I can see that my friend R. is starting to become quite aggressive towards our mutual friend Maggie and I, and am concerned that she is building up towards an explosion.
For example; last week I bought R. a pregnancy journal and took some photos of her baby bump, because she doesn't have a camera. But she snapped at me about things like trying to establish a time to meet, because she was getting a cellphone the next week - despite the fact that I hadn't seen or heard from her since the previous week and had no idea that this was happening. As far as knew, she didn't have enough money to buy one and wouldn't be getting one for a while. I was left thinking 'What am I supposed to be? A mind reader?' I have to take a bus right across town to see her, and never know if she'll be at home or not, because she cannot afford a home phone line. I feel like every time I try to do something nice for her, I get a slap in the face in return.
Also, whilst Maggie (a mutual friend) and I were visiting her last week, asked for both of our numbers. When she texted me, I passed her number on to Maggie. The next day R. sent me a text saying that I shouldn't have given Maggie her number and that Maggie was being rude to her, because she kept calling her 'Wee Ears' - I sent a text back saying that she should tell Maggie how she felt, then she'd probably stop calling her that and that I doubted that Maggie meant anything by it. R. did so but she was quite unpleasant about it and they ended up having a fight. R. told Maggie to fuck off and not contact her again. Maggie said she should get over herself, grow up, and that she'd be there for R. when she was ready.
Maggie emailed me this morning and said that she dosn't understand why R. was so upset about her using (what was intended as) an affectionate nickname casually. She didn't mean any harm by it, and was completely sideswiped by R.'s reaction. Now Maggie and her partner are both having second thoughts about remaining in contact with R. Which is a pity, because they've tried to be supportive of her, given her baby clothes (because R. is pregnant) and offered her help and advice.
Now I'm reluctant to vist R. tomorrow as planned, because I'm aware of the fact that she will probably go on at me about giving Maggie her number and about the fight they had. And if I tell her what I really think, which is that she is alienating all of the people who care about her and want to support her, she will probably get angry with me and explode.
She can be quite verbally abusive and personal in the things that she says (and how she says them), plus she has a habit of telling people to fuck off and not contact her again, only to get over it and get back in touch within the month. The problem is, people are getting sick of it. Sick of getting caught in the middle, sick of being used and abused, sick of R.'s temper tantrums, constant dramas, clinginess, paranoia and need for attention, sick of being discarded or being told to fuck off, sick of having to watch every little thing they say around her and sick of walking on eggshells.
Sooner or later, R. will run out of chances and have no friends left. And I don't want that to happen to her, because I know that she needs to have people around her for support, especially considering the fact that she's having a baby. I also realize that this is something which she finds difficult to control and that she won't be changing anytime soon. That perhaps she cannot change and will never change. And I'm doing my best to be understanding and patient with her, because I know that it's hard for her.
She tends to follow a random pattern of being friendly, becoming suspicious and hostile, exploding, withdrawing and then reconnecting a few weeks later. Things are usually calm for a while, but then the cycle reasserts itself.
I'm aware of it, and have seen it happen many times before. I just don't know how to create some form of damage control and set firm boundaries with R., so that I will not be abused or caught in the middle myself, and so that there can be some way of myself and others being there for her without getting caught up in the middle of these vicious cycles.
If you can offer me any insight or advice into these matters, I'd really appreciate it.