Saturday, June 21, 2008

A long story and a telling dream

There's a story I've been meaning to share with my newer friends for a long time, but I've never quite managed to get up the energy. It's the story of an old friend, a strange conflict and a year of silence. It ends, or continues, with a strongly telling dream.

I had a friend when I lived overseas. This friend and I met in a baby play group, our first-born are about 6 months apart. We connected at first because we were two ex-pats from the same country in a foreign place, but we found over time we had a lot in common. There was a lot different too. She is much more outgoing than me, much more vibrant, much more demanding. She has a big heart and can be very generous, but can also be very selfish. She lives constantly surrounded by drama and needs people very, very much. I on the other hand love people, but also need my alone time. I rarely ask for favors, and don't expect people to be there for me at the drop of a pin. But we are both introspective, we are both spiritually inclined, and we have a lot of spooky similar characteristics that have caused us to say at times that we must be long lost relatives of some kind.

This friend became over time my best friend. We talked every day on the phone for hours at a time, for about 4 years. However things weren't always great. Like sisters, we had fights. At one point she stopped talking to me for about 3 months. She was upset with life-choices I had made (hates my husband, didn't think I should go through with my second pregnancy) and didn't want to be around me. It hurt me terribly, as she was my only friend and my only connection in that country. She forgave ME my indiscretions shortly before my second was born and we went back to being friends. But I never really forgave her for abandoning me.

To step back for a moment, I have to say this is our pattern, my pattern. She gets upset with me, I apologize. I never tell her when I'm upset with her. I hold it all inside and let it build, not healthy, just my way.

After my second was born I had major PPD. My husband was in another country, I was alone in a foreign place with no money, no family, no car, and two children under the age of 3. And my best friend was going through a split with her man and would call for hours to cry on my shoulder. My shoulders were too weak for that. I felt she only came back to me as a friend because she needed my support, but she wasn't giving me hers. Lots of little things contributed to the feeling, but it was a bleak time.

We went on the same way for another year and half or so. Then I moved to the States. We still talked every day, sometimes for hours. She came and visited us several times. But that in itself was the root of more problems.

To make a long story a little shorter, she and my husband hate each other with a passion. Her visits became increasingly problematic and stressful for me. Without going into a lot of detail as to why, I began to develop a lot of resentment towards her. I felt taken advantage of, yet again.

One year ago she was supposed to come visit and stay for several weeks. She never asked if she could come, just planned it. I gave as many subtle hints as I could that it was a bad idea before I had to flat out say she couldn't come. She was horribly upset and we fought and cried for hours. Then we didn't speak for a week. She called again and we discussed everything and I thought we were fine. But I haven't heard from her since.

After a few weeks it was clear there was a problem. I was going through my own stresses and didn't feel strong enough to deal with her. I knew I would get all the blame for everything, as usual. And I was feeling angry about a lot of past things I had never let out. So I didn't call.

It's been almost exactly a year since we last spoke. I think of her and her children often and I think of calling or writing, but I still don't want to deal with the fallout. However...

a couple of days ago my eldest had a fight with her best friend. I was telling her how every friendship has problems, all friends fight, the important thing is to work it out. I felt like such a hypocrite! That night I had a dream that my friend and her children came to visit. We had a long talk and in the end we hugged and I told her how much I had missed her. I woke up with a pit in my stomach, thinking it was real. Admitting to myself for the first time honestly that I do miss her.

I still don't know if I am ready to open the can of worms, however I think I'm a good step closer. Perhaps one of these days I'll sit down and write her a letter like this one, in which I let her know how I feel. Perhaps soon...


Alicia said...

It's a tough call, Chrissi. One of my oldest friends totally broke the girl code (against a mutual friend), and it shocked me and hurt me and confused me. It was one of those "If she can do it to her, she can do it to me, too" things. So I walked. I didn't call, I didn't write.

2 years went by, and by a weird stroke of luck?, I felt myself missing her on my birthday. So I googled here, and I found her blog. And wouldn't you know it? Her entry for my birthday was about me.

She told the blogosphere some pretty harsh things about me and how hurt she was that I decided to cut ties. I thought long and hard about whether or not I should reply. I did. And we kind of patched things up. But, it's not the same. It's just not.

We've known each other for 20 years, and we grew up into the women we now are together for the most part. But those 2 lost years were the years I really grew up, and she didn't see it. We'll never get that time back.

Just something for you to think on.

Sara said...

I've only recently even let people get close enough to me to have the kind of friendship where we can talk all day long, and have fights, and survive it. I have no words to give you because I have no experience. Some people affect our lives negatively enough to let them go, others are worth fighting for. Only you can choose. Either way, I hope you choose to do what makes you happiest.

SoCalJenni said...

It's really tough, like alicia said. Maybe though if you did write your friend this letter it could bring you guys back together as friends, or it could give you closure to your friendship.

HomeSlice said...

i have a friend like that. she has her own issues, and she has a lot of bitterness. however, she's been there for me when no one else has. we've gone through some periods of silence before. if the friendship is worth it, i suggest a letter - but in that letter you need to really share your side of the story. i always remind myself that it's not my friend's fault i avoided confrontation and didn't want to hurt her feelings. without telling her how you feel, i doubt you can patch it up. i'm sorry this happened and you are going through it.