I know you all willtell me the truth


I don't know if this is the right place for this but I know you all will tell me the truth. I too have a Difficult Child but this is not about him. I have a long history of depression, non-functional for six years that ended last year. And I took Klonopin for anxiety and panic attacks for 17 years. I have been off of the Klonopin for 2 years now. That being said, there are 2 women that I talked to on the phone everyday. Once every few days would suffice as there is never much to say. They call me multiple times a day, all hours of the night, KNOWING that I have insomnia and that if I get woke up I can't go back to sleep. They get mad if I try to end the call and they think it's too soon. If I don't answer the phone when they call but call them back later, I get the 3rd degree. Since stopping the Klonopin, I try to limit the stress where I can......so a few months ago I'd had enough. I stopped answering the phone to both of them. They still continue to call and I continue to ignore them both. I feel SOOOOO guilty! Even my mother says I should call (one of them even called my mother!). I fel guilty but thinking about talking to them nearly gives me a panic attack. SO....am I being ugly? Selfish? Otherwise terrible? Please tell me what you all think.


Active Member
If you have an Android smartphone and a Google account, you can get a Google Voice number and some really delightful settings and options. How about having calls go right to voicemail between certain times of day? Phone won't ring at all with the right settings.


They are not calling at night anymore and when they do call, I just ignore the call. My worry is this: do you think I have a legitimate complaint and am I doing the wrong thing by ignoring them now?


Active Member
I think it's your phone, which is like the door of your house - you are the one making the choice to answer the knock or ring. If you have boundaries you need for your health or well being, I don't think there's a need to feel guilty for enforcing those boundaries.


Well-Known Member
These are not your kids. Sounds like they aren't even your sisters. They are just some sort of "friends".

They may or may not have anyone else. That is not your problem.

Your first responsibility is to look after yourself. Do whatever you have to do to maintain your own health and sanity. Where you have resources left, you can choose to (or not) spend them on family members. Beyond that? A relationship is only worth maintaining if it is a two way street. There has to be as much in the relationship for YOU as there is for them. If not, you're just being used - in which case, walk away.

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
These are not your kids. Sounds like they aren't even your sisters. They are just some sort of "friends".

They may or may not have anyone else. That is not your problem.

Your first responsibility is to look after yourself. Do whatever you have to do to maintain your own health and sanity

Just as happened with my mother, I have been learning that my sister is nothing like the person I believed her to be. That is the key that allowed me to change my responses without feeling guilty, or without feeling that I had abrogated a responsibility that felt sacred. At the heart of it was that I did not want, ever, to be the person who hurt someone else as I had been hurt and hurt and hurt.

There are predators out there. Some of them are our sisters. Some of them are our friends. Some are our mates. They fasten onto us and, unless they are persons of integrity themselves, use us to justify condemning us with their own twisted hurts from their own pasts. I think they do this so they don't have to look at themselves, but I am not so sure about that part.

Maybe they just enjoy hurting others.

It's the strangest thing.

But it is a true thing.

Perhaps this is what your friends are doing. As we choose healthier responses, those kinds of predators in our lives go ballistic trying to justify why you are supposed to serve their needs. This is what I think I know about that: Predators go about their lives justifying themselves through condemning other people for the things the predator routinely does. If they can dump that onto you somehow, they will. That is why they seek us out. To feel they have dumped their own twistedness legitimately. We are always running around forgiving and understanding and the predator just gets more and more out of whack. It gets to be a legitimate dumping for them when the victim they have targeted and groomed believes he or she is responsible for the happiness of the predator which is exactly what our abusers taught us was true for us to begin with.

That is why we stay.

That feels right to us.

That is why we believe we are responsible. Because of them. It isn't that we are so foolish, or so egotistic as to believe we matter more than anyone else. It is that our abusers taught us we deserved the way they were hurting us. they even taught us that if hurting us made them happy...then that was okay; that it was okay to hurt us, that it was okay for us to work like dogs, that it was okay for us not to plan or cherish our lives for the wonder that it is to be alive, but only for the service we could give to them.

