Lost connection with a treasured friend group

About 3 yrs ago I had become very close with a new friend ( Friend A). I introduced her to our large and awesome friend group, and she and I spent tons of time together. I loved her a lot and considered her one of the closest people in my life. At one point it came to light that Friend A had made some disparaging remarks about my marriage. I was blindsided and gutted.

I decided to invite Friend A over to ask her about what had been said, expecting to clear it all up. I took care to create as open and safe an environment as possible. I calmly and kindly asked her about the remarks and she flat out denied saying anything of the sort. I took this at face value and let it go.

After mentioning the meeting to another close friend I was shown a text message including disparaging remarks by Friend A. Again I was gutted, again I invited her over for a chat, and again she denied everything– this left me speechless. After the meeting I sent her an email explaining that it seemed our value systems were not aligned, expressing my hurt and letting her know our friendship was over but that I would always be respectful and cordial to her in social settings. She was deeply intertwined in my friend group by this time.

I mourned Friend A and the thought I’ve come to is: she and I were doing our best at the time. I feel very peaceful about this.

There is some traumatic collateral damage that came along with this event. The aforementioned large and awesome friend group began to exclude me. At first it made sense- I had communicated that I needed some time to heal and wanted a break from Friend A.

Over the next year, birthday parties and gatherings happened without me. I thought eventually I would be invited back in, but more time went by and it became clear this was not to be the case. The feedback from various people in this friend group was:

– I acted like a bully and was seen to be trying to cast Friend A out of the group.
– Friend A was going through a divorce at the time, I was seen as lacking compassion.
– Friend A needed a lot of support and the friend group needed to rally. I seemed to be just fine.
– I forced them to choose a side and created drama

I’ve tried to model this friend group issue, but no new thoughts have stuck and I still find myself thinking about it a lot- in a very negative way. I’ve tried similar thoughts such as “they were each doing their best” but I can’t seem to fully get out from underneath the feelings of being misunderstood and replaced. I haven’t been able to find a thought that adequately helps to address the hurt and loss I still feel- I would love some help!