a falling out with a very long-term friend

Postby calvinTO » Sun Jan 29, 2017 1:41 am

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.
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sun Jan 29, 2017 2:28 am

calvinTO wrote:...And in some way I feel I'm beyond caring if he apologizes
I don't know what to do, really.


Him apologizing? You started the thread by explaining how you threw a rock at him, criticizing his comment about a writer. And you criticized him a few more times, like reference him screaming to get an order fixed.

DON'T throw rocks in a glass house. Stay out of the kitchen if the heat is too much for you. Judge not, lest thy be judged.

It doesn't matter how good a person you are, it doesn't matter how much you have cleaned yourself up, it is the fact you are being a hypocrite. You think it is okay for you to criticize him, but that he should apologize if he criticizes you, that he knows your every insecurity.

It is your problem, not his. He has no need to apologize and maybe he has a similar problem. Maybe both of you have thin skins. Maybe he too is being a hypocrite, being hurt by criticism, but then turning around and criticizing.

Here is how I solve the problem. Judge away. I will throw as many rocks as I desire, I will stay in the kitchen and make all the dang judgments I want, because I don't fear being judged. Bring it on. Criticism is healthy, criticism lets me know I'm still alive and participating in life. It is not hypocritical for me to voice my opinion, because I am willing to take whatever opinions another person has to offer. Don't get me wrong, I might vehemently disagree, but I don't get offended, I don't take it personal.

Your best path, if you can't accept criticism, then don't criticize...period.
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#2

Postby Livetowin » Sun Jan 29, 2017 3:48 am

Yes, I have to agree with the response above. Your assessment of him was VERY judgmental, yet you chose not to own that responsibility. If a person is going through recovery and has a fragile self-image to begin with, why would you even THINK about demeaning him by grading his remarks to others when he is supposed to be to able to vent to you and express his frustrations? Is he supposed to have a measured and PC-laced conversation when he talks to you or are you only looking to kick him when he is down? It sounds to me like you are putting him down to build yourself up.

For someone to know everything about you but always refrain from using it as some sort of weapon (as you do) shows respect for your circumstances , not disrespect. I think the fact he tells you he can use it is only to remind you of how often you fail him in showing consideration for his circumstances. The idea you can not see clear to tell him you're sorry is pretty sad. We all carry imperfection. Perhaps instead of poking at him every time you see an infraction, you should focus on your own issues so you can understand (and resolve) why you insist on riding him so much.
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