• Handling Breakups

An unsettling blow-up with a passive-aggressive friend

Published: December 11, 2012 | Last Updated: December 11, 2012 By | 26 Replies Continue Reading
Sadly, if a friend is consistently difficult, it is unlikely her personality will change.



I’ve recently called it quits with a very long-term friend, 28 years to be exact (I’m 40). We had an altercation where I refused, for the first time mind you, to back down. She was putting me down in front of mutual friends and I was just fed up and after a few minutes of arguing I told her: “You’re not going to bully me anymore.”

Apparently, I struck a nerve. My lack of backing down set her off later and she tried to turn it around on me in an email and demand an apology. I also found out later she unloaded on the mutual friend who has somewhat stayed out of it.

Needless to say, with her lack of empathy to genuinely hash through things, I hit rock bottom with that email and refused to even acknowledge it. All this after I tried to talk to her on the way home and she said in a chipper voice: “Everything is fine!” yet has the nerve to tell me in this email that she can’t talk to me face-to-face because “I’d flake out on her.”

I had tolerated quite a bit of badgering, bad behavior without remorse, constant changing/canceling of plans, heavy criticism, etc., for years but was always followed with the “You’re my best friend” and “I love you” from her. I recognize now that this was manipulative.

My friend is a person who can’t be sad without being angry, very aggressive and has withdrawn emotionally. I would try to coax her out of her shell and she would get defensive. I had gotten to the point where when we went out I was constantly worried that she was angry, was she happy, do I talk about her enough, etc. She’s famous for her grudges, coldness and when her husband asked me to invite all her friends to a surprise party, turns out that I was the only one to invite. In retrospect, this said volumes to me.

After months of consideration, I’ve realized that there is no way to communicate with this woman—and that she hurts me and ignores when I protest. She shows no remorse and turns it around to be my fault. Now when I think of her saying, “You’re my best friend,” all I can think is: “No, I’m the one that’s put up with your crap the longest.”

Needless to say, I realized I was in a passive-aggressive relationship for years and found myself completely fed up. This has been incredibly therapeutic recognizing this and letting go of her has felt good. I also know that I don’t have this problem with any other friends, nor my husband. I believe this friendship is unique.

But I can’t help feeling other things as well. I find that if I reflect on any of this relationship I am SO furious. Furious that I let this happen, furious that I couldn’t communicate with her and furious that she probably still believes this is my fault.

How does one find peace in this instance? Anyone else would tell me closure, but to me, writing a letter explaining how I feel would be like pouring gas over the fire and just reignite it all over again and I really don’t care to put in that time and energy. Am I angry at myself for allowing this? Why did it take 28 years for me to finally stand up and say enough? Why am I still angry, and how do I let this go in my head?

Signed, Marlee


Hi Marlee,

It sounds like the problems in this relationship were festering for many years. Some people, like you, are able to make allowances for difficult people over and over—-perhaps out of compassion, habit, or for a variety of other reasons.

When your friend embarrassed you in front of mutual friends, it seems like all your accumulated upset and disappointment finally erupted. It’s unfortunate that this happened in such a public way involving other people. Your friend must have felt as humiliated as you did, so it’s not surprising that she tried to invoke an ally.

Although you have a lot of history with this friend, it doesn’t sound like this has been a healthy relationship for quite some time. Your friend seems to run hot and cold, and is unwilling to address or take ownership for any problems in your relationship.

I can understand your upset at not realizing this pattern sooner but sometimes we need to be hit over the head with a 2 X 4 to make changes. This often happens in romantic relationships as well as friendships. Don’t be angry at yourself for waiting too long. The relationship blew up when you finally reached your saturation point. Hopefully, you have learned the hard lesson that you need to speak up for yourself sooner rather than later if you feel you are being denigrated or bullied by a friend.

It sounds like your friend is a difficult person, by virtue of her mercurial personality, and it’s unlikely that anything you say or do will change her.

Since you feel a sense of relief in letting go, it suggests that this relationship had passed its expiration date, and it was time to end it. It’s always upsetting when a relationship ends in a blow-up but I think you just need to move on. Reread your letter to me or make a short list of the reasons why you ended this friendship if you second-guess your decision again.

