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I have a friend who has been through trauma in the last couple of months (after a lot of stress the past few years). It involves the father of her child passing away suddenly -he was very bad to her, had a mistress (they were not married) and she was making lots of plans to leave him (financial, etc) - and he is not really an upstanding citizen either without going into details and it is very sad he died. He treated me politely and kindly and invited me to their home more than once. They are middle aged. I've been helping her by listening and by taking actions like helping her make connections to the proper people she needs -attorneys, financial people, etc. The estate stuff is a royal mess as are his business interests. In the past she was helpful to me -not during trauma or anything -I mean like she is the friend who goes the extra mile -who will drive your child to school on a bad weather day so she can help you get a little break, she is always the one -I am like this too -"oh you need ____ -don't buy new, I will loan you mine". We do these things for each other, she has been a great friend. I appreciate that so much and have tried to return the favors as much as possible which she has recognized (like offering to go with her to her colonoscopy which was very hard for her to ask of me -turned out she had to cancel the appointment).

 

Here's my specific question - she's been inordinately focused on a very weird aspect of my health lately. She and I got flu shots. So did our kids. Her kid got some sort of mild flu like illness and she got it too. She still doesn't feel right weeks later. Last week I got a cold. I get a cold about once a year or less. It's a cold. I'm ok. Just annoying. Ever since I told her I had the cold she sends me text after text - "it is NOT a cold. It is the kind of flu you get after you have a flu shot. I was throwing up for a week and I never throw up". I have politely responded every time 'I am so sorry you are sick. I have a typical cold that I get about once a year. I need to get more sleep so I get better even faster". She won't let it go. No I am not complaining to her. I did tell her (mistake) that now my child has some sort of cold or bug (also not the flu, hope not!).

 

She also texted me a few weeks ago to call her urgently as she wanted me to cancel my domestic flights this month because of coronavirus (no we've had ZERO exposure to the virus nor are we traveling overseas anytime soon).

 

Her texts trigger me a bit because I'm squeamish about illness especially about vomiting. Haven't thrown up since the 1970s and only twice in my life.

 

My husband who is not a mental health professional and is a stable solid guy said "you know, I think she might be losing it a bit with all that's going on with her -I'd cut her slack".

 

I do think she sees a therapist. Her son is getting help for losing his dad and has some other learning type issues but nothing terrible. It's awful.

 

I feel badly and awful for her. I intend to keep being there for her to help her -she is a fiercely independent resilient type so I respond to her needs for help and support in the way I think suits her personality. She is almost always so appreciative. I appreciate that. It's just this weird focus. It's getting to me. Is my husband right? Not asking if I should tell her to get help -just not going to go there - I intend to keep changing the subject and I will stop sharing anything about my sniffles. Probably the best way to go about it. I guess it's more curiosity as she is well versed in how/when to get help. If you think there is a really subtle diplomatic way to tell this fiercely independent person who is going through such trauma that her behavior is unusual I'll of course listen. Or that you think maybe I have the flu lol. (feeling ok just want to buy stock in my favorite brand of tissues).

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Sorry to hear about your friend.

 

I think your husband is right.

 

I think I made a post not to long ago about my brother going on a tangent about a difference in some random subject that we had but he was going through a really difficult time so I eventually just said "look, you're my brother, I love you and we will talk about it later". And that was that.

 

Maybe just say to your friend that you know she's going through a hard time but you prefer not to talk about the flu anymore but that you'll still be there for her.

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Sorry to hear about your friend.

 

I think your husband is right.

 

I think I made a post not to long ago about my brother going on a tangent about a difference in some random subject that we had but he was going through a really difficult time so I eventually just said "look, you're my brother, I love you and we will talk about it later". And that was that.

 

Maybe just say to your friend that you know she's going through a hard time but you prefer not to talk about the flu anymore but that you'll still be there for her.

 

Yes, you are right. I think I got waylaid a bit since this subject -especially the vomiting (and the flu to an extent) triggers me during a vulnerable time (meaning if you're not feeling well and your child isn't and it's causing some chaos those texts are particularly troubling).

 

THANK YOU.

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Agree. Just pull back and let her grieve. If she's a hypochondriac simply suggest she see a doctor, etc. Try to stay out of her financial, legal and health issues. Don't turn it into an anti-vaccine debate. Change the subject and suggest professionals for health issues.

"you know, I think she might be losing it a bit with all that's going on with her -I'd cut her slack".
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Yes, you are right. I think I got waylaid a bit since this subject -especially the vomiting (and the flu to an extent) triggers me during a vulnerable time (meaning if you're not feeling well and your child isn't and it's causing some chaos those texts are particularly troubling).

 

THANK YOU.