Oh, those dirty, dirty rats.

When the predator who has fastened onto us this time is very skilled, is very subtle, we will take responsibility for their "pain", for their suddenly discovered sense of betrayal ~ pretty much, for anything at all without even knowing we have done so. Most predators are pretty slimy and inefficient and without the barest beginnings of finesse but even so, we never see that though until we begin to heal.

That we are the way we are has nothing to do with those currently taking advantage of the ways we were hurt when we were little. They are not all powerful persons who hold us in thrall. They are come into our lives to teach us to stand up. Whatever sense of power or legitimacy we see in them has nothing to do with them. It has to do with our attempts to heal our woundedness through re-enacting the situations we survived as little kids.

But we are grown ups, now.

We never have to listen to them, or to anyone like them, ever again.

They have nothing to teach us.

Just another predator; as they act out their predation, we realize we always knew they would do this. If we broaden our scopes, we will see these patterns in other aspects of their lives.

Just another predator.

The healing that needs to happen is within us, and is readily accessible.

All we need to do is change our minds about the things we were taught about ourselves, and about the purpose of our lives, and about whatever value we could have in the hellishness that was our only reality when we were little girls (or little boys) and were repeatedly betrayed and victimized by our own mothers and fathers.

Abuse does not happen in a vacuum.

There were good things taught us too, in our FOO. Our job now, if and when we decide to heal, is to eradicate the validity in the lies they taught us about ourselves. This has nothing to do with them personally, any more than the abuse dealt us at their hands had anything in the world to do with us, personally. They would have abused any child they had. They did abuse every child they had. The roles in dysfunctional families are so similar it makes me sick.

But it is not so simple a matter, to step out of them.

What they taught us was that we were slaves to their happiness. That is the lesson, that is the thing we learned at their hands, have believed all our lives, and that we need to unlearn. Our stories are long and complex. Unraveling where and how we learned to take responsibility for the other guy's dysfunction so he or she could go blithely through their lives will be different for each of us.

But the basic truth is the same one.

We are responsible for soothing others. We are responsible for believing in them when they cannot believe in themselves. We are responsible when they hurt us; we are responsible when they hate us. These things feel like sacred responsibilities to us.

None of that is true.

They lied to us because they lie to themselves.

Oh, man. It looks like I am knowing everything again this morning.

I think I know this, though.


I keep looking for that place where I will turn out to have been wrong ~ where I will turn out to be the jealous, grasping one.

I keep not finding it.

I experience jealousy, of course. They say jealousy teaches us what we want for ourselves, next. I experience shame, and fear, and those terrible feelings of less than or weakness or deep sadness at the futility of it all. But then I think that is all okay. That is human, to feel those things. I get to not be perfect. I get to lean in, as Brene Brown writes.

I remind myself of something else Brene says: That we humans are hard wired for challenge from the moment of conception. Everything is hard wired for challenge, here where we all are competing for space and light and food and water and love.

So, we are in good company, there.

The more I review the past from this new position, the more unbelievable the whole thing seems...but the more seamlessly the formerly disparate pieces fit together.

As my feelings for my sister changed, I was afraid not to take her calls, too. I didn't want to take them because I was becoming angry with her, but I continued to keep picking up for her because I felt foolish; it felt deeply wrong not to believe in her. I wondered what kind of person I was, wondered who would think such things about her own sister, her own mother, and etc. The more I review everything though, the more I see how ragingly dysfunctional every bit of it was.

So...if nothing was as I believed it to be, if there was never the slimmest chance that we could all come together as a family where everyone sat at the same table instead of ostracizing the typically ostracized one and creating drama or throwing children into the center of a family gathering with repetitious activities even my sister, for heaven's sake, had to know were boring and blah, blah, blah....


Lost my chain of thought, there.


