Former friend back, is she being a frenemy?

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Hi. I recently became friends again with someone who I knew months ago. I'll call her Susan for the sake of clarity. I decided to rekindle our friendship because my boyfriend at that time was manipulating me and isolating me from my friends. (I am no longer with him). So I on the off chance that I may have let a good friend go I chose to rekindle the friendship.

I am puzzled by her behavior and am not sure how to handle the situation. She is in AA and is recovering from drugs abuse so I'm trying to keep that in mind. She comes off as sweet and endearing to everyone but at times she is completely the opposite. Let me explain why I am so confused.
The day I rekindled this friendship she suddenly out of no where deletes all her friends (including me and my boyfriend - who also knows her from the same place months ago) and deletes her Discord server. When my boyfriend and I ask what happened, she responded with "f*ck you." Knowing she gets emotional easily, my boyfriend and I asked her a few times what was wrong. Nothing. Then about an hour or so later, we are friends again.

Now, today, as soon as she signs into Discord, she messages me saying, "I was being nice to this guy at work and he ended up getting his friends to beat me up after I left work... They took the tips I made and called me a whore and pushed me then kicked me while I was down." I immediately was concerned. She said she was crying and couldn't talk but she could text. I said ok. I asked her if she made a police report and received no answer. She sounded so upset and I was worried about her relapsing or hurting herself that I told her to contact her sponsor if she felt the need to hurt herself or turn to alcohol and/or drugs. She didn't respond to that either.

Later I am watching her stream a video game and everything seems ok. Then out of no where she says, "I want to bite you." I was taken aback by the sudden random comment and pretended I didn't hear her. She says it again. In a lighthearted manner, I ask her why would you want to bite me. She says, "I don't know. I just want to bite you." It sounded odd in delivery. I couldn't discern whether she meant it playfully or threateningly so I ask again why would she want to do that. She responds she doesn't know. So to make a boundary on what I will accept and not accept from such random statements, I respond, still sounding friendly but making a boundary, "Well, if you bite me, just know I bite back." She didn't say anything else. Then said she wanted to watch a movie online with me and someone else in chat.

I said I was down for that as long as it wasn't a tearjerker and sad because I had felt enough of that lately. She said sounding very disappointed that she was in the mood to watch something sad. I said they could watch the movie and I would play a game or something else. Then she starts asking me do I just not want to watch anything that is sad. I say yes, I'm just not into something sad like Terms of Endearment. She says all movies have a sad part but then end happy. Then she asks different questions about the level of sadness I can handle. I say if it has a happy ending, it's cool.

So we go to the website to watch a movie. She chose "Blood Diamond" and I cringe. Not what I had in mind for a sad movie that has a happy ending. I don't say anything because the other person would just think I am being mean if I say I don't feel up to watching this. She did this type of thing months ago. I thought because my boyfriend was manipulative that he was influencing the friendship.

Anyway, we are watching the movie now except I am tabbed out writing here in the forums trying to make sense of this. Is she truly wanting to be my friend? Or is she just looking for drama? If anyone can shed some light on how to handle this situation, I'd appreciate it. Everyone thinks she is so sweet and adorable. I think she is at times too. But I saw a different side to her months ago and no one believes me. My boyfriend wants to give her benefit of the doubt because we know my ex to be a liar and manipulator. I'm so confused on how to handle this situation. I don't want to lose anyone close to me (boyfriend or friends) because they have never encountered the dark side of Susan. I have a feeling I am going to be put into a situation where I look like the bad guy and she is the damsel in distress, and everyone thinks I am being cruel or something.

Not sure what is going on and how to handle it. Help!
 

Justmehere

Moderator
I think your friend is unaware of what you find to be acceptable and unacceptable in a relationship.
She responds she doesn't know. So to make a boundary on what I will accept and not accept from such random statements, I respond, still sounding friendly but making a boundary, "Well, if you bite me, just know I bite back."
Setting an effective boundary “what I will accept and not accept from such random statements“ is being much more direct — it’s stating “I will not accept....”