 

You're welcome. Hope everyone feels better soon 😊

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Agree. Just pull back and let her grieve. If she's a hypochondriac simply suggest she see a doctor, etc. Try to stay out of her financial, legal and health issues. Don't turn it into an anti-vaccine debate. Change the subject and suggest professionals for health issues.

 

I can help by referring her to professionals I know. And by listening. She's my friend and of course I'm going to listen to her issues. Doesn't mean I will get involved in an inappropriate way. That's what friends do. Nothing to do with the vaccine. She believes that people who get the flu shot can get a different type of the flu -milder but still the flu. She is correct. It's just that I don't have a flu, mild or otherwise. And her texts are intense and strange. Like the coronavirus urgent call she made to me.

 

THanks!!

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I've encountered about a hundred people on my job this week who are walking around in a media-fed panic over the flu. As the death numbers keep going up, more people are flipping out. I just smile and nod, but I won't feed the beast by discussing the runny nose I had over the weekend.

 

Talk about anything in the world except for your health for now.

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Her husband died. I think any health issue will flip her out . I would just be patient for a bit. I live on our repatriation base where all our ex-pats have come home from the coronavirus region. They are in quarantine literally a kilometre from my house. I have to admit I’m a little nervous even though there’s almost no possibility I will get it.

 

But having health anxiety I totally understand how she’s acting.

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Thank you ! They were not married and she was preparing to leave him very very soon when he died. They were still living in his house. The mistress was harassing her. It was already awful. I really appreciate your input. I cannot imagine what they go through.

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Yes. Will avoid with her. We havenÂ’t seen each other in person in months and no plans to so itÂ’s not like she would have worried about contagions. My mom friends and I often discuss these things mostly with respect to our kids.

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There's a difference between being concerned for a friend's health and becoming a paranoid hypochondriac.

 

I think you did the right thing by trying to minimize your symptoms. And perhaps cite some statistics to her about the likelihood of coming in contact with the corona virus on a domestic flight.

 

The cold and flu season will be over soon, and then maybe things will go back to normal. In the meantime, don't tell her anything about your health!

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Hello love ,

 

so my take on it ......

 

She is having a mental health response to his sudden death ( regardless of her leaving him and the rest of it ) and also regardless of her having diagnosed mental health issues ...as you know anyone can have a * mental health * response as they go through life .

 

You are her world right now , you are helping her through some pretty deep stuff and she wants to protect you ....yes neurotically , but born out of love I am sure ......she wants to wrap those around her in cotton wool and keep them safe because she has just had that kind of shock of loss right in her face and it don't half make you think ! ( do you remember my best friend passing suddenly in her sleep last year ) it makes you realise we are mere mortals and there aint a thing we can do to change that .

 

The Coronavirus is getting a lot of press and it is enough to make one paranoid . I don't know if you are getting it on your news but my city is housing evacuees ..just round the corner from me and then we all got a text from our GP'S surgery saying if we come into contact with anyone from Europe we must NOT go into the doctors surgery ....where did my emily go this morning with her mates for a joint 21st celebration ....Europe ..they landed in Berlin this morning . It really is enough to send a person round the bend when you start thinking about it all .

 

So to conclude ...she is vulnerable to loss right now and wants to protect you ..mixed with the scare mongering regarding the corona her poor mind has gone on overdrive .

 

Be kind but firm ..tell her it is setting your mind tipple tailing and lets try not to dwell on these things .

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Hello love ,

 

so my take on it ......

 

She is having a mental health response to his sudden death ( regardless of her leaving him and the rest of it ) and also regardless of her having diagnosed mental health issues ...as you know anyone can have a * mental health * response as they go through life .

 

You are her world right now , you are helping her through some pretty deep stuff and she wants to protect you ....yes neurotically , but born out of love I am sure ......she wants to wrap those around her in cotton wool and keep them safe because she has just had that kind of shock of loss right in her face and it don't half make you think ! ( do you remember my best friend passing suddenly in her sleep last year ) it makes you realise we are mere mortals and there aint a thing we can do to change that .

 

The Coronavirus is getting a lot of press and it is enough to make one paranoid . I don't know if you are getting it on your news but my city is housing evacuees ..just round the corner from me and then we all got a text from our GP'S surgery saying if we come into contact with anyone from Europe we must NOT go into the doctors surgery ....where did my emily go this morning with her mates for a joint 21st celebration ....Europe ..they landed in Berlin this morning . It really is enough to send a person round the bend when you start thinking about it all .

 

So to conclude ...she is vulnerable to loss right now and wants to protect you ..mixed with the scare mongering regarding the corona her poor mind has gone on overdrive .

 

Be kind but firm ..tell her it is setting your mind tipple tailing and lets try not to dwell on these things .

 

So so helpful. Thank you. I don't know if she has mental health issues in general and I get exactly what you are saying. She lives close by and so far no risks from coronavirus or the evacuees. So far. I think catfeeder is so right -all this kind of health symptom talk is setting everyone off in general!

