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nycartist

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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 33 total)
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  • #385540
    nycartist
    Participant

    Dear V,

    I can relate to your post so very much. I was in your shoes countless times in my life. You did not mention your age, so I don’t know how old you are, but I can speak as someone in their mid 30’s and who has felt this way A LOT in her life. This is what I want to say to you:

    Having expectations that someone will always reciprocate, or act as you would act only will set you up for hurt in the long run. Not just with this friend, but with romantic relationships, and even family relationships. First off, people cannot read your mind, so they don’t know how you would want/expect them to act. Secondly (and this happens more and more as we get older, I’ve found), people have their own dramas going on in their lives and they are always their own #1 priority. You mentioned your friend had a boyfriend and cares for others, so I imagine she has lots going on in her life.

    You say she is a good friend, so it doesn’t particularly sound like you’re being “neglected” or treated badly, rather, you don’t feel she’s as reliable as you are or putting in as much effort as you. So you have a few options.

    1) Drop your expectations, and don’t try to measure what your friend does against what you do for her, just accept that the time she gives you is genuine and unless she starts being disrespectful or truly neglectful, just enjoy the time you have with her. If there is a need she isn’t fulfilling, try to fill it with other things, be it a hobby, or other friends, or self care.

    2) If you find that dropping your expectations is not quite working, you can try to lower your effort in the friendship. Reach out less, so that it feels equal. I have tried this method and don’t always recommend it. In my experience, it’s led to feeling some unspoken tension because I am not being my genuine caring self. Sometimes this way has led to deteriorating friendships. Sometimes that’s for the best, honestly.

    If you can truly lower your expectations on the person so that you are genuinely happy when you spend time together, I find that way works well, because then the times together are positive and the person feels that good energy and ends up wanting to spend more time together. And you feel better too because you are not mad or feeling frustrated about something they didn’t live up to. But you truly have to let those expectations go, not just pretending. I started just saying a phrase as simple as “no worries” if a friend cancels or can’t make it, rather than try to make them feel bad, or just get mad and hold it in. And that simple phrase, once I got to the point where I truly meant it, not only freed me from the frustration, but it freed them from feeling weird and guilty and that unspoken tension with me. I hope this helps. I’ve been there and it sucks to feel unreciprocated care. But it’s a chance to fill that void yourself and work on navigating balance in friendships. I hope it works out. <3

     

    #383991
    nycartist
    Participant

    Hi Dee,

    I saw your post and wanted to write to you. I can really relate to wanting your body to feel normal and having issues with menstruation. I am 39 years old and dealing with premature ovarian insufficiency. Basically I’ve run out of eggs and am in menopause when I should definitely not be at my age! I read through all the posts and was so glad to hear you found an OB who ran labs. Do you know what they checked specifically? You said everything looked normal, which is great but also not great, because you have no answers. So I just want to give you a heads up of what I’ve learned in my 2+ years of trying to figure out why my periods are so irregular. (I used to go anywhere from 15 days to 180 days between periods and it is maddening).

    So I just want to be sure that they are checking the things to get answers, in case you are dealing with some different possibilities. Did they check these things: Estradiol, Progesterone, FSH, AMH, LH, and Prolactin? These will give you a picture of if you are having something similar to me, a deficiency in estrogen. I assume they checked these things, but wanted to mention them in case they weren’t checked. Often when we are younger than typical age, it can be a pain to have them check for these things.

    One thing I want to mention is prolactin. This is something that is checked to rule out an issue in the pituitary glad, similar to what Anita mentioned. Sometimes there is a small benign growth on the pituitary gland that can screw with our hormones. YOu can even begin lactating though you’re not pregnant. If this is the case, the prolactin level would be high. So it’s easy to rule out and rare, but it’s one possibility.

    My advice is an OB will only check so many things, but you may want to also go to see someone who is more overall/hollistic. I had luck with an internist/naturopath who was able to run labs to rule out chromosomal abnormalities, autoimmune issues, as well as thyroid and adrenal issues that can all contribute to abnormal periods. Your OB may only be looking specifically at your ovaries/uterus when the issue could be caused by something else. I hope this doesn’t alarm you, it is just something to consider. I’ve had to work so hard to get answers (and honestly I don’t have many except I am in premature menopause but have no idea why).

    But knowing that has helped me make an action plan and feel empowered. Knowing the right meds to get on to make me feel better and protect myself too in the long run. I’m happy to chat more if you have any questions. I hope you get answers and I’m sorry you’re suffering. Find yourself a dr that will look at the whole picture. Hugs.

