Horrible childhood turned best pal into doomster

I'm 26 and my best friend is a woman who I went to school with and who now works with me. We have been friends since we were five. I love her dearly. She truly is my best friend.

I'm 26 and my best friend is a woman who I went to school with and who now works with me. We have been friends since we were five. I love her dearly. She truly is my best friend.

She had a difficult childhood. Her parents are alcoholics and their marriage was marked by abuse. They divorced when she was 14 and she lived with her mother and three siblings. When her father left, she took over. She cooked, cleaned and got the kids to school while her mother hit the bottle.

She moved out as soon as she could. She's had her own place since we were 19. There was no money to study so she got a job. Today she earns a good salary as a manager.

She has a wonderful boyfriend who adores her and treats her like a queen. She has great and caring friends. She has a brand-new car, a beautiful home, clothes and everything she needs. She goes away for weekends with her man and they travel overseas every 12 or 18 months. He's proposed to her and they intend marrying next year.

Her life is wonderful and yet all she does is moan and groan. Nothing is good, everyone is bad. She hasn't got enough money, enough love; it is too hot or too cold; her chair at work is uncomfortable; South Africans drive like idiots; criminals are out of control; the world is falling apart; and so on and so on.

I can't take it for another minute. I love her dearly, but soon I am either going to slap her or leave her.

I have tried many times to speak to her, but she won't listen. Her answer is: "Imagine if you had a childhood like mine."

Any suggestions?

Frustrated Friend, Johannesburg

How you have managed to stick with her so long is a miracle, sister. The fact that you are still her friend is testimony to how much you love her.

Suggest that she seek professional help to come to terms with her childhood and the anger and frustration she has carried into her adult life. She needs help to learn to accept what has happened.

Speak to her man, to sit down with you to urge her to seek help. If she refuses, perhaps she will think differently when you leave her. If she values you as her oldest and best friend, she might get help. Good luck.

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