I'm not sure what advice there is to be had, but this has been a thing

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by spockandawe, Feb 27, 2015.

  1. spockandawe

    spockandawe soft and woolen and writhing with curiosity

    Agh, so I'm going to lead off saying that I am actually one of those people who's very comfortable with the tumblr format of conversations and I haven't done any major forum-ing in over a decade, and my brain won't stop yelling at me until I make it clear that I'm pretty sure I'm going to be intensely awkward and respond incorrectly/too much/not enough/I have no clue how forum etiquette works.

    And also I'm really sorry in advance, because I'm basically incapable of being concise, so lots of words are forthcoming. (edit: I'm actually really legitimately embarrassed and sorry after seeing how long this is running)

    (this gets a bit nsfw in places? it mentions the kink community, but nothing explicit).

    Okay, so I've had a falling out with one of my friends, let's call her A. This is not strictly a new thing, but this happens with her in cycles (LONG cycles, usually on the order of years). Quick background factoid: I'm almost definitely autistic. As far as I can tell, these cycles happen in that we get into some rapid-fire flavor of contact. It's been AIM, facebook, texting, fairly instantaneous short messages. The frequency of our conversations ramps up and up and up over a period of weeks/months until we're talking to each other pretty much constantly during our free time. Then eventually A hits her saturation point or something, doesn't tell me anything is wrong, and starts trying to cut things back. I don't know what's happening, but I can feel something is weird and immediately step up my conversational game because usually when things go south it's because I've screwed up this social thing somehow. Of course, this is the opposite of what A wants, and then she gets upset at me for being pushy when I failed to read her mind and realize she wanted LESS contact, then she cuts me off entirely and I get the silent treatment for X period. I've only just identified this pattern, after being one of her closest friends for over a decade. I'm not fast at figuring out social puzzles.

    The last time huge time this happened was when she took a gap year between college and grad school and was walking dogs while doing her grad school applications. She decided I was talking to her too much and she was too busy to handle it and didn't speak to me for almost two months.

    Complicating the issue is that she and I both have depression and anxiety problems and we tend to lean primarily on each other when things get bad. Grad school was a pretty miserable period for both of us, we were both lonely and failing to connect with other people, and school was wrecking our mental health. In a lot of ways, I think I'm... more self-sufficient than she is? I'm capable of holding myself together even when things are way past the point of jfc-go-get-help-already, so even when I was at my lowest low ever, I was still providing her with a constant stream of reassurances, advice, etc. And just feeling like I mattered to someone was doing a lot to keep me sane. It was almost two years of mutual heavy codependence. She wrapped up grad school and got a job this summer, and I got a job not too long after, but my grad school didn't officially finish until December (it's still not technically over, but close enough).

    Logically, I knew that A would be busy once she got a job, and that we'd talk less. I was prepared for that. I was also struggling a bit because my job required me to move, so I uprooted myself from an area where my family and many of my high school/college friends lived and left town. Aaaand then I completely failed to make any friends at my new home (not entirely my fault, there are fun factors like everyone I work with being twice my age). Plus there was grad school hanging over my head, plus such adventures as booking a non-refundable ticket for my defense and being told oops, nope, it got rescheduled. As fall progressed, I was working 60-hour weeks and trying to prepare for my defense, on top of the entire rest of my life. So I was trying to lean on A.

    Backtracking a little. Before she finished grad school, A started getting interested in the kink community. I draw/write a lot of that stuff, I find it interesting and all that. She went to one or two events and started dating people who were into it, and when she moved back to our hometown, she invited me to to go some local events. It was fine, I guess. I'm more interested in the personal connections than 'kink as a whole,' so it was a little blah for me, but she was into casual play and dating lots of people. When I moved, I didn't bother to go to any kink events in my new town. On the other hand, kink has become the main interest of her life. I'm 99% sure she's not autistic, but if she was this would be some MAJOR perseveration.

