Jealousy, judgment, and the real reason friendships end

No one tells you that ending a close friendship will haunt you for so long, even if you initiated it for the sake of your health and know it was the right thing to do.

I think everybody has some jealousy of others. It’s a normal human emotion that can only be overcome with a lot of work on yourself. Admitting your jealousies does not mean that you can’t get past them or that you hold resentments against another person. Instead, admitting jealousy is just being open about it. You can only work through the things you acknowledge. Pretending you don’t have any jealousies means they go unaddressed.

Similarly, I think everyone is a little bit judgmental in their own way. I’ve lost friends who were very open-minded about sexuality but super judgmental about people going to church, for example. Again, it’s a normal and common human trait to judge. It can be overcome with a lot of effort or peace with yourself but it’s not easy.

My religious struggles have always been within myself, as I tried to work out what I believed. I never pushed religion on anyone in the slightest. How could I, when I wasn’t sure what I believed myself? It was just one place I sought answers and ultimately didn’t find them there, anyway.

I always believe people can change but sometimes it’s not enough. You don’t owe anyone endless chances if they’re bad for you. I had to let a friend go last year, not because I was jealous or judgmental of her, and not because I wasn’t giving her a chance to change. And I still miss her anyway.

Though I suppose maybe that was true that I was done waiting for her to change, but it wasn’t for the reasons she thought. It was completely about not seeing much change in her drama and anger. My husband pointed out that she was the only friend I was consistently scared to see, which isn’t supposed to be part of friendships. But it was her anger that scared me away, not my jealousy or insecurity.

I had to protect myself. I was frequently abandoned (or outright attacked, in the case of when I moved down here) when I most needed a friend. If something really good happened to me, she was extremely jealous and usually used that time to attack.

She frequently had crises that she needed to work through with someone immediately and I was always there. It was the intensity and urgency of her reactions that made it more than just being a listening ear. Responding to it made me feel stressed out. It was taking a toll on my mental and physical health. I have tendencies of trying to be the rescuer and I fell into that role too often. That was my issue and I couldn’t resolve it in a friendship with her.

It wasn’t just the frequent crises that made me decide to cut it off, though, because we had been friends for almost 20 years. It’s that I never knew when she would blow up and attack me with messages upon messages calling me names and accusing me of things that weren’t true. I needed to see progress made toward emotional stability and self-awareness on her part and I just wasn’t seeing the effort.

We also talked a lot about our various health problems (I joined in with my own, which I admit), which made me feel sicker and more scared of my health. I complained more and felt more miserable because our conversations were so focused on it.

But she said I wasn’t being honest when I wrote here that we just grew apart. At the time, I said we were just too different. And that was the truth: I always struggled to keep conversations going that weren’t about our problems because our interests were too different. All that was true and I was just trying to be mature in saying no one was to blame.

Still, she was right that I had other reasons I wasn’t talking about. It wasn’t because I was jealous of her privileged upbringing, like she believed. I just had enough of her being angry and constantly in crisis mode. But there was no point in telling her that because she was too angry to really listen to me.

Almost 20 years and it was still the same. I was just done. And once I’m done with someone that’s usually final.

I am trying hard to change and improve myself. I examine myself and my motives a lot, which isn’t always easy. I’m trying to get in touch with my own feelings. A lot of people who know me well say they can tell that I’m changing and that my moods are more stable. I have to keep working on that because my first priority is myself and trying to be a better person. I have relatively few close friends, but they’re people I trust and our conversations aren’t shallow or focused on complaining.

I was always the first to apologize after our huge blowout fights, some months later whenever I missed her. But I can’t this time and I don’t think she’ll ever do it herself either. I don’t know if she even does regret how she went off on me. She said I wasn’t letting her change, but the fact that she went off on me like she did was proof that she hadn’t changed. Her explosive anger has always been my biggest issue with her.

I still love her and miss her but I have to prioritize myself. If someone makes me feel worse rather than better, I can’t have that in my life, especially right now. I’m pretty tough and can get through things without a crowd of friends; I often process things better that way. To be honest, I can’t imagine she would offer much comfort as my husband is going through chemo, the scariest time of my life.

I wish she had learned to control her rage and didn’t always resort to using things I told her against me, but I hope that someday she will change those things for the sake of others in her life. It would’ve been nice if the friendship wasn’t so lopsided with me always doing more for her than she did for me, too. But I don’t think that will happen and it’s sometimes hard to let go.

I doubt she’ll ever apologize to me for the torrent of abuse she unleashed on me last year, though I would welcome it. But for all I know, she still thinks I wronged her. But I have to prioritize my own health and if something is bad for it, I have to focus on my own healing first. Even if that means letting go of someone I love. I finally gave myself closure.

5 Comments

    1. It took me a long time to accept that it was abusive and to believe that I deserve better. She accused me of bullying her because I told her I was jealous of her privileged upbringing, but I now recognize many of her accusations as classic projection.
      The scary thing to me is that she has kids and a husband and I wonder if she treats them like she treated me. And if she doesn’t, that means she has the control to behave that way selectively, which isn’t any better.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Definitely scary. If her friendships tend to combust, I’d say everyone, but if she has stable friendships, I definitely think she targeted you unconsciously or not.

        I had a former friend project a lot onto me and she had a husband and a kid. But she seemed to be selective, so everyone else just thought I was the awful friend. I wondered if she had borderline personality disorder traits, since her behaviour was so erratic.

        Like

      2. Most of her friendships also do tend to combust. It’s just an eye-opening new thought (and a sad one) that her husband and kids may be subjected to the same anger. It was so damaging to me—I can’t imagine how it would be for them.
        I do suspect that she also has borderline personality disorder because her rages were most often in response to someone letting her down in some way, even if it was just canceling plans. She just needed *so much* from friendships and it burns people out. It led to a really long period where I studied borderline personality, narcissistic personality, projection and triangulation and all that. But like your experience, since a lot of what she said about me was to people who didn’t know me, it made me look like the bad friend too. It took so long to realize that so much unhealthy behavior was going on and I was keeping myself involved in it.

        Liked by 1 person

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