ME & “P” – It’s not all fun and games
1. I own and pay for my landline/mobile phones so I control them.
This rule stemmed from a time when “P” would call me at any hour and then proceed to tell me “who’s there with you” I would tell her there is nobody else with me, she would carry on and on and on that she could hear somebody else in my home, and that I was lying to her etc etc. Eventually I started getting ill because it affected me, I used to dread her calling, I would throw up after her calls, how can you prove that there is nobody in your home to somebody on a telephone. Impossible. SO I called her the one day and told her the following;
(a) Even if there was somebody in my home when she calls then it was of no business of hers, that I could have who the hell I liked in my home. That I was not answerable to her nor did I need her permission to do anything in my life.
(b) I told her I pay for my phone/s I own them, so I control them, and if I don’t feel like answering them then I won’t, I told her of the effects it was having on my health and then said that I have now put a special ring on my phones so that when she calls I know it is her. I said that if she continues to harass me with this shit then I would simply not answer her calls at all. I also told her that I didn’t want to hear from her for 2 weeks so that she could chew it over in her mind and decide what she wanted to do, call me and be nice, or basically fuck of and leave me alone. After the 2 weeks (to the minute) she called me, said she was really sorry and that it would never happen again, true to her word it has never happened since. BUT the ground rule stays.
2. I can pick my own friends I don’t help on this.
This stems from “P” meeting various friends of mine and basically ripping them apart after they have left or at another time. She would hone in on the most ridiculous pieces of crap and I found myself having to defend not only my friends but my choice of friends. SO again I confronted her and told her that what she was doing was going to cost her my friendship, if she didn’t like any of my friends – that was fine – but I wasn’t open to listening to the continual barrage about them especially the nit-picky shit she was saying i.e. don’t she have funny looking hair, she was staring at me, there’s summat about her/him that I don’t like dunno what it is but you need to be careful of said him/her. I told her that it was fine, if she had so many problems with my friends – we don’t all have to like everyone on the planet, so what I will do to make sure she doesn’t see them again, is that every time I go out with them or have them stay over – she won’t be invited. (At this stage of my life I had an extremely active social life that “P” loved joining in with) I told her for the next 4 “outings” she wasn’t invited, (that took 2 weeks) and at the end of the 4 banned outings I asked her if she was happy being left out. She was totally teed off, so I asked her if she was going to stop her nonsense. She promised to stop it and she came with me on every other social event. She still – now and then – forgets her little self a bit – but this ground rule is her reminder of what she can and can’t do in my life.
3. This is my home – not yours
This stems from when “P” visits me and stays for a weekend i.e. from Friday night till Monday morning. The weekend stays got longer and longer and eventually ended up lasting in excess of 5 days or more. I started finding it very exhausting, cooking, cleaning, lack of privacy, then at the end of her visit trying to find everything she had brought with her and had squirreled away it the most obscure places. It just got too much for me to cope with. SO I had her sit down and I told her that as much as I loved her to bits, and as much as I loved having her visit, that it was getting too much for me, that I needed some time for myself, that my life didn’t revolve around making food that she would critise in some way or other i.e. I don’t like garlic, my reply, well you have ate every time you have been here over the last 10 yrs and she would grin at me. She also would just fall asleep around 6.30pm-ish and snore very loudly throughout the evening, I’m sorry to admit it – but it drove me nutz. I would wake her telling her to stop the snoring and if she was that tired then go to bed, but to no avail, many a night I’ve had to leave her on my sofa and the next morning she would kick off and rant at me because I hadn’t woken her up and let her go to bed.
Anyway to cut it short I told her that she had to stop just turning up every weekend and staying as long as she did. (it has even be known for her to go home on a Friday and turn up again the next day) I also told her that she wasn’t welcome to put all her stuff all around my home, and that from now on in, if she left stuff then she would have to wait till the next time she came to visit to get it back again, up to this point I was either posting stuff, driving through to hers, or listening to her phone calls telling me how desperate she was for whatever she had left behind. It was a nightmare.
She was also told that a “weekend” was just that and not 5/6 days. I also told her that from now on she could come for weekends but only when I invited her and those weekends last from Friday night to Monday morning. So now with this ground rule I have my home back again and when she comes to visit me – I enjoy her visits and out time together. From her last visit to me I have 1 scarf, 1 shoe, 2 pair socks, and a book awaiting her collection.
4. If I want advice I will ask for it – Stop demanding I live the way you want me to
This comes from an overwhelming type of interference that “P” feels perfectly at home with doing. Be it about my kids, my grandkids, my food, my home, my ability to think for myself, again it got too much to cope with and we would end up having terrible rows about any given subject, she felt I should be doing it her way and I know it was never going to happen because it wasn’t what would be good for me. Again after a long conversation and telling her I loved that she cared but that she didn’t have to worry about me in the way she was doing so, we resolved most of this one. She still has the odd gem of “inspirational advice” but it’s not blocking our friendship.
