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Perspective Needed

TL;DR version - friend (A) has a daughter (N) that I've always considered family. Came to realize that I value friendship more than A, who sees me as a bank. Figured this out after not being asked to be in her 3rd wedding.  Normally take N to see The Nutcracker, but I've decided that since my friendship seems to be valued only for what I can do for A and N that I will not be spending my hard earned money on tickets this year. It's been pointed out to me that N is "being punished" for her mother treating me like dirt. I feel as though not taking N shows that bank of me is closed, and that N is unfortunate collateral damage to A and my friendship disintegrating. I know N is upset, and am debating buying tickets anyway but having it out with A. 

The long verison:

I've known A for close to 20 years now. While we were all in college, A got pregnant and dropped out. Since she had her daughter, N, she's called me "Aunt" and I've helped A out with loans or gifts of money b/c N's father ran out on them.  At one point during their on and off again relationship, A and N's father were engaged. I had just gotten married. I paid for A and N to be in my wedding b/c it meant a lot to me for them to be there and I knew A couldn't afford to be a bridesmaid. When A was planning here wedding to N's dad, I found out I wasn't going to be asked to be in it when A asked me to make her programs for her and started listing all of our other friends as bridesmaids but not me. I was hurt and said so. Shortly after this, N's dad ran out and fell off the face of the earth so I let go of my hurt to support my friend (more money, i made sure N has christmas gifts, helped pay for school trips, babysat for free b/c I teach and has the same days off as N). 

A few years later, A met someone and they got engaged. That relationship ended after he started to abuse her, so I don't know how far along she got in wedding plans and if I was ever going to be asked to be in that one. 

Then A has a fling and got pregnant. She threw a fit that her family wasn't going to plan her baby shower on her terms (she didn't like the date or place selected) and was upset b/c they told her it was then or no shower. A few of her friends were talking about trying to put something together for her, so I offered to host (knowing that these friends would leave me with most of the bill and all of the work). 

The day of the shower I get NO thanks. Her new boyfriends (yes, a new boyfriend that is NOT that father of the baby) came into my house and tried to take over. She brought games, after we'd said we weren't going to have them, and other favors. I was pissed as I spent a lot of time and money planning the shower and A was going on and on about the handmade blanket sis gave her as a gift and how cute the favors were (no matter that I'd already purchased other stuff and bought and prepared all the food and decorations and had to do extra cleaning). They're taking pictures and not once did A stop and say "hey come here, you planned and hosted, get in here!" She had her shower in my house with my money and couldn't be bothered to make sure the person who made the shower happen got into a few pictures. 

So A gets engaged to the new BF. I start to see "A asked me to be in the wedding and I said yes" pop up on her oldest friends (grade school vs. me from college). I think, ok, maybe she's keeping it small just these two friends and her sisters and step-sis would make it a large party so I was hurt but sucked it up. Then A posts her wedding web site. Listed as a bridesmaid is one of her two sisters, her step sis, two old friends and "C" - "this chick I met a year ago and blah, blah, blah." I was so hurt by this. I've known her for 16 years and she can't ask me to be in her wedding? After all I've done for her? I fully understand that she can ask whomever she likes to be in her wedding. What hurts is that this is the 3rd time I wasn't asked, showing me that I apparently value her friendship way more than she does mine. You ask your closest friends to be in your wedding, right? 

I declined invites to all pre-wedding activities and didn't send gifts. I declined the wedding invite and didn't send a gift. No comments from A.

Every year since N was old enough, I've purchased tickets to take her to the Nutcracker and then we go to dinner or lunch. This is not cheap. 

I've come to realize that A values my friendship when I can buy something for her kid(s) or do something for her. So I've decided that since I'm treated as a bank, I'm closing it down. N is upset that I am not taking her to see the Nutcracker this year. A has not said anything to me yet, but I know she's going be bitching soon. Another friend of ours, L, is N's godfather. When L got married, he and his wife decided to cut back on gifts that xmas and not get one for N, as he'd done in the past b/c they were saving for a house. A hit the roof, screaming about how disappointed N would be and you "just can't change that after years!" so I know I'm in for the same soon. 