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene

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Category: HANDLING BREAKUPS, How to get over a breakup

Comments (26)

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  1. jemma says:

    ive just ended a 9 or more friendship ive had with one of my friends. im happy i did it but in the back of my head i wish i didnt.she only started hurting me 2 years ago and its gotten worse. i know its weird how she hurt me and all, but too me i thought it was all a joke until last year she was threatening to stab me. its was hard but ive moved on and im happy. even though i get flashbacks of the moments together i choose not to listen

  2. Lilly says:

    After several years of not socializing due to a very heart breaking end to a friendship that lasted 10 years, I met a person at a social event and we became quick friends. We did a fair amount of socializing through a mutual passion. We spoke almost daily and ventured out a couple of times a month. It was the first time in many years I let my guard down to be friends with someone.

    This person is very outgoing, outspoken and bold. Pretty much my social opposite. We enjoyed each other’s company and she introduced me to some of her friends and I was quite happy with all of it. When you get to know a person you learn there are traits that they have that you may not like. You learn that there are traits that they bring out in you that you may not like. One of those traits was cattiness. I have to admit that I engaged in some catty behavior when speaking about people we encountered. Undeserved comments. It took a short while but it reminded me of a friendship that I had in high school that I ended because it became toxic. Red flag number one. I stepped back from the catty behavior.

    We made a lot of mutual friends, some of whom I began to develop relationships with via social media. She wondered how I knew so much about people. My sense of humor allowed me access in a way that perhaps she didn’t have. A photo was taken of me with someone that she despised (with no real reason) and she called me a traitor. Jokingly. Red flag number two.

    She had a habit of giving her unsolicited opinion and at times it was quite forceful. I learned that quiet persistence was the best way to deal with that. I stood my ground and never let her tell me what to do with my life but not everyone had that patience or even wanted to be that patient. A mutual friend outright told her to keep her opinion to herself and that made her decide right then and there they were no good and disparaged their character. Red flag number three.

    She didn’t respect the friendships that I made. I told her that it was fine that she wasn’t friends with one particular person, and that I was glad because it meant I didn’t get caught in the middle of any fights. Apparently she wanted me to choose sides. She didn’t say this. I could never get her to have an authentic conversation about what she was feeling or thinking. When confronted directly, she all of a sudden lost the power of speech. I asked her outright if she didn’t like someone and she couldn’t admit to it. But had no problem saying awful things about them.

    It took a few months but I noticed she didn’t seek out my company as much. The phone calls were few. Calling her felt awkward, as if I didn’t have the right to do so. I placed one final call to her, to try to hash things out and she made it seem as though she was so flustered with something going on at work and that she would call me back. She didn’t and she usually did if she said that’s what she was going to do.

    I didn’t call her again. I didn’t respond to the scant, albeit judgemental, text. At one point I felt like she was following me a little too closely on social media, commenting and tagging me when we haven’t spoken at all. We would be in the same room and not speak but there’s my name tagged like we went to an event together. Which I found quite odd since we hadn’t seen or spoken to each other in months.

    I feel like she is angry because I didn’t chase her down and beg for her friendship. Or that I didn’t fall in line with the catty behavior or the co-dependent need to have all of our friendships exactly the same. She was quite competitive with the friendships. My feelings were deeply hurt when she turned her back on our friendship without at least giving me the decency of a “get lost”.

    I am glad that I didn’t try to resume the friendship. The co-dependent nature that was slowly emerging I’ve experienced before and it’s never good. The lack of respect for my other relationships meant that she didn’t respect me. The trash talking that she has done means that she is probably now trash talking me. I’m proud of myself for not letting this linger like I have done in the past. I may not have initiated the end of the friendship, but I locked the door that was closed in my face.

  3. Tiffany says:


    Back in May (of 2015) I recently ended my four year friendship with my best friend. After our graduation at the end of May she started saying all these horrible things about me, trying to make me seem like a terrible person and friend. And she still is assassinating my character til this day. I’ve recently came to the conclusion that she is passive aggressive. Even though I’m not sure if I want the friendship back, I feel like she really needs my help and it would be wrong for me not to be there. I will always care for her and love her and because of this, I think I need to address everything and have a face to face discussion with her. I would truly appreciate any wonderful advice on how to address this situation.

