Posted by: katedaphne | January 10, 2008

Dissed by friends

When people you don’t know well say stupid, uninformed, hurtful things, it’s not always easy to overlook, but I usually manage, on the theory of “The opinions of worthless people are worthless.” But when those darts come from people who are supposed to be your supporters, or who you thought were on your side, it is a lot harder.

I’m a member of a book club, which I was invited into a few years ago when I was teaching middle school. My friends the Spanish teacher and guidance counselor invited me to join the club, which also had several other teachers from another school. They all knew each other well, and are a generation older than I am. But my two friends thought I would fit in well. I was flattered to join, though a little worried about the age difference. I jokingly asked if they talk a lot about hot flashes and menopause, and they swore they didn’t.

It’s a really great group of women and I fit in quite well despite being the age of their children, and we’ve had a lot of fun. They know about my situation (some know more than others but all are at least aware) and have been supportive. But lately things have gotten difficult: There has been a lot of talk about grandchildren. Grandbabies. A few of the women have new grandbabies. And of course, they like to talk about them, show pictures, etc.

As a supportive friend I have always put up with this because I care about them and about what they are interested in. But lately the talk has started to take over the meetings instead of being a small part of them. In November, the talk got to be too much and I excused myself and hid in the bathroom for while. Later I found out my mom (a member of the group, but not a teacher) asked them to tone down the baby talk. It was nice of her to ask that, she was just looking out for me, but I wouldn’t have said anything, myself.

Well — and now here’s the point of this long post — I found out this week that at our December meeting, before I arrived, one woman remarked, “So, I guess we can’t talk about our grandchildren tonight.” Kind of catty!!! My mom said, “Of course you can. I would just ask that you not talk about it ALL night.” And mom says they seemed a little put out by that. I arrived later and knew none of this until my mom told me this week.

I’m hurt because I thought these were my friends, and I thought my friends care about my feelings. Now it seems I am mistaken.

My first instinct is to just skip the meeting this month, because I am not in a good place in the least after this latest loss, and I really don’t want to face (or cause) any drama. The trouble is: The meeting is at my house. (We take turns hosting.) I don’t know how to get out of hosting but I am feeling more and more uncomfortable with the idea of spending time with this group right now. Since it’s at my place, I can’t even show up late and leave early, which is my usual method of coping with dificult people.

What to do, what to do?

Ugh. Sometimes I really hate people. My dog would never do this to me.

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Responses

  1. Hi Kate,
    I have been following your blog for a while, and read your article as well. First of all, I am SO SORRY about how this cycle went for you. What a huge disappointment, and personally I think the way Cornell handled the situation was totally wrong and unprofessional. I did a cycle with them last year, and had a similar experience… right now I am in Las Vegas looking over a giant pyramid in the middle of another cycle…

    Anyways, enough about me. The bookclub issue hit me because I recently quit (or “took a break from”)my own bookclub for similar reasons… it was the BEST decision… why do something you dread every month, especially during such a tough time? You need to take care of yourself and your feelings!

    So in my opinion, you have 3 options: 1) pretend something comes up unexpectedly, and ask your mom to host for you this month (and consider taking a break) . You are bound to feel better as time goes by, and could host a later one- or not. 2) suck it up and host (and serve lots of wine) 3) host and make a little speech explaining the situation, and what you have been going through (but, don’t you think, that since everyone already knows a bit of the story, if they were going to be understanding and supportive, they already would have shown that?)

    There’s my 2 cents. I’m sending tons of good vibes your way. Hang in there!!!

    Dot

  2. I say make an excuse not to host the meeting and take at least this month off. If they really cared and really tried to empathize that comment wouldn’t have been made. The comment would have been, “Hey ladies, lets tone down the baby talk for a bit, ok?” instead.

    I agree that it hurts more when it comes from people you thought were on your side.

  3. I third that idea — take the month off. Your mom is a good person to ask to fill in. Maybe even take 2 or 3 months off. There is no need for you to be in an unsupportive environment.

    I’m sorry you didn’t get the kind of response you deserved. That stinks. Hang in there.

  4. Hi Kate,
    I read your Times article and have since been checking in on your blog. For what it’s worth, my thoughts on the book club:
    Although people may not realize the extent of what someone suffering infertility is going through, that is not an excuse to be insensitive. People around me can’t possibly know that I cringe everytime I hear the word ‘baby’ and that I want to curl up in a ball when I hear someone I know is pregnant. However, they do know that I’m not pregnant and after years of trying, that should say enough.
    I understand people should not have to cut out their baby stories or pictures from all conversations but they do not have to monopolize an entire evening with them.
    I say cancel the book club. You need to look out for yourself right now. There are certain times in our lives when we get to be selfish and not worry about the consequences.

  5. Aggh! Reading this just made my heart drop down into my stomach. So sorry you’ve had to deal with this.

    I’d say cancel, too. I’ve always struggled with that kind of decision, felt guilty. But self-preservation is crucial right now — and there will always be book clubs/other opportunities.

    That Alice Domar book (“Conquering Infertility” — something like that) presents a really good case for looking out for yourself in this regard. Helped me get over some of the guilt.

    Take care of yourself! Will be thinking of you…

  6. Kate:
    My heart goes out to you. I’ve been through IVF and the whole kit ‘n’ kaboodle and we ended up going with embryo adoption (successfully). But nothing can prepare us for the emotional marathon that IF treatments bring. I now desperately wish I had a way to be pg again but we can’t. I had an “attack” of intense longing for another baby while wandering through the infant clothing section at a store last week – and the pain of a failed body is still there. I know that secondary IF is not the same as what you are experiencing, but reading your story helps me know that there are others out there that have similar pain.
    Jan

  7. Kate, I am so sorry. People can be asses. You have enough pain without the Human Factor, dogs are much nicer!

    xx

    J

  8. Ouch.

    Clearly they are (or at least one of them is) a bit, ummmm… self-centered. I think you have to follow your heart on this one, and give yourself a break. If you can’t handle it at your house this month, don’t.

    Good luck. Not an easy situation.

  9. Couldn’t agree more with the other responses here Kate. You need to take care of you right now.

    I hear you on the dogs thing. Too bad we can’t take/give lessons from pets eh?

    BIG hugs hun.
    Joey


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