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floridanative

Why Don't People 'get It'?

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So I'd like a few different opinions or hints from you who have been in the same/similar situation - even if your story is not about gluten. For instance, my DH said I should be honest and tell the person that I'm moving towards a healthier way of life and she's moving in the opposite direction or something along those lines. She has consistently chosen food over health so me making her feel bad will not be a lightbulb moment for her to suddenly make drastic changes in her life. My thought is just to make excuses until eventually she gets the point that I don't have time for her anymore and of course, she'll never know really why I'm moving on. I just can't find a good way to be honest with her and see no point of hurting her feelings needlessly.

My story about cutting people out of my life is my dad. He and I didn't get along, and he is manipulative and narcissistic. His expectations out of a parent/child relationship are unrealistic, and the mental abuse he tried to pull was unacceptable to me. I told him so. It took a while (and I mean years) to make this decision and figure out how to approach it, not to mention a couple of very unpleasant conversations (two days before Christmas!), but just sneaking out a back door would have been a lie by omission.

I've had friends do the excuses to get out of things, and it just leaves me wondering "well, what is the deal? perhaps they could just actually tell me, then I won't have to wonder." And if it's really just excuses, eventualy I catch on, and simply can't trust them. I don't ever want to be the person doing those sorts of things, so I can only advocate talking to her directly.

Why don't you just say the truth. You are moving towards a healthier way of life and right now she isn't supportive in a way that you need. You hope that ultimately this doesn't end your friendship but you understand that sometimes people change in different ways.

I agree with Jestgar that telling the truth is important, but it's vital for you to figure out the truth. As I read your posts, it seems to me that the answer is that you simply don't have the stamina and patience to deal with her self destructive behaviors. You don't seem to say she's doing anything to you, but rather you just don't have it within you to see her behaviors. Maybe that's not it either, and I've misread. But some serious thinking about why you want to end contact and then the best way to put it honestly would be my suggestion, realizing that there is no way to avoid entirely hurting her feelings - but that she's a big girl and she can deal with her own feelings.

I wanted to blame her for being so unsupportive so I could feel better but in reality, it's me that can't support her lifestyle anymore. I have to move on and pray that one days she decides to stop self medicating herself with food. So you see, she can't be what I need her to be anymore because that means she has to get heathly and she has proven to everyone she knows that she is not interested in doing that. Maybe I'll get lucky and I won't hear from her.

It's things like this that make me feel that the reason you don't want to be friends with her any longer is that you don't have it in you to accept her faults. And I am *so* NOT saying that's a bad thing. I did the same thing with my father. I don't have it in me to accept his faults, and that doesn't make me any less of a person. It is just who I am. Other people have faults I can accpet (and I have plenty for others to accept :P ) but some faults are ones I can't. And that puts the reason to end the relationship on ourselves. And that's a good thing! :)

Putting on my imagining cap, if I were in this situation, and she did ever contact me, and everything was still the same, I would probably say something like "Friend, I'm sorry, but I feel that you're hurting yourself terribly with your lifestyle choices, and I just don't have it in me to be a part of that any more. I'm sorry if you feel that you're being abandoned, but it's too much stress for me to be a part of this because I'm in your life and not be able to do anything about it. I just can't keep up the game any more, so unless you want to change something about it, it's probably best if we part for now."

Eh... my two cents. (And I should note that I'm biased, being a big believer in telling both truthfulness and non-violence (including from words and ideas to yourself and others). It's a hard balancing act. I'm sorry you have to go through it.)

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Tarnalberry - I think you pretty much get the picture regarding my feelings. I did want to blame her for not being more supportive of my new lifestyle and that would make her the 'bad guy'. When I looked deeper of course, the reality was that I can not continue to watch her self destruct with food. She gets a new doctor added to her list of doctors about every year. I do belive she is slowly killing herself with food and yet somehow, she doesn't seem to relate most of her health issues to her weight (trust me they're related), just her diabetes which to this day she's never admitted she has. The friend that told me by mistake about the diabetes dx said she understood why the other friend didn't tell me. She said if people don't know, they won't hold her accountable when she makes bad food choices in their pressence. And of course, she's right.

I guess just making up excuses is the cowardly way out, and I wouldn't want someone else to do that to me. But I must add that this person is the baby in a family of eight kids and to say that she exhibits youngest child syndrome is an understatement. No matter how carefully I try and word the truth to spare her feelings, she will be devastated emotionally. Not because I'm ending the relationship, but when she hears the reason why. You say she's a big girl and can deal with her feelings but when you know someone deals with their feelings by stuffing their face with food, well you see how bad that makes me feel. But I know it's what I need to do in honor of our friendship. She does deserve the truth but how about doing it in a letter? I know in the past when someone has told me something very upsetting emotionally, I am in shock and really don't even hear a lot of what they are saying after the initial startling words. If it's in writing I can say it as thoughtfully as possible and it will be in black in white so she can't deny it later. Is a letter a cop out that you or anyone else feels is unacceptable in this situation?

Oh and thanks for sharing about your Dad. I'm sorry that you went (are going) through that.

