Month of February , 2009

Choosing one over another

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There are many times when girlfriends have to choose one friend over another (for example, you can only have one maid-of-honor)---and decisions like this aren't always easy.

Read Andrea Boyarsky's article in the Staten Island Advance, Delivering the Big Hurt, where she asks me and some other experts to weigh in on the issue...

 

Fractured Friendships - A Reminder

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By hitting the SUBSCRIBE button on the right, you can receive blog entries from The Friendship Blog (Fractured Friendships) in your mailbox as soon they are posted.

If you haven’t been checking in here regularly, you may have missed some of these posts that appeared this month:

Co-rumination: Is it healthy for adolescents to rehash their boy problems?
A research study looks at the impact of adolescent girls who constantly talk to one another about guy problems

Bonding when things go bad

A post about a female support group called Dating a Banker Anonymous (the women who started the group later admitted that their story, published in the New York Times, was an exaggeration)

Reader Q & A: By love possessed
A reader writes about her overly-possessive friend

A "good enough" friend
A reader is haunted by a friend who has told her she isn’t “good enough”

Girlfriendology: Inspiring Female Friendships

An interview with Debra Hauppert, the girl behind Girlfriendology, an online community for women that aims to celebrate, appreciate and inspire women

For Better or For Worse: Weddings and Friendship

Part 1 of an interview with wedding expert Sharon Naylor, author of 35 wedding books

What to do and say when your friend gets a pink slip
A link to my podcast on Girlfriendology on how to handle a friend who gets fired

She's Just Not That Into You: Six ways to know when a girlfriend's a frenemy
My advice on how to recognize a friend who’s not a friend

Friendship by the Book: Second Chance by Jane Green
My thoughts about this latest book by chick-lit author Jane Green

Valentine's Day: Not Just for Lovers

A new look at what Valentine’s Day means to friends, a memorial tribute to my dad

Double Trouble: Losing two friends at once
A reader writes about her misfortune of losing two close friends in close succession

For Better or For Worse: Weddings and Friendship - Part II

The second part of my interview with wedding expert, Sharon Naylor

Just Do It: Putting a fractured friendship behind you
A reader expresses her discomfort in getting past a friendship that has fallen apart

Reader Q & A: Unable to let go
A reader is unable to let go of a toxic friend who always causes her great pain

Friendless in Seattle
How can a middle-aged woman be unable to keep a friend?

Friendship and Money: She's fired, you're not

The first part of an interview with journalist Emma Johnson, who covers money and finance topics for MSN.com

A writer asks: How could my colleague and friend undermine me?
A colleague of mine expresses her disappointment at being shafted by a writer-friend

Till Kids Do Us Part: A BabyCenter.com interview on pregnancy, motherhood and friendship

Kristina Sauerwein’s two-part interview with me on BabyCenter.com

And the month still isn’t over! Well, it almost is---and if you live in the Northeast like me, we'll all be happy when the bitter winter months morph into spring.

My blog readership is on a steady ascent, thanks to you. My book is slated for publication by Overlook Press this coming September, finally.

Please continue to visit my blog and share your questions, comments, anecdotes, stories and thoughts about your friendships (including the ones that got away)---and to share the URL with your real friends, Facebook friends, and MySpace friends.

I'd also very much appreciate your signing up to be my fan on The Huffington Post and chiming in there when you have something to add.

In friendship,
Irene
 

Till Kids Do Us Part: A BabyCenter.com interview on pregnancy, motherhood and friendship

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Every passage of a woman’s life poses unique challenges to her friendships—but pregnancy and motherhood are among the most risky. Pregnant women are notoriously self-centered and moody, traits that can be off-putting even to people who love them.

Also, motherhood is such a huge time-sucker that it greatly reduces (and sometimes eliminates) opportunities to spend relaxed time with friends (or to shave your legs, tweeze your eyebrows, or bathe). Finally, another reason why motherhood can wreck a close friendship: Mothers fall hopelessly in love with their newborns, leaving little emotional space for other people in their lives.

Yet, the value of friendships during every phase of life, especially during pregnancy and motherhood, can’t be measured. Solid friendships provide new moms and moms-to-be with confidence, advice, support and pleasure.

This is why I was delighted to speak with Kristina Sauerwein, who blogs on BabyCenter.com. The name of her Momformation Blog, Balancing Acts, aptly characterizes the life of any new mother who recognizes that she has never juggled quite as many balls as she does now.

The first part of the recently posted interview is called You Were Close Friends and Then You Had Kids.

