It is true -- this is like a coworker situation -- except for the kid part.
In one particular situation, I am dealing with a pretty mean Mom. But, my kids like her kids. It has been uncomfortable for me, to say the least. I always try to be nice and respectful to everyone I meet or interact with -- because I would like the same in return. However, this Mom doesn't see it the same way. She has taken a lot of insulting jabs at me over the last several years and I have been feeling very badly about it. The jabs happen so swiftly that there is no time to react. I have only just started grappling with this and am now learning to stand up for myself. I have never experienced this before -- not growing up, not at work, not anywhere. So, I didn't even understand what was happening except that I was becoming sad and depressed. On some level I think this person is jealous of me and she is trying to punish me. I am not competitive or confrontational....so she has been successful. Not anymore though...
There have been a couple other Moms that have gotten the boot from my life as well. One, was from many years ago when we were new Moms. Everything was wonderful and we were in touch almost every day. I was so happy. Thought I found a friend for life. Then, she started criticizing my parenting style. The criticism moved onto other things....like the way my home was decorated and even the food I ate. For my Birthday, she presented me with a can of resin. Yes, resin. Because she insisted that my kitchen table needed to be refinished. :(
After that strangeness, I joined a Moms playgroup. I met another lovely Mom there and again, happiness. In short, she turned out to be very needy. In fact, once she and her husband learned about my husband, they really only wanted to spend time with him. My husband is both handy and very technology literate. They couldn't get enough of him. They wanted his advice on everything. That branched into asking for other things, esp. when they were ready to remodel their home. They were unable to make any decisions about anything. It was terribly painful for all involved, esp. the contractor that we had helped locate. OY. After the remodel, I stopped answering the phone. Best decision ever.
But, these experiences and even more that I haven't shared here, though painful, have been helpful. I have used them to talk to my kids about the different kinds of people out there and which ones to be careful with. It has also made me a stronger person.