Can I crowdsource a "breaking up with best friend" letter? (TWs)

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by LilacMercenary, Dec 25, 2017.

  1. LilacMercenary

    LilacMercenary Well-Known Member

    So, friend for 7+ years messaged me on xmas eve, asking me to drive out to portland and pick her up from the amtrak station on wed because she forgot to arrange a ride. I realized today that I've needed to break this off for a while now, and in the process of writing this am starting to be amazed at all the shit that's gone down.

    I'll put some highlights under the cut, because I feel like I need to justify this-
    • I have some history/damage that makes me inclined to equate being taken advantage of with someone feeling close enough with me to ask for what they need, but over the years some highlights I've never gotten over are:
      - "ditching me (drunk, on a date with a stranger) at a bar at midnight, because her boyfriend showed up to take her to a house party somewhere.",
      -getting pissed at me for not getting her to an appointment on time, in a strange city, at 7 in the morning, while sick, and then referring to the incident in the following years as 'yeah, neither of us were at our best that day', and
      -not speaking to me for 2 weeks, because her dog's slipknot chain collar was hurting her dog, so I bought her a harness to try instead. "I don't appreciate being treated like I'm an animal abuser, and u need to mind ur own business" was the text I eventually received.

    • I spent some time in March of this year not sleeping because friend was actively suicidal over a breakup, so I'd work during the day and stay up all night at her house making sure she didn't get up in the night and hurt herself, on any days when family couldn't fill in. She's now back with the same person and wants everyone to ignore everything that happened and ~accept the person she loves~. This feels like spitting in the face of everyone who worked to keep her alive six months ago. That whole adventure is documented here, if anyone wants to go down that hellscape.

    • I am very probably some flavor of demisexual, and don't really date. What I mostly find fulfilling are close friendships. Friend has always treated this with a combo of pity that I can't get a date and puzzlement at my pickiness. Occasionally, sometimes at the behest of Boyfriend and sometimes not, she'll get suspicious that I'm not dating because I'm secretly pining for her, and will go out of her way to talk about how I'm the last person she'd ever want to date in her entire life, ever, ewww. Always in a joking way, but the intention is very clear. I don't want to date her either, but I've never seemed to be able to express how hurtful I find the whole thing.

    • The last 3 times she's invited me to hang out, have been either some flavor of "Boyfriend ticked me off/is busy so I'm free, wanna hang out?" or "Hey, there's no one else who can drive me to [some appt], we can hang out after if there's time!" This sounds incredibly minor, but feeling like we're only visiting because she has nothing better to do is really the straw that broke the camel's back.
    Aaaanyway, that all is profoundly skippable. The tldr version is that I'm finding that this friendship isn't sustainable, and I need to break it off for my own mental health. There's a couple problems with that, like the fact that without this friend I would have literally no one in the same state to spend time with besides my family, that I tend to shut down during confrontation to the point that I literally lose pieces of the discussion (it's very hard to win an argument when you can't remember half of what was said), and that this friend has a history of suicidal issues/ED relapses when anything upsetting happens.
    Also, we're signed up for classes together in January, and I feel like it would be 500% less bearable if I did this.

    Buuuuut... I've tried talking to friend about all these things before, and was basically told "you're blaming all your own problems on other people, no one told you to help me, anything you did you did because you wanted to." So. I don't really think less extreme measures are going to do much at this point. And I just really don't think I can keep going the way things are.
    For all of the shit that's happened over the years, this person knows me better than probably anyone else in the world, and I can't make the fact that it's been undeniably abusive stop me from valuing it.

    I guess my specific questions are:
    -Is a letter okay? I don't think I can keep it together long enough to say everything in person, but this seems kind of cold.
    -Do I give reasons? I feel like if I don't, she'll decide that I don't have any (and I kind of want to voice once and for all that certain things were Not Okay) but if I don't, I'm concerned she'll feel (more) like I'm just attacking her to hurt her, rather than regretfully severing a connection for my own good.
    -In the end, what I really just want is for her to get her shit together even a little and genuinely want to spend time with me. "I'm cutting you off until you're nicer to me" seems... self contradictory, but is there anything reasonable in this sentiment that I could salvage?
    -Has anyone else done this who can walk me through how this all goes? It might not seem that way to others, but I feel like I'm contemplating a massive life change.

    Phew, sorry, that's a heckuva text wall.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2017
    • Witnessed x 2
  2. LilacMercenary

    LilacMercenary Well-Known Member

    Ironically, finally getting this all written out was incredibly cathartic, to the point where I don't feel the urgency to Do Something Immediately or Die anymore. How do Big Messy Conversation when "going back to ignoring it" is suddenly an option again.
  3. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    I think the obvious answer would be to just start saying "no" to stuff if you don't feel like doing it, and see what happens.
  4. LilacMercenary

    LilacMercenary Well-Known Member

    @seebs I actually haven't said yes to a thing in a while, but there's a couple problems with that as a long term plan- I still don't want anything bad to happen to this person, who sort of escalates self harm as she feels more ignored. I've typed out and deleted a bunch of scenarios, but I think it boils down to I can't triage mental health anymore, and I think this person needs to be aware of it before it's an immediate issue that I can't come through on.
    Plus, I guess I want some closure? This is a friendship/relationship I've had for over a quarter of my life, and even if she doesn't make any effort to fix (really any) of the problems and stay friends/try to rebuild our friendship, I still find the idea of letting it freeze out by just refusing everything incredibly saddening.

    If your idea was just for the short term... that's basically what I've been doing, but it feels like ignoring the situation.
    • Witnessed x 1
  5. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    Well, that at least addresses (in part) the "anything you did you did because you wanted to", etc., thing. But... Hmm.

    Any other mutual friends, etc., who could possibly help?
    • Agree x 1
  6. LilacMercenary

    LilacMercenary Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I mean it's entirely true that "staying up for 48 hours plus to make sure my friend doesn't kill herself" is indeed something I did because I wanted to, as I generally prefer people to be alive. It's also true that I'd do it again, I just wouldn't be remotely okay after the fact.

    I could have approached it better, but that above quote happened when I basically said that I needed her to help keep our friendship going, because I couldn't be the only one taking time off work, driving an hour each way to see her, dropping everything in any given emergency, etc, and pointed out that any time I'm not able to do those things we just stop communicating until I am.
    My family's been realzing that my dad probably-definitely has dementia, I'm going back to school and seasonal depressing is kicking my ass, all of which are massive spoon drains that she's aware of. But "nobody asked you to do any of that, you're just blaming your own problems on everyone but yourself." It's the 1, 2 punch of "physically and mentally can't keep it up" and "friend clearly doesn't care".

    Unfortunately, I'm really not overburdened with friends. Aside from online friends who aren't really involved, there's this girl and one other friend who just moved to California, kind of hates Friend, and thinks I should just block her number and let her self harm play out however it does. Which... is an option, just not really my first choice. Also I'm not at all confident she wouldn't use our breakup as a catalyst for an eating disorder relapse and/or suicide attempt, and while that isn't on me, I still don't want it to happen.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
    • Witnessed x 1
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice