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Finding out who your friends are ... - Carers UK Forum

Finding out who your friends are ...

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
One thing that has really struck me following my mum's recent and sudden cognitive decline (I now have her back home again as waiting for place at my favoured care home) is the reaction and support, or lack of, from friends. We don't have any close family, it's just mum and me now.

Some friends have been so very, very supportive. One spent a weekend with me when mum was in hospital and just let me relax and took care of me when we returned home from the hospital visits. She is coming again in a couple of weeks and has offered to do the same. And this from someone who lives two hours away and whose mother is starting to have memory problems. I've got two very good friends who live overseas and they have been phoning and sending a constant stream of supportive messages via WhatsApp. One of these lost her own mother in 2015, she is still grieving, but she understand my position and has been so very understanding and supportive. Neighbours who we've only known a few years have been popping round regularly, giving me and mum help and support.

And then there's the friend who came to visit us the week before Christmas as she 'wanted to help us'. This is someone who we've known as a family for decades. Her parents have both died now, her father having suffered with dementia in his final years. She started by laughing at my mum when she was making her weird comments, then she sat over dinner a couple of times and started discussing mum's behaviours and analysing them, in front of mum!! She told me a few times that I had to stop mollycoddling my mum as if I was planning to put her in a home, they would not 'treat her nicely' there as I do at home. There were many other weird comments and criticisms and one evening she pushed me too far and I flipped and told her she was being very unfair as I was struggling to cope. At this point she laughed at me when I told her I felt like I was already grieving for mum and went on to gloat about the fact that I haven't had any major problems or worries before in my life!!! Needless to say I was glad to see the back of her after three days, but still can't get over how much she shocked and upset me. Whatever her issues or reasons for being so bitter and nasty, her behaviour was unforgiveable and I never want to set eyes on her again.

As they say, in time of crisis, you really do find out who your friends are!!
Hmm, sounds like this second 'friend' has been jealous of you in the past for your 'easy' life, maybe compared with her having to look after her father with dementia?

It's an unpleasant experience, and it sounds like you are well shot of her! Glad that your other friends have actually been 'friends'.
Oh yes, never a truer phrase spoken, Maz.
Someone I'd been friends with for 24 or so years, appeared suddenly on my doorstep a week after my husband's funeral. I was in my coat, about to launch myself out into the big wide world again, which took a lot of courage, obvious to anyone I was about to go out. She invited herself in and stood for over an hour talking.......about herself and her problems. The THIRD time I said that I needed to go out and reached for my car keys, she had a right go at me, spun round, ripped my front door open and flounced down the front path, leaving me in floods of tears in my own hallway. Two weeks after this, she sent me an email, suggesting that I think of other people's feelings in the future and how selfish I was etc etc.
She is not my 'friend' anymore.
My advice is to cherish your 'real' friends who will and are proving themselves to be just that and not bother with the others. They are not worth it.
Take care. x
Maz,
Sounds to me like she has unresolved "issues" of her own from when her father had dementia, maybe guilt even. She sounds jealous of how well you cope with and understand your Mum.

She is one to let go. Becoming a carer is always a good test of who your true friends are!

Melly1
Good lord, Nana - quite unbelievable behaviour! What on EARTH was in her head? The very idea of someone doing that to me a week after my husband died just makes my mouth fall open!!! To be honest, it sounds like she's a bit deranged - it really isn't normal behaviour by anyone's standards of normality! I wonder if she's got a narcissistic type personality disorder? It's the only charitable explanation to my mind!!!
That's truly shocking Nana - much more so than the behaviour of my 'friend'! A long time ago someone I worked with showed me a little 'ditty' about how you can view friends in your life as a theatre audience. It went something along the lines of there being those that sit in the front row, then those in the second row, etc. Sometimes those in the front few rows move to the back of the theatre and sometimes those in the distance surprise you! I have never been able to find this piece, but am sure it exists out there somewhere. It struck me then (I was much younger) how true this was and it's a good way to view things.

People who behave like this towards those friends in desperate need of help and kind words must surely have some serious issues. In my case I think our 'friend' is envious of the way I have coped so far (on my own) and been able to organise things so quickly. At one point during her visit she suggested that I should have lied about mum's finances for the Social Services assessment!! (I think she did on her parents' behalf). I could never do anything like that and why would I want to defraud a system which has helped me so much?! Large chips on shoulders spring to mind ....

Time to focus on true friendships!
Nana,I also support the theory that some friends are better at certain topics of support than others,occasionally as a person who has been a paid carer for alot of years,I find the people I am payed to look after more insightful than some lifelong friends
Clare