Just a vent. New friend gave me TMI

seekingadviceNovember 10, 2006

and I've been brooding on it. I was so enjoying having this new acquaintance and getting together both with our kids and without. Now I am privvy to things I wish I didn't know and it is eating at me, sigh.

Not looking for advice, really, just wanted to get that off my chest. I haven't told dh because I'm not one to break a confidence, but it is weighing heavily on me.

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What is TMI? From your heading it sounds like a sexually transmitted disease. Or possibly a variation of TMJ, but I am really confused-

I know it's not either, so please enlighten your friend of very little brain...


    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 2:12PM
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Too Much Information (LOL, pecan!)

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 2:19PM
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Oh, and Seeking, now I'm dying to know what your new friend told you! JK. I always consider that telling DH is not breaking a confidence b/c I know he won't tell anyone else, really care what I've told him, and let me vent without chance of repercussion.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 2:20PM
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Well I am SE.

Should've figured that one out.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 2:49PM
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LOL, pecan!! That's too funny!!

Yes, I could tell dh and I know he won't tell anyone else, but the problem with that is that he would no longer care for this person. He tends to view things in black and white. It's a very complex problem she is facing for which there is no easy solution. I can understand how it came about, though I like to think I would have made different decisions. I have learned, however, that you just never know what you might do until you are in those shoes. Meanwhile, I am very sympathetic but it puts our friendship in a whole new place, one with which I'm not terribly comfortable, I guess.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 4:09PM
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I find it interesting that your "new" friend would tell you such disconcerting info.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 4:50PM
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gibby, that's what I've been thinking, too. I can't help but wonder if she promoted this friendship so she could have someone "outside" to confide in. This, of course, isn't exactly what I'd like to believe, but I wonder nonetheless. However, I don't know why she would choose me, since I could share this info with others in an uncomfortable way for her. Also, when we first began getting together, a big part of the confidential info had not yet happened.

Our daughters are best friends, btw. They met when school began this year and have become great pals in the last few weeks. We discovered that we live very close to one another, which is in the boonies compared to most of the other kids at school (we're several miles up a canyon).

I guess she just needs someone to talk to. I hope I can help her but I'm also somewhat taken aback at the nature of the problem. No matter what decision she makes, it is going to have huge consequences for her and/or her family :(

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 7:27PM
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Isn't that so uncomfortable. I've had that happen a more than a few times to me too. I seem to be one of those people to whom strangers just feel comfortable airng all their dirty laundry. Thing is, I don't know enough about them or the situation to actually be of any help.
I've found those friendships are usually just superficial. I think she's trying to get it off her chest, but don't be surprised if she suddenly disappears once the situation is exposed or otherwise put behind her.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2006 at 11:09AM
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This happened to me with one of my cousins; it totally changed the dynamic of our friendship and gave me this odd feeling of unease I could not deal with; I had to gradually distance myself from her and that was a good thing for me. I started to cringe everytime she called and found excuses to not talk to her.

In retrospect, she did a totally selfish thing in confiding all this to me, and it accomplished nothing in the final resolution. She felt better in having someone know all of her secrets and I felt bad having this burden. Distancing myself from this toxic person was the best thing I ever did.

This should tip you off that this new friendship isn't a 2 way street, you are going to be wasting precious time listening to her updates, is that going to be productive for you ? and accomplish anything positive in your life ?

These are the questions I ask myself now before investing time with a friend;
I won't let my emotions be held hostage by someone; manipulative people latch on to others with their stories and rope you in with those confidences of situations they can't deal with. It's totally not respectful of you that she did that, buyer beware. Protect yourself, what counts is your well being and how you can be affected by this.
good luck in dealing with this.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 6:06AM
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I tend to be a frequent recipient of information that many would classify as "TMI", probably because I am a lawyer, which is one step away from a therapist. It doesn't bother me. DH can't believe how people will open up to me. I must have one of those faces.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 5:52PM
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When people preface a statement with, "I really shouldn't say anything" or something of the sort, I've started holding up my hand and telling them, "Stop. This doesn't sound like any of my business. I don't think you should tell me." and then change the subject.

