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Reaching out to the wrong people. Seeking counseling . I don't know where to turn.


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I have issues maintaining friendships. I currently work as a Caregiver as I have been wanting to find work that actually serves a real purpose. Many years of trudging behind a corporate desk faking it because of the pay checks. SO I have opted to be a caregiver. Its the most rewarding job I have ever had. I enjoy giving to people and if I can make the smile even better! Its been a year since I have started this career move. I made my first client on my own and had another client through an agency. My first client was a wonderful little woman who is very smart and sharp and suffered from being bipolar so she had her ups and downs. She also suffered from some undiagnosed ailment that prevented her from standing for very long, so she could not maintain her apartment nor her cat. So I agreed to help her once a week and she paid me. While I was helping her I also was taking care of my other client three days a week with the agency. Well first client started getting therapy and standing on her own well enough to manage her apartment and her kitty and told me she cannot afford to pay me to keep coming every week. She still expected me to come by though and I said its ok and still managed to visit her once in awhile as we sort of became friends. I would still come by to visit and talk with her and take her places (she couldn't drive). 

Well I started having challenges with my second client and needed someone to talk to about it. I don't have friends. I have my boyfriend and my clients and that is it. My Half brother and half sister cut our ties years ago as we never did get along. I started to confide in my first client/friend and she told me that she is happy to be an ear if I needed one. Caregiving is very rough some times. And I feel so alone in the job that I do when I have no one that could possibly understand. So I would talk to my first client about things and concerns that I had about my life. Recently worried that I need to find more work and was debating on going back into the office environment because I was not making enough money to pay all my bills with caregiving. I confided with first client friend about trying to find another job and if I even should. 

She all of a sudden responds with with " YOU DON'T GIVE A F*** ABOUT ANYONE" and proceeds to bring up things that I came to her about stating that she is sick and tired of all of my inconsequential CRAP and that she is DONE WITH ME. I was stunned and started to cry. I went back and forth in my head about the things that I discussed with her in asking for her opinion. At first I thought this was an April Fools joke via email. But nope it was not. She was DONE with me and made that very clear. 

It upset me. And I am trying to reevaluate myself and how I treat people. Maybe I over extended my friendship with her in thinking I could confide in her with my problems. I don't know. I don't understand. We would go out to lunch and have such a nice time together. Or I would just sit in her apartment talking about her issues and I would listen and try to help if I could. 

I have to say that I had the same issue with my half sister over 5 years ago in which I would confide in her and she basically told me the same. She was done with listening to my problems (I was in a bad relationship with an alcoholic at the time and making bad choices). I thought I could trust her in being a little supportive. Apparently I robbed her of so much time in listening to my issues in life. So that ended that relationship and we haven't talked since. 

Am I a bad person I keep asking myself. What am I doing wrong. I keep alot of things inside and don't like to bother people but sometimes I get overwhelmed and need someone to talk to things about. And when I do, this is what happens. I am seeking counseling (as soon as one calls me back)as I truly feel I have no one to talk to in life. My partner is wonderful to me but he doesn't really understand how I feel. And when I talk I feel like alot of times he doesn't really listen as I end up repeating myself usually later or the next day with "remember what I told you". 

I try to give to people...sometimes I give more than I should. It takes alot for me to reach out to people and I have to feel that I can trust them and at least establish a good relationship. I've failed miserably with this. I am hoping that counseling helps me to sort through myself to see what I am doing wrong.  

Thanks for being here. 

 

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I think that you have to keep in mind that this is a job.  I don't think that it is professional for you to be sharing your problems with your clients, and as you can see it has resulted in someone becoming angry.   You must keep your personal issues to yourself.

I suggest you look into activities, hobbies, and Meetups to meet people, and keep it positive with your clients, they shouldn't be used as a therapy session.

It gets very draining to listen to someone complain about the same thing.   Instead of complaining, you should think about being more proactive, and correcting the situation.  I am not saying that you cannot vent, but doing it all the time, and on the same topic is not cool. You're getting stuck. 

I think it would be a great idea to seek therapy, but also consider why are staying stuck in these situations.  

Don;t let this one incident scare you away, see it a blessing so that you can change.

Edited by Hollyj
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Caregiving may be rewarding, but it's also a very difficult job. Probably the most challenging part for you will be learning how to keep healthy boundaries between you and your clients.

In this case.....I know that it seems like you and her became friends and you did. The part that you overlooked is that this lady is bipolar and unfortunately, this is what it looks like sometimes. A person who can be quite volatile and turn on you seemingly out of the blue. This isn't about you or what you did and it's important that you understand this. When you encounter people with mental health issues it's not always going to be smooth sailing when you deal with them - whether that's personal or professional. 

