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Ask Anne: Relationship AdviceAsk Anne:
Relationship Questions

Ms. Misery

Sat, Oct 14th 2000

I have a friend who is in constant misery. She is constantly complaining about her life and how bad everything is. When she has no misery of her own, she wraps herself up in other people's misery. She is constantly overanalyzing everyone (i.e., what did they mean by that? They must think this? They did this b/c of this?, etc.). She even analyzes herself, but it gets her nowhere. She continually asks me to help her, and I try but b/c of her sensitivity, I sugarcoat my responses to try to make her feel better. Even if I give her suggestions on how to handle things, there are always reasons why they won't work. I've told her that she needs professional help, but she becomes very angry with me and proceeds to tell me all of my problems and how mean I am to her. She also gives me guilt trips if I do anything without her (i.e., you went out w/this person, but you never do anything with me. You hurt me all the time b/c you don't answer the phone, etc., etc. etc.) I feel horrible because I can no longer commiserate with her and every time she calls I become extremely agitated and then guilt ridden. I feel as though I will scream if she tells me one more time about her "bad luck." I feel she causes it. I've been pushed to tell her as much, but not very tactfully. Even when I try to tell her things tactfully, she becomes angry with me. Now I'm going on and on. Anyway, last weekend I told her that I did not want to go out on Saturday. She ended up going out with one of my friends from work who has become a mutual friend. While she was out, she called my home 7 times and even went to the extent of using someone else's phone to trick me into answering. My stance on this was that I told her I was not going out, and I did not want to answer the phone to be corralled into coming out. I became extremely irritated by the 7th call and decided to confront her the next day. I called her in the a.m. and told her that I did not appreciate the 7 phone calls and thought we should discuss the matter b/c she made me very angry. She immediately went into how mean I am to her and that she just wanted me to talk to her, yadda, yadda, yadda. We ended the phone call sort of okay. I thought. Then she called me back and told me that my friend she went out w/the night before would take her ticked to a show we were going to in a few weeks. I blew up. I know I shouldn't have, but I told her that, that was stupid and she is just trying to make me feel guilty because she wants to see the show and just b/c we had an argument, she can no longer go. I also ended the phone conversation by telling her that she is a great person and that she has a lot of assets but she needs to let go of her misery because it's driving me crazy. She told me she didn't know what I was talking about and got off the phone. I got an e-mail the next day telling me how many times I hurt her and that I throw things in her face, etc. I don't feel I can continue this friendship so I never e-mailed back, but I feel bad that I actually feel good about my decision knowing she is probably miserable. Did I do the right thing? Is there any way I can help her w/o draining myself? Your advice is greatly appreciated, and I hope I didn't run on too much. I'm asking you b/c I don't want to annoy everyone by talking about this situation on and on (like she does to me). Thank you!

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