Help Me Help A Friend - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 03-03-2003, 02:30 PM - Thread Starter
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This may take awhile. I became friends with a woman who is an abrasive personality and tends to portray herself as a victim of her children; for example, "They run and yell in the house it's just crazy, their friends' parents abuse my hospitality by leaving their kids here too long, the teachers are idiots, no one at their school is worthwhile, the other parents all do the kids work for them," you get the picture. Her pre-teen daughter has problems maintaining friendships. I no longer know what to tell my friend when she complains about the other girls not wanting to be friends with her daughter. I see the issue as being a combination of things -- the victim mentality of the mom, the daughter's social skills are not good, and the family is stridently religious and has a big attitude that people of their religion are always shortchanged, and the mom is not shy about pointing this out publically. In short, the parents at school and on sports teams avoid this family like the plague because of my friend's outlook.
I love my friend and I can see past all these issues, but it's getting tiresome hearing about her daughter being a victim of other girls. I don't doubt girls in middle school can be mean, and believe me, I am not blaming the victim, but I no longer know what to say to the mom, other than "you might try not flying off the handle and being so abrasive all the time. . . " I don't want to lose my friend. Can anyone shed some pragmatic light on what I am to do????? Thanks, fellow mommas.
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#2 of 4 Old 03-03-2003, 03:10 PM
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Hmmm, that's always a tough issue. I think it depends on how comfortable you feel talking to your friend about "tough" issues. Maybe next time she starts in with her "nobody likes me/us" speech you could gently say to her "well...I'm not sure whether you really want to hear this or not, but I think I know why you feel this way". And then if she seems interested in *listening* (as opposed to just arguing) you could gently, gently tell her that she comes across as angry/unhappy/whatever....". You can take this conversation slowly to guage her reaction. Who knows, if she's really in a place to listen you could help her alot. If she's too defensive and that chip on her shoulder is too big, it may not work.

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#3 of 4 Old 03-03-2003, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
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What I'm afraid of is losing her as a friend. She is vulnerable about her daughter (aren't we all?) and she has a low sense of herself. I believe it is because she is unforgiving, and so doesn't forgive herself.
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#4 of 4 Old 03-03-2003, 07:09 PM
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I know it can be hard, but sometimes people's world opens up for them when someone chooses to be truly honest with them. Especially when a friend is willing to take that step. I would find a way to tell her in a loving a manner as possible, and try to think of some things that she can do to improve her self esteem. Let her know that you are only telling her these things because you love her. She may take it hard at first, but I would bet she will come around and it could be a life altering event for her. The victim mentality can be a hard one to break, but there is nothing more freeing and empowering than realizing we are in responsible and in control of our destiny and life
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