friendship

One of the most common difficulties I hear about when people make changes such as implementing boundaries and basically treating themselves with love, care, trust, and respect, is that they discover that where they may have lacked boundaries with their relationships, there have also been issues with their friendships.

While I’m very fortunate that I’ve had a lot of the same friends for a very long time, I admit that when I learned to love myself, it turned out that I had been giving shelter to ‘friends’, who like Mr Unavailables and assclowns, detracted from and relied on me being someone who didn’t always act in my own best interests.

Examples: The friend who is angry because after countless times of her using you like a taxi service at all hours, you’ve said NO.

The friend who asks if you can keep an eye on her child one evening and then drops her child around every evening…without asking.

The friend who gets angry because she made plans, assumed you would do a task for her, and then is surprised when you say NO.

The friend who just assumes you’ll pay for everything and won’t put her hand in her pocket and then gets mad when for the first time, you rightly ask her to pay her share.

The friend who loves telling you who you should be and gets mad at you when you won’t follow her advice, even though it may not be in your best interests or you’re not ready.

Change is not something that just affects you; it has a ripple effect on the relationships attached to you. There are relationships that will embrace the difference in you and be happy that you are taking care of yourself even if it impacts on things that you may or may not do as a result of it.

There are also other relationships where the person will feel inconvenienced, threatened, or confused – these people see you changing as something that negatively impacts on them. It could be that it casts an uncomfortable light on them forcing them to see their own behaviours, or that it makes them feel left behind in your old life, that they feel inconvenienced because you are not as amenable as you used to be making it difficult for them to take advantage of and abuse you, or they feel inadequate and are scared they will lose you and put up resistance.

In some instances, you may have been heavy handed with boundaries, something that can happen when you feel like you’ve been a yes person and temporarily see saying yes, even if it’s to something good, as some sort of negative.

You can also find that some friendships are emotionally demanding with too many expectations that cross into your boundaries and it’s important to put some distance and establish boundaries to stop or avoid co-dependency.

Boundaries are there, not to trap you in chains and shut people out, but to free you to enjoy a positive, healthy experience in line with your values that let’s you love, live, and like with self-esteem.

If your boundaries keep certain people out that’s OK – they’re supposed to. You’re not a free for all knocking shop!

If you’ve not had boundaries and surrounded yourself with people who have at best taken advantage of your lack of boundaries, and at worst, abused them, then yes, initially when you live your life with boundaries there is going to be a short-term knock on effect. It’s tough, but it’s life.

If these people resist the fact that you are not prepared to allow yourself to be abused, taken advantage of, and do anything that feels at odds with your own personal happiness, it’s because a you with boundaries doesn’t work for them.

While there is always room for compromise with any relationship (not just romantic), if you are compromising where it causes you to compromise yourself and to avoid conflict and hold on to friends, this is not healthy compromise.

Friends, like romantic partners, should not require you to be compromised so that they can be happy, whether that’s because they blatantly expect you to do it and demand it, or because you compromise yourself so you can hold on to friendships.

Just like when I say to people that it’s dangerous to be in a romantic relationship because you’d rather have them on any terms rather than none, the same applies to friendship.

At what cost are you prepared to have people around you that you can bag and tag as pseudo friends? I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t have friends – I’m saying that just like relationships, make better choices and carry yourself authentically so that you can have a better quality of friend otherwise you will end up with inauthentic friendships.

If when you come up against resistance from a friend because you’re not prepared to do something it translates to, ‘They are mad at me because I won’t do something that I’m really uncomfortable with and it would have me living outside of my values’, then you have to stand behind your decision. While you can of course, look for a healthy compromise, if they’re asking you to do something that is fundamentally wrong for you, don’t do it.

Really, the same core things apply at the heart of friendships – there needs to be boundaries in every last relationship that you have – not just romantic. Your boundaries are basically your personal electric fence and you consciously and subconsciously use these to navigate everything from work, family, friends, acquaintances, strangers etc.

Like romantic friendships, shared values are what will actually tie your friendship and cause it to endure. As I have discovered since becoming a mother, it takes more than procreating around the same time, getting a c-section scar or some vaginal tears, and having a child, to give you something in common with another person!

