovered my mother weaving certainly were vast enough.
Both friends seemed to act like they still had contact with my family. They defended my family, they were AGAINST my going no contact, and they stood against my adoption search. This means these friendships were doomed at that conjecture. Yes all of these felt like betrayals, built up and then I knew I had to walk. With the Army friend, she hid the reality of one famous uncle from me, which was odd and told me one brother was a drinker, and poor when he was another uber- wealthy financier. The endless lies were exposed. I couldn't trust any of them anymore. Some of the direct treatment was enough to walk too.
The last fight with the millionaire friend began this way. She told me her 1200-1800 square foot house in a nice suburb was not big enough especially for her growing glass collection, and that she wanted to buy a house worth more then half a million with 4-5 bedrooms. I live in a poorer fly-over state so these houses would be around 3 million alone in California or maybe around 1 million in cost in Chicago. The houses she chose to look at ranged around the 5,000 square feet mark. I went online to look at her potential houses on Zillow. They were huge mansions.
When she raised this topic, I wanted to ignore this and dropped some major hints but she pressed on but she told me to look them up and I did. She has no children or partner and wants to live in one of these giant houses alone which creeped me out. I also did not fail to notice she selected houses with giant staircases even on the outside, I probably would not even be able to get inside due to disabilities if I ever was able to visit. The week she was telling me about her real estate plans, we were very low on groceries, and had no money. I was stressed out to the hilt. Our food co-op had encountered supply issues that week so even that source for groceries had been diminished. The last thing I was in the mood for was hearing about a woman who had been given everything in life bragging about her new real estate plans.
One thing, while she would get me used estate sale items such as some used Tupperware or some pots and pans, bought me health food store shampoo and gave me gift cards for my birthday, she was the type that did not like to mix money and friendship which is a boundary I adhered to. On my end I would make her paintings for gifts. I gave her one last Christmas.
I don't want to be begging to people myself. That's enough to bring on loads of shame. People have helped me unasked many times in life, but I am not the type to go begging and well, sometimes inside, I would wonder, "Why isn't she helping me?" especially when things got dire. Her real estate bragging and my personal circumstances that week did not mesh. Some of you may even be in shock reading this entry, if you are a long-time reader of this blog, to realize Peep had two millionaire "friends" from college during all the severe poverty.
It did get painful during her visits while she paid for the very rare lunch maybe once every 6 visits, she could easily drop 500 dollars in front of me buying jewelry and house items , at the various local antique shops we went to. From my end, I had saved very carefully around 40 dollars to go out to lunch, and to have entry fees to the museums or art center for the few days she was here. I could not afford any jewelry or antiques. It got depressing. I never recovered in some ways from the lost of my husband's career and that move 10 years ago. Sometimes I still want to double over in grief where my life has ended up. No one seems to care about the pain supposedly "its all my fault". Now I know hanging out with Lenora Helmsley was a bit extreme and hard on my pysche.
two other college era paintings I gave her.
I never feel like I could depend on her in a pinch, or that she was really there for me. Does that make sense? One doesn't want to mix friendship and money but I started wondering how she could watch me flounder even with the groceries with no help. I had too much pride to ask direct but she knew what was going on. We got money that week, and chances are I never would have had to ask, because my husband got another new transcription job, that paid a bit more but it got to me.
Maybe a friendship with such vast socioeconomic differences is doomed to failure anyway. She never even attempted to understand my life or even how I lived. It triggered me too, as my blog readers here know, my self esteem has taken a battering because of my better off family that put me down for poverty and it's not easy living in an upper middle class area I have stayed in for better medical and other resources. All these issues mixed together.
I realized with horror, she did look down on me and it wasn't going to get better. Chances were, I was not going to win a big money Lotto to be an equal. Someone on here commented once, that the only friendships that truly work out are ones of equals. I believe people of different socioeconomic groups can be friends, I have even had homeless friends myself, and known friends in the six figure category, but there, the people have to see themselves as equal human beings, not with one seeing themselves as superior and the other as an underling.
She treated me like a burden, like she could see sitting on her stoop one day. Her mother by the way 20 years ago told her to dump me as a friend because I was "too poor". A few years ago, she told me once if I ever became homeless she would never take me in. I don't even remember how the topic came up. I know my feelings about her changed. She knew I'd always move into a disabled apartment first as an adult before living under someone else's domain, but that bothered me. My mother held that same attitude. They looked at me like I didn't deserve anything.
Some months earlier she had let the bomb drop, that she spent more then I live on every year on accupuncture alone, at her local holistic health clinic. That kind of floored me. She gets other treatments too, so this told me how vast things were between us. It bothered me.
She has the right to spend her money on whatever she wants, and to live her own life, but I knew a rupture in values was occurring. I started seeing her as very materialistic and self absorbed. Not all rich people live that way either. It drove me crazy instead that even with just 1/10th of her money the goals, dreams and opportunities I would have far more access too. I got angry about the lack of imagination. Maybe this was judgmental on my part but she was always focused on STUFF. I remember odd conversations with her, where I would ask her, "How come you don't travel?" "Why not explore that avenue of life?" I wondered why she had no greater yearnings. I hope this makes sense.I had bad thoughts that she was just like my mother, where stuff meant everything to her and that she had become shallow. One day on the phone, I got angry and asked "Where is your imagination?" And why on earth do you just want to buy a giant mausoleum and fill it up with stuff?"
It is sad to end a 30 year old friendship and now I have ended two of them. The main reason I ended it was her lack of empathy. I also realized with horror she had no emotional investment in me. Why did she even visit me? I can't spend my life being around people who see me as inferior to them. My ACON recovery has changed what I will put up with in people, and I know my ice queen mother led me to far too many ice queen friends. One day watching the show Hoarders, I saw this woman who even had serious problems, being hugged and shown love by a friend. It made me burst out in tears seeing that. My friend didn't even care enough to get upset enough over the demise of a 30 year friendship.
I do think when psychologists warn abused people they will re-enact the abuse in other relationships this is true. Like my mother, she took no interest in who I was. I was a reflection for her. Reading my blog, would have meant seeing me as an actual individual, so that is why she refused for some many years.
When I did end the friendship, it did hurt, that she never broke out of social worker mode and never showed one emotion about it. She never attempted to apologize or to patch things up. I told her in my last letter if she had, and showed any care for me, that would have stopped me ending the friendship in my tracks.
Here is what I wrote:
"I can tell from the tone of these letters your emotional investment in me is very little. You don't want to be close and do not see me as a person of any worth. You defend my abusers and use cold social worker language on me instead of the responses one would expect a friend of 30 years to make. Maybe my expectations were too high and you just saw me as an activity buddy. Our expectations of friendships do not match. Right now I know I can't even talk to you about anything deep and meaningful anymore because I am judged as "not letting go" and being "too emotional" and always the one in the "wrong". Because you are treating me the same as my family did as a person of no worth and someone you do not love or care about, I am walking away for good. I doubt you will feel much pain over this as I will,but I made the decision, that I would give you one last chance to give me in these emails ONE KIND WORD or degree of sympathy and empathy, before I walked away and you failed and failed miserably."