Friday, May 15, 2009

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

by Caren Crane

I've been writing a book that is about, among other things, breaking up. As I think we've discussed before, breaking up is hard to do. (Nod to Neil Sedaka here - for the kids, he was a popular singer back in the day.) Some break-ups are harder than others, though. I mean, as women we fully expect - or at least anticipate the possibility of - our fair share of break-ups with boyfriends and, sadly, even husbands. Romantic break-ups are widely featured in songs, movies and books. Break-ups are sort of a romantic milestone and constitute a specialty niche in our entertainment.

But I want to talk about a different sort of break-up. I have had my heart thoroughly and completely broken by men, so I've been there, done that, got the t-shirt. There is a different sort of break-up, though, that is potentially more devastating and certainly much more of an existential crisis: break-ups with the women in our lives.

Ever broken up with a friend? Fallen out with a sister? Been on the outs with your mom? I can't speak for dudes, because I'm not one, but I'm not sure if they grieve in quite the same way. (Please do tell!) But I know that for me these are some of the most painful relationship dramas to weather. They are the worst pain to bear and, sometimes, the hardest breaks to mend.

Recently - VERY recently - my Girl Scout co-leader told me she won't be coming back next year. It's not personal in any way. Her daughter will be a junior and she's moved on to other interests, so my co-leader is no longer interested in investing the time in the troop. I totally get that and would feel EXACTLY the same way in her place. And yet, when I read her e-mail (yes, it was an e-mail break-up), it knocked the wind right out of my sails.

I shook it off pretty quickly - after all, I'd been through this before - but I had this montage of emotions before I managed to move on: shock, betrayal, anger, disgust and deep disappointment. I've been a Girl Scout leader for 11 years. (You probably can't read this t-shirt, but it says "I run a Girl Scout troop. I also have a full-time job, a family and a life. Beat that!") One daughter has 2 years to go and one has 3. I made a commitment that very first year, when my older daughter was in kindergarten, that I would lead as long as my girls wanted to stay in Scouts. I fully expected it to be a 14-year commitment. So far, we're on track. Imagine my surprise and dismay when I learned (at the end of the very first year) that not everyone felt the way I did. What?

Yes, friends, I was just that naive. Being someone who only makes promises she intends to keep, I took this fly-by-night leadership rather hard. I got over it, but it took time. Happily, I am already following a hot lead on another leader to hook up with, so I have hope that my drama will be short-lived. The sad thing is, I really like my current co-leader and I know, without a doubt, that without the glue of the troop, we will not stay in touch. I have, in essence, lost a friend.

That fighting with a friend thing, though, that's a tough one. I had a friend who was a co-worker a few years back. She and I were very different, but we appreciated each other. We were both quirky in our own ways and were not quite in step with the rest of our department. She made some choices I didn't agree with, but we got past that. However, I think I sort of failed her as a friend. After she left the company, she needed a friend who was more accessible than I could be, so I usually couldn't drop what I was doing and meet her for dinner or drinks. My life was complicated and she needed someone who was able to be much more spontaneous than I could be. After a while, she stopped returning my calls and didn't answer my e-mails. I let her go. I still sent an occasional "hope you're well" type e-mail, but got no response. Then recently - very recently - she texted me out of the blue! Now, mere days later, we are friends on Facebook and just about caught up on one another's lives. It has been a real gift.

So, in the past week I've had to say good-bye to one relationship and hello again to another. I think that's the beautiful thing about the girl break-ups. They usually have an expiration date, even if it's years down the road. I can't say that's true with the guys I've broken up with. Once they're done, they are done. And no, I wouldn't friend those dudes on Facebook. (Or that random guy who messaged me looking for late night action, either - eew!)

Have you ever broken up with a girlfriend? Did you manage to mend fences or is the Great Wall still standing between you? And why is it so hard to say good-bye to our friendships?

102 comments:

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oooh, did I get him? From Sydney to DC? :>

Caren Crane said...

Jeanne, you sly she-devil, you nabbed the GR! Maybe you can put him on the treadmill...or at least sew the buttons back on his vest. *g*

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Bwah-ha-ha-ha! I nabbed the GR! Heh-heh-heh. He's going to basketbball, baseball, and the playground tomorrow, so he's gonna have a work out. Maybe that'll work off some of the chips and brew he's been putting away.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

See? Great minds think alike.

Caren Crane said...

And the Tim Tams. Don't forget the Tim Tams! Apparently, he cleaned out Foanna's cupboard.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Dang, I thought I was going to nab the golden guy. Oh, well.

Caren, I don't know that I've broken up with friends, but I've certainly drifted apart from some. Lives just diverged and we turned into different people with different goals as adults than we were when we were younger.

Caren Crane said...

Trish, don't some of them make you sad, though? I tell you, Facebook has made lots of things clearer for me. Like, yes, I was right to let that friendship go: we had nothing in common. Or, dang, I can't believe I ever let us drift apart: she's still such a great friend!

I hate it when you're at a crossroads and you know, without a doubt, you will not stay close. Then you don't. Truthfully, my life is so full I couldn't possibly keep up with everyone I would like to. But with Facebook it's fun to try! *g*

Caren Crane said...

Okay, you kids have fun. I have to go to sleep so I can get up at the arse crack of dawn to walk with Deb Marlowe. That woman is a slave driver! (Or maybe I am. I think it was my idea...)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

It is fun to try and keep up with people, isn't it, and catch up? Facebook's been fun for that. But those other break-ups? The ones where she-done-me-wrong and you-said-what? THOSE are indeed the hard ones.

You have to let them go, you do, but it's hard. And the difficulty is as much in letting go of all the fun stuff, all the laughs and shared amusements, as it is letting go of the person because they're toxic or one reason or another.

Nancy said...

Duchesse, looks like you got the bird!

Caren, I've never so much broken off a friendship as had them just drift into oblivion. As you note, lives change, interests change, and sometimes things don't work so easily anymore.