Just like when you’re in relationships, you could share a gazillion interests but if those values are off, that person will leave you feeling confused or if you try to swing over to their values corner, having you acting out of sync with yourself.

Friendships, like when you’re dating, require you each to behave with integrity, to act with care, to act with trust and be trustworthy, to be respected and respectful. You may not ‘love’ someone that you are friends with (unless you’re close friends) but that doesn’t stop you from acting with the same care and consideration that you would expect for yourself.

Like relationships, not all friendships are created equal and built to last. People have friends for various different reasons and they may not actually be aligned with your own and they may have different ideas of what they feel constitutes a friendship – this is a classic example of different values. If their idea of a friendship is one where they wield power over you and step all over your boundaries, it’s not a friendship.

I would also say proceed with caution with any ‘friend’ who pulls the whole ‘If you were a real friend, you’d do X, Y, Z’ because just replace ‘friend’ with ‘girlfriend’ or ‘boyfriend’ and listen to how crass that sounds.

That said, when you are making big changes in your life, it’s important to recognise that not everybody will be on board or some will not quite be at the same pace. You have to manage change.

This doesn’t mean pussyfooting around your friends because at the end of the day, you’re entitled to act with love, care, trust, and respect, but recognise that it may take a bit of time for some to ‘acclimatise’ to the new you. It won’t necessarily be that they want you not to act in your best interests but it may be that they are uncertain about where they fit.

While you addressing your own needs may feel all consuming to you and a major priority, it may be difficult for some friends to feel it to the same extent. They may not ‘get’ what you’re going through especially if stuff like having boundaries and living in line with their values is foreign to them. Talk to them, tell them what you’re experiencing. When you explain, don’t do it to seek validation because it’s up to you to be behind your decision but tell them because you want them to be a part of your life.

However one common mistake that people make is trying to get their friends who they deem to need changing too, to adapt with them – be careful of preaching your new gospel as at times it may inadvertently come across that you’re ‘down’ on their choices.

Sometimes when you say NO, it’s not because of any particular boundary per se; it’s because for whatever reason, you don’t want to do it. It could be that it is inconvenient, it could be that you don’t like whatever it is that’s being asked or expected, and sometimes, you just don’t want to. Sometimes we know not why we don’t want to do something.

If you can on balance, reflect and say to yourself that there are plenty of other occasions that you have said YES, then that’s OK. We don’t have to do everything that everyone asks of us. If you’re saying NO for the hell of it, while you’re entitled to, recognise that if it’s a reasonable request, you may come across ‘unfriendly’.

But remember that if you have trained people to expect a YES from you, it will surprise them when you say NO. In their mind, they will have already planned around gaining agreement from you, so it will ‘mess up’ their plans. They will have to adapt. That doesn’t mean you should do it – no friend has any right to expect that you will do everything that they ask but step into their shoes from a moment and recognise that they’re not ‘used’ to a you that says NO, whether it’s because you just don’t feel like it or because it goes against your values and would have you feeling very uncomfortable.

One of the best things that you can do to manage the changes with your friends is to be up front. It doesn’t mean you won’t experience resistance and tension, but it will save the changes from feeling sudden and aggressive. For example, for the person who expects the friend to pay for everything, drop it into a conversation before you are out that you won’t be paying for it, that way they can choose whether they still want to go out. Yes it will hurt if they no longer want to do something because you won’t pay, but at least you’ll know where you stand.

If you know that you have shady friends, treat them like assclowns and Mr Unavailables and put your foot down very firmly and don’t lose sleep over explaining. But if they are fairly decent friends and you’re surprised by their resistance, explain your position. But remember, you shouldn’t have to justify why you’re treating yourself decently and people who genuinely care about you, will adapt to your boundaries in time. Be yourself consistently and they will get used to it but do recognise that if you have unhealthy friendships that they may not survive your changes. However, much like a toxic relationship, it’s not healthy to hold on to a toxic friendship.

Your thoughts?

