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She took ages to come and see me in work despite me telling her and although she was supportive at the time, I feel she has now avoided me. I told her that I felt very alone and she thought it was bad I didn't have any support. Yet we have both been in work for a month and she hasn't bothered coming to speak to me (despite it being easy to do so). Instead I have to listen to her laughing and messing around with other colleagues. Clearly she doesn't care and she doesn't want to know how I am. Should I apologize for telling her? I feel so hurt over this. I have known her for years and her kids adore me. She herself has said that I am her friend and yet she does things that suggest the opposite. I have been left feeling like a total a**hole and extremely embarrassed and hurt by her. How can I deal with this?
Jenni855 Jenni855 26-30, F 13 Answers Jul 4, 2012

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It's this co-worker's problem, not yours. It could be ignorance and/or fear; a lot of people don't know what to say or do around mental health issues. And they don't know what questions to ask, or how to ask them.



You have no reason to apologize. She's the one blowing this all out of proportion. My best advice would be to keep acting normal around her, treating her exactly like you do your other co-workers. Hopefully in time she'll relax enough to at least speak to you.



Wishing you all the best in a tough situation.

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Thats how I feel. She is blowing it out of proportion. All she has to say to me is "how are you?" I am not expecting her to have all the answers. I just feel really hurt by her. I have always been there for her in tough times and yet the one time I need her, she can't be bothered.

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maybe she just wants one sided relationships or wants them to stay at a superficial level. I'm sorry she hurt you though. It sucks to be ignored and have to watch them be the life of the party.

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Unfortunately, there are people in the world who are very ignorant about this kind of stuff. She's probably the type of person who thinks that if your sister has a mental illness, you must have something going on too. I get this all the time. My grandmother was shizophrenic and when I tell people this they assume I have some sort of mental illness too. If this is the case with her, then just stop talking to her. I personally would just stop talking to her anyway because she doesn't sound like a good friend anyway and you deserve someone who will listen to your problems and support you.

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I would worry if at the age of 42, she really thought that.
Thanks for the kind words.

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Well, it doesn't sound like you did anything wrong. It just sounds like she's the sort of person who doesn't like to get into any deep conversations and avoids stuff like that. Well good luck with everything!

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I agree with you TheReikoku. All the way.

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I agree with welshbabe. I wouldn't apologize. Just ignore her and move on with your life. She's not a real friend.

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Hard when you work with someone though. I want her to know she has hurt me also.

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Why bother letting her know that she hurt you? Stop giving her your time, energy and heart. She's always hurting you and I don't think she acts like the type of friend that you are looking for. Just my opinion but I guess you have to do what you think is best for you. :)

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I absolutely agree with you! lagatta! :D Great advice my darling friend :D :D

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You may have stir up some bad memory s related to a issue that has nothing to do with you and when she sees you she is reminded of those issues hence the reason why she avoids you...

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Perhaps...You would have thought that she would have seen how hurtful it is to be ignored/avoided though.

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Ignored, i think that was a bit harsh! i should have used "avoided"! sorry to be so! callas! But nah! not worth worrying over. "Is she you"!?? "NO"!! exactly!

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Oh, honey.. you have come to the RIGHT person for this! I confided in a co-worker I thought was a friend as well over a very similar issue. I felt as you do - they seemed to ignore me & not care, not wish to speak to me anymore.

Try speaking to her First some time as it could be you projecting your feelings onto her. You could try apologizing for over sharing - it could be she suddenly feels you've overstepped the bounds of your relationship, even if from what you say of her Initial reaction, it doesn't sound like that is the problem. Sadly, she could just have been being polite.

I don't mean to be negative with that last suggestion. But I'm sorry.. I won't lie & sugar coat for you either, even here online, not knowing you. I assume people who post questions like this want Real, Serious & True answers. So I am giving you mine, hon.

If you truly feel she has thrown your friendship aside for sharing this very painful information with her, please move on & know that there are plenty of people out there who Do care & who would be okay with you sharing something so very difficult & personal an issue as this with them!

I wish you the very best of luck, hon, for I know how hard this situation can be.

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Yeah...I mean, I did think she was just being polite.
This is very painful to deal with.