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I guess just making up excuses is the cowardly way out, and I wouldn't want someone else to do that to me. But I must add that this person is the baby in a family of eight kids and to say that she exhibits youngest child syndrome is an understatement. No matter how carefully I try and word the truth to spare her feelings, she will be devastated emotionally. Not because I'm ending the relationship, but when she hears the reason why. You say she's a big girl and can deal with her feelings but when you know someone deals with their feelings by stuffing their face with food, well you see how bad that makes me feel. But I know it's what I need to do in honor of our friendship. She does deserve the truth but how about doing it in a letter? I know in the past when someone has told me something very upsetting emotionally, I am in shock and really don't even hear a lot of what they are saying after the initial startling words. If it's in writing I can say it as thoughtfully as possible and it will be in black in white so she can't deny it later. Is a letter a cop out that you or anyone else feels is unacceptable in this situation?

I definitely don't think a letter is a cop out. But I worry that you risk trying to explain to much in a letter. I think, since you note she's the sort to be easily devastated, that the goal here is to find the path between that both maximizes truth and minimizes hurt. You won't get all truth and no hurt, obviously, and that's unfortunate, but by only trying to avoid hurt, you just enable her behavior. So, if you can write the two sentence letter that says "I'm sorry, after the changes I've had to make in my life, I can't deal with the stress that our friendship is causing me as I watch you continue to hurt yourself. I'm sorry I can't be there for you, and I'm sorry to let you down," then I think a letter is ok.

The thing is, at this point, you don't have to go into long winded explanations and details. It does nothing to aid the situation. You know she's not going to listen, you know it'll only hurt her, and you know it will only encourage her to act out her destructive behavior. Listing the details only unburdens you, and only serves to try to improve her one last time. (Gah... this is sounding harsher than I mean it to... I'm sorry. :( I don't mean it that way at all.)

Making it short, and about the relationship, not about her personal failure, is one of the ways to defuse a little of the hurt, though, and get to the heart. What's really happening is that you're ending a relationship. The cause is of minor importance, since you know that nothing will change it at this point. (I know, we all like to think that suddenly losing a friend will be a wake-up call, but from everything you describe, you say it won't be.) So cutting out the fluff and most likely to hurt part that is calling her on her "deep dark secret" doesn't serve much of a real cause here, in the end.

That's my opinion, anyway. I could be wrong, or I could just have a different approach than many people.

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No matter how carefully I try and word the truth to spare her feelings, she will be devastated emotionally. Not because I'm ending the relationship, but when she hears the reason why. You say she's a big girl and can deal with her feelings but when you know someone deals with their feelings by stuffing their face with food, well you see how bad that makes me feel. But I know it's what I need to do in honor of our friendship. She does deserve the truth but how about doing it in a letter? I know in the past when someone has told me something very upsetting emotionally, I am in shock and really don't even hear a lot of what they are saying after the initial startling words. If it's in writing I can say it as thoughtfully as possible and it will be in black in white so she can't deny it later. Is a letter a cop out that you or anyone else feels is unacceptable in this situation?

Ultimately you are NOT responsible for how someone feels. And while a letter is not a cop-out, it is easier for her to mis-read it if she chooses. You might want to avoid the details for that reason....

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gfp - thanks. I will ease out of the friendship which will be easy because my busiest time of year with work is about to start. I don't want to burn any bridges in case my friend does one day decides to get serious about her health. I'm glad to hear about your friend - that is great news.

The thing is I didn't try to explain .... I agree with tarnalberry on honesty but unless you are ready for that (and perhaps she is)

The thing is, at this point, you don't have to go into long winded explanations and details. It does nothing to aid the situation. You know she's not going to listen, you know it'll only hurt her, and you know it will only encourage her to act out her destructive behavior. Listing the details only unburdens you, and only serves to try to improve her one last time. (Gah... this is sounding harsher than I mean it to... I'm sorry. sad.gif I don't mean it that way at all.)

I'm now ready to cope with this person... A year ago I was not and he most certainly was not.

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I feel your pain...I have this same scenario often...and then they give you the guilt trip for not being able to eat anywhere..that REALLY makes me angry! Sometimes I just wanna live my life w/ my dog left ALONE! HAHA!

One more thing....I agree w/ you southgoingzax if I hear "you can just get a salad" or "can't you just get a salad" one more time as if they just saved the world, i'm gonna toss a salad right at them!

Trouble is, they usually say that when they want to go somewhere like Italian or Chinese where you can very easily get glutened by salads, too.

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Well gfp makes a good point. I don't want to act in haste and maybe I'm not ready to deal with this just yet. As my busy time of year starts in two weeks and last through the end of the year, I could wait until Jan. before really having to decide to move on which at this particular moment seems like the right thing to do for me. And I really think a short and simple card (written on a blank card) saying some of the things above will get the job done. This way, there is no room for me to overexplain the situation or tell her what she should be doing. She can do as she pleases but so can I. For me that means not watching helplessly as she moves towards even worse health. Thanks for all the helpful hints, when you are not emotionally involved in a situation, you can give unbiased advice which is just what I need at this point.

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