Monday, February 20, 2006

Crazy L post visit

I appreciated the comments on that last post, it was a long one to slog through. I guess it's reassuring to know that other people have this type of thing. This nagging question, can I break up with my friend?

Fitena said:
"We all had our problems but theirs seemed to be/ or they made them sound to be so bad I'd feel guilty for not doing enough... "

Yeah I know that feeling. Last summer she entered rehab for alcohol. I knew what it was, an attention grab, but how could I be so cold as not to be empathetic to this friend who needed support in trying to do a good thing...namely kick a bad way of coping? When our big issue started round last August, I dropped offa the face of the planet--I had no good news and didn't want to talk about my bad news, I just wanted to get through it, find some peace in an out of control situation. SO naturally, there was this eeensy beensy part of me that felt a little guilty.

"She's lucky to have you... I hope she realises it..."

HAH. That's optimistic.

Suley said about his Crazy L:

" I don't foresee him changing his ways any time soon."

Do they ever? From this last visit I was reminded for the umpteenth time, she doesn't want solutions, she doesn't want help. She wants conflict. She doesn't want me to tell her how I deal with the problems she has (because I have them too), she doesn't even really want to agree about anything basic like "Do you want a good marraige?", she wants to be blameless and have people agree with this really interplanetary take on reality that she has. None of her problems have solutions and that she is a victim who doesn't search for solutions, rationality, or points of common interest between her and her spouse, she instead creates a large chaotic mess for everyone and then says "This is what it has come to..." without any shred of responsibility on her.

M Said:

" If you don't know her any more, you could always meet her again."

It's been 6 months, I try this every time. "Maybe she won't be so out of control this time?" I think to myself, but after 15 years, honestly. This is just how she operates.

"Sometimes, when you don't have the energy to help someone, you're not helping them by hurting yourself."

I don't see how it would hurt me to let her be with the messes she creates. I think I wouldn't miss her drama much. I don't like unsolvable messes. I can listen. But it's like watching an addict--how can you not say something to them if you genuinely care about them?

"It's not up to us to save people, it's up to us to lend a hand if they want to save themselves."

And if L did want to solve her problems, I am fairly confident that she could. But it would take a level of rationality that she hits seldom. She makes herself seem the victim entirely and then negates any opportunity to fix the situation. After that, she resorts to really awful behavior to attract attention to her misery and suffering which is anything from blows, spending alot of cash, attempting to drink herself to death (not kidding here) or *forgetting* to fill her meds for 2 weeks.

Before she came I braced myself for the possible tempest, that I should stay even keel, be kind no matter what and LISTEN. She is good practice for me in this. She doesn't bother to ask me about stuff in my life, so there is no need really to talk alot.

The visit went something like this:

I clean the house thoroughly with this idea that she, if in a distressed state will feel more comf in an organized environs. Not to mention to avert any criticism about a messy house which she would distribute openly.

She arrives late with 2 hungry munchkins ages 2 and 6. I stow the dog to avoid possible fear they might have of our huge beast.

I have cued up a movie for them to watch, made pb and j's for them with juice and apples on a couch with blankets and pillows for the optional nap they might want. Older child says how cozy it is.

Make lunch for L and I and we eat and then later we chat about her marital issues.

I have some of the same issues in my marriage, so while listening I empathize because I understand her frustration.

I come to understand, she does not want to hear about how we deal with the issues, she wants me to listen to all the horrible things her husband has driven her to do and then declare what an unfeeling lout he is and then what? Agree she should divorce him? Agree she should have an affair?

So I look for common ground, "Do you want to divorce him? Then why talk about it? Same thing with the affair. It's like you're mentally preparing yourself for the worst as the only solution." I talk about the kids, about what she wants from him, about how to approach it.

This all sounds too much like advice to her, she wants to go back to her tortured life as a stay at home mom. I continue to listen. She tells me flat out that trying to drink herself to death is a desperate bid for attention from him. I know her husband, and I know her. I know why they cannot converse, she instantly turns it into a dagger throwing contest. Even I can't really tell what she wants...I wonder what she would do if he even tried to do everything perfectly or respond to her.

