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Sigh, unhealthy friend...rant

I have a friend about my age (around 40) who has got to be the unhealthiest person I know. She's been injured twice at two different jobs and has long-term physical problems in her knees and one shoulder. She also has trigeminal neuralgia, a problem with her facial nerve, that causes splitting migraines (doctors call it the "suicide disease" because the pain is so intense, people can't bear it for more than two or three years). Pain management is her life, plus routine botox injections (25 shots at a time) to deaden the nerves that cause her pain. She takes such massive amounts of pharmaceuticals, going from one to another, that sometimes I'm shocked she can do things like drive a car and hold down a job. Every five years she needs knee surgeries of one kind or another, and just had shoulder surgery last year.

And of course, she is grossly overweight. She's actually very oddly shaped: from the waist up she is merely overweight, but obese from the waist down. Some of her weight issues can be attributed to limited mobility, and drug side effects, but some is just her own damn fault. She eats a lot of fast food. She drinks probably two liters of crappy processed iced tea daily (really, it might as well be soda, although she thinks it's better). She refuses to eat fruit because (she says) "I don't have scurvy." Last night we went out to dinner and she ordered baked macaroni and cheese, which at this place comes with either a salad or steamed veggies on the side. She told the waitress not to bother bringing either. (My husband pointed out later that she eats like a teenager or college freshman who is finally out from underneath mom's thumb.)

I have made subtle and un-subtle statements about her health and her eating habits over the years, especially when we worked together many years ago - that's how we met. I understand her disabilities, but the truth is, she could lose 40 pounds if not more by eating right, and so many of her problems would at least be improved. And she's extremely intelligent, so it's not like she doesn't know what's good for her and bad for her.

So for the last several years she's lived in NoCal, and is moving back to L.A. in a few months. She has a new boyfriend and they're planning on getting married and starting a family asap because her bio-clock is ticking loudly. I'm frankly not sure I want to keep up the friendship - it's easy when you live in different cities, but I swear I don't know if I can be around her much. The energy is so bad...from her and from me, at this point. If you had a friend who's boyfriend was no good, or who had a drinking problem, you'd become frustrated over time, and no matter how much you may care, eventually you'd want to move on from that friendship. Can I dump a friend for being fat?

Comments

  • I feel sorry for her in a way because fast food is so addictive, but I can't blame you if you did dump her because your energy is being sapped by her frustrating behaviour. The problem is when telling a friend some good advice it always seems to get the other person in a defensive mood and the friendship might be doomed from then on anyway. She must see from you that your lifestyle works, so maybe what she does to her body works for her in some subconscious way (like, some women who have been abused in the past like to be fat as it keeps men away).

    You need not dump her, but I suppose you could stop contacting her, and eventually she may get the message?

  • I know how you feel. I have people that I love that I want to help, but they just want to "wallow". I don't see how when you complain constantly of pain, or illnesses, or when you worry about being overweight, that you wouldn't want to do something about it.

    And it really bothers me when they do decide to do something minor for their health they flinch and wince at some tiny tbs. of something or about chewing a vegetable. I know that your tastebuds are messed up from bad foods, but a little floret of broccoli isn't that bad! just chew! And certainly better than pain, or death I would say. It's aggravating.

    There is a longtime friend of the family; I love him. But I don't want him to come around anymore if he is going to act like an Arsehole because he won't stop drinking hard liquor(or watch him die of liver failure slowly). I would be understanding if he were trying to change, but although he obviously feels ashamed when people know he has been drinking, and a minute amount of remorse for fighting with the only people who care about him(he mainly feels bad that they are mad at him, not bad for doing it..he is always right-ha), he obviously does not even want to stop. He thinks that because the people that love him do love him we will put up with it. But frankly, everyone else, although they love him too, HATES him now(including his daughter and son -my age), and can not tolerate being around him!. He acts like he is afraid of everyone leaving him behind, ignoring him,(especially worried for when he becomes a senior) etc. but he pushes people to do it, and he's getting really really clingy, which also pushes them away because they feel like they cannot go anywhere without him tagging along, or do anything. He is thoroughly obnoxious and does obscene things to get attention.

    I don't know what to do about these people anymore. I love them so much it hurts. I don't like watching them deteriorate, but they won't do anything to stop it. I don't want to be a selfish Bast, but I have way more than I can chew on my plate as is. I can not save the world. I WISH I could. But it's unrealistic and I won't be able to help the people who want to help themselves if I waste energy on the people who wallow. and I believe it is wrong to waste ANYTHING. And that is what I am doing. Coddling these people, and wasting energy, time, etc.

    We are in a predicament.

    I don't know what to do.