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I know, believe me I know! What those telling you not to apologize & move on don't understand is.. you wanna know Why, right? Why did she say she was your friend & act like it & seem to support your initial telling her the information only to seemingly abandon you when you needed her?
And as you said to lagatta, you want her to know she's hurt you & you want her to know just how bad it hurts, right? But, sadly you can't make her act any differently, you can't make her be a better person OR friend :(
And it may very well not matter to her, hon. I'm sorry to have to say that, but it is something to prepare yourself for. No matter how old someone is, it doesn't make them mature, nice or able to cope with certain aspects of life! If you honestly think it would make you feel better & you feel like you can, you can always ask her directly what's going on.. but be prepared, hon, that you may not like the answer - it May make you feel even Worse if she confirms your fears.
I really do feel for you here.. I do know what it's like to have to still see someone who's hurt you so badly every day at work.
But you seem like a strong person who will get past this! Remember that.
You have my best wishes that this works out as painlessly as possible from here :*

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I appreciate this. You get where I am coming from. This woman spent years befriending me and encouraging her sons to adore me. I looked after her kids for years, supported her through her parents deaths and the one time I go to her for help, she shows that she couldn't care less. And like you say, I have to work with her so there is no forgetting it all.
I thank you for understanding.

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Also, I know I cant change her. She has shown her true colours. But I want her to know how much she has hurt me even if that is a wrong thing to want.

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You are welcome! And oh honey, that's not wrong to want her to know that.. that's perfectly natural! It's just, it could go so badly to try & convey that to her, that's all. I may not know you, but that doesn't mean I want to see you hurt by confronting her & letting her hurt you more. Your friends had very good points on that here! However you decide to handle it, let me know what happens, please? I really want you to keep me informed :) I have my settings set to high (otherwise I can't keep up.. can't keep up now;), but leave something here, alright? I'll be thinking of ya.

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Yes, I must try and resolve this soon for my own sanity. Thank you.x

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@WideOpen74
Could you please share what your friend said when you spoke to her. I hope I am not assuming you spoke to your friend first, since you made this very thoughtful suggestion....but if so, what was said and if your friend confirmed your feelings, what was the rationalization? I cannot imagine how or why news about someone else's mental illness in your family would affect and change the way your friend felt about you, including the way they treated you. Especially after being good friends for such a long time. This perplexes me to no end.

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Of course! My apologies, I should have done so sooner, but my replies are already so long! lol
Let me explain that I shared MY mental illness with a co-worker whom I mistook for more than a work friend. Although I too had hung out at her house & loved her kids as Jenni855's experience, she apparently did not feel the same. Even though, as Jenni855's friend did, she TOLD me we were friends.
I'll be honest, I never had the nerve to come right out & confront her about it all & ask if we were still friends. Though I did go ahead & speak to her first eventually, it was only casual BS. I realized I was lucky I think in that, at the time I was seeing a psychologist who helped me see I maybe was projecting. But it was through later comments she made to me that I saw I had been making more of our relationship than it was.. I had boundary issues at the time, I should mention.
I don't believe the woman intended to hurt me, but I think she took the route I did in not coming out & telling me we weren't friends in the sense I was thinking.
I like to think, most people have NO idea what they've done to us. But when they do, it is just too hard on Either end to actually confront it with the other person. I think too often we just end up having to ACCEPT what is.. and that, for me? Is the HARDEST thing to do for I, like Jenni855, want to know why they hurt me, why they were simply being Polite to me ? And above all, I wish them always to know how much they hurt me. But the older I get the more I see, we rarely get what we wish for.. it is sometimes better to let sleeping dogs lie than to hear them say to your face that for Whatever the reason, they do not wish to be your friend anymore or they never really were..

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It's kind of like they are your friend when it suits and then play down the friendship when it suits them. When someone makes an actual effort to befriend you by saying lovely things, encouraging their kids to bond with you and saying they love you. It comes under the category of giving mixed signals and playing headgames. I dont appreciate being played like that at all. Your friend sounds identical to mine. I am just so sorry. x

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Well, today I was at the front desk at work and I heard her behind me. I turned to look at her and she glanced at me, looked away and so I just walked out. Unbelivably hurtful. If anyone thinks this reaction is normal then I would question their morals.

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7 More Responses

No, you don't need to apologize for telling the truth. I know it hurts, but time to find new friends. I have fellow classmates while during our study group (to answer a question for a test) said the answer to the question is "get another phlebotomist to be with you. Those psychiatric patients are unpredictable"

I was offended but kept my mouth shut because it was discrimanatory.

you can be social and friends at work, but remeber, bottom line, it's still a work environment so keep personal stuff like that, personal.

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I read your question. Personally if that was me! "No" i wouldn't apologise for telling her at all. Her problem i feel. Not yours. I wouldn't go asking her for forgiveness! "NO"!!! way! You'll just have to get on with living your life and try ignoring her. Sorry this sounds so grim,. I'm writing on how i would feel.

