When a friend doesnt want to hear a vent about difficult child

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Jen, Sep 22, 2007.

  1. Jen

    Jen New Member

    I have 3 good friends in my life. One I am just learning to connect with, so dont tell all. Another one that I have known most of my life that had no children, and is consumed right now with her diagnosis of MS, and another good friend that has her illnesses, issues with her older kids a little, that listens. She is the one that has me in a daper right now. I seem to forget that not always is she ready to listen, that then throws me a curve ball, and her not realizing that I dont want advice just a sounding board.

    Like the rest of you sometimes there isnt any answeres to our issues, and sometimes we get rapped up in their problems no matter how old they get. She still doesnt get it from where I am coming at. She would tell the whole lot of us on an unexpected day.'Oh Jen you just have tyo get over it, quit enabling, let them lead their lives, and just aceept the way the the are". This is coming ffrom a women that hasnt experienced our troubles in the true sense, and still has her 27yo son living with her. Oh did I forget to mention she keeps telling me for the last yr how she is enforcing him moving out, but then gives him every excusse in the book. The mistakne difference btwn the 2 of us is I dont give her back any of the comments she gives me when the tables are turned. I listen maybe make a comment, but never say some of the wake up comments she gives me. Yet I must say her 2 boys havent given her the frieg that mine have.

    Anyway, this last time this happened I decided to take a diff. approach I backed off from he, and the ohter firend with the MS. I wasited for them to call me, and when they did the conversation was very superficial. Unfortunately, it never crossed their minds as to why I was that way.

    I think through all this I am realizing that what I need in a frikend, isnt going to be them anymore. I need afriend I can tell things to and she listens, and please no more nasty brutal comments back, because they dont serve a purpose. I realize that maybe for that very reason I may not be able to be there.

    Anyone one of you see or am at where I am coming from?

  2. SunnyFlorida

    SunnyFlorida Active Member

    Sometimes it's hard to be a friend. Sometimes the urge to give advice is all someone knows how to do. When I think about, it's hard to make this stuff up, I mean much of what happens to us is unbelievable. The only people who truly understand are those who have been there done that. That's why having friends who don't have similar circumstances or don't know of alot of people with similar circumstances to ours is hard.

    Not everyone knows how to be a listener.
  3. Jen

    Jen New Member

    I know it my heart that what you say is so true. I just think that as hard it is to beleive that we have to admit that our difficult children are ours, it is hard to beleive that other then all of you as a sounding board, that I cant be a friend to somewhere here that I can see and hear to talk with.

  4. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    Sometimes having friends that do not talk about a difficult child is a nice little break.

    But, you obviously are feeling the need to have more supportive friends. And you have every right to. I am not sure where you might find a friend that is familiar with difficult child stuff.

    Well, other than here! LOL!
  5. Stella Johnson

    Stella Johnson Active Member

    Outside of my board friends I just don't talk about difficult child and her issues. People who have never had a difficult child just don't get it. It's not worth the hurt when they don't understand.

  6. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Yeah, Steph hit the nail on the head.

    I have AA friends. I talk to them about AA stuff. My REAL close friends from AA I can tell anything.

    I have friends here. I talk about difficult child stuff. I've made a couple of pretty close friends here, that I can pretty much tell anything to.

    I have 3 friends since highschool (20 years) and a frined since THIRD grade (THIRTY years!). We don't get together but once or twice a year. They don't want to hear difficult child or AA stuff.

    I have my theatre friends. I can't tell them a whole lot. They don't get it. They are my fun friends.

    I think different friends serve different purposes. And a vast collection is nice to have.
  7. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911


    I have had many people come and go in my life. I'm a good, loyal, will do anything anytime for you, stand up kind of friend. Once we're friends we are just that. Getting to know me anymore is a different story, and I've developed an allergy to people.

    I have long thanked my son for "weeding-out" the true friends in my life. I have one left, and even she gets consumed with her own life and forgets me. So I have my Mom and DF. Neither ever forget me. HOWEVER: I have learned NOT to use them as a sounding board or a :censored2:in' buddy. Both (like anyone) have their own problems and would soon tire hearing of mine. So I hired a psychologist.

    The advantage to having a therapist is that I can blow it out (on a sliding scale fee I can afford) and he listens and offers solutions so I don't continue to make mistakes over and over, have discovered that I AM worth having as a friend, I don't suffer tremendous guilt over difficult child and overall I'm a blessed, nice, intelligent, kind, caring person who now doesn't have so much to crab about. When I do? I come here.

    I had/have one friend that occasionally will dangle the proverbial carrot of friendship out in front of my nose, but Iv'e learned she usually wants something from me. Something = money to buy whatever the rest of her "IN" group is selling/buying. That's not friendship it's extortion. lol. One time she had all of us get together at church for a game night and invited this "poor" girl who was selling bracelets she made. THey were expensive by my standards, but the story of how she was so poor, having to work with a child in day care, husband about on the brink of mental breakdown. I got one of those bracelets and I wear it often to remind me not to be a sucker. The poor girl drove a Denali, her husband a Benz. Their 9,000 sf. home, his and her harleys, a speed boat and his 90k a year job had left them without the necessities of life - a budget. So she "Bought" craft stuff to make bracelets with for her "extras" and here I thought buying this overpriced elastic rock candy thing was helping her buy cereal for her kids. ARGH.