    So basically, I was trying to lean on her for emotional support, she was probably a bit burned out on being emotionally supportive, and the biggest interest driving her life was kink. Soon, every conversation turned into a conversation about A's sex life. And lots of times, this would steer into me giving A advice about her sex life. I wasn't especially enjoying it, but I was participating in each conversation willingly wasn't I? Wasn't this fine? No, but I couldn't articulate it. Eventually she came to visit me for a weekend, which was super exciting, because I had literally zero social life offline. The night before she drove to my place, she stayed up super late on her sextumblr talking to people. Then she overslept. And her phone died. Instead of leaving in the morning, she woke up and left at five in the evening. Okay. Okay. Phones die, that happens. I can deal. We got dinner, had a few drinks, played a card game. And then she wanted to skype two of her partners so I could meet them. Nominally, the purpose of this was to help me make friends. In practice, I was shunted to the side and A rolled around in all the attention and the conversation took a very sexual turn. At three in the morning, I went to bed. A kept talking. At five in the morning, she passed out on my floor. So of course, she was totally functional and enjoyable the next day. That was... a fun weekend. I felt real appreciated.

    Something I tend to do is bottle up things that bother me until it explodes, and it's really unfortunate and I'm trying to break the habit. But that was a pretty cruel way to treat me, and I was already in a bad place, and it got messy. Also that's right when the nonrefundable plane ticket got cancelled, and when I wrote to Seebs about stress-induced heart palpitations. So it blew up, and she accused me of not wanting her to be happy and have friends, which ????? Jesus fucking christ, I know what it's like to be hideously lonely and I wouldn't wish that on anyone, and I still can't believe she would actually say that. That did get me a mini silent treatment, for about a week, which meant zero non-tumblr social contact for me, when I was already on the edge of a breakdown. I finally broke and bugged her until she talked to me, and I managed to articulate that 1) it felt like she never wanted to talk to me about anything but her sex life and even her weekend trip to visit me made it pretty clear I wasn't anywhere near her top priority, and 2) I felt like -I- was a part of her sex life and I wasn't comfortable with that and I didn't think that was an unreasonable boundary to have.

    Things were pretty decently patched. But it only took about a week for things to go back to every conversation revolving around her sex life and who she was dating and what play she was doing. And both of us provided each other with emotional support, except most emotional support she needed, again, tied back into her sex life. And the frequency of conversations did drop, we were mostly talking by text and both on smartphones, and we're both thoroughly addicted to our phones. But it eventually hit the point where pretty much any time I would text her, she'd reply the next day or not at all. And just about any time she'd text me, it would JUST be 'oh no I am stressing over X thing, please reassure me,' and the conversation would continue until she felt better again and then it's over until the next time she needs something.

    So one, I felt pretty used and taken advantage of. Two, I felt like if I said anything about being unhappy with how she was acting, whoops, you're cut off again, bye. And three, I was aware that I was trying to lean on her harder than she was willing to be leaned on, and she's allowed to have boundaries, and that was kind of a douche move on my part. It took me a little time, but I backed off, re-centered myself in my own head, and started taking steps to settle myself in my new home. It did help to stop counting on her support, because she wasn't providing that support at. all. She wasn't obligated to do that, of course, but it still hurt to have had her be emotionally available for years and years before having it all yanked away (and still being leaned on by her). I think I'd pretty much disengaged from leaning on her by the beginning of December.

    So throughout the fall and early winter, me and her tried to meet up irl six or seven times. Literally every time, she personally threw a wrench in the works. There was the mess with her weekend visit. One time she invited me to a kink con, which nnnno thanks, but I could drive out an hour to meet you for lunch maybe? That was the plan, and when I texted her the night before to ask when she wanted me to get there she was like 'ohhh, yeah, nevermind.' A week before my defense in December, when I was panicked trying to prepare for that defense, I made the time to meet her and her main partner for lunch (time I couldn't really spare). As I was headed out the door, I get a text 'oh, my boyfriend wanted a shower, we're going to be an hour late. Okay. Okay. Right. So that was upsetting, and then when we did meet up and talk, he kept derailing our talk to do things like show me endless strings of Oculus Rift videos. Riveting. A has done this to other people too, not just me, like leaving one of our oldest friends stranded at a metro for an hour. It's pretty consistent.