I have a lot of respect for Scout leaders. Our Scout leader had 3 sons, so I think she turned to Girl Scouts as a break from all the guy influence at home. But that's just a guess. I didn't stay with scouting; my school arrangements changed, making the schedule unworkable, and by the time I hit high school, there was no troop anymore.

But I still have my sash and badges somewhere.

An old friend of mine recently published a newspaper column on the value of scouting in her life, so this is my month to remember my own Girl Scout experience.

Nancy said...

Just FYI, I'm a lousy cookie salesperson, but that was to be expected. I couldn't sell toothbrushes to benefit the marching band in my hometown--and who doesn't need a toothbrush, either to use or to keep for guests?

I later learned a relative of ours, who always had an extra toothbrush if we forgot ours, would retrieve the "guest" toothbrushes after we left, boil them, and use them again. Eeew! She was a doctor's daughter, so maybe she knew what she was doing, but eeew! Some things are not meant to be shared.

We didn't stop visiting, but I stopped confessing to having forgotten my toothbrush. My finger worked well enough for a day or two (though I doubt my dentist would agree).

Nancy said...

Caren, as you said to Trish, it is sad when friendships fade. My high school friends, some of whom date back as far as I can remember, have a little Facebook community, and they've urged me to join it. Until school was out, I didn't feel as though I had the brain cells to learn something new, but now I'm gearing up for it. I'm looking forward to catching up with people.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy and Caren, I was in the rival gang...Camp Fire Girls. Heehee.

We sold chocolate bars - I'd have rather sold GS Cookies. I'm very partial to them, as you know, Caren! Ha! However, I could sell snow to Eskimos, so I always did well. My father likes to tell stories about that...embarassing stories.

Nancy, double eeeeewwwwwww on the toothbrush thing. Snork

Nancy said...

Jeanne, "my" sales career took off when the marching band switched to chocolate bars as a fund raiser (probably some irony there, going from toothbrushes to chocolate bars, but oh well!) My mom left the box on her desk, and people passing through the office just asked to buy them!

Anna Campbell said...

Jeanne, I must ask him about the trip. It's one I'm looking forward to making in a few weeks. Whooo-hoooooo! Congratulations!

By the way, all that's left in my cupboard is a can of chicken noodle soup and a lonely feather. Clearly he draws the line at chookibalism!

Anna Campbell said...

Caren, these breakups are really tough and I, like everyone here so I imagine, have been through my share. Sometimes they make no sense, sometimes they're bitter, sometimes you carry that pain in your heart forever. But as I've got older, I've also realized that not every friendship is in your life forever. Sometimes you're both just passing through. Which doesn't negate the value of what you can teach each other. But then it's time to let go. It's kind of reconciled me to some of this stuff.

flchen1 said...

Hi, Caren!! I'm with Trish and Nancy--I don't think I've had any active friendship break-ups, but several that have drifted because of distance and/or stage of life... It *is* totally a gift to reconnect and I definitely love it when that happens.

Congrats on nabbing the GR, Jeanne! With that workout, he'll be looking his svelte self in no time ;)

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Jeanne.

Breaking up with a girlfriend is almost as bad as breaking up with your man. It happened to me once when I was in high school. A stupid misunderstanding and the next thing I knew we weren't speaking to each other any more. I hope never to lose a friend like that again.

Helen said...

Well done Jeanne I hope he enjoyed the trip and sounds like he is going to have a great day

Caren loved the post I don't think I have ever really broken up with a girlfriend only when I was a very young girl and I can remember that hurting a lot but yes I have drifted apart from girlfriends over the years and that had a lot to do with my job I was working all sorts of hours mainly night shifts and there just never seemed to be enough hours in the day to truly catch up. I still have lots of girlfriends and now really make sure that there is time because I need my friends they are like pockets everyone needs them.

I used to be involved with the Girl Guides Accoc here in Australia I started be a helper for my daughters Brownie Pack them moved on to be one of the first Gumnut Guide Leaders in NSW this was a new group started for the 6 to 9 year olds and boy was that fun but alas I had to give it up because of the job I loved it but we really needed the money from my job so I had to make a choice.
Good on Ya for keeping at it.

Have Fun
Helen

PinkPeony said...

Hi Caren! Congrats, Jeanne on the GR. Hey, I was a Camp Fire Girl too. I sold mints and received the badge for most mints sold. I used to go back to the same houses a week later and they'd say, "Weren't you here already?" My response,"Yes, but didn't you eat them all already?"

There are a few women friends I no longer have contact with. Sure there are friends that I've lost contact with but there are a few that parted on less than amicable terms mostly because they were too exhausting and made me bananas with all their drama...the kind of drama one creates in order to validate their existence. I had one former friend who fell into this camp and unfortunately, she had a key to my apartment. Imagine waking up (with b.f.) and finding your friend rummaging through the fridge. I asked for the key back as she broke one of the major rules of singledom...call first. She gave the key back and an earful. Adios. Despite this, I do have a lot of girlfriends, some of whom I've known since I was twelve.

Donna MacMeans said...

PinkPeony - I would totally freak if that happened to me! What was she thinking!

Can't say that I remember any active girlfriend breakups. I've moved a few times in my adult life and distance ended some relationships (before the advent of email). Sometimes kids had the same effect i.e. football mom friends and then my son graduates.
Reconnections are nice, though.

Been there as a GS leader. One of my co-leaders is now my aerobics instructor so we keep in touch (maybe too often (grin)). The other is probably off camping with another bunch of adolescents. Interests change, but it is sad to lose those friendships.

PinkPeony said...

Donna...There were times I felt like I was being stalked. And that wasn't the only time she let herself into my apartment.

Nancy said...

Anna C., he left you a feather? I can't decide whether that's a calling card or just sloppy. *g*

Sorry he cleaned you out!

Nancy said...

Caren, since it's now past the crack of dawn, I hope you and Deb had a good walk. Humidity's threatening to set in, so the earlier, the better, I guess.

In the exercise dept., maybe Jeanne is working Anna C.'s food off the rooster.

Nancy said...

Jeanne wrote: And the difficulty is as much in letting go of all the fun stuff, all the laughs and shared amusements, as it is letting go of the person because they're toxic or one reason or another.I agree. When you've confided in someone and they've confided in you and you've celebrated ups and supported each other through downs, it's hard to let that go.

I think that's also the essence of grief when someone dies and even, sometimes, when people divorce. That thread has been pulled from the fabric of one's life, and it leaves a void.

A lot of characters in books of all types are reacting to voids like that. It's frequently a source of character conflict--the abandoned child, the orphan left to make his or her way alone, the hero or heroine who had a toxic prior love affair or who wants to avenge the murder of a loved one.

Joan said...

Shaking head in wonder that it's past the arse crack of dawn and Caren's been up for hours...while I just rolled out of bed!

I've had some friends I've drifted away from (or they me). Nothing dramatic (ew, PPeony....coming into your house?)But there was one that was memorable for it's bizarreness.

I had a friend I'd attended nursing school with. After we graduated, she and I socialized, did lots of things. We were two single gals going to single dances, hanging out etc.

Then we went on vacation together.

Not two days into this trip to Disneyworld she basically stopped talking to me. When she did it was short, hateful bursts with undertones of "Shut up Joan".

I was baffled, hurt, mad and still had 3 days to go with it. I can still remember going off alone to the parks, looking down from the monorail to see her getting off a bus.

Strange thing was, on the trip home at the airport, she started talking to me like nothing had happened. I was still hurt, so wasn't as responsive but understanding the baffled look she gave me.

We got home and I was still upset. Wrote a honest, "Don't know what happened" letter to her which I probably shouldn't have but I had things that needed to be said.

She then left me this hateful,hateful rambling message on my answering machine. (Yes, pre-dates Facebook, email ugh)It sounded worse than a teenager in full drama.

15 years later, I ran into her and after spending a short, short amount of time with her realized...she's got issues. And they still weren't resolved.

And they probably will never be.

Joan said...

Brownie Joanie T reporting for duty ma'm! {snaps a salute}

Actually, I made it up into the GS for a couple of years. Have a sash with a fair amount of badges. Alas, NONE camping related as I abhor camping. (I signed up for GS day camp. Lasted 2 days after having to actually COOK in the woods, live with the woodland CREATURES (read snake and spider) Oh, all in the pouring rain.)

Nope, most of my badges were cooking and homekeeping related :-)

And cookies? I did my fair share but it was harder 'back then' We had to DRAG the actual boxes with us door to door!

Louisa Cornell said...

Ah! He decided he needed to attend a house party with the Duchess of Snorkdom. The GR is such a fickle cad! Do make sure he doesn't cause a scandal, Duchess!

And La Campbell, we're looking forward to you making the trip to DC as well!

Caren, I think it is great that you've made that commitment to Girl Scouts for you girls. Some people just don't know how to stick with things. I was a Brownie and then a Girl Scout, but I had to give it up when we moved to England. I really enjoyed it.

Joan, your friend sounds bi-polar to say the least!

Pink, can I just say SCARY! Single white female, anyone? That movie scared the stuffing out of me!

I've had a few friendships go south, but nothing dramatic. Sort of drifted apart.

However, I DID have a huge blow up with my Mom after my DH died. She wanted me to come home, move back in and let them take care of me. I was 35 and had been out of the house since I was 18. Not happening. She was furious. Then I sort of wandered around going from job to job and place to place for a number of years which made her even more furious. It got so bad I didn't go home for Christmas one year and that IS a big deal. In the middle of it all my Dad passed away so it was a really tough time.

Then we I moved here and settled down things got better and now it is as if that bad spell never happened. I guess I could hang on to the anger because I was really hurt and mad at her behavior for a long time. However, that would serve no purpose and she is not getting any younger. We get along great now and she is very proud of my writing accomplishments.

jo robertson said...

Great topic, Caren! Breaking up with a girl is, I think, one of life's difficult experiences. I once broke up with a very close and very dear friend of seven years. In the scope of life's experiences, seven years is very short, but we were young mothers with little kids and saw each other several times a day. She even saved my youngest from choking. (And I'm here to tell you performing the Heimlich on a toddler isn't all that easy!)

Then I moved. For three years I made the 100-mile trip to visit her several times a month. But I could see her becoming more and more distant. Other friends and other issues were filling the void I'd left, so eventually I stopped visiting, stopped writing, stopped calling. She never wrote back, never called. I could see I was already history.

That was one of the saddest experiences of my life. My grown children still ask why I don't keep in contact with Valerie.

Jeanne, you are a sly devil! Or is that devil-ess?

Caren Crane said...

Jeanne, those fun-yet-toxic people are sometimes the hardest to cut loose, aren't they? Because usually there have been lots more good times than bad. So even when things get a little sketchy or tense, you remember when she listened to you whine or came and held your hand or picked up your kids and took them to her house when you were losing your mind.

I think part of the complications of female friendships is that we can become so dependent on each other, don't you? Your life and your friends' lives can become almost inextricably intertwined sometimes.

Caren Crane said...

Nancy, I love it that you were in Girl Scouts! I was a Brownie for two years, which was the standard back when dinosaurs roamed the earth (i.e. my childhood). Brownies also couldn't sell cookies. Wish that were still true! *g*

Your story about conflicting schedules, etc. during high school is a pretty common one today as well. High school kids have so much going on, it's tough to keep them engaged past sophomore year. Believe me, I'm living it!

Caren Crane said...

Nancy, too funny about the toothbrushes! And yes, boiling does indeed kill any bacteria (or a good alcohol soak will do it, too). It is sort of not something to inflict on guests, though. I suppose you learned to remember your toothbrush the hard way. *g*

Susan Sey said...

Oh, Caren, what a hot-button topic! I was talking to a dear friend the other day who'd reconnected (via Facebook, of course) with a friend who'd broken up with her back in high school. They've had a lovely time chatting & catching up but my friend is struggling not to blurt out the great big WHY????? she's had bottled up all these years.

It's touchy, reconnecting.

I myself have only one memorable breakup story & I was the breakee, rather than the breaker. Which is TOTALLY uncharacteristic of me. As I may have mentioned in previous posts, I keep things/people/habits LONG beyond their expiration date.

But after several years & several extremely awkward & baffling scenes, I realized she didn't want a friend. She wanted an audience. She thrived on drama & required somebody to endure her antics & provide a constant stream of sympathy & validation. After a while I just didn't have it in me. And doing a face-to-face breakup would only have fed her need for drama. She'd have latched onto that like a junkie, milking it for years.

So I coudln't do the 'right' thing & break up face to face. I just cut ties & eventually she went away. My DH, who is the most wonderfully forgiving man in the world & cuts people all kinds of slack even I don't, said, "Thank god & good riddance."

So I figure I did the right thing. Though I still suffer the occasional pangs of guilt. It's so hard to inflict pain.

Treethyme said...

Wow, congrats on the GR, Jeanne!

I was interested in this post because I'm sure it will resonate with a lot of us.

When I was in middle school, I had two best friends. I did something to make them mad that summer -- never did find out what -- and they started avoiding me. One moved away but, all through high school, the other friend and I never spoke. It wasn't that we were mad, by that time, we just hung out with different people. After high school, we became friends again -- and again, I don't remember what brought it about. We never got as close as we had been before, but we keep in touch and share each other's news. I'm glad to have her as a friend, and when her mom died, we both were able to share a lot of memories. (I got my first period at a sleepover at her house -- and she had three cute teenage brothers!! I was mortified but her mother was thrilled - ran to the store and bought up half that aisle for me. She was a great lady.)

Other than that, I'm probably the least broken up person on earth. I had one boyfriend all through high school, and only broke up with him at the end of my senior year, when my future husband and I finally admitted we wanted to be more than friends. It was still hard breaking up with my boyfriend, but it didn't break my heart.

I'm still friends with my high school friend, with my friends in England, with friends I use to volunteer with or work with, with friends who live in places I used to live.

I don't think I really know how to break up. Even in stories I write, they almost all feature a couple who broke up and are finding each other again.

Treethyme said...

Chookibalism? Now I've heard everything.

Caren Crane said...

Nancy, how fun to join the old high school tribe! I've found, in reconnecting with people I grew up with, that many people don't change much. They do, however, become more of who they always were at heart. In some cases, it's been great to see people who really bloomed and came into their own. In other cases, it's been sad to see they nursed a kernel of something negative (bigotry comes to mind) and made that who they are.

I mostly just spy on people from back in the day on Facebook. Drop by their wall, see what they're talking about. I'll post a comment if I have something to say, but if they are being offensive I simply slip away, leaving no trace...

Caren Crane said...

Anna C., it's good to know the GR has a line he won't cross. Yet...

Susan Sey said...

p.s. Joanie T, I'm OUTRAGED on your behalf at that evil woman who shunned you at Disney. What a rotten, evil cow! And what kind of horrible person could dislike YOU?

If you ever see her again, don't bother being polite. Just kick her in the shins. The hound.

....oh lord, I think I just channeled my mom. Shin kicking? Hounds? I may have shaken my fist....oh my.

Caren Crane said...

Anna, it's that whole "friends for a reason or a season" thing (I don't remember the rest). I have had some great relationships, like the one with my current co-leader, which I knew were only for that window of my life. I often miss that interaction, though, even realizing we can never go back to that time and that place again.

There are some friendships I have looked back on and just scratched my head, like, why were we ever friends? I can't even recall what we had in common! The memories are nice, though.

traveler said...

I enjoyed your post today since this is an occurrence which affects most of us in life. Whether we are the problem or the other individual is, it is still unpleasant and memorable. I have had a falling out several times with my sister who I felt was deceitful and untruthful. She continues to behave in this manner and has enlisted my brother as well so I have crossed her off my list which is the only recourse.

Caren Crane said...

Whoa, Jeanne, you got to sell chocolate bars? I recall selling those chocolate bars for school fundraisers. Those were my favorites! I remember they were the totally outrageous price of one dollar. Who in their right mind would pay $1 for a candy bar??

Now, when any old candy bar is 75 cents or more, it seems like they were a bargain!

I'm not surprised you were a top seller. I'll bet you solicited everyone you saw! *g*

Caren Crane said...

Fedora, it's hard for me to imagine never having had a falling out with a friend. Well, I suppose I can. I know lots of people avoid conflict like the plague, so probably if things start getting tense or weird, those people slowly slip into the shadows.

I'm kind of from a family of incredibly stubborn people, though, who rarely say no to a good fight. So, I tend to stick things out even when they are clearly going right downhill and then to stick around for the fireworks. *g*

Most of my friends sense the crazy coming and run far, far away. I say, "Hey, things are getting interesting! Wonder what will happen next?" I think that's why people watch reality TV shows. I tend to just live them. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Jnae, that's a heartbreaker! High school was so dramatic, even if you weren't normally prone to drama. I recall one time when my BFF broke up with her long-term boyfriend. Then he started coming on to me a few weeks later. Well, he was a cute, nice guy and we had always been friends, so I let myself start liking him a little too much.

My friend felt so betrayed. And she was right! It was wrong for me to allow him to be anything to me when they had so recently broken up. Nothing ever came of it, we didn't date or anything, just had an innocent flirtation. Still, it caused a rift between me and my BFF that took a while to heal.

I have to say, I have NO IDEA what happened to him, but she and I are still great friends!

Caren Crane said...

Helen, I don't know how you have time for work and family and friends and us! *g* I love that expression: Friends are like pockets: everybody needs them. So true!

