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Green&Yellow12 Offline
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Unhappy Completely emotionally spent (possibly due to friend's problems) - September 20th 2012, 04:57 AM

This is a long story so I apologise in advance. I think it's easiest for you to understand if I explain it quite at length.

I've been friends with this girl for almost 1 1/2 or 2 years now. We've been fairly close for over a year now. She has had a long history of abuse in her life, from her mother and her father has been non-existant in her life. Her mother was abused by her boy friends in the past, including this girl's biological father.

Her mother has abused her since she was a child, specifically emotionally. My friend is constantly abused emotionally by her, and is sometimes hit as well. My friend has some health issues that also require that she has medicine, which doesn't come cheaply (as well as medical tests that are supposed to be done monthly).

In recent times, she has stopped getting her medical tests because she just won't go to doctors. She hasn't told her doctors the truth for a long time, even though she feels like her health isn't very good. She says her doctor doesn't care.

Anyways, she always says people don't care about her, and that she's just alone and will never amount to anything in life. She has been worried recently about her grand parents due to their declining health. Her grandmother was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer earlier this year. Just this month however, her grandfather suddenly passed away. This has made everything a lot worse for her.

I'm just going to go back for a second. Since we've been close (over a year), she talks to me daily through text messages and/or emails/facebook. Every-time she talks about these things, which is most of the time, I feel drained and I've felt this way for a while. In the past few months its gotten much worse, where I get extremely frustrated because no matter what advice, she either doesn't take it or she argues with it.

She sometimes mentions that she isn't worth anything and that she would just rather jump off a bridge. I ask her about it and she usually says "you really think I'm going to do anything?" Now that her grand father has passed away, she has been saying this more and more. Saying things like "what if I killed myself? Then all of the feelings would go away." However, she continues to say that she won't do anything or will say "you really think I will do anything?"

The reason why this is such a big deal for her is that he was basically her father figure in her life. Her grand parents are the closest family members she has, besides her sister who is emotionally-unstable her self due to likely similar abuse growing up.

I've tried and tried and tried to help her get through this. I think because I've been there so much, that is why she began to have deeper feelings for me. She told me last year and I told her that I didn't have feelings for her in that way. I have sense told her that once more, and I think she understands that. But I can't imagine it being easy to get over it since she speaks to me each day.

I feel like she feels that she can't get by without talking with me each day. If I don't respond to her facebook messages in a timely matter (within a day or less), she will say something like "I guess you don't want to talk..." and then I feel guilty.

I have growing resentment because of the fact that I feel like I'm guilted into talking to her or helping her, because she says things like that. I have some of my own problems, I'll admit. I have lacking self confidence, among some other issues.

To make matters worse, I decided to study abroad this semester (and I think sub-consciously part of the reason to do it was to escape this situation), yet it made it a whole lot worse. Now she messages me all the time, and if I don't answer, I get the guilt and pity messages and I give in.

The reason why I don't stand up and say I can't talk right now is either because I'm actually on facebook (yet I just don't want to talk to her) or because I'm afraid that because I'm one of her only closest people that she will do something bad if I don't talk to her again.

I'm not trying to be selfish... and if I am, please by all means tell me. But I cannot deal with talking to her daily... hearing about all this stuff and how her mother is threatening to take away her health insurance and how she is telling her that her grandfather's death is all her fault is really getting to me. This past week has been extremely bad for me. I've had extreme anxiety issues while here, and I feel like I'm trapped in this cycle and I can't get out no matter how hard I try to help her.

I feel like a failure because I want to help her out of this and I have yet to be able to, despite trying to be there whenever I can, including talking to her every day. I just feel mentally drained and, she is a close friend of mine, but I feel like our friendship is so damaged because of this that I have these urges that I don't want to speak to her for a while... I just need time to recover, but I don't know if thats what I want...

One other thing: I've tried to convenience her numerous times to go to a counselor, and twice I have since last week. I even was able to get her to go once, but they ended up just telling her to go see someone else. Every-time I bring it up, she says "Do you think I'm insane?" and I try to tell her that its normal... I even go sometimes, and that there is no shame in it. Yet she won't do it, no matter what and tells me to never bring it up.

I'm just confused, and I have lost hope, and I don't know what to do. I feel like I've thrown away my whole experience abroad as I've spent most of my time trying to help her and because of how much time I've talked to her, it has snowballed me into trying to keep as much connection to home as possible....

I just don't know what to do...
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EmisaurusRex Offline
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Re: Completely emotionally spent (possibly due to friend's problems) - September 21st 2012, 07:07 PM

Hey there,

It can be really hard to support someone day in and day out. Especially if you kind of end up taking responsibility for that person's well-being (which it sounds like you have, even if you haven't meant to.) Your friend has obviously gone through a lot, and it is great that you have been there for her. However, when it comes right down to it...she has to be the one that helps herself. You can't make her get the help she needs and deserves, and you can't help her single-handedly. You can encourage her to seek the help she should and you can be a listening ear. But this girl has been through years of abuse and several other things, and that's not something that you can just heal her from. She needs professional help, and that in no way means that you aren't a good enough friend to her--you definitely are, and the way you have stuck by her is incredible. It sounds a lot like she depends on you to get through to the next day, and that's not fair on either of you. It's suffocating her, and it's suffocating you.
You're not a bad person for needing a break. It kind of sounds like you're experiencing compassion fatigue. I mean. I can't tell you that for sure, but it sounds kind of similar. You might want to look it up sometime. But. Like I said. You're not a bad person for needing a break. I'm not sure how much time you've got left in your semester abroad, but perhaps you could send her a message and say something along the lines of "I care about you a lot, and I want to help you. But I've realized that I can't help you the way you need and deserve to be helped. It's incredibly hard to focus on my studies while I'm in another country, and I really need to take some time to focus on these things. That in no way means you aren't important to me, but sometimes the best thing you can do for a person is recognize that you can't help them how they deserve to be helped, and instead support them through getting help. You know options to get help, and I hope that you will pursue those." I mean, obviously you would want to change that around to kind of cater to how she typically takes things, and what you actually need to do for yourself. But do actually do this for yourself. If anything, it is more selfish to try to continue helping her despite how badly it is making you feel, than to stop trying to help her and talk to her all day, every day. Selfish isn't really the word. I guess what I mean is this--due to the fact that you've been this supportive role for her, for so long...it's almost become an obligation for you. I don't think that means that you don't want to help. Your entire message conveys how badly you want to help her. But sometimes the best way you can help someone is by taking a step back. Not necessarily leaving, but just...in a loving way, kind of showing them that they can't depend on one person, and that they need to do what is actually best for them.
Not to mention the fact that you've really go to put yourself first in life. And it kind of sounds like you've put your own needs on the back burner in order to meet her needs and wants in life. You deserve more than that, and it's okay for you to put you first. Maybe after a breather and taking some time for yourself, you'll be able to figure out a way to balance things more...taking care of you, while being there for her.

I hope this has helped. And I really hope that things work out. For her and for you. You can do this <3

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