My friend is like my horrid parent

Recently an old school friend has come back into my life. She has heard that there is a room coming vacant in the house I share and has asked if she can move in. The problem is that since we’ve met up again, she reminds me of my mother.  She is a difficult mother and taken advantage of every opportunity to undermine me. If I challenge her she will always make the situation my fault.  She claims suggestions are helpful but I know from experience they are criticisms and put-downs. I have learnt  over the years to distance myself, keep her at arms length and try to make our conversations uncontroversial. 

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So when this friend first came round to my home, and started moving the cushions around in the sitting room and told me to change the ‘dreadful’ curtains that I chose and like, it suddenly struck me she had very similar characteristics to my mother.  Unfortunately she has assumed that my house mate, who she hasn’t even met yet, and I will automatically agree to her moving in, but I am very anxious about it.  I fear that if she moves in she will take control and decide how the place is run. But if I turn down her request, that will be the end of our friendship.  I am someone who finds it hard to say ‘no’ but having left home some years ago I treasure my freedom and don’t want to take a backwards step and let someone make me feel uncomfortable or even control me. 

It often happens that the experience of a horrid parent makes you recognise the signs when other difficult people appear in your life. This includes friends and colleagues. Well done for finding a  way to manage your mother by keeping her at arms length and we would recommend you do the same with your friend.  You may lose her friendship but if she is as toxic as you describe you are better off without her.  Instead try to make new, true friends who make you feel at ease and good about yourself.