Obsessive thoughts/exaggerated responses ...

Posted , 8 users are following.

Quite apart from all the physical shenanigans, I find myself really avoiding ('recoiling from’ would be a more accurate description) some of my friends. Partly that's because it's what I've always done when I'm feeling crappy, and experience has taught me that I recover from any mood dips far quicker that way. I invariably prolong the low mood by sharing it with friends (plus I'm lucky to have family who are supportive). The wisdom of this strategy was borne out the last time I spent time with a friend when I was really depressed ..... Which leads me on to my point.

As I've said, I realised many years ago that I'm really best left alone when I'm low  .... But a few months ago I decided I'd test it out - a friend wanted to come over and I thought it might be OK, and perhaps it might even help. After all, it's what people do isn't it? Anyway, this friend is a good friend – I recently went on holiday with her, and we have a laugh. She's not entirely insensitive, and means well. However, she CAN be completely and utterly insensitive about certain things. Exhibit A: she feels very resentful that she doesn't earn as much as her contemporaries (who have holiday houses abroad, go on elaborate holidays etc.). Now, as she earns at least £10,000 more than me, you’d think that she’d choose someone else to complain to …. But she does choose me, despite the fact that compared to me she's got riches. I had started dreading this conversation, as I always feel terrible afterwards and any subtle attempts I made to derail it failed to stop her. To cut a long story short, she came round when I was very bad – which I explained – and promptly started going on about how badly paid she is again. I was so upset that I actually said something (nothing very strong, just said it was a sensitive subject – I was crying at the time), and she did change the subject and I thought that was it [Upshot: she left, I felt 10 times worse, remembered why I don’t see people when I'm bad and vowed never to do it again!]

However, this wasn't the end of it – I was dismayed to find that she brought it up again last time I saw her. I wouldn't mind, but I’d love to be able to do some of the things she's able to do, but I have to not get screwed up about it because I know how dangerous that can be (both to my own mental health and to my friendships).

And here's my point (finally!). I’m a) terrified to the point of feeling sick and panicky that I will see her, b) constantly thinking about it (the insensitivity/injustice of it all), c) getting really angry when I see Facebook posts by her from all over the place (theatre/city breaks etc., which frankly I can't afford), and d) holding ‘conversations’ with her in my head (whereby I tell her exactly what I think etc.). It's totally disproportionate, and its totally doing my head in! The only person suffering is me, and although I know this academically, I just can't shake it loose.

Perspective was never my strong point, but I have worked really hard on myself in order to stop these sorts of unhealthy thought patterns and my tendency for self-sabotage. I had made loads of headway, but it all seems to have gone down the pan. I just get beside myself with anger/resentment/sadness/you name it, and most of it is centred round this friend. So my question is: are these exaggerated feelings part of the whole menopause thing? I strongly suspect that they are, because I don’t normally want to kill my friends when they’ve p*ssed me off … 

More importantly, how can I stop it – it’ really unhelpful (understatement).

Anyway, I’ve gone out quite long enough! Comments/thoughts/advice are all very welcome…

Thanks in advance,

Anna. 

0 likes, 24 replies

Report / Delete

24 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi I understand how you feel but I'm quite forward and say things outright. Maybe if you tell her how selfish she is might make you feel better and stronger in yourself she doesn't sound like a ideal friend so you won't loose much.
    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi, thanks for replying. You're right, by ducking out of saying how I really feel I'm just keeping the resentment in, which is unhealthy. She uses me to 'offload', and perhaps I should not be so accommodating - I'm known to be a 'good listener', which she has described me as several times. In general I'm happy in this role, but it has to be a) someone who is in genuine need - I.e isn't just having a good moan, and b) it should be a 2 way street.

      Thank you for the insight!

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Wow, sounds like your friend is a bit self centered. Sometimes people need to have things pointed out to them. She may not even realize that she has this defect in her personality. If you are her friend, you should probably let her know, and it may help you to feel better. The truth hurts and she may decide to unfriend you, but unhealthy relationships are not good for you, especially when YOU need support. Don't let anyone steal your joy and peace!
    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi - thanks for your response. She knows she talks a lot - she laughingly alludes to it, but never does anything about it! The really ironic thing is that she has a friend she complains about because she is totally uninterested in her and talks constantly about herself! I am, of course, very sympathetic ... I think it's time for a change in behaviour - on my part that is. I really appreciate your taking the time - thanks again.
      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    In regards to the one friend, I don't think this is so much a menopause thing as it's we are getting older (sorry...I hate the thought myself but it's reality) and wiser.  I have less tolerance for negative people and things than I did when I was younger.

    And just like you, at first I thought it was just my flucuating hormones causing me to have less patience for people (and I can see by your interactions and her whole FB thing) that I am no longer comfortable being around for one reason or another. Sorry, but some friendships simply run their course after awhile and it sounds like this may be the case with this "friend". 

    Right now more than ever it's important to surround ourselves with supportive people, by your description she fails on that account. You told her you weren't up to par and she chose to ramble on about issues that honestly would have had me showing her the door in a short bit of listening to her nonsense. Also, FB is fantasyland to some extent with many people and while she's busy posting all her "fabulous" happenings, remember many people put on great fronts there while being painfully miserable themselves in real life.

    She doesn't sound like the type of person you need to spend much time with right now so please don't berate or second guess yourself on this one. Trust your gut and do retreat from folks like this, not healthy at all for you, especially now. 

    It's funny, I have done some major house cleaning in the friends and actually some family members department during this time that actually was much overdue. And releasing some of the more negative people has done nothing but improve the quality of my life as it's tough enough to go through this time period without having others that pull us further done. Simply release them with love and limit your time with them. Life is way too short to waste our energy on this type business.