I think it's especially hard when most of your friends are work friends and then your job situation changes. Fortunately, I have managed to keep a few of the best friends I had from the job I had for 14 years. I had moved here to take the job and they were the only friends I had for a long time! I still miss some of my old co-workers, but found that outside the company, some of us had little to talk about.

Another reason I am so grateful for the Banditas and the BBs. Y'all rock!

Caren Crane said...

PinkPeony, I think you and Jeanne got an extra helping of cheek in your sales package! I have been known, however, to reapproach people who have already bought cookies with the old, "Don't you need just one more box of Thin Mints?" *eg*

I can't imagine waking up to find anyone rummaging in my fridge! I never had a time when I was really "single", because when I was out of college and on my own, I already had my son. So, I missed the whole "friend with a key" part of life. Not sure I missed much!

I have definitely had friends who created drama, but I've learned to avoid them for the most part. One of the benefits of aging: learning to recognize the high-maintenance people and stay out of their way. "Serpentine, serpentine!"

anne said...

This breakup was painful but necessary. I gave and gave and never was there any reciprocation nor appreciation. Then a remark was made by her and I thought, ok, this is it. Never heard from her again. No regrets.

Caren Crane said...

Donna, Claudia and I were just talking about you yesterday. I was telling her how you are one of those people who can get along with anyone. I am not surprised to hear you've had no major falling out with anybody. You would just shrug and figure they had something bad going on in their lives and move along. *g* That is a fantastic quality and one I have been working to develop for years now.

I realized when I spent time with my younger sister recently that she is still a brawler and I have learned, at times, to walk away. It was astonishing to me to realize I had actually grown!

Caren Crane said...

PinkPeony, that is so creepy/scary! You were smart to reclaim that key. I would be afraid she had made copies, though. I probably would have changed the locks!

Caren Crane said...

Nancy, Deb and I did 2 miles this morning and it was horribly humid! We forewent the second 2 miles and went to drink iced coffee instead. *g* Getting to spend time with Deb makes exercising tolerable!

Keira Soleore said...

Oh, the guilt! Even though you know the gf breakup is better for you, still the guilt of it nearly makes me rescind the breakup. For a long time I used to simply make do. Keep the "friendship" going long past the expiry date, because I would give the other person infinite chances to redress themselves. At some point in my twenties, I decided, enough was enough--I wasn't going to allow another person to walk all over me.

Caren Crane said...

Nancy, you hit it right on the head. It's the void left by whatever "berak-up" that characters are so often dealing with. For some reason, I tend to have a recurring theme of loss of a romantic relationship, though my last book was a little more layered. The heroine had lost her father when she was about 8, but then her mother withdrew from the kids (grieved badly) and her older sister eventually ran away from home.

I think these themes are relatable because we all feel them at one time or another. Usually in a book or movie they are all happening close together to heighten the crisis and the drama. Thank goodness we usually have a teensy bit more space in real life, though some people don't. Loss is tough!

Caren Crane said...

Poor, Joanie! And worse yet, she ruined your trip to the happiest place in the universe!! Don't mess with the mouse, crazy woman!

Sounds like she had some serious junk to sort out. I'm glad you moved on, JT, and glad you figured out it was nothing to do with you!

I want to slap that woman with mouse ears...

Caren Crane said...

Joan, that's funny about your GS experience. I know lots of women who had similar ones. Lots of us had troop leaders (like my Brownie leader) who wanted to do crafts and teach us how to set the table properly (which I've never forgotten). I don't recall us ever setting foot outdoors! Oh, yes we did. When we were bridging up to Juniors, I recall being outdoors (one the playground behind the school) for our ceremony when we got "pinned". I also recall being confused about why we had to do it outside!

Caren Crane said...

Louisa, I completely get it. Falling out with your mom is the worst. Especially when you know she only wants what she thinks is best for you. There's the rub, all that thinking.

Now that my son is grown, I know what my mom has been going through for the last 30 years or so that she's had adult children. It never, ever gets any easier to watch them suffer. Of course she wanted to bring you home and take care of you! I'm glad you were strong enough to say no and go do your own thing while you figured out how to do life alone.

Man, family is tough at the best of times. Having a big, loving family is really tough sometimes. 'Cause sometimes you just need to be left alone and how the heck are you supposed to do that when 20 people have you on speed dial?!

Caren Crane said...

Oh, Jo, that is so sad! I think it's really hard when you and a friend have basically helped raise each other's kids and then you drift apart. In part it's because the kids remember the dear friend and they miss her, too. I still remember my mother's good friends from my childhood. Though she gets to see them sometimes, I rarely do, and I miss them too!

You never know, maybe you'll find her on Facebook. *g*

Oh, and Jeanne is a she-devil. *eg*

Caren Crane said...

Oh, Susan, I hear you babe! I, too, suffer from keeping things LONG after they've begun to mold and disintegrate. It's hard to be the dumper or the dumpee, IMO. And yes, the drama seeker would have adored a face to face! She could have dined out on that for months. *g*

You were right to let it go, Smoov. You go, girl!

Caren Crane said...

Treethyme, how great that you and your friend got to be friends again. I think that's the thing I like best.

I think it's awesome that your heart has been so steadfast for so long. It's so sweet about you and your dh!

Isn't it interesting what surfaces in our writing? Obviously, in Becke World, happy-ever-after comes from mending fances and rediscovering the person one temporarily lost. I love reunion stories and second chances!

Caren Crane said...

Susan, don't worry about channeling your mother. It happens to all of us. Me, threatening to beat the woman with mouse ears? Yes, there was some Mama in that...

Caren Crane said...

Traveler, how devastating! I have 3 sisters, so I have experienced all dimensions of sisterhood: the good, the bad, the unholy horror. One sister and I are not much alike. Different looks, personality, disposition. The more time that passes, the less alike we are. SHE is the one with whom I have had major drama. It always blows over, but sometimes it takes a long time and a lot of distance before it does.

These days, we keep our visits brief and pleasant. We both leave happy with lovely memories. If we are together too long, though, things can get ugly. Brevity is our friend!

