How to ruin a friendship 

A few weeks ago– 4 1/2 to be exact– I got a text from my best friend, Kay. She wanted to meet with my therapist to discuss some family problems she has been having. I didn’t text back right away. I wasn’t sure what to say. I really wanted to give her Bea’s number, and be fine with it. But the thing was, I wouldn’t have been fine with it. I spent some time freaking out, and some time being angry that the whole email thing between hubby and Bea had happened, because if she had asked me before this, I would have given her the number and thought nothing of it. I texted my other best friend, and asked her what to do. If Kay is like my big sister, the person who I’ve known most of my life and who has always been this open and authentic person, Rory is more like my peer. She’s grown a lot since we met– 10 years ago!– and she can be so logical, and see things from all sides, and she is so smart and strong and has the biggest heart. Anyway, I asked Rory what to do, and she was livid that Kay would even ask to see my therapist. But then she switched to rational mode, assured me I was not insane for feeling like this, and counseled me to simply tell Kay the truth. We had a good text-convo, and I felt better. That still wasn’t enough, however. I texted Bea, too. I never text Bea. Well, I’ve texted her very few times, usually when it has to do with a Kat problem (like when Kat told me about an incident that triggered me to the point of not being able to function at all, and after the monster in law threatened to take my child away from me). 

But I texted her. I was originally just going to ask her to tell Kay that she wasn’t taking new clients or something, so I could give her Bea’s number and not have to face the conflict. But I couldn’t do it. I spent a lifetime lying, pretending, and hiding secrets. Kay is one person I’ve never hidden things from, and I didn’t want to start now. I trust her with all my secrets, all my crazy. So, I decided to trust her with this, too. Bea and I had a text-convo that left me feeling okay. She agreed with Rory, that I needed to just tell Kay the truth, but also informed me that she couldn’t see Kay anyway, that it would not be in my best interest. 

I tried calling Kay. She didn’t answer, and sent me a text back that she couldn’t talk right then. By this time, several hours had passed since her request, so I texted her back. I told her I didn’t really want to talk about this via text, but I didn’t want her to think I was ignoring her request. And then I explained that I really wanted to say yes, but that it didn’t feel okay to me, that things were just now feeling more stable with Bea, and that I didn’t want to hurt her or ruin our friendship, and I was very afraid to tell her this, but I wasn’t going to lie, either. She simply sent a text back saying okay. 

A few days later, I sent her a list of therapist names Bea had given me, and she responded back a simple thanks. I asked if she was mad. She told me that she didn’t think this was a good time to talk about it, that she needed some time to organize her thoughts. Since then, I’ve sent a text every Monday, just to let her know I’m here, even if she is really mad, that I still love her, and I miss her, and am worried about her and want her to be okay. She never responded (until today).

This whole time, I did miss her, and I hated us not talking, but I was okay. I was handling the fact that she was mad at me. It was okay that she was mad. I had said no, I had hurt her feelings, she was upset. A year ago, I wouldn’t have been okay with that. But she was mad, and I was dealing with it. I’d even discussed it with Bea; that I was okay, that i didn’t like it, but I was okay with her being mad at me, I could understand it, and I had enough trust in that relationship to not freak out. What an idiot I was. 

Kay has literally seen me through some of the worst moments in my life. I’ve seen her through some pretty bad moments, too, although I always secretly felt like she was the better friend and like I was a crap friend. She hated certain choices I made, but made sure I knew she loved me. She was just there. She didn’t let me run away from that relationship, or from my feelings, or my fears. She constantly encouraged me to stick up for myself, to voice my needs, to set boundaries. This is the friend who once stayed with me on the phone for four hours, to get me to go back to therapy with Bea and tell her how not okay things were; she talked all afternoon, the entire drive there, as I sat in the waiting room, and then told me I could call her if I needed her once I was in the office. She’s pushy about making me face certain things, but it’s not a bad kind of pushy. She is often in agreement with Bea. She’s not a bad person. She’s hurt, and she’s angry at me, and she’s freezing me out and behaving like a child right now. But she is one of the best people you could hope to know. Honestly. 

So today (well, technically yesterday), I texted her, and she responded. She said she’s hurt that I don’t trust her after everything we have been through. She said she understands fear and irrationality, that she appreciates me standing up for my needs, and that I do need to be able to see and talk to Bea, and get better and keep healing, but that she is hurt and angry and emotionally wrecked over my selfishness. And that she’s not sure she can ever forgive this. 

I sat and sobbed for most of the late morning and early afternoon. I emailed Bea, and texted Rory. The both told me I had done nothing wrong. Rory thinks Kay doesn’t like that I’ve said no to her, and that it’s hard for her to see me doing things I used to need her support for. Bea also questioned of maybe Kay was feeling as if Bea were taking over her role with me. Bea validates that it was a frustrating and hurtful day, she told me that what Kay isn’t seeing is that while on the surface it doesn’t seem a big deal to share your therapist, it actually IS a big deal. She mentioned how the email situation had caused such issues and that if she had seen Kay, that would have been the potential to cause many trust issues between her and I. She even simply said that Kay was being pretty mean. 

