I have written here a few times now about a lifelong friend who has been going through some mental health issues and feels that I haven't been supportive of her, even though I have tried to be the friend that was there for her. She had agreed to go to a few sessions of counselling with me, but quit after one session, because she felt that the counsellor was on my side. I went for the next session by myself and have one more session to go this week. I am doing okay, but miss the friendship we had, prior to her blaming me for being a bad friend often(this started about 2 years ago). I don't have the anxiety that I had been dealing with, with her constantly blaming me for not being there for her, but I still sometimes feel "was there some truth in me being a bad friend?" In the meantime, she has decided that she wants a break in the friendship and we haven't had any contact for a few months now. Her last note said that I had never been there for her, and that she had been there for me-all day and all night, which is something that I found very hurtful. The pain of her accusations is recurring in my mind. Thanks.
Just Wanting to Talk about Friend who... - Anxiety and Depre...
Anxiety and Depression Support
I’m really sorry for your pain I personally hav felt something similar wher a friend just disappeared from my life as if I just wasn’t enough for them!! Heartbreaking & strange!! I don’t feel ppl should just ex out friends like that! I know maybe at times we need breaks or time maybe but I think want to always try to reconnect! It’s good your posting on this and also asking questions about how you were as a friend that sounds very caring to me! Also the way you were there trying to to help with counseling says a lot!
Thank you hurtingheart1. This friend was my best friend since we were children, and the past few years have been difficult with the accusations, and when I finally told my friend that this was causing a great amount of anxiety for me, she pulled away from the friendship. Her therapist had told her that she wasn't being fair to me with her expectations, but my friend said that this is what she needed. The good thing is that I am thankful that my friend told me that this is what her therapist had said, so that sometimes when this self doubt creeps in, I know that someone who my friend has spoken to for years, still was able to call the situation unfair. The self-doubt is hard, but I don't question that telling my friend how I felt was the right thing for me to do. It would take two to want to fix this, and I knew that having a counsellor involved so that we could talk things through was the only way that we could begin to solve things. I wish though that the self-doubt would disappear.
Yes it hurts when a friendship appears to take a turn for the worse, especially abruptly. It also hurts more when the “friend” blames us for not being a caring friend.
I myself have seen some of my friendships come and go. I’ve been hurt by the ones that ended. And one of my friends and I needed a year’s ‘cooling off’ period.
I have read that the definition of a friend is someone who lets you be yourself.
Okay, so we’re human beings. Nobody’s perfect. A true friend should give another friend some room for simple mistakes made (if any). For example, if I have forgotten to call a friend back. Then I eventually remember to call back and apologize for forgetting. If the friend tells me, “I’m disappointed but thanks for calling me back,” then were still friends, personal flaws and all. On the flip side scenario, if I called back late and the friend angrily went off accusing me with a toxic laundry list of items, then they are not my true friend.
I’m hearing that this friendship of yours has a wonderful past but things have changed. You’re trying to figure out what’s wrong so the harmony can be restored. However she keeps throwing repeated accusations at you. Perhaps she has some inner demons she’s currently battling and blaming you for them. Who exactly knows what it is on her part.
But what I do know is you’re seeking counseling to improve yourself. That’s very mature on your part.
It’s too soon to tell if your friendship will continue or end. But, you do not deserve blame and hurtful accusations thrown at you over and over again.
I hope you find resolution one way or another. But for now keep working on yourself in counseling. And reach out to people like us on this site that do care and empathize.
All my best,
Thank you MrZee. I appreciate so much, hearing non judgmental comments like this. I would become anxious when there were some occasions, where I called my friend one day or she called me, about something that she was facing, and if I didn't call her again that same evening when her circumstances changed(which I wasn't aware of), she became angry that I didn't check on her that evening and instead called her the next day. She would become very angry that I hadn't called her the previous evening and had waited until the next day(again not even knowing that events had changed for her). Then she wouldn't pick up the phone for the next few days. She also wouldn't call me to give me an update, telling me that she didn't have the energy for this. This is where the friendship had turned toxic with the unrealistic expectations. I know that she is facing inner demons, but she has decided to not take meds as her doctor advised and just deal with her issues on her own, and with her longtime counsellor. Yes our friendship had a wonderful past. She was the best friend that anyone could ask for until a few years ago, where things in her life seemed to grow out of her control and this was a major component in her lashing out at me. Thank you.
