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We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

My mother used to have a saying - too late smart.  That reveals itself to me several times a week with new revelations about widowhood, grieving, being alone, friends, myself.  I am realizing the mistakes I am making and trying to correct them to get through this awful journey.  Even though I have a wide circle of friends, I am basically a very private person.  I do not grieve in public and rarely discuss my situation unless someone asks a more specific question than "how are you doing?"  Like a lot of you have written, I try to act normal when I'm out with people.   I'm a listener, which is good, until it comes to one specific friend.  Actually, she is one of my two closest friends, and it hit me the other night that she is not good for me during this time in my life.  Pat has a very low stress tolerance level and she has been going through a career crisis and now is selling her house.  I have listened and listened to her rant, complain, talk, and cry about her situation for years.  The other night she called at 9pm about something about her house sale and it was more than I could do to not tell her to shut up and put on her big girl panties.

I have decided I have to tell her that I can't be her sounding board; I have my own problems.  I know you will think she is being selfish, and I guess she is, but it's time to start thinking about my own mental health, not hers.  The bad thing is that Pat is also very sensitive, and my telling her that I can't listen anymore will make her feel awful about what she is doing to me. 

Does anybody else have any poisonous friends?  Maybe you're like me - you just didn't realize it, but it's something to think about.  Don't be like me - too late smart.

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Comment by honeys(puddin) on June 4, 2013 at 3:17am

MrsD you cracked me up.  Thanks so much for starting my day with a chuckle-that's a rare occurrence indeed:)

Comment by rodsgurl09 on June 3, 2013 at 6:57pm

Bahaha!!!! love it, MrsD!!!

Comment by MrsD on June 3, 2013 at 5:01pm
I don't think you're being selfish, I think you're tolerating a lot more than I would. I'd be like, wow, that's too bad, but my husband died, so you see, I'm all out of flying fucks to give.
Comment by rodsgurl09 on June 3, 2013 at 4:24pm

OMG Jerry....what a horrible thing for your brother in law to say :( it makes me cringe. Ugh.

Comment by Jerry on June 3, 2013 at 3:55pm
I guess some people just like to complain and tell others about there problems. My wife had a good friend,I can honestly say she helped me out the most during my wife's illness. Before my wife got ill,her friend was one to always be going to doctors for various issues.after my wife became ill,I would be home and at times answered the phone when she called. She wold proceeded tot tell me about her latest medical,problem. My wife would hear me talking and signal,me to give her the phone, she knew what her friend was telling me about and wanted me to cut it short. I still,keep some contact with her and she still tells me about her physical complaints.
The thing that got me was when my EX brother inlaw called my a week after his sister,my wife passed way and asked in his greeting,how is the man of leisure doing. I sort of knew he was an a hole but put up with him during my marriage, but now he is out of my life for good.
Comment by Phyllis on June 2, 2013 at 6:32pm

Well, I'm 64 years old and thought I was too old to be surprised anymore by people's actions, but I was wrong.  I hate to think others are so insensitive and self centered but I guess they are.  I think going through this experience brings out the best in us in that we learn what is important and how to treat others going through this or other traumatic experiences, and it also wises us up as to who and what to make time for.  My husband got sick the day he retired and lived for 11 months with acute myeloid leukemia.  I am devastated, of course, but I know there are other widows and widowers out there with more devastating circumstances.  Talk about getting a lesson in perspective!  Thank you, everyone, for your insights.

Comment by Tomsgirl on June 2, 2013 at 3:42pm

Oh my goodness YES! While I was at my boyfriend's father's death bed I received a "crisis" text from a friend asking me for help. Her son had been arrested by the Army in Hawaii where he's stationed and she wanted ME, in OHIO, to help her. I told her I couldn't think of a single thing I could do and, oh by the way, I'm at Tom's dad's death bed, she didn't respond. I have another friend who, when I posted on Facebook that I had planted a bunch of pots of flowers sent me a message saying how she would've helped but she guesses she's invisible so just leave her alone. This same person attacked me (via text) for not being there for her when she put her dog down (two months after Tom's death, and I was supposed to "be there for her" because she put her 14 year blind, deaf, incontinent dog down?). I defriended her and everyone associated with her and, though she lives in my complex, I don't see her. It's tough to deal with. I find those who don't know how to deal with what I'm going through stay away, particularly after I wrote a blog post about how I don't have the time for other people's crises. Many hugs to you

Comment by Mariposa on June 1, 2013 at 12:14pm

Does anybody else have any poisonous friends?  Sure. And even poisonous family members.  I have always been the sister that everyone calls to vent and my closest friends call me the "family psychologist". During my husband's battle against cancer, my sisters often called and complained or vented.  Then while in my grief, my youngest sister called and I mentioned that I was not doing well, and her reply was "neither am I" and the conversation became about her crisis.

Your friend may not mean to be self-centered, but it is, just like my sisters. She is unaware.

I hope your conversation with her goes well.

The bottom line is that when someone is overcome with grief, they cannot absorb any more pain or negativity. And unfortunately, death of a loved one truly puts the issues of life in perspective.

Comment by rodsgurl09 on June 1, 2013 at 7:08am

I like the "too late smart" too.

I also have a friend constantly whining about his divorce. It's more than I can bear anymore, I feel like if I have to listen to it one more time I"m going to reach out and slap him and say: At least your ex wife isn't DEAD. You still get to talk to her, see her - for God's sake, you are still friends. Shut up already. : / Grrrrr.

Comment by Phyllis on May 31, 2013 at 3:21am

Thank you, Janet and Honeys, for knowing what I'm talking about.  Shell, I don't think I would be able to control my mouth if a friend told me that her  divorce and my widowhood are comparable.  Unbelievable!  Thank you for your comments.

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