 

Again so sorry about your loss.

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I can only speak for myself, but when I am stressed, my anxiety goes up. When one's anxiety is high everything seems to be on high alert.

That may be what's going on for her.

 

Yes that happens to me as well, I agree!

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A lot of people do this so much so that I wouldn't label it as a mental health issue. Basically when a lot of big bad things are happening, some people will fixate on one small little bitty thing and obsessively so. It's a form of escapism and avoidance really at least temporarily. The mind going - I don't want to process the big bad things right now so I'm going to fixate on this little non-issue issue instead. It's not necessarily a healthy way to deal with stress, but very very common.

 

Just tell her you are doing OK and redirect conversation to pretty much anything else, preferably either positive or some kind of easy going neutral topics. It will help her more and give her some mental respite.

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The Coronavirus is getting a lot of press and it is enough to make one paranoid . I don't know if you are getting it on your news but my city is housing evacuees ..just round the corner from me and then we all got a text from our GP'S surgery saying if we come into contact with anyone from Europe we must NOT go into the doctors surgery ....where did my emily go this morning with her mates for a joint 21st celebration ....Europe ..they landed in Berlin this morning .

 

Just curious, why avoid Europe? There haven't been any confirmed cases in Berlin or did I miss something?

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So so helpful. Thank you. I don't know if she has mental health issues in general and I get exactly what you are saying. She lives close by and so far no risks from coronavirus or the evacuees. So far. I think catfeeder is so right -all this kind of health symptom talk is setting everyone off in general!

 

Again so sorry about your loss.

 

Yes I agree , it can cause hysteria in the best of people unless you try and switch off from it .

 

Thankyou kindly xx

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Just curious, why avoid Europe? There haven't been any confirmed cases in Berlin or did I miss something?

 

yeah I don't know Becxy ....I am looking at my phone now to re read it and it says if you have been in contact with someone who has recently been Mainland China , Hong Kong or mainland Europe that you DO NOT attend the practice ..................so why Europe , really I don't know .

 

Disclaimer so I don't add to anyones anxiety

 

The above was simply from my Surgery not a world wide alert and probably my surgery trying to cover all basis and anything I have said must not be taken as a warning to any of you .

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When someone loses someone that they relied on and seen as a support, or at least someone very familiar and someone they thought would be there for a long while yet, their world is rocked.

They feel far less stable, they do have a lot more fear and they are now much more observant of threats that may force them to either lose someone else they care about or count on for support.

 

That's typically a normal reaction to going through loss.

Once you're already dealing with a significant amount of stress due to loss, you don't want to endure more, therefore you get anxiety over anything that might seem like a threat to cause you more stress.

 

You're obviously very important to this woman. She sees you as someone stable in her life and now worries about you.

I would try to have patience with it. She really is adjusting to her new reality and she's still fearful and has not found her footing.

I feel for her, although she is an adult, it is quite daunting to feel more alone now, even if her partner was not the best.

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When someone loses someone that they relied on and seen as a support, or at least someone very familiar and someone they thought would be there for a long while yet, their world is rocked.

They feel far less stable, they do have a lot more fear and they are now much more observant of threats that may force them to either lose someone else they care about or count on for support.

 

That's typically a normal reaction to going through loss.

Once you're already dealing with a significant amount of stress due to loss, you don't want to endure more, therefore you get anxiety over anything that might seem like a threat to cause you more stress.

 

You're obviously very important to this woman. She sees you as someone stable in her life and now worries about you.

I would try to have patience with it. She really is adjusting to her new reality and she's still fearful and has not found her footing.

I feel for her, although she is an adult, it is quite daunting to feel more alone now, even if her partner was not the best.

 

Oh yes, I can see that, I get it . I promise you I am being supportive -she's been calling me a lot to share with me her meetings with various lawyers, etc. Like I said it's a mess. I can see where even though he was awful to her they had some good years and have their wonderful son who is only 9. :-(. I mean she has people coming in saying they're going to remove everything not locked down like bookshelves, etc. I cannot imagine. You are right.

 

What I am thankful for -she hasn't mentioned the former mistress bothering her anymore. I haven't asked. That was awful too. And even more awful after he passed away I saw some facebook posts and by crazy coincidence it's possible that I know her. I never wanted her to show me the letters this woman sent her -didn't want to be involved, never asked her name but I believe I know who it might be. But since he has passed and she hasn't surfaced in my friend's life, gonna let sleeping dogs lie.

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Yeah, right now her head is not in the best place. Poor lady. I can't imagine having that many stressful things going on all at once.

 

I'm sure once her life calms down again, so will her mind and her worries.

 

You sound like a great friend, she's lucky to have you.

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Yeah, right now her head is not in the best place. Poor lady. I can't imagine having that many stressful things going on all at once.

