Letting go

The past few days I’ve been stewing over the fall-out I had with my former friend back in February (for those not in the know we’d been friends for many years, the friendship went down the toilet, she had a go at me for not saying publicly on my blog that she was a great friend, so I wrote and told her a few home truths including the fact that actually she wasn’t a great friend, and she put my private email on Facebook for 200 people to see and comment on (without my knowledge), some of whom I also knew and who then unfriended me).  I thought I’d let it go, but for some reason it’s surfaced again and I just can’t get it out of my head.  I woke this morning with such rage about it I felt totally overwhelmed.

My Mum is really poorly again and is currently on antibiotics for a chest infection.  Any kind of infection could kill her, so it’s been a tense week.  I feel so helpless, watching her gasping for breath every day.  Unable to eat.  Unable to sleep.  Distressed, exhausted and miserable.

I was on my way to see her this lunchtime when I got stuck behind 3 cars, who were all doing 20mph behind a tractor.  Fair enough.  But they were on a straight road with no oncoming traffic.  So in frustration I overtook them, only before I got to overtake the tractor a car came round the corner the other way.  So I had to squeeze infront of the first car. Who pipped his horn at me like I was about to kill a child.  Today, it was the last straw.

I pulled into the first car park I could find (which happened to be my local B&Q), got in the back seat with my dog where the car glass is tinted, and absolutely sobbed my heart out.  I didn’t just cry.  I had a serious meltdown.

I don’t usually do crying.  When you live alone there’s not much point.  There is no-one to comfort you.  No-one to wipe away your tears.  And no-one to make you a brew when you’re all done.  All crying does is wear you out and give you a stonking headache.  But today it wasn’t a choice.

I must have sobbed for 20 minutes, with the snot dripping off my chin end (I couldn’t find a tissue) but then I had to pull myself together, because I was on my way to see my Mum and couldn’t turn up upset.  Unfortunately I’m one of those people who, when they cry, their whole face swells up and goes blotchy, beetroot red.  So by the time I got to my Mum’s I’d concocted a story about forgetting to take my antihistamine and this had made my hayfever go bonkers (luckily, I woke with an outbreak of hives this morning so I could show her that as proof).  I’m not sure she really bought it, but thankfully she was too ill to care.

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I feel such rage about the incident with my friend.  I don’t give a crap that we’ve fallen out.  When I had my mast cell appointment in London in October it was the biggest thing I’d done in 20 years.  Yet I didn’t receive a single good luck message from her beforehand.  There was no text message to make sure I’d got on the train OK or had arrived at the hotel alright.  There was no offer of help, despite the fact her husband works in London and they only live a short commute away.  And I didn’t hear from her for weeks after I got back to see how it had all gone.  I got more support and offers of help from you all on my Blog who I’ve only just met, than I did from someone who considered me one of her “closest friends”.

I think the thing that’s really hurt has been the unfairness of it all.  That 200 people can sit in judgement, hearing only the case for the prosecution, not even tell the defence that the trial is taking place, then convict the defendant in their absence and without a chance to put their side of the argument.  Some of these people didn’t know me from Adam.  But some of them had been my friend for years, yet convicted me of being an evil monster without any of them even contacting me to ask what had happened to cause me to write the email.

I don’t do well with injustice and unfairness.  It’s been a theme throughout my life. My biological father was distant and really didn’t have much to do with me, yet when I told him he’d been a bit of a rubbish Dad when I was 21 I was cast aside from my entire paternal family.  I was angry for a long time at the unfairness of being blamed for simply being honest about his poor parenting skills.

When I got M.E., I was given a mental health label and accused of being lazy and depressed.  This time I was blamed for catching a disease that no-one even knows the cause of.

When I struggled with my chronic and severe physical pain, yet all the scans and tests were negative, I was told I was just “sensitive” to pain and attention seeking.  Blamed for having a genetic disease no-one even bothered to look for.

When I became allergic to drugs I was completely disbelieved, told I was just a panicky person, and that if I wouldn’t take the drugs I obviously didn’t want to get well.  Being blamed for anaphylaxis really takes the biscuit.

Then I was blamed for not including my former friend in my Friendship blog post, but I only excluded her because she was an increasingly shit friend that I barely ever heard from and had felt increasingly hurt by her thoughtlessness about my personal situation.  Then I got blamed by 200 complete strangers for pointing out how I felt.

OK Universe, I get the message.  Life is unfair.  You can stop smacking me round the head with the concept now ta very muchly!

