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Insensitive, Judgemental Friends

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Hi Everyone,

I'm new to this site as well as new to forums in general.. I lost my dad three months ago. This is my first encounter w/a death in my family and I feel so lonely, sensitive and vulnerable.. I've recently found myself in a bad situation w/my closest friends and don't know what to say/do, which brought me here. Any advice would be appreciated. I'll try to keep this short..

My family lives on the east coast and I've been living on the west coast w/my boyfriend for over four years. When my dad fell sick around 6 months ago, as I was laid off from work, I flew back home to help. I have a sister in her last semester of college who came home to help during the weekends. My mother doesn't drive, so it was up to me to run the errands/cook and take care of my father because my mother was so nervous and had me take care of my dad for the most part..she had to do something for my dad literally every thirty seconds, asking for my help whether it be questioning the angle of his pillow or convincing her he looks comfortable. A 15 minute turnover in bed could turn into an hour before satisfying my mom!! The only breaks I got occasionally was seeing my best friend for a few hours during the weekends if she was willing to take a break from studying.

After my father passed away I stayed to help my mom, drive her where she needed to go, etc. my return date to the west coast was thought to be middle of may, when my sister would graduate and move home. I was planning on visiting the west coast for two weeks to get a break, because I reached the end of my rope months ago and just couldn't think anymore and was becoming depressed.. i wouldn't leave my bed till like 3pm, etc., I was useless. My boyfriend and I also missed each other so much, it was hard not having him around during this hard time. (he took two weeks off work to be w/me during and after funeral) so I thought it was a good idea and I'd return to the east coast in better condition to help my mom, for graduation and then fly back to the west coast. My boyfriend offered to buy me my plane ticket. The next day, my mom told me she wanted to go on a family vacation after sister's graduation, but had to be pushed to mid June, an extra month, cause she had plans..I was getting nervous staying longer because my unemployment was running out and I'll have to start looking for work soon.. anyway, my mom's a very strong and practical person. She told me instead of wasting money flying back and forth from west coast, to east coast, to our vacation spot that I should just stay on the west coast until vacation (a month and a half instead of two weeks) since my sister said it didn't matter to her if i stay for graduation cause she didn't feel like walking anyway.. I did not agree w/this, I felt guilty leaving my mother but she said she was fine. She is EXTREMELY stubborn. Still not in agreement, I told her that we should stick to the plan, and just use the two weeks I'd be on west coast as a trial period for her to see how she feels being alone.. and if she didnt feel comfortable, I said I'd fly back and stay w/her until vacation time, then my sister will be back home again. So I packed up my stuff and did as much as I could for her before I left. Connected her w/a counselor if she needed it. I called her everyday while I was away to see how she was doing and she honestly was doing pretty well. She was going out w/friends, taking care of the house, etc. and told me she didnt feel like she needed me to come home cause she felt fine. I was finally getting to grieve back in Cali, so it's been tough for me, since now I dont have anyone to take care of but myself .. and I have to find a job..

