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Frustrated with friend

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
I am trying to wrap my head around this, my friend lately has been driving me nuts, ok no it's been longer than that-it's been a long time. When we talk it constantly turns into a pity party for why everything is worse for her, her son is 3.5, I have a 4 year old. My DD was a terrible 2, she was just very difficult, very verbal and a general PITA, doing the normal boundary pushing behavior associated with toddlers. Now my friend is in the same position, her son is telling her "NO", fighting with her, being mean to his little brother, IDK normal 3 year old stuff. YET for her it somehow is not the same. It is like this with anything we talk about relating to kids, when I say "yeah BTDT." She counters with "no, you don't understand." Uh yeah I DO, I also have been through this.

Anybody have any advice on how I can get her to understand that I actually DO understand, or is it time for me to just distance myself more before I go insane. I'm pretty much ready to do the latter, because frankly I am sick to death of being told I don't understand even though I am a mom of 2 kids just like she is and that all the behavior things are just developmentally normal and expected.
post #2 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Norasmomma View Post
frankly I am sick to death of being told I don't understand even though I am a mom of 2 kids just like she is and that all the behavior things are just developmentally normal and expected.
Why don't you just tell her this?

I know some people like that. It's annoying. They have a need to one-up everyone!
post #3 of 41
Thread Starter 
I have basically said this and then she counters with why it's so much worse, I agree it's the one-upping for sure.

The other day when she was complaining about her son being a PITA I said, "uh yeah that sounds like a 3 year old to me." She then told me no, that he is yelling and being naughty and being very difficult. He tried to hit her too, yep that sounds nothing like 3 year old, ugh.
post #4 of 41
Personally, I would distance myself from a friend like that. I can't stand the one-upmanship either. Not only is it annoying, but it's so self-involved that it's hard to believe a friend like that really cares about your struggles.
post #5 of 41
You may as well just talk openly to her about it. Tell her you feel like she is always trying to one-up you and such. If she ends up not wanting to be a friend anymore, it's not really a loss since that's what you were considering doing anyway. It may help her realize what she's doing and keep more friends in the future though.
post #6 of 41
I've got to ask - is there any reason it really could feel different to her? Is she a single mama? Is she depressed? Is she trying to manage with a lot less than you have?
I ask because when DH and I finally brought home a living child (after a full-term stillbirth and a miscarriage), whenever we'd say that we couldn't stop checking on him or that we were terried of SIDs or whatever would insist she felt exactly the same way. Um, no, you just didn't.
Otherwise, yeah, I'd be annoyed, too. I'd tell her straight and back away if nothing changes.
post #7 of 41
I'm playing a bit of devil's advocate here but why is it so important to you that she knows you've BTDT?

I guess I'd be really hurt if I was telling a friend about me having a hard time and they kept dismissing my feelings and repeatedly telling me that what I felt were difficult problems were just "normal". Like here I am admitting to you I'm not the mother I want to be and you are just saying that if these little problems overwhelm me, I must not be as capable as everyone else. (I know those aren't your words, but how my insecure self would feel)

Maybe she's not as emotionally equipped to deal with her typical 3 YO as you are. So maybe you really don't know what it's like to be her in the same situation?

Why not just validate her feelings and pass the bean dip? "Wow it sounds like that is really difficult for you, I found Mothering.com's forum community really helpful with GD." If she insists her kid is beyond what you are taking about, maybe follow up with "They even have a place for parents of spirited kids. Pass the bean dip"
post #8 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeliMom View Post
I'm playing a bit of devil's advocate here but why is it so important to you that she knows you've BTDT?

I guess I'd be really hurt if I was telling a friend about me having a hard time and they kept dismissing my feelings and repeatedly telling me that what I felt were difficult problems were just "normal". Like here I am admitting to you I'm not the mother I want to be and you are just saying that if these little problems overwhelm me, I must not be as capable as everyone else. (I know those aren't your words, but how my insecure self would feel)

Maybe she's not as emotionally equipped to deal with her typical 3 YO as you are. So maybe you really don't know what it's like to be her in the same situation?

Why not just validate her feelings and pass the bean dip? "Wow it sounds like that is really difficult for you, I found Mothering.com's forum community really helpful with GD." If she insists her kid is beyond what you are taking about, maybe follow up with "They even have a place for parents of spirited kids. Pass the bean dip"
post #9 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeliMom View Post
I'm playing a bit of devil's advocate here but why is it so important to you that she knows you've BTDT?