I hope you and your sibs can find a middle ground. Hugs to you!

Caren Crane said...

Anne, I think this sort of life-sucking one-sided friendship has happened to several of us. It's hard, like Susan said, to be the one who listens and empathizes and supports all the time. When you realize, like you and Susan did, that you are just the audience and never get to even climb the steps to the stage yourself for your turn to be supported, it's best to let it go.

I think it's awesome you were able to put your needs ahead of hers. Good for you!

Caren Crane said...

For a long time I used to simply make do. Keep the "friendship" going long past the expiry date, because I would give the other person infinite chances to redress themselves. At some point in my twenties, I decided, enough was enough--I wasn't going to allow another person to walk all over me.Why, oh WHY do we do this to ourselves? I think if men find a friendship too much, they just walk away. Why do we give so many chances to our girlfriends? It must be guilt or, in my case, the need to feel like I can fix it if I just work...little...harder...

Oy, I'm glad I no longer feel the need to try to save the world single-handedly. It was exhausting! *g*

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

She-devil? Snork DOM? I think NOT, ladies. My, my, I go away for a few hours.

*turning back, crossing arms*

harrrrrumpf.

That's Duchesse She-Devil to YOU people. And its SnorkVILLE.

Harrrumpf.

Grins. Just kidding. Had to LOL about all this. You know, it's funny, I think of myself as such an easy going type, but once I got whacked a few times with the Bad Friend stick, I found I didn't like it. I'm much more stubborn at this point. No reciprocity? No problem, and no friendship either. Drama dept. wanting an audience? Hmmmm. NO. Or, like Jo's situ, the phone doesn't work on your end after 12 years of friendship? Hmmmm. Well, I sorrowfully think that's over. (Had a friend like that. Still love her to death, but if she can't ever call ME, send a card, a smoke signal, nuthin? Well...Done.)

Now, off to run a few more pounds off that silly bird. He's evidently responding to the massive amounts of testoterone in the house and is doing one-winged pushups to prove he's better than the dogs. He's a bit winded, which is ticking him off, I think. Bet he goes on a regimin or something.

Anna, he CLAIMS he left the feather as a momento-de-coeur. Not sure I believe that...

Kate Carlisle said...

Great post, Caren! I can relate so well to break-ups with GF's. My family moved a number of times when I was growing up so there were plenty of heartbreaking split-ups. I can still see my BFF standing on the curb, waving as my family station wagon drove away. And there's young Kate crying in the back seat for a few hundred miles or so ... and then we're driving down our new street and pulling into our new driveway and it's time to make some new friends.

I can count four times that that same scene took place while I was growing up.

Sad and weird, huh? :-)

Okay, Duchesse, get that dang bird back into shape!!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

oh, that's sad, Kate! I can see it all too well. :>

Reminds me of the opening of the Disney movie The Rookie, with the packed station wagon and all that.

It's hard to move after a certain age. We've talked about whether we'd move after the DH retires. While it's still under discussion we leaning toward not because the kids would be at really vulnerable ages... but who knows. They're also resilient.

Kate Carlisle said...

It really is sad, isn't it, Duchesse? :-)

It would be easy for me to say that moving is traumatic for kids, but who's to say that staying in one place forever is any less traumatic? Heck, maybe a move would be beneficial in some cases. And kids do bounce back, although some bounce faster and farther than others. :-)

For me, it's all the little "what-if" questions that bother me. What if I hadn't moved away? What if I'd stayed in Carlton Oaks, and what if Diane Freidlander and I had been BFF's all through high school and college? Maybe I'd have been sent to the Prison for the Criminally Insane, too! Just like Diane!

Hee hee hee hee hee!

Virginia said...

Oh Jeanne, you did get him, you did, good for you!

I think we have all broke up with a girl friend sometime in our lifes. I had a major break up with one of mine years ago. A girl I grew up with and we lived in an apartment for a while and she moved out and left me with it all. We didn't speak for years but now we are in some contact but it not what it once was. Of course as we get older we all go our seperate ways so that is part of it. We do keep in touch through e-mails and birthday cards.

Caren Crane said...

Jeanne, LOL about the friend whose phone doesn't work. I may have been that friend at times. It was really hard when the kids were younger and most of my friends were either unmarried or married with no children. I always was the one with things to do and obligations to fulfill. I'm sure it was a major drag trying to be friends with me!

Now that the baby is in high school, my phone works much better. *g* I've even picked it up and called people - resuming conversations left hanging 20 years ago! I'm glad I befriended such kind souls. They have taken me back with open arms. Love them!

As to the chook, I want videotape of the one-winged pushups. I've never even seen him do one! Matter of fact, he wasn't into feats of strength any of the times he's stayed with me. He claimed a sprained spur last time I tried to get him to help in the yard. He flapped into the wheel barrow and made us cart him around!

I do hope he's reducing a bit, though. I worry about his blood pressure...

Caren Crane said...

Oh, little Kate was a gypsy wanderer! I'm sure you left a trail of girls who still ponder "Wonder what ever happened to Kate?" when they get nostalgic.

I'll bet you made friends quickly, too. That Kate, such a good time! So friendly! *g*

Caren Crane said...

Jeanne, that's a tough one. I tell you, moving can be the BEST thing to happen when a kid's in middle school or high school...IF they're having a hard time. If they're insanely happy, it can be devastating. Just don't do what my parents did to me: move in the middle of junior year, then (since that wasn't enough) move in the middle of senior year!

I have no year book for junior year and I have a yearbook I'm not even IN (except for a few club pictures) for senior year. Yikes! These things must be handled delicately. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Kate, ROFL! There is a great story in there. We'll give you a few glasses of wine at conference and pry the story out of you! (makes note on July calendar...)

Caren Crane said...

Virginia, it's good that you and your friend have mended the relationship enough to stay in touch a bit. The worst is when you're ready to try a rapprochement and it is not well received. I hope you at least knew why she left. Not knowing what went wrong is the worst!

flchen1 said...