  4. Skones says:

    Hi Marlee,

    I sincerely empathize with you – I am dealing with a similar issue with a family member. Sometimes there is only so much that you can take before you erupt.

    I would recommend that you allow yourself to feel angry – it is well deserved. And if it makes you feel any better, I can almost guarantee that this friend is most likely much, much more miserable in the loss of this friendship than you are. Granted she may never acknowledge this to others or even to herself.

    So allow yourself to be angry and then at some point forgive and let go – not because your friend is worthy of forgiveness but for your own self.

    Best wishes!

  5. 45iop[]\p says:

    So…Im done with a passive agressive friend. I am hurt, I will miss her. She sent me an apology bouquet — hence not expressing herself with words; I could go my whole life without receiving an apology bouquet from my BFF. This was her way of putting the ball in my court. I have struggled with what to say, but haven’t yet due to the likely response, blame shifting, etc. Our birthdays are approaching, we havent missed speaking to one another on our birthdays for 34 years. Is this just something I will miss? What should someone do for closure?

  6. Marlee says:

    Marlee here –

    I decided to come back to this after some lengthy and long work done on myself, which included a therapist who proved very beneficial. I’ve learned a great deal and thought I’d share. I didn’t understand the comments from so many of you that said I kept this friendship going because I needed something. That was the part that confused me for awhile. To need something out of such a toxic friendship to me meant it was beneficial and that was what perplexed me. Turns out it represented something very different.

    I come from a mother who is an alcoholic and from an abusive family. Because of this, she lacks the ability to do two things: she doesn’t know how to empathize with me and she doesn’t know how to communicate her pain to me without trying to inflict it on me (take it out on me.) She’s also a full blown narcissist. This part of the lesson was easy. The harder part was recognizing this: she has no idea she’s hurting me because she’s a damaged person herself, nothing I do will turn her into the mother I needed/wanted as a child/now as an adult and she will never, never, never change.

    Recognizing this, I realized that my friend was EXACTLY like my mother and I was repeating patterns. I don’t know if I wanted to be with her because she reminded me of my mother or because if I could figure out how to change her, I could change my mother. I lean more towards the latter on this one.

    So with all of this in mind, I can give a few bits of advice:

    1. If you have a friend who talks down to you, walk away. If you keep finding friends who hurt you for no reason, walk away and get a therapist. These friends will never EVER change no matter what you do.

    2. If you are surrounded by toxic people and you try to change for the better, they are going to do their damnest to stop you. YOU represent a release for them or a scapegoat for their own pain that they have become very comfortable with for as long as you’ve let them. You are not responsible for healing someone else by suffering. Ignore them and realize they don’t know what they’re doing. Cut them off and don’t look back. Don’t fight, just become apathetic.

    3. Realize that being attracted to cruel friends has an underlying issue. If you grew up in an abusive family, it can still effect you way into adulthood. If you can be attracted to abusive lovers, you can be attracted to abusive friends as well.

    Books that helped me:

    “Why can’t my mother and I be friends?” by Victoria Secunda

    “Freedom from Toxic Relationships: Moving On from the Family, Work, and Relationship Issues That Bring You Down” Avril Carruthers

    “The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life” by Robin Stern, Naomi Wolf

    And if necessary, look up “Adult Children of Alcoholics.”

    I’m putting this up because I’ve seen so many responses like mine. The books were recommended by my therapist. It’s been eye opening, to say the least when you find out you’re attracted to narcissists. Cutting toxic friends, let alone family out of my life has been terrifying as well as cathartic. And I’m beginning to heal.

    I hope someone out there finds this beneficial. Good luck.

    • Nelson says:

      Had a bit of a blow-up with whom I thought to be a life-long best friend. Thankfully the incident didn’t happen in public. It hurts so much to realize how long I’ve tolerated and possibly enabled her passive aggressive behaviors all these years. I stood up for myself and explained why and how she hurt me. Instead of a sincere apology, which is all I need, she turned it around to make it all my own fault because “you had zero reason to be upset. Get over it.” I love my friend dearly. The thought of terminating the friendship scares me the most. I forced myself to create some space between us. She has since messaged me a few times explaining how I overreacted. Her only semi-apology was for our miscommunication. I’m very upset for possibly losing a friend but have no regret for stood up for myself. Sorry for the rant, and thank you for this blog. Looking forward to the healing.