The second part of the BabyCenter.com interview is entitled, Should You Break Up with Your Friend?



If you are interested in this subject, you may want to glance at a couple of previous related posts on my blog: New Kid on the Block: Mastering the Motherhood-Friendship Mix and Motherhood is a Friendship Killer.

Are you a new mom or mom-to-be with questions or dilemmas about a friendship? Write to me at irene@fracturedfriendships.com and I'll try to answer all of them. 

 

 

A writer asks: How could my colleague and friend undermine me?

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QUESTION:

Dear Irene,

I’m an award-winning author with a friendship dilemma. A long time friend has definitely hurt my feelings. She told one of my clients whose memoir I’m writing that she’d Googled my agent and that he was basically a “nobody,” casting doubts upon my agent’s ability to broker a deal on his book and the likeliness of film rights.

It sowed seeds of doubt with my client and caused me a lot of unnecessary time trying to defend my agent who is actually one of the most powerful in the business. In fact, he doesn’t have a website and intentionally keeps a low profile because he’s exclusive and takes on new authors by referral only.

She also told my client that I’m “just a ghost writer,” which is not an accurate account of my abilities and I felt it was said in a disparaging manner and insinuated that she doubted I could pull off a project of this scope. My dilemma is whether or not to send her the note setting the record straight, along with a list of my agent’s top-tier clients.

I am hurt and astonished by her behavior. Should I confront her, or do as my husband counsels and simply have the revenge of a bestseller and boatloads of money from film rights. What are your thoughts? I’m feeling blue, fatigued and having a hard time jumping back into my assignments after this disappointment.

I haven’t responded to her latest email which is all chatty and thanking me for recommending a good book doctor for her manuscript. I don’t have it in me today.

Signed,
Kaila

ANSWER:

Dear Kaila,

I can well understand your feelings of hurt and disappointment. It’s sad when a friend has to tear you down to build herself up. Your “friend” has undermined you with your client, either because she is competitive and envious of your success or because she is clueless and has bad judgment. In either case, you have a friendship problem.

I think that this one will be hard, if not impossible, to remedy. If her envy is the problem, that is something SHE can work on but there isn’t much you can do yourself to make her less envious of you. If she has bad judgment and loose lips, can you trust her enough to involve her or even let her know about your business dealings in the future?

It’s absolutely necessary for you to educate your client about your confidence in your agent---and you’ve learned an important lesson about your friend. You have the choice of cutting her off from you completely or trying to redefine the relationship by setting clear boundaries about what you can comfortably tell her and what you can’t. Perhaps, you need to stay clear of any discussions about your work. But squelching communication about such an important element of your life may doom the friendship. The ball is in your court. Whether your friendship survives this betrayal will be determined by the strength of your ties to one another and how meaningful this friendship is to you overall.

Best of luck with your book!

Sincerely,
Irene

 

Do you have a friendship dilemma that you would like advice about? Use the contact tab above to send your question to me. I try to respond to as many queries as possible; you need not use your real name. If it is bothering you, you can bet that someone else is having similar problems.

 

 

 

Friendship and Money: She's fired, you're not

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Any major life change--including an unexpected job loss or other threat to economic security--can increase the risk of a once-close friendship falling apart. As such, the global recession is challenging untold numbers of female friendships. In the first of a two-part series, I interviewed journalist Emma Johnson, who covers money and finance topics for MSN.com and other national publications, to find out her thoughts on this topic:

 

In the current economic climate, where job loss is rife, how can getting a pink slip or being furloughed challenge friendships?

Women can be very competitive with each other. Traditionally women have competed for male attention and loyalty. The species depended upon it. The more women's sexual partners were loyal to them, the better off the women and their children would be since men were the breadwinners and women had few economic opportunities.

But the game is different today. We compete in other areas of our lives, including professionally. Even if we aren't in direct professional competition with our girlfriends, that rivalry can still be there. Of course it isn't always the case, but it often is, and worst of all, most of the time we don't realize it.

So if two friends are engaged in even a friendly contest about who's ahead in her career, a layoff can give the other woman the edge in this unspoken game. That can create resentment from the unemployed party--who is already distraught about her new economic situation.

 

How can women minimize the risk of losing their friendships if one friend is spiraling downward economically?


I'm a big fan of talking it out, though all the psychology experts don't agree with that. If the employed friend can say, "I'm so sorry you are going through this. What can I do to be supportive?" Then, give her friend some time to think about what she needs; that can go a long way. Likewise, the unemployed friend might need to talk to her friend and say, "I'm really worried about money right now. Would you mind if we find some less expensive ways to spend time together until I get back on my feet?"

