I just read an extraordinary post by Bryce Warden about her friendship with a person from her past that shared the same type of dysfunction adolescent trials as a teenager. As I kept reading, enthralled by her tale of kinship with her friend, it made me think of the three ex-friends I use to keep company with. I hadn’t really thought of them in a long time but after reading this post I had to wonder to myself why are we no longer friends. Then I remembered, oh yeah because they are emotional sucking vampires just like my ex-married boyfriend. It may sound harsh to say this but this decision wasn’t made out of haste. It was made because as my counselor put it, when someone in your life outlives their usefulness in it, cut cord and move on.
Now my reasons for being in counseling are because of the dysfunctional family life I had as a child, but that’s a story for another time. I have been going to counseling for about five years now but before then I never thought I’d really need it. But it has helped with many issues in my life, including those with Lestat, my mother and those ex-friends of mine. When you have friendships that were created in childhood one believes that they will remain steadfast throughout your life. Not so, sometimes it’s best to look out for number one and eliminate the negativity that those friendship bring into your life. So let me elaborate, I had three best friends from the third grade until my early thirties. Three girls that I grew up with and ultimately shared many ups and downs with including getting pregnant at fifteen (yes all of us, okay three of us) getting married, having children and helping each other through divorce, illness and new relationships.
We all were married as teenagers and we were all divorced in our twenties, but our friendship seemed to grow stronger as we got older. We would hang out and along with our kids we grew up together. Then one day, one of us decided to begin seeing a guy from high school while she was still married. The rest of us covered for her and I even pretend to be this dude’s girlfriend while making a fool of her husband in the process. I realize this sounds completely hypocritical but my situation with Lestat was completely different. This “friend” of mine was bored, she didn’t have a job and was happy being a stay at home mom with three children. But she did struggle for money and her husband was an over the road truck driver who was apparently addicted to cocaine. In her despair for companionship and stability she began dating a guy she had dated in high school. Then her life took a dramatic turn when she became pregnant by this guy who was NOT her husband.
For months she told her husband that the baby was his, and he believed her. He had no reason to doubt her after all and he was happy….somewhat. All this time me and my three other friends would ask her what she planned to do? Her response was to keep letting her husband think he was the father because she had no choice financially. She didn’t have a job, no higher education and no means of providing for her kids if she did get a divorce. We all went along with it, but all this shit soon imploded and we were all caught in the middle of the emotional shrapnel that hit her life and ultimately ours. Her husband found out about her affair, the baby and how we (all of us) covered for her. I got a late night visit to my parents’ house where I was living at the time because I was newly divorced too, by her husband who was completely drunk calling me all kinds of names. Yelling at the top of his lungs and causing all kinds of shit at 3:45 in the morning.
My dad called the Sheriff’s department and they arrested him for disorderly conduct and public intoxication. All the while my friend was going through an “accidental” pregnancy and her soon to be ex-husband had moved out of the house and left her alone, without financial means. I and my two other friend helped her as much as we could with money, food and at times a car so she could go to her doctor’s appointments. The house she lived in was a shambles, it wasn’t finished on the inside or out, her walls were only sheet-rock and the floors bare concrete. Her and her three kids were living without gas and she had her dad connect a propane tank to her house for heat. Which I’m not sure was quite safe but she had no other options at the time. In any case I let her borrow my car more than a couple of times so she could go to the doctor or run errands. I bought her food a couple of times as did my other friend. One of us was so self-absorbed that she didn’t participate in assisting our friend because she was going to school and supporting her own kids and I understood that, but moral support would have been nice.
Anyway, the friendship mirror began to crack one summer day when we all got together and began talking about all of our situations. Her with her newborn and the situation with her baby daddy, me with my Lestat, our other friend who was on her second divorce and then the self-absorbed friend with her issues. I made a comment about how I had talked to one of my co-workers about a “friend” that was going through some serious personal and financial issues (but never mentioned her by name) because my coworkers sister worked for the YWCA and I thought maybe she could help out my friend in any way she could. We had a good time grilling, having a couple of beers and talking shit about things and people we needed to vent about. The very next weekend was her birthday, and I will call her Bernice because when I think of a Bernice someone stupid comes to mind, someone that is so dumb she thinks that tuna fish was made from dolphins! I mean come the fuck on?! (No offense to other Bernice’s out there).
Bernice’s birthday was always the day before Father’s Day, and we had begun to plan on going out to celebrate Bernice and to take her out to distract her from her life and the problems in it. But the weekend was drawing closer and I hadn’t heard from any of them. I had called Bernice prior to that weekend hit but she never answered or returned my calls. I had also called my other two so-called best friends whom I’ll call Samantha and Hilly. Samantha because she was like Samantha from Sex and the City, she would get drunk and randomly sleep with strangers and every weekend it was a toss-up as to whom she was with. And Hilly because she was like Hilly, Bryce Dallas Howard’s character in the movie The Help, red hair and all and just as stuck up. Not one of them, Bernice, Samantha nor Hilly returned any of my calls and later that weekend I found out why. On the Friday before Bernice’s birthday I had stopped by her house because I was curious and worried that something might be wrong, I mean we were best friends after all. But she wasn’t home. Then on Saturday night I was at home and my cell phone rang and it was Samantha, or I thought it was her, it was her cell phone apparently butt dialing, so I answered it and I could hear loud music in the background, people talking and laughing. I hung up after yelling into it a thousand times “hello” and called her back and I got no answer.