    • Maya says:

      Thank you Marlee – I had an eerily similar issue with a friend of 20 years, and an alcoholic mother. You and I have come to similar conclusions. I am still angry, I’m hoping relief is coming. Thanks so much for sharing.

  7. Lauren says:

    Hi Marlee,

    My heart goes out to you. I agree with Irene’s sage advice. You are far better off without this toxic “friend”/manipulator. Don’t be too hard on yourself for tolerating her for so long. You sound like a highly sensitive, kind and compassionate person, and she preyed on your good nature. There is a really good book call “Co-dependence-The Dance of Wounded Souls”, by Robert Burney. I found it very helpful in dealing with the end of toxic friendships and their aftermath.

    Also, here are the results of two very interesting studies, the second of which demonstrated that toxic friends can actually shorten your life and severely affect the quality of your life::

    1) A survey conducted by NCB’s Today and SELF Magazine, revealed that 83% of women admit to remaining in contact with “frenemy” because it’s too difficult to end the relationship.

    A study of 300,000 people conducted by BRIGHAM UNIVERSITY, UTAH , revealed that negative and competitive relationships with friends could be as harmful as obesity or smoking.

    Also, you never know, at a later date, she may have the audacity to try to befriend you again. Watch out for that possibility.

    You did the right thing in letting her go. Be proud of yourself, and your strength. You deserve better than a toxic “friend” like her. All the best to you.

  8. Kate says:

    Thank you all your for comments I am in the same situation. I really want to confront my friend about her constant passive aggressive remarks but I don’t because her mother committed suicide years ago and her friends always let her including me say terrible things to you and we all just take it. I feel I can’t anymore as when you get older you relise you only have a few friends and when you meet up you want to be able to talk. laugh and share your feelings. I just can’t with her I always leave feeling like I am just crap really and I don’t have these issues with other friends just her. I honestly just don’t know what to say to her as she never shares her feelings and I know she won’t talk to me about it and if I do my friendship will be over.

  9. Mitsy says:

    I can relate to many aspects of the original poster. While there has not been a huge blow-up between me & my toxic “friend”, she still runs hot/cold at times. My BIGGEST problem is that we both work retail part-time so there are some weeks that I can’t avoid her. I’ve written about this person many times on this web site but the pain associated with how she’s treated me over the last couple years can still rear its ugly head at times.

    I’ve backed off & seldom ever call her unless there is a work-related issue. We do not do anything social anymore. She has dated a controlling guy for about 6 years but she did not start treating me bad until summer 2011. Something happened in July of that year that made her change drastically. I still believe it had something to do with her dysfunctional guy whom she’s still with to this day. She has been married 5-6 times but I only knew her last husband (a nice guy who is the father of her kids but whom she cheated on at least once if not more times). She regrets some of her past behavior & possibly she thinks this controlling guy is her only option (other than going it alone). She has blown off other friends/co-workers who have seen the same traits I have. The only difference is that she was not nearly as close to them as she was to me.

    Because I can’t avoid her at our place of employment, I do my best to get along. Some nights she acts like her old self & you think that maybe she is back to “normal” but on other nights, her moodiness, secretiveness and snootiness is a real toxin for the work environment. She has no family here in town–only this guy who is so bad for her. I keep hoping & praying she will move & then I simply won’t have to see or deal with her at all. She has threatened moving back to her home town for at least 10 years. It’s usually prefaced by the comment IF controlling guy doesn’t commit to her. Well, he’s already said he won’t get married again & why would he? What guy (even a twisted one) would want to marry a woman with as many marriages behind her as she’s had. She’s made a lot of her own happiness.

    When you reach your 50’s (like she & I), one thing is important to learn & that really good friends are hard to come by. I had been the best friend she could ask for (and she has told people that we were close friends – even after she’s acted badly towards me) but she is never consistent in her behavior which is a deal breaker for me.

    I’ve made some new friendship. None have come close to replacing this person but at least none of them have been hot/cold or moody with me yet. It takes time to build friendships. I was friends with my former friend for almost 17 years. That’s a lot of time down the drain. All I can say is you have to move on when a friend turns into a frenemy. Eventually, karma will kick in but it’s hard to wait for that. I know all too well.

