Thanks, Jane. I appreciate your response. (And I know people sometimes read without commenting... I was more being a wiseass about that, but humor doesn't translate in print...)
Betty has bipolar disorder and possibly other mental health issues as well, and some of the qualities I perceived her as having (confidence, not giving a shit about opinions, etc.), according to Guy is more false bravado than how she really is. I don't know much about her past. I know that *my* past includes a lot of abuse, by people including my mother, grandmother, and first husband. For me personally, I made the choice when I was still a child that I wouldn't treat anyone the way I was treated; I hated it and was scarred by it, so why would I want to do that to anyone else? But I know some people who have been through hell, either intentionally or because they don't know any better inflict that hell on others. I know Betty has trust issues as well and does some of what she does to make sure no one gets close enough to use anything against her; she's said that much to me.
I didn't mean to sound like I thought being like Betty or letting people get to me were the only options; I meant I want to become more confident and care less about other people's opinions *without* being like her.
She and I aren't close friends anyway. We were for a while last year, because she had become sexually involved with Hubby, but she got, in her words, "sick of him being clingy" (he texted or online messaged her once or twice a week to see how she was doing because she was dealing with some stress with her adult kids and with her job; apparently in her mind that was him being clingy), so she pretty much cut off communication with him.
Around the same time, through the conversations they did have, Hubby realized how manipulative and back-stabby she can be, plus we had problems in our marriage because of her, so he'd decided not to talk to her anymore. (She was not the direct cause of the problems; Hubby chose to lie to me twice about his desire and feelings for her, which not only broke the agreements we had established for the open marriage, but... did I mention I have trust issues? And those are the only two times Hubby has EVER lied to me as far as I know. That's been my concern about her as far as Hubby goes; he lied to me twice about her already, so how could I trust that he isn't going to decide to start sleeping with her--and lying to me--again? But Betty wasn't aware that Hubby was doing this.) So now we only run into her at parties sometimes, and that's the only contact.
In other news, I spent yesterday with Best Friend and his new girlfriend, who I'll call Star. When I used to see BF with Betty, even when they weren't actually "together", he always had this frantic, frenetic energy, like "Pay attention to me, love me, like me, I have to make Betty happy so she'll love me," and he was always deeply hurt by how she treated him in general and ignored him at parties. As he put it to me the other day, "She makes you feel like you're the luckiest person in the world to be with her, and at the same time makes you feel like you deserve it less than anyone else." Betty pretty much treated him like her sexy little boy-toy, just as a decoration who shouldn't speak or disagree with her in any way, and a lot of times she was downright cruel to him with things she said.
With Star, though, BF is confident and happy. They're physically affectionate with each other around other people, which was something Betty never allowed (and touch is BF's primary way of connecting with people). Star is 10 years older than BF (as is Betty), but watching the two of them together, it's clear that the age difference isn't a factor at all, they're completely equal and balanced. It was wonderful to see BF like that. And she's a sweetheart; I was worried she would have a problem with BF being friends with another woman, especially as close friends as BF and I are, but she treated me like her long-lost bestie and made it clear there's no jealousy issues.