Image credit: SXC

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29 Responses to When You Experience Conflict In Your Friendships Because Of New Boundaries

  1. Movedup says:

    WOW Nat you are so very timely. I have come to the sad conclusion today that I have to drop a toxic friend. She has crossed my boundaries one too many times and this last one is a dozey. It hurts that she does not respect the boundary of “don’t talk to me about the ExEUM” spoken directly. I point blank told her that our friendship was between her and me and not him. Yet she still steps over that boundary and even asks me to help him with his legal problems. This woman was friends with us both but has choosen to try to use me to help him. It hurts but I have to let her go for my own good. I don’t need people using me and if she cannot respect my spoken and clear boundary than I cannot continue in the relationship. I needed to hear this today. 3 years later you would think – after all she saw me go through back then. The last thing she would do if she truly was a good friend to me – is bring him up even when asked not too. She is one of those fixer upper types seeking validation from the ExEUMs – to the rescue and trying to use my expertise to do it and at my expense. What kind of friend would purposely hurt another to help the one that nearly tore a friend apart? Just as sick as he is. Red flag- when you are willing to use a friend to further your own agenda – you aren’t a friend.

  2. NK says:

    Wow this has been one of the subjects I’ve been thinking about since I dropped assclown last year. My friendships have changed so much now, because I was very much a ‘yes’ girl before, two people in my life have distanced themselves new people have entered, I was weary before but they’re not so close that if they do start anoying me or trying it, they can curl back under the curb they came from. Also, one of my oldest and best friends distanced herself from me on purpose due to her constant money problems (always asking me for dosh!). She actually admits that because she respects me the pressure she has had from others to get money seh told me to leave her be until she cna be trusted, which is an admission of her lack boundaries in that department. I will always be there for her but was relieved twhen she made this statement!

  3. Suzanna says:

    This is one of my faves so far, you hit the nail on the head with everything you said – I recently went through a lot of changes and am finally standing up for myself and not being a doormat, or doing things because I’m afraid people won’t like me – or because I want them to like me. I have had to reset boundaries with a lot of people in my life, personally and in business. Some of my ‘friends’ dropped away, some I reset boundaries with successfully, and some I didn’t have to do anything at all – they were there for/with me no matter what. This is when you find out who your true friends are. It’s liberating, it’s difficult, and it’s sad to have to let some people go. But when you think that they really weren’t making you happy or being a positive influence on your life, you get over it pretty quickly and appreciate your other friends that much more. And the best part is, you start to attract better friends who reflect your newfound self-esteem and respect you for who you are.

  4. Kay says:

    I have parted company with a lot of my so called “friends” since I started my recovery. I have had to use one of NML’s mottos,”If loving you means I can’t love me,then sorry but I must choose me”.I haven’t actually said that to anyone but it’s a very good philosophy to live by. Unfortunately I used to choose the same type of friends as romantic partners and have had a succession of girlfriends just like the men, parading through my life.So in the last two years since I started to live by my boundaries, the fair weather friends have pretty much faded from the scene. One or two true friends have stuck around though,they were the ones who’d never taken advantage of me and in fact put up with a lot from the old me. I hugely appreciate them now.I’ve also had to reset boundaries with my mother and that’s working very well also.

    But boundaries cut both ways.Because I had none of my own,I didn’t use to respect other people’s. I am now learning to relate all over again,the right way. And it really feels good to respect and be respected.