Now here's the problem.. before I left, I got into an argument w/my childhood best friend of 13 years (literally something stupid, we were supposed to meet up one night and we didn't end up due to miscommunication ) I wanted to see her before I left, I wanted to talk to her about this, but she literally told me via email she wasn't in the mood to discuss this w/me even though I told her i was crying n was leaving and she's been ignoring me since. I felt abandoned and so confused how she'd ignore me over something that trivial. She even called my mom and my sister to see how they were doing. About a month later she finally decides to email me and told me how she didn't feel it was right of me to leave my mom so early after my father's passing (around two months), that even if I felt overwhelmed I should've just stuck it out for my mom. Even if I just sat there, it would help my mom. "what's another 3 months?" and she thought my boyfriend was being manipulative by purchasing a one way ticket, thereby making my mother 'feel bad' and making her tell me to stay in order to save money (I find out later by the way it WAS a round trip ticket and my mom the whole time thought it was a round trip ticket, I was the only one who was mistaken) she also said he manipulated me by telling me how much he missed me and talked about what we can do when i'm back to help me feel good again (shopping, eating out, etc) now, my boyfriend and I know very well how difficult this situation is on both of us (he became depressed at home by himself for so long) and I told him, even when we have to do what we have to do, I still want us to be able to express our feelings.. why would we want to keep that in and make it more difficult ? If my mom were in a bad condition he wouldn't want me to leave.. he even said if I decided to move back to the east coast he'll move back w/me. There was also a time when I was angry at my sister and jealous because I felt like she got to "get away" by going back to school, having a boy friend and a huge support group and getting her mind off things w/school. I didn't get to have that, I was there literally almost 24/7 w/no break..my life was on hold.when she came home we had asked her to take care of ONE thing and she was annoyed we don't do it since we're home all the time, so i vented my frustration to my friend and said something along the lines of at least when i go back home, all this can be dumped on my sister and she'll have no choice but to help out with no excuses. I said this out of anger and frustration between my friend and I, and I was very aware it was just out of frustration.but my friend told me I was wrong to think that way and that her school work is important and it was right of her to not take the semester off to help out. (but totally fine of me to be out of work, etc) My boyfriend also worked it out to work from home the two weeks I was home so he could help me adjust and be there for me to grieve, which I thought was so nice of him.. my friend, on the other hand thought if he did that why didnt he just fly back to the east coast to be w/me so my mother wouldn't be alone (the point of the trip was for ME to get AWAY so I can finally have time to myself and sort my feelings out) So that was basically her email about how disappointed she is in me and how manipulative she finds my boyfriend..

I spoke to my mom about this and she told me, why on earth would I lie to u? You're my daughter, you'd be the last person I'd hide my feelings from, I'm really fine, if I wasn't fine, I'd take u up on your offer to fly back that you've told me about every day since you've been gone, but I don't need it.. why is your friend so bothered by this if as a family, we're all in agreement to this and I, as your mother, came up w/the idea, not you? You even said you didn't want to leave me.. so what is the problem? Why is she making this harder on you for no reason? My sister also didn't have an issue w/me leaving..

I'm just appalled by how insensitive my friend is being, she obviously cares more about my mom and sister's feelings and seems like she has absolutely no care whatsoever on how hard this has been on me.. its ok for me to put my life on hold, but not ok to put my sister's or anyone else's.. just mine. she doesn't have her story right, but even so, for her to just judge me w/o talking to me about it and not giving me the benefit of a doubt hurts.. I'm a very giving person, to the point of being a doormat and never thinking of my own needs.. and the first time I'm really unable to take care of myself, for once thinking of my needs, because I desperately needed it, she nails me back into the ground w/guilt.. She makes it look like I'm abandoning my mom when shes begging me to stay or something. I've always been there for my friends and family and I feel this time around I really need their support, and I feel like they've abandoned/turned against me.. I'm so hurt by what she says, I don't even know what to say to her because I feel she won't care about my point of view, just hers. Why doesn't she think "I've known my best friend for so many years and know who she is, she must have been really hurting for her to feel the need to leave for two weeks." I tried talking to friend of ours, who also lost her father years ago, and she also told me how very disappointed she was in me for leaving but she didn't want to talk about it because it shouldn't matter what she feels and she told me to drop it even though I told her i wasn't comfortable not talking about it with her! I know what happens between my family is our own personal business but I can't help but feel so hurt by how my friends feel about me and not give me the benefit of a doubt and would just think so poorly of me .. and not even talk to me bout it first.. they're so angry at something that's a family issue, they're acting as if I wronged them or something.. it was already a hard enough decision to leave and they're just making me feel horrible even though the person they're worried about is fine and has support (mom).. my sister comes home still every weekend, and I trust my mother's feelings.. i mean I've been home for six months, my life has literally been on hold , does that not mean anything? I even told her my friend I felt no one cared about my feelings or how hard its been on me ..

