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Help me be a good friend to others


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The truth is that I have a lot of ISSUES. My biggest issues have to do with romantic relationships. Somehow they never work out and I end up feeling devastated and abandoned. It always is the same. The pattern repeated once again last night, when my latest boyfriend and I broke up. This is a huge problem in my life.

I am a very anxious person and the only thing that helps me is to talk to my friends. However, I recognize that my huge amount of "junk" means that I am not the most fun person to be around because I'm often upset about things that are going on in my life. For whatever reason when I am feeling bad it's almost impossible for me to keep it to myself. It's like my sadness and distress get out of control and spill out everywhere. I wish I could be private and keep these things to myself but I just haven't learned to do this.

Sometimes I feel like I'm a leech, an "emotional vampire." Don't get me wrong, I listen to my friends and offersupport whenever they need it. However, most people don't need nearly as much support as I do, and therefore I don't get much of a chance to reciprocate. The friendship can then become imbalanced and threatened.

For example, I have a friend who I feel has really put distance between us after supporting me through my last breakup. I've tried to ask her in the past if anything was bothering her but she denies it. However, this is not the first time where I have felt someone in my life pull away...and I'm assuming it's because of my neediness.

I want to learn how to be a better friend to others and how to control my tendency to dump all of these issues on someone who might not have the patience to hear it. I feel ashamed for being the way I am and for being so open with others. (Why can't I just keep these feelings inside?) I want to have good friendships, real friendships, but it's hard because at times I'm in a bad place emotionally and I don't know HOW to be a better friend.

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want to learn how to be a better friend to others and how to control my tendency to dump all of these issues on someone who might not have the patience to hear it. I feel ashamed for being the way I am and for being so open with others. (Why can't I just keep these feelings inside?) I want to have good friendships, real friendships, but it's hard because at times I'm in a bad place emotionally and I don't know HOW to be a better friend.

Without meaning to sound cliched, I have to say that your #1 priority should be taking care of yourself. Are you seeing a tdoc? From what you posted, I think there are many issues that you need to talk through with someone. A tdoc is really the best person for this, b/c it's his/her JOB to listen and help you sift through things. It may well be that your friends are feeling overwhelmed because they don't know how to help. Don't beat yourself up about this. Focus on getting the professional help you need - I really believe that you need a therapeutic context in order to figure things out, both with regard to your own specific issues, and for dealing with how you relate to/with the people around you. Unfortunately none of us is here is going to be able to whip out a magic formula - I wish I could!

best wishes,

Mia

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I don't think you're being a bad friend. You're just dealing with a bit more than they know how to handle. I agree that a tdoc would be wonderful for you if you don't already have one. Listening to problems can be draining, and sometimes people do just need to step back.

I don't really know what to say.. perhaps instead of venting your problems in person you could do it in a blog or over email. That way your friends can choose how much they want to say and participate without feeling burdened and you wouldn't feel guilty? Just a thought..

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Yeah I agree with cetkat & miab. Therapists are trained to listen to you vent, for whatever reason. The blog idea is great. They have blogs here too, you can make it private I think. Journaling with good old notebook paper does wonders. I did 5 years of therapy in one notebook venting- I swear. Things I didn''t even think were issues caused me to reexamine certain aspects of my life. I am a more private person, so if you are outgoing it may be hard for you to keep big stuff inside. They are probably just overwhelmed cuz maybe their perception of the world is nothing like yours. Example- My friend got a speeding ticket and her world crumbled. She had the money, her kids were healthy, but that damn speeding ticket was all I heard about. If people had our problems with moods, sleep, constantly thinking, and jumbled, conflicting emotions- well, they'd pick the speeding ticket I bet!

Meet with a few therapists if you haven't lately. Ask them questions. I believe there's a post somewhere on here on questions to ask a therapist. Good Luck!

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I am a lot like that in some respects. Its gotten to the point that I have basically isolated myself from people and the few friends I do have I keep everything superficial.

I think the idea for a tdoc is the best think you could probably do for yourself. You can rant away and the tdoc will listen to your concerns and offer support or not if you dont want it and just want to ramble.

Also, working with a good tdoc would help you work on the deeper aspects and through that you may feel more in control and able to handle friendships easier.

Just my 2 cents.

Selene

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danna,

it's a total bitch when you are hurting so bad that it's all consuming. just trying to have a few words with peeps that happy, or at a minimum, satisfied with their emotional life is a real puzzle. how does a loonie just make chit chat? shit is eating your lunch and you are crazy for help. how do you answer "how ya doing". "oh. i am a bit shakey right now"' i am totally miserable but aint this nice weather"?

the friends that you have probably realise that you are hurting, wish they could help, but are frustrated that they have no idea of how to do so. it's natural for the majority of humanity to have some degree of compassion. friends, family all will react to another hurting but what can they offer?

where's the cure for the pain? if you had your way -all of us would be well. if there is not a pharmacological anwer, i am in the hopper for the duration.

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  • 2 weeks later...

it's good that you're thinking of your friends and want healthy relationships with them. As many before me have said, a counsellor or someone is a really good idea. You just go in there, whinge for an hour or half an hour, then walk-out. I agree that confessing problems to friends puts a strain on the relationship. Maybe you have a friend that lives far away, and you could ring them up and tell them all of your problems and vice-versa. Or maybe you could invite a few close friends around once every so often and have a 'bitching' night. Then they will come loaded up with their own problems, and will know that they will have to listen to other people's problems in return. It could make-way for more 'fun' encounters with friends as you still get to release the emotions, but it is 'planned' in a way. Another suggestion is to buy yourself a tape-recorder and record yourself talking about your problems. Say it like you are talking to an actual person. I sometimes do that (haha, yes I'm a peanut ;) ) and I feel a lot better. It sometimes makes things a lot clearer when you say them aloud. Also, maybe try keeping a diary... that's another good way to vent :) Or blog boards.... the good thing with these is that people who care read them and try to help. Or maybe even chat rooms, may be hard to find someone not wanting cyber sex, but you might get lucky!

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Therapy, therapy, therapy. I LOVE going to my therapist because I have someone who will listen to all my crap AND help me work through it for 50 minutes at a time!

A blog is a good idea too. Why don't you start one here?

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