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Cowgirl19

Loss of Friendship Due to Grief

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Hi to anyone out there: 

As I wrote on another part of these forums, I recently had to say goodbye to my dog and my parents' dog (the dog I was raised with). It's been a very sad and stressful period, and I'm lucky to have had kind people rallying around me. 

One of my friends, however, has apparently just up and ghosted me. If you're not familiar with the term, "ghosting" is when someone just cuts you out of their life -- no warning, no explanation, no closure. She didn't give me a reason and she won't return my calls or texts -- I can tell she's been reading my texts but no response. She wasn't my closest friend so we don't really have mutual friends I could ask to intercede or dig up an explanation of some sort. I'm not saying this is in any way comparable to having a friend actually die, but it's still an abrupt loss of a social relationship, and all the more puzzling because as far as I know, my friend is physically okay. I know she's going through a tough divorce and custody battle, so maybe she's retreating from everyone, not just me, but it's unlike her and I can't help wondering if it's because my own grief became too much for her. Which itself is strange because while everybody has their own limits on how much emotions they can absorb from others, this woman wasn't my closest friend, so she wasn't one of the key people (in my eyes) helping me through this time. But at the end of the day, I'm sad, I'm hurt, and I'm confused.

Has anyone else been ghosted by a friend, particularly during a stressful period? How did you handle it? 

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I think you will find that quite a lot has been written on how, as the saying goes, grief re-writes your address book. See, for example,

Grief Changes Your Address Book

Who Remains In Your Address Book?

You may find these articles of interest as well: When Old Friends Stop Being Good Friends and Friendship: Why I No Longer Hold Onto Relationships That No Longer Serve Me

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19 hours ago, Cowgirl19 said:

I know she's going through a tough divorce and custody battle, so maybe she's retreating from everyone, not just me

I was married to my kids' dad for 23 years and we were very active in our church, had built a lot of friendships there over the years.  When we went through a divorce, I got hate mail, my daughter screened my phone calls, it was horrible...I lost all my friends overnight.  I retreated.  It could be that your friends has gone through a bit of that and is just retreating for self-preservation.  It seems people react one of two ways, retreat, or as my XH did, seek everyone out and talk to them.  I was the retreater.

It could be, as you say, that she doesn't know how to respond to your grief and is uncomfortable with it, a certain amount of people don't know how to respond appropriately and sometimes disappear because of that, but I'd assume it has more to do with her than you.  I'm very sorry you're going through this.  Maybe she'll come back around when her own life is better.

I would continue being supportive of her in what she's going through but perhaps in a background way...maybe drop her a note telling her you're thinking about her, how much she means to you, that's she'll get through this...and one of my favorite quotes when I was going through this:  It won't be like this forever.

As far as being ghosted, yep, nine years ago my fiance broke up with me by Fed Ex (a note that said, "Sorry it didn't work out"), no explanation, didn't hear from him for months...his mom was dying and he was her caregiver, he couldn't handle that and a relationship at the same time.  It hurt but we are amazingly resilient.  We manage to get through just about anything!

I hope she comes back around but even if not, know it's not you or anything you did.  (((hugs)))

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Good articles, Marty!  I recently cut loose a 44 year "friendship" that I realized was never right for me and I don't need in my life...going through my dog dying of cancer brought this to head.  I was just talking with my cousin and she voiced the same things I've been feeling, she said, "I no longer keep toxic people in my life and don't need high maintenance relationships...I choose to surround myself with people who are supportive and positive" and I was affirming everything she was saying because I've found the same to be true!

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Thanks, all. I guess what's really bothering me in all this is that I did SO much for her kids during the whole divorce and custody battle (which is still unfolding). I'm talking picking them up from school multiple times a week, ferrying them around, helping them with homework, even staying overnight at least once a week when she had to work late. I was happy to do these things at the time, and I still don't regret it, her kids are great, but it feels like whiplash to go from her calling me the sister she never had to being straight-up ghosted. I usually don't feel anger when grieving, but I have to admit I'm angry about this -- it feels like she took advantage of my availability, including my emotional availability, when she needed a friend, but when I was going through a tough time (and still am) and needed her to be my friend back, she wasn't there at ALL. Maybe it was because she's overwhelmed, fair enough, but I honestly feel kind of used. I know with time this will pass, and that holding onto resentment isn't healthy, but yeah, the more I think about the situation the angrier I am. It would be one thing if she told me honestly how she was feeling, that she needed some time and space for herself. But she didn't. She just cut me out completely. I wonder how she explained it to her kids.

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I'm so sorry this is happening to you. I know from personal experience how painful it can be to lose a friendship that you thought was so special. Ambiguous Loss is yet another form of grief, and it hurts a lot ~ especially when you have no idea how or why it is happening. You might find this article helpful: Unresolved Grief: When A Loved One Is Missing 

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I don't blame you for feeling angry, I felt that way myself when I recently went through it.  I guess we didn't have what I thought we did in  our "friends"...some people don't come through because of social ineptness, others because they focus on themselves not others, but either way we come up empty-handed or should I say empty-hearted.

When we are grieving, it's about us and how we're doing, how we're handling it, it takes everything in us to muster survival...for others to make it about them is an inappropriate response.  I'm sorry you are also experiencing this.

 

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I hope you're starting to feel better about this...we can't change others, only control what boundaries we set and who we let be part of our circle.

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