I know he is alienated from her high drama and amazing take on their situation that she carries no responsibility.

She cries because he asks her what she spends money on, this terrible man doesn't trust her. She is staying at the Hilton here in Portland. Not a Shilo Inn of an inexpensive place, the Hilton. She is eating every meal out and did not so much as tell him where she was taking the kids. And she is crying because she thinks he doesn't trust her with the money.

He has called her 2 times apologizing and asking her to bring his family back.

She discusses her Valentine day gift (a 100 dollar facial and a rose), her massage, her pedicure (I have to get the cheap kind! 12 bucks!). I am having difficulty mustering any sympathy for her deprived life.

She is upset because every day it's the saaaaaaaame thing. I am having trouble comprehending the problem here. I take alot of pleasure in the time I get with my daughter. No it's not rocket science, but it is a short time that she will be so young.

The videos are over, the kids play we drink coffee and after all the words are said:

L: "You just want to solve the worlds problems, but that's not what I need!"
H: "I don't want to solve the world's problems,"
L: "Yes you do! ..." She trails off in my mind. She has insulted me despite my best attempt to be a friend.
H: glowering and turning back to sink
L: begins to pack up the kids at mach speed and make a mad dash to the door to leave.

Before this, her potty trained daughter p'd her pants, so I got her some new pants to wear and threw the others in the washer. The pants aren't yet dry when she decides she must leave immediately and she insists that she wants to give back the pants and socks I gave her. I insist that she keep the pants so that her daughter isn't in the restaurant with only pull ups on.

I also gave her a couple of excellent pictures of her and her daughter and a video for her son. I actually just wanted her kids to be happy and feel good because I felt sorry for them.

The wrap? She came with a call the night before, I did the best I could to be the best friend I knew how, she talked about her problems, insulted me and then left. For the next hour I cleaned up all the crayons, toys, plates, paper and other mess that was left from their visit and I wondered "What just happened?"

I talked to Jeff. All I can do in her regard is

1. Listen.
2. Pray for her.

But I don't think I really want her to come to my house again. She's too old to be acting this way.


Crazy L said...

As a person with the nickname "Crazy L" I gotta ask... What defines a Crazy L?

Troutdale Councilor Canfield said...

Everyone has friends like this. I think that actually, all of us at times do our best to blame others, refuse to accept responsibility, etc. Me too.

". . . all the horrible things her husband has driven her to do. . ."

Hmm. No free will when it comes o victimhood.

She has all the fun, everyone else pays the consequences. I'd say she has a good deal going. It will only stop when folks refuse to pay for her consequences.

The moment when we look in the mirror and accept responsibility for our actions and our lives, that's the moment I pray your friend can experience sooner rather than later. Before she loses her husband, alienates her kids and friends, etc.

How do I know? I've been there. We all have.

Adeline said...

Shawn, read the previous or current posts to see her behavior patterns.

Fitèna said...

Istn't it hard Heather, how you struggle with an intellect which tells you to let her be and a heart that says, give her a chance?
Which chance? Crazy Ls don't want no chances, they don't wnat to be given advices, they love hearing themselves talk and willingly taking the victims role when they're not even being victimised.
Jeff is right, listen and do yourself a favor by keeping your advices for those who have a use for them. Just listen, she doesn't want to hear about your problems. She has trouble enough dealing with her real or fake problems. I read a novel once where the husband came ack home and found his wife sitting on the terrace, a blanket around her, the lights off except from a lampshade; the dramatic pose. They had an argument before. I read about your Crazy L and was reminded about this scene depicted in the novel. Only this was a novel, in novels people eventually come to their senses and get real...


M said...

I'm sorry things went that way.

I guess, sometimes, people don't want help. They just want to be told that their problems are worse than everyone else's. They want the "everyone feels sorry for me because I've got it the worst" merit badge.

I'm sorry to hear that there are kids involved. I hope she doesn't drive while she's drinking.

suleyman said...

I feel sorry for those kids being used as counters in her little victimhood game.

It's just sad.