Now Available! Dr. DeFoore's New Book GOODFINDING
I gradually became friends with a neighbor who lost her husband. I would help with yard work and be there whenever she asked. About a year ago she had a bad experience with another neighbor who looked after her house (he stole some things) when she went on many trips.
She asked me to take over the responsibility and I gladly accepted, anything to help a friend. She got remarried last summer with her husband living in one town and her in another. She has been going away for a month at a time so I would look after her house. When she was home , we would enjoy shopping trips, dinners out or just having coffee. I treated her with nothing but kindness.
When she would call to ask me to help change furniture in her house, I would be there in a minute. She would always tell me how much she appreciated everything I did and how she could go away knowing her home was left with someone she could trust.
We had a little shopping afternoon planned and when I went up to get her, I got totally blindsided. She said she was trying to straighten out her garage and asked if I would take something and put it in mine. I explained that I had so much stuff in my garage that I had a hard time even getting my car in there.
I have taken things for her before, but it didn't always make sense for me to clutter up my house while she cleared out hers. I took the things gladly, anything for a friend. I guess it was the first time I have said no to her and it didn't go over very well. She started yelling at me, telling me I stressed her out, I was too sensitive and she felt she had to watch what she said to me all the time.
She also asked for her key back and told me to leave. I was shocked. I am not a vindictive person, nor am I confrontational, so I put my head down and left. I feel so crushed. I have never implied that she has ever hurt me nor have I acted wounded. I have always shown her nothing but kindness.
I didn't have her key on me and don't want to face her before she goes away in a few days. (She has a back up house sitter now). I just don't understand and I don't know how to feel better. I feel so used now that I look back on things. Obviously she doesn't want me as a friend any more, but I don't know why.
Her last comment was "I'll see you around sometime" so that just about says it all. I just can't believe this happened. I have been warned by friends for over a year that she was using me, but we did have fun together, so I guess I ignored the signs.
I can forgive her but do not want her in my life, so discussing this with her is not an option. Even if she was having a bad day, there is no excuse. I always knew she was a little different and very private but I accepted it. I also know she has no other friends that she can call up and spend the day shopping with me.
Maybe she is such a loner that our friendship was too much. I am so confused because she made me feel like family and said one time "My house is your house." One thing I never did was overstep my boundaries. I respected her privacy and did not push myself on her. Suggestions for outings went both ways. Anyway, that's my story, as long as it is.
I just need to find a way to get on with life which I am finding very difficult.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello SS, and thanks for telling your story here. As painful as this has been for you, it seems you're learning from it, and that's good. I suggest you try to seek balance and reciprocation in all of your relationships going forward. If you're doing more giving than the other person, then pull back and see if you can establish more balance.
Wherever there is imbalance, their will be stress and often relationships will end as a result.
I suggest you use these grieving processes to let go of your friend. Also take a look at this page: letting go of a relationship.
I think you "gave too much away." You'll see in reviewing the above pages that it is now time for you to give to yourself.
Believe in yourself...you will get through this and be better off. Make up your mind to get stronger and smarter because of it.
My very best to you,
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