  10. Lily says:

    Marlee, I think that your friendship continued for so long, because there was something in it that you needed. It may have been toxic but for some reason you needed it. However, finally things came to a head when you decided that something has changed inside of you and you wanted something different for yourself.
    Like a previous comment above, I think that you are a good person and are taking responsibility or at least trying to take responsibility in your part of the friendship, just by the fact that you wrote in trying to understand things. Your toxic friend sound like she takes no responsibility because she just wants to remain angry. Of course the friendship is dead, because she liked the old friendship just the way it was. She can dish it out, but she can’t take it. I think it’s good that you were able to break out of that relationship.

  11. Kathy says:

    I understand how your are feeling Marlee…I had a friendship of 20+ years end for the same reasons. I was so angry and hurt and confused for years. The anger was something I couldn’t understand as well, but it’s been 18 years now since we really talked and I would say the anger came from me not seeing her for the way she was and me investing so much of me into the relationship. We met when we were 14 years old and the friedship ended when we were around 35. We both had married and had children so we understood that we were busy and had other priorities. I came from a dysfunction childhood and she was my friend and family. I made her into something she wasn’t. I put her on a pedistal. Unfortunately she didn’t feel the same. She was going through a rough time in her marriage and doing strange things and she was verbally abusive to me and I just couldn’t understand why she was acting this way to me, an argument happened and things were said that shouldn’t of been and the friendship ended. I tried numerous times to resurrect the dead but it wasn’t meant to be. I told her when we had this argument that our friendship had become unhealthy and at the time I felt that way. I felt she needed time and we needed to set boundaries and things could of worked out…She didn’t even want to try, to her the friendship was dead. For years I was angry and I thought it was because I missed my friend. I really think it had more to do with me feeling that she didn’t value me enough and that I wasn’t important enough for her to at least meet me half way. For me the anger was that I was so hurt that I was treated the way she treated me….I also take full responsibility for my part in it but to her she did nothing wrong, it was all me…
    You say you feel better with her gone, it’s taken me years to feel better, I felt guilt for blowing up at her and I wished that I didn’t handle things better….Like you I haven’t had this problem with any other friends or relatives….Your not alone…

  12. MzMM says:

    Bravo to u for ending something which no longer served you in a positive peaceful productive way it takes a lot of courage to end a friendship and or non-friendship and it takes even more courage to be vulnerable and open enough to write in and get feedback. I think a great deal of your anger is probably related to the fact that you are grieving the loss of this relationship (Or at least the good parts of it ) and there are some conflicting emotions which surface as a result. The fact is you were most likely emotionally attached in someway and it happens to us all with less than quality relationships. She found a way to keep you hooked in and involved by throwing crumbs and unfortunately even the best of us get used to toxic love and it takes time to heal our wounds once we let go. hang in there and embrace yourself gently through the process and all the best to u and ur quality friendships in 2013!

  13. Alberta says:

    When you are in a relationship like this it is diffucult to see through the fog – and when you have been away from it then you begin to see things more clearly.

    A good read for you is Emotional Blackmail: When people use fear obligation and guilt to maniupulate you. THis is what it sounds like your relationship was – a manipulationship. When you’re in it you make excuses for your friends mean spirited behaviour and almost in your mind create an imaginary friend to tolerate this person in your life. It takes awhile to get over – so give yourself some time and the unsettling thoughts and worry about what she may or may not think of you will pass as you add new and postive experiences in your life away from the negativity. Suzannes point was spot on – she gave you just enough positive to keep the chord so that gave you hope which kept you in the relationship.

  14. Carrie says:

    Hi Marlee,

    I know how you feel because I had a very similar friend and I am just like you. I have a lot of problems expressing my anger and tend to put other people first however badly they are behaving.

    I know this sounds very Freudian but what has helped me is looking at the origins of why I’m like this; my mother never allowed me to be angry when I was little, it was an emotion I wasn’t allowed to express. Anger is a very important human emotion and if you suppress it, it causes stress and anxiety.

    You cannot change her so don’t waste your energy trying and don’t waste your thoughts worrying what she thinks about you because the thoughts you should focus on are yours, your feelings not hers, YOU are valuable, you deserve to be treated with respect.

    Now you’ve had enough (which is great by the way) make sure you value yourself enough to only spend your time with people who value you.