I guess I'd be really hurt if I was telling a friend about me having a hard time and they kept dismissing my feelings and repeatedly telling me that what I felt were difficult problems were just "normal". Like here I am admitting to you I'm not the mother I want to be and you are just saying that if these little problems overwhelm me, I must not be as capable as everyone else. (I know those aren't your words, but how my insecure self would feel)

Maybe she's not as emotionally equipped to deal with her typical 3 YO as you are. So maybe you really don't know what it's like to be her in the same situation?

Why not just validate her feelings and pass the bean dip? "Wow it sounds like that is really difficult for you, I found Mothering.com's forum community really helpful with GD." If she insists her kid is beyond what you are taking about, maybe follow up with "They even have a place for parents of spirited kids. Pass the bean dip"
:Yeah
You've said exactly what I was thinking. It sounds like the OP's friend needs to be heard. Maybe her husband doesn't listen well, maybe she doesn't have other friends with whom she can commiserate, maybe she just needs to vent about her day to day trials and wants some validation. To say "yeah, BTDT" seems to dismiss her feelings altogether. Restating what she's said in your own words will let her know you've heard her and understand what she's going through.
post #10 of 41
I completely agree with the previous 3 posts. Maybe she can't deal with it emotionally as well as you did. Maybe she wants to but is having a really hard time to.
post #11 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeliMom View Post
I guess I'd be really hurt if I was telling a friend about me having a hard time and they kept dismissing my feelings and repeatedly telling me that what I felt were difficult problems were just "normal".
A lot of times when we talk about our problems, we just want to be heard. So responding with "you sound really tired" (or frustrated or whatever) and then being allowed to talk more is often more helpful than "I understand." Rather than saying "I understand because it was just like for me," show her you understand by saying things to her that will sound like understanding to her.

It isn't about you. It's about her. Keep it about her. Once she feels really heard, she'll be able to move on in the conversation.

You might read up on non-violent communication.
post #12 of 41
Agreeing with Helimom and LOTM.
post #13 of 41
Agree completely with Helimom. Sounds like your friend wants to be heard and have her experience validated ("That sounds really tough,") rather than dismissed ("It's no big deal" "BTDT").

Maybe the issue isn't so much her kid's behavior, but how she's having a hard time *dealing* with it. So dismissing the child's behavior as normal and not a big deal doesn't get at how *she feels* about it.
post #14 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeliMom View Post
I'm playing a bit of devil's advocate here but why is it so important to you that she knows you've BTDT?

I guess I'd be really hurt if I was telling a friend about me having a hard time and they kept dismissing my feelings and repeatedly telling me that what I felt were difficult problems were just "normal". Like here I am admitting to you I'm not the mother I want to be and you are just saying that if these little problems overwhelm me, I must not be as capable as everyone else. (I know those aren't your words, but how my insecure self would feel)

Maybe she's not as emotionally equipped to deal with her typical 3 YO as you are. So maybe you really don't know what it's like to be her in the same situation?

Why not just validate her feelings and pass the bean dip? "Wow it sounds like that is really difficult for you, I found Mothering.com's forum community really helpful with GD." If she insists her kid is beyond what you are taking about, maybe follow up with "They even have a place for parents of spirited kids. Pass the bean dip"
I agree with this also. When I talk to my friends about how hard it is with my dd I am not trying to one up I am looking for a listening ear and sometimes advice. If you don't feel like you can be the type of friend who listens to your friends when they are going through a hard time then maybe you should be honest about that and just be acquaintances who get together to let your kids play.
post #15 of 41
Certainly I think what the pps have said is plausible. I also want to say that it really, truly may not be the same. I have a child who is technically too young for a juve bipolar diagnosis, but most likely is. You will not see him raging & screaming, but I have/do. People often are *shocked* if we tell specific stories about him. They don't see him that way. Even saying "he tried to hit me" was something I would say, and people will say, "yeah, my kid did that, too." But when my child does it, he is serious, intense, determined. It's a far more serious experience even though it's the same action. So, really, maybe you don't understand exactly what she is saying.
post #16 of 41
I agree with VisionaryMom. I too have a child with special needs and until he was diagnosed at around 2 I would cry my heart out at the baby group and get the same old advice and BTDT from other moms/group leader. They really had no idea and it was so isolating--and made me feel like something was wrong with ME. Now, chances are your friend's child is developmentally right on, but to her, you DON'T understand. Do you want to? I'm not the best at relationships so I really am not qualified to give advice but maybe there is a new way you two can communicate or talk it out? Is this worth it to you?
post #17 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeliMom View Post
I'm playing a bit of devil's advocate here but why is it so important to you that she knows you've BTDT?

