March 30, 2020 at 11:18 am #346134
(Sorry it’d be a long one)
I made a friend this February. We actually knew each other since quiet a few months, but we used to talk or interact very little before. This one day(in Feb) we started having a conversation on text, and he opened up about his past relationship and other problems to me. I brought up the question about self-harm instinctively when he made a joke referring to it. Since I do self-harm too, it made me feel empathetic and we talked for hours about the things he’d been struggling in.
Skip time forward, we started to talk every single day on texts, instagram dms. He would text a lot. Like he would vent out at any hour, he would talk about his whole day, he would just tell anything and everything. I was okay with this, because I thought he wanted someone to be there for him, and listen to him. Because mostly he told he was dealing with a lot mental disorders. I suggested him therapist few times too. He finally got one, but after like three sessions he decided he’ll never go back there. he told me the therapist didn’t help at all, and was bad at the whole thing.
So the texting thing was for a month now, he had overshared a lot and lot of information about him. And he asked me to open up about my worries to him too, since he wanted to be “an amazing friend like how I have been with him”. So in return, I talked about my family issues and stuff too.( It didn’t help me talking out, though. But I didn’t want to make him feel unhelpful). He’s good at listening though. He’s understanding when it comes to listening to others. I know that too, and he himself told that he has lots of friends to listen to, and they kind of “depend” on him. So he likes texting a lot, it’s his habit since like forever, and has many many friends. He’s very social I guess. Almost everyone I know on social media knows him and talks to him.
In these two months, I knew a great-no, way great deal- about him, his life, what he did every single day in this time period, and his past. I was like his diary. He even himself said that yesterday, “You’re my vent diary. I’d not stop telling you everything” To provide more context: he was talking about his issues with one of his friends. So he was saying he’ll stop the emotional attachment and not talk about himself to that friend anymore or just anyone. but he’d still talk to me and such. He’s been saying these things since a while. Like I’m his most trusted and closest friend and yada yada.
I’m not fine with someone talking about their every single thing, every single day. I’m not even fine with him talking to me more than once in two weeks. Honestly, a month. It’s not to indicate he’s a bad friend. I just don’t prefer that in friendship. I have three old and close friends. We contact sometimes and you can tell i’m used to having little conversations. And that feels more than enough for me.
Being friends with him, means getting my space and values invaded. It may sound foolish, but my inner balance has been very disturbed because of knowing him. Because of knowing so much about him. I prefer to dive into the person’s environment and feelings, so it gets overwhelming if I know a lot of people. I start to live in the person as I get to know them. So constantly being fed with knowing someone, it’s making me lose myself. I’m constantly living their thoughts, their views, their issue and problems, and I’m becoming less of my own skin. I’m losing myself in a bad way. i don’t look into my own problems, relationships, and my own self like i used to. i’d have already exhausted too much energy into that “talking” that i feel like not thinking about these “serious/personal” things for myself. At this point it’d be obvious I need to end the friendship and take back my space. And I tried to a few times, but it ends up me returning and saying sorry for not being available.
But as someone, who knows what it feels like to be heard and understood. It makes me feel selfish and out of point. Like wouldn’t listening to someone vent out everyday be harmless. Plus, the things like “i know this friendship will fade too”, “you’re my no.1 friend”, “but i won’t stop talking to you”, have been in his texts a lot. It just makes me feel like hypocrite to turn away suddenly, after I’d agreed with him it’s bad about his friends not checking up on him anymore.
I’d agree I’m a people-pleaser and would do anything to make someone fulfill their needs, even if it means making myself uncomfortable. I seem to have exploitation issues too for always dealing with mum’s problems since childhood as an obligation.
Advice on what should be done, please? You can ask me any more questions to understand something better.
(BTW, if anita, you’d be reading this, I impulsively deleted my account one day I was removing my social media and internet registrations. This is my new profile on a different email. How have you been?)March 30, 2020 at 12:11 pm #346226
I wish you didn’t delete your account here, so that I could review our previous conversations (at what month/ date approximately did we communicate last?)
“wouldn’t listening to someone vent out everyday be harmless”?-
-No, it is harmful because when you have a person in your life who “would vent out at any hour.. talk about his whole day.. tell anything and everything…overshared a lot and lot of information about him.. talking about (his) every single thing, every single day”, when you are his vent diary (“He even himself said.. ‘You’re my vent diary”), and his promise is to “not stop telling you everything”- you are misused as a dumping ground for a never ending flow of information that is of no use for you.
