Laura and Sharon quickly connected over childhood experiences.
Laura and Sharon quickly connected over childhood experiences. dolgachov

'My bridesmaid seduced my husband then tried to kill me'

"Have you ever seen that movie, Single White Female?" Laura* asks me.

I'm speaking to her on the phone about one of the most damaging relationships of her life, and when I cast my mind back to the film, I can immediately see the similarities.

"It was exactly like that, what happened with Sharon*" she says.

"In fact, it came out in theatres the year I met her, and I'd mentioned going to see it together three or four times. She always steered me away from it, and I wonder now if it's because she knew how similar she was to the character in that movie.

"When I finally did see it, a few years later, it rang a lot of bells!"

Friends at first sight

When Laura first met Sharon, it was through work.

"It was a long time ago now," Laura explains, "in the early nineties. She moved to my city, and interviewed for a job at my office and I ended up training her, so that's how we met."

"I invited her to some kind of event, and when I arrived at the place she was staying, I could hear her through the door having a massive argument with someone on the phone inside.

When she came out she was in tears, and there was this real hugeness to the situation. I drove her to the event, and she ended up confessing that she'd been on the phone with her mum, who was an alcoholic.

"Her mum had been completely abusing her and calling her all of these names, and we kind of just started talking."

Laura explains that the two women quickly connected over shared childhood experiences.

"It turns out, we'd both had similar things happen to us in our childhoods," she says.

"The things that had happened to her were significantly worse than what had happened to me, but we connected, I suppose. We were both childhood sexual abuse survivors and I suppose we just bonded.

"It was an immediate, very deep connection, and I just felt like she understood me and in so many ways we were so similar. I now wonder if she had learned to become the person she felt I needed."

Alone after a relationship breakdown, Laura turned to Sharon for support.
Alone after a relationship breakdown, Laura turned to Sharon for support.

The horrifying truth

"Things were tumultuous for the next year when we were living together," says Laura.

"There was always just some kind of drama, and it seemed like Sharon was always at the centre of it.

"Slowly, my other friends started slipping away, one by one."

Then one day, a mutual friend who knew both Laura, Sharon and Laura's husband asked if he could take Laura for a coffee to tell her something important. He had some information he felt like she needed to know.

"He had been the best man at our wedding, and when he took me out he said 'I want you to know that [Sharon and your husband] were having an affair," Laura recalls.

"For some reason, I told him that I already knew - I think I just didn't want to process any of the information right at that minute."

In a daze, Laura made her way home. When she got there, she discovered Sharon had tried to take her own life.

"She'd figured out what the coffee date was going to be about, and she had completely freaked out," Laura explains.

"I brought her into the hospital, and that's when she ended up getting checked into the psych ward. It all came out."

Sharon explained to Laura that she had become obsessed with her, and with the life she had.

"She said she wanted to have everything that I had, and that if she couldn't have it, she wanted to take everything away from me so that we could be the same," she recalls, chillingly.

Sharon was eventually diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Shortly afterwards, Laura discovered her friend had made two attempts to kill her - that she knew of.

"I spoke to my ex-husband about the whole situation," Laura says, "which is when he confessed to me that he suspected Sharon had tried to kill me twice while we'd all been living together."

Laura says that on one occasion the brake line in her car was cut, with no explanation of how this could have happened. Another time, she was rushed to hospital after suffering anaphylactic shock. Later, her husband found a bottle of antibiotics in the garbage - Laura was allergic to Penicillin, something Sharon knew.

These suspicions were confirmed when Sharon confessed while in the psychiatric ward.

"No legal actions were taken," Laura explains, "though in hindsight, they probably should have been."

 

Healing and moving on

It's been nearly 30 years since the whole ordeal, and in that time Laura has done a lot of healing - and a lot of therapy.

"It's taken a lot of work to heal from the trauma of the whole thing and to kind of process what happened," Laura says.

Amazingly, she is very zen about the whole situation now. When she speaks about the fact that this ex-friend managed to destroy not only several of her relationships, but also nearly took her life, it is not without compassion.

She mentions often how horrible Sharon's childhood was, something that informs an understanding of what was going on in her psyche.

Most of all, what comes through is a genuine sadness at the loss of what, in many ways, was a transformative friendship.

"I still miss her," Laura says.

"She was (and probably still is) extremely passionate, lovable, wickedly smart, and intuitive. She was all of the things I crave in a friendship.

"Unfortunately, I suspect she quickly becomes all that anyone craves. That's how she learned to interact with the world."

*All names have been changed.

This article originally appeared in Whimn and has been republished with permission.

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