Simply responding in kind could be taken as playful. You need to be much more direct and clear.
I don't say anything because the other person would just think I am being mean if I say I don't feel up to watching this. She did this type of thing months ago. I thought because my boyfriend was manipulative that he was influencing the friendship.
The ex has nothing to do with your making a movie choice. It is not being mean to tell someone you don’t want to watch a movie. If you don’t want to watch it, the fact that you are watching it anyhow doesn’t actually fall on your f wind being a terrible person. It’s on you to make the choice to not watch it. You did clear state what you wanted to watch and she picked what she wanted. She didn’t manipulate you into watching it. She just disagreed.

She can’t read minds and doesn’t seem to understand or listen to weakly held boundaries.
My boyfriend wants to give her benefit of the doubt because we know my ex to be a liar and manipulator.
It is very unclear what your terrible ex has to do with understanding your friend now.

I’d focus on being much more direct and saying no, setting and keeping limits in this friendship and not worrying so much about being mean.

Then she if she changes and her behavior improves. If not, then you will likely know what is what more clearly.

And if you don’t want to be friends, don’t be friends. Don’t make her a charity friendship. I think idid s much more important in your own process of healing from the terrible ex to learn to express yourself more clearly, state no more clearly, and take your power back.

If she’s a good friend to keep around, she’ll respect your boundaries and celebrate you taking your power back.
 
@Justmehere Ok, I'll make it more clear and direct next time. It is difficult at times because of the mental manipulation I went through with my ex and how bad it made me feel. So I am trying to be gentle in my approach since she is in recovery. I forgot to mention that when we rekindled our friendship that we were both starting with a clean slate so to speak. Anything that happens from that moment on is how we will proceed as friends. Maybe I should have been more specific? I wasn't sure what she was getting at when she spoke about wanting to bite me. I didn't want to jump her case if she didn't mean anything by it. On the same note, I didn't want to seem like a push over either.

@EveHarrington I am not sure if she is dual diagnosis.

@Stephernovas She did do something similar before but due to the manipulation by my ex I didn't trust my judgment where she was concerned. We've both said we are beginning with a clean slate. I thought I made my boundaries clear when we spoke before rekindling the friendship but I guess I need to be more specific.
 

Justmehere

Moderator
It can be hard to be direct, especially when someone is in recovery —- but here’s the thing: it’s also all he more helpful. She’s got the courage to go to AA. She’s got the courage to have a clean slate with you. She has the support to hear what might feel hard.

Try using the language “when you say... I feel...” Something like “when you say you’ll bite me I feel a bit confused...” Or in the moment where she totally flipped out and said “f*ck you” - that’s a place to say “hey, when you said and did that, I felt hurt and confused...” then state what you need and want instead. Sometimes it goes over easier when a boundary is follow by an alternative way to act. Like, “instead of just telling me to f*ck off when you are pissed, I need you to....” whatever that is.

Then she knows better how to be a good friend to you.

Will she do it? Well, if she doesn’t, then you know, much more surely that she’s not going to be a good friend, and end the friendship.

It is easy for many to discount ones own judgement after being manipulated. You do have a good instinct that something is off. You were incredibly smart to set boundaries before rekindling the friendship. It’s great you are reaching out for feedback from others. It will get easier over time to trust your own sense of things.
 
Ok, thanks. I think I am going to put a post-it note on my laptop to remember the phrasing you used or say something similar. Time will tell how things go. I appreciate the help. :)

Oh, one other question. Since she said she was attacked today, I haven't mentioned it to my boyfriend or anyone else because I thought if she wanted others to know she would tell them. I figure it isn't my place to tell anyone. Is that the right thing to do in this situation? I feel so off center trying to navigate this whole thing
 
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Justmehere

Moderator
Yeah. I’d agree. Your sense of it is solid. It’s for her to report or share with others. I hope she does get help and support for it. You can encourage her to connect with a victim advocate at the police dept., but it’s hers to decide.
 
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