Forum Replies Created
October 4, 2023 at 9:23 am #422709
I think you have hit on a very interesting point….an attraction to narcissists. This, I know, is the case for me. I see the patterns in who I am attracted to. I like loud, funny, over-the-top personalities that love to be the center of attention. I myself am more quiet, and wonder if I have as much to offer, so I gravitate toward these “shiny people” who light up a room. But, with that often comes selfishness, self-centeredness. I have been told I am loved, especially when I am doing the listening, and the being there for others. But when it is my turn to need something, I notice these friends are often unreliable. It hurts so much, because I always think I have done my part in the friendship and am simply looking for the same effort in return. But you hit another good point, expectations. I know these are people you love, but ask yourself, do they act selfishly at times? It sounds that way. It is hard to expect a lot from selfish people. Lowering expectations is a very good start, if you do not want to ever give up on them, as you say.
I admire your loyalty. I am also loyal to a fault. But I am now in my 40’s with a family and have realized I do not have an endless supply anymore to give to these friends that just take take take. And that make me feel unworthy. So that is where i ask you to look hard at these relationships and ask yourself, do they still make you feel good? If not, it is worth reevaluating your expectations of them, as well as how much effort you put toward reaching out.
NYC ArtistSeptember 30, 2023 at 10:16 pm #422615
Your post spoke to me. It is something I struggle with so often as well. I am so sorry for the hurt you’ve been feeling both with the loss of your partner and the lack of consistency with your friendships. I relate very much. I am an only child, no siblings, so friends are very important to me. My family was always unstable, so this adds to the need for a “chosen family” with friendships. Like you, I try very hard, always try to be there, to be considerate, to reach out and check on them. But it is not always reciprocated the way I hoped.
There have been times in my life that my merely ASKING for a friend to reciprocate, or to try to be more considerate, has completely ruined the friendship. So I have stopped asking, stopped pointing out how I would like them to act. Losing some of my old friends has made me realize you can’t make someone treat you how you would expect to be treated. It is SO HARD to lose friends, especially when it is a long friendship. But if the dynamic has changed where they are not treating you as you should, sometimes it is easier to let go, than to hang on and feel neglected and hurt for years and years. I know because that is what I used to do. Now I have shifted my approach. I send love and light to them when I miss them, but I don’t ask them to change. Some of what others have said is true…life is busy, COVID has changed us all, the over-abundance of tech and social media has somewhat ruined our brains. We are all mentally exhausted. I take what people are able to give, and try to fill my cup myself if it still feels empty.
My desire has always been to have people think of me, include me, the way that I try to include everyone. It makes me sad that I am not thought of in that way, the way I think of others. But I look for signs, and I try not to put energy into places that don’t give back anymore. Someone said to me once, “if you hold on to a dead frienship, it is like an anchor holding you down. Once you let it go, you become free to attract another friendship that can bring you higher”. I would look at your situation not as a limitation but an opportunity to meet others. Being in new places, far away from people who do not put effort into you is not a negative thing. You are in beautiful new places, and once you let go of the grief from these older friends, you will open up to receive new friendships with people who see your value. Good luck!July 21, 2022 at 1:19 pm #404333
I wanted to come back and try to recall what I wrote earlier:
You hit the nail on the head regarding friendships for me. I have not been able to pinpoint why I obsess about friendships so much, but you have clarified it for me. It is that during my childhood, my family life was so unstable that I sought out that stability and security in friendships. And, just as everyone experiences, those friendships did not always last. I remember my childhood best friend moving away, and though we were penpals for years, that abandonment hit me very hard at 7 years old. Another friend in middle school hurt me when she became “too cool” and left me for the cool crowd. So even in friendship, I faced abandonment. I remember I became depressed even as a child when these things happened. My mother gave me some wise advice, which was to try to have many friends, “This way when one leaves, you have others as a backup”. I have lived with those words in my mind regarding friends….always afraid someone would leave, always trying to make sure I have enough “back ups”.
This led to some pretty poor quality of friends, as they say quantity does not always mean quality. I am learning now that when a friendship ends, it does not always have to be devastating. When a friendship is poor quality, I do not have to continue to hold on to it.