There are other things to think about. Unemployment and financial worries are top factors in stress, sleep loss and depression, which can take a big toll on one's overall well-being, including their relationships. If everyone is aware of the realities of the situation, tough times can strengthen friendships. But the working friend needs to be willing to be supportive, and sometimes the friend in the tough situation needs to allow themselves to be vulnerable and cared for.

To be continued...

Emma Johnson is a New York journalist who writes about business, finance and money topics for publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur and Psychology Today. Her series on MSN  Money, "Jump Start Your Life," explores money topics for people in their 20s and 30s. 

*A version of this post appears on The Huffington Post

 

 

Friendless in Seattle

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Why would a middle-aged woman not be able to keep a friend?

Read my latest reader query on that topic on The Huffington Post.

 

Reader Q & A: Unable to let go

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QUESTION:

Dear Irene,

About a year and a half ago I broke up with a friend and I'm still not over it. I was hoping you could offer some insight. I’ve known this girl since 6th grade when she stopped speaking to me over some boy. We became friends again in 7th grade but she always needed a new best friend. She moved out of state in 8th grade and made me promise to go to college in her state.

Well, I did move there and got married (she got married too). The four of us would hang out some but she did the same things as she did in elementary school: she'd just stop calling or she would ask for rides or a babysitter when she needed something and we'd be there to help. But if we needed something she'd just whine and complain. We moved a couple times within the same city and she was always negative about were we lived, saying we lived in a bad neighborhood (when we didn't and we had a brand new house).

Finally my husband and I stopped speaking to them because we felt like we were being used. About 3 years later, I started feeling guilty so I called her to see how she was and she was happy to hear from me. We started hanging out again and things seemed all right. I actually helped her to get a job at the same place where I worked with my husband.

My husband and I started to have problems and were considering a divorce. It turns out that she HATED my husband. She kept encouraging me to divorce him and spread rumors about him at work. Apparently she was talking about me, too, and spreading our personal problems to everyone we worked with. It made work very uncomfortable but she denied saying anything. She told me I shouldn't have told her any of my problems if I didn't want them to be known!

I ended up getting my own place and separating from my husband. I was very depressed and could hardly get out of bed. She was always mad at me for not “snapping out of it”. I eventually went to a doctor and got on anti-depressants and starting seeing a therapist, but she kept talking about me, saying that the anti-depressants weren’t good for me. She told me that I needed to convert to her religion to find happiness and get over the depression.

I agreed to go to church with her a few times but after a couple months decided it wasn't the place for me. When I began studying with a Rabbi she began saying horrible things about Jewish people and constantly told me how “sorry” she was that I was going to hell. I ended up moving out of state for a new job and to start a new life: I had planned to remain friends with her and talk to her from out of state.

Once I moved, she started sending me bible tracts and told me that Hebrew was a “bad language” to learn. Then I received an email with childish insults and name calling from both her and her husband. I just couldn't take it anymore and didn't want to fight, or call names so I just stop talking to her altogether. I deleted all the emails I got from her without ever reading them and changed my phone number.  Now she has befriended my mother on Facebook and constantly leaves my mom messages about how great she is. I feel like she's crossed the line by trying to be friends with my mom or she's displaying some passive aggressive behavior.

I feel a lot of guilt over this and feel like it is immature for me to stop being friends with someone. My life has improved A LOT since I stopped being friends with her and my self-esteem has climbed. Should I feel guilty over this? I feel like it is something that some middle school girls would do but I never imagined adults would stop speaking like this. Should I say something to her about being Facebook friends with my mom? Or do I just let this go?

Signed,
Unable to Let Go

ANSWER:

Dear Unable to Let Go,

I hope that by posting your dilemma on this blog and reading it in black-and-white, it helps clarify your answer to the question you posed: Should I just let this go? When other women write about their friendship dilemmas, the answers are often in shades of gray. This one isn’t.

It sounds like your ex-friend has been possessive, self-centered, negative and controlling from the time she was an adolescent and she still hasn’t outgrown it. While you tolerated her for some time, you and your husband appropriately decided to end the relationship. The same attitudes and behaviors you overlooked in middle school were less acceptable when you saw them appear in an adult.

Like most women, you tried to put a positive spin on your friendship when you attempted to renew it three years later. Then your friend began to encourage you to leave your husband, spread rumors about you and your husband to your colleagues, and betrayed confidences about you to people at work. I can’t help but think that she was alienating you from him and your co-workers so she could have you for herself again. Then she tried to dictate your religious beliefs and showed little sensitivity to or understanding of your values or emotions. Besides, people generally don’t “snap out” of a clinical depression.