    It's like pain. If I have a papercut it's my paper cut, and it hurts constantly I'm reminded of the twinge of pain. Then a call comes in and someone tells me so and so has cancer. WOW! Then back to my paper cut because I can't feel the pain of the person with cancer, but I can feel the paper cut on my index finger all day long - Our difficult child's are like that to others. Eventually if you keep talking about your paper cut to the person with cancer she's not going to bother calling. Even though you were sympathetic, everyone considers THEIR problems bigger.

    difficult child situations are no exception. Somehow I think the majority of us here find ways to deal with the stress or moreso supress it. We don't understand why our "friends" wont sit and listen and give us a hug to be able to go back home and deal with our lives. Walk a mile in my shoes....this is how I understand and am able to offer support, it's why this board is so tremendously successful - we all "GET" each other.

    You're okay....maybe you just aren't typing enough. LOL.

    Hugs & SUPPORT
  8. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    I agree. I blow out my problems to a atherapist that understands. Also I go to Alanon where all the parents there have been through and still going through what I am. It makes me feel comfortable. I understand about the friend thing though. I have one friend that listens. she lost her son to suicide about 4 years ago. She listens with not much judging except for the times my difficult child practically emotionally abuses me. I have another friend that parents were alcoholics and her brother in law is a drug addict. she has no mercy at all. She is mean I think and tells me I am crazy for even putting up with him. I let her thoughts go in one ear and out the other but sometimes I need someone to give me that advice so I wont be such a softie. My daughter wont even talk about it. My sister is getting tired of it. she worries about me.
  9. Jen

    Jen New Member

    I wanted earlier to give you examples of the way my girlfrined that lives here in my same town responds sometimes. AS some of you are aware my sister in law lives here with us and my grandson. My easy child daughter has joined the service in part to run away, in what she thought was the acceptalbe way in the service rather than divorce. I know is always takes 2 but I can see now from personal experience of being with my sister in law how overwhelmed by all the responsibilities that he just doesnt deal with. Her outlet then was going out with her friends aftr work, and in the service she is the same way. Anyway my girlfriend that has a son inthe US Army like my daughter thinks that it is horrible that she left her son and husband behindlike she did , even though she moved them here for extra support. But I never once say to my girlfriend,"Well gosh your son is married and has been for 3 yrs, and they have only been under the same roof for 6 months". He is stationed out in Texas, and has his own apt. She lives in VA, in their new home, and before that house refused to move out there with him. She thinks it diff cause he is the guy. My thoughts is he left her behind 2. She tells me how horrible it is that my daughter is married with a child and probably partying every night, but then calmly tells me that her 33 yr old son is probably is doing the same ting, but that is diff. I never make derrogatory comments to her about him. My daughter and sister in law have had finacial issues all along and we have helped them, like my parents did with us. Now they are making good money but poor managing, on my daughters part esp. I cosigned for my daughter newer car 2001, she was resposnsilbe and pd on the old one I co signed with her about. My girlfriend response, " you need to stop doing that and enabling her, she shouldnt need a cosigner." My daughter is 21, adn she needed to have a cosigner because she was the cosigner for her husband car. My girlfriend response " See , you are making excuses for her". I dont say to her "You still have your 27 yr old other son living with you, and he climbs into bed with you when he feels bad. adn wants to revert back to how Mommy would take care of him when he was little".

    I guess I am just not that nasty. She would call it being brutaly honest, adn that I need to wake up. Like I said, this last time was the first time I didnt call iether girlfriend for 2 weeks, they thought I had died. Then I am just so superficial. I dont want friends that want a shallow friend. Not my definition of a true friend.

    I used to see a therapist, an then he moved on to a diff. type of job. It was getting to the point that they were an expensive sounding board. Their ideas were great, but not realistic for me. Really , I am serious, I would have to move away, and not leave a tel number to have the enrgy to carry through with what he asked of me. I understood, but I have kids that no matter how nasty I can be, they always come back for me. Me, I wouldnt be that stupid, or think bacly of myself to do whatever it took to keep in contact if it were my parents.

  10. Jen

    Jen New Member

    Please excuse my typing. My thoughts are faster than my typing skills. I am not dyslexic either, just to lazy to correct my typos.
  11. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    Well ... Friendship is a two sided coin. The other side of a good friend 'listening' is often telling us the hard things. The things we don't necessarily want to hear.

    Things like stop enabling.

    Things like your child is an adult now.

    Things like let your child take his consequences.

    Good friends do allow us to vent. They are good listeners. But, sometimes they need to speak truth to us. Not in harsh or critical terms. But, speak truth none the less.