I was in the same situation as you are a couple of years ago and the knowledge held me prisoner. I decided I'm not doing that again.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 9:01PM
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Thank you, everyone. I have yet to figure out where this friendship is headed, but so far it is actually doing well. I think in some small way I've been of help, though it remains to be seen whether or not she will wish to remain friends when the tricky part comes along. I tend to think so as I've felt a real bond develop between us, but then I'm a poor judge of such things. I have a very long history of keeping people at arm's length and avoiding strong relationships that require a lot of emotional investment, so there is also the likelihood that I will bail if there is too much neediness involved. I can't seem to tolerate that.

Ironically, I too seem to attract the confidences of those in trouble/need. I always figured I had inadvertently picked up a "therapist face" from my parents, if there is such a thing. My mom is a counselor and my dad has a doctorate in psychology. Since my family was a dysfunctional nightmare, I tend to hold the view that the most f&%ked up people in the world go into counseling/psychology :) Now, before you throw things at me, I want to quickly state that there are plenty of normal, wonderful people who go into that profession as well. I just think that people who have a lot of problems of their own tend to be drawn to it.

There are times when I don't mind the confidences of others and there are times when I am made very uncomfortable by it. I haven't yet thought through what makes the difference.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 1:28AM
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I have been on both sides of this fence and it does tend to make everyone uncomfortable. You can't stop people from confiding in you unless they do give you a warning ahead of time. If I feel a conversation is heading in that direction, I do as pecanpie says.

When I was young I use to blurt out everything. Not that I meant to, it was just my personality. But I have learned to keep things closer to my chest as I have gotten older.

And I don't mean to make light of this or be flippant but I tell my dog things I would never tell anyone else. It helps to get it off my chest and make me feel better. I know she won't repeat it to anyone and it is cheaper than a therapist.

The ancient Greeks had a way of dealing with things you were burning to tell someone. If you had a secret or something shameful you had to get off your chest you would dig a hole far away from anyone, put your mouth to the hole and tell your secret then bury it. This is from a old Latin text, so it would appear that people haven't changed much.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2006 at 1:00AM
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I completely agree with your observation. I have a degree in counseling and was appalled at how many people in the program were, for lack of a better term, "broken." It seems that they believe that by entering the counseling profession, they will heal their own problems. The truth is that they unconsciously go into couseling to get a grip on their own lives in addition to trying to fix the lives of others. Not that that's always a bad thing. However, it's great if, say, you've been abused because you understand the person in front of you, but these people were generally not together enough to be a real help over the long run. Because change is so hard. Sort of the blind leading the blind thing. Does this make sense? The level of emotion in the classroom was inappropriate, and the level of academics rather low, that I really regret getting an MSW. I should have gone into law instead and helped the poor that way.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2006 at 11:52AM
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Oh, Cup, you went into the greatest profession of all. There is no better way to help humankind than to raise compassionate children.

Thank you for your post. I think service professions tend to attract, in particular, those who wish to make a difference and those who need services themselves :) I also think that reality can become blurred for those who deal constantly with the problems of others or who work in a closed environment. What I mean by that last statement is that if you are always exposed to a fairly constrained belief system and don't have interactions outside of that box, you tend to lose touch with what life is like for anyone who isn't in the box with you.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 12:44AM
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I had a friend who confided to me that she was cheating on her husband and having an affair with another married man. Actually my friend had casually told me that this guy was hitting on her and then my friend and I went golfing one day and the guy came out of the woods and joined us--I was the cover for their meeting and it made me really mad that I was used like that. I told my friend what I thought of her affair--that she was married and had to honor her vows while she was married and if she wanted someone else she should get divorced before she pursued that action. I also told her that I would not be used to facilitate the affair and that I would not be social with her while this was going on because I could not face her husband in a social situation under those circumstances--I would not help her live the lie so to speak. I was cordial to her when we met in public, and our kids could still see each other, but that was it. And of course our kids stopped seeing each other as much because I didn't want to see her as long as this was hanging over her head and my head. Of course she didn't end the affair and her huband found out and they got divorced, and she did not live happily ever because her lover didn't want to leave his wife and marry her, but that's another story. It was wrong of your friend to give you TMI. If the TMI is not something you agree with, your friendship does not obligate you to support or facilitate whatever she is doing.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 1:30PM
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