Yep, Caren, that's totally me--conflict averse! I like to think that I'd stand up for my kids or husband if the occasion merited, but I tend to avoid arguments... *shudder* Not always the bravest course!

Caren Crane said...

Fedora, I think caution is the better part of valor (or whatever that expression is). My younger sister (a real brawler) found herself in a confrontation one time when she was about 18 where the 16-year-old boys (from a juvie home, visiting the mall where she worked) wouldn't leave the cutlery store where she was working when it was closing time.

She threatened to call Security, did call security, talk smack back to them, got in an argument with one of them and got her bottom teeth knocked out (and through her lower lip) because she wouldn't back down.

Yes, a little caution is a beautiful thing. I think that experience of hers was the one that made me step back and reassess what I would fight for. I'm not afraid of much, really, but some people have an extra helping of crazy on their plate - like Kate's ex-friend! *g*

Christine Wells said...

Hi Posh! Great blog and I'm sorry that your co-leader let you down. Wow, a 14 year commitment--that's longer than a lot of marriages!

Life is like that, isn't it? Acquaintances drift in and out but good friends remain pretty constant, thankfully. I grew pretty close to some of the other mothers at kindergarten but then we pretty much went our separate ways when our children started different schools. Life is so busy these days, you can go months without seeing even close friends if you don't make the effort. Sometimes my dh and I joke that we've put up the 'no vacancy' sign as far as friendships go. We have enough trouble keeping up with the friends we have!

Woohoo, Jeanne! Congrats on getting the rooster!

Caren Crane said...

Christine, isn't it sad how little time we have left over when the "must do" things are done? When my kids were little, I worked full time and I barely had time to think. Then they got older and they were less work, but they starting accumulating homework and activities and friends of their own.

Suddenly, I needed a three-dimensional calendar with cubic surfaces for all the appointments, meetings, practices and play dates. THEN I started writing. Yikes! I have no idea why I thought I had time to write, except it gave me so much joy to use my brain creatively that I got hooked. Then I met writer friends and I was hooked for good!

Yes, 14 years is a long commitment, but I've already been writing for 8 long, unpublished years. The end of Girl Scouts is very concrete - when the youngest graduates from high school. The commitment to writing has no end!

But it's a good sort of shackle--I mean, bondage--I mean, commitment. I could never walk away from writing and make it stick!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Heee hee! Caren, I could never stick with not writing either. :>

I'm quite wrathful with the chook at the moment. I ran the boys to baseball practice and the GR decided he'd like to hang on at the house.

Uh-huh. Note to the wiser members of the RB/BB clan. Do NOT leave that bird alone when there is popcorn in the house.

Every bag. EVERY bag popped and eaten.

Ewwww, he just belched. Popcorn belch. Ewwwww.

He CLAIMS that some neighbors stopped by and he didn't know what else to serve them. Hmmmmmmm.

Not so sure about that.

Caren Crane said...

Jeanne, please clarify. Were these family-size bags or, say, 100-calorie packs? Not that it makes much difference, but a bird his size should know his limitations! Make sure he doesn't flap into the bathroom and try to purge. That's all we need, a rooster with an eating disorder!

Joan said...

Awwwww...Susan...that's so sweet of you!

Um, I guess like most people, I have my fans and my detractors, but now when a detractor...detracts me...I'll call them a hound!!!

:-)

Someone you CAN'T call a hound is Rachel Alexandra who just won the Preakness!!! Go girl! (And Calvin Borel who was riding one of the horses Wednesday that won me my exacta :-)

Caren Crane said...

Joanie, my girls were tickled about your winning filly's name when they heard she had 8:1 odds to win! *g*

Caren Crane said...

I have to say, it has been the most gorgeous day here. It was insanely humid and trying to sprinkle this morning, but then the sun came out and the sky is that gorgeous Carolina blue. The strawberries are ripe, everything is in bloom and God is in His heaven. *sigh* Now if only I had some of those strawberries...

Pissenlit said...

OY. Yes. She blew something(some of which she conveniently forgot was her own idea) way out of proportion, took offense to something she had no right to and sent me a really rude email accusing me of all manner of things. I sent a short civil response back, 2 more emails later, we were at a tree-planting, she came up to me and we talked and she apologised which consisted of "I'm sorry" and then her trying to convince me that there was absolutely nothing wrong with her rude email. I was just tired of it all so I said how about we agree to disagree and just drop the matter? She turned around and stalked off without a word. I got over my shock, chased her down and forced her to talk. Apparently she didn't feel I cared enough. Ooookay. I spent time convincing her otherwise and it seemed to have worked. I had to bail on a bridal shower later that day 'cause I got a giant migraine from too much sun and phoned to say so and napped 6.5hrs straight. Turns out at the shower, she was telling some of our other friends that she thinks I lied and that I skipped our friend's bridal shower because I was still mad at her. *facepalm* I haven't seen her since but as we have mutual friends, that won't last.

Caren Crane said...

Oh, Pissenlit, that's the worst! You try to cajole her, get a migraine, and somehow you're the bad guy? I want to beat her with mouse ears, too!

I never can quite figure out how these master manipulators manage to make themselves out as the victims, no matter the circumstances. That seems as if it could be an incredibly useful skill in some sketchy occupation or other. I'm sure many of these people turn out rich. And unhappy. Bwahaha...

Caren Crane said...

Fedora, I've been thinking about your defense of family conundrum. I feel certain that if it came down to it, you would get into a smackdown for your husband or kids. But if you ever need anyone roughed up, just send up the Bandita Signal. It's like the Bat Signal, only rooster-shaped. A caped Bandita will be along to take care of the situation in no time flat.

We have Bandita cars in a garage hidden under the Lair. Bump-bump-buh!!

Joan said...

Oh, Pissenlit, that's the worst! You try to cajole her, get a migraine, and somehow you're the bad guy? ...