With regard to The Lack, I am so thankful for this conversation because it shone a light on this darkness in the corner. I believe I can never be rid of it, but it can be shrunk, controlled. This reminds me of a film, a horror film called The Babadook. I don’t know if you are a fan of horror, but the movie is about grief taking the form of a monster and becoming more powerful. Spoiler….the way to defeat is is not to eliminate it, but to contain it, and keep it in the basement. In a similar way, I can now acknowledge The Lack, but not let it take hold of me, or consume me. I can choose not to let it darken the good and positive things in my life. This has begun to feel very empowering!
Thank you for this epiphany that you helped me arrive to!
NYC ArtistJuly 19, 2022 at 9:27 pm #404272
Oh dear! I wrote a very very long response and submitted it but somehow it got lost! 🙁
Anita, I can’t thank you enough for the time you took to analyze my posts and find connections in current feelings to the past. It is truly enlightening. I also am happy that our conversation has helped you shed light on your own healing process. You are very right about many things you said regarding friendships. I will have to write again tomorrow and try to remember everything I had just typed. It is late here, and I must go to bed, but thank you again and I will write back very soon.
NYC ArtistJuly 17, 2022 at 7:40 pm #404168
Thank you Anita,
I love your thoughtful posts. They really shed so much light. It is true, this feeling, this Lack, or Void has always been with me. Even now that I have a loving husband, “lots of friends”, and a daughter, and now finally a very attentive mom, nothing can fill it.
Sometimes it scares me a little. I know I would never do anything drastic, like take my life or anything, but I feel like there is a dark hole that can never be filled. I think it is up to me to close it, that apparently no perfect man, or amount friends can fill. I spend way too much time thinking about the Lack. In this instance, the friends who didn’t come, and not the ones who did (or the fun time I had with my husband and daughter celebrating separately). My mind reverts quite naturally to the Lack, and it puts a weight on my soul thinking about who DIDN’T show up for me.
It is something I will bring up with my therapist for sure. I think you are on to something that this has a whole lot to do with my childhood. It makes me sad to even realize this, that I have been living with this Lack, like an elephant in the room for a very long time. This birthday just sort of shone a light on it, but it is there all the time.July 17, 2022 at 7:14 pm #404167
Hi Jem Jem,
Just wanted to come on here and give another perspective (I have not read the other advice you’re getting, so apologies if this is redundant).
I am writing because I have been in Emma’s situation several times in my life. I have multiple friends who do not get along. In the past, I would stress out so badly to try to include both of my friends who didn’t get along in events that were important to ME. It would cause drama in some way or another, I felt like I would lose either way. Either I didn’t invite one to something so that the other would be comfortable, and then the first one would be insulted that they didn’t get invited. Or I would invite both and they would complain to me, and make me have awful anxiety before my event.
I stopped worrying about how either person feels when it is something important to be, because honestly it isn’t fair for me to take on that baggage of what happened in their separate relationship. I understand that Tara was unkind to you, and that you expect Emma to be loyal to you and treat Tara differently. I want to point out that whatever dynamic Tara and Emma have is between them, and it is outside of your relationship with either. It isn’t fair to put it on someone to change a relationship based on what happened in someone else’s friendship. I know that is a bit harsh, but it really is true.
As for running into Tara, you have two options. 1) you can be honest with Emma and tell her you prefer not to be around Tara. But then you cannot be upset if Emma chooses not to include you in her events if she wants to have Tara there. 2) you can make your peace with the fact that you will see Tara at some events, and though it may be uncomfortable for you, if you care enough for Emma, you can put those feelings aside and be cordial with Tara (Hi and Bye) and not even be around her at all during the party.
I hope that makes sense and helps see it from another point of view.
NYC ArtistFebruary 17, 2022 at 8:33 am #392918
In situations like these I often wonder, what was that person doing before they met you? How is it that Amanda has all the time in the world to text and talk to you and not feel like she is neglecting whatever was in her life before you recently met? To me it is a red flag, as there are some people who just become emotional vacuums and suck others dry. She sounds like she has a void to fill, whereas you don’t really. You have a full life with friends and a boyfriend, and making good choices for your health. This relationship sounds intense, yet it is still new. There is still time to set the dynamic in place. It may feel difficult, but you don’t owe her more than you can give. Keep your boundaries firm, and if she is meant to be a true friend, she will adjust to them.February 17, 2022 at 8:06 am #392913
As always thank you for your thoughtful insights. You help me put things into perspective.