    #382680
    nycartist
    Participant

    Thank you all for these wonderful responses. It’s really very helpful.

    I am working on the mindfulness, and have a therapist whom I work with on grounding exercises, like tapping, and breathing techniques. Even some EMDR exercises to get into the present. They help about half the time. I went and made a doctor’s appointment with my physician because the anxiety was eating away at me. She suggested I try anti anxiety medication. It may end up coming to that if I can’t get control of my thoughts. I will for sure keep trying.

    I also keep thinking about how in the present, everyone is “healthy” (though my husband has an autoimmune disease which can flare up at any time, which also adds to my anxiety, and I’m dealing with this), we are all fully functioning and physically able bodied right now. I have to find a way to be thankful in these moments, because if the anxiety is running away with me while we are healthy, what will happen if/when something is actually wrong?

    I feel sometimes like my body has reached its stress limit in life. I had such an awful childhood, even into adulthood, I had issues with family drama that was incredibly toxic and stressful. Now it feels like my fight or flight defense mechanism is triggered over the smallest of things. I just feel badly for my body, all the stress it’s been through seems like it’s taken a toll on it. 🙁 I don’t mean to sound like I’m having a pity party, but I’m just in a bit of a dark place with my thoughts these days.

    I will try to do the things you’ve all suggested and hope it helps.. Thank you again.

     

    #376815
    nycartist
    Participant

    Thank you TeaK and Anita,

    Seeing what you both wrote reminds me of some Dr. Wayne Dyer lessons about “could, should and would”, and also “must”. I am telling myself I SHOULD have been able to fix it, they “MUST” see that they were wrong and come back to make peace. I know that is very unrealistic thinking, and unhealthy thinking. Also, as I mentioned, I don’t even truly want them to come back unless they significantly worked on themselves and addressed the issues going on within them. One is a narcissist and will likely never change, and the other, well, I don’t know what happened to my friend, but she is no longer recognizable as the person I knew for 24 years.

    This actually helps so much. I realize I can be sad for the loss, and still look back and be thankful for the good times we had, but in both cases, the bad times were a pattern and lead to toxicity in my life. I know this is for the best. I also realize I have to protect that little girl within me that Anita mentioned. I’ve worked really hard to protect her, and even missing these people or thinking about them so often is doing a disservice to her. She deserves my attention, not them.

     

    #376788
    nycartist
    Participant

    Hi TeaK,

    Thank you for responding. I’m trying to figure this out myself. I think because in my core beliefs I am a pacifist, I think the world needs peace, and everyone should learn to get along. It’s idealistic, but that’s what I’d like for the world. Seeing that it wasn’t possible for me to achieve this with two people that were dear to me is really difficult to accept. Still, my self preservation kicks in and I know it’s unwise to let either of them back in. They both had hurt me, my uncle more so, for years, with verbal and emotional abuse and manipulation, trying to turn me against my own mother. And basically disowning me when I tried for 8 years to be a peacekeeper in an awful family feud. I couldn’t get them to resolve their differences and finally had to step back for my own mental health. I was a new mom and it was consuming me. But now everything has settled, and it still hurts because I try to have a relationship with my aunt and cousins. Not speaking to him makes it awkward at times. I know I need to stay away but it just ultimately feels like a huge failure.

    As for my friend, again, I feel feelings of failure. Here we are, two adult women now, and something as stupid as different politics got between us. Though I know it’s more than that. There was a line crossed of disrespect on her end, and now she’s the one icing me out. If I go back, I am pretty much accepting that kind of behaviour and I can’t. It’s not a matter of pride at all, but again, self preservation. I’ve grown up with abuse and it feels strange to me to not accept that behaviour. But I know it’s what I have to do. I just want the weight of the losses to come off of me. I’m not sure if/how/when they will.

    #374023
    nycartist
    Participant

    Thank you Anita!!

    Happy 2021 to you as well! I feel so at peace with this now, it’s incredible. That simple mental scenario gave me such clarity. I do hope others read it and give it a try, it gave me the answers that I was searching for. I really appreciate you talking me through it as well. I don’t think I could have processed this fully without our conversation. It brought up a lot of stuff for me about my mom that I had to go through again in order to fully see the picture here. You’re a wonderful person for all the hep you give to people on this site.

