Dear friends and usual readers... you probably don't want to read this one it's rather specific and kinda post-teen-wangsty.
My daughter and her best friend had a huge bust up. I was stuck in the middle of it because... well mostly because her bestie is virtually an extra kid of mine and her own parents are... probably fine but not brilliant at communicating. Plus the traditional issue of, all her biggest faults she has in common with her mother so they bounce off each other like bricks.
It's been a weird experience because I love them both and I don't want to see the relationship fall apart; I want to protect them both; and the trickiest part of all, as the rift between them grows how do I continue to make sure the Proto-Daughter is looked after without Daughter getting upset about the situation? (By relying on D being mature and understanding, that's how - I raised a very good one) For the last couple of weeks I've had some breathing room, because Daughter decided she couldn't look at Proto-Daughter's [let's call her PD from here on for ease... Daughter can be D] social media anymore without it making her either angry or sad so she unfollowed her and we were waiting to see what PD's reaction to that would be... and it was NOTHING.
Let's get the shortest version I can manage of the background out of the way.
PD had a boyfriend. Who is a massive raging sack full of syphilitic penises. This is not a reaction to my girl being hurt, he is objectively a horrible piece of crap. Their relationship was a disaster. They broke up and got back together, there was low-level violence & significant verbal abuse. And some other issues I shan't even bother getting into, that's quite enough. D was very concerned for her friends' safety and well-being and tried to communicate this to PD. But as we all know, people are not very good at hearing that their relationship is a steaming bucket full of diarrhoea while they are still on the inside. But it was increasingly hard for D to see her friend being hurt ALL THE TIME. And frustrating as hell seeing her break up, appear to *SEE THE LIGHT* then go right back to him as soon as he called. It reached a point were the best answer for D was to ask that the subject of the douchebag boyfriend be one that just wasn't brought up - the problem with that was that even with that caveat in place, the douchebag would still come up in really hard to ignore ways. He would text or call and PD would drop everything to answer him, she seemed frightened of not responding immediately. He would (in a way that looked manipulative to me) arrange to do things with PD at times he KNEW she already had things arranged with D. And again, PD seemed incapable of saying no to him. The more often it happened the more 2 things were happening at the other end. D was feeling rejected while at the same time she was also scared for her friend. And I mean really scared, as was I. I could see that the douchebag was a manipulative bastard and was already using verbal abuse techniques to control PD, he also has been known to lash out. So we were both scared of him hurting her physically as if emotionally wasn't enough. STUPID ASSHOLE.
Meanwhile D was having problems of her own. Health issues, and a boyfriend who seemed really lovely but turned out to be an asshole. The disappointing piece of shit. D's breakup left her raw, hurting from betrayal - I'm sure we can all relate to how much more it hurts when someone turns out to really really not be the person they appeared to be. I'd have punched him if the opportunity had arisen, and I don't really like to interfere in my daughter's social life - trying to fix this mess with PD is the big exception to the rule. It has been frustrating and terrible for us watching someone we both care about, keep going back to this asshole, knowing that he'll just hurt her again. Because he isn't capable of doing anything else, at least not with her. They just are not compatible. It's hard to accept that the person you think you're in love with is utterly unsuitable for you, so there was very little we could do to stop it - it's one of those things you need to be able to see for yourself before it will stick. So most of what we did was tell her she always had a place here if she needed it. No matter how sick of the situation we became that was always true. Even now, when D is about as hurt and as thoroughly wrapped in a cocoon of "I'm not letting you hurt me anymore" (getting to that) as she gets, she'd still take PD in in a heartbeat if she reached out in pain.
So the situation went like this... whenever PD was in a happy-ish place with the douchebag she would neglect her friendship with D. They'd make plans only to have PD *forget* or cancel, or try to reschedule into a time she knew wasn't good for D. (There is really only one time slot that totally doesn't work for D, the time she has lunch with her Dad.) Sometimes things would get *rescheduled* several times, before Kitty would just get angry with the BS and stop trying. The only times that PD would reliably turn up was when there had just been a break-up or when she wanted something. When a friendship becomes so obviously one-sided, no matter what the reasons are - it hurts. It hurts to feel like a person you love only wants to see you when they want something from you, that you're disposable the rest of the time. I watched D get more and more introverted the more her friendship became this. Not a friendship anymore at all, just a person using her and then discarding her when she wasn't useful anymore. It may not have been the intention (I don't believe it was) but it WAS and IS the result.
Friends fight sometimes. And in the pre-douchebag times, when they fought it was easily resolved. They would sort it out, they would both apologise. They would move on. But the longer the douchebag was around, the worse the situation became. Fights would not really be resolved they'd just be glossed over. So they festered. PD started taking everything said to her as a personal attack, which is hardly surprising because when your partner is an abusive manipulative bastard you get insecure. But it makes it really difficult to deal with any rifts. Neither of us could talk to PD about how the things she was doing (the breaking off plans, the lies, the douchebag...) were hurting D without PD getting defensive and assuming she was being attacked. I was often stepping in to speak for D because she was too upset to cope with it, or too ill. And I think maybe that made PD feel like she was being double-teamed when she wasn't.
Hell we all know I'm blunt, it's how I operate. I tell it like it is as much as possible to avoid the BS that comes about when you avoid saying it straight. That bluntness can be painful. But I did my level best to temper my bluntness with love. Because I do care, deeply for my Proto-Daughter. I don't want her to be hurt either. And I don't want her to be losing an important friend. But I can totally see D's point that she's taken enough pain already from this situation and that she's sick of her best friend putting no effort at all into fixing things. Or doing mind-meltingly stupid things while making a bare minimum effort to fix things. At the moment D is unsurprisingly struggling to see that PD sees any value at all in their friendship. So am I to be fair. I've given her the benefit of the doubt over and over again because I know the damage an abusive relationship can do to your ability to see things as they are and to communicate properly through troubled waters. But all of that is only a reason for things being bad, it isn't an excuse. When you can see that your behaviour is harmful you can't say sorry and then just keep on doing the harmful things. You aren't sorry until you work on stopping the harm. And you aren't a friend until you can put the other person at the front when their need is greater than yours.
As much as this may be a highly specific series of incidents, the basic idea is still multi-functional. Friendships are two-way streets, and no relationship that is all take and no give is a friendship. Or a thing that's worth having. Repair or discard. We got bored with waiting for reciprocation on the repair.
Maybe I should have just kept out of it all along. It would have disintegrated faster if nothing else. I caused it to be dragged out far longer than necessary by trying to repair it. If PD really was never going to try to fix things, then there wasn't much point in that. :/ My disappointment is betraying itself again. I love you both, and consequently, expect better from you both.