    After my defense was done (which did SO MUCH to improve my mental health, I would legitimately call grad school a traumatic experience), I was doing much better on my own, taking steps to establish a social life, etc. And I was plain happy, which hasn't been the case for... years, probably. And just before New Years, we'd made plans that I'd meet her for lunch as I drove down south to visit my parents. She confirmed the day before. The day of, that morning I texted her my rough timeline, and she texted back, 'um, about that, never mind.' This was coming off the string of six or so other delays and cancellations. I did not immediately send her an angry essay. I sat on it, turned things over in my head, and didn't send her anything until late that night. I tried to present it in a not-loaded way, and I probably didn't quite succeed, but it wasn't anything like my first furious gut reaction. And then, her reply message got nasty.

    It was actually kind of funny, it was such a blatant attempt to be hurtful that I wasn't hurt at all. She did tell me outright that I'd been trying to ask too much of her, which yes, I realized that in November, pulled back by December, and at that point I'd been disengaged for almost a month, thank you very much. But the real highlight was when she told me that since I didn't have any friends at grad school, she thought I would have tried harder at my new home, and that she's sorry, but she can't be my only friend. That's inaccurate and disingenuous as hell, first. And cute, because way to (try to) rub my worst insecurities in my face, and way to be hypocritical, because the only friends she had at grad school were partners with whom she had ugly breakups I personally supported her through. It was extra funny because an hour after getting that message I was meeting two other mutual friends for dinner, and we had a good laugh at how they're actually actors hired by my parents to give me the illusion of a social life, and their upcoming marriage is all for the big season of my personal truman show. I'm cutting all kinds of extra detail, but it's one of the most overtly nasty messages I can remember getting. I'm super ashamed of her, and I told her so (I wish I'd dissected her message a little more, because there was a lot to unpack), and bam, figured I was in for an undetermined period of silent treatment, but it was totally worth it.

    Welllll, awkward things are awkward, we ended up at the same New Year's party. I was in fact recruited as the point of contact for getting her to the party, because the host didn't have her number. The party was still pretty small at the time we both got there, and one of the first things she brought up in the group conversation was that she and her boyfriend were going to adopt a kitten that weekend. I didn't say anything right there, but I've got a nice set of cat allergies and asthma, and having a cat effectively blocks me from visiting her ever. I can work cat homes locally, but I wouldn't be highway-safe after spending an afternoon at her place, and overnight would mean I wake her up bawling at 3 AM to beg her to drive me to a hospital. Even if she's the one to visit me, I'm going to be feeling it in my lungs for a few days.

    Now, she has pulled some stunts before (like making me stay at a cat home an hour past when I was suffocating and needed to leave and not understanding why I was upset) that make me think she has no idea what allergies are like, but she's kinda-sorta giving me the silent treatment, idk what's up. So the next day I sent her a short heads up, just to-the-point, plain consequence, that if she adopts a cat I'm not going to be able to visit her. No emotional loading intended on my part, I kept it short, I thought through all the possible workarounds before I sent that. She exploded at me. I'm pretty sure she accused me again of not wanting her to be happy, not thinking she's an adult who can make her own choices, and of forcing her to pick between me and a cat. I tried to explain myself, and that message was absolutely calm and factual. Radio silence. And then she and her boyfriend adopted two cats. (there's an extra layer of irresponsibility, because they have been in '''love''' since like a month after they started dating this fall, he is firmly poly, she wwwwwants to be poly and is not dealing well at all and refuses to be not-poly because it means losing him, and he's going to buy a HOUSE and she's going to move in. hope the cats come out of this okay)

    That was just after new years, and I haven't heard from her since. So yes, I'm not sure what advice there IS, really. This whole thing sucks on a lot of levels, and I'm not even that upset she adopted the cats? I have other friends who will almost definitely have cats, I just wanted to make sure she knew that was going to be an outcome. Was I supposed to wait until she had the cats and be like 'HAHA, GOTCHA'? And, a bit of spite, once she lost me as an emotional outlet, she started coping much worse. Poly... is not for her, she's even pretty much admitted that being monogamous or being single could be really good for her right now, but she's determined to be the one who changes because her boyfriend isn't going to be monogamous, even for her. There have been a few times where I wondered if I should text her that I'm available if she wants someone to talk to, but more than one of our oldest mutual friends have told me that I should stick to my guns and not be the one to back down.

