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What do I do -- dealing with ex-instructor

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  • What do I do -- dealing with ex-instructor

    I have considered posting this for a long time. I have had the same riding instructor since I was 14 (so 20+years). In the past four years, my life has changed radically. My mom died, I suddenly became physical and financial caretaker to twice as many animals as I had plus the farm, my family situation went downhill, and I became much more focused on my job -- which also became much more demanding of my time and energy. Which I do not mind.

    However, my riding instructor (RI) has been an emotional drain. She has many personal issues which she is unwilling to address or fix, but does not mind complaining about constantly to anyone who will listen, which, until a few months ago, was usually me.

    I don't want to go into the whole list of reasons why I really want to distance myself from her (that would be a novel). Let me say that I have rescued several cats from her who otherwise would have died; she dumped Bodie on me when I was to take him for thirty days of riding; she has put my life in danger twice in the past two years, once by chasing a mare I was riding on the longe with a whip until she reared and almost went over backwards with me up. There are more reasons, but most of it comes down to the fact that I believe she is unhappy and therefore must make others around her just as unhappy by controlling and, to an extent, abusing them. It has gotten worse in the past few years.

    A year and a half ago, I asked her to help me find homes for three of my horses, as I could no longer really afford to take care of them and support the horses my family had dumped on me, too; she told me I had to tell my family to take care of their own horses, and if they wouldn't, then she would only help me find homes for two.

    I have not spoken to her since last fall, when she made a comment about my family dumping their animals on me, and then laughed and said "well, I guess I dumped Bodie on you too didn't I?" Suddenly, the switch flipped in my brain and I realized all the things I had overlooked, or refused to look at, for so long. I knew what was going on, but she had been like my mom for so long, I overlooked it. All those incidents floated to the surface and I was finally distanced enough to recognize them as a pattern.

    My question is this. She still calls and emails and texts me. I have not returned any of those. It is the coward's way out and I know it. How much do I tell her? Do I spell out absolutely every reason, or do I keep it simple? This is a woman who accepts nothing easily. If I give reasons, they will end up all over her Facebook page and I will end up the bad guy. If I simply say "I'm sorry, but we have grown apart and I think I need to distance myself from this relationship," she will hound me until I am forced to give her reasons. Which will then end up on Facebook.

    If you've made it this far, thank you. If you wish to respond, thank you even more. This has me sleepless at night. I really am not part of the horse scene in our area anymore; I have horses that need to be rehomed so I can focus on other goals; I just don't know how to handle this situation.

  • #2
    If I give reasons, they will end up all over her Facebook page and I will end up the bad guy. If I simply say "I'm sorry, but we have grown apart and I think I need to distance myself from this relationship," she will hound me until I am forced to give her reasons. Which will then end up on Facebook.
    You can't control what she does, but you can control what YOU do. Block her on facebook so you don't have to see her posts and so that she may not contact you on there. Problem solved. Whatever she says isn't going to get under your skin if you don't know about it.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


    • #3
      If you've already gone nealy half a year without talking to her, you can just keep on doing what you are doing (ignoring her attempts at contact) and hope she gets a clue. You could block texts, emails and phone calls so you don't have to deal with them. Most cell phone carriers will allow you to block certain numbers and email can be automatically routed to a trash folder.

      If you feel you need to say something, just tell her that you have far too much on your plate to have a relationship with her and you do not, otherwise, owe her an explanation. But, from what you say, that might seem like re-opening the door again. Some people are irrational enough, and enough of a drain on your emotional resources, that you really do have to cut them loose cold turkey.


      • #4
        You don't owe her anything. You don't owe her an explanation. The "I'm sorry, but we have grown apart and at this point in my life I think I need to distance myself from this relationship. I wish you all the best and will have fond memories of growing up with you" should be more than sufficient.

        If anyone buys into the drama she creates and stirs up, you don't owe them an explaination either.


