My closest friend, whom I've known for about 30 years, and I have apparently hit an impasse. We email a good deal, and in a recent email, he made a snide remark about a writer we both know who has gained a good deal of weight. My friend struggles with his weight, but he's made these kind of comments before. This time I replied, in a mildly joking fashion something that clearly meant that he might consider first his own weight predicament before calling others out on the same thing.
He replied that he didn't think that there is anything wrong with his comment as the writer is not someone we know; and that, furthermore, that I should keep such unkind remarks to myself; and, finally, that he could find plenty about me to criticize. Short and sweet. I didn't respond.
It's been about two weeks, and we've never gone this long without speaking. It's obviously bothering me. But you know, in some ways the break has been nice. I'm under a good deal of pressure at work and I haven't been sleeping well, though it's manageable in the end. It's nice not to have to deal with his personal dramas. He is an addict who is in and out of recovery and suffers from clinical depression. I've never pried, but recently he's disclosed a lot of activity in relation to his addiction(s) that (while I am absolutely not judging him) I've found surprising, only in so far as he's really kept me in the dark as to the extent of his goings-on. But I respect that that is his right and his business, not mine. As a former addict myself, I take care not to say anything that might be construed as an admonishment; I realize that he has to find his own way. I have, though, at times, strongly impressed upon him the need for him to attend recovery meetings, and I have modeled repeatedly for him the fact that they helped me. He's admitted very much recently that he is out of control, and I agree and have gently agreed with him that this is the case.
I sense that this break has been building. A few weeks ago, he related to me how an order he placed a couple of months ago still hadn't arrived and that he'd been getting nowhere emailing the company etc etc, and that he finally called the company and screamed (his word) at them and threatened them with a lawyer etc. (The order is worth about $100.) I replied that I thought that his behaviour, though he was in the right to be upset, was wrong. (Yes, in this case, it was a gentle admonishment.) I said that screaming is abusive and doesn't resolve anything. He wasn't pleased. The next day he said triumphantly that the issue had been resolved and that he had gotten a refund so, hey, the screaming worked! I told him that I hoped that he was happy with his choices as to how to live, and he didn't say more. His next email was about this and that and we were back to normal....until this latest email.
What's bothers me most, I suppose, is his biting comment that he could find plenty to criticize about me. And you know, he could, probably. I am not perfect, but over the past decade I've really REALLY cleaned up my act, to the extent that I think I've become a good person. No doubt he could easily dig into my past -- he knows everything about me, and I mean everything -- and throw something in my face. Now, I don't think he would -- but that he'd even venture stating that he could is, for me, the same thing. He easily targeted all my insecurities and failures without even having to mention one.
I'm p*ssed off but not raging or angry. I don't want to apologize, even though I know that offering olive branches and paying attention to my own errors is the best way to live. And in some way I feel I'm beyond caring if he apologizes -- I am just tired about him being out of control and I feel that this latest tussle is simply more of that.
I don't know what to do, really.