It will be interesting to see what other good EPeeps would say and do.

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I hope you dont think I was disregarding your advice last night Welshbabe. I really wasn't. xx
This hurts so much.x

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No! my babes! No problem darling! No harm done. You know that gorgeous don't you!? :D :D

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I wanted you to know that I was not disregarding your advice yesterday. It would upset me a reat deal if I upset you. xxx

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You didn't say ignore, sorry. You said I should ignore her...but I do feel she is avoiding AND ignoring me so no, not harsh of you at all.x

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it's not you.........it's her...........a lot of people can't deal with that kind of truth......i live it.......& i understand.......i apologize for her & the many others that will come

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Maybe but I can tell you, it's a million times harder supporting someone who is mentally ill. She has it good.

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i understand ;-)

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As far as I'm concerned - you've done nothin' wrong.

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Well I would like to think so but now I am doubting myself.

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maybe she felt you were talking about your problems too much, i have a sister with schizophrenia but i dont tell coworkers about it, its none of their business, she probably thought you could have it, one of the reasons why i dont tell people about my sister is because they start assuming i have problems too

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I definitely didn't talk about it too much. I think you are right in that she probably thinks I have something or I am lying about my sister and its actually me with the problem. I still feel so let down and embarrassed by all of this.

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There are many supposed educated people who do not understand mental issues. They do not understand that none of us are free of a "mental problem of some sort". In her ignorance she has lost a friend. Do not try and force yourself upon her. Just chalk it up to the fact that she is living with misinformation. But, you cannot teach her. She will only know the truth when she or someone in her family has a "mental" issue. Count her as gone. It may hurt much, but I have had the same thing happen to me. You will get over it. She is the loser in this deal. Forget her.

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And her kids have lost someone who means a lot to them and who has been in their life for four years. Wasn't ever just about her but she can't see past herself and never could.

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I don't understand why you feel like you did something wrong? As things are, I think it would be a tragedy for you to conclude such a thing. I understand why you have assessed the situation as such, since you saw/noticed a 'change' in her behavior toward you AFTER you confided this very sensitive information with her. BUT think about it, could there not be another situation of which has nothing to do with what you're thinking? What if you are reading things wrong? Why wouldn't you make an effort to make sure you have not misread the situation and ask her if there is anything going on?



I just don't see any reason why someone would have a change of heart toward you because you have a sister with mental issues. I am curious about what made you tell her anyways?



And IF you do ask her, please let us know. It would be interesting to know why this information would affect your friendship.



Blessings to you all. <3

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Because I feel she has been avoiding and ignoring me ever since I told her. I can see that she is perhaps busy at work but it has been very easy for her to come and chat and she hasn't bothered. I feel like a total a**hole for telling her now and am extremely embarrassed. She clearly feels awkward or judges me which is a horrible feeling for me to have and I dont want to go to her and ask when she clearly doesn't care.
She doesn't care how I am doing, she has made that clear.

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I told her because she asked me in a text why I was stressed out. I haven't told anyone else at work and as I say, I have known her years so thought it would be OK. Clearly not.

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What seems clear to me is you are assuming to know things when you could be wrong. You said it right, you FEEL she is avoiding you. Yet you say that you both have been friends for years. Wow! It may be she that learns she never knew you since your FEELINGS may be wrong!
No one has said it was not ok, so this tells me that your guilty feelings are yours alone. Look, I understand, I am a creature of my emotions because I am very sensitive. But I tell you something, I never base my knowledge on my feelings when it comes to friends.
Friends ask for confirmation from their loved ones before making permanent choices about whether to terminate said long term friendship, which you seem so ready and willing to do and all without offering her the benefit of the doubt.
I pray, if she is innocent of your FEELINGS being right, that you have a change of heart and speak to her before you make a decision about this. Blessings to you all.

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This is by no means an isolated incident. I have always supported her through tough times, she has chosen to ignore and avoid me during mine. It's a no brainer. I am sick of being treated this way. If she cared, she would have been in touch in someway but she hasn't. As I say, this is by no means an isolated incident. All she seem to care about is herself and other colleagues who she can make "friends" with.

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<3

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Well first off she knows you don't have a sister. She thinks your admission is a little strange. Possibly, she believes you are making this all up. Even if it was all true, it is not important enough to warrant a comment. Just walk up to her and say, let's have an ice cream for lunch. Bet she would be buds in an instant.

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OK....makes no sense whatsoever.

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