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by Abigail Van Buren

One-Way Friendship Ends, But Feelings of Guilt Remain

DEAR ABBY: My "friend" from childhood, "Camille," has never had my back. I have done the heavy lifting in our friendship our whole lives.

While I was on vacation two years ago, she was diagnosed with cancer. I came home immediately and drove to the hospital at 1 a.m. to be by her side. I've always been by Camille's side for everything, even though she hasn't been there for me. I told her that several times, to no avail.

I went to every chemo and doctor appointment, and was there every day to rub her feet to make her feel better. I threw her a party for 100 people to "kick cancer's butt," took her on a vacation -- it goes on and on.

I ended the one-sided friendship last year. My problem is, I feel guilty for doing it. I feel I left her with cancer. But I also feel that because someone is sick doesn't give them the right to be abusive or inconsiderate. Camille hasn't tried to contact me, either. In fact, she has told others that she will never speak to me again.

I bent over backward for her, but if some other person sent a card, she would make a big deal out of it. I'm deeply hurt and don't know how to move on. Help! -- WOUNDED ON THE EAST COAST

DEAR WOUNDED: One way to stop feeling guilty and get on with your life would be to acknowledge in your head and your heart that the relationship with Camille was not a healthy one for you. In fact, from the way you have described it, it was more like a bad habit.

Bad habits can be difficult to break, but many people have been able to accomplish it by replacing a bad habit with a good one. Example: Instead of feeling guilty for not rubbing Camille's feet, consider getting a pedicure for yourself. Although it might seem expensive, it would be cheaper than talking to a therapist.

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