Just like you wrote, it “means getting my space and values invaded”- your space is used as a dumping ground, so it is invaded by his dump.
“I start to live in the person.. lose myself.. constantly living (his) thoughts.. issues and problems”- you live in his dumping ground, with his things/life is everywhere, no space for your things/ your life.
I suggest that you tell him what you shared here on your thread, incorporate some of what I wrote in my reply to you. If he tells you in response that you are welcome to use him as your dumping ground too, maybe have equal time using each other that way, tell him you don’t want to, that you don’t have that need.
And hear/ read what he has to say, how he responds to what you tell him (and let me know, and if you need advice regarding his response, we’ll take it from there.
anitaApril 1, 2020 at 1:58 am #346522
(we communicated in early February I guess) (We last talked on a thread I started “what can we offer to the world” where I talked about feeling like I don’t have a safety net underneath by my parents and financial issues)
I agree, you phrased it right. I am acting like a dumping ground.
In this situation I have my bad part too. First, I shouldn’t have offered to talk out in the first few days. Because I was so available, it invited him to take that as the standard bar of availability from me. Then, I shouldn’t have agreed with every one of of things, like his views on his friendships, relationships and even to his smoking habits. I never really tried to disagree or resist on his views, because I thought, “well he’s just venting out, let him say whatever and nod your head to anything.” And it turns out I have created my image in his head that I hold the same beliefs and values as him. So in short we’re both okay the way this friendship is going. When in truth I’m not, only he is. That is why I’m afraid of telling him that he’s been doing something wrong
As you suggested, telling him that he’s invading my space and using me as a dumping ground, he’d definitely offer to mutualize. I don’t want to mutualize in that case. I’d not prefer having to word out every single of my feelings into a text message. I have my personal diary and a vent sketch book. I mostly draw/paint out my nasty feelings, or sometimes write them to see a bigger picture, but I do not want a human diary for that purpose. That is too inappropriate in my view. He’d just not come to a point if I say it directly. Is there an indirect way to tell him that?
Plus, I was thinking of making an excuse of not getting to use my cell phone a lot by my parents of something. Is it okay if I use this excuse to gradually pull away from our texting time?
Thank you for your response again. Hope you stay safe in these hustling times. Hope you’re doing okay
-JavairiaApril 1, 2020 at 9:28 am #346552
We communicated last in Feb, but that was a short communication. Most of our communication was way earlier. I think you started a few threads. Why did you feel the urge to delete it all: did you not value our communication?
Regarding the current topic: just because you invited him to dump (“I invited him..”), doesn’t mean you have to be his dumping ground yet one more day, or .. for the rest of your life. We make poor choices, and when we realize that we did, it is okay to make new choices.
Just because you agreed with his views before (“I shouldn’t have agreed with.. his views.. even to his smoking habits), doesn’t mean you have a duty to continue to agree with him yet another day, or for the rest of your life. It is okay for us people to change our minds, to abandon poor choices and make better choices.
“Is there an indirect way to tell him that?.. making an excuse of not getting to use my cell phone a lot by my parents.. gradually pull away from our texting time?”-
– not a good idea. Instead, tell him directly. Tell him that you let him vent out, say anything he wanted to day, nodded to a lot of what he said even though you didn’t agree to what he said.. If you tell him this, he will have the opportunity to learn that venting out at length to another person, burdening others with the massive flow of anything and everything that goes through his brain (so to make himself feel better, to lighten his burden) is the wrong thing to do to another person.
Plus, telling him directly, no matter how scary it is for you, will build some courage in you. And that courage will make it easier for to assert yourself then next time, with someone else.
Look for excuses and you’ll run out of excuses; look for the truth and share it, and you will do good to yourself and to others.
anitaApril 2, 2020 at 9:44 am #346724
(Yes, I did start a few. I started from “Childhood Trauma” in May 2019 and so on. It’s not the case, I truly value all of your replies and the time and effort you put into communicating with me. I admit it gave you an impression of the opposite when I deleted the account so easily, not putting much thought into what the person who gave me time and attention on that space would feel. I’m sincerely sorry if it caused you any discomfort or hurt. I need to be more thoughtful)
I totally got you at the point of being okay with changing. And maybe I just wanted to hear that.
