Some relationships just aren’t built to last. Others will stand the test of time. The one I am about to talk to you about is one which I tried so hard to save but the odds just weren’t on our side. I’m not talking about a romantic relationship but a friendship.
For privacy reasons I will not name the other person in this situation and some of the minor details will be changed but I felt it important to share this story because I think that it shows that sometimes, no matter how much you put into a relationship, it just won’t work without both parties being truly invested.
I’ll also add in here that this post has turned out longer than I first anticipated so you might want to save it for later or put the kettle one 😉
I first met Hannah (let’s call her that) in about 2013/14, I don’t remember the exact date, but I met her through her husband, with whom I worked. She was a quiet girl, a mother like me and seemed someone who could use a friend. A bit of an oddball if you will, but perfectly nice and easy to get along with.
After arranging to meet up for coffee, we soon became quite close and would speak most days via message and meet up about once a week for a gossip, I thoroughly enjoyed the times we had together. We would laugh, compare mommy notes and just generally enjoy each others company. Over message was much the same, we would chat for hours about everything and nothing and the conversation always came easily. We even had a few occasions where her and her husband would come over to ours for a takeaway and drinks and even the guys seemed to get along well.
However, after some time, I did notice that her messages would become a little repeatitive (are we still meeting on Tuesday? You’re still OK to catch up Tuesday, aren’t you?) and this could happen four or five times during a period of hours. If I didn’t reply to a message right away, she would contact me on another platform, with the same message, countless times until I replied to her. At first, I just put it down to her being a bit insecure, because I had noticed that about her and I understood that she may feel at a loss from time to time. Hannah had also become friends with my sister in law around the same as I and she mentioned to me that she was becoming a little obsessive but we both agreed, at that time to just let it go, she could have worse traits.
So, for a while things just plodded along as usual without any issues. Although, after months of being bombarded with these texts and Facebook messages, I felt that it was time to tell Hannah that it was a little too much. I did this in the kindest, friendliest way that I knew how and she seemed to take it on board, she apologised for being so overbearing and promised that she would calm it down a bit. I genuinely believed that this would be the end of it and that she had simply made a bit of a social faux pas. This was not the end.
In January 2015, I discovered that I was pregnant with my fourth baby, the house we were living in, a small three bed terrace, just wasn’t going to be big enough and so we decided to look for somewhere new and larger. I had been left some inheritance at the time so we were fortunate enough to have quite a few decent options and in the end we decided on an old two bed Victorian home which had been extended backwards, with an additional three bedrooms, bathroom and living space, the home was perfect. The three older children could take the extension and have their own private space, and Ryan and I would take the master bedrooom upstairs which was next to another room, ideal for baby. I was so happy, but as many of you know, moving house is no mean feat and requires a lot of your time and effort. This coupled with been in the early stages of pregnancy, feeling exhausted and nauseous all day long, really took its toll on me. I spent a lot of my time, when I wasn’t focusing on the house move, sleeping or relaxing. The last thing that I felt like doing was donning my winter gear and trekking off into the town to drink coffee or going shopping. Hannah did not understand this.
I explained to her how I was feeling and how busy I was with the move and she said that she understood and was happy to wait to meet up until I had everything sorted and was feeling less fatigued. I did think that she would be able to relate to this since she was a mother herself and knew how being pregnant made you feel. I was wrong.
She would still text me daily ‘when are you free to meet up?’ ‘are you better now? can we arrange to catch up?’ and so on. I told her several times that I would contact her about seeing her once the house move was complete (bear in mind that it was a rental so it would go through in weeks rather than months) and she could come up and see the new home. It seemed that this wasn’t enough for her.
Moving day came and at around 10am she messaged me to ask if I had got the keys, I told her that with Ryan being at work until 2pm, we wouldn’t be going to the estate agent until later that day and that we would get the keys and just move a few boxes, fully moving in over the following few days. 4pm came and she text me asking if we had moved in yet and when could she come over. I was quite astonished if I am perfectly honest. Sometimes over the course of our friendship, I had noticed that Hannah could be a little naive to the ways of the world and I found that almost an endearing quality in her, kind of cute, if you will. But I couldn’t believe what she was asking me. I replied to tell her that, no we had far from moved in and again that I would contact her in due course.
As you can probably imagine by now, I had been innundated with texts, whatsapp messages, Facebook etc but with how busy I was, I didn’t reply to them. A few days passed and the messages didn’t stop so I again, as nicely as I could told her that this was not OK and she needed to give me some time. I don’t think that I was being unreasonable, I had a lot on my plate, I had been in touch when I could and it wasn’t as though I had ended the friendship but that certainly felt like I had with the way she was acting.
Hannah did not listen to my request, despite trying to talk to her rationally many times, and despite the fact that by this point my sister in law had given up on her for very similar reasons. After a lot of deliberation, I ended the friendship, I explained to her that as much as I enjoyed her company and had a good time with her that she was becoming so overbearing that I couldn’t deal with this on top of looking after three children, moving home and being pregnant. I kindly asked her not to contact me again after we had the conversation.
In the months that followed, and I will spare you every little detail because I would be here all night writing this post otherwise, but Hannah became more obsessed than ever. She would ‘accidentally’ send me messages meant for other people, this I could understand if it were a one-off but when it was happening on a weekly, even bi-weekly basis, I doubted it very much. She would send me extremely long winded messages about how she wanted to remain friends and that she would change, sometimes the content of which was quite disturbing. I genuinely began to wonder whether she suffered from some sort of mental health condition, and I’m not saying this lightly or in jest, I genuinely mean it.