        • #5
          I see no reason to reply to her, nor to feel bad about it. I was in sort of the same situation, although probably not as severe: I'd been working with the instructor for four years. When things went south she didn't dump a horse on me but started asking for money. I moved barns. She hasn't been in touch, probably because she owes me hundreds of dollars of pre-paid lessons. I consider it money well lost.


          • #6
            Decide how much you're willing to entertain with her, use that to set up the communication, and tell her in one sentence why you would like her to stop contacting you.

            "I do not have the emotional energy required for this friendship to continue, please do not contact me."

            You know her, you can decide how much crap you're willing to listen to at that point, but I wouldn't recommend attempting to justify yourself in any way, or answer her questions with anything but the exact same answer "I do not have the emotional energy required for this friendship to continue, I have valued our relationship in the past and I'm not doing this to hurt you or suggest that you need to change, this is a decision that is best for me."

            Practice what you want to say, and make sure that your language is focused on YOU (using "me" and "I," never "you") and communicate by listening to what she says, and responding politely but not justifying or giving a bunch of information.

            She'll probably be upset. It's hard to break up a friendship, but it doesn't sound like you can gracefully drift apart. If she's a broadcaster and you have mutual friends, be prepared for their questions too, and assure them that you and she have parted ways, but you bear her no ill will and mutual friendships don't need to be affected.

            Basically, it's like breaking up with a Junior High School boyfriend. Sounds like she's roughly that mature.
            Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior


            • #7
              Do not open the door by responding. Don't feed the troll!


              • #8
                Wow -- and I promise I don't intend this in a mean way -- do you really want to let fear of Facebook dictate the way in which you live your real life? It almost sounds as if you are being held hostage by the threat of Facebookian retribution.

                This chick is a stone around your neck. Tell her you are ending the relationship, Facebook be damned. "We have grown apart" is tactful and reason enough for any adult, "personal issues" or no.

                Good luck.
                Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life


                • #9
                  Dont do anything. You dont owe her an explanation. Thats what she wants, so she can tell you how it was your fault , you were wrong, and cant we put this past us, and move on. Then when you are guilted into a corner, and try to continue the relationship, the abuse starts all over. You can avoid all this by NOT replying at all. This is a common bait, hook, and switch tatic these people use. Believe me they know if you contact them at all they have a chance cause you opened the door. Dont do it.

                  What drives these people crazy is when they realize they have lost you for good. They cant get over it. They cant believe you actually closed the door on them. I mean after all the years you put up with it, they believe you would never put your foot down and say no more. Go ahead ask me how I came to these conclusions. Good luck.
                  Just like our eyes, our hearts have a way of adjusting to the dark.--Adam Stanley


                  • #10
                    Go to the facebook profile page, and you can 'hide' all of her postings and limit her access to your page, and she'll never know. Stop looking at her facebook page too. Block her email, and she won't know that either (a friend and I did a test, and the emails just disappear, and the sender doesn't know about it), and don't return calls. Just delete her text threads, and if she asks you why you don't answer say your phone service must be messed up. Life is too short to put up with people like this, and you'll be happier without her.
                    You can't fix stupid-Ron White


                    • #11
                      Assuming your screen name are real names of your horses and your location is correct, it takes minimal Googling to pull up this thread.

                      If any of your mutual acquaintances also read this forum, there are so many identifying points in your post that they are going to put 2 and 2 together and the link will make it back to your trainer.

                      So... whatever you do right this moment, be aware that this thread stands a good chance of being found now or in the future and getting back to the trainer. So you're probably going to have to deal with that fallout eventually anyway.
                      She Gets Lost


                      • #12
                        Best to keep ignoring her.

                        If by any reason you have to say anything about this to her or any other person, I would not say "you have grown apart" or other such, more the line of "I am so very busy with stuff, I really don't have time for any other" and keep repeating that, no matter what anyone said.
                        That gives you a reason no one can argue with or ask for reasons, you already gave them, "too busy today to think about any of that in the past".

                        This way, it is the polite thing for anyone to do to eventually keep asking anything about this.

                        I hope you get the rest of your life straighten out, once all other problems are solved.