Something I never really did, nor do is: being courageous/ brave. I’m never really bold, and don’t voice my points or needs. Also I’m afraid to end things on bad terms. By the way, surprisingly, he didn’t text all day today. Yesterday he also only texted in the morning for a while and didn’t for the rest of day. I can’t really tell he has realized the space is needed, or what else. But, I’ll try my best to take in courage to bring up the topic. I think I should wait and see if he starts texting less from now on. I’ll tell you about where the friendship is going then.
I’ll take in your advice and try to be more direct instead of being shut about things or passive aggressive on other.
JavairiaApril 2, 2020 at 10:23 am #346730
Yes, back in May of last year, you were 16 at the time. You shared that you saw your parents fight a lot, shouting and arguing. When you were 6, your mother attempted (or seemed to attempt) to commit suicide right in front of you; you were alone with her, when that happened.
Your father (who was never married to your mother) left the home when you were 9. He lives with another family now, and is not part of your life at all, other than talking to you on the phone strictly on financial matters; it has been your role to call your father on the phone every month regarding him paying for what you and your two older siblings need. You hate this role, it distresses you a whole lot, but your mother wouldn’t do it and your siblings won’t, so you are the one who ended up doing it. (One of your sibling does drugs and the other, you think poorly of.
You shared at the time that you took on another role, one of being a funny friend, always making jokes, the happy-go-lucky, kind of optimistic person, that you do enjoy your friends’ company and being the optimistic one, and that you don’t want to burden them with your troubles.
Ten months later, today, you shared that being courageous is something you “never really did.. never really bold, and don’t voice my points or needs”-
-time to change that, Javairia. If this guy does call you again to vent, tell him that you will not be his dumping ground again, that you want a conversation= a meaningful 2 way exchange of thoughts, a win-win exchange, one that works for both of you, not just .. for him.
Thank you for your apology. I accept it. Take good care of yourself!
April 4, 2020 at 10:03 am #347050
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by anita.
(to correct *my father is married to my mother, they’re just not seeing or talking to each other directly for years now, they’re still not legally divorced yet)
I’m not sure how to view this exchange or communication anymore. These past two days I over did the thought of how I want this friendship to be. Today I talked to him after a two-day break. I texted for only a while in the afternoon, and then for a while in the evening. Both times, the conversation went from him inquiring about my sick pet, then how I’m doing, then me texting I don’t feel like talking, him replying with “It’s okay. I understand, just take care”.
What do you think; am I making this tiring myself?April 4, 2020 at 10:24 am #347054
Thank you for the correction. Most recently, this guy didn’t misuse you, that is, use you to vent endlessly so to unburden himself at your expense. Any ideas why??? Maybe he found someone else to vent..? Or has he been venting to you on and off, so this is one of his breaks?
anitaApril 4, 2020 at 10:47 am #347062
He actually has lots of friends to express himself to. He used to tell me these two especially “helping” friends, one that he has broken off communication with and the other probably doesn’t talk often but is still close and knows a great deal about him just like me. I think it’s not like one of his usual breaks, it’s a bit prolonged one maybe because I’m not available on social media platforms since my pet got sick, so his way to reach out to interact has gotten limited.
Honestly, I feel like a bad person to even admit I’ve been misused and that this is going wrong way. I just don’t like the way at all how he handles his friendships and communications. My values get shaken all at that point.
I’m sorry, can you suggest how to clear up my boggled mind about how should I view this situation? This is such a small fragment of everyday things we encounter as social beings, why am I making this so hard and tiring for myself?
(Thank you for putting up with me, Anita!)April 4, 2020 at 11:02 am #347080
You are welcome. It makes sense that the reason he hasn’t burdened you recently with his need to vent is that “his way to reach out to interact (with you) has gotten limited”- keep it limited then!
“I feel like a bad person to even admit I’ve been misused… why am I making this so hard and tiring for myself?”- I am guessing because you feel responsible for him, as if (and it is not!) it is your job to be there for him in any way he needs you to be. So if you are not there for him the way he needs you, you feel like a bad person.