  15. Sheryl says:

    Although it might hurt now, I’m confident that in time, Marlee will feel free of this friend. I speak from experience!

  16. amy says:

    There are three versions of conflict. Yours, hers, and the unbiased viewpoint. When things go wrong in relationships, I always look toward my responsibility in the scenario so I can see ways be better if similar issues arise. I also try to imagine how the other person would tell the story of our friendship, in order to be more empathic with the “other side”. I can look back on every failed relationship I had as an adult, whether that be friendship, work place, family, and see things I could have done to improve the situation (even ones I consider abusive).
    For instance, reading your letter, I saw a lot of victimology in your words, and nothing positive about her, so either, you were friends with a miserable person for 28 years, or you’re only concentrating on her negatives. Words like “I tolerated…” rather than “I chose to tolerate” seem to put all the blame on her. Just like you say she blames you for everything, it sounds to me like you’re doing the same things. For example, if you were friendly with someone for three decades who provided you nothing in return, the issue to me seems more about what about YOU chose to be in that friendship for so long. In the end, you were the one who changed the dynamics of the relationship in a public way, as a result of you feeling that she was insulting you publicly. Your part, allowing your feelings to remain unspoken until they were expressed in a way that isn’t reflective of the person you want to be. I find that taking responsibility for my part helps me feel less like a victim and more empowered to develop and mature as a human being. Feeling victimized thwart growth.
    Never say never. Perhaps after some time and self-reflection, maybe even in a few years, you might wish to reconnect with this friend. Perhaps now. Since you have mutual friends, you’ll see each other socially and you don’t want to do anything that might make that more awkward. Since you know she’s a talker, you don’t want to give her new material (particularly in writing, than can be shared and forwarded ;).
    Good luck processing all this. You may want to take note how your feelings change between now, six months from now, and a few years from now, so you can see your own growth process.

    • Marlee says:

      Amy –

      Thanks for your honesty. When i originally wrote in, I had to really paraphrase all the drama that had not only happened that night but for years. I can sum up our relationship in our first meeting. I was 12, she 11 when we first met or saw each other. I was riding my bike down the street and saw a girl my age working in the yard just glaring at me. I thought to myself: “Well, she doesn’t like me!” and rode on. First day of school, this girl with the mean look came up to me and yelled: “Why didn’t you come say hi to me!” And meek lilttle me said: “Sorry!” and that’s how it’s been ever since.

      Writing down that I was fed up with how she treated me was the first time I had really admitted that not only had I held her accountable for what she did, but yes, that I also let her do this to me. Quite frankly, I ALWAYS looked at relationships with acknowledging my faults, I have no qualms apologizing and have been known to extend olive branches. This was the only relationship where it was a one-way street. I look back at how I always backed down and just cringe. Quite frankly, I had always gone along with apologizing for anything she felt I had done to her, and I found myself stressed when I was with her, worrying if she was going to be angry at something I did. She’s famous for holding grudges against people for years and she always held that “I’m just going to stop talking to you if ____ doesn’t happen.” After turning 40, I just had enough of this childish behavior.

      I would have to bring up instances that I was unhappy with very carefully because she was so defensive. My biggest gripe was her constant canceling on me. The first time I had tried to talk to her about it, she got angry and used her children as a defense: “I have children and you do not! They are my life and THEY come first! And you’re going to have to deal with that!” That statement alone made me feel incredibly guilty for the longest time and I look back and think how unfair it was to use that as ammunition against me. It also gave her the leverage to cancel anytime she wanted without showing any remorse for at least the last 10 years. I looked back through our emails and I found 37 cancellations, including a handful of “Oh, I forgot about you… sorry!” And you know what? It’s garbage. No one else I know has done this and most of them have jobs and kids, so why the exception with her? The problem wasn’t I was demanding that she spend time with me over her kids, which is absurd, the problem was she didn’t care enough to schedule better and expected me to tolerate it. The boiling point came when she complained about the mutual friend who cancelled twice and when I pointed out that she did this to me multiple times, her response was: “No, I don’t! I don’t cancel on you like that!”

