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Thread: Worried about my best friend

  1. #1
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    Worried about my best friend

    Hey everyone! So I need some advice on how to talk to my best friend about something without hurting her feelings or potentially causing her to have a nervous breakdown. She’s already hanging by a thread as it is.

    This is my best friend of 20 years. We’ll call her Amber. She lives in another state, she moved there for college right out of high school. But we’ve never gone more than a couple of weeks without speaking to each other.

    I’ll just get right to it - she is very emotional. She always has been, but it’s definitely gotten worse over the last few years. She’s been through a lot - she has an alcoholic/substance abuse/manipulative mother, she got mixed up in a cult that really broke her down for a couple of years, left church over a year ago due to manipulation within it. She went through a faith crisis for awhile and is still going through it. Her family was very disappointed in her for leaving church. There was a lot of pressure on her. Things have steadily gotten a little better with her family, but it isn’t perfect the way she wants it to be yet.

    She is 30 and single and this really gets to her as well. She hasn’t had a relationship that lasted longer than a few months in quite some time. But I think the problem with this is some of her personality traits - she is a very deep and emotional person. She wants to talk about feelings, past trauma, and anything else personal and deep you can imagine. This is all she ever talks about. She constantly is talking about her problems and her past traumatic experiences with the church and cult and her mother. If it’s not those topics then it’s friends who have betrayed her or boyfriends who are gaslighting her (this is her favorite term lately). When she gets into a relationship she is over analytical of everything they do and say. Our conversations consist of her nit picking and analyzing something so small a boyfriend did and she is convinced this is a deal breaker or he’s keeping something from her. I’m talking little things. I understand everyone is different and we all have the right to choose what we want in a significant other, but there’s so many things that get to her and I’m just like “really?”... And the other issue is she is clingy and over analytical like this within the first week of meeting someone. It’s my opinion that she might be scaring some of these guys off.

    Now before y’all ask, yes I have tried to point these things out to her in the nicest way possible. I’ve told her “Amber, he probably just had a tough day at work, don’t overthink it”, or “Amber, he already sees a therapist regularly, let him talk about that stuff with his therapist. He probably doesn’t want to come home and have another therapy session with his girlfriend”.

    And guys this is just the tip of the iceberg and me trying to sum it all up. But it’s gotten out of control. It’s hard for me to have conversations with her. Literally - I can’t have a “normal” conversation with her anymore. She only wants to cry and talk about everything she’s going through and how hard her life has been. I’ve told her many times in the most respectful way that we all go through stuff. Every single one of us. Life isn’t easy. She knows what I’ve been through. And I guess I’m different because I like to fight my battles silently. I can’t begin to tell you what I’ve been through, but I look at it as something personal. I don’t tell everyone. That’s the other thing - she tells anyone who will listen her entire life story. I’m not exaggerating you guys. Anyone. And when she’s going through a situation or having problems, I know for a fact she has about 5 friends including me that she’s talking to about it simultaneously. She has sent me screenshots of the conversations! When I offer advice she sends a pic and says “well so and so told me to do this”.

    It’s gotten to a point where I feel like her self esteem is so low she’s just desperate for attention. I’ve told her hundreds of times when she’s having guy trouble “Amber, even if you have to fake it, act like the most confident woman in the room and pretty soon it will help your self esteem. Confidence is key, you need to believe in yourself”. I’ve offered all of the good advice I can give and it literally goes in one ear and out the other.

    I just can’t do it anymore. We talk a few times a week on the phone, and I’m not joking, they are minimum 2-3 hour conversations, consisting of her crying and talking and me not being able to get a word in. When we finally do get to me and she asks how I’m doing, I can tell she zones out because the conversation isn’t “stimulating” or “deep” enough for her. Or centered around her and her problems.

    I don’t know how to tell her how I really feel in a nice and respectful way. She’s hanging by a thread and I feel like if I say one wrong thing she’s going to snap or not want to talk to me. She’s very firm on her feelings and emotions - if someone tells her she’s being too emotional she cuts that person out of her life. She thinks her being emotional is healthy, and no one can tell her that it’s wrong or not valid.

    She sees 3 therapists regularly and I’m so shocked none of them have pointed any of this out to her or prescribed her medication for her mental health. I struggle with anxiety too, but hers is on a whole different level.

    One last thing - one of her main problems is she cares so much what people think of her. Another persons opinion or perspective of her means EVERYTHING to her. She will obsess over it. A few nights ago she said her brother and her got into an argument and he told her “Amber you try so hard to fit in and you care way too much what people think of you” and she was crying when she told me this and she said to me “it’s not true!!! This isn’t true at all!”. I didn’t know what to say because she was so emotional at the time.

    This is already long enough so I’ll end it here. If you got this far thank you for reading. I hope this doesn’t come off as me being a crappy friend. I love her to death, she is like a sister to me. That’s why I came here for advice. I just feel like her mental health is getting worse each day. Again this is the summed up version of everything. I don’t want to hurt her but I don’t want to see her hurting herself anymore. I also know this is borderline becoming a “toxic” friendship. And I have distanced myself a little more lately because it’s so hard to talk to her.. but I’m not exaggerating when I say she is like a sister. I love her very much, and I truly just want her to get healthy and stable. I feel like if I’m too honest with her or dump the friendship things will get worse for her.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Read some books by Steven Hassan, a mental health counselor who has written on the subject of mind control and how to help people who have been harmed by the experience.

    -Combating Cult Mind Control
    -Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves
    -Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs,

    You can't be her therapist but you can read the books out of general interest and recommend them to her. You could also suggest she see a doctor for a checkup.

