(Closed) How to help a friend develop healthy attitudes about men and relationships?

posted 7 years ago in Relationships
Post # 3
Member
485 posts
Helper bee

Sounds like your friend needs counselling for low esteem and her problems with men. If she’s in her late 20s it is very likely that her attitudes about men and dating are not the result of immaturity, but probably more deep-rooted issues that won’t magically disappear with time.

Regarding the concert, I think you should tell her that you don’t think it’s a good idea to go, for the abovementioned reasons. She might get annoyed with you, but you just need to assure her that you only have the best intentions for her.

Unfortunately, there is very little you can do to change her attitutes. She needs to realise herself that her attitutes are not healthy, and that she (most likely) needs some professional help.

Post # 4
Member
4137 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

oh goodness, i used to be a lily!!!

you can try to be blunt with her, but it probably won’t work. the best thing you can do is be supportive, shoot down the crazy talk, and encourage her to go to a counselor. for me, nothing changed until i finally developed a sense of self-worth, which was a long process that involved plenty of therapy, self-inspection, and lots of men who were terrible for me!

 

Post # 6
Member
4137 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

@jayce:for me, i remember there were a lot of heart-to-heart convos with me and my best friend…she would just ask questions like “well why do you think that way?” or “why do you keep doing this to yourself?” or “you know this isn’t healthy, right?” etc. eventually i started to understand, i just needed help figuring out there were much deeper issues involved.

it really helped to know that she was in therapy at the time too, so i didn’t feel her telling me “you need counseling” was way off-base. i knew it worked for her, so that made me more open to trying it myself.

Post # 7
Member
4313 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@jayce: This happened to me.  Me & this girl were in the military together.  I LIVED AT HER HOUSE.  Granted, I was in a total shitty relationship when we became really close, so we had a lot in common.  However, after I met my husband, I had a reality check about how I was living life (which wasn’t totally attributed to him) and my conversations with her became more and more painful.  She is JUST like your friend. Asshole men are her entire life.

I tried being nice about it.  But it didn’t matter.  She would disagree with what I was saying because she was in denial.  And then one day she sent me an email with more male drama and I told her she deserved better and she ought to try being alone for awhile.

She cut off her friendship with me.  That was in February of 2009.  We have never spoken since.  The kicker was that she told me I did not deserve my now husband because he was too good for me.

You can try.  And I don’t feel bad about telling her what I said.  But it may cost you your friendship.  To this day I think I said the right thing to her.

Post # 9
Member
4313 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Oh, and she cut her friendship off with me saying that I was “too judgemental” and that the friendship was “one way.”

What I think she meant is that she did not like the fact that I was not going to continue to support her bad behavior or choices.

And she was right about it being one way – me listening to her and getting dragged to crazy events where some dude might be!

Post # 10
Member
4137 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

@jayce: haha no problem! if i can help a girl stop acting the way i used to, i’m happy. i remember how awful it was!

i know i was defensive at some points, and i probably felt judged from time to time. obviously don’t try to have this conversation every time you see her…there are only so many times you can hear “you’re self destructive” within a short period of time without shutting down. another helpful tactic is to build trust — share a problem of yours that she could maybe relate to while you’re having one of these conversations.

have any of your other friends going to counseling that you know of? success stories are always good motivation. if not, stress that perfectly normal people go to therapy and how beneficial it is. she might just want to be reassured that therapy isn’t just for the totally insane. also, an uninvolved third party is always a good sounding board to help her work through things.

Post # 12
Member
206 posts
Helper bee

@jayce: I’m kind of at a loss for advice on this one. However, this:

“Instead of taking what guys say to her at face value, she tries to read into them. She literally thinks guys speak in secret boy code.”

Made me chuckle because I thought of this episode of The Office:

“The Office: Money (#4.4)” (2007)

Kelly Kapoor: “Daryl Philbin is the most complicated man that I have ever met. I mean, who says exactly what they’re thinking? What kind of game is that?”

 

Post # 13
Member
2007 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

@jayce:  As far as suggesting counseling goes, I just did this with one of my good friends.  It basically went, “You know, my friend X and I were just talking about this.  She’s in a similar situation and been seeing a therapist for it.  She said it has really helped her out.  It might help you too.”  In my case I was able to use my husband and aunt as examples but if you need to make up a friend (or use someone on WB!) then I think that’s totally legit.  

Post # 14
Member
3482 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

Do you know anybody who has been in an abusive relationship or a similar situation who could talk to her? People with these types of anxieties and mindsets tend to only listen to people who have been through the same thing or similar. And while Lily hasn’t even been in a relationship, let alone an abusive one, she already has that “he can do no wrong, it must be me, I deserved it” red flag going for her, and I’m definitely worried for what happens when she does start seeing guys. There are plenty out there who will go right ahead and take advantage of her already low self-esteem. She’s actually super lucky that hasn’t happened yet.

If that’s not a possibility, I’d definitely try and use the concert example to show her how skewed her thinking is. Be blunt if you have to, but keep reinforcing that you care about her, and you don’t want her to get hurt. If she gets defensive and starts trying to shut you out, suggest that she talk to a counsellor, an objective third party who will listen and give her unbiased advice. Or volunteer to go to a support group with her.

I hope you can convince her to get help in some form or other. I know how hard it is to see a friend sabotaging their own life and feel powerless to do anything.

Post # 15
Member
296 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I think my sister is a “Lily” sometimes. She always seems to think guys have alterior motives for everything they do or say. I’ve tried to explain to her that guys are just people too. They are just as scared and shy and unsure of themselves as we are.

Post # 16
Member
485 posts
Helper bee

@jayce: From what you’re saying, it seems like a lot of her actions are motivated by a desire for male approval? Again, I would like to point out that she probably has deep-rooted self-esteem issues.

The best thing for her is therapy to help her realise her destructive patterns, but I understand that it might be difficult to suggest this to her. As has been pointed out, maybe ask why she thinks the things she does? Also, make sure to tell her that her attitudes that ‘all men are stupid’ etc. are a source of concern to you, that you only care about her wellbeing and you want her to be happy.

Perhaps you could be a bit blunt and tell her that you are concerned that she doesn’t see her own self-worth, and that you think she needs to talk to someone about it.

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