 

I'm sure once her life calms down again, so will her mind and her worries.

 

You sound like a great friend, she's lucky to have you.

 

Thanks Sherry - she is highly intelligent and high strung -I know, a typical combo!! So this plus sleep deprivation I'm sure plus a demanding full time job that is not that stable, I mean, wow. I'm doing my best. We hope for the best for her. It's crazy. Ex boyfriend/"baby daddy" died of natural causes but now it looks like he was taking drugs, too. And he was overweight plus poor health. She is middle aged and in great health and shape.

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Batya33, I see parallels between your friend and my cousin. My cousin had loads of dire personal troubles galore. Since we were close as children, I felt it was my moral duty to be a big sister to her. I did everything for her, gave her endless moral support both written and verbal, we traveled 800 miles to see one another several times a year, I gave her a lot of money, handmade gifts, online gifts and showered her endlessly with my time, energy and wallet.

 

I tried so hard to do everything within my power to love her dearly and I did. She had insurmountable problems as the sole breadwinner for two kids and a disabled, pervert husband. Her personality changed. She became harsh, tense, extremely belligerent, feared liability, used people including me, neighbors, friends and I finally caught onto her scheming, plotting ways. She told me that she only invested in all relationships based upon her needs and benefits and nothing else. My mother forewarned me that my cousin was dangerous. I had to exit the relationship / friendship even at the expense of the second generation (second cousins) and ceasing all contact, too. It ended ugly. It's a shame since we had good times for decades. People change due to their miserable circumstances. That's life.

 

Years ago, our relationship was innocent when life was good. Now that her life is rotten, she became bitter and toxic. I have since fled. It's survival. I need to save my sanity and focus on my husband and sons.

 

Like you, I feel badly and awful for her. However, I agree with your husband would even take it even further. In order to save your mental health, you need to learn to let go of your friend. Even though you feel sorry for her life, it's her life, not yours. You are not responsible for her life. You have your own life to live so concentrate on your son and husband. Focus on your nuclear family because at the end of the day, nothing else matters. Learn to distance yourself from your friend. If your friend persists and doesn't take the hint, you need to let her know both of you have incompatible personalities and it's best to go your separate ways. You are not required to give her long winded explanations. Remain gentle yet FIRM, steadfast, unwavering and absolute. You need to cut it off with her. Your friendship with her is unhealthy, disrespectful and abnormal.

 

I have a local, very close friend. We get together once or twice a month throughout the year for shopping, lunch and walks. It's absolutely wonderful. However, we have healthy boundaries. We help each other, we're there for each other for moral support, our husbands are good friends and we're very considerate and respectful of one another. When she was in the midst of planning her late father's funeral, post-funeral and when her son had recent major surgery, I raced to her doorstep with home cooked dinners in tow, gave her an extremely generous Visa gift card in an encouragement-comfort greeting card and left. I did not linger. She brought home cooked meals to my house after I brought my newborn sons home from the hospital. She was my maid-of-honor, hosted my bridal shower and she and her family gave me a lot of money on my wedding day. Her family gave me great childhood memories while my broken, destitute family life was in shambles. She's been my BFF ever since we were 9 years old. We go way back. I've since reciprocated her and her family thousandfold (including her widowed mother and her late father when he was alive). We also give each other space and never bombard each other with relentless texts, emails, messages and voice mails. We follow the respect code. This type of normal, treasured friendship is the gold standard IMHO. We all know how to behave respectfully, graciously and honorably.

 

You need to leave your friend alone. She's a grown adult and she needs to take care of her life while you go your own way, Batya33. I admire your empathy and compassion. At the same time, you need to realize from my examples which types of friendships endure due to mutual respect and common sense conduct. Any other type of relationship / friendship is unacceptable. Avoid energy vampires.

 

Leave your fiercely independent friend alone. Concentrate on your own life from now on. Choose friends who know what common sense and healthy boundaries are. Stay away from the rest. Hope you feel better soon, Batya33.

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Thanks Cherylyn! I'll keep a close eye on the situation. I will never ever forget how when my son was 4 and my husband was unexpectedly out of town to care for his ailing parents. It was 5 degrees out. Too cold for me to walk my son to school a mile away even bundled up in the stroller. I so needed a break. She came to my home in her car with her 4 year old son in the back and insisted on driving us to his school. She didn't live that close by. She insisted so I could have a couple of hours to breathe. I mean - that is true friendship including the whole "oh it's nothing" attitude.

 

So for reasons like that - and others! -and because I like her! - I want to be there for her. Already when she has over-texted me I've been polite but firm when I'm too busy. She apologizes -she is struggling with feeling so needy right now I can tell. So I am not going to cut her off. But I see the warning signs. Thank you and I'm sorry about your cousin!!

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