  5. Christy says:

    Thank you for this post! I have been experiencing this myself since I got rid of the Assclown. My “friend” decided that it was more important for her and her husband to be friends with my ex-Assclown (whom they had only met a couple of times, when I introduced them to him) than to maintain our friendship of twelve years. She knew that I was having problems with him lying and cheating, and instead of being a friend and confidant to me, she wanted to get right in the middle and talk to him about it. When I asked her to respect my boundaries and stay out of my relationship with him, she was basically like, “It’s a free country…anybody should be able to be friends with anybody they want.” When I told her that I was having problems with him lying and cheating, that I was feeling hurt by him, and I would prefer it if she would step away from the situation because I don’t like triangles in relationships, she basically told me that I had no right to ask her that because in her words, “He’s my friend, too!” I told her that he was just using them to get to me—he had told me directly that he didn’t really care for them, except for the fact that they were my friends–and he made that clear by a couple of strange posts on her Facebook wall that were obvious ploys to try to get my attention and rile me up. I told her I really needed her to be on my side and be my friend through this difficult time, and she replied that I knew what I was getting into with him, and just because I wanted him out of my life didn’t mean that they couldn’t be friends with him. I was totally blown away at the lack of respect, loyalty, and friendship after all those years. I helped raise her kids, I helped her cook for various events at their house, I brought her into my circles of friends who were great musicians and other amazing people who were well-accomplished in the world. But there had been red flags before that I had ignored, with her overstepping boundaries and trying to be the center of attention amongst my friends. But I was stunned that she would be willing to throw away all the years of our friendship for this Assclown. I have since walked away from our “friendship” and I feel much better that I am standing up for myself, maintaining my boundaries, and not wasting my time on “friends” that are really just self-centered users and another version of assclown, themselves. Thank you so much, Natalie! I found this blog right when I started going through all this BS and drama with him, and it was a godsend! Instead of wallowing in confusion and sadness, you helped me to clearly identify what was going on, and be able to laugh about it and move on to more healthy relationships…Thank you, thank you, thank you! You are doing a great service to the women of the world!

  6. Anonymous says:

    This article really brings up the point that EUM are generally of the same ilk as many so-called friends and relatives — a lot of people are simply self-centered, do not extend themselves to support relationships and sit back expecting someone else to do all the work giving. Many people are takers; many are lazy.

    Using your example — the person who expects their friend to pay for everything. Why should the always-paying person initiate a conversation that she’s changing and now won’t be paying for everything? Those who expect someone else to pay all the time are taking WAY TOO MUCH for granted and taking advantage in the first place — so they are owed no explanation. They most likely really can’t be called a true friend. To assume one can spend someone else’s money without reciprocating in some way is arrogant and abusive.

    I’ve seen this with family members too, who won’t accept boundaries or have a hard time dealing with someone who is NOT seeking their advice. Letting people know where you stand is likely to piss people off in some way unless they too are empowered and already “get it” –that your boundaries are not a threat to them. Rather than always taking care of their emotions or other reactions to your positive changes, let the ones who take too much for granted deal with change on their own — OR NOT. If they want to talk I will, but why should I take responsibility to start a discussion with everyone about changes I’m making. Why be a caretaker of other people’s feelings just because — this suggests too much approval-seeking.

    My theory is that there are very few people in the world who are both self-aware and empathic enough to be worth struggling with if they can’t accept that you have a right to say no. If they have no interest in understanding and applying the principles of fairness and reciprocation, communication and conflict resolution, they are as unavailable as the typical EUM (you’re just not being intimate with them in the same way).

    Few people put much effort into maintaining relationships other than with someone they’re in a primary relationship with. Most relationships are superficial anyway. I personally have stopped being the one to always initiate a talk with others — and in stepping back, what I’ve found is that no one ever confronts me about anything; they just don’t ask questions ever. So why should I carry the “caring” for all relationships just because I’m a generally good communicator. Too much work!

    I say let it be for the most part. I like having fewer friends. Those who remain offer more give-and-take and are worth keeping.

  7. JJ2 says:

    Friends? They aren’t the problem. It’s FAMILY members. You are “not supposed to” have “boundaries” with FAMILY members.

    JJ2

    • allie says:

      I am with you. I had to put phisical distance from my family for them to learn that I am making my own decitions. I love them, but still, I am almost 40 and mom and dad still want to rule my life and complaining where I live and where I work, alway saying, why don’t you move? there is nothing for you there. Hard to say no to a love one, but I have had to learn to said no nicely but firm.

    • Enlightened says:

      JJ2, I agree totally with you on that point.

      That is the dilemma and pressure that was put upon me when I tried to distance myself from a completely ‘toxic’ and selfish younger Sister and a Mother that supported/enabled her youngest child’s infantile behaviour……resulting in distance between myself and my own Mother, sadly.

      It is bad enough when it is a ‘friend’ but when it is your own family that you have this terrible dynamic with and people expect you to ‘sacrifice’ yourself for the rest of your life because it is your ‘Family’.