What I meant to say boils down to this: They lie. For whatever reason (and a person who would beat a child over time and as a matter of course, and who would change her preferred method of abuse as the children matured, and a father who would allow it ~ that person would have to lie, would have to be a liar to themselves and everyone else, about who they were and who you were and who I was. Oh, those dirty rats!!!)


I meant, "Oh, those dysfunctional bastards."




Roll With It
I think that if you told them that their calls were too much, that they needed to respect your insomnia and only call at certain times, and they continued to ignore your boundaries, then you NEEDED to just stop talking to them.

Sometimes friendships simply stop being beneficial and start harming us. If that is the case, then it is perfectly reasonable to end contact. Often the 'friend' will try to pressure us to not cut them off because they get something out of harming us, even if they don't realize it and think they are in some way helping us (of course they are NOT, no matter what their opinion is or how loudly or how often they express their opinion - wrong is wrong regardless of volume or frequency). They get some benefit from harming us, and it is our responsibility to protect ourselves. So ending the friendship is what we have to do.

I would not take their calls, not if they give panic attacks. been there done that and still don't always know how to manage the people who cause mine, but I am getting better.

You are doing the right thing for YOU and that is a good thing.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Regardless who they are, family or friends, you have to set clear boundaries as to what you will accept and what you won't.
This is not about them, it's about you. If these women truly care about you they will understand. If they continue to get mad, well there's your answer. If they cannot respect your boundaries then they don't really care about you.
I hope things work out for you.


Well-Known Member
Ditto to what Tanya said. Set clear boundaries. It is imperative. Be kind, but firm. Assertive as necessary (not aggressive). If they are true friends, they will abide by your wishes/needs.


Not answering the phone sounds like a healthy approach to your issue with these 2 "friends." You do not need to take on their personal/family problems when you've got so much on your own plate; & my guess is that their issues creep into the conversations you do have.

As to the guilt ~ consider your current approach to be a contribution to your emotional health & what could be more important than that?


Well-Known Member
I have not read all the replies yet, and I will go back and savor them.
I have a long history of depression, non-functional for six years that ended last year
First, I will start here. Your primary responsibility is yourself. Nothing and no one else matters. You more than anybody knows that depression is a serious business. Your recovery is everything. You do not need to feel nor should you feel guilt about protecting yourself.
They still continue to call and I continue to ignore them both. I feel SOOOOO guilty!
Second, the transgression is theirs not yours. The guilt is theirs to feel, not yours. Whether they can see this matters not at all. You must. You are responsible to yourself, not them.
SO....am I being ugly? Selfish? Otherwise terrible? Please tell me what you all think.
Whose voice is that who is denouncing you? Whose voice tells you that you are selfish if you decide to protect yourself, to tell the truth about your needs and your hurts?

I want to share a story. I do not know whether it fits. I had a childhood friend. Her name is Colleen. I met her when I was 9 and she was 8. We were inseparable. Her mother was a stay at home mom. At that time my mother worked. When my Mother worked there was nobody at home. When my mother was home she wanted us out of her hair. I needed somewhere to go.

That home was a refuge for me. It was a refuge with a price. Colleen was always mean to me.

There was an accident of some sort once with the sewing machine. The old fashioned kind with a wooden case. The wood was marred. Colleen blamed me for it. She rubbed it in. I became scared. Deeply scared at the punishment I would receive from her mother who was warm, but volatile, and sometimes cruel.

I knew Colleen over a period of maybe 50 years. Our friendship occurred in waves. There was a young people phase, an early middle age phase, and a late middle age phase. In between there would be many years of separation, of no contact.

Colleen was always mean to me. I remember now, that was the reason I cut off contact in early middle age. She wanted me to return something to her, a 45 minute drive through 5 cities and over a long bridge. At that time I had a toddler son. We made the trek. When I arrived at her home, she was preparing for a pool party, preparing for the arrival of her guests. I was her oldest friend. She let me drop off the desired object and she let me leave. The idea that I stay for the party, she never mentioned. In fact, I think that might have been the purpose for demanding I return something inessential to her at exactly that time on that day. I decided then I did not need a friend such as this.

