Monday 16 February 2015

When Your Gal Pal Goes Crazy

Occasionally I get an "Auntie Seraphic" letter from a reader saddened by the insanely self-defeating behaviour of a female friend. The reader often sounds as if she is at her wits' end over her friend, and invariably I will start my reply by asking, "How are you?"

I am always more interested in the reader than in her friend-gone-crazy because there is absolutely nothing I can do for the friend-gone-crazy. I can do something for my reader, and it is to shock her into considering her own mental and physical health.

Craziness is contagious, and women who get over-involved in their friends sexual/romantic/addiction misfortunes can start deteriorating themselves. I once raced out of work to hunt the bars for an alcoholic boyfriend; that's when I knew for sure I had become a co-dependent.

It hurts very much to see a friend behave incredibly stupidly over a man. Recently I had an email from a reader who had been a good influence on a culturally Catholic friend and  accompanied her on a journey to become spiritually Catholic. The friend is classically beautiful so in her wild days had no trouble attracting and bedding men although winning a husband was, of course, a different story. She keeps loneliness at bay with the bottle and recently met a foreigner, a man of a different culture,* over a non-Catholic dating website.

The man was wonderful and told her how beautiful she was and how much he was in love with her, and she believed all that. Then he asked her for sex, and she said no. He immediately lost interest, and she was sad. So sad, in fact, that she began to chase him and, indeed, went to bed with him. He then told her that he would be really mad if they did not remain friends. And, by the time my reader wrote to me, the friend was behaving like a lunatic: making serious mistakes at work, drinking, weeping, wanting to call the guy up for comfort, wanting revenge,  wanting to have deep "closure" conversations with him. My reader was terrified that her friend was going to lose her high-pressure job. What could she do?

Nothing. Honestly nothing except to take the phone calls when they are at reasonable hours (not 2 AM) and listen. To say, over and over again:  You deserve better than him. Cut your losses. He doesn't matter.  To say, Don't call him, without investing one ounce of ego into it, so that she isn't hurt when her friend goes ahead and calls him anyway.

I didn't think of it at the time, but it must have been a slap in the face of my reader, who may have thought she was a real influence in her beautiful friend's life, helping bring her back to Christ, to find out that some two-bit seducer off a dating site had even MORE influence. That must hurt like hell, if it comes as a surprise.

It does not come as a surprise to me because with the exception of addiction to alcohol or illegal drugs, the most powerful think I can think of is sexual attraction. It takes social agreement, serious discipline, a well-informed conscience or servile fear, and grace to withstand the siren call of sex, especially in an age that talks about it ALL THE TIME. (And here am I talking about it, too.) The one time I can think of friends being able to stop the power of sex in its tracks is at some club with the girl being drunk and one friend taking one arm and the other friend taking her other arm and literally marching her out and away from the guy she has just met.

Wishful thinking is also very potent. Sex doesn't even have to come into it. Another reader has a friend who has bludgeoned her boyfriend, after years of chaste dating, into proposing marriage. Months later, there is still no wedding date. And another reader has a friend who has already been told by the guy that he's not interested but she follows him around anyway. What can the readers do? Nothing. Speak their minds once--possibly risking the friendship--and that's it.  If these women are willing to sacrifice their youth, beauty and fertile years on men who are just not into them, that is their business. It's sad--it's downright tragic--but there is nothing anyone else can do about it.

Oh, there is prayer. Prayer is amazing. I have been praying for an impossible situation for twenty years, and slowly but surely the situation is improving. In twenty more years, who knows what further progress will have been made?

*That's a whole other post. For now, let's just say that if you think he's attractive because he's "exotic", which is sex-tinged racism, he might think you are "easy meat", which is also sex-tinged racism. This is a huge problem in the UK right now.

Here's some "disco polo" from a strangely ugly boy band to cheer us all up. "Jesteś szalona" means "You're a crazy girl."


  1. Haha, I don't believe you put disco polo here, LOL!!! By the way: did you know there is a LATIN version of this song? Shock!

  2. Yeah, I have had 30-something friends who have made me think, "Wait. I'm ten years younger than you...and apparently more mature and self-aware. How does THAT happen?"

    I get so frustrated when I hear of women wasting their youth, beauty and fertility on men who don't really care either way. I think it's very common. And oh, women bludgeoning their boyfriends into's pretty distressing to me.

    I think that women do it for a few reasons, one being that they're not sure that 'anything better' will come along if they ditch their current boyfriends. Most women do not have a queue of suitors at their doors. Most of us don't get multiple marriage proposals. And so women think that they'd better just accept what they've got because there's no guarantee that any other man will be interested. It's unfortunate that they think that any romantic relationship is superior to being single.

  3. My life became so much better when I stopped stressing over my friends' relationships. I think I used to be co-dependent too. But these days I can have a pleasant chat with a lovely but troubled friend who tends to move in with men a few months after meeting them, plan babies, be disappointed and then all over again. She is almost 40 years old. I say a silent prayer for her and that's about all I can do.

  4. It happens because sexual attraction can make even Nobel Prize winners crazy. It made Simone de Beauvoir, who was ultimately dumped by Jean Paul Sartre, crazy. It has made me crazy. And B.A. and I were both completely crazy when we fell in love, so it is a good thing we actually like and admire each other, too. When you pray the Lord's Prayer, add extra emphasis when you get to "Lead us not into temptation"!


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