With the bossy friend, I am going to hold firm in my boundaries. And we will see what happens there. I feel people are put in our lives for a reason and maybe this is a person who is in my life to help me learn to speak up. I’ve been silenced for a lot of my life and it is a challenge to speak up. With this friend there is opportunity to push back. It feels like “butting heads” and maybe it is constructive in some ways. I know we both care about each other, we actually had stopped being friends for a few years and reconnected. So we both are trying to make it work, as we both missed each other. There are good things about the friendship, it is just this dynamic of her wanting me to do things her way where there is a sticking point.
For the flakey friend, you bring up a good point. To give a little more insight, I have actually adopted the stance of “She’s a grown woman and can figure this out for herself” a while back. When some of her other relationships were damaged by her actions, I stayed out of it, refrained from giving advice or judgment, as I have faith that she knows the right thing to do in the end. Her choices have not been good ones, but I am giving her the space to make those for herself. My husband thinks I am “enabling” her by staying her friend while she makes poor choices but I see it as: you don’t abandon someone when they are having a hard time. I have decided to stick it out, unless she does something truly hurtful and egregious toward me, where I need to draw the line. But I think giving that space and lowering my expectations is great advice that I can use with her going forward.February 16, 2022 at 6:31 pm #392880
Ok I will give it a try.
I will stick with the first scenario, of my friend who was disapproving of my guest list for a party I am hosting. She spent most of the day messaging me about why I shouldn’t have a certain person there, and made it all about her. How she feels that she shouldn’t have to spend her time around people she doesn’t like. Also that if the tables were turned, she would have dropped this friend if it were me who didn’t like the person. This is a party for my child, and both of these friends have a place in my life. I told her she can make the choice to come or not come, I have the right to invite whomever I choose to my own party. This friend of mine (the one with the issue) is supposed to stay with me after the festivities and wants to “talk about it” more afterwards. It just feels as though I am waiting to get reprimanded or something and it is adding stress to what is supposed to be a happy occasion. All because she wants me not to invite a person to my own party. So here is where I feel like a child “rebelling” I suppose. Really I just feel like I am having to push back on a pushy person and stick up for myself, which is difficult.
A scenario where I acted like a mother figure is a different friend went through a breakup, came to my house late that night, stayed here for 2 days! I tried my best to comfort her, but I also have a family, and needed to take care of my own things in life. After this breakup, she’s become distant, and unreliable. She used to be a very reliable friend, and now shows up late, doesn’t always text back, flakes out on plans, and generally just is not really there in the way she used to be. I know she is going through things, but this has been a few years of this and it has gotten worse lately. I accepted this behavior for a while but I am just over it. I don’t quite know how to express my feelings without her becoming defensive. I have tried a few times and gotten a lot of resistance.February 16, 2022 at 3:13 pm #392869
Thanks Anita. That is an interesting observation. I think looking at that, it makes me realize there is a lot of imbalance in my friendships. It is true, a lot of times I am a nurturer, and maybe I am in a way a mothering role, and it can be tiring and leave me feeling unappreciated. Other times with the more pushy friends I do feel rebellious too, because it brings back feelings from when I was a kid and bossed/pushed around.
I don’t know how to strive for a more equal balance in these relationships. But I can say for some reason (maybe it is just my mood at the moment), I feel some anger about it. These years-long relationships are hard to change. But I want respect in all of them. That also feels lacking whether I am being the child pushing back or the unappreciated mother figure.February 16, 2022 at 1:04 pm #392853
you can just ghost this person. Usually I think ghosting is immature. BUT there is a place for it….and this is TOTALLY the place!August 31, 2021 at 8:11 pm #385540
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. <3August 2, 2021 at 7:38 pm #383991
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.July 9, 2021 at 7:24 am #382680
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.March 29, 2021 at 9:34 pm #376815
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.