• Handling Breakups

Should I move on after this breakup?

Published: July 1, 2013 | Last Updated: July 1, 2013 By | 5 Replies Continue Reading
Once you decide it’s over, it’s best to move on—both literally and figuratively.


Hi Irene,

I want to know how to handle the aftermath of my bad “break up” with a woman I used to be friends with for three years.

We became acquainted at the stamping store where we take classes and buy supplies. I was not in a good place when we met. I was negative and struggling with depression so we’d complain and share confidences as we’d make cards at her house, or I’d help her with things that she said she was too depressed to do on her own. It wasn’t long before I became aware she was self-medicating with alcohol and prescription meds though she denied having a problem with substance abuse.

A year later, my adult son had was hospitalized for being suicidal which led to him coming back home to live with my husband and me. Suddenly I found myself overwhelmed with all the problems my son had – self-medicating with alcohol and drugs were just a few of many. Thinking of her as a friend, I foolishly shared with her about my son’s serious mental problems and my difficulty coping that led to my anti-depressants and getting therapy to cope. Her response was always that my son was doing this on purpose to make my life difficult.

Instead of understanding and being helpful she became more demanding, manipulating me through guilt and anger. When I tried to get her to back off by making my excuses that I was too busy, she kept at me. My resentment and dislike of her built up until stupidly, I told her off in an e-mail, saying they her negativity was toxic and that I didn’t like her passive aggressive manipulation, taking advantage of others and not taking responsibility for what she does wrong in relationships. She shot back an angry e-mail, saying that there is nothing wrong with her and that I am the sick one, that obviously my therapy isn’t working, and for me to never call her again.

For three months after that e-mail exchange she did not attend stamping classes even though her friends did. I always remained courteous and polite with everyone. Then a couple of weeks ago, the store owners and her friends started to give off a bad vibe. Then she showed up at the store today and snubbed me after I politely greeted her. She spent at least a couple hours whispering with the store employee that resulted in the employee giving her a hug and telling her how sorry she was for her and then the two of them started laughing. And then my ex-friend made a big show of scheduling social events with the owners and other students.

I feel sick to my stomach thinking about my ex-friend spreading malicious gossip about me, and airing our embarrassing family problems as she has done to others in the past. I know how her modus operandi: She’s passive aggressive, manipulative and vengeful so I’m sure she is, as usual, making herself out to be my victim and working to turn others against me, eventually making it uncomfortable at the classes so I stop attending. What should I do? Should I continue attending classes with her always being apprehensive that one of these days the others will stop being polite and friendly or should I count my losses and find another stamp store in town to take classes?

Signed, Tess


Hi Tess,

This was a bad friendship and a bad breakup. I understood how you lapsed into it at a difficult time in your life when you probably weren’t able to make good decisions about whom to befriend and trust. When we feel needy, we often reach out to whomever is there. I also can understand how you got fed up with the relationship since you didn’t need someone adding to your already significant pressures.

You are clear that this isn’t a friendship you want to continue. So why place yourself in the same environment as her—whether or not she is spreading gossip about you?

It seems like the stamping class is small and intimate enough that you want to be comfortable there, rather than feeling as if you have to watch your back. I would definitely cut your losses, look for another stamp store, and put this relationship behind you. You have no control over how your ex-friend will portray you to others but if you are out of the class, there is a greater likelihood that anything she has to say about you will soon be forgotten.

I’m glad that you were able to get support to help you through your son’s difficulties and your depression.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene



Tags: , , , , ,

Category: HANDLING BREAKUPS, Relationships with ex-friends

Comments (5)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Wu says:

    Prayer for Hopes 🙂
    “St. Jude, glorious apostle, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the person (who betrayed our Lord) has caused you to be forgotten by many, but the true Church invokes you universally as the Patron of things despaired of. Pray for me, who is so miserable; pray for me, that I may finally receive the consolations and the succor of Heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly (ADD YOUR PERSONAL REQUEST HERE), and that I may bless God with the Elect Throughout Eternity.”

  2. willie says:

    I was with my ex for 8 years. we been together since 5th grade. She cheates on me with my best freins lied to me about the kid we had. caught them in my bed doingthe nasty i over reacted beat them both up. went to prison for 3 years. but im still in love with her. what should i do.
    by the way she getting married with the same guy.

  3. jacqueline says:

    When someone talks to me about others, I know for sure they will talk behind MY back, so I stay away from those kind of people! Tess, your so-called friend used and abused your kindness by manipulating you into going shopping with her, etc. When you find yourself in a situation that makes you uncomfortable, LEAVE. I would not continue with these stamp classes. Find a different one with different people. Why put yourself in a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable and awkward?

  4. Tess says:

    Irene and Amy,
    Thank you so much. I will definitely follow through with your sound advice (and sorry for all the typos-I’m still trying to get the hang of using my new iPhone keypad).

    To date, I have been upbeat, polite and friendly toward everyone at the stamping store which is easy because of my working on having a positive outlook on life. But at the same time there is always a part of me that is tense, always wondering “if this is going to be the day” their behavior changes toward me.

    And Amy, you are so right that I have had the mindset that no one is going to push me out of a place that I have enjoyed. But in doing so I have the pressure of trying to prove my ex-friend wrong in any negative way she might be portraying me.

    They may not have seen the ugly temper tantrums that she used to throw such as hanging up on me if I would not take 6 hours every month of my caregiving day to drive her to her medical appointments, or treating me like her personal servant, telling me to watch her shopping cart while she went in the dressing room and then slamming her shopping cart into the store walls because I moved it out of other customers’ way, or blocking my number after I told her I wouldn’t be able to do lunch, or refusing to return my phone calls for two weeks and then acting like nothing was wrong when she called to ask me to spend time with her or do something for her and hanging up on me if I insisted on discussing the issue. The list of her unacceptable behavior goes on and on. Just the thought of her is sickening and repulsive to me.

    It’s time to put negativity (her) in the past and move on! I’ll be finding another stamping store to make friends with positive, healthy people. Thanks for giving me the nudge I needed to move forward.

  5. Amy says:

    Irene is right, when we’re feeling down, and not at our best, we don’t usually make the best choices when finding friends. In my opinion the only thing you did wrong was send her an email and stoke her already unstable personality. In the age of cyberspace and nothing ever really going away online, I don’t write anything that I want following me (with the possibility of being forward, manipulated, and reinterpreted) or the rest of my life (I watch crime dramas, LOL).

    Being gossiped about hurts. In my opinion, the upside of being gossiped about is that the gossiper hasn’t just gossiped about me, it’s a chronic habit and reflective more about your ex-friend than you. In fact, those who listen to her gossip are likely to be future victims–not that it makes you feel better, but trust me, people can’t hide themselves very long.

    I also don’t think that a friend who cannot understand the emotional demands of having a suicidal son, whether adult or child, is someone who would have made a good, long term friend anyway. Respecting boundaries is high on my list of important qualities in a friend, which she didn’t do at one of the most difficult times in your life.

    If it was me, I’d find a different stamping group, because I wouldn’t want to be around her. When I was younger, I’d have stuck it out, to prove to myself and others that I couldn’t be pushed around. Now that I’m older, I wouldn’t sacrifice my short and long term peace of mind to prove the point, unless I really wanted to be at that particular class for some reason. If you can’t find another class and want to attend, go with your head held high. Be yourself and people can judge for themselves—but expect some anxiety and discomfort. I hope you can find another class. If you can’t, maybe you can start your own at a library or talk to the owner of another store about starting one.

Leave a Reply