I mean really, loony-tunes crackers.
I have a friend, a very dear friend whom I’ve known for years and years. I knew she had mental issues, for which she is medicated and sees psychiatrists. I knew that every other relationship she’d had had ended in ugly meltdowns like this one. I know she has no relationships with any of her family and no colleagues in her field. As far as I can tell, even professional relationships with her always end this way. Somehow I guess I felt I was immune to it, because we’d been friends for so long, and long-distance makes it easier to avoid those kinds of meltdowns.
However, I was going to be in her neck of the country for a brief period for business, and she invited me to stay with her for a couple days. We, ostensibly, had a great time, visiting museums, ate some great food, had some good conversations. The last day I was there she was (I felt) extremely aggressive, unnecessarily so, towards a customer service person over the telephone while we were in the car. After the exchange ended, I told her it made me uncomfortable when she did that, and it set off this nuclear chain of events. For a brief period in high-speed freeway traffic I honestly thought I was going to be part of a murder-suicide.
I did get out of there and it ended on a reasonably good note, she even posed her dog for me to shoot some photos because I had an idea for a painting and liked a particular feature of her dog’s face. She asked me to send her copies.
There were a lot of photos, so when I got home I burned them to a CD rather than taking the time to email or file-transfer them. I wanted to send her a thank-you note and return a book she’d loaned me anyway, so I just included the disc of photos with them.
Yesterday she sends me an email asking about the photos. I tell her that I’ve burned the disc and will drop it all in the mail on Monday. She says thats not fast enough and she wants to see the photos right now. She asks me to use a web-based file transfer program that allows me to send a large file all in one shot. I attempt to do so, but can’t get it to work because, first of all, it wants me to sign up for an account and give them a lot of personal information, but also it runs script and requires a download, none of which I’m comfortable with.
I try in various ways throughout the evening to make the files smaller to send, but can’t get them sent. Meanwhile, she has a meltdown. She says terrible things about me as a person and about our friendship, accuses me of keeping the pictures from her out of spite and malice, and finally ends by demanding again that I show her the pictures, simultaneously threatening me with legal action regarding the ownership of those images.
I respond, staying as neutral and even-keel as possible, saying that I hope she’ll reconsider this exchange in the future, that I will still ship her the disc and such, but that she’ll need to remind me of her home address–otherwise I’ll send it to her place of business, and that’s fine too. That I care about her very much and, again, hope she’ll think about this in the future.
She responds with a tirade that is both violent and paranoid, said more really vicious things about how I’ve ruined her life, threatened me with more legal action in several different realms, and then followed up with a note that reads something like:
“By the way, let me make it clear in writing. You were trespassing on my property taking pictures without my knowledge, sneaking around my house using my computer while I was sleeping, and I still don’t know what else you might have taken that you didn’t tell me about. If I ever see any of those images published in any form I will sue you. I should sue you now. Don’t even think those photos belong to you.” And so on. A completely fabricated version of events–and I’m not sure whether she actually believes I was trespassing on her property, stealing, and taking photos without her permission (while she was there posing the dog for me), or if she just wrote that because she thinks that sets her up for some kind of legal basis to make unfounded accusations.
Now, I fully realize there’s nothing I can say or do about it. There’s nothing I could have said or done to stop it from happening, because it has nothing to do with me or my actions. I feel like I’m in mourning over a dear friend who, now, really and truly is alone in this world. She’s on the brink of losing everything, financially, professionally, in every other way, and I understand why that might drive someone to drive away the one good connection she has. I know that she has been actively suicidal in the past and I’m afraid for her again. I’m at a total loss.
It seems easy enough to say to myself that she made her own decision, I don’t need that kind of crazy in my life, and good luck to her… but I really do mourn the loss of the friendship we had and the friend that I knew and loved. I do wish I could send her the package, but know that’s probably a bad idea at this point, and I don’t know what, if anything, else to do.