Don’t you remember you changed your phone number to avoid contact wit her and even deleted her emails? Why would you ever feel guilty for cutting off a friendship like this one? You deserve so much better.

Why would you want to re-friend someone who has been such a negative influence? Yes, she crossed the line by trying to befriend your mom and there is no point in initiating contact with her over this. However, you should let your mother know how nasty your friend has been to you so she doesn’t get sucked in. The rules of friendship on Facebook are often pretty murky but I would think your mother wouldn’t want to maintain a relationship with your ex-friend if she knew how much pain she had caused you.

Clearly, you are feeling happier and more self-confident since you broke off with her. Yet you are guilty and ashamed about separating from a long-time friend. You seem to be tied to they myth that “best friends are forever” but generally, this isn’t the case. Being able to let go, in this situation, wouldn’t be immature; in fact, it would be a sign of your maturity. You need to let go and move on. This woman sounds like a toxic friend.

Hope this is helpful.

My best,
Irene
 

Just Do It: Putting a fractured friendship behind you

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QUESTION:

Hi,                                           

A few years ago, I was a roommate with a woman I will call Marta. She found me by looking at rentals in the paper. She was newly divorced and we became fast friends. I introduced her to my extensive group of friends.

She moved out after I got engaged. We were still friends until we shared a house again after my divorce. I will not go into detail but it did not work out. She seemed to berate me a lot and accused me of stealing. She also is extremely negative and was only in a good mood when she was tipsy. I felt scared and anxious around her so I stayed away which only made her angrier.  

I moved out last May. I sent her an email in September saying we both did things we are not proud of but I wanted to get together IN PERSON to talk about it and put it behind us. I still have not heard from her.

I introduced her to a lot of my friends and they became her friends. When I see her at gatherings, I say hello but that is it; she has made it clear she does not want to engage. How do you repair a friendship enough so that other friends are not uncomfortable when you are around each other?  I am reading a book called Forgiveness is a Choice and it seems to be helping.

Ciao,
Eliza

ANSWER:

Hi Eliza,


Let go of this relationship! It doesn’t sound worth saving. You are describing a “friend” who acted suspicious, angry and negative---and who made you feel quite uncomfortable. You don’t need to do a psychological autopsy of your relationship with Marta to put it behind you; just end it and take away the friendship lessons you’ve learned, both good and bad.

Since you share a circle of friends, it’s best to act cordially to Marta but keep your distance. Say hello---and smile if it feels natural---but don’t go any closer or deeper than that. No one else will be uncomfortable in your presence unless they sense that you are.

Guard against saying anything disparaging about Marta to your other friends; it will only reflect badly upon you and they are already in a position to make their own judgments about her. With the passage of time, I hope things will get easier for you.

Best,
Irene

 

For Better or For Worse: Weddings and Friendship - Part II

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Marriage is a milestone that often alters a couple’s relationship with each other, as well as with those around them. For the new bride, it can herald profound changes in her relationships with girlfriends.

In a recent post (February 9, 2008), I interviewed wedding expert Sharon Naylor about the challenges that planning “the big day” poses to the bride’s friendships. In this follow-up, I asked Sharon about the impact of marriage on female friendships.

How does the transition from being single to being married affect a woman’s relationships with single friends?


It changes the dynamics of the relationship a LOT. Depending on how frustrated the single friend is with her dating life, and how envious she is of your good fortune in finding true love, it can be a very trying time for her…and thus for your friendship.

If you’re the first friend of hers to get married, that can be traumatic because the issue of marriage is now Out There, bringing pressure to her life. And if many of your friends have gotten married, she may REALLY be feeling pressured because you’re another in a long list of her former single friends to ‘win the prize’ while she is still waiting for hers.

What can the new bride do to minimize tension?


The solution here is to nurture or create a dimension in this friendship that is not about dating or relationships at all. And this is a tough task, because some brides find that the only thing they had in common with some friends is the topic of dating, the drive to couple up.

It might be that these friends went out to clubs or had 99% of their conversations revolve around bad blind dates and online dating profiles, breakups and breakdowns. Some female friendships are bonded by the drama of dating life. And when you exit dating life, there’s a big void in the friendship. Yes, you’ve been out of dating world for the entire time you’ve been with your fiancé, but this sad single friend hasn’t heard the door slam closed until your engagement. Not that she was hoping you’d break up. It just wasn’t completely official yet. And she may feel abandoned in her singleness.