I guess I'd be really hurt if I was telling a friend about me having a hard time and they kept dismissing my feelings and repeatedly telling me that what I felt were difficult problems were just "normal". Like here I am admitting to you I'm not the mother I want to be and you are just saying that if these little problems overwhelm me, I must not be as capable as everyone else. (I know those aren't your words, but how my insecure self would feel)

Maybe she's not as emotionally equipped to deal with her typical 3 YO as you are. So maybe you really don't know what it's like to be her in the same situation?

Why not just validate her feelings and pass the bean dip? "Wow it sounds like that is really difficult for you, I found Mothering.com's forum community really helpful with GD." If she insists her kid is beyond what you are taking about, maybe follow up with "They even have a place for parents of spirited kids. Pass the bean dip"
I guess that would be the case if it wasn't every.single.thing. I mean it's not just the 3 year old's behavior, her pregnancy-worse, her son-worse, it's everything. I'm a positive person and hearing only negaivity and one-sideness is a bit much. I have said why don't you try xyz or such, but it usually falls on deaf ears. There is also the feeling I'm the last person on the list of people to talk to, like if there's nothing better to do then call me-maybe that really is why there are these feelings of resentment.

The reason I'm so annoyed is that I had a VERY hard time with my DD, she was a very spirited 2-3 year old, I cried nearly every day, she flopped, dropped, ran into the street. When I mention these same things I just get pushed off with YOU don't understand, when really I do.
post #18 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post
Certainly I think what the pps have said is plausible. I also want to say that it really, truly may not be the same. I have a child who is technically too young for a juve bipolar diagnosis, but most likely is. You will not see him raging & screaming, but I have/do. People often are *shocked* if we tell specific stories about him. They don't see him that way. Even saying "he tried to hit me" was something I would say, and people will say, "yeah, my kid did that, too." But when my child does it, he is serious, intense, determined. It's a far more serious experience even though it's the same action. So, really, maybe you don't understand exactly what she is saying.
My DD isn't bi-polar, but I was fully prepared for a diagnoses of ADHD at one point, a year ago I was ready to throw in the towel, not be her mom and give up. She isn't but she was exhibiting all the signs that were leading us to think that something was up. My DD seriously had screaming, crazy tantrums with kicking, spitting, running away, clawing, biting. I cried nearly everyday and was honestly ready to be done, it was the crappiest time in my life, oh and I was pregnant with our son, and I almost lost him due to placental bleeding. When I've mentioned these same things, she blows me off. That's why I guess I'm annoyed.
post #19 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Norasmomma View Post
I guess that would be the case if it wasn't every.single.thing. I mean it's not just the 3 year old's behavior, her pregnancy-worse, her son-worse, it's everything. I'm a positive person and hearing only negaivity and one-sideness is a bit much. I have said why don't you try xyz or such, but it usually falls on deaf ears. There is also the feeling I'm the last person on the list of people to talk to, like if there's nothing better to do then call me-maybe that really is why there are these feelings of resentment.
.
While I think that personality clashes and feeling "used," for lack of a better term, are VERY valid reasons for disengaging from friendships (I, too, am generally very positive and have a hard time dealing with Debbie Downers) when I *do* vent, I don't want solutions or BTDT- I want validation that it's presently hard for me, and I want a hug.

It *could* be that she tend to one-up in hopes that she'll get validation if only she can make you understand how hard it is. Or she could be a whiner; it's hard to say.

It does suck when we realize our friends aren't such great friends, though, for sure.
post #20 of 41
My second dd was a handful. She had a lot of medical problems and I didn't sleep for more than two hours a night for over a year. It made life very difficult, especially since I had a 4 yo. I do think if any of my friends or family had told me that they understood I would have shot them with my Martian death ray (LOL, okay, so I don't have a Martian death ray!!).

I think I would just change my approach to this friend if you still want to hang out with her. The next time she says something like that, I would say, "I'm trying to understand and I'm sorry that you feel I don't. Maybe I'm not the best person to discuss this with." If she gets upset, just remind her gently that you have been there and would love to try and help her, but none of your advice seems to be what she is looking for.
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