      Sometimes happiness within yourself comes from the fact that you ACCEPT that ‘it is what it is’……. and now it is time to enforce your boundaries to what is beneficial to you and move on from where you were, to something a hell of a lot better in terms of ‘any relationship’ you have with anyone.

      • Wendy says:

        I too find it harder to set boundaries with family members, especially my mother. Now that I’m thinking about these issues, it’s striking how much she resembles the AC that I was engaged to in my late twenties. Oh, on the surface they couldn’t be more different. He was a very extroverted and charismatic executive who could sell ice in Antarctica; she’s a shy, socially awkward housewife. But in terms of how they behave in relationships, they’re so alike it’s scary. They both have to have their own way, and can be very nasty when they don’t get it — insulting, withdrawing love. If you’re with them, you eat at the restaurants they choose, go to the movie or activity that they want — and leave when they decide they feel like leaving. If they’re tired, or bored, we’ve got to leave immediately; if I was tired or bored, I was expected to just suck it up, stay and act like I was having a good time. In the car or the house — always their music, never mine.

        When I was in my midtwenties, my mother demanded that I have a child because she wanted grandchildren. Never mind that I was single, and had a job that I loved that involved a lot of travel. A child was the last thing I wanted or needed at that point, and yet she considered it perfectly reasonable to demand that I produce one! And he broke off our engagement because I went out to have coffee with a couple of girlfriends. He wanted me to invite them to his house. I didn’t want to do that because I knew he’d take over and be the center of attention; I wouldn’t have gotten to talk with them at all.

        After we’d broken up and the initial shock and hurt had faded, I wondered why I’d put up with the guy. Well, why wouldn’t I? With my mother, I’d become accustomed to having no boundaries and being treated as if my needs and wishes didn’t matter. In my relationship with my former fiance, I simply took on the role that I’d always taken with her…and that my poor father has taken with my mother, for decades. I set more boundaries now. My mother calls me a witch, and my father asks why can’t I just go along so that there can be peace in the family?

        I’m finding it easier to set boundaries with men, and with friends, but family is something else! Today, I wouldn’t hesitate to end a relationship, friendship or romantic, if the person wasn’t treating me with respect. I have less contact with my family, but I’m unwilling to cut them off completely.

  8. Minky says:

    Luckily this isn’t a problem for me anymore, but it used to be. I used to have friends that took the p*ss, but that is my own fault because i didn’t have any boundaries with them – i wanted them to like me. I now have wonderful friends that respect me, treat me with care and are like my family – especially the friends that i live with. I also maintained boundaries with the EUM ex, and broke up with him when he crossed them one too many times, my mistake was getting back together with him again, thereby crying wolf and negating the stand i had previously made.

    i particularly like the line “You may not ‘love’ someone that you are friends with (unless you’re close friends) but that doesn’t stop you from acting with the same care and consideration that you would expect for yourself.” We often make exceptions for people we are in relationships with and compromise more with them than we would for our friends, because of the level of intimacy and the intensity of our feelings, but the same rules should apply! Even if a man does not love us, does not want to be with us, they should still act with integrity, as we do towards them, and not take us for a ride. It is never ok to treat someone without care and people who do are not worthy of our time.

    Thank you for another great article!

  9. Brad K. says:

    One of the boundaries conflicts in my life was about humor – gossip, pranks, jokes. A friend pointed out that there is no humor without pain. You cannot pull a prank or tell a joke without the point being disrespect or pain – some “other” group or person is humiliated or hurt – so that we can laugh. Sometimes humor is used to deal with pain – but most often that point is forgotten. Laughing at another’s failure or enjoying someone’s mistakes or mishaps is not a way to express respect for them – or for myself.

    Respect is a big issue for me, both for myself and for others. I still consider gossip one of the true social evils. I have acquaintances that don’t feel that way, that don’t consider their comments to be disrespectful. I won’t spend time with them that isn’t part of doing business. I don’t say anything – but I do avoid their company.