    I have two dear girl friends. They have not hesitated to say the hard things on occasion. It is not always what my itching ears WANT to hear ... but it is often what my ears NEED to hear.

    in my humble opinion.
  12. KFld

    KFld New Member

    I bell my bestfriend everything, remember she's Lucy and I'm Ethel. She has two sons and one shares some of the same issues my difficult child does or used to, so she can usually understand where I am coming from. In the end though, we all have to be careful not to burn our friends out with our difficult child issues. When my son was in his full blown heroin useing mode, it was all I could think about and all I could talk about at times. My boyfriend was always there too listen, but I know her well enough to sense when she had heard enough for awhile and needed a change in topic of conversation. We are also good enough friends that sometimes she would just give me a little hint.

    I am very fortunate to have her. I know I have done the same for her in the past.

    I do know I have other friends though who aren't as tolerant and don't want to hear about my woe's all the time, so I tell them bits and pieces here and there and move onto the next topic.

    Then I always come here!!!
  13. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I have two close friends that I share just about everything with. Sometimes I almost hope that they give me the brutally honest feedback I need to hear. Sometimes, they instinctively know that I just need to vent. Sometimes I will even say, "you don't even need to respond, just please lend me your ear" and most of the time they are very accomodating. I don't think there is a family out there who has a teen that hasn't dealt with a difficult moment at some point or another. Even easy child's can behave as difficult child's at times, so most parents I know will 'get it', they just won't admit it. To those people I am cordial and smile and nod and when they ask how my life is I usually just say very enthusiastically, "Great, how are things with you" and move on.

    I guess, in a way, my difficult child has also weeded out the people I'd rather not be friends with. I like being able to share with my friends the joys as well as they horrors of motherhood, marital "bliss" and just every day life.

    It sounds to me like you may need more from your friends than they can offer at this time. People in glass houses should not throw stones, however, they often do.

    One of my closest friends has 3 difficult child's - each with her own issues. My friend has called me and vented her head off and sometimes I am truly speechless because I can clearly see the enabling going on with her mostly adult kids and yet she just feels so gypped and can clearly see that part of the problem is her. But, I sit here and I wonder, "who am I to say anything" and I think that my perspective comes from the fact that I too have felt gypped. It's almost as if I can see glaringly how I messed up some things and enabled my own difficult child by listening to her talk about her difficult children! So I try and keep quiet. Sometimes she will ask me for my thoughts, and then I can speak. And she affords me the same.

    Perhaps joining a support group for parents with certain disorders or an al anon group would be a good place for you to find people who are trying and who are more empathetic to your situation. I think detaching away from friends who simply do not meet your needs is very normal and okay. Why hang out with people who make you feel crummy? And who criticize you? No one needs to leave a get together or hang up the phone and feel worse. It's okay to have separate friends for certain parts of your life. And it's okay to drop friends if you're simply not 'clicking' with them anymore.

    Hugs - I hope you're able to find a place or person where you feel comfortable in your own skin.
  14. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It's hard to be my friend. I learned to accept that awhile ago. When venting about your difficult child(s), you do have to choose your friends carefully. I've had many fall by the wayside, and feel mostly alone a lot of the time. They just don't get it. They don't know what to say, they don't know how to help, the venting wears them out. Merely being my friend wears them out, after awhile. And don't even get me started on trying to form relationships with men ;-) lol

    I vent in my blog (journal). I vent to my therapist. I vent here, occasionally. I pray a lot. I've learned to count on friendships as an escape from the difficult child issues, instead of an answer to helping me with them. My friendships are for ME.. and I learned that I enjoy them a lot more when I use them to foster my own identity, instead of expecting a sounding board or shoulder to cry on.

    That's just me, of course. It took years to get to this point.
  15. Skylark Matrix

    Skylark Matrix New Member

    I have very few friends or family members who ever want to hear about difficult child issues, and I know that without even thinking about starting a conversation. They just don't get it. They are so judgemental and so clueless. Examples: they don't understand why we don't get difficult child her own car, and suggest that "she has to be able to go out with her friends". (that is when she is living at home, currently she isn't) Well, we do "let" her go out with her friends, anytime at all, just not while driving our vehicles that we paid for and need to go to work with. And that is really just a minor issue. difficult child has documented cognitive problems --- family and friends probably don't have delays, I don't know why they don't get it, they just don't. A few have offered advice - example, when she is driving me up the wall their solution would be to Kick her out. And that would accomplish what exactly???? She cannot function on her own. Now that she has been on her own for 3 weeks every "normal" family or friend is telling me "well, maybe she has grown up this time and things will work out" I think not..... this is just another short term idea that will come around to the same old thing, no job, no money, no place to live, although I truly think that this time when all that happens I am just going to send her to try and collect welfare. I'm not sure I can do life with her in the house anymore.
    The only real friends any of us have who understand these issues are sitting right here reading this on their computer and encouraging us along our rough and rocky road.