    General friend-group consensus is that she's been acting really inappropriately. And that she's acting inappropriately for a while now. But also I still have a lot of affection for her, and when things are good between us, they're REALLY good. BUT, I also need to unpack a lot more of the things she's said and done and lay them out for her. She is making everyone part of her sex life. She was a sexy Catholic schoolgirl for Halloween, which we legitimately once were... but we're closer to 30 than we are to high school, and getting all sexual-dynamic-y with your boyfriend at a small get-together dressed like that is really uncomfortable. Of course, she topped that by changing into the onesie she had with her (????). And then she yanked the zipper down to her bellybutton and was like 'I'm a SEXY BABY.' And then she got daddy dom/little girl-y with her boyfriend in the middle of this party with non-kink high school friends.

    So I don't know whether it's smarter to reach out to her or hold out until she reaches out to me. It feels like messaging her first might be giving up too much ground to challenge her. That has the tone of me re-initiating contact just to pick a fight, and that would get a super-defensive reaction. I'm not even all that angry at her anymore, I just think she's behaving badly and refuses to admit she's behaving badly. But I'm also worried that as soon as I try to call something out (and there is a lot that needs calling out), she's going to fall back on that whole 'omgggg you're too NEEDY' thing. I'm not actually that vindictive a person, I don't have the attention span to hold long grudges, but this whole mess has been so out-of-character for her that it's kind of alarming. I do genuinely enjoy being emotional support for her, and I think she is in a place where she needs that emotional support, but I'm not willing to provide it given the way she's been treating me. So yes, basically I don't know what advice there really is to be had. I've been holding out on messaging her because I don't really have much to say to her until she apologizes, and I don't know how strongly she believes I'm in the wrong. So I don't know what to do, and I'm not sure there really is anything to do, and as compact as I tried to keep this, it has grown into a frigging essay, sorry.
  2. rorleuaisen

    rorleuaisen Frozen Dreamer

    Sorry I'm in talky mode so I don't know if this is any help but... That's pretty much an abusive relationship. It doesn't mean she is malicious and wants to hurt you, but she has learned how to take power in this relationship, and that is what she knows and what she's comfortable with. If you give up your boundaries, she will continue having power and keep doing the same things. You can't have a healthy relationship until you are on equal footing, and boundaries are the best way to establish that.

    So, if you want the relationship, you are going to have to do the hard thing and change it. You need to make your boundaries and stand by them. And when you stand by your boundaries, she will lash out. This will be something new and scary for her. If this relationship is important to her, she will adapt and you may get a solid relationship out of it. If she doesn't, she is making the choice that she would rather walk over you than fight for your friendship.

    Now, your boundaries don't necessarily need to be "don't talk to her again" but if you make a rule, stand by it. If you make an appointment to spend time with her and she blows you off, you don't give her a minute more than you promised. You don't bend to her. You can't change her, but you can make her fight for your friendship.
    • Like x 3
  3. Allenna

    Allenna I am not a Dragon. Or a Robot. Really.

    I agree with your other friends. Stick to your guns and stay out of contact with her. There a lot of things pinging as red flags but not in anyway I can put into words other than, keep your distance from her.
  4. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    That's sounding really creepy to me too, not sure how to articulate it. Also, if you're autistic, one possible thing is that she may be trying to Invite You To Participate, and you may be not picking it up as expected. Or she might just be really clueless and bad at boundaries.
    • Like x 2
  5. spockandawe