I don’t know. I don’t understand it. Maybe she hates that I’m talking to Bea and trusting Bea as much as I trust her. Maybe she is having a hard time seeing me get better, because she has tried for years and years to help me heal, and Bea has helped me do something she couldn’t. Except, that isn’t fully true. Kay helped keep me alive. She helped me through so much. She showed me I could trust another person. She showed me it was okay to be this angry ugly person, that there were people in the world that could see that part of me and still love me. If it hadn’t been for her, I would never have been able to consider trusting Bea; Bea’s openness and authenticity would have been seen as a trick by me. 

But I couldn’t have her see Bea. But maybe it would have been fine. Or not. I mean, I saw myself having trouble trusting anything either of them said if Kay was seeing Bea, and either being stuck in therapy and not making any progress and not able to really talk to Bea, and maybe eventually just giving up on therapy. I don’t know. I would have worried that they were talking about me, listing off all the awful things about me, everything either of them don’t like, talking about the bad choices I’ve made, what a bad person I am, ext, ext. And maybe that is crazy. But I can’t help it. I’m always afraid when people I know talk about me. I never think it’s good stuff, and I wouldn’t have believed either of them if they had said they had never talked about me, or if they had said it was good stuff. Or, at least that’s where my mind went as to what I thought would happen if I said yes. So I said no. But maybe I was over reacting, and it would have been fine. I don’t know. 

I don’t know much, except I wish I had just given her Bea’s number, and let Bea tell her no. Or maybe Bea wouldn’t have told her no, and things would have feel how they fell. I don’t know. I’m hurt, and upset, numb, and freaking out a little. I can’t stop crying. This hurts. The person I’ve trusted the most and the longest in this world, the person who knew the secret part of my crazy mind, is gone. And she’s gone because I hurt her and she felt the need to remove herself from my life. 

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22 thoughts on “How to ruin a friendship 

  1. I’m so sorry, this sounds so painful and devastating. One thing coming to my mind is that Kay is upset, and saying that she can’t forgive, but my intuition tells me her anger and hurt is causing her to say that, and she will come around. Of course I can’t know that, but I am hoping very soon she will come around. And if she doesn’t, I am really sorry she isn’t able to be the friend you deserve. And I have compassion for her, she must be experiencing some real deep triggers to be reacting so strongly. I trust your intuition, there is likely a lot of jealousy/fear happening for her, that she just doesn’t have the skills to communicate. But you certainly did nothing wrong. In fact, you did the very loving thing of telling her the truth. Which is hard, but in a real relationship, the kindest and most respectful.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve read this over and over today. I didn’t have it in me to reply sooner, but your feelings that she will come around and the friendship is not lost, as well as the validation that I did nothing wrong brought me so much comfort today. It was so helpful to hear that I did a loving thing by telling the truth. Thank you.

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  2. I’m new to your blog. Upon reding this, my first thought, was, two friends shouldnt see the same therapist. That will signal disaster. So you did the right thing in not giving her b’s number. I’m sorry all this is happening, i think its true she probably feels like she couldnt do for you what b is doing, still, thats not a reason to do this and make you feel so bad. And over text? Really bad if you ask me. The last she could have done is talk to you face to face. Sending a hug, to you if you need one. you can check out my blog i have did and ptsd and i blog about my therapy and life in general the link is http://thearpybits.com/ XX

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  3. I am honored that you share this. It is such a deep wound when a person who feels more like family than family does, bails on us. And for jealousy. It is plain jealousy. And if you said yes now, you’d still have deal with her stuff eventually.
    There has always been something there for her in that you may have seemed to be the one in need. She got something from that too, the ‘caretaker’ the ‘fixer’, the one there to come to. Yet I know you. And even in your need and great pain, you give.
    She sees you become stronger and she wants some of what you have, or the same help that got you there—Bea. Bea, and only Bea.
    I think she already knows it is very wrong that two so close go to the same therapist. What if you both need to talk about each other? Which is very much why people go to therapists; because they need to talk about the intimate important, close relationships.
    This isn’t about Bea. It’s about your growth, change, strength, and possibly needing her less as you continue on this path. Of course she wants this for you, but at the same time is scared of losing you, and her being the one always to ‘help.’ Kinda like letting my sons go. Of course I want them to go live a full rich life; but what about me? They don’t need me anymore? (yes, but in a different way)