  10. Pirouette says:

    This is very timely for me as well. I’ve really had to reevaluate my friendships recently. My problem is that I always take the sidekick roll and end up being the overly accomodating friend, jumping when my friends say jump and making all kinds of concessions for them. Just recently I had to put up some strong boundaries with two women I was getting to know because they saw fit to suggest that I should feel “lucky” that they are friends with me because my personality is not the norm for them. I told them very pointedly how I felt about that and haven’t exclusively hung out with them since. I see they are friends with each other, but that does not bother me. I don’t need people in my life who try to make me feel insecure about myself or try to make me feel like I need their approval.

  11. Sara A says:

    I couldn’t thank NML enough for inspiring me towards self empowerment and loving myself and the benefit spills not only in my thinking when it comes to romantic relationships but also in friendships and other types of relationships.

    I’ve recognized the fact that I was behaving like a doormat previously, always seeking for people’s approval and validation but as I read through NML’s writing, I realised that why should I waste my time on meeting other people’s expectation instead of my own?

    So, I’ve begun changing my perception, putting myself first and work on improving my self-worth for my own satisfaction.

    One simple example, I recognised that the advertising agency who works for me has been taking me for granted and so, whenever I put a request on priority for them to respond and work on, they’ll always give excuses, hem and haw, move the goalpost, all the while never taking MY priority into consideration.

    I though I was being tolerant but if they can’t respect my rights and needs as a client, i won’t put up with the nonsense and I have plenty more options to work with and cut them off.

    So I set my own boundaries and once they overstepped that, I cracked my whip and demanded them to toe the line carefully if they want to stay on board.

    I feel good about this. NC has definitely changed my mindset and improved my way of thinking and evaluating myself.

    Again, thank you NML.

  12. Alice says:

    Thank you Nat, great comments!You always manage to put my thoughts into words! I have been thinking about a friend lately, I have known her for 25!!years.

    I always found her emotionally demanding, but put up with her mood swings for all those years. She is very helpful towards me and I always thought she is trying to “buy” me.
    She always has some kind of illness, always, from day one I have known her with her illnesses. I believe she uses those to gain sympathy and to be the centre of attention.

    In the last few years she has become more and more cynical and moody and everytime I meet her, she wears that sour face and never smiles.
    She also puts me down in public and makes those innuendos about me nobody around us understands.

    I got along better with her when I had the crisis with EUM, Assclown and abusive Narcissist, maybe she liked it when I wasn’t so well ….. ?
    I have learned a lot in the last 3 years and she said that she finds my attitude very hard.

    I on the other hand have reached a point where I can’t handle her anymore and I am so fed up with her cynical and moody attitude.
    I believe it is time to say Good-Bye, have a nice life to her and move on.

    Best wishes to all of you
    X

  13. Claire says:

    Thanks Natalie.
    In my case in the end my friend broke the contact, saying that I was too self-obsessed. Perhaps with time I’ll know whether she was right, or if she cut me off as I wasn’t catering to her needs anymore.
    In the last year I haven’t seen her often, and always on her terms. She isn’t that available. She questioned my decisions. She never liked my other friends, my job, my husband, you name it. It wasn’t good enough for me she used to say…
    It just stopped feeling right, and sometimes that is enough.
    I am trying to be more emotionally available and think that carrying on mixing with other EU people isn’t good for me at all.

  14. scandia says:

    Last month and ex came back into life saying he wanted us to to be friends. We lost contact for a lot time as he lives in another country, I let him in, he changed, but I notice he wanted to cross my boundaries. First he told he had like 5 girls and then one day he tolds me he had a new girlfriend. He came to my country and because of work and he did not even called me to say happy birthday. I know that its dumb toget mad at, but when we use to be together he once left me in another country, we were fighting and left me in the hotel, I had to see how to came back, I forgave him. Once he told me he was ashamed of people seing us together, I forgave him as he told me I drove him really mad. For this and a lot of reasons, for me is really hard to be his intimate friend as I dont trust him and now I have boundaries. It is like you say in the article friendship is trust and he has to earn it. He has deceive me a lot before and also he gets mad as it is describe in the article. We started fighting as one day we can talk for hours but when we hang up or I get out of msn, something inside of me starts telling “why are you so nice to someone who did horrible things to you and for him you decided to change and become a better person” and then when he sents me an email I tell him that he has to earn my trust again I can be his best friend just because he says so. We have been fighting a lot because of that, so I decided to write him an email with all that I went through when I was with him, how he hurt me with words and actions and all my journey to be a better person with selfesteem. He wrote me back with bad words insulting and saying he wont beg my friendship anymore and to move on and to forget all he did to me. I have forgive him, but that does not mean I will let him as a friend that does not respect my boundaries.

