June 22, 2006

I Stink Like A Dead Fish

This statement was one that was used in my family fairly often. Most of the time, it was to promote trash talking. For example, while playing basketball in the back yard, and if you threw up a ball that landed like a brick - "You stink like a dead fish." Or if you dropped your entire dish of spaghetti on the floor - "I stink like a dead fish." Though, you tried not to HAVE to say that, being a family without filters, someone usually told you if it were true. I suppose, being an outsider, this might sound terrible - but I guess it is better than "You suck." Which is what it meant.

This post kept me up all night. (Or maybe it was the 2 iced coffees from Dunkin Donuts.) No matter. I tossed and turned and got up and down more times than I can count. I had a "not right" feeling. Not right, indeed.

Let me start in the beginning. I have a BF, no - see that's not right - she's not REALLY my BF - more like someone I have known since the 6th grade. We talk daily. Mostly, she talks and I listen as she is going through a particularly hard stretch with her hubby. So, we are good friends. Everyone following along?

This friend has a particularly ANNOYING habit of sending out little barbs to you at every chance. A passive aggressive attack EVERY day. I suppose this needs an example - because right now I sound like a whiny bitch.

Last year when we and 4 other couples were at their house for New Year's Eve. We had all dressed up - put on our Big Girl clothes and came to have a great time. BF had just gotten back from a silent auction where she had WON a stunning diamond necklace - FOR FREE! She had it on. (She has that kind of luck - BUT never really is happy anyway - actually talked about returning it for something else - because of one reason or another). It was beautiful. That Christmas, my husband had surprised me with a beautiful (though not nearly as huge) diamond necklace. I LOVED IT. It was so pretty. I had also worn mine. During dinner, a guest at the party says to me, "Gee Sharpie - your necklace is BEAUTIFUL." Before I could even get Thank You out - BF barks from across the room (I SWEAR TO GOD) "Too bad its not REAL like MINE!" And laughs this wicked laugh. All the guests gasped. It was so inappropriate. I said, kinda laughing, to defuse to situation, "It IS real...." Her answer? "Yeah - but not as BIG as mine." WTF?? I mean, what the fuck IS that??

And that is how it is on a constant basis. She is always in competition with me. The problem (besides that I don't usually even acknowledge her digs) - there is no way TO compete. We live entirely different lives. We are SO different. Its like comparing apples and yogurt. She does not work. Has never been to college. Does not feel the need to organize/and or clean her home or anything else for that matter. They are a single income family with her husband driving trucks locally. She also has 4 kids. 4 monsters - I mean that. I actually despise one of them - who has PUNCHED me on more than one occasion. (Can you imagine someone's child PUNCHING you - I had to leave because she didn't even make him apologize.) They are on a tight budget. Not that any of that is good or bad. She is deeply religious. She is a wonderful cook. She knows ALL the bargains. She is a born athlete - as are all her kids. We are just DIFFERENT. Part of that is the money issue. I know for a fact that we make 2 1/2 times more than them. That makes for very different lifestyles. That is just fact.

One that has NEVER made me want to not be friends AT ALL. But sometimes, its hard.

If I go get my nails done - that's a waste of money.

When we bought our above ground pool - she would have spent the money and gotten an in-ground. And a heater - because ours is too damn cold for her.

You see what I'm saying - this is EVERY DAY. Sometimes it's really hurtful. She is NEVER happy for me. If anything she makes me second guess myself. (OK I DO sound like a little whiny bitch - but read on.)

Everything you do - she puts you down for. And anything she does is the best thing EVER. I learned a LONG time ago - that all of this stems from her unhappiness with her situation. She would love to do the things she barbs you about - so to make herself feel better - she bites at you.

The problem?

I have started to do it back. I actually LOOK for things to say to piss her off. I HAVE NEVER DONE this before in my life. I actually can't even BELIEVE it comes out of my mouth sometimes. I don't like myself doing this.

In short, I stink like a dead fish.

What kind of a person does that? Maybe I need to stop being friends with her. My REAL BFF (my husband) has said this on MANY occasions. He hates that I let her get the best of me daily. Says he can't BELIEVE I don't give it back to her like I would any stranger. Says she's not really a friend anyway because real friends make you feel good about yourself. Ah huh, I see.

