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Friend stuck in time - trying to understand

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I'm new here although I used to post here years ago under a different name and found it to be a wonderful community.


I'm here seeking an understanding of a friend. I've recently moved back to my home country after being away for 15 years and I'm hanging out with my old friend again. We've kept in touch all these years and from a distance she seemed to be hitting some of the similar milestones as I have: education, job, relationships etc.


However on closer inspection her life seems to be stuck in time. She still rents the same house as when she was 19, her furniture is the same, she works in the same place and her personality is that of someone a lot younger. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the above, but I get the sense she is frustrated by her own inability to move forward. In addition after over 10 years of therapy, some her her psychological issues remain unchanged and no progress has seemingly been made. In fact, I would describe her anxiety and things cause by the anxiety a lot worse.


She recently made a comment about watching her friends lives move on and her still being where she is so there is a frustration there.


I'm naturally very goal driven and really struggle to understand her situation. I'm just not sure her therapy is working ( not my place to comment?) and it's like she's never fully grown up. However she seems saddened by this. Should I try to help or even approach the topic? From my perspective I see a hugely intelligent woman who hasn't been able to apply herself but who's to say everyone needs to have a high-driving cater etc. I just don't think she's happy in her current situation.


Any advice?

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All you can do is just say something like, "You know, maybe trying a new therapist might help you see things from another perspective." And then you drop it if she says something about the therapist. No, I don't think they're helping if she's unhappy, but ten years? That's like trying to get someone to break up with a guy who's wrong for them. Subtle suggestion is the way to go on that one I think.


Otherwise just be her friend and do things with her you know she will enjoy. Not everyone in life grows at the same pace and honestly, society puts more pressure on everyone to be cookie cutter "Now you must do this, because everyone else is..." and it makes life doubly hard for people who may not want to change or who just need more time to move forward and grow. It also depends on where she lives. I live in an area now where people are proud to have lived in the same town in the same house their whole lives. They like it. They're happy. There is actually a larger world where people do not want to be driven or have high-powered careers or do anything more than what life has already handed them. Something we used to acknowledge as a society, at times maybe even laud a bit. Nowadays though we all get the message if we aren't famous and rich something is wrong with us, when really no it isn't.


One big thing you can do as a friend is maybe just encourage her in baby steps. If you go to a gym in the area invite her along. Ask her if she'd like to do an activity with you sometimes, get her out of the house and her comfort zone in small ways. Sometimes that's more what it's about, just that tiny bit of not saying but doing something that helps someone get out of the house and out of their head.

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Being with the same therapist for 10 years and making no progress doesn't just speak of your friend, it speaks of the therapist. I'd raise the subject of how she views her therapeutic relationship, and I'd hear her out. When she's finished, I'd ask her whether she's researched how long a person should stay with any given therapist--especially when she or he is not happy with the progress.


If you can do some research on your own and offer it to her, that might be helpful. In my understanding, a therapist is supposed to either help a person 'graduate' beyond a need for that relationship OR refer the client to someone who has a good rep for helping people with a given client's particular issues if no progress is made within a specified period of time.


Friend's therapist is milking your friend, and friend's passivity is allowing it.

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