  15. Lucia says:

    thank you very much indeed – I find this very logical and intuitive.
    since I have used your blog to self-coach myself and then testing “clear behaviour” with boundaries in RL I have had similar experiences.
    similar idea with “you can choose what you do. you cannot choose what you like to do”.
    also, I have quit giving explanations when I set boundaries and just, others will accuse me of being “selfish” – because they e.g. do not wish to explore the natural concept of boundries (respect/self-respect, value) for themselves ?
    I live a lot better and balanced with myself now, though not without conflicts.

  16. Aplus says:

    You hit the nail on the head, I had a friend that was very toxic, I would be to scared to say no to her. I changed who I was when she was around which made me very uncomfortable. Till one day when I decided that enough is enough. This is it, if you want to be my friend then there are going to be changes, there were changes alright, we went our differant ways.

  17. truthhurts says:

    Thanks so much NML for making things clear.

    I am “in” a group of friends. One of them came up to me at a party and started critisizing me very harshly. She had obviously been very irritated by me for a long time.. al kind of frustrations came out along the lines of “if i were a friend i would do this and that and be more so and so”, she said she didn’t understand who I was anymore and accused me of niet being myself.. she spoke out that she couldn’t understand some of my actions (months ago at a reunion of the 5 “friends”I got some very bad news and got very upset because of this at a and left early), she said she would have handled that very differently…. I was stunned…

    Next day she texted (!) a very halfhearted excuse about having to much to drink and “perhaps” she “might” have gotten a bit “carried away”….

    She is bringing me down, making me feel insecure, not good enough etc etc. Not what I expect from a friend.

    Sounds familiar EUM. This is the first time I recognized it in a friend.. This friendship is over for me.
    It makes me very sad.. and very anxcious for the reactions of the other girls (who knows who else I wil loose..). But it feels good to take care of ME, and I have no doubt that this is the right decision.

  18. truthhurts says:

    Oh, and should I add that she slept with my ex boyriend? And that her husband tried to kiss me at the same reunion where she was having a go at me? Her husband trying to kiss me is of course not her fault and I truly feel for her that he will do that to her, but it is part of the drama. The negative energy, the lack of MY values. I am stepping out. Thank you NML for reconfirming my feelings on this.

  19. KMHB says:

    I found Baggage Reclaim seeking advice and help on how to deal with a platonic friendship with a manboy/assclown/EUM. Natalie has saved my sanity!

    Even though her advice about Assclowns and EUMs is geared to romantic relationships, nearly every post has my friend’s name written all over it–

    1. He blows hot/cold as needed to secure his ego massages and my sympathetic ear.

    2. Disappears for weeks and months at a time with no explanation except he was so very “busy.”

    3. Manages down my expectations of the friendship and changes the goalposts. Example: Even though he was reliant on lazy communication, he announced he was rebelling against society’s addiction to technology and wasn’t going to text anyone anymore. Actually, it was just me he wasn’t going to text anymore. He then expected me to email him whenever he wanted one even though he rarely replies to emails.

    4. I won’t even mention the narcissistic tendencies he exhibits. The gaslighting (telling me I’m imagining things and/or crazy when I question his “stories”), projection (telling me I’m passive aggressive, paranoid, narcissistic), compulsive lying, narcissistic rages. Not even my dad’s burial two days prior kept him from screaming at me in a very public place over nothing. He then acted like I wounded him for months after.

    5. When, where, and how we communicated he decided. Every time. All on his terms.

    I started No Contact two weeks ago. My self-esteem was in the pits, and his drama was consuming every brain cell and moment of my day. I did a benefit cost analysis and I couldn’t come up with one thing he contributed to my life. Not one.