As you know, you erased our previous communications, so I can’t go back and read about your childhood, but remembering that your mother attempted or seemed to attempt suicide in front of you, that’s a very, very distressing experience for a child. I imagine that you felt responsible for her suicide attempt/ the misery she experienced. I imagine that because children automatically feel responsible, aka guilty, for a parent’s expressed misery.
Fast forward, this guy expressed to you his misery, tells you that he needs you to relieve his misery, so you feel that it’s your job, and if you don’t perform this job, you are a bad person.
anitaApril 4, 2020 at 11:28 am #347084
It does make sense. I can see it how I’ve been feeding myself with “bad person” complex. Because you can’t save your mom, you’re a “bad person”, if you can’t do well enough in relationships, you’re a “bad person”, if you can’t be there for them, you’re a “bad person”. You figured it out right
I will keep the interaction limited, and let’s see what happens in the starved interaction
It has not been my job, I agree. I’m just too used to taking things as my job, I need to break it., I have a long way to improve. Thanks for pointing that out
(If you needed to ask about things you wanted to re-read or refer to, I can type them again. Sorry for putting you into inconvenience if it did.)April 4, 2020 at 12:45 pm #347100
That “‘bad person’ complex” that you mentioned, I suffered from it terribly myself for decades! I hope you don’t suffer from it for as long as I have. I will give you a current example for how bad..my bad person complex is (I like these three word term that you came up with): when I say to myself that I did not cause the current pandemic and its economical consequences- I feel better. I feel better because it is my habit to automatically blame myself for negative events, small and big, that I do not cause!
Back to you, you are not responsible for this man’s distress, for his suffering, you didn’t cause any of it. Therefore, it’s not your job to take away his suffering, or to provide a venting opportunity for him, so that he feels better at your expense!
“I will keep the interaction limited, and let’s see what happens in the starved interaction”- good plan. If he starts venting, interrupt him!
Regarding your offer to answer any questions I have regarding what you shared and erased, thank you. I appreciate it. I suggest that you share with me anything about your childhood and your current home life, if and as it feels relevant to you, regarding your current life situations. If I have questions in the future, I will ask you.
anitaApril 5, 2020 at 11:29 am #347268
That’s sad to hear you had to deal with this too. I’m glad you got through this. How was the process?
I understand, I will do that.
About the childhood you asked, there’s one other incident I don’t recall pleasantly often and didn’t mention in any of our conversations before- I was sexually assaulted at the age of around 6 or 7 by a pedophile. That person actually assaulted me for a period of time, but I was never able to talk about it to anyone. But I don’t think it affects me that bad. Except for two occasions when my mum wrongly accused me of incest with my elder brother, for literally no reason at all(it was a product of her anxiety for something I guess), it just brought back the memories of that and I was disgusted with myself for a long time. I sometimes shudder from being physically touched, but it doesn’t feel as traumatic as other memories. About current situation, I don’t know I should associate with this, but since I’ve been talking with that guy regularly, I’ve been self-harming more than ever before. It’s wrong of me to connect it somehow, but yeah; it’s been two months I’ve been taking out a lot of frustration on my body.
I’m sorry if this is a heavy piece to read through
Take care. Bless youApril 5, 2020 at 12:11 pm #347738
The process of not feeling guilty for what I am not guilty is about telling myself the truth, that I am not responsible for what I am not responsible for, and believing it, believing what is true.. to be true.
In your case, it would be you telling yourself:
1. I was not responsible for having been sexually assaulted when you were 6 or 7, the man who assaulted me was responsible, not me!- and believing it to be true.
2. I did not have any kind of sexual activity with my elder brother. My mother was wrong when she accused me of that!- and believing it to be true.
You wrote: “since I’ve been talking with that guy regularly, I’ve been self-harming more than ever before”- I didn’t know that. But you have to stop talking to him immediately!
Do you want to tell me more about the connection between talking to him and self harming (and how do you self harm?)
anitaApril 5, 2020 at 12:29 pm #347744
I get it. I agree, believing the right and rational things over the inner critic and self-hatred is a right way. it’s harder to get through this process than it seems, but I’ll give it a try for sure.
I don’t know quiet well, why it triggered me to self harm so much after talking to him regularly. It might’ve been a constant flow of negative things like suicide and such. But it still confuses me why I hurt myself so much during this time period. I self harm by cutting my right arm and by making burn scars sometimes.