    spockandawe soft and woolen and writhing with curiosity

    I feel a little bad for misrepresenting the situation, she's not that bad, blah, blah. And for most of the last ten+ years, that's been the case, but lately, it really has been this unpleasant. I cut all kinds of extra detail up there, and the situation probably comes across less weird than it has actually been. And she's the kind of person who owns consent is sexy shirts, etc., and historically she's been good about respecting boundaries, but now she's doing things like talking to her closest non-kink friends and being like 'Guess what, I totally (((objectively gross act censored)))!' And even when I tried to be like 'mmmmaybe that friend isn't comfortable with that subject? Lots of people aren't,' she waved me off and was like 'ohh, she didn't mind!' Well, at least one friend definitely minded, and told me as much. I'm not dragging his name into things, but she's been treating lots of people badly, and I think I got hit the hardest because I was closest to her and counted on her more than everyone else did.

    The closest I can figure for an explanation as far as her behavior shifts go (because this is really a dramatic change) is that... Hm, this is hard to phrase. I'm pretty sure that historically, I've held more power than her in our relationship. I'm very good at being self-sufficient, and I can cut people clean out of my life as easy as anything. I don't especially like that about myself, because I'm sure I've lost friendships that were worth having. But she's kind of the opposite. She's very hungry for attention and approval, and as recently as grad school, she still thinks of certain people as 'the cool kids.' Usually imitating them comes in the form of wearing silly hats, or getting into certain flavors of activism, she's kind of really impressionable. But I think lately she might have recontextualized the hardcore kink people as the new cool kids, and she's imitating them, and this is where a lot of this comes in.

    Because see, the cool kids, they talk about all kink, all the time, and if you're super cool, you do all kinds of interesting, edgy play (consensual misogyny is one of the less squicky things she's done lately). And so duh, if you're cool, you'll be fine with her talking about sex. Why would you want to talk about anything but sex? 99% of her social life revolves around kink events, and yyyeah, sex is the main topic of conversation there and everyone is very open about it. But she's applying those same standards to everyone else, and what do you mean your friends might not be hearing about what you did with a certain bodily product? I probably didn't help, because it's virtually impossible to tmi me, so I didn't clue her in early that heyyyy, not so appropriate, and I didn't realize that it had effectively crossed over to me being part of her sex life until way late in the game. And now she's not talking to me, I don't think she's been talking to our mutual high school friends (idk about her college friends), and I'm not sure she's really talking to anyone outside the kink community.

    Plus, approval and attention. Goddamn does she like approval and attention. I mean, so do most people, but there have been multiple occasions of her being a major jerk to her friends just so she can get more attention. Like talking to her partners for hours while visiting me and ignoring my reaction until I explicitly brought it up. She's small and cute, so she gets lots of play, and she's into all kinds of edgy kinks while being small and cute, so more play, etc. Even in the few events I went to with her, I was getting ditched pretty regularly so she could get tied up or whatever, and I didn't go to the kink con with her because I was pretty sure it would be a whole expensive weekend of me getting ditched so she could get tied up or whatever. When a friend/partner flew in from halfway across the country to visit, she took him to an event... and he totally called her out after the fact for ditching him. She totally acknowledged he was right and apologized and talked to him and me about it... and proceeded to change none of her behavior. Extra irony because her biggest problem with poly is major jealousy issues when her boyfriend leaves her alone and plays with other people. She's getting all kinds of positive attention from being into kink, so why would she want to back off and have other interests at all? That's not an exaggeration, she complains that she has no time for any hobbies, and goes to like four kink events per week. She's always been a wee bit self-centered (super-spoiled only child), but she's never been actively inconsiderate of others before, and these last few months she's been carrying things to comical new extremes.