It would probably be really useful for you to get educated about these things and learn how to handle and respond and also what to avoid and how. A good therapist or psychiatrist can be a really good resource and give you a good crash course on that and that will be money well spent on your end. You need to learn how to protect yourself and sidestep potential problems. That may also mean knowing when you need to let a client go before they cause you big problems by accusing you of things, filing complaints, etc. Be careful that you don't get sucked into situations where you are actually putting in time and energy into what should be a paid service just because the person seems friendly and you are hungry for that friendship.

As for actual friendships, please work hard on developing friendships outside of work and don't mix the two. Likewise, pay attention to who you are befriending and what kind of a person they really are. When you feel lonely and thirsty for a friend, it's hard to judge, but you must stay strong and grounded and find a way. Quality is quality.

Kindness has to come with boundaries, otherwise people will just use you and abuse you.

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Right....yeah I wonder if getting into this career was a mistake because I really enjoy the company of seniors and maybe lacking friendship myself this could be not a good thing. I have no parents as they passed on a long time ago and have very splintered family. But you are right. I do need to protect myself in making sure I don't cross any boundaries in this profession. 

Trying to make friends outside of work is hard. I never had success in that at all. I'm some kind of weird creature that people are unsure about. It is what it is. 

But I am calling several contacts that were given to me by my health insurance for counseling so I am really hoping I can get therapy of some sort. 

Thank you

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25 minutes ago, Willowgirl55 said:

Right....yeah I wonder if getting into this career was a mistake because I really enjoy the company of seniors and maybe lacking friendship myself this could be not a good thing. I have no parents as they passed on a long time ago and have very splintered family. But you are right. I do need to protect myself in making sure I don't cross any boundaries in this profession. 

Trying to make friends outside of work is hard. I never had success in that at all. I'm some kind of weird creature that people are unsure about. It is what it is. 

But I am calling several contacts that were given to me by my health insurance for counseling so I am really hoping I can get therapy of some sort. 

Thank you

I don't think you are weird. Finding friendships as an adult is difficult for everyone and a slow process and a bit random too with some luck mixed in. Still....you keep chugging along until you do develop some friendships.

As for enjoying what you are doing, I don't think you should give up. Just work out what healthy boundaries and a good balance looks like. Be more cognizant of some red flags, same as dating almost. You have a good SO and so you are actually perfectly capable of finding and keeping good relationships. Give yourself credit where credit is due.

People do develop connections and that's really quite normal. Yes, looking at you here. Developing some friendships that may go beyond just work is not really taboo and is quite human. So I would avoid looking at things in the extremes as "I'm weird or there is something wrong with me", but rather when something backfires, treat that more as a learning experience. I think in this case, the learning experience should be to be more cautious and to learn more about mental illness and how it affects people as well as personality disorders and how those manifest. When you understand these, it will help you a lot to know what you should and shouldn't do and stop blaming yourself as being "weird" if things go sideways.

For example, when I look at my parents, majority of their friendships actually came about through their business - either people they were doing business with or customers they connected with on the basis of mutual hobbies or interests outside of "business".  They key glue being like minds and interests in common. I would just emphasize that the key is balance, boundaries and being selective on who you do and don't befriend.

Stop telling yourself that you are weird....because you sound very very normal, just lonely and that's OK. That is also normal and doesn't make you weird at all. Friendships can be found. You will be OK.

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Yes, working in healthcare can be rewarding... but can also become overwhelming.

A few yrs ago, I had a decent amt of clients... so sad to lose them in the end, especially if they were regulars 😞 .

But, as mentioned, you do not seek help from them in any sense... there's reasons 'we tend to them'.. plus you mentioned she had mental health issues ( Bipolar?) .. Did you do studies on these things? - they can be quite overwhelming & dramatic at times.

Not sure why... you do not have any actual real friends at all though?  I do have a small circle, of which I will speak with them all on occasion.. How about keeping a journal- another way to release/vent. -- good you are in therapy.

So , maybe, other than your therapy & having a journal, you can try other things on your own... how about a hobby - to keep mind busy in diff ways?  I've learned crochet, plus I jar things ( pickled garlic, made jams etc).  I do a few diff things of interest.

 

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I think therapy or counselling is best and it's good you are considering it. 

Any deeper/under the surface issues or ongoing/chronic issues whether with family relationships or personal or health-related problems need to be discussed with professionals. I'm sorry that she said those things. That's just unnecessary regardless if she's bipolar.

Don't take it to heart and move along, find interests outside of work also and a good support network either through a local community or through your therapist's recommendation.

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I guess what's done is done now. I know you're feeling low right now but the way you acted with everything was actually really inappropriate and unprofessional. I am also a caregiver and I've been doing this work for eight years and have also done a lot of unpaid volunteering in this field. In my work people could get fired for the way you acted. 