Two years ago this former friend lost her Mum.  It’s horrendous to lose your Mum, though surely not totally unexpected by the time you’re in your eighties, plus I’d been told they weren’t particularly close and in fact my friend had always told me she dreaded her Mum ringing or visiting because she didn’t understand her illness.  I, on the other hand, am really close to my Mum.  She has been my best friend my whole life.  She’s the only person on the planet who really gets me.  She has been the only person I’ve been able to depend on my entire illness.  And I’m watching her die, slowly, painfully, agonizingly, struggling for every breath, panicking, and unable to do a thing for herself.  I didn’t ever say in my email to my former friend that she shouldn’t grieve for her Mum (though after 2 years if she’s not moving on she needs some counselling).  But am I being totally unreasonable to expect that she doesn’t mention it every single time she contacts me?  Am I such a bitch for not wanting to be faced with her grief every single time I log on to Facebook?  Is it just me that thinks it’s grossly insensitive to go on and on about her grief when my mum is terminally ill and I’m struggling to come to terms with that?  If she needs to talk about it, fine.  Just show a little understanding and do it with someone else and not me.  To be blamed by my friends for my pain and sorrow, and for not currently being able to cope with someone else’s 2 year old grief, seems incredibly harsh.

My Mum’s long battle with illness has been tough.  Just because I don’t go on Facebook telling the world about my personal life doesn’t mean I don’t have one.  And just because I don’t talk about my personal life in emails to my sick friends, because I don’t want to burden them with my problems, doesn’t mean I don’t have any.  I feel such hurt that I would be ostracized for not sharing my need publicly, as my former friend constantly does.  But I’m going to have to let it go.  Just like eventually I’m going to have to let my Mum go.  But that doesn’t mean it all doesn’t hurt.

Me and my Mum

Me and my Mum

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11 thoughts on “Letting go

  1. E. Milo

    I had a falling out with one of my best childhood friends about 16 years ago. When I read about your situation with your friend, it always brings up the emotions again, which have not just festered, but really tortured me over the years. I had been living in Dublin and, a while after I returned to America, I got a letter from her accusing me of something I didn’t do and saying everyone “knows” I did it and they are so disappointed because they liked me so much and, it’s a small community, so it’ll follow me. She said she knew one night I had heard them talking about me (I hadn’t) and had guiltily slipped out the back door (that was the door I always left work from).

    I totally melted down. There were more hurtful things after this, but I never defended myself the way I wish I had – I just sort of decided to stay in America and avoid the hurt. Every few months, I wake up upset, writing her a letter in my head. Every few months for 16 years!

    I need to let that go, too. The power of the group condemnation is astonishing. It can cripple a person.

    I’m sorry you have to deal with the fall out from this Facebook shit. Thank god we weren’t teenagers in the social media age!

    And I am very sad to hear about your Mum, I can’t imagine the pain. My Mum is my best friend, too. Thinking of you and sending a huge hug across the ocean. XO

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    1. bertieandme Post author

      Thanks for the hugs Elizabeth – I think my hormones are playing up today and I’m so weepy it’s ridiculous!

      It’s so hard to let go of situations when they are unfair or there’s been an injustice. I’m really sorry to hear about the situation with your friend, but I do totally get not being able to move on even after many years and wishing you’d done things differently.

      I think the reason I’m so furious (and that’s not too strong a word for how I feel) about this situation with my own friend is that it mirrors so strongly what happened with my biological father. He was a rubbish Dad but wanted to be top dog at my wedding. I said no, but *I* was the one sent to conventry and blamed for hurting him! Same with my friend. She’s been a rubbish friend the past few years and been incredibly insensitive, but still wanted to be top dog on my Blog. I emailed to tell her how angry and hurt I was by her behaviour over recent years, but *I* was the one sent to Coventry for hurting her! Makes me so angry, but I recognise it’s more to do with the injustice of the situation rather than my friend or any of my other so called friends who have now ostracized me – none of them deserve a second of my time.

      You have been incredibly supportive of me since I began blogging and I value your friendship very much. Is it bad to say I hope your former friend gets run over by a truck?!!! Ooops just said it 😉

      Jak x

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      1. E. Milo

        You’re history with your biological father is unimaginable. I read your family blog to my husband. I’m so angry on your behalf.

        The situation with my friend also mirrored something that had happened in secondary school, with the same group of friends, so it was compounded hurt and they could easily believe it because the seed was planted years before. I was a totally naive innocent bystander in both situations as my name got trashed.

        And the worst part is, I still like them – love them, actually. We’re still Facebook friends. I feel like a wimp. Thanks for the lovely words. XO

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  2. Sherry

    Hello :).

    This is not an easy post to respond to, for me anyhow.

    I am of two minds…one that wants to join in on the telling of my story of painfully lost relationships with family and close friends…of becoming homebound, of the overall and overwhelming sense of wretched unfairness that can rain down at a moment’s notice… of breakdowns into gut wrenching tears that clog my head and give me a raunchy migraine… all of these things tied intimately to my illness. I’ve joined in before and will do so again I am sure but I am never satisfied when I am finished… not really. I am relieved to have gotten the negative thoughts, worries and fears out of my head and am extraordinarily grateful for any support but, in the end, I feel a certain hollowness is left over – as if nothing has really changed…. and I think this result, for me, is because this way of being is not supporting who I really want to be… and gets in the way of finding an authentically sought after truth.