    I also realized what I had done to contribute to this twisted excuse of a friendship. I met him years ago at a low moment of my life and felt grateful then to have such a dynamic, charming, intelligent, talented friend. I had no boundaries with him from the get-go and basically trained him myself to mistreat me. Our friendship wouldn’t have made it to the three month mark if I had known then what I have learned from Natalie.

    It is easy to blame the other person for all of it, but I realized through Natalie’s posts that I am to blame too and will be more aware of my behaviors in the future.

    My mom says I am doing well since starting NC, and I think so too. I don’t miss him as everything was so one-sided. I can’t wrap my head around one thing just yet though. The inability of these assclowns to even recognize loyalty and decency in friends. My assclown friend seems to relish being around his fellow assclown friends. Natalie said once that decent people make them uncomfortable. True.

    Ladies, take Natalie’s advice and apply it to all assclowns & EUMs in your life regardless of type of relationship. The advice can be painted across your life with a broad stroke.

    Thanks Natalie.

  20. Leigh says:

    It’s very odd, but after gaining some distance and going NC with the AC I have been looking at my friendships.

    One friendship in particular had very similar comparisons to how the Ac treated me. The silences, ignoring etc.

    My girlfriend and I went on vacation together and she called all the shots to the extent that I felt ill and was physically ill. The place we went to truly sucked and she never wanted to do anything that I wanted to do. After our vacation she talked to me a couple of times. But she has ignored my text message and my IM messages when she has been online. So I’ve gone NC with her too as I’ve realised she treats all people this way.

    She accuses people of having personality disorders and she doesn’t answer texts and is very bossy. I don’t feel comfortable around her anymore.

    All my other girlfriends are unlike this, we are in touch, they respect me and I in turn respect them. In fact we are all very close and have a great time together.

    After looking at what value she adds to my life I decided that she adds none. So NC with her is the way to go too!

    • KMHB says:

      Leigh,
      Have you told your friend you are going NC or will you just disappear into that good night?

      I went NC with an assclown male friend two weeks ago but have not said a word to him of it. I have wrestled with whether I should tell him or not and decided not because he truly believes he does no wrong. Telling him would prompt his verbal diarrhea of my shortcomings, paranoia, passive aggression, blah blah blah. It would be another reason for him to create drama.

      I’m just wondering how you have decided to handle NC with your friend.

      Thanks.

      • Leigh says:

        KMHB,

        I thought long and hard over it and I do not need to give any explanations to her as to why I’m not in touch.

        As far as I’m concerned, she stepped over some boundaries and is not what I call friend material.

        If I was to tell her, she would probably get a little aggressive. She has in the past, when she has acted out of jealousy been verbally and in the written form, aggressive – she is always right, of course.

        I’m doing this for me, so no explanations to her. If she gets in touch I just won’t respond.

        If someone crosses your boundaries, shows disrespect for your feelings or is aggressive with you why explain to them that they are not your friend. Actions speak louder than words!

        Hope this helps :)

        • Leigh says:

          Just to add – I have been in this situation with a woman before may back – about 20 years ago.

          She was actually abusive, and I cut her out of my life no explanations.

          However, i totally recognise what my pattern is. I was taught by my parents to accept and to show empathy coupled with my Nice Girl attitude my behaviour was to accept anything and brush it off. All at the expense of myself. My boundary, even though it was there in the background no only accept to a certain degree, wasn’t enforced from the onset of any relationship.

          Mostly, I have come across fabulous people in my life – people that I care for deeply and have cared for me right back.

          Maybe if I were a bit more verbal at the onset of any relationship then I wouldn’t attract the types that are demanding.

          For now, I remain in NC with the AC and my ex GF.

        • KMHB says:

          Thanks for taking time to respond to me, Leigh. I agree with everything you said. I’m taking the same path you are for the same reasons.

          It sounds like our friends might be separated at birth! In fact, all AC/EUM “friends” are interchangable in their abilities to shortchange us. Good riddance to them!

          Good luck to you in taking care of YOU! :)

          KMHB

  21. [...] you have started putting boundaries in your life, you may have experienced some uncomfortable side effects such as friends or family having their noses out of joint or a lover being confused at your lack of [...]

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!