Well, if that's the definition - then I'm really the stinky dead fish.

Tell me, what would you do?


At 12:46 PM, Blogger Violet said...

Hi. I don't know you and I'm totally lurking on your site but you asked for advice so here's mine: let the friendship sit for a while. Take a break. See if you miss it and if she misses you. Either set some ground rules and tell her to be nice to you, or walk away. From everything I've read, you're an amazing person and you'd jump to someone else's defense. You sound strong. I know it might be hard but I really think you should be direct and tell her that you aren't going to stand there and be treated this way anymore. You deserve better.

At 1:38 PM, Blogger Miguelita said...

This is so clearly misplaced frustration with self that she takes out on you so I wont even go there.

Violet totally stole my thunder!
My mom is going through something like this right now. Sometimes her BFF gets on the negative jag and it brings my Mom down. So she is on a break. She BFF a few "Hey I will have to call you back." and one or two "Ooooh, I'd love to but I am already going out that night with husband." and it made the point. BFF KNOWS inside that she can be a dwoner, and picked up on the cues and even said "I guess I need to change my tune or I wont have any friends left, huh?"

I on the other hand am a talker. I will talk an issue to death and this one needs a good talking out.
Next time she says something I would come right out and ask "Why would you say something like that?" Then wait, and wait and WAIT until she responds. Even if she changes the subject, steer it back. "Seriously. Why would you say that?"
When someone who says shitty things is forced to explain WHY they say them, then being shitty? Not so fun.

At 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Toxic friend alert! Just because you've known her since 6th grade doesn't mean you still have to keep giving her a chance. Nobody needs someone like this in their life.
At least it makes for good blogging!

At 3:25 PM, Blogger Johannah said...

People change. Just because you used to be friends doesn't mean you still have to.

I agree about taking a break. It's no good being around someone who sucks your will to live. Life's hard enough without that kind of crap. See if you miss her, and see if things are more peaceful without her. Then you'll know.

And whatever you do, do not feel guilty for changing your life for the better, if that's what it comes to.

At 3:54 PM, Blogger Miguelita said...

PS - Growing up, we would say

"You stink on ice."

At 5:00 PM, Blogger Bodog said...

Interestingly (or not so much), I'm having a similar problem with an online friend, but it's not all of the time. When we talk politics, she has a strong tendency to dismiss my opinion like I haven't really considered the whole topic in depth and thus talking out my ass. I lost my temper. It's on a message board and when I return (soon) I'm going to send a PM to her saying that I cannot have people who are my friends treating my opinions in such a manner. If she cannot prevent herself from degrading my opinions, then I will have to not allow myself to participate in political debates.

I would recommend a similar tack, without the losing your temper thing. Next time she says something (tomorrow?) explain to her that she cannot allow your friends, of all people, to disrespect and demean your life and if she cannot prevent it, then you will have to avoid it, which means avoiding her.

I'm returning to my message board tomorrow to send her the PM...We'll see how it flies.

At 6:24 PM, Blogger VTek said...

If she has a computer, I would direct her to your blog. Perhaps it would stop her behavior, or at least curtail it.

At 7:15 PM, Blogger Phyliss the Perky Girl said...

WTF? Very unlike you Sharpie to take it and not dish it back! You totally kick ass and you know it. I'm really with the hubby on this one. Ditch this fish...it's a floater...been stinking up the tank for years...

At 8:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I had a friend like that, I could use the drama of breaking up with her....ummm, maybe not.

At 12:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're not stinking at all. I know this chick in real life, so, of course I'm a little biased. But, in my experience, breaking up w/a BF is difficult. Sure. But, sometimes, after evaluating the purpose of the friendship and whether it's even productive anymore, it's necessary and worth it in the end. Personally, I don't think it's worth a second thought, the way she's been treating you.

You mentioned to me today about addressing the issue the next time it comes up in conversation, i.e., when she makes another useless dig at you, and I think that's your best bet. On the spot, by the seat of your pants, and see what happens.