What responses might you anticipate from the girlfriend(s) you leave behind? How might she be feeling?

“You’re not going to want to go out anymore,” worries the single friend, who also might be slapping on a big, fake smile when you talk about your fiancé’s romantic birthday plans for you, or what you’re doing on Valentine’s Day. If this friend has been overly dependent on you, if you were the only egg in her basket, your marriage is bad, bad news for her.

Your friend is now alone in her quest, with no true allies, and may feel like she’s slipped to the bottom of the totem pole. And you might find that you no longer enjoy her sad-sack company, her complaints, her refusal to raise the bar and pursue men who are better for her. You might not want to entertain her pity parties anymore. So the friendship…like any relationship that has no common bonds…can fade away.

How can you minimize the inherent risks to the friendship?

If you do wish to nurture the friendship, start by subtly creating new shared interests, such as asking your friend to sign up for an aromatherapy class, or get a museum membership so that you can go to exhibits and lectures, or sign on for dance classes at the gym you both go to. Exchange novels you’ve both loved and talk about them over coffee. Add new facets to the friendship so that it can survive your change in status. Such variety and shared interests are healthy for any relationship, especially female friendships.

With new dimensions, you might not mind your friend’s occasional dating dramas so much…they could make you feel grateful for your new husband as well as give you a satisfying feeling of being a supportive friend. You’ve just transformed that into a smaller percentage of your relationship.

Can matchmaking efforts help keep a female friendship intact?

One mistake newlyweds make is wanting to set single friends up with all of their friends. Sure, the intentions are good, wanting your friend to be as happy as you are, but unless the friend is truly enthusiastic about your help, you might put too much pressure on her to endure the company of a guy friend who’s not right for her, and you two as a couple could get embroiled in their relationship issues.

It’s far better to invite your friend to events where she might meet someone. That’s where your newlywed life could be of great benefit to her. You’re not pushing, choosing, dodging news of a breakup, keeping secret the fact that the guy you introduced to her is also seeing three other girls, etc.

Why is it important to focus on friendships after your wedding day?


Having many healthy female friendships with positive women who inspire you and add many gifts to your life makes you a better spouse with a full life of your own. Your man is not the only egg in your basket, so to speak. You’re not overly dependent on him. Your circle of friends is a strength in your life, and studies show that having a great sense of community is good for your health, keeps stress down, strengthens your heart, and has many other perks.

Any other comments you would like to make about female friendships after marriage, Sharon?

The sad reality is that sometimes they don’t survive because you no longer have anything in common. Or, a bridesmaid acted so jealous and rude at your wedding that you never want to speak with her again. It was the last straw. Or you just drift from single friends, or some friends voluntarily get absorbed into their new husbands’ worlds and abandon their own friends as the incarnation of their New Life.

Friendships have a life cycle, and they do depend on mutual commitment and shared evolution to survive as long as they’re meant to---for as long as they’re healthy for both parties. A wedding, being such a huge life transition, naturally tests all manner of female friendships, with some friendships getting stronger and some falling away.

When I got married in April, my closest friends from college were my bridesmaids. They all traveled from distant states to be there, and our friendships were strengthened partly because we stayed so close through phone and e-mail conversations for years…we saw each other perhaps once a year due to our busy lives, but the connections we’ve always had were strong.

Being together, walking through my neighborhood as cherry blossom petals came raining down on us, then sharing the wedding day and seeing our husbands bond like brothers has reignited our need to see each other more. We’re all turning 40 this year, so we’re meeting at a resort town halfway between our home states, staying in a haunted bed-and-breakfast, shopping, going to wineries, and having a fabulous couples’ getaway to mark the big 4-0. Fortunately, my friends’ tenure as bridesmaids, even from a distance, further solidified our bond, and now we’re adding more dimension to our friendship by making it a priority to plan more face-time.


Sharon Naylor is the author of over 35 wedding books, including The Bride’s Survival Guide, and has been featured on Good Morning America, Lifetime, ABC News, The Morning Show With Mike & Juliet, and in InStyle Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides, Modern Bride, Southern Bride and many additional magazines. She is the iVillage Weddings expert and Planning in Peace blogger, as well as a top columnist for Bridal Guide.

 

Double Trouble: Losing two friends at once

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QUESTION:

Hi Irene,

This is a strange tale and quite honestly if I knew what to make of it all, I wouldn’t be writing. I have two best friends: the first (BF1), a girl I grew up with and with whom I have a very deep and social relationship; the second (BF2), a girl with whom I went to University and have a close relationship like a sister.