      You say “never say never” but that’s the hardest part. She’s cut me out of her life twice prior, neither of it my fault, I did manage to talk to her about it somewhat. But once I remember it was over malicious gossip that I never said, yet she believed, never asking me if it was true. She told me later on that in speaking with her mother, her mom said: “Does that really sound like something Marlee said?” To which she responded, and yes, she told me this: “I don’t care! I’m mad at her!” That really summed up how it was between us. And yet, she’d write out of the blue after a few years and just act like nothing happened when I would swallow all this anger deep down inside.

      Writing the letter to the Friendship Blog was extremely cathartic. I realized that she couldn’t change. That I had asked her to and she couldn’t or wouldn’t, I don’t know. I don’t know if I had the right to ask her to change but I do know I had the right to say that she hurt me and acknowledge the fact that I CHANGED and I’d had enough. The fact that I had relief in realizing I didn’t need to deal with this anymore was more than enough acknowedgement for me that this was the right decision.

      I also know that women can be incredibly self-sacrificing to a fault. Women as a whole are somehow socially trained to sacrifice everything about themselves for the ones they love and feel selfish asking for anything back (or worse demand it). That in turn can make a woman angry towards anyone and everyone and she has no idea why. I know what I needed in this relationship was not out of line, nor unfair, and it was necessary for a healthy union. And after being passive for 28 years, I could honestly say I was finished wondering how I could better this union. Besides, why do I have to stay friends with people I’ve known since middle school? That’s something that’s come up with other friends. (And no, she doesn’t have any friends outside of the one so there really is no change of us bumping into each other or gossip happening.) Is it a requirement to stay friends with people from childhood? No. But there is this unconscious drive sometimes, isn’t there?

      I’m confident with my decision and I find that I don’t miss her at all. But my anger is still there, unfortunately. I keep rereading all of this page (and thanks, other posters) but I’m still not sure what I’m angry with in this instance. I’m leaning towards myself. That’s really what I’m focusing on now and how to let the anger go. Because I’m still not sure what this anger is and what to do to satiate it. I don’t want to become an angry person such as she is and that is my main focus. Preventing a cycle from happening.

    • Suzanna says:

      Amy that was very well wriiten. I do beleive you made some significant points.
      Marlee- Please re-read this comment over the next fews days/ weeks, I beleive it holds some valuable advice for you, such as understandiing why this relationship continued for such a lenghty period of time, that is where your largest concern is- not how she treated you but in understanding why you allowed it???

  17. jacqueline says:


    I think you are a good person, who tried to be a good friend. Her telling you that she “loved” you, and you were her “best friend” was how she controlled you/”got” to you, so that you would stick around as long as you did. You tried your best and put up with alot of her “shtick”. She has nothing of value to offer you. She belongs in the past and you deserve better.

    • Shaymin says:

      Couldn’t agree more. 6 months ago, I just went through a very similar experience with someone I once regarded as a sister. I’m the kind who doesn’t give up easily, so I’d been trying my best to work it out, such as focusing on her positive traits and trying to talk with her frankly… but sadly to no avail except for her getting even more aggresive toward me and I always ended up feeling bad about myself after we met. I didn’t know how toxic this relationship had been until I started talking to another friend about it.
      All the very best!!

  18. Irene’s advice is spot on. It is possible (likely) that your “friend” has a deeply ingrained personality disorder and may try to guilt trip you into resuming your relationship as it was, but hopefully, you have “aged out” of that dance so you can politely decline to participate. Give yourself permission not to allow her to continue to torment you.

  19. Excellent advice from Irene. Give yourself permission to not be “abused” by this “friendship” any longer. Your “friend” had you on a random reinforcement schedule where she would profess just enough friendship to keep you loyal through all her outbursts and emotional abuse. Hopefully, you have “aged out” of her control. She may try to charm you again, but you can make yourself unavailable to be abused. I’m not saying that she has control over her own behavior if it is an ingrained personality disorder, and that is actually very sad, but that does not mean you have to sign up for more torment.

  20. Bronwyn says:

    I think you’re accurate about further contact — it would be like pouring gasoline on a forest fire. And that term, “closure” gets bandied about far too much. I’m not even sure it exists.

    I was going to suggest that maybe you need to forgive yourself for putting up with what you did for so long, but I wonder if some of what you’re experiencing is frustration at her for treating you this way combined with the knowledge that as angry as you are, you really want no further contact with this person, so there will be no resolution of that sort.

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