    I believe a good cry, as shitty as it can feel at the time, is a necessary release of emotions.

    I don’t have any answers as to how to resolve these feelings other than to let them unfurl as they may and do what might give you relief… write as you are… and so on. Yet, for me, I have found I can slip into obsessive thinking – rehashing – and off I go feeling anger, feeling hurt all over again – sometimes at the same intensity as when the event happened. I don’t want to feel this way and I don’t want to give that kind of power (as cliché as that sounds) to my “offenders”. It’s all perception in the end, isn’t it? These people may or may not be happy or angry or right or wrong or thinking of me at all (likely not)…either way, it is up to me to focus on my own intents whatever they may be… for me… I know who I am and I am just fine with who I am… As much as I might want fairness, approval, people to know the true me, to understand me, to support me, to respect me, to like me… to love me…

    I want to trust in myself and so I do.
    I do not want to resist what comes my way but I do not want to be drawn in destructively either and so I try to be mindful of when my thoughts start to go ballistic.
    I know myself and my true intentions and this is ultimately what matters, let them figure out their own crap.
    I want to understand what is in my control and what it not and so…

    The good old Serenity Prayer comes in handy for me,

    “Give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
    Give me courage to change the things I can
    Give me the wisdom to know the difference.”

    I want and need joy in my life to balance the despair generated by the far-reaching effects of my illness… despite how unfairly I feel I have been treated… despite who is right or wrong. We all die in the end… I want to know the present. Let them have the past.

    Respectfully,

    Sherry

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  3. drmom5

    Are your sure your mom is terminal? I spent 3 weeks in Feb, helpless in the hospital with breathing tubes in (9 days.) I know I scared my sons but I got out and promptly had a bilateral pulmonary embolism but here I am, alive, and able to type and make dinner again. Your mom may yet surprise you!

    As to your ex-friend, putting that shit on Facebook was lower than a snake’s belly. She obviously has no shame or honor. Good riddance to her.

    There’s a connection to losing your mom and your best friend though. I lost mine when I got divorced in 1996. Mom died in 1998. I have no daughters. I have a new best friend but there’s still a hole there where the mother should be. She was like a daughter and sister to me. The tears are always there, waiting to erupt, at the mention of her. I hope your mom is up and able to do things with you, even if it’s just tea, again soon.

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    1. bertieandme Post author

      Hi

      My Mom had half a lung removed 2 years ago and we were told then that she had a progressive disease which causes her lungs to scar over. She now only has 30% lung function left and is too out of breath now to walk to the loo let alone dress or bathe herself. Add to this the fact she is now in heart failure which cannot be fixed by surgery and it’s not something she will recover from. She may possibly last another couple of years, but any kind of infection or another heart attack could kill her tomorrow – I just treasure every day I have left.

      Jak x

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  4. luciduniverse

    Just adding support to your loss of friendship. I was very athletic when I was young. People I knew often looked to me as an inspiration. After some injuries and major surgeries, I still looked strong and healthy although I could barely walk and lift one arm and use my hand on that side. I worked really hard to use my shoulder, arm and hand. No one really knew I was doing that because I knew that they would not or could not understand the pain I was in. So, I spent a few decades hiding my disabilities. I seemed perfectly normal and even above average on the outside. But I was not taking any medications, not leaving home when I was not feeling well, not eating at restraunts, drinking smoothies and eating ice cream occasionally but by the quart at times. I rarely ate because I lacked and appetite as food and thinking about food made me feel sick. I had to maintain myself by stretching excercises every morning and little excercises throughout the day. I had my own business so only my partner knew that I had health issues. But then one year, my asthma, allergies, bone pain, gi tract, headaches, nerve pain all seemed to occur all at once and did not let up and kept on for a few years before I broke down and went seeking specialists. After I had a few clues, I began sharing with close friends. But they treated me like I was just having a bad hair day. They did not live with me and I never had mentioned it before. So, I learned, one by one, that the friends I had had for years were not really friends. They were people who wanted me to be someone they wanted me to be but not me. The last few years, I have chosen to drop each person who does not really want to know how I really feel out of my life. It has been some intense isolation. One of my friends who was still on the periphery of my life, told me recently, “You know isolating yourself can make you over-sensitive to what others say to you.” Then she related a story about a family member’s husband who is disabled. She made some comment and a few days later the wife told her that the comment had hurt her husband’s feelings. My friend thought that was over-sensitive, After a near month of thinking about her judgement that I am isolating myself, I have come to the conclusion that she has no real sympathy for anyone she does not understand. She is a very wise and smart and sensitive friend. But… disibility is not on her pallette of sensitivities. I do not want anyone around me judging me because I am done with that in my life. Nearing 50 years old, I have no space or time or energy for anyone to open their trap and let out their abstract opinion based on their lack of knowledge and experience. I have no more compassion for people who have no compassion. So, if you just cut 200 people out of your life who are really basically judgemental, well you have really entered a new stage of accepting who you are and leaving behind the need to be accepted for who you are not.

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