Woh horsey! Sorry to sound a bit jarred... but “she has decided to not take her meds as her doctor advised and just deal with issues on her own and with her counselor...” What kind of doctor would do that? Wouldn’t you think that a qualified doctor should know that if a patient with issues advises them to not take their meds? That doesn’t sound right to me. Is this possibly where the friendship took its downward turn?
And then you missed calling her back one evening when her circumstances changed that you were unaware of?
How “perfect” on her terms does she want you to be? Is she expecting you to be a fortune teller and come to her beckoned call by your own prediction on her terms?
No dear, you’re not a fortune teller. You’re a caring friend that as mentioned is not perfect. None of us are.
I’m hearing that shes throwing critical parenting at you. And you get punished if you slip in the least. That doesn’t sound right. And remember she went off her meds.
I’m sensing that in this situation you’re coming up with 2 + 2 = 4. And her 2 + 2 isn’t coming up with 4. I’m hearing that she has her own esteem issues and punishing you for them even if you make the “slightest mistake.”
Here’s an example. Years back I had a friend with anger issues. We would have fun together yet the slightest thing would set her off. We lived 40ish miles apart. Every other weekend we’d get together. Either I drove to her or she drove to me. One week I had it rough at work. By the weekend I needed to rest. I forgot to call her and didn’t show up. At the end of the weekend I sent an apologetic email and explained I had a hard week. In return I received a scathing email that by the third sentence I couldn’t even read the rest. She completely totally degraded me with a laundry list of faults. I was so hurt by that... that I took some distance to let her cool off. I never heard from her again. A year later I sent a followup email with a kind hello. Then another scathing response. Then and there I knew the friendship was over. She has demons. I truly wish her the best, but my vigilance of keeping safe distance away trumps her abuse. Sure I miss the friendship. But I don’t miss the scathing.
So it’s all up to you hun, do you want to continue a friendship where you’re abused by this person? Or do you want to move on, clean the slate and seek other nurturing friends? They are out there.
And we’re here for you as well.
You have got the point. My friend's doctor had retired and she got a new doctor. She went to the doctor for a few appointments and that doctor had told her that she should be on meds for the forseeable future due to the emotional difficulties that she was having. She "fired" the doctor and got a new one that didn't recommend her taking medication for her problems. Yes, this was around the time that the friendship was spiralling. She was going to keep seeing her therapist and do some other activities to control her moods etc., and she told me in one conversation where she became angry with me, that it was going to have to be about her for the next while. I was taken aback, because I thought that I had been there for her, but because our friendship had been so good, I questioned myself and tried to do a better job of listening. In the summer her elderly pet had died, and this is the issue that came up, because I didn't know that her pet had died, and didn't call her the night that this happened, and she was upset with me that I hadn't called her to check on her that night, but I had called the next day(as I did know the pet was ill, just not knowing that she had died). Your friend sounds very similar to my situation, where I have been given a list of faults, every time I have disappointed her. In order to protect myself, I had distanced myself from communicating with her as often, and when I told her that it was because I felt that I was always in the wrong by her, and this created anxiety, she then said that she needed a break from the friendship. No, I don't want to feel that as it stands I want to continue the friendship as is. I want the old friendship back if she ever comes to terms with her issues, but I don't suspect that this will happen. I do grieve the good relationship I had with her. Thankyou MZ.
Grieve all you want hun. I know that both the scathing and loss of a friendship hurts. As of now we’ve both been there.
Yet in reality friendships can grow apart. It’s happened to me throughout my life.
I have a significant other of 25 years. It’s a good relationship but work on both our parts. We’re also married. Interesting what my therapist says, “Maintaining a friendship is harder than maintaining a marriage.”
I do know that there’s good people out there, hun. I continue to learn that when we grow our own mental health for the better, especially from good therapy, the good people gravitate towards us.
Thank you. I appreciate your comments. I am for the most part okay, but every once in awhile I need a bit of tweaking to just set myself in the right direction again, when that self-doubt of how it all went down creeps in. Thank you. I really appreciate this.
My pleasure hun. I know what that loss feels like. Stay with us here. We’ll listen to you. And keep moving forward that there’s an abundance if good healthy friends to make out there.
Thank you. I needed to hear the comments above.
I’m glad to hear you say that. I’m hearing that you’d like to make good healthy friendships. And the new ones that you do make will be very lucky people indeed. ❤️
You are hearing correctly. : ) I don't need a lot of friends, but I do want good ones. So far the rest haven't abandoned ship. Thanks so much.