Meanwhile, Hannah had also been harrassing my sister in law, online, again despite her requests for no further contact. She would not stop at simply sending messages herself but would get other people to do it too, it got so bad that my sister in law was forced to ask for police assistance and Hannah was ordered not to contact her again, no matter what. This didn’t stop her.
Fast forward 18 months and Hannah had been on my mind for some time, I always did worry about her because she was a fragile woman who didn’t seem to have many people around her and I did miss her in a way. I decided, against the advice of everyone I knew, to get back in touch with her. She told me that she wanted to reignite our friendship and I said that I wanted that too, but it was going to come with some boundaries. I explained to her that yes, friends talk a lot and that’s great but if I tell her I am going out for the afternoon with my family and she keeps ringing because she doesn’t get a reply to a text that that’s taking it too far. And I’m not talking about ringing me because it was an emergency, I’m talking ‘oh you have to see this meme I’ve just found.’ I told her that I always endeavor to reply to messages from anyone as soon as I possibly can because I don’t like to leave people waiting, but that she must also understand that with now four children and a life of my own, that I can’t be sat with my phone in my hand all day long. I told her that I didn’t want to sound like I was being horrible or trying to make her feel bad but that if she wanted this friendship to work then things would have to give. And it wasn’t one sided, I understood that she had this neediness, for want of a better word, so I made the effort to contact her more than I would my other friends just because I knew that it would make her feel more secure. I wanted give and take but I wanted her to understand personal space.
We spent a lot of time talking over Facebook, which I should add I previously blocked her from, changed my number and did all the usual things you would do to prevent unwanted contact but she always found a way to get in touch, and we both talked about how we felt. Ryan was understandably skeptical about all of this and for a while told me that he wanted nothing to do with her because of the stress she caused me during my pregnancy. I wasn’t overly happy about the idea of not being able to have her round when he was here but I understood where he was coming from and explained this to Hannah. I also told her that I wasn’t ready to take things straight back to how they were and we would need to reignite things slowly. She agreed to this and in the year that followed she and I became close once more.
However, things took a turn once again. Her obsessive messaging reappeared and at first I gently told her ‘Hey, you’re texting a lot aren’t you lol’ trying to keep it light hearted and hoping it was nothing. But it wasn’t. It got so much worse again and then she did something that changed my feelings for her forever. Now bear in mind that Hannah had fabricated situations in the past in order to gain attention, sympathy, I’m not even sure and I kind of let it go because she would just call me and have a rant and that would be the end of it. This time though, she actually went to the lengths of creating a fake Facebook profile, of another girl, who she claimed she had known for about 12 years (but her own mother had never heard of her) Hannah was the type to introduce you to and talk a lot about other people in her life so the fact that I, nor her mother had ever heard of this woman, struck a chord right away. She claimed that Sarah (let’s call her) was harrassing her online, bullying her and causing her nothing but problems. She sent me screenshots of conversations with Sarah where Sarah would be abusive but the whole time I couldn’t help thinking that something was amiss. The conversation actually looked fabricated, in that the language, way of spelling, everything that Sarah used mirrored Hannah to a T. Then Sarah told Hannah that she would contact Natalie (again not her real name) my sister in law, just to cause trouble to Hannah. I found this extremely odd as from what Hannah had told me earlier, she had never mentioned anything about Natalie to her since they hadn’t spoken in quite some time.
I was visiting my brother in law at the time and I had gathered enough evidence together, including finding ‘Sarahs’ profile photo as a stock image online, to tell Hannah that enough was finally enough. I sent her a message detailing everything that concerned me about the whole situation and that I had given her a chance to remain friends once but I wasn’t about to be taken for a mug again. She tried to call me but with me being with family, I didn’t take the call. Out of nowhere, I then get a message from the Sarah profile, forgive me I cannot even remember what it said now but at the exact same time, Natalie was also receiving messages from her. I then went to my message thread with Hannah who was offline (totally unheard of) and sent her a message to say that I was with family and I wasn’t going to be taking her call at that time. Hannah did not reply. But Sarah kept conversing with me. Sarah went offline and the very second she did, Hannah came back online and replied to my message. This confirmed it for me. And that was the last time I spoke with her, almost.
I did have it out with her about everything, and not just the things that I have detailed here but there were other lies that had surfaced which I confronted her about. She denied everything. What actually really concerns me is that I do worry for her mental health, some of the things that she has done (for example claiming that she was racially attacked and hit in the town when with her children) which I later found out was not true, these are things that ‘normal’ people wouldn’t say. I worry about her, I do. Perhaps I shouldn’t because I tried to be a friend and a support to her but she was never honest or upfront with me and her mentality seems to be all over the place. Since we stopped talking, I have blocked her once again on all social media, she now sends me random 50p or £1 via paypal from time to time but thats the only contact I have now.
I also know, that she reads this blog, and while I wanted to share this story, I also want her to know that this was never intended as a dig at her, and that her mental health is a concern of mine.And for her or anyone else, having a mental health condition and seeking help for it is nothing to be ashamed of. I’m living proof of that Living with OCD will explain my own issues. Perhaps I should have been a more understanding friend, given more of my time, but then that would take away from the time my children got from me and they come first. Maybe I could have done more, maybe I didn’t do enough.
The end remains the same, not all relationships are going to work out as you plan, and it’s best to let go. One thing that we will always take away from situations like these are lessons, lessons about ourselves, about other people and about how humans interact with one another and why.