Then it happened again a call and loud noise, laughing and this time I heard talking, they were laughing out loud and ordering drinks. I hung up and then it came to me, they were out celebrating Bernice’s birthday without me. Needless to say I was extremely upset and I went to bed that night hurt and wondering why they had chosen to exclude me. The next day which was Father’s Day I woke up and still had the heaviness of feeling outcast from our best friend group the night before. As Sunday wore on I received a call from Samantha, I through it was one of our Happy Father’s Day calls because since we were all single mothers raising our children almost entirely on our own, we’d call each other and say Happy Father’s Day to each other every year. But it wasn’t a Happy Father’s Day call, it was Samantha to tell me why they had gone out without me, and my hurt quickly turned to rage.
She had called me because she had seen that she had three missed calls from me the night before and I explained why. She then fessed up and told me that they had decided to go out without me because Bernice didn’t want me there. I was in shock, and then I asked Samantha if Bernice had said why? She said that Bernice was tired of me talking behind her back and that she just didn’t want to deal with me. I was like what the fuck is she talking about, then Samantha explained that the day of our cookout I had made the comment about talking to a coworker about Bernice and her “situation” and she got offended. Clearly the bitch hadn’t heard me say that my coworker’s sister worked at the YWCA and I was inquiring about help for her. I had told all of them that I didn’t mention Bernice by name and I had only referred to her as a “friend.” Samantha elaborated that Bernice was tired of me and how I acted superior to her, which floored me to be honest. These were women that I had been friends with since we were little girls!
Samantha also said that Bernice told her that if they were going to go out and celebrate her birthday I wasn’t invited and the two other bitches just agreed with her, no questions asked. I got no defense from these assholes whatsoever! Then Samantha told me that Bernice had her phone that night and she suspected she was calling me on purpose to let me know that they were out celebrating without me. As I heard Samantha give me a play by play about Bernice and her self-righteous proclamation of what she thought I had done TO her I began to think of everything I had done FOR her. Buying her groceries, giving her what money I could and lending her my car to go to her goddamned doctor’s appointments while she was fucking PREGNANT WITH ANOTHER MANS CHILD!! Samantha half-heatedly apologized and then I told her I had to go and quickly hung up. The fire of rage burned well into the night and as I lay in bed thinking of what a fucking ingrate Bernice was and what pussies the other two were for letting her just do what she did and that’s when I decided to cut cord and never look back.
That was in June of 2004, and I hadn’t looked back at that idiot Bernice who believed tuna was made from dolphins (true story she is about as smart as a rock), Samantha whom I’m guessing is probably on her fifth divorce and Hilly whom I know for a fact got herself pregnant (on purpose) by a doctor from Albuquerque for status and money. Up until about five years ago I felt bitter and somewhat hurt, that is until I began counseling. My counselor, who is amazing by the way asked me to explain why I would want to have friends who would dismiss me so easily over an alleged accusation without getting both sides of the story. She said we have friends for reasons that include moral and emotional support and because we have things in common. In our case it was because we grew up, were teen aged mothers and went through divorce together. And she said if they no longer contribute positively to my life, in which we would grow and prosper as friends then there is no reason for me to keep them around. She said friendships, just like relationships can become toxic and dysfunctional and that I had done the right thing buy not communicating with the three of them ever again. She also made me realize that I had outgrown them in many other ways and that I would have eventually left the group in time.
She made me see that it wasn’t what I had said or how they had dismissed our friendship of almost twenty years, it was about how they would weigh me down in the long run. In 2010 when I was still working at UTEP and I received an email from Samantha. It was along rambling message about how she had been thinking about me and how she might have contributed to the demise of our friendship, how she was getting older, thinking about life decisions and shit…blah, blah, blah. She said she was sorry about how things had turned out and that she wanted to renew our friendship if only by email but that if I choose not too she’d totally understand. I read the email three times………..then I deleted it and didn’t once think about her, emailing her back or the other two assholes again, that is until I began counseling. I suppose it was because I still had the thought in the back of my mind that I had something to do with the end of this friendship. And yes, Samantha did have a huge part in how our friendship died a long agonizing death. But I had moved on with my life and I wasn’t about to allow her or the other two idiots back into my life.
I was already struggling with shit regarding Lestat and I didn’t need the extra emotional baggage, besides my counselor also told me that when friends like those fade away others enter your life for the right reasons. And she was right, I had met April, Victoria, Carmen and Virginia whom I met at my new job and turned out to be a wonderful friend to me. These four women more than made up for the idiot friends from my childhood whom had chosen to kick me to the curb without hesitation. So when I read Bryce’s blog about her long standing friendship I began to think about what had happened to my particular association with these three women and if I was truly at fault. And the answer is no, I was not. All I ever did for Bernice was help her out when she asked for help, and even when she didn’t. It was her warped perception of what she thought I had done to her that drove her to do and say what she did. She isn’t exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, in fact using the word “tool” takes on a whole new meaning when I speak of Bernice. As for the other two ex-friends, they were also at fault for not asking for an explanation of why Bernice felt the way she did rather take her word for it or try to defend me in anyway, leaving me to twist in the wind. Believing a woman so stupid that she was nicknamed Rose after the character in Golden Girls, only Rose was way smarter than Bernice (remember tuna, dolphin?)
So all of them had a part in the quietus of a friendship that was once so strong because of the sisterly bond that had grown since childhood. I cut cord and I am a much better person because of the absence of these so called ex-best friends. I have both my Bachelors and Masters (contemplating a PhD, crazy? yes?) a great new job, I’m buying a house and all three of my boys are grown men who are absolutely wonderful sons AND the emotional vampire is no longer a factor in my life. I have the friends I need, friends who carry baseball bats in their cars and ice picks and bail money in their purse!