    So I'm pretty sure I'm not especially in the wrong. And now that I'm not on the edge of a mental breakdown from school-related stress, I am more than capable of dealing with plain loneliness, I'm not so desperate for support I need to go crawling back to her. When I'm healthy, my boundaries are rock-solid, and I'm definitely getting back to that stable place again. I don't thiiiiiink she's really inviting me to participate, because I was the last person who said anything in our conversations. And my last message was not at all attacking her, and I wrapped it up with some joking that haha, if she gets a cat and I do visit, she might think it will help to vacuum, but for the love of god, don't vacuum. I think she's just generally clueless and... I hesitate to say that she's deliberately ignoring boundaries, but I think she's failing her self-awareness check and not realizing that hey, not everyone has her exact same boundaries and she needs to respect that. Even in kink spaces, she and her boyfriend have been doing safeword play, which means she says 'red,' and he... doesn't stop. That breaks the most basic rule, and that rule is important. They have to avoid the dungeon monitors because they aren't allowed to do that, and those rules are in place for the safety of the dungeon and the people present. I'm very irritated at the way I've been treated, but her behavior is making me uncomfortable on a lot of levels. I'm pretty sure the friendship is salvageable and worthwhile, but the longer this goes without anyone calling out the way she acts, I'm getting more worried that it'll be harder to effect any positive behavioral changes.
  6. Morven

    Morven In darkness be the sound and light

    That behavior would get her kicked out of every bdsm club, fetish space or anything else I've ever been involved with.

    And it seems to me that she has become addicted not only to the attention but addicted to transgression, and that's an unpleasant thing because transgression means not pushing her own boundaries, but pushing other people's boundaries.

    Which means that doing what she's doing is all about non-consensual play with others, and that's frankly gross. And I'm not talking about the play she's engaging in with partners, but rather her need to push the boundaries of the unconsenting audience.

    • Like x 1
  7. rorleuaisen

    rorleuaisen Frozen Dreamer

    Self-sufficiency is not a power thing. Power is when one person manipulates and pushes someone else's boundaries. She is making you and other's uncomfortable. You have told her this. She is still doing this. She is purposefully pushing boundaries. You bending over backwards to accommodate her, is her with power over you. At this point and time, she is the one in power.

    By no means is you being self-sufficient a power play. That is a healthy thing to do. In fact, a relationship that is highly dependent is unhealthy. I've been there. Again, it doesn't necessarily mean malicious intent, but it is unhealthy for all participants.

    This specifically is very common with abusers. VERY common. When she apologizes, and then keeps on doing the same thing, you need to wall up and tell her to stop it because you already talked about this. And, assuming the best for a moment: people do forget, so remind her, EVERY TIME. You don't have to be mean about it, but neither will a "oh well she didn't mean it" or "it was just this one time" help the situation. If the behavior is a problem, and you make it clear and remind her it's a problem, she should stop. If she continues doing these behaviors despite that, she is being abusive and pushing boundaries.

    Now, assuming it's a phase or something, you need to be clear that it is not okay. When she is acting like this, she is not your friend, she is an abuser. She may very well be learning it from the new crowd she's in, but unless you have the power to remove her from the crowd and it's influence, the best you can do is protect yourself and establish clear boundaries. Even if it's all the time, tell her you want no part in her sexual hobby. When she is with you, her hobby shouldn't be a part of it. That is your line to draw.

    Also of note, the fact that this seemed to slowly become a thing that you are suddenly a part of, is because she has been scooting your boundaries. She has been playing like a child and seeing what she can get away with, and you let her get away with quite a bit. This is why if you choose to boundary up, she will get upset. She will be used to where she has scooted your boundary, and when you firmly put it back in place, she will feel like she has suddenly lost space. It was her space and how dare you take it away from her!(hint: it's your space. But she has gotten very comfortable using it)
    • Like x 1
  8. Aya

    Aya words words words

    I think this is good stuff here.

    I also want to note that keeping firm boundaries and making it very clear to her where they are and that you will not just put up with her pushing at them isn't just something that you do for yourself (although that is 100% a good enough reason to do it). It's also for her, and even a little for other people around her. I don't think she's doing this because she wants to hurt other people in particular, or that this is happening because she is evil and 100% terrible. She's doing this because she's getting things that she needs by doing this and it is something she's really good at doing. If it doesn't work with you, then maybe she'll choose to try to engage with you emotionally in some other way, and it will be good for her to learn to do that. Or maybe she decides that it's not worth maintaining a friendship with you--but for people who are mutual friends, you're an object lesson for what kind of person she is. It was a lot easier for me to disengage and set boundaries with a couple people in my life who were very like this when I thought about it in those terms.