Now I'm trying to find work again, and trying to grieve and trying to cope w/how my friends are treating me.. i just feel so alone.. I'm so thankful to have a caring boyfriend who's been trying to keep me positive throughout all this. I just can't believe they'd act this way. I have no problems w/people disagreeing w/my actions and having their own opinions, but how could you get mad at me for not listening to them or doing what you want me to do especially if you're not in the situation and have no idea what goes on between me and my family.. they're telling me how my mother truly feels as if they know better than I do or my own mother..I always feel guilty putting my feelings above others, and this time for once, i thought it was warranted after what Ive been through, but I've been told by my own friends basically my feelings don't matter at all and I'm here to be for my family and feeling any other way is wrong and disappointing.. I know it shouldn't matter, but I've always been there for them, how could they be so insensitive.. I mean, I know my mother lost her husband.. I KNOW that's harder than my situation, and I've been trying my best to help her.. but I also lost a father........ doesn't that mean anything? How can people so close to you be so damn mean? When they do things I disagree w/, I tell them gently and if they don't listen, I still support them cause they are my friend....... how can they be so mean when I've just lost my father.. i feel this is a different anger than feeling angry at ppl who don't keep in touch enough w/a grieving person, these ppl actually turned against me....

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Hello Lilac,

I have read your post and may I say first and foremost, I'm sorry for the loss of your dad. You have found a wonderful site where all the members are sensitive, caring and nonjudgemental. I am so very sorry for the extra pain you are feeling at the hands of your "friends".

I lost my mom 11-09 and my dad 10-10. After I lost my mom, my oldest and dearest friend didn't call or send a card, she thought texts would be sufficient. I like texts as much as the next person but, I felt that in this situation, she should have called to hear my voice to see that I was not ok and a text was completely and utterly inappropriate. Anyway, to make a long story short, we had a long disgraceful (on her part) back and forth battle over email and she had the nerve to call me childish, among other things. Needless to say, we are no longer friends. I am a happier person for it. I have too much to sort thru without any unneccesary added "stuff".

You have every right to grieve for your dad. If your friends have a problem with the way you and your family chose to handle your affairs after your dad's death, that is their problem. I understand that you say you are a people pleaser. At this point in time, YOU are the one who needs support. People should be ashamed of themselves, especially friends, for not supplying that shoulder to cry on. You should not be bogged down with dealing with people like this while you are grieving for your dad. As long as your mom is ok, it's no one else's business what is done. Have any of these people lost a parent? I'm not sure they would be acting this way if they had.

I am so very sorry that you are going thru this on top of losing your dad. Please know that you can come to this site and write anything, anytime. It has been a lifeline for me. I would be in a different place if I hadn't found it.

Peace and hugs to you.


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Thank you so much for your support, thinking about the situation is just making me re-guess whether or not I was wrong to have left my mom, even if she said to, and said she's ok. I'm very grateful for your support. You're right, this is a wonderful site and I'm so glad there are people like you and the rest who can be here for each other.

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss, I can't even imagine what you are going through and I cannot believe your friend would text you.. especially knowing of your situation w/BOTH your parents!! I really cannot comprehend what goes on through people's minds.. i mean not even a phone call. To think she would even argue w/u via email instead of the phone (that's what's going on with me too) I'm so sorry to hear that and I'm glad you were strong enough to stand up for yourself and see that being her friend wasn't right for you

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Lilac, I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. Losing a parent is absolutely horrible (I lost my mom in November) and this is a time when you need love and support from your friends, not judgement and criticism. Unfortunately, it seems like a lot of us on this site have experienced disappointment in terms of how our closest friends have acted following our losses. I don't know what it is that makes people act this way, but it's not right. Your family's decision on how to handle things is your own personal business. If none of you have a problem with it, then your friends shouldn't bother you about it. Just because THEY think that you should have put your life further on hold doesn't mean that it is the right thing to do for YOU and YOUR mom. It's clear from your post that you love and care about your mother and sister very much, and you wouldn't have left if either of them truly needed you there. And you're right, you lost your dad. You need time to grieve as well.

Please keep posting and venting here. There is always someone who will understand and listen.


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Thank you so much for your input, I appreciate it. I'm so sorry to hear about your mom, that is a very recent loss.. I hope you have a strong support group to help you through your grief and don't experience what I have. Please take care and I hope you find peace like I have being a part of this forum.

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  • 4 years later...

I know this thread is from many years ago but i hope some of you may still be around. I hurt for all of you reading your words. I am so sorry you had tremendous losses in your life and then had those closest to you not be the support you needed. 