I moved in with BF2 last year after I moved away from my hometown where BF1 lived, but I was only a 20-minute drive away so I didn’t think this would be a problem. I was used to spending every weekend and holiday with BF1 (BF2 lived further away until we moved in together). It is worth pointing out that BF1 has had an issue with BF2 in the past over something trivial.  

BF1 kept cancelling dates with me and many months were going by and I had only seen her twice. She told me she might not be coming to my birthday party as her office party was the night before and she might be hung over. Devastated, I wrote an email telling her I was sad she couldn’t come, and asked if she wanted to talk to me about what had been going on over the past 8 months as I missed her. She responded with vitriol telling me that I thought I was too good for her and how dare I say she was a bad friend.

I responded with an immediate apology. I said I was deeply sorry for whatever hurt I had caused and I wanted to sort this out as our ten-year friendship was worth so much to me. I was met with silence. I have since pleaded with her on five occasions via text and email to speak to me to sort this out but I have never gotten a response.

BF2 knew how devastated I was about what had happened and even went so far as to say how angry she was with BF1. BF2 and I went on holiday last summer and one night she exploded at me telling me that I was an emotional drain and she couldn’t stand me sometimes. I cried and begged her not to be so cruel but she continued by saying that nobody tells me what they think of me so she was going to.

She was shouting that I take everything I have for granted (the back story of this was I was a model and she apparently has an "issue" with this). She had recently been dumped it is worth pointing out. I responded trying to calm her down, saying that I understood she was under a lot of pressure at work and the situation with her ex had been dreadful and that I was always here for her. Maybe I should have just shouted back, I don’t know.

Anyway since then, I quit my job. I had the extremely distressing incident of being sexually assaulted at work then driven out of my job. The perpetrator was my boss. To make ends meet, I had taken a job that BF2 apparently didn’t agree with morally. This job does not affect her in any way; I kept it very separate from our friendship together.

However, she now won’t even spend time with me. She spends every weekend with someone else. She never wants to talk to me anymore, is moving out, and she is planning her birthday without me. She declined to come to my parents’ anniversary party that she comes to every year, my sister’s wedding, you name it. She makes me feel disgusting. All I want is for us to be friends again. Surely, our friendship is worth saving? I would do anything for her and love her so much.

I lost my childhood best friend to a violent crime when I was 19 years old so I can’t lose the only other friend I have ever loved. Do I have too? What can I do? I am so lonely now and feel like my social life is non-existent. I don’t know what I have done. I would apologize for it, if it would help. I now feel that I am a toxic person who nobody wants to love or to be close with because once they get to know me, they will discover they hate me. I know this sounds irrational but I am so low that I’m almost suicidal. Please help me.

Signed,
Feeling Like A Toxic Friend

 

ANSWER:

Hi,

I’m so sorry that this has been such a difficult time for you. It is very stressful to move, experience a sexual assault, be forced out of your job, and lose your two best friends over  a relatively short period of time. The trauma of a sexual assault can be emotionally devastating, especially when the perpetrator is a boss whom you may have trusted. All of this has to be unnerving.

For whatever reason, it sounds like BF1 may have felt abandoned when you moved in with BF2. But you have given her multiple opportunities to patch up your friendship and she isn’t able to do so at this point in her life. It’s always hard to give up a friendship with so much shared history but I think you need to put that one aside for now; you don’t have any other choice. You may be able to reclaim it sometime in the future.

When BF2 ended her relationship with you, she did it in an unnecessarily cruel and uncaring way so I can understand how you might be reeling from it---particularly when it comes as one in a series of losses. She was very judgmental about your job choice and I’m wondering if you are uncomfortable about that choice as well.

Given how lonely and depressed you feel, you should contact a mental health professional to help you work through these losses and move forward. If you have any thoughts of suicide, you should contact a suicide hotline immediately.

Although you have a track record of being able to make and keep friends, it sounds like you have lost confidence in yourself and your ability to be a good friend. An objective person, like a therapist, may be able to help you think through and resolve the impact of these traumatic events. At the same time, try not to isolate yourself and succumb to feeling like you are toxic. Look for opportunities to be with other people, including your family and other casual friends.

Best wishes,

Irene

 

Disclaimer: Nothing in this or any other post is intended to substitute for medical, psychiatric or clinical diagnosis/treatment. Rather, all posts are written as the type of advice that one friend might give to another.