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Amy: With friends like these, it's time to part ways

  • Article by: AMY DICKINSON
  • June 20, 2014 - 12:17 PM

Dear Amy: A group of “frenemies” recently went on a trip together. I wasn’t invited and didn’t have any expectation of an invitation. During their trip, someone in the group took a picture of them doing their thing with what they considered a funny caption and sent it to my e-mail (knowing that I don’t participate in Facebook and would not see it there).

I didn’t find it a funny friend share, if you know what I mean.

I think it was a spiteful, mean-spirited thing to do. (It’s not the first time something like that has happened.)

When I spoke about it to someone who knows the situation and who has also been hurt by this group, I was told to put on my big girl panties and get over it — double smackdown.

My question is: Am I wrong to interpret this as a kind of bullying? I have, however, finally taken the hint and distanced myself from this group.

I’m a grown woman and this has put me in a deep funk. How do young people handle this stuff?

Amy says: This is a kind of bullying. It is the obnoxious, exclusionary, passive-aggressive, “Housewives of Atlanta” kind of bullying.

Young people handle this the same way you did — by feeling sad and dejected and wondering where they went wrong to somehow deserve this treatment. But let me pass along some wisdom gleaned from a decade of writing this column: Sometimes, it’s really not you. It’s them. Sometimes, people are the worst.

You should move on and up and away from this petty cruelty.

Then you and I are going to band together. We will hunt down the person who came up with this “big girl panties” expression (I’m blaming Oprah), and we will do what we can to eradicate it from popular usage.

Toxic relationship

Dear Amy: I met my girlfriend through a club at school, and we clicked right away.

A few months in, she almost committed suicide, and I called the police to intervene.

Since then, I’ve been helping with her emotional baggage to keep her from returning to that option. Recently, she has gotten very mad, and we’ve had many arguments because I can’t visit her often enough — I can’t use my mom’s car consistently.

I’ve tried to ease the tension, but I don’t know how much longer I can deal with my girlfriend’s pestering and silent treatments, but I am scared that if I leave her, she will attempt suicide again. I’m losing sleep and becoming increasingly depressed. She asks for me to change, but refuses to do so herself.

Amy says: Your girlfriend has drawn you into a toxic and manipulative relationship. And now her depression and anxiety have been transferred to you.

You are not equipped to handle her emotional needs and threats of suicide. You have a lot of compassion toward her, but please understand deep in your bones that you are not responsible for her life — she is. The best thing you could do would be to urge her to get professional help. You simply don’t have the education and expertise to help her in a meaningful way.

You should reach out to her parents and also the counseling center at school. Share your fears about her. Suicidal impulses thrive on secrecy and silence — the more open you are about this, the more likely she is to get help.

The next time she gives you the silent treatment, let her break up with you, and make sure that other people close to her know what’s going on so they can check on her.

You should see a counselor, too. This is a pattern you’ll want to recognize and avoid in the future.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com.

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