If she's a real friend, she'll get it. If not, then, she wasn't worth the energy anyway. Being friends with someone isn't meant to be difficult.

BTW, I'm totally claiming the title of BFF that you DON'T sleep with.

At 7:20 AM, Blogger Sheri said...

I say confront her. The next time she says something like that.... ask her "why would you say something like that to me?" Your a tough cookie Shaprie..... I know you'll be fine with this. However, I can not wait to hear how it goes.

Good luck!

At 9:35 AM, Blogger macboudica said...

I think your friend has a serious jealousy/envy problem. And seems just generally unhappy with life--not willing or able to embrace what she has or change the situation in embracing it is not possible.

I think your husband is saying to you what you would say to one of your kids if they came to you with this situation. I say, talk to her first. tell her how her barbs hurt. She may not even be fully aware she is doing it. If that doesn't work, well, it may be time to move on.

Good luck.

At 10:45 AM, Blogger Sharpie said...

Thank you all - I think the space is a good idea. And as she has already called here 3 times today its 10:00am and 2 times last night - none of which I picked up - I think I am on my way.

Thanks for all of your advice.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger JayMonster said...

Well, it is apparent that the friendship is scarred, but I guess I see things a bit differently. While the "space" is not a bad idea, I would not make it the First on the list.

Since despite all of this you do seem to consider her a friend, being a friend to her I would sit her down and try to clear the air a little, rather than "throwing it back" at her. Tell her where you are and what she is doing.

If she is a friend, she will take an introspective look, and (hopefully) take steps to correct it.

If she doesn't take the steps to curb it, then I would move on to the "time out" phase for a break.

Of course, she may completely revolt against you saying something to her, which in that case, she is not the friend you thought she was, and you can comfortable severe ties and not waste any more time on her.

At 11:14 AM, Blogger Sharpie said...

I agree Jay - however - like I said - she is going through MAJOR issues with hubby (possible divorce - with 4 kids) - so she can't see past herself these days. I feel no need to add burden onto her at this time. For MY OWN sanity and self-respect - I think I will give myself a time-out.

And Michele - what's with our family and the dead fish comments - I thought it was just my freakish family.

At 11:34 AM, Blogger Jenny Wynter said...

I'm with Jaymonster - I reckon confront it (and I think the whole 'why would you say something like that' approach is dead on) and THEN if it doesn't work out, give it some space.

If you just ignore her, then in her mind she has no reason to believe it's anything she's done: in my experience, people will do anything to avoid confronting the reality that THEY had something to do with the problem and blame it on the other person which is much, much easier.

It is scary confronting someone close to you, but then again, if you're considering something as drastic as breaking off the friendship, then by pulling her up on it, you've really got nothing to lose anyway!

I HATE it how women can be so passive aggressive...good luck Sharpie!

At 10:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drop the bitch like a stinky dead fish. She sounds horrid and beastly and why oh WHY would you want someone in your life that makes you feel bad about yourself? I've read your blog for awhile now and just love it, you seem to have a huge heart (is that why you keep her around?) and are just too sweet to have to deal with nonsense like that on a voluntary basis.

At 10:10 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

She sounds like a total bitch. And a jealous one at that.

I say try to limit your time with her, or confront her about it. People like that bring you down with their view of the world.

At 7:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Sharpie! I know you (I grew up with your sister and thought you were the coolest thing ever!) It's Melissa. I don't know if that helps you remember... anyhoo, I read both of your blogs a lot- sorry I'm just letting you know now! I felt I needed to respond to this post. I have the same thing with a couple of my friends, actually- one who usually directs it at me and one who directs it at others, but I still end up like "HUH?" when I hear it. I just read an article (I think it was in Redbook this month) about how to respond and tried it and it was great... instead of ignoring it, call her out. Just kind of "why would you say that to me?" to force her to face her rude comment. I find that it works especially well if the nasty comments are in public and you confront it and then walk away. When I tried it, it worked like a charm... "Oh, I just meant..." and then it doesn't happen again- at least for a while. I used to just suck it up, but you're right- then you naturally think of ways to defend yourself. A break is a good idea, too... no need getting your energy sucked out of you... good luck!


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