What Happens When a Friendship Turns to Sh*t?

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down”.  Oprah Winfrey

I know in every long-term friendship,  like with any other relationship, you’ll hit a bad patch. But what happens when you absolutely do not recognize the person who has been your best friend forever? This is a question that I thought I would never be compelled to ask. My best friend…my brother, has turned into someone I can’t comprehend nor understand. He’s sullen, sulking, combative, moody, irritable, defensive…whew, it’s exhausting. It’s as if he’s turned into some Jekyll and Hyde, walking advertisement for schizophrenic psychotropic drugs. I’ve tried to talk with him but I’ve hit a brick wall every damn time.

More than anything, this is the behavior that’s the most puzzling; we have always been able to talk about any subject or issue that was bothering us, now we can barely talk about anything. He’s had several life-changing events in his little slice of the world over the last year and a half and I understand that, but I’ve been there for him every step of the way. However, the blame-game is what’s troubling. It seems that everything that’s going wrong in his life or bothering him, is someone or something else’s fault or responsibility.

The environment around him is most times…toxic and I called him on it. But as usual, he started with a childish response instead of an adult solution. This type of erratic behavior has only made our relationship even more strained and splintered. Today for example, he went with me to a meeting and all the way there you could feel the tension in the car. Normally we’re laughing, joking and having fun, but oh no, not this time, it was awful. On the way back, it was more of the same and when we are out and about, we normally stop by his home to see my niece/god-daughter (a long story about that title) and I had made arrangements with his wife to do so because I hadn’t seen my little muffin for about a week.

He made an excuse about being too busy and I could “catch up tomorrow”. Excuse me, but tomorrow is Monday and I haven’t won the lottery, so I need to handle my business. This is uncharacteristic behavior and I’m at a loss on what to do. Before anyone starts with maybe his wife has something to do with us having issues (which has been brought up by others), she’s a genuinely nice person and it’s not in her personality to cause trouble. Believe me, I know what friends and relatives look like when they’re knifing you in the back. I also want people to know that my brother is not an inherently bad person either, he has a good heart but at this moment, that’s just hard to remember.

I have almost arrived at the conclusion that maybe we need a good long break from one another…maybe we’ve hit an insurmountable brick wall and it’s just best to change routes…I don’t know at this point. I want him in my life, but I’m not quite sure that he still wants me in his. He has never verbally indicated anything of the sort, but if it’s not that, then what? The one thing that I feel he resents is my friendship with his wife…he even said to her, “why were we communicating”, that I was HIS friend…HIS sister. But how can I have a relationship with my niece/god-daughter and him if I don’t have some sort of amicable relationship with his wife? You see, none of this makes sense.

I’m at a loss on how to fix this and for me, that’s a first. I don’t want to keep going around in circles with him nor do I want to walk on eggshells around him. It has almost become untenable and that has to stop. Do friendships have expiration dates or do we need to freeze them every once in a while to make them last longer? What to do……

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