    You are not the idiot, and out of deference to your love for your friend, I won’t say who is.
    If you want to, and can do so, continue to be open to her but only when she digs deeper than that surface jealousy and is rational. And when she is able to get her head out of her ass, you might want to tell her what you said prior;
    “Kay helped keep me alive. She helped me through so much. She showed me I could trust another person. She showed me it was okay to be this angry ugly person, that there were people in the world that could see that part of me and still love me. If it hadn’t been for her, I would never have been able to consider trusting Bea; Bea’s openness and authenticity would have been seen as a trick by me. ”
    But be firm that you will not jeopardize the work you’re doing, and ask her does she really want that? For your work with Bea to be interfered with to the point of stopping completely? That she would really ask that of you?
    Selfish is not the word, self-caring…You are being self-caring.
    Now it is her coming to you for help, in a roundabout way.And maybe she needs picking up and soothing and is too proud to ask for that outright so asks for something else, Bea, which she cannot have, knows it, but asks anyway.
    She doesn’t want to be the friend in need, but is. Not a role either of you are used to. But you can help her and would and will if she lets you. That depends on her. That’s how you are, despite the depths of pain you go through, you give and give. It is something that astounds me every time.

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  4. Maybe if the opportunity arises you can invite her for coffee, and tell her you can be a shoulder to lean on, an ear that listens and arms to hold her. That you’d like to be there for her in ways she has been there for you however you can.
    Offering yourself is much more precious and valuable than a stranger she has never met.
    You are an amazing friend— loyal, kind, trustworthy, conscientious, dependable, smart, wise…oh, did I say kind?

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  5. Sirena says:

    Grace to Survive and Rachel nailed it in their replies. There’s not much I can add here. I agree with Rachel, I think she’ll calm down and come back to you. Maybe whatever she’s going through in her own life is knocking her off kilter just now. You absolutely did the right thing in protecting yourself but also her by telling the truth about not wanting to share a therapist.

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    • Sirena, thank you for saying I did the right thing. It’s hard to feel this is right when I lost my best friend. Reading your response more than once was helpful today, as well. Thank you.

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  6. I just wanted to say that all the replies I got on this post and my previous one have really helped me get through the last two days. I feel very lucky to have met such an amazing and caring group of people. Xx💟

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  7. I definitely agree that good friends (or even casual friends) should not share a therapist, for myriad reasons. I hope this isn’t truly the end of your friendship and that Kay just needs time to process her emotions around this. Thinking of you xo

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  8. Lemonbella says:

    First time commenter because your post rang a bell with something I went through a year and a half into therapy. Firstly, you absolutely did the right thing by you *and* your friend. It would not have been good for either of you to share a therapist – perhaps once your friend is in therapy herself she will realise that. I would not have guessed how powerful and important that therapy relationship is until I was in it myself. Secondly, this is early days and she maybe just needs times to think about what is going on for her around this- you have done everything you can to show her you care and love her and to leave an open door for her to walk through when she is ready.

    A 27 year close friendship of mine came to an end the first time I set a (tiny) boundary with her, following work in therapy – my guess is that my new desire and ability to do that perhaps reflected something to her that she couldn’t handle. I will never know. Someone told me a phrase that helped me through the toughest parts of this situation “you are not required to set yourself on fire to keep others warm”. Giving her your T’s contact details, or lying to her would have been setting yourself on fire. You really aren’t required to do that. When boundaries and relationships are a scar-torn battle ground (as they are for me) no one had ever pointed that out. I don’t give this story to panic you – your situation, you and your friend are different to me and mine. My friendship ended for its own reasons which I’m sure are very different to yours. I give the story to show you that there is brightness and ‘closure’ (something I don’t think I ever thought was possible) on the other side of the worst case scenario, so that that may strengthen you whilst you live through the ‘waiting room’ to see how this turns out. I am okay, my other relationships are stronger and healthier because this one ended. I never thought that would be the case. Thanks for sharing this painful thing.

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  9. I’m sorry, I know that has to be so rough. But I also think you did the right thing. A few years ago, my friend who has similar problems as I do referred me to the therapist she was seeing at the time. The therapist knew we were friends since I told her who referred me at the first appointment. Well, over the few appointments we had, this therapist, among other things, let some of our personal details slip that we had told her, private things. It wasn’t good. I am sure Bea would be more careful than that, but still, I wouldn’t want to go down that road again, of seeing the same therapist as a friend. The familiarity could contribute to violating privacy.

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    • Thank you for sharing this. I would hope Bea would be more careful, too, but I think it could be easy to get into a messy situation. I’m sorry this happened to you, I can imagine how bad it was. Thank you for saying I did the right thing. 💟

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  10. ❤ conflict…ughhh
    I changed so much when I got sick and I lost way to many friends maybe related to that and maybe not.
    It's frustrating that people can be a big part of our life one day and then it all changes over seemingly nothing.
    It seems as if Kay's friendship is real and that you will both work through this.

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