My brother was out with N last night who was apparently crying to him about not going to the Nutcracker. He called to chew me out and said I was being petty and punishing N. While I acknowledge that my stand of "I'm not good enough for you unless it involves massive amounts of money" is hurting N, this is my first and best chance of getting through to A that bank of me is closed and that I fully realize that our friendship was based on her using me for what I could do for her and her kids. 

Do I buy tickets for The Nutcracker and take N as I usually do so that she is not hurt by my feud with her mom, or am I right in thinking that A has been using me all these years and N is a casualty of war. 

Re: Perspective Needed

  • I would take N to see the  Nutcracker.  There are plenty of other places that you can make your stand. I think not attending her wedding or any of the other festivities around it was one of those places, as was not buying her a gift.  That's all about HER and your relationship with HER.

    I would NOT take it out on a kid.  N shouldn't be a casualty, at least not this directly.  
  • How old is N, I need to know this because my answer is different depending on whether she is 8 or 18
  • I agree don't take it out on the children. Since N is 16 I think that's plenty old enough to go just to the 2 of you. I think N might be disappointed to miss this tradition since she didn't do anything wrong. 
  • I agree, I would probably take N, she is old enough that the two of you could arrange it without involving her mom over much.
  • Why do you remain friends with a woman who clearly is not your friend?

    You said you feel like a bank: isn't that enough reason right there to perhaps give thought to calling it quits and a day with this so-called friendship?

    She sounds nutty.....and admit it: you are treated like crud by her because you let her.

    Give thought to phasing out your "friendship" with this person -- and set your stakes and sights higher. If you are looking for a good friend, try joining groups where you are sure to meet a person of quality. Try fundraisers or volunteering or maybe sign up for group sports lessons, like tennis.
  • I'm over the "friendship." I haven't communicated with her since sending her a brief congrats message on a picture from her wedding that popped up on facebook. I was doubting my decision to cut her daughter out as well, since I've normally taken her to see The Nutcracker as her Christmas gift. I got chewed out by someone for cutting N out too, and since I'm so mad her mom I wasn't sure if I was over reacting. 
  • Unless it is a financial hardship, I also think you should take N to see the Nutcracker.  I get the impression that you are an important person in this young woman's life.  Quite frankly, she has a mother who makes bad choices in life.  Bad choices with men.  Can't handle her own finances.  And I suspect N needs more positive role models.

    The good news is, although the relationship with N's mother has certainly waned and for good reason, N is getting old enough that it will be possible to continue a relationship with her while still keeping A at arm's length.

    With all that said, no one is ever obligated to buy anyone else a gift.  I don't think it makes you a bad person if you chose not to.  And N showed bad manners in crying about it to your brother.  But perhaps it was not so much the gift she was crying about, but what your not taking her to this event means for your all's relationship.  I'm sure N knows about the tension between you and her mom.  Maybe she is worried about totally losing her relationship with you because of it and saw the ending of the Nutcracker tradition as a clear sign that is exactly what is happening.  KWIM? 

  • There's no reason for you to communicate with this family any longer. 
    You know that if you get involved with your niece, you will eventually be sucked into a relationship with the mother again. Your "friend" sounds like a manipulative user. 

    I used to collect needy people and allow them to use me because I was codependent. I also stayed friends with people who were very rude and insulting because I was a people pleaser.
    Eventually, I came to see how my patterns were unhealthy and now I am very careful about who my friends are. Now I have a group of responsible and emotionally healthy women in my life. None of my friends repeatedly make bad decisions and expect me to bail them out all the time. They also do not make nasty comments and expect me to put up with it. 

    I know that ending a friendship is like a death and you will feel sad. However, you deserve better than people who just want to suck up all of your money and take advantage of your kindness. 
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