    Sincerely,

    NYC Artist

    #373961
    nycartist
    Participant

    Hello all, and happy 2021! I hope everyone is feeling a sense of hope and renewal in this new year.

    I wanted to post another update about this story of a broken relationship that has taken me months to process. I am still finding myself thinking about my ex friend often. Usually it’s with a lot of sadness that things ended up the way they did. Since I last wrote I noticed this friend has blocked me on all social media. It feels very petty and immature, as I have no hate for her and only want the best for her. Also, we have been friends for decades and I’m friends on social media with people I barely know. I guess I had thought we could at least stay friends online and know that the other is doing well. I haven’t had contact with my friend since the emails right after thanksgiving and have not done anything that would warrant being blocked altogether. So that was a bit upsetting as she seems to want to cut out any and all contact from me.

    But something that gave me comfort and I wanted to share for anyone who may be struggling to let go of a bad relationship is this…I had an epiphany last night. I envisioned how I would feel if I had the opportunity to have this ex-friend over to my house for a weekend, or even for dinner. Would I be excited to spend time with her? Would I be comfortable having her near my husband and daughter, or would I be nervous, walking on eggshells, worried about her causing drama? The thought of having her visit gave me a huge pit in my stomach. I know my husband is not a fan, she has never made the effort to get to know my daughter who is almost 4 years old. And I considered this woman one of my “best friends”. She has not been a best friend, she has not even been a “good” friend. She has actually been a very bad friend for a very long time and has caused me more stress than joy. Once I came to this realization, that I would not even want her in my house, I was able to let go. I don’t hate her, I wish her well, but I don’t want to even keep up in a superficial way with her. I actually DO want her out of my life and away from my family because she doesn’t make me feel safe.

    So for any one who is struggling to let go of a toxic person, ask yourself…would you be ok spending a whole weekend with them in your house? Does that thought make you excited or stressed? That gives you the answer if it’s worth working things out or not.

    #370514
    nycartist
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I was cut out by my mother in many ways during childhood. As I mentioned she and my dad divorced when I was only 2. They got married young, and my mother had me at 21 years old. So she was only 23 and a divorced woman. She wanted to be a single woman with friends and go out and be a girl in her 20’s, which left me staying with my grandmother very often, or sleepovers at friends’ houses. Then when I was 6 she married my stepdad, but before that she had some really horrific boyfriends. I remember one jerk used to light matches in my face and terrify me! I don’t think she ever did anything to stop him. When she married my stepdad, he was a very insecure man, and constantly comparing her love for me and her love for him. He used to ask weird questions like who did she love more, and she would give mixed answers as to not offend either of us. I always felt like she was afraid of getting divorced again, plus he was abusive, so she went along with him….until she didn’t. And things got very very volatile when she would stand up to him. Then she went into a sort of hibernation. I remember for several years of my life, everyone was in their own room. She would hide in her bedroom reading, I would be in my room playing games or watching TV, and my stepfather would be in the living room. We lived very separate lives, which is why I probably didn’t feel like I could come forward about what was happening with my father.

    I remember the day that my stepfather finally left. I came home from school and everything of his was gone and I felt such relief. I thought she and I would be ok and could just be together and move on. And then she didn’t leave her bedroom for a year. I don’t even exaggerate. She hid in her room and was depressed and I was 14 years old. Then a few months later she met a new man. He was also horrible. She forced me to move in with him even though I made it clear I didn’t want to go. Then when I was 16 my poor mother had a massive stroke while we were living with this man and his 3 sons. That was a traumatic night, I watched her look so out of it, and wasn’t sure if she would live. This man she was with wouldn’t let me come to the hospital with her, he made his eldest son stay awake and keep me home because we had finals the next day. She was in a hospital for months for rehabilitation after that, and I just had to live alone with this man and his sons and wait for her. My grandparents were sort of in the picture but a bit removed because they disapproved of our living situation.

    When my mother left this man, I was about to go to college. Once I left I NEVER came back to live with my mom again. But since she and that third man broke up, she’s been trying to make up for all the times in my life she didn’t choose me. now she’s overly generous, and a bit codependent. She doesn’t really have any friends, no more dating, and she is disabled still from the stroke. I feel badly for her but also have worked so hard to create my own life and we have a pretty good relationship now after everything. It’s taken a very long time, but I feel like I’ve been able to see things from her perspective now that I’m a mother. It’s helped us grow closer.