There are two sides to this terrible issue. My boyfriend just broke up with me after losing both of his parents. In our particular situation, we were married/divorced and then had gotten back together. Total of 12 years together. So his parents were also my parents. His mom was also a best friend. I held her hand while she took her last breath. So for me, i too have been grieving. I didint even know i was being completely u supportive and negative toward mike until i befan reading post after post on this site. 

You see, people dont know how to be there for others and its mainly because the griever never speaks up and says hey...this is not what i need from you...i need this! People are not mind readers. And grievers can not see past their own grief. They expect things but do not voice their expectations. So its also not right nor fair on the person who does want to supprt the griever. And its even worse when both parties are grievers. And worse on top of that, for me, mike has shut off all communication. So therefore i dont even get the opportunity to fix what i was doing wrong. I dont get to explain what was going on with myself. And he certainly foind it way easier to erase me than talk to me. Its an unfortunate tragedy in the midst of even bigger tragedy. It has destroyed the most meaningful relationship we both have ever had. One of you had mentioned about texts being horrible but what is one to do when you call and the other party never answers?? Im afraid if i keep trying that he will see me as stalking intrucive and not respecting him. On the other hand, if i stop trying isnt that giving up and showing no love??? Can any of you offer advice on the right avenue for me to take? 

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That is one side of the coin.  In my case, when I lost my husband 10 1/2 years ago, friends disappeared.  My best friends did not even attend the funeral!  Not because they were busy, but they made plans AFTER he died, AFTER they knew when the funeral will be.  I didn't cut off my friends, they cut ME off.  I did articulate myself!  They weren't listening.  I was always there for them and never would have treated them this way if roles had been reversed.  

Death makes people uncomfortable.  It causes them to think of their own mortality.  And they think, "if this person could lose their husband, it could happen to ME too!"  So they withdraw.  You're left alone at a time in your life when you most need your friends.

I realize this was not the situation you found yourself in, but that happens less often than people ditching the bereaved. It's hard saying why some people withdraw when they lose a loved one, but I only know not everyone copes the same.  Be careful not to judge him though, I know what he's done to you hurts, but I also know it's not intentional, however it may seem.  Right now all he can see is his loss and pain.  I know you were close to your in-laws, but however close you were, they were HIS PARENTS.  

I would respect his wishes for now.  Perhaps on down the road (months) you can make a simple brief contact...perhaps a card saying you're thinking of him and he's in your prayers, or something like that.  Keep it brief.  Do NOT speak relationship issues!  Do NOT say anything that puts pressure on him in any way.  Even saying "I miss you" can be felt as pressure on his end and he won't respond the way you'd hope.  Make this about HIM and not you.

I know this is hard, but it's best to go on with your life for the time being.  And yes, I know what a tall order that is.  

He isn't interested in what was going on with you, he isn't interested in fixing your relationship, not right now; right now all he sees is his own pain which is all encompassing.

In response to " On the other hand, if i stop trying isnt that giving up and showing no love???" No, quite the opposite.  By respecting his wishes, you are actually cementing what good still exists between the two of you.  I encouraged you to read all of the "Loss of Love" threads you could.  If you read them, beginning to end (I have read them all), you will see some commonalities and glean some insight and wisdom for the situation you find yourself in.  You won't like it, but you will learn from it.  The intense pain won't stay with you forever, and a few months or years from now you will have a different perspective and may feel differently than you do now.  I know it's harder because you were married and had kids together, but the wisdom remains the same.  Meanwhile, try not to discolor him to your kids.  Try to preserve what there is.  Acknowledge his grief and that everyone handles it differently.  It's like being in a fog and you can't see your way out of it.  He isn't able to see from anyone else's point of view right now.  Time enough for that later.  

Another thing that not having contact does besides preserving what little bit of love that remains is, it can give him a chance to miss you once the fog clears.  That can take quite a while, so please give him time.

There is no way to force him to want you in his life.  Of all of the threads I've read, I only recall one making it through it intact.  That doesn't mean there weren't others, but they didn't post here.  As for myself, I consider my story a success because even though we did not resume our relationship as it was previously, we are very good friends and value each other.  I had to give up on the idea of hoping he/the situation would change and accept things the way they were in order to progress.

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