Today's post is manifestation of my previous post: a real-life example of not knowing if I should be giving compassion or asking for it (or in my case how to ask for it). Mostly I am trying not to blow up with anger at her. But after the initial(and secondary and tertiary) instinct to mutter swear words under my breath passes I am left with how to handle the situation. I'll try to be brief with the background.
She's the kind of friend who's really hard to be friends with. The kind of friend that all your other friends, husband, co-workers ask why you are friends with her. She's demanding, self-centered, insensitive. But she's also super fun and always there when you need someone. She's high maintenance but will be there for you when you need some maintenance yourself. I rarely need maintenance but the one time I did need it she was sooo there and everyone I knew was like, "OK, we see why you are friends with her. She's awesome ". But that was once 5 years ago. And while she really came through for me in a time of need the demands of being her friend can be exhausting and frustrating.
She's the kind of friend who's parents have money and pay for her lifestyle but she plays it off like she has earned everything herself. She had never had to work hard or pay for anything not her house, her breast implants, her IVF's (which she never had to do becasue she got pregnant on her own...twice...but she did not have to stress over how she was going to pay for it of she had to do IVF).
She's the kind of friend who thinks she understands infertility but does not which is even worse than someone who is simply clueless. For a long time she always said she did not want children or that she did but she never wanted to be pregnant AND she wanted to have an egg donor becasue she wants petite-blond children (she's a tall, dark-haired woman). As soon as I started TTC she started TTC only she told everyone that she had been trying for months and months. I had to stop talking to her about infertility because she says really stupid, awful things to me "I have my perfect family now." "I only had sex once that month." "You better hurry up and get pregnant again. Last time I was 4 months ahead of you now I'm way ahead of you" (I think that was intended to be encouraging but ....man....so wrong).
She's the kind of friend who always throws herself a birthday party. These celebrations used to be a girls-out-of-town weekend. Wild, drunken, boy chasing weekends. At 33 years old I was way beyond that stage (I'm not sure I was ever at the stage but I'm petty sure at 33 it's a little...pathetic) Of course we had to cough-up hotel, dinner, drinks, and a gift. Now that we are all married she does a dinner out. And of course, we cough up for dinner (plus pay for her and her DH) and bring a gift. But she's the first one in line to celebrate your birthday or attend any type of function (baptism, birthday, shower ect) with a gift, a card and balloons!
Back when we were both engaged to be married we went looking for wedding venues. I took her to the place I thought was beautiful and prefaced it with, "I have always wanted to get married here". Of course, I could not afford such an extravagant place. As we were standing in the hall she proclaimed it to be "perfect" for her, called her parents and booked it. When a mutual friend said to her, "Isn't that where Peevme wanted to get married" she said "She could never afford it so why should it go to waste?"
About getting engaged: She was not even talking about marriage with her boyfriend. Mr. Peeveme and I were planning a marriage but not officially engaged because he needed to save money for a ring. She suddenly, out of nowhere, got engaged. Guess what? Her parents paid for the ring.
I'm career. She's a stay at home (subsidized by her parents). My Dh travels for work. The step-mom gig takes up so much energy and adds so much stress. Since April I have been through 2 failed IVFs. I have an upcoming Donor cycle. The financial, emotional, physical, and spiritual stress of which can't be comprehended by anyone not going through it. Mr. Peeveme lost his job. He stops getting paid this month. He has had ONE interview after sending out 2 dozen resumes. If he does get this job he will be on the road much more than he is now.
On the weekends I am cleaning my house (no housekeeper), trimming the yard (no gardener), trying to spend some time with the only child I will ever have from my genetics, trying to give equal time to two sets of grandparents who do not live close by.
In a word I am overwhelmed. I'm barely treading water here and I'm worried this is the calm before the storm (I'm either going to get pregnant or not...both scenarios offer their challenges). I don't have the time for her. I don't have the energy for her. I can't stomach it.
Yes, her baby is 3 moths old and I have never seen her. I find taking care of myself more important than sucking it up and visiting. I just can't do it. Don't want to and can't. Equal parts.
Now that I have one-sidedly trashed her that brings us to today's exchange. This interchange has been building up for a few weeks. She called me 3 times over the past two weeks and I did not return them. I should have returned at least one but just can't stomach it. They were going on their twice-a year- vacation to Disneyland. No big deal. So you are going on a vacay. You are always going on a vacay. So last week I get a VM the gist of which is:
Her on VM:
Haven't heard from you in a while. I've been leaving messages. Are you breaking up with me because I have been trying to talk to you for weeks. You haven't even met "Daughter".
Trying to be evasive, I left a message on her Facebook wall. I don't want to talk to her and I don't want talk to her about why I don't want to talk to her.
Me on facebook:
Sorry I've been MIA. Can't tell you how busy I am. Not breaking-up. I promise. You must be exhausted from your trip. Love the pics. At least I get to see you on the Facebook.
Her on facebook:
Listen here, Miss "I just joined FB and already have 173 friends", your dearest friend misses you terribly and would love to see you in person. I understand you are swamped and all, but I'm honestly sad that you haven't even met Daughter yet...she is over 3 months old...can we get something on the calendar please?
I get it that she is hurt but COME ON! Hurt becasue I'm not being there for you in your time of ....happiness? Time of ...perfection? I'm treading water here. Don't see anything getting better for a long time. So I haven't met your daughter. You haven't met my loan for 30K for a donor cycle. I did the shower, I got the gift, I crocheted the blanket.
In her defense I have not spoken to her at length about anything I am going through. Just some vagueness about being overwhelmed and not doing well but that I don't really want to talk about it. It's somewhat useless becasue she doesn't get it. How can someone who's life is comparatively easy "get it" that I'm splitting a the seams?
I'm fragile. I'm going to be ok. I know I will be ok no matter how this ends up but right not I'm fragile. I'm agitated. You exacerbate my ill being. You are clueless and incautious. I don't have the patience to explain it to you. I barely have the patience to get through a normal day.
I'm an open wound. You are salt.
How do it say that without being ...you know....strident?
I haven't even given her the chance to be there for me but I don't want her to be there for me. I want her to understand why I can't be there for her without me having to explain it all the time. I'm indignant that she's indignant that I have not met her daughter. And yet, I feel like I'm being a bad friend for not doing this one little thing for her. I'm so raw I can't even calmly, rationally explain why I am MIA.
So while I feel like she should be giving me compassion how can she if I can't even tell her what's up with me? But shouldn't she know? Or do I need to explain it? Is it easier to just cave in? Carve out some non-existent free time to ooo and ahh over her daughter, home, vacation photos? Preserve some friendship for when I am not so overwhelmed?
The crux of the issue is my friend is hurt by my not visiting her and seeing her new daughter and new home. I don't want to given how life has been kicking me in the gut and the nature of her high maintenance-ness. But I have not explained that to her. Even if I did I'm not sure she'd understand. It's a compassion impasse.
If I were rational I'd dissect my choices:
1) Give compassion. See her, hold baby. Preserve friendship.
2) Ask for it. Find a way to explain what I am going through. Chance she want get it.
3) Break up. Loose a dear, old friend over a temporary situation.
4) Break up. Rid myself of a long-time pain.