                        • #13
                          Man, that sounds like a sucky situation. I don't blame you one bit for getting away and not wanting to talk to her.
                          I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo


                          • #14
                            A) I would change your location so that this thread is harder to track back to you
                            B) This woman is self-destructive and not afraid of taking others down with her. Nothing you do or say can help someone who does not want help. Maintain your distance. Trying to explain why you have not spoken to her will refuel her attempts to contact you.
                            C) If at all possible block her number, filter her emails as junk, set her on maximum privacy on facebook if you cannot defriend her, and do not visit her facebook page under any circumstance.

                            Let your relationship with her be the past. Do not try to fix things.


                            • #15
                              I read your post to say that you have not contacted her or responded to her attempts to contact you since the fall of 2012.

                              If my understanding is correct, and she is continuing to try to contact you, she sounds kind of stalker-ish. I think any contact from you will only encourage her. So block her number, set up a trash folder that her emails go directly to, and block her on FB.

                              If you feel like you must say something, then keep it short. "Please do not contact me again."
                              I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


                              • #16
                                From the OP, I don't know if this was actually an abusive relationship or just one with inappropriate lack of boundaries. The longe whip/horse rearing example sounds like one where if you were uncomfortable you should have said no, and if you didn't realize it was bad, she may just be a crappy instructor who didn't realize she had pushed too far either, not necessarily any kind of abuse.

                                Regardless, you sound as if you have trouble setting appropriate boundaries and once you realized how far they had been crossed you needed to take a large action to fix things. I would keep the boundaries where you now have them, because you clearly still have emotion involved in the situation and if you had trouble with boundaries before I suspect you will again.

                                It is acceptable to do what YOU need to do for YOURSELF. Women are often raised not to set boundaries, but instead to "be nice" and help everyone (all those animals you have taken in, for example) and never protest. Congratulations on figuring out you matter, too! I think if you accept that you didn't set those boundaries with her it will help you both see where she stepped over any attempts you made at boundaries and where you let it happen, and that will help you both let go of any residual resentment and anger you may have, but also help you moving forward with your life.

                                Good luck! Cutting out those who have toxic effects on our lives can be tough!
                                If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


                                • #17
                                  You were a teenager when you met her and now you've grown into an adult. Unfortunately it sounds like she hasn't changed at all and you now see her for who she is. If you must say something, say "I want to thank you for all the help you've given me in the past, but right now I need to tend to other things in my life." Or something similar.

                                  Hit send, then don't respond again. Like others have said put her on the ignore list and move on. Eventually she'll give up and find someone else who will give her the feedback she's looking for.

                                  Quite sad really. She must be very unhappy. Toxic people bring you down, you NEVER bring them up - at least that's been my experience. I used to try to help peope like that, now I just stay away.


                                  • #18
                                    From personal experience here...the best thing I ever did to let someone know to leave me alone was the straight forward sentence, "Don't contact me again." There are no ifs, ands or buts in there. Once I did it, such a burden was lifted off my shoulders and the relief was great.

                                    As for FB, as I did, once you realize it's your page, only folks who make the cut can be on it. Took me a while because I didn't want to hurt feelings.
                                    GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Thank you everyone, for your responses.

                                      I am not FB friends with her, nor do I go to her FB page. I simply know what will happen, and those are consequences I will have to deal with.

                                      It sounds like most people are in agreement that simple is best, or even continuing what I am doing. Many of you have hit the nail on the head: no boundaries. Now, suddenly, boundaries.

                                      Netg, you're absolutely right, and I fear that letting down those boundaries even a little might not be a good thing. Bluey, thanks -- life is getting there, slowly but surely. And I think that suggestion is probably best -- no time, thanks for calling, gotta go. Hulk, you and I sound a bit in the same boat.


                                      • #20
                                        Like others have said you have already made a break with her by not answering her calls all these months. I would just continue to do so. If you do happen to meet or have contact just tell her you are just too busy right now with your own family concerns / needs and leave it at that.