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Friends – where are they?

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  • #121919
    claref
    Participant

    I do have friends, or should I say more acquaintances.

    I live about an hour away from any social friendships, so its not every week i see people – when I do, I enjoy it – but sometimes im emotionally drained.

    There are few friends who are ‘true’ friends – by this i mean, would come and visit me, even though i’m a fair distance from them, they don’t let me down when we have plans and they are more ‘there’ for me, through phone or text and don’t ignore my messages. However these type of friends, tend to be highly emotional, highly strung individuals with anxiety and problems of their own, which is probably why we connect well – as we have issues. However, i’m slightly different in the sense of i like to talk about my problems but only briefly, i don’t like to get caught up in loads of negative emotion.

    I am a very good friend ( i think ) and as a result, I end up being part of others problems and end up feeling absolutely drained by it all. Even when i try and take a few steps back they sense something is wrong, as this isn’t like me.

    Now, i tend to then distance myself from the people who actually want to see me and meet up with me – because i feel we are too alike and i’m wanting to develop myself and they are sometimes stuck in the same dark place.

    The friends who i think are more good for me, free spirits, laid back friends – are not that good of friends. They don’t reply to messages, never make the effort to come and see me and are difficult, so not true friends.

    Why is this?

    #121974
    claref
    Participant

    Nonone?

    #122058
    Inge
    Participant

    Hi Claref,

    I’m 43 and more or less wrestling the same issue at the moment.

    I had/have very close friends, most of them also colleagues, who have shared in many times of misery and heartache these last 10-15 years, and vice versa. After a (one of many) break-up last summer, I was so shattered, and since then I’ve been working very hard with an EMDR-therapist to deal with old attachment trauma. This therapy has fundamentally changed my view on myself and on life. For the good, because for the first time in my life I have a clear view on some very destructive old patterns that no longer serve me in daily life. For example, I don’t want to play victim, or drama queen, or people-pleaser anymore, don’t want to complain anymore about ‘trivial stuff’ and ‘men’ being so bad. I’ve had it and am looking for a more positive way to live my life. It took quite some grieving to release these deep-rooted views and survival techniques from my family and childhood that had accompanied me for as long as I can remember. But so much energy got released to get focussed on some professional dreams and a hobby (dancing), I feel really so liberated !

    But on the other hand, right now, I’m experiencing a new, and unexpected, cycle of grief… I’ve changed and my friends haven’t, and I don’t feel the same connection anymore. Even more, now I have a clearer view on my issues, I also recognize these issues with my friends, and sometimes even get irritated by them. It sometimes feels like we started speaking another language… like our shared problems where the only connection, and now I’m acting more constructive, it seems they’re not even interested anymore; in this phase we keep hanging out because I’m a good listener (I’m a professional counselor myself) and I used to go out of my way to help everyone. They don’t even seem to realize my change at this point, they act the same (why wouldn’t they) and I don’t have the guts yet to tell them what has changed for me, still getting used to it myself. As my therapist explained, it’s a normal evolution. People unconsciously attract each other based on recognition in shared attachment wounds and coping strategies. That was my issue in love relationships, but I didn’t realize it could also be an issue in my friendships, which have been so important to me all these years, replacing a family I’d been missing on many levels. But it is an issue right now, making me feel sad, angry, disappointed and scared, and reviving old heartaches and feelings of rejection, and throwing me back again… All of a sudden I’ve been recognizing all kinds of unhealthy patterns in these relationships and this wasn’t supposed to happen in my plan 🙂

    But still, it did, and I’m glad to be growing and evolving, I really needed to, and I also rationally know this is a normal grieving process and that friends come and leave in life. I can’t unlearn what I’ve learnt and I want to keep growing, and I try to keep faith in the ‘way of life’ and meeting other people who are on the same track. Of course this takes time. And it also doesn’t mean I’m dropping all of my friends, because I do love these people, just searching new ways to connect to them, from a new place. Not sure if it’s going to work with all of them. Also not sure if I should talk to them openly about this, or just wait and see for a while,… It’s not that I feel better than them now, it’s just that my perspective on life has changed and is now more in line with my true self, and it feels almost arrogant to talk about this to them. I sometimes try to explain it, but I don’t get much reaction, let alone positive reaction, so I have the tendency to drop it and pretend nothing has changed, although I feel bad about it… Any advice on this is welcome !

    My message to you Claref, is to be true to yourself. Who are you? what are your values? what do you want from life? This should be your starting point, cause anything else won’t work. Maybe you want to do totally different stuff which may seem crazy to your surroundings, but that doesn’t matter, you’re the only one who is you! I don’t know your age, but I wish I’d learned all of this a bit sooner than now at 43. But better late than never of course 🙂 I’ve learned that the connection with yourself (and I’m still working on that) is the base for your connections with others. I think there’s no way around that one… I strongly believe that the way we connect to others is rooted in out attachment style and I’ve learnt so much about this, after studying the subject of attachment and being in therapy. If unhealthy attached, it’s totally normal to attract other people in the same league. Changing your attachment style, it’s also totally normal losing people and attracting other people. This doesn’t mean you can’t grieve your old self and connections, but it does mean you can be hopeful about future connections and relationships.

    Good luck to you and me and everybody else dealing with this !

    #122291
    Nichole
    Participant

    i’m in the same boat. i’m rather shy, i get wrapped up in whatever social engagements happen to be in front of me.. which i tell myself is being present, but in all reality all of that going with the flow means i tend to find enough social stimulation in coworkers, roommates, and extended friends without really fosterering true friendships. then i tend to rely on a boyfriend as best friend as well. so, now, living alone, with a rather oppressive first snow falling yesterday, i’m looking forward to hibernating to some extent, and focusing on myself. i think if i can come out of this in the spring with clear goals, having taken care of my body, mind and soul, and developed really good habits and kicked the bad i’ll be all the better for it. i’m terribly depressed so i’m not necessarily giving advice. i think connection and relationships are truly important.. i might be giving up, surrendering a bit, going with the flow of the seasons.. in the end i know i have work to do, this is a good time to do it, particularly breaking patterns of attachments and looking beyond those needs because all i really have is myself in the end. ha, i did find myself on these forums however, hence an overwhelming desire to be heard, offer compassion, and bounce ideas around~

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