    Your friend is selfish for wanting to marry or have a family when she is unhealthy. Her husband and children will do nothing but worry and cry for her.

    People upset me.

    Sigh.

  • You're not dumping her for being fat- you're parting ways b/c you no longer have any similarities to keep you together.

    My best friend of the past 10 yrs is becoming this way too. Shes about 5'7" and 200 lbs. She keeps telling me that shes a thick girl. I just want to shake her and say remember when you weighed 125? Who are you convincing? She smokes like a chimney, drinks like a fish, eats mcdonalds daily and generally looks like bar trash. She and i live about 700 miles apart now, so its tough for me to be a healthy influence in her life.

    Ive thought about putting together a slide show of pics of her and i over the years to show the difference a healthy lifestyle can make in looks (as were approx the same height, build and age). I think it would shock people.

    Its so tough- you just want to switch on the light for them and say 'it doesnt have to be this way- make a choice for a better life for yourself'

  • sv3sv3

    All these posts really strike a chord with me and I think sisterbecky's advise is brilliant. I have had to try and adopt that attitude because I almost lost a friend a few months ago after deciding I couldn’t cope with her anymore. Her negativity wore me down and I couldn't handle her moods and attention seeking. It ended up with me loosing it one night and being quite short with her and making it pretty obvious I was p*ssed off with her. I initially felt really empowered and like a weight had lifted, then I tried to keep my distance because I wanted her to realise she was pushing me away with her behavior.

    If she didn't live in the same town as me, I would definitely have just let the friendship drift and not arrange to see her.

    The problem is she is part of a close friendship group of mine so I couldn't avoid her completely and also felt a bit guilty as she is extremely insecure and just desperate for approval and to be loved.

    Then I read a good book, which talked about treating others the way you would want to be treated and that hurtful actions towards others can only be hurtful towards ourselves. Karma I guess. I have now started to work on being more supportive to her and trying to let the bullsh*t flow past me without affecting me. It is working progress and I do catch myself feeling irritated by her but trying to just let things go. It makes for a much happier, peaceful live I guess.

  • I CAN understand feeling like there is "bad energy" around someone if they constantly complain and just wear you down emotionally. Maybe that is the case? Also, when you care about someone it can be hard to be around them as they are destroying themselves. Are you personally getting dragged into her problems (she always complains and asks your advice but doesn't take it)?

    You may also want to stop and consider why someone else's eating habits bother you? I guess what I'm saying is- yes it sounds like SHE has a problem. But, why do you consider that to be YOUR problem? Please don't take this the wrong way. But, we can't "save" people from their problems. We can help them if they want our help and advice. But, it sounds like she doesn't. Why not continue to have her as a friend- and consider her health as not your problem.

    Only YOU can tell if she brings something to the friendship. Maybe she isn't that great of a friend for other reasons, and her weight is just something more tangible you can focus on? If she truly drags you down as much as it sounds, maybe it would be worth letting the friendship cool off for a while? So, don't think I am saying you are a bad person for how you feel. I can understand the frustration. I have a relative who is in a very bad marriage, but won't leave him. And, we've offered to take her in, etc.

    She gets upset, calls and tells me about it. But won't force him into couseling or set up ultimatums. Very frustrating for me! Because I felt like I should be able to fix it (or her).

    I finally decided that I wouldn't get caught up into the drama anymore. I've offered help, and she knows the offer is still good. But, I don't let myself feel responsible about it. I had to realize that it wasn't about me, or what I could do.

    After I really came to that understanding, it is much easier for me to enjoy times with my sister because I don't transfer her problems to me. I hope that makes sense.

    Maybe you are doing the same. Feeling responsible for something that you don't own. And then letting yourself feel resentment toward your friend because of it?

    Just a thought.

  • I think it's not so much the difference in eating habits/lifestyle but the self-destructiveness. And yes, she complains constantly about her ailments, about how this or that doctor is an idiot, the last drug made her lose her mind, etc. Of course the cycle is that I then get irritated because my mind immediately leaps to "so why don't you DO something? change something?" And I get bitter.

    She's most likely going to get pregnant, and if she doesn't take care to eat healthy when pregnant, I will have new reasons to be frustrated with her, while basically keeping my mouth shut. I guess one of the real issues is that I'm afraid our friendship will become superficial because of me not being able to talk to her, and I don't really have the time or desire to maintain superficial friendships anymore. Although we had a decent "chat" last night on Facebook about her soon-to-be stepdaughter and how I wish she would try to get along better with her. The little girl is only 9 and my friend acts like she wants no part in her life...anyway, I got some things off my chest about that situation and she admitted I was right. So that's progress.

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