5. I wasn’t born knowing how to make a phone call or use a hammer or change a fuse – I had to learn and so can you.
“P” would call me and carry on and on and on about any given problem she was having and knowing in the end I would give in and do it for her. This also got overwhelming and it started to overshadow my own stuff that needed doing. i.e. the “phone company” she had been calling for months to sort out a £30 payment she had made that went missing. I finally called this company and in less than 7 minutes it was sorted out. What she didn’t admit to initially, was that every time she called them she would lose the plot with them and not listen to what they were saying, she would slam the phone down and then ring back and do exactly the same thing time and time again, till in the end the phone company were fed up of her “abuse” and they told me that they had flagged her up and the instruction was to end the call with her if she got abusive. It eventually got that “P” would try and wear me down to make calls for her to whoever without even trying to resolve the problem herself. It had to stop. I made her bring all her phone problems and numbers with her when she visited me and I showed her how to make the calls, I then started making her call them and deal with them – she does it very well now and I get some peace from it.
6. You are not allowed to just buy me shoes, items of clothing or pound shop stuff – ask me first.
This has been a major thing to sort out. “P” has a very generous heart and its one of the most endearing things about who she is. BUT she can bomb you out with her OCD of pound shops, i.e. my home is quite minimalist and a place for everything and everything in its place, (I can’t afford to be falling over stuff) but “P” insisted on buying me the most amazing amount of crap from pound shops then getting upset when I’d say thanks but no thanks. She would buy the most inappropriate shoes for me (I am a diabetic and can’t afford my feet to get cut etc) and got upset and go in a strop when I told her I can’t wear them, clothing is another thing she insisted on buying for me and our taste in clothes is chalk and cheese. So I don’t wear them. The list is endless. SO we had another talk, and I pointed out to her how much money she was wasting and what she could rather do with that money and buy for herself, I told her that I loved the fact she thought about me but in the same breath I wasn’t going to be made to wear anything that I didn’t like or could hurt my feet (which she avidly agreed about) and I wasn’t going to have stuff in my home that was of no use to me or could harm me. I told her if she really had to buy me anything at all – and I didn’t ever think she had to – then the odd cheap CD now and then would be greatly received. She took this in and with the odd repeat reminder she has basically stopped doing it. I have however got a CD collection that any radio station would be envious of and all neatly and safely packed away in a bookcase. Bless her cotton socks she is a star !!!!!
7. No I’m not going back there – go on your own – don’t even ask
This stems from “Ps” obsessional need to buy something then take it back to the shop either the same day, days later, weeks later or even months later and demand her money back. This is an obsession nobody can deal with, not even her family. Even presents for her birthday and Xmas are taken back and either exchanged (that’s ok) or the money demanded back (that’s not ok). I’ve got clever with this now, and what I do is when I buy her anything (and trust me she lets you know exactly what it is she wants for said gift) I cut out all labels on clothing that give her the clue as to where they have been bought, if its electrical items I never buy items branded with “supermarket own brand names” on packaging. I tell her I’ve thrown away the receipts, and I just refuse to say where I went shopping. I’ve done this for the last 5 years and it has worked, she doesn’t bother asking me now she just enjoys the gift (and that is the strange thing about it all – when she can’t take it back she really enjoys the gift).
The other side of this ground rule is “P” will huff and puff not to buy something she needs, and so when you finally get home tired and worn out she will say “I wish I’d fuckin bought that now” and then follows maybe hours of moaning and groaning that she should have bought it until you agree to give in and take her back to the said shop where the cycle happens over and over and over again. No matter what you say to her – she will do this on a daily basis, again it gets frustrating, time consuming and quite frankly exhausting. So now when she does it I just tell her I’m not interested, that she had her chance to buy whatever it was, and, if she wants it she can get herself of to the said shop and buy it. We have all been guilty of doing this at one time or another, but with “P” it’s again obsessional.
8. Get to the Point
“P” has this way of telling you about a particular item i.e. a typical phone call;
“P” ; I had a man come here today to fix my freezer, his mother of 93 died and he got her house, but then he swapped it for a flat and his cats don’t like the flat so he wants to move somewhere with a garden, and he was in a shop the other day and he got talking to a woman who loves his cats and she told him yeah he should move again cause the cats are unhappy, and his sister blah blah blah blah blah……………………
Me; ”P” did he mend the freezer ?
“P”; Well he said that – oh by the way he told me that his brother worked on cruise ships and that he has a great time on them so blah blah blah blah ………………….
Me; “P” did he fix your freezer
“P”; Well he told me he had to – hey guess what I found out as well he knows a lad I went to school with the one who used to share sweets with me then one day he wouldn’t share em the miserable twat blah blah blah blah………………..
Me; ”P” DID HE MEND YOUR FUCKING FREEZER FOR CHRISTS SAKE
“P” Why you fuckin shoutin yeah course he fuckin fixed it he did a fuckin good job on it as well
Me; then get to the POINT
This type of conversations can last anything up to 2 hours
This ground rule is still in “infancy” stage but we are getting there………………………..