In my work there is very strict confidentiality and that means that you do not discuss any clients with other clients. You also wouldn't even discuss them with other people who are staff but don't work at your organisation or with your clients. You're going to see a therapist so would you like it if your therapist talked about you to their other patients? By complaining about your agency client and your work in general you have breached confidentiality and also acted very inappropriate.

In all the community organisations I've worked for, if someone was no longer your client, you were not allowed to contact them for two years. So if you were in touch with them before two years passed, you were in breach of company policy. That two year rule is there for a reason. And I think the reason is that it's actually not a good idea to be friends with clients at all. So the management hopes that after two years of zero contact you would forget all about your old clients anyway and they would forget about you lol

You should never blur the line between client and worker relationship. I remember when I was studying my mental health course at community college and as part of it I did an internship with a community mental health organisation. I was visiting clients with my manager and I was chatting to a client about our favourite movies and books. I talked a lot about my favourite movies and books. The manager said I was talking about myself too much and the focus should be on the client. Even if the conversation is generic but 90% it has to be about the client because it's about them.

There is a very big problem with crossing over from client to being a friend. The client is used to a dynamic where it's more about them so it's very likely to be off putting if you talk too much about your problems. As someone with disabilities or mental health issues they are used to all their appointments being about them and their needs and wants. Not to mention what's really inappropriate is you were complaining about your other client and your job in general. This looks terrible to your client/friend because it sounds like you don't like your job and your clients and they may question whether you even really liked working with THEM. It's a very bad look to do this. Imagine if you had a therapist and then they stopped being your therapist and you became friends. And they kept complaining about their patients and their work to you. You would feel really turned off, right?

I'm actually really not surprised that this woman told you she was done with you. And it's probably not only because she's bipolar but because she got sick of your inappropriate behaviours. If you want to do caregiving work then why do you poop where you eat, so to speak. Keep your work and personal life completely separate. I have never kept in touch with ANY clients after they weren't my clients anymore. I wouldn't be complaining to them about my life anyway but I wouldn't even go for a coffee with them. Once I finish working with a client they are gone for me for good.

I understand you have no friends but a previous client is completely the wrong candidate to be a friend. If you want to know what you did wrong, first and foremost is that you should NOT be friends with clients. There are many other avenues to meet people like Meetup groups, hobby classes, social groups, courses, friendship websites, etc. That's where you should be looking for new friends.

Also if even your half sister said you complained about your problems too much and cut you off, I think this is something to really think about. It's OK to complain about problems as they arise in life but it can't make up the majority of your conversation. Friendships are a two way street and you need to be a good listener and supportive friend too. If it's always all about you, people won't like it and they'll cut you off. 

Also it's OK to complain sometimes but not literally complaining about the same thing and not even trying to do anything about it. E.g. If you complain about your caregiver job all the time and you don't like it, but you don't even try to get another job. At first people may think it's OK but after a while it just gets old. And in general people prefer to be friends with more positive people. So always complaining will put people off.

Edited by Tinydance
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This lady was not a client that I was given through my agency. She was a lady that I happen to make friends with on my own right before I got my job at the agency. She asked me if I new  someone that could help her with a few things and I agreed that I would. She was not through an agency. For the record the lady I DID have through the agency I NEVER crossed the line with. She knew nothing about me personally as I did follow the agency's rules. 

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On 4/5/2021 at 8:57 AM, Willowgirl55 said:

She all of a sudden responds with with " YOU DON'T GIVE A F*** ABOUT ANYONE" and proceeds to bring up things that I came to her about stating that she is sick and tired of all of my inconsequential CRAP and that she is DONE WITH ME. I was stunned and started to cry. I went back and forth in my head about the things that I discussed with her in asking for her opinion. At first I thought this was an April Fools joke via email. But nope it was not. She was DONE with me and made that very clear. 

I think you have to remind yourself that she is mentally ill. Try not to take it personally.

I grew up knowing a couple of people who were bipolar, mostly friends' parents. The illness came out in different ways for each of them (e.g. some had hallucinations, some didn't), but outbursts/attacks like this were common among all of them.

One of my friends from elementary school was bipolar (as was her mom). This friend cycles through phases where she completely withdraws from everybody and is unreachable, to where she's overly involved in everyone's life and is unstoppable.

I've limited my interactions with her since we were teenagers. It's sad because I sympathize with what she's going through, and know that it has to be a very difficult way to live. But I have to keep her at arm's length for my own well being. 

Your friend may reach out to you again in the future, when she cycles back to a better mood. If she does, I think it would be a good idea to reset your expectations for this friendship. She may not be able to provide the emotional support that you need.

Edited by Jibralta
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Yes that makes sense. I do expect an email when things come around for her and she feels mentally better. It truly was my fault. I should have NEVER confided in her knowing that she wasn't mentally stable. I have learned a valuable lesson from this. All the advise given here has really helped and has opened my eyes to my own behavior. WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING!!! 

Thank you! 

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