    #370419
    nycartist
    Participant

    Hello Anita,

    Wow that is a lot to think about. Thank you for taking the time to write all that you have. Looking at everything zoomed out in this way is actually very helpful to see patterns, and also expectations that I’ve put on myself, and on others. I’ve never thought about these struggles as a sort of struggle for power, but in a very real way, yes it is. I feel like I can even replace the word power with control. Wanting control of the situation because I often feel powerless. And I think we all have to realize at a certain point that we can’t control how others treat us. They have free will, they can decide if they want to “do the right thing” and treat others with respect, or not. Not every action gets reciprocated. Not everything is fair. I have to find a way to let go of wanting that piece of control, or justice, or just fair treatment, honestly. The only thing I can control is myself, and what I tolerate, and when I say enough is enough.

    I spoke with my therapist today and she and I were discussing patterns in my relationship with my friend. It’s been dysfunctional for a number of years. And just as I have learned that the best thing for me is to never speak to my father again, and most likely never speak to my uncle again, there is a good chance I may have to cut out this friend as well. Maybe not forever, but as long as she is willing to treat me in this way. It’s traumatic in its own way, and I have thankfully gotten the strength to deal with those kinds of relationships and have experienced the freedom in breaking those ties. It is absolutely necessary sometimes.

    #370371
    nycartist
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I was first put in the “fix it” role by my father. I used to see him on Sundays as he and my mom divorced when I was 2. He was by all accounts unstable, he used drugs, couldn’t hold a job, lost his license for drunk driving. He really wasn’t suitable to watch a child, and yet I was there every weekend. He abused me, and I didn’t come forward for years because he convinced me that I was the only good thing in his life and he would kill himself if he couldn’t see me. At home my mom was in an abusive relationship with my new stepdad and I felt like I had to protect her. I saw lots of physical abuse happen to her and many times tried to stop it. So I had the mental health of my parents on my shoulders from a young age. Each time things didn’t work out….with my dad, my mom and stepdad (they ultimately divorced too), then my uncle and some friendships, it’s like a very sick feeling comes up when I fail to make things work. I don’t know if everyone feels these situations so intensely but this last blow out with my friend has made so much stuff resurface.

    I am trying to keep in mind that everyone whom this has happened with in the past is still alive. No one killed themselves or is left destroyed because I couldn’t fix something. That these relationships are much better as severed than still hanging on in a toxic way. And finally I am trying to free myself from feeling like it’s all on me to fix it. It’s just very hard to break these patterns.

    #370356
    nycartist
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you so much for replying. Yes these definitions that you shared seem to really apply to my friend lately. She’s believing in some absurd things, and this isn’t the first time. She’s fallen into cult-like groups before and also has a tendency to be paranoid. example, after nearly every breakup she thinks the guy is stalking her. I don’t know if there is truth to any of it, but I find it very hard to believe that EVERY single ex boyfriend becomes so obsessed with her that they all end up stalking her. Also she seems to have problems in every workplace with other women, and ends up getting into HR battles with women whom she thinks have it out for her. So in a sense I am a bit alerted that now she has turned these conspiracy theories onto me. She’s saying minor things, like I purposely “liked” something on Twitter so that she would see it and get offended. That wasn’t the case at all. LOL. My husband did joke that I should stay away from her or she will get me on some kind of dangerous person list with these extreme people she seems to be in with. But I’m not all that worried because she lives out west and I’m on the east coast, so there’s thousands of miles of distance.

    My biggest hangup I think is my ego, telling me I SHOULD be able to make this work, because I am so kind and compassionate, that I don’t want to think my long time friendship can fall victim to a simple difference of politics. I am taking it as a personal failure that I couldn’t make it work. I think that when I really think deeply about it, that’s the hardest part to let go of. Her as a person, we have nothing in common anymore, can’t see each other often because of distance, and this tension now just seems insurmountable. The things she said really just distubed me and as much as I want to a) snap back and say something nasty to stick up for myself, b) say we are better than this and “fix it” as was my role in my family all my life, I know that the ONLY viable choice right now is c) LET IT GO. It’s just hard because it confirms my failure to fix it.