One thing I'm coming to learn is that you should only waste your energy SO far. If something (friendship) is worth it, both sides will work toward resolving things.

I did have an instance with one of my closer friends a couple of years ago. She reconnected with a friend from her youth and became totally unaware that in doing so, she had pushed me about clear out.

I worried, and fretted and tried to rationalize a lot of it...all one sided. All that did was increase my hurt and misery.

So, I called her up one day and asked if we could talk. THAT type of "confrontation" is uncomfortable for me but by gosh, her friendship meant a lot to me and I wanted to salvage it. Plus I needed to "let it go".

We talked for 3 hours and our friendship remained intact. And I'm sure if you analyzed it....stronger for it. (I do that. I analyze TOO much sometimes)

Pissenlit said...

Caren, the worst thing about it all is that I know she's not really a bad person and she wasn't trying to manipulate. She really didn't think she was mean or rude at all. She just has this thing about thinking she's right and if you don't agree with her, you're wrong. But ya, if she keeps that up, she will end up unhappy if she isn't already.

And ya, even if it wasn't really sunny that day, I probably would've gotten a migraine anyhow. :D

Pissenlit said...

Joan - One thing I'm coming to learn is that you should only waste your energy SO far. If something (friendship) is worth it, both sides will work toward resolving things.

Oh ya, I learned that lesson at the end of high school. I'd been pushed too far in a few friendships and just threw up my hands and said, No more Mr. Nice Guy(er...whatever the female equivalent is)! I let a few of those friendships lapse because I was tired of being the one doing all the work and enough was enough. It wasn't worth it.

Pissenlit said...

Oooh, I missed this earlier...

Joan - Someone you CAN'T call a hound is Rachel Alexandra who just won the Preakness!!! Go girl!

Eeee! It was exciting, wasn't it? My mum and I were glued to the tv. I couldn't decide who I wanted to root for, Rachel Alexandra or Mine That Bird so I'm glad they came in first and second. :D

Caren Crane said...

Way to go, Joanie T! Really, I think in not wanting to confront people or situations, we sometimes inadvertently make them worse. Or bigger than they need to be.

Speaking of rationalizations reminded me of "He's Just Not That Into You". Has anyone seen it? I may go see it at the $1.50 theater tomorrow.

Caren Crane said...

Pissenlit, I remember in junior high in 8th grade, I got so tired of being everyone's "ear" and the sounding board for all the drama. I realized one day that when I wanted to talk about my problems (and I did have a few crop up) no one wanted to listen to me. They wanted me to give so they could take. I began to refuse to listen. I would get really busy and not be able to talk to them.

I am still friends with a few of those girls, but some drifted away early on...and stayed gone!

Pissenlit said...

Caren, some of my friendships in high school were exactly like that. :P

Caren Crane said...

I suppose that's a fairly common dynamic in friendships among young people, eh? I was glad to learn it early on. It made the weeding through friends MUCh easier. *g*

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

ITs so funny, Caren, I get less and less tolerant of those take, take, take friendships. Pretty much "so done" with that. ha!

As to the Rooster, I'm thinking there WERE visitors, perhaps of the chick variety. There's no way that bird could have eaten all that popcorn on his own, and I'm thinkin...

Well, you don't really want to know what I'm thinking there...Ha!

Joan said...

Jeanne said: As to the Rooster, I'm thinking there WERE visitors, perhaps of the chick variety. There's no way that bird could have eaten all that popcorn on his own, and I'm thinkin.......

Check your fridge. How many EGGS do you have in there now?

:-0

Nicki Salcedo said...

I have a friend I want to break up with. This person only ever contacts me when something is catastrophically wrong. And I think this person also secretly hates me. Breaking up with a man is easy. Breaking up with a girlfriend is actually the hardest thing to do, and I doubt I'll ever have the stones to do it. Great subject to ponder! You break up in a relationship b/c you don't "love" each other, but with a friend the reason really, b/c lives diverge or quite frankly you don't "like" each other any more. Hmmm.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Joan said: Check your fridge. How many EGGS do you have in there now?

OMG! Diet Coke spew alert! SNORK!!!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nicki, it IS tough. I recommend it though, I really do. When you get that kind of toxic person out of your life, you wouldn't believe how much better you feel. They're like psychic vampires in a way, they steal not only the immediate time they take, but the time you spend thinking about how bad it was, or how they hurt your feelings, or how yould have avoided that situation....you get so much time and peace of mind back. Seriously.

Grins. It took me a long time to get the "stones" as you put it, to do it, and I couldn't believe the relief I felt when I finally did.

Wow.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, check out the Bandits photos on our Facebook page. Lovely Caren just stuck up a whole lot of new ones:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/photo_search.php?oid=50043011436&view=all

Caren Crane said...

Jeanne, the GR had a hen-and-cock party at your house while you were out? He needs punishment! Must check to see who has him next so they can mete this out...

Caren Crane said...

JT, you almost made me hurt myself with coffee! How many eggs, indeed. Ack!

Caren Crane said...

Oh, Nicki, that is a horrible position to be in. When the catastrophe hits, you probably long to wash your hands of her and it, but can't because then she'll have ammo to reinforce her secret loathing and probably hit you with both barrels. And tell friends! Aw, man.

Do you want us to arrange an accident? 'Cause I think we have the expertise here to make sticky situations "disappear". Or I could beat her with mouse ears! *g*

Actually, I'll pray for you. I think that's the most useful thing I can do.

Caren Crane said...

Anna, the pics were mostly lovely because you were in so many of them. Please note, I didn't post any of your sunburned nose. *g*

Cameron B Sharpe said...

All you mentioned are true but sometimes, LOVE is TOO STRONG to control your feelings. You may have reasons to engage yourself into a relationship such as this - having a bf or gf older or younger than you are but the thing is, it's all about the commitment and the chemistry of handling a good relationship. These are natural reasons but there's always a deeper basis once you are in that relationship. Just a thought. Thanks for the blog :)

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