Friendship problems.

posted 10 months ago in Relationships
Post # 16
180 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

I have a sibling similar enough to this, and although they continue to seek help over the years, their condition(s) are as manageable as their motivation and ability are at the time to use the techniques taught to them (this can obviously become problematic as it is cyclical).  I love and adore this sibling, but their behavior can become overwhelming as they will inevitably (thus far in life) try to push the boundaries I’ve set with them over time and do not actually wish for my input since I am younger and believe I have been given an easier course in life, and so I have to back away until I am ready to try again with the best hopes.

What I try to do with this sibling, and I admit such has been met with very limited success, is to sculpt our relationship around fun events/activities.  I try to help by bringing positivity.  I distract and motivate with all the good things available for us to do and see and believe in in hopes of empowering them to take further control of their life and continuing to actively seek happiness.  Usually, a day’s worth of activities keeps everything light and easy, but getting overly excited and doing more or sometimes being in a private space too long will bring about the less savory side of things and I have to leave before things go way down hill (as while I am empathetic to their pain, I quietly (these days, anyways) do not enable the poor ways in which they deal with it and this becomes problematic as they very much want my sympathy and attention over things that I cannot obviously help with after years of rehashing and listening to the same problems).

Sometimes people like to wallow in their pain, and sometimes they should wallow for a short time, but when it becomes a constant for them linked to either their general life or to a specific relationship (or anywhere in between), then it is time to either curb the relationship or limit how much time you allow them to confide in you as it becomes and unendingly unreciprocal relationship where the under-cared-for person feels taken advantage of, exhausted/drained, and might even wonder why they aren’t important enough to be cared about in the same way they care for the other. 

The thing about curbing the relationship is that it doesn’t have to be done negatively or in a confrontation; see your friend and treat her to a manicure or go to a play…  Ask her specific questions about her life that she will be positive about–what her kids are doing in school or how excited is she for this or that?  If she goes off towards the darkness and you are not in a spot to handle it, then give her a hug or a caring look at an appropriate pause and tell her that you know she’s having a hard go of it and if she ever needs to get out and escape reality for a time, that you would love to be her partner in crime.  Then, redirect once more or tell her you have to be somewhere and leave.  She will either adjust to the new but amicable dynamic, or she will phase herself away and towards someone else that she thinks will be more accomodating to her needs.

Post # 17
128 posts
Blushing bee

I haven’t read all the responses but I can tell you that she needs professional counseling or a support group.  My son likes to dump all his emotional pain and struggles on me all at once and it can be quite overwhelming.  I’m not a trained counselor so the best I can do is listen but it hurts to know someone is struggling and you can’t fix it for them.

What I did was I would ask him if he had been to his support group recently?  I’d encourage him to go and to remind him that there are other outlets, outside of mom, who can offer support, help, and advice.  I also texted him the phone numbers for other groups he can reach out to and the counseling center on campus.  I asked him to up his appointments with his therapist, as well.  He’s 19.  I can’t fix everything for him and I know there is a balance between me enabling him or placating him or empowering him to take charge of his own mental health.

You can truly tell your friend that you’ll be happy to be a listening ear at times, but that you also have your own life to focus on and that you’d be happy to help her get a plan of action together so she can start reaching out for professional help.  

I spent 20 years  listening to my depressed alcoholic husband dump his problems and his self loathing on me.  It sucked my soul.  I never learned how to set healthy boundaries and how to put my own mental health in the forefront of my priorities.  You can be firm and set boundaries without being insensitive.  I truly believe that we can be a supportive friend but also be able to tell our hurting friends that we empathize but that we can’t fix it for them.  

Post # 20
6935 posts
Busy Beekeeper

mercyonmeplease :  

she just says it didnt help then and it won’t now.” That is classic depression talking . And it is fairly   awful to be around, but as a pp said , serious depression ,  the self harm sort for eg,  can’t be fixed without intervention  , usually including medication plus therapy . 

All you can do here is to keep on sending  the message that you are her friend but she need more than friendship,  she needs professional help  and that that you will be a support but  not a therapist.   

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