My pleasure. And remember that you have power by setting realistic protective boundaries in life. Such as for example, you will not tolerate abuse of any kind. And then a healthy boundary is welcoming nurturing friendships. You’re well on you way, hun. I know you are. 💖
Thank you so much. I hope that the next time I have this self doubt I could reach out? I really appreciate your listening.
I and we are here, hun. And for the good nurturing friendships that you do have, cherish them. ❤️
Just re-reading the previous notes and thanks so much for your replies, as it gives me the healthy perspective I need to see. As time goes by, without the contact from my friend, the anxiety I had experienced has for the most part slipped away. An online friend who has been in touch with me for many years, had recommended that I read the book"Stop Walking on EggShells"(she is a therapist). I haven't yet finished the book, but have found it helpful, but I'm also aware that the persons who are portrayed in the book(the book is about dealing with people who have borderline personality disorder) are aware of their problems and acknowledge them. My friend realizes that she has issues that she is working on with her counselor(for many years) but feels that in this case I have betrayed her by not being there for her. The most hurtful comment that she had made to me was that she didn't want further contact with me, because she felt that since she had been there for me 24/7, any contact from me, would cause her to grow in resentment towards me, because I didn't support her. It's like looking at the sky every day, and then someone telling you that the sky is orange and always has been, and you don't see the sky that way at all and never have. I carry on every day and for the most part do very well. I just try to carry on with the thought that if I had stayed to help her, would the outcome have been different? Would that not have been what a true friend would do?
Thank you for the kind words and the update. ❤️
You know, easier said than done, but move on. Let her go. She has her own path set. And now it’s time for you to set yours.
I realize your friendship has a fruitful history. But like two branches on a tree that grow in separate directions, so do friendships. Some just end... poof!
Look, you did the best that you could. And that wasn’t “enough” for her. That’s her s—t, dear. Not yours. Her loss. Not yours.
It’s happened to me and many other people that have dear friendships and then one day one of them says, “I can’t be friends with you anymore.” The rejection hurts. If I bang my head against the wall trying to figure out what I’ve done wrong I’ll drive myself crazy. I just have to accept their ending it was their s—t and not mine. If they expected me to be perfect amongst their standards than was it “really” truly a friendship after all? I think not.
I have also learned in life as the saying goes, “When a door closes another one opens.” And that’s what’s happened to me many times. I’ve watched many of my friendships come and go. And back to what I mentioned, on a tree, a branch can grow in two separate directions.
Try to pat yourself on the back for all your efforts. You’re a good person. And there’s lots of people out there to make friends with. You may have to do some weeding, but they are out there.
Your comment about " might need to do some weeding" made me laugh, probably because it's true. Thank you.
My pleasure always. I always hear, “There’s a lot of fish in the sea.” And I say, “Be prepared to do some weeding.” 😉
I hope that occasionally giving updates is okay? I had gone to the last counselling session and the counselor had given me tips on how to focus on other things when my mind starts to wander towards this lost friendship. Covid-19 has happened and I picture this friend who already had mental health issues, absolutely struggling with this. The friend had asked me not to contact her(this is with regards to her message from months ago) as she told me that she would only continue to resent me, but yet I feel that by not contacting her, she will increase her resentment as well. As with everything else involving her in the past 3 years, there is no winning with her and actually the counselor had said something very similar to this. Life continues to go on, and we have to adapt to the ever changing world and so far I am doing okay. 40 years of friendship is hard to walk away from and yet that is what I am faced with. Thank you.
Well contacting her is a “damned if I do and damned if I don’t.” I’m sure she is smart enough to socially distance during COVID19.
Yes, 40 years is a long time of history in your previous friendship. That is hard to move on from.
The good news is you have a positive mind and you’re taking care of yourself.
I have an older and a younger sister. For over 50 years we stayed in touch. Then my mother died and put my brother and I in charge of settling her estate. The living hell my two sisters put us through is immeasurable. We had to get an attorney to keep them for suing us. All my brother and I did was follow the directives of her will. We dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s. But my sisters were so resentful because my mother left them no control. When we distributed the funds, everything was split equally 4 ways. Still they didn’t trust us and it got legally messy. This dragged on for 2 years. Finally when it was all over my brother and I decided to put up a protective wall. We’ve blocked our sisters from our email and phones. They are evil and I feel sorry for them and their weak esteems. But with the loss of them comes sadness. Which they created this situation. They’ll never admit that but they did.