(Actually, as I read this over, I think I set the limit because of my son. A tiny boy, he would have loved that pool party. Any sense of offense, I think, to be honest was for him, not for myself.)

Fifteen years or more elapsed. I guess I had forgotten the hurt. I resumed the friendship. My situation had much changed. As did hers. Her relative advantage had disappeared. My confidence, my accomplishments, my experiences had changed to some extent how I viewed the relationship, how I felt in it.

During that time she confessed to me that she had damaged her mother's sewing machine those many years before. And taken advantage of the opportunity to blame it on me. She realized she had been cruel, and laughed about it. But had she changed? No.

The thing is, the essential dynamic between us had not changed. 50 years later it was the same. She was still cruel to me and rejecting whenever she could be. Still, she was selfish, believing herself to have the right to demand my attention and to be punitive when she did not receive it.

At that time I was living in a hotel with my son, as we were travelling back and forth to a foreign country. She left a series of messages demanding my response. I did not respond right away, I was busy. She became more and more desperate, leaving messages inquiring why, what had she done? She professed to be clueless about why I would ever choose to leave it at that.

At first I was only busy. Too busy to respond to her call right away. She became desperate and demanded that I respond as she needed as she wanted. I did not. I had become sufficiently strong to realize that I had the right to have autonomy that I did not have to obey. I was busy. She became more desperate and more demanding.

She created the opportunity for me to decide. I had autonomy. I had the right to decide when and if to respond. I never did. I never wanted to.

I would lie if I said I did not have some guilt. I did. But way bigger and stronger was my sense that I deserved more and better. And a sort of mild outrage that I had not had it within me to stop this so long ago.

Sometimes I accuse myself that I should have been stronger. And changed. I should have toughened up. Become less sensitive, more tolerant. Let things go.

Self-accusations, familiar to me, because I accuse myself in the same way for my inability to have tolerated relationships with my mother and sister.

It is not our fault, allusedup. When people treat us badly it is not our fault. It is not your fault. You did nothing wrong.

I never responded to Colleen's calls.

She called my Mother hundreds of miles away, who she had not spoken to for maybe 40 years and told her what I had done to her, the bad thing I had done, to ask her why. Why did Copa do this mean thing to me? My mother urged me to call her. I did not.

I want you to know how ludicrous this was, getting mothers involved. We were at this time well over 50, both of us.

She called my mother again. Why? What did I do to Copa? Why is she doing this to me?

I explained to my mother as best I could how it felt.

She is toxic to you it sounds like, said my Mother. How can you sustain a relationship so toxic?

I never again called Colleen. I never again wanted to. To tell the truth I did feel some guilt. But, I knew that there would be no explaining to Colleen whereby I would not be the one to be sacrificed. That was the nature of the friendship. I had learned.

Sometimes I am curious about her. After all I knew her almost before I was me. I hope I never do call her. All it would mean would be self-doubt and the sense that it was my fault and reinforce the sense that I do not deserve better.

Some of us believe we do not deserve to be treated well. It is not true. Some people take advantage of that vulnerability in us. Many do not.

I hope you learn that everything about you is a gift. You are a cherished gift. You are a cherished gift to yourself. You deserve only good. Only care. Nobody should ever hurt you. Nobody should ever hold you responsible for errors or weaknesses that are there own.

You are not responsible for that which you have not chosen. Those feelings belong to others, not you.

I am so glad you posted about this allusedup.

I agree with the others that you need boundaries. But cruel people who do not think of others, who do not care about you and may use you will never accept boundaries. They will always blame their transgressions on you. These people cannot be in our lives even if they are old friends or family because they will always hurt you. They do not want to learn.

I will now read Cedar's posts and the others. Maybe I am repeating things that were already said. Probably. But I got a chance to remember why I should never again speak to or again see Colleen. I feel a sadness because there is nobody left of that time of my life. Except me. And I am all that matters. And you too.
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