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Bereft31

Friend yelled and fought with me me while I was grieving

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This is a question about grief and a close friend’s behaviour that’s really troubling me. 
 

I am a woman in my late thirties, I lost my father to a prolonged illness a month back. My mother passed more than decade back. I have had a really close male friend who’s been one of my closest friends for many years. We are both in our late thirties and have been friends for twenty years. He himself has lost both his parents in recent years, and through my father’s illness has provided a listening ear and emotional support to me. He wasn’t at my dad’s funeral as he lives in another city, but 4 days later, came down to be with me over the weekend. I was still in a bit of a daze, and was largely busy sorting through my father’s belongings etc. but spent evenings with my friend, prioritising him over other relatives etc., who also wanted to meet with me. I was grateful that he came down to be with me, but wasn’t quite myself so soon after it had happened. We talked about both our parents, loss etc. and also about other general, somewhat silly stuff. Towards the end of his visit, we had (to my mind), some very frivolous, silly banter about his dating life (he’s single and looking). He hugged me and left, but called me on the phone a while later. To my utter shock, he shouted at me, as something I had said had touched a raw nerve somewhere. I was so shocked by the sudden change in his tone and the fact that he would yell at me while I was mourning my Dad, that I broke down on the phone, told him I couldn’t talk about this at the moment and kept the phone down, but not before hearing him say “yeah whatever”. It totally broke me. Later that night, I sent him a couple of messages expressing how I felt shocked at his behaviour and that I couldn’t believe he would yell at me at such a time, about something so trivial and obviously frivolous. He never responded to it. It’s now been over a month and I have heard absolutely nothing from this friend. I’m not only deeply grieving my father, but also confused, angry and deeply hurt about his behaviour, as I simply cannot understand why someone whom I considered one of my closest friends for over two decades would abandon me at a time like this. I simply don’t understand his behaviour. 

Am I missing something here? Should I just consider the friendship over? Have I done something obviously wrong? Surely, I don’t deserve to be treated like this?

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I am so sorry, I want to express my condolences over the loss of your father.  It seems to me particularly hard to lose the last parent to go, it's like your tie with someone who was the patriarch of the family, someone who was always there for you and you can be left feeling like you don't know what to do w/o them and it changes your feeling of identity or placement in the family.

That your friend could do this seems abhorrent to me but I had something similar happen.  I lost my husband 15 years ago and all of our pets subsequently.  I adopted a dog, Arlie, and he was the perfect dog for me!  We were constant companions and I was closer to him than any other animal I've ever had (24  dogs and cats).  When he was dying of cancer, my "friend" of about 45 years was on the phone with me, very quiet, so I asked him what was up.  He yelled at me "WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT ARLIE!"  We had already had this discussion, he is extremely arrogant and I put up with it all those years but I couldn't at this time, I was emotionally very fragile.  My dog had inoperable cancer, it was in his lymph glands, he had a tumor in the tummy where all the crucial organs meet, his liver shut down, and they said he was inoperable.  I was in shock.  He'd urged me to drive hours away with Arlie every week to a vet in a rural community to get him a vitamin shot.  Said it'd cure his cancer.  No, it would not.  The person who came up with that idea had dementia and nothing has been proven effective with it.  He said it gave his friend's dog a couple more years.  Maybe his friend's dog didn't have it in the lymph glands or it wasn't so far advanced or fast growing, maybe he would have lived a couple more years anyway.  We'd already gone over all this before, I wasn't going to subject myself to his badgering or argue with him about it.  All my energy was needed for caring for Arlie.  I told him, "We're not having this discussion." and I hung up.  He hasn't spoken to me since.  Which is fine, I don't really have the energy for his lack of communication skills and his arrogance.  He's always right.  You can't argue with that.  I'm emotionally drained.  It's been 6 1/2 months since I lost Arlie and I know I'll never be "over him."  It reminded me very much of when I lost my husband, I haven't felt this way with anyone else and I've had a lot of losses in my life.

Only time will tell if your friendship is over.  In my case he told my BIL I'd never have the chance to hang up on him again.  He didn't consider what he'd said to upset me.  He didn't consider our longtime friendship.  He didn't consider what I was going through.  Or how supportive I had been when his dog died.  He just has his pride speaking.  So be it.  I've missed our monthly get-togethers but honestly I don't need a superficial friend I can't even talk to when my dog is dying.  

Sometimes we don't have the emotional energy to please others, and when we're steeped in grief, that is one of those times.  Only you can decide if you feel this friendship is worth saving, and him too.  Right now I'd focus on my grief, put yourself ahead of everyone else's needs right now.  Our grief demands it.

Grief has a way of letting us know who our true friends are.  It rewrote my address book when my husband died.

(((hugs)))

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@kayc Thank you for your long and thoughtful response. Amidst the monster of grief for my father, I’ve found myself also grieving this friendship. It has multiplied my pain and heartbreak. I would have understood (though not tolerated) the behaviour had this person not have experienced similar loss in his life, but he has. Which is what makes the behaviour entirely inexplicable. Perhaps I was misjudging the friendship all along. 
 

I’m so sorry about your dog. I hope you can heal and find peace. The love of our loved ones never leaves us, even if they aren’t around in physical form. 

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Yes, I know our love still exists.  I feel the same way as you do about my "friend."  I put up with a lot over the years but was unable to at this overwhelming, devastating time in my life.  If that finished it forever, so be it.  I need positive people in my life, not negativity.

I wish you well on your grief journey.  

I thought this article might be helpful:

http://www.griefhealingblog.com/2013/02/parent-loss-continuing-their-song.html

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