    Do not suggest 'therapy'. People like her can be offended by that and she should be evaluated by a physician anyway. Talk therapy can be ineffective on people recently exiting cults, they are too paranoid to engender trust.

    Also you need to scale back. Don't go down with the ship.
    Originally Posted by undertheivy
    she got mixed up in a cult that really broke her down for a couple of years, left church over a year ago due to manipulation within it. She went through a faith crisis for awhile and is still going through it.

    She is 30 and single She constantly is talking about her problems and her past traumatic experiences with the church and cult and her mother.
    Last edited by Wiseman2; 08-16-2020 at 05:37 PM.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member LaHermes's Avatar
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    This woman needs professional help. Soon.

    "one of her main problems is she cares so much what people think of her. Another persons opinion or perspective of her means EVERYTHING to her. She will obsess over it."

    You are not a therapist, and not her therapist. Please, for your own sake, retreat from this insane scenario.

  4. #4
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    This woman needs professional help.

    I know you have been 'friends' for years, but this has become really toxic. She uses you as her personal therapist and i can't fathom why you have continued with this. She is not a friend! I am thinking that EVERYTHING is about her. She is a user.

    get away from her. You should also look into co dependence, as most people would have retreated from this scenario.

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  6. #5
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    Is this the same one that did not support you after you dad died?

    And this: "So, the best friend I am currently having issues with has been my best friend for over ten years (since high school). For the past year or so, she has hardly wanted anything to do with me. I see all the time on social media that she is out with other friends and having a great time, but I literally never get an invite. And the very few times we have hung out lately, she doesn't ever post about it on social media or take pictures with me. I don't understand what's happened to our friendship. There are these random times when she will text me and be super sweet and nice and tell me she's proud of my recent career changes, etc, and she will say "I'm sorry I'm such a bad friend, we really need to hang out soon". And then I won't hear back from her and she won't invite me to hang out. Sometimes I feel like she does this to keep me around because theres something for her in it. Ever since I've known her she has been a very selfish person, it's just the way she's always been. She actually backed out from being a bridesmaid in my wedding at last minute.. I've never been able to get over this. (Her ex bf was a groomsmen and I think it made her uncomfortable). I don't tell her it still hurts me when I think about it, but it does. Anyway, that's just one example of many times that she has hurt me. And I've still always stood by her. I don't know what to do anymore."

    You have been expressing what a crappy, selfish friend she has been for years. Why do you continue with this?

  7. #6
    Platinum Member Cherylyn's Avatar
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    Your friend is an "energy vampire." Google those words.

    You are her fourth therapist. She's a "Debbie Downer" and a real drag.

    You need to cut your friend out of your life. You don't need her, she doesn't benefit you in a mentally healthy way and her misery causes you to become depressed and stressed. She also increases your anxiety levels.

    You need to love yourself by ending and exiting this toxic, very dysfunctional friendship. It's time to dissolve your friendship. It had run its course. You'll be a much happier person when you release her from your life. Don't let her life consume you anymore and you need to let her go so she can figure out her own life. You are NOT her responsibility. She's a big girl now, a grown adult and she's in charge of navigating her own life regardless of her consequences. Don't allow her nor anyone to use you as their anchor and crutch. She's abusing YOU.

    Everyone has their own problems and troubles yet good people know how not to burden others. We know where to draw the line and have boundaries with others. Whenever people are unreasonable, inappropriate, outlandish and take advantage of other people's good will, it's time to end the friendship or relationship. Or, enforce stronger boundaries. Reduce and limit contact. Learn how to cut the conversation shorter and create time and space apart from a person who doesn't know how to behave properly with consideration in mind. Excessive dumping on people is intolerable and unacceptable. Know your limits.

    She will not change for you. It's up to you to take action and do something about this. She lives in another state, you don't see her in person due to inconvenient geography and your friendship with her is impractical anyway. Then on top of that, it's not an enjoyable, pleasant friendship to engage in. Do yourself a favor and cut her loose.

  8. #7
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    Originally Posted by Hollyj
    Is this the same one that did not support you after you dad died?

    You have been expressing what a crappy, selfish friend she has been for years. Why do you continue with this?
    Not the same friend, completely different one.

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    You’ve all given really great advice and helped open my eyes a little bit to some things I hadn’t really noticed. Thank you for that. Cherylyn, you made a lot of great points. All of you did.

  10. #9
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    Since she already sees therapists I would be up front with her -polite but firm. Make it about you "I feel overwhelmed when we talk because I am not a professional and a lot of what you talk about and share with me seems like something a professional should hear and when I hear it I feel frustrated because I can't give you any helpful input. If you need to vent I totally get that and I can't be the listener anymore - it's too much for me right now. I'm sorry. It sounds like you are already seeing therapists. If they are helping you that's great. If not I'm happy to help you find one that is a better fit."

    Something like that.

    I don't think she is a deep person - she thinks she is but people with real depth have a lot of curiosity about what makes people tick, and seek knowledge from others and often are very good listeners. Is she "emotional" -sure I guess so but many people are emotional and they don't react to their emotions by using people as sounding boards.

    Please don't tell her what anyone else has gone through. If you had a pounding headache and were in pain would it help if someone told you that everyone gets headaches or even worse headaches or you had a terrible headache yesterday? When we're dealing with a person who is balanced, and that person shares about a tough time, I think it's most helpful to say "I'm so sorry you're struggling. How can I help?"

  11. #10
    Platinum Member Cherylyn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by undertheivy
    You’ve all given really great advice and helped open my eyes a little bit to some things I hadn’t really noticed. Thank you for that. Cherylyn, you made a lot of great points. All of you did.
    Thank you, undertheivy. Hope you can think long and hard, make your final decision and do what will give you peace of mind.

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