    The fact that she made a huge deal about being wrong and then didn't change her behavior is not a good sign. Either she doesn't actually believe that she was wrong and was just trying to keep her relationships from disintegrating, which is the point where (in my mind, anyway) she swaps from being toxic into being abusive, or she thinks that she's wrong but feels unable to change, which is a better long-term indicator but also means she really needs professional help and not just friendships.

    This isn't hopeless, but she has to want it to change before it's going to, and it doesn't sound like she wants that right now.
    • Like x 1
  9. Starcrossedsky

    Starcrossedsky Burn and Refine

    I'm going to echo what the above folks said about her being abusive in her boundary-pushing, and add a slightly different, harsher bit of advice:

    Just drop her. If she reaches out to you again that's one thing, but it's frankly pretty clear to me that she wants this friendship on her terms or not at all. And her terms are hurting you, they're disgusting everyone around her, and, ime, as long as she can bounce from community to community and relationship to relationship, she will never learn. She has no reason to, because when someone doesn't act the way she wants, she can just find someone else.

    Drop her, because she doesn't actually need you, she just needs someone who can fill your role, and she'll find plenty of then in the world, because there's a lot of abused people who won't say no, won't set boundaries, because their internal programming says that it's wrong to leave people. Fuck that. Leave her in the dust. There are better people out in the world, so why settle for a "friendship" where you get walked on and abused?
    • Like x 1
  10. spockandawe

    spockandawe soft and woolen and writhing with curiosity

    Well, I don't think I'll probably drop her entirely. Waiting for her to reach out first doesn't take anything from me, and while what I've written above is definitely accurate to the last few months, it doesn't do justice to a lot of years of very good times before things took a sharp turn into weird. And in some defense of her behavior, I'd primed her pretty well to be fed up with me. She'd been fielding pretty much daily dumps of crushing existential despair for months/years, which balanced pretty well when she was dumping existential despair right back, but when her life started improving before mine did I could tell it was getting exhausting for her to deal with, but it took me a few months to get a clue and back off. And in terms of boundary breaking, it took me a while to realize I HAD those boundaries and longer to establish where exactly they were. Even now it's hard to tell where the line falls between being fine with lots of theoretical talk about kink, and okay this conversation is only about all the sex you're having, I've stopped being fine with this. She did try to hold to the boundaries at first, I didn't especially know where the boundaries WERE so I didn't especially enforce them. She's got some pretty major executive processing troubles going on, so after a week of the boundaries not being established/enforced, I think she mostly forgot they were supposed to be there.

    I think this is exactly right. I don't know if she's quite realized, but I think this is a perfect description of what she's after. She's... I'd say she's always been self-centered, but it's been a pretty benign version. If she was doing something, as soon as you brought it up, she'd be very apologetic, fix it, and make it up to you. I think I might have primed the pump by not enforcing boundaries, bottling up the emotions, and letting them explode, which has never worked well for me, and yet it's pretty consistent behavior on my part :T I wouldn't call her abusive quite yet, just toxic and unaware of how she's been treating others. She's still within boundaries for her kink friends (except for the safeword play in play spaces), so no callouts there. I didn't figure out my boundaries until late in the game and handled things less well than I might have. And when she crosses boundaries for non-kink friends, it's WAY out of left field and so far to the extreme that they're too taken by surprise and off-balance to call it out. I legitimately do believe she doesn't realize how toxic she's being, and having someone flat-out tell her would help, but welp, she's not talking to me and I have no idea how long she plans to play the silent treatment game, and I'm not sure whether forcing my way back into contact with her would be worthwhile and/or effective.
    • Like x 2
  11. rorleuaisen

    rorleuaisen Frozen Dreamer

    I wouldn't, for the record, reach out. It can be easily interpretted as meddling or controlling if you try to correct her behavior by searching her out. You can't protect other people's boundaries effectively, so it is just a lot of wasted effort and hurt feelings. It does sound like you have a pretty good understanding of the situation and a plan of action. Best of luck, and if you come across any more problems, we're here to help ^_^
    • Like x 1
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