So you see, similar to my sisters, your precious friend created the s—t and blames you. That’s ridiculous. I would say keep your wall of nurturing yourself up. You’re doing just fine moving on.
Thank you Mr Zee. It is enormously sad what you had to deal with in regards to your sisters when settling your mother's estate. I have had unfortunately a very sad experience with the settling of my parents' estate as well. It is just wonderful to read your words and incorporate the words of an objective bystander, into my way of thinking. Yes, the past 3 years have often included "testing" in which I have failed repeatedly by not calling when the unsaid expectation was there etc., I don't struggle with should I contact her-thank goodness for that. I just don't expect her to get the help she needs, and I have no control over that. Thank you so much for your quick reply and I hope that you stay healthy and safe where ever you are.
Thank you for your reply. It appears you’re trying to find solace with your loss (more like a gain for your own sanity).
You mention “... including ‘testing’ in which I had failed repeatedly by not calling when the unsaid expectation was there, etc.”
Well I disagree. You have not failed at all. And, I find it dysfunctional when people try to bait us by “testing” us. You have been a wonderful and sensitive friend.
My “hunch” tells me if anything she’s jealous of your own stability in life. That’s exactly where my sisters are at. They resent me with their ill fated drama because I appear together to them and they have no clue how to get there. Instead their coping mechanism is to bait, “test” then attack.
People like that do not belong in our lives.
You’re a success. Keep telling yourself that over and over again. ❤️
I think you are right that I am trying to find solace for my loss. I have mentioned before that this was someone who I could always trust and rely on for most of my life, and then when it went off the rails, I couldn't stop the damage. I appreciate everything that you have said Mr Zee.
I know this is an old post but I see you have replied to comments on it this evening.
So much of this resonated with me as I have experienced a similar situation with my lifelong best friend.
I’ve had the same “was I a bad friend?” doubts and also the same thoughts about how, no matter how anxious she sometimes made me, I still miss our friendship (as it was) terribly.
What is your situation EleanorRose? I have found this site and the responders to be very helpful. I don't know that my situation with my friend will ever resolve itself, but I needed to tell my friend that her words were making me very anxious, and my friend has as a result stepped away from the relationship. After a lifetime of having this best friend and wanting this friend with me for always, I have learned that I need to adapt. It is still a learning process for me, but necessary. I hope that you are able to work through your pain. If there is anything that I can help you with, I am here as well.
Can I ask... why are you doing couples counseling with your friend? Maybe she doesn’t feel comfortable discussing things with someone she knows there. Anonymity can be the best thing about counseling
I sought a counselor and location that neither my friend or myself had any association with. This was all pre-arranged and agreed with my friend. She told me later that she felt that the counselor favoured my "side of the story" over hers and that's why she quit with the joint counselling. I had only recommended joint-counselling because I felt that if we had an unobjective listener, we might be able to meet somewhere in the middle with our discord. I wanted anonymity as well.
Is she maybe a narcissist? I don’t mean to sound insensitive but that’s what happened with my parents when they went to marital counseling
Sorry! I feel like I’m not being much help but I hope you know I’m trying!
Thankyou Dolphins. I feel that your reaching out to help is beautiful and I really appreciate it. I don't think that my friend is by nature a narcissist, but in the last couple of years, her mental health issues ( she has been seeing a therapist for years) have led her to be fully focused on her own issues and needs and made her extremely demanding on me,her closest friend. Her expectations on me and her anger have caused a great amount of anxiety in me and when I told her this, she told me that she was taking a break from the friendship because in her words, I had never been there for her. I can't fix this on my own, and it's this knowledge as well as the missing of my friend and the friendship that we had, that is so hard for me. In the current world climate that we are all facing, not having that friend there beside me is difficult but something I have to face. Thankyou for your comments.
I was just re-reading some of the notes here. 2 months later, and the whole world has changed. I had my birthday awhile ago, and my friend sent me a short message wishing me a happy birthday. I sent her a reply thanking her for this, but this was it. Other than that, like everyone else, I have been dealing with Covid and the changing world around me. As time goes on, I become more aware of the fact that my friend may never come to terms with her accusations against me, but I can't change that. I can only keep living the life that is true to me. Thanks to all who have responded.