    #370343
    nycartist
    Participant

    Hi all,

    Just wanted to post an update. I feel like this friendship breakup has taught me so many life lessons. Some of them are conflicting in a way. I’m just feeling so extremely hurt and vulnerable. I ended up getting a Happy Thanksgiving text from this friend, and also a quasi-apology in an email the next day. I say quasi, because it started out as an apology then sort of went into a few more of her baseless accusations and by the end she was making passive aggressive jokes at me, trying to make light of it all. I was hopeful that maybe there was some remorse in there for what she had said. So I wrote back a long email that was very sincere and also explaining my side of things. I took 3 days to write this email to try my best to make sure it came across the right way, as compassionate, trying to make peace, but also not caving and letting her walk all over me. Well, the response was very volatile. She didn’t acknowledge my suggestion that we work things out and continue on in a more respectful away, and focus on the things that unite us rather than divide us. She told me I was gaslighting her, that my email was creepy and reminded her of a guy that “stalked” her, and basically poked even more fun of me.

    I am mad at myself for opening up once more only to be rejected and made fun of. These kinds of rejections hit me so hard because it triggers those old feelings I’ve felt in my life so many times..of being ridiculed, of being rejected and abandoned. But even more so because this comes from someone who knows me well, and knows that I’m very sensitive and sincere. I feel like she took my sincerity and threw it in my face, after decades of friendship. I am so angry, and want to write nasty things back now, but it’s not my way. If I were a different person maybe I would tell her to F*** off. But I have this people pleaser way ingrained in me even when someone is so brutal that I just always want to be the olive branch, and try to fix it.

    I’m finding myself rereading these emails multiple times a day and replaying this in my mind. I know I HAVE TO LET GO. I won’t contact her again even if she reaches out now. But it is just very hard for me to leave this mess as it is. I know my friend has some mental issues, and I’m not sure where she is at the moment with her mental state, but she seems to seriously have broken off from reality. It almost reminds me of a schizophrenic person who thinks there are conspiracies against them everywhere. My friend has become a bit like this, in accusing me of strange things that never happened, and even picking apart things I’ve said and twisting them into sounding some other kind of way. So I need to stay away, because her calling my emails to reconcile creepy just are a red flag shes’ in this “conspiracy” mentality that she sometimes gets into. I just have to wish her well and hope that she gets some help. In the meantime, I have to mourn this. It feels like a death in many ways.

    #370280
    nycartist
    Participant

    Hi Anita!

    I always enjoy your posts. I want to answer your call to introduce oneself but want to keep it somewhat anonymous at the same time. I’m “NYC artist” because I am an artist from NYC, though I live in another state at the moment. I’m an only child, from divorced parents. I originally made an account here to deal with a very toxic family member (an uncle who was feuding with my mom and then with me). But this has been so helpful with other dilemmas and relationship issues as well. I much appreciate the insights you always give, Anita, and others here as well. It’s definitely a safe space here, and I appreciate it so much. <3

    #369075
    nycartist
    Participant

    Dear Tex,

    I feel for you. I feel very similar to you. I’m always the friend who reaches out, who helps, who comforts, who is reliable, who is loyal. I am the family member who is the peacemaker, the caregiver, the one who tries to bring people together when everyone is absorbed in their own lives. I am a good neighbor, a community organizer, etc. Not to toot my own horn, but I feel that I put in so much effort with EVERYONE, and yet when I’m down, I don’t see those same people reaching out to check on me. It’s an incredibly disappointing and isolating feeling.  Sometimes I just want to shout from the rooftops to everyone I know that they need to give a crap!!!

    I recently learned in therapy 2 things that may help you too. The first is if you’re doing something kind with the expectation that you get something back, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. It’s a nice concept that the love you take is equal to the love you make, but it’s not always so. We must give freely without any expectation of returns, and let the act of giving bring us joy. The expectation is what leads to the suffering.

    The second thing I learned is that it can be exhausting to always be “that person” for everyone else. When you give away too much of yourself, you sometimes have nothing left for you. Make sure you’re taking care of your own needs before you give everything else away. You say that you’re now heartbroken and financially ruined. I often give too much of myself, but I’m working to make sure now that my cup is always full before filling others’ cups. It’s not easy to change this habit, but it is an act of self love and preservation.

    I hope this helps in some way. Sending good vibes to you, Tex.

    • This reply was modified 10 months, 2 weeks ago by nycartist.
    #369073
    nycartist
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thanks as always for your reply. <3 I am so flabbergasted at how we ended up here, it’s so frustrating after putting in so much time and effort. But I will not contact her again. I do hope that she comes to her senses and realizes our friendship is worth something.

    If she doesn’t I realize I can’t accept that kind of behavior though. You’re right, it’s abusive. I tried my best but that doesn’t mean I need to be a doormat.

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