    Don't worry, you really are ok.

    Annie xx

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Well I've had similar issues with my only sister, who has insisted for years that she is really poor and me and my husband are really lucky and have much more money than her. Our fortunes have fluctuated over the years, ans we are not doing badly, but lots of holidays and theatre going, weekend breaks - nope, cant do that.  Got to send our university soon, so that will suck out alot of spare resources for a start.

      Unfortunately I have to listen to her, and recently her fortunes have got somewhat better, so now she seems to spend more money than me. It gets me down to listen to her sometimes, but she lives nearby and we liase over my mums care - she is in care home also nearby, so I cant just not talk to her.

      As for FB - I think its all rather silly, and dont use it or look at anyone elses posts, and it does seem to cause more harm generally than good, judging by the growing number of cases of online'trolling'/bullying/etc.....

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Annie

      I definitely am less tolerant of negative people now, and I think you're right - it is about getting older and wiser(ish). I have had experiences with negative people/situations and learned from all of them - mainly that I can't be bothered with it all. I am completely capable of generating my own negativity - and work very hard to combat it - without someone else bringing it into my life.

      I get really annoyed (angry, sometimes), when people who are not depressed (this is the crucial thing) are persistently negative/moany/cynical. Depression is negativity, and defines the condition - I understand that, having had such a long struggle with it. If I wanted to - which I don't - I could provide chapter and verse of the depths of my despair etc., but I choose not to (that sounds really pompous, and I don't mean to be!). This is because I: a) don't want to remember it, b) I don't want to be defined by it, c) it's boring to everyone else, and d) because I know where negative thoughts can lead if you're not careful.

      Life's just too short. I know that some - if not most - of my feelings about this are to do with my mother's view that we should feel lucky to have any friends at all, and therefore put up with all faults/bad behaviour. Behind this, I think, is her idea that I am 'sabotaging' my life somehow by not seeing people, despite how they make me feel. An example of this is that I reconnected about 10 years ago with a Middle School friend, who I hadn't seen since - probably 1981 (!). Anyway, we started meeting up and it soon became clear to me that it wasn't going to be easy, not least because she was (and doubtless still is) a massive snob. The final straw was an evening I spent with her during which she rubbished/scoffed at/dismissed everything I said, in particular my work (I was managing a charity shop, and she thought these places were beyond the pale). I was so upset afterwards that I decided that enough was enough and ignored her texts and that was that. My mother still mentions this as being a 'pity' etc., etc. and I'm quite sure that, if this woman were her friend, she'd still be putting up with her nonsense! In my mum's defence, she is concerned with me being OK and thinks 'the more friends the better' type thing, and the fact that she doesn't get overly bothered by negativity.

      Anyway, since posting this I have felt a lot better about it all and more in control of the situation. Quite apart from anything else, I don't have the energy!

      Thank you so much for your support - I really do appreciate it,

      Anna xx

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I'm definitely not alone, am I??

      Thanks for sharing your story. I have to say that the whole money issue is - or should be - personal. I don't know if it's my age, or the way I was brought up, but I sort of think that talking about money is a little vulgar. I realise that makes me sound like Margo thingy off the Good Life - or something - but it's how I feel (I'm really nothing like her at all, I hasten to add - far too common!)

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    It does sound like your friend cares only how she is feeling and not caring about how you are feeling and doing. 

    Maybe its time that you drop her for a while do something with other friends who are more caring and not into themselves like this one. 

    She seems to be causing you a lot of stress and anxieties and friendships are not worth it 

    Stop doing things with her do not go out with her do things with people who are less sressful in your life 

     

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    I think your reactions are perfectly rational......Id run a mile at the thought of spending precious time with such a shallow greedster. Meet her on your terms, be armed with excuses not to meet if you dont feel up to it, or if you have to make a quick exit. why not get a dog? They love you unconditionally    , they are great fun and never, ever talk about themselves or money. X
    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Debbie - that's very sage advice!! I have a cat (Lisa) who probably doesn't love me - mainly because cats are entirely driven by self interest, namely they are affectionate towards you if they think you might feed them! But I absolutely adore her, and choose to interpret her loving behaviour as actual affection. And she doesn't bang on about money or herself, which is defininitely a good thing. Anyway, thanks x
      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I have a friend who bangs on about herself non stop. Although shes tubby, she goes on about her nice figure. She visits the best places, cooks the tastiest food, etc. Im bemused most of the time, although she can become irritating. But its really embarrassing in front of my other friends who think she is totally insane. I think we have had the best times, and now we stick together through a sort of loyalty. Gosh, arent relationships complex? No blxxdy wonder I enjoy spending time with my dog! Xx
      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      If these are really your friends they sure do not act like friends always complaining, thinking about themselves. 

      I had a friend like that at least i thought she was a friend until she and i got into a disagreement. She always brags what she and her boyfriend does and what a great time they had but when i told her what a good time my boyfriend and i had at a superball party she got angry and said you don't have to brag but it okay for her to gloat and brag about what a good time she had with her boyfriends family she gloats and brags about how much food she and her boyfriend had and this is every thanksgiving, Christmas, and other gatherings when she knows that we don't go out much and when we do its not okay for me to tell her what a great time we had. This was not a friend then we started arguing and she sent me all these nasty harrasing texts to where i had to take her to court to make her stop. We had to block her number out of all our phones. She used us when ever we had her over she spent the night all weekend and ate our food in the middle of the night and when she had us over its like the next day you are going to have to go home i am not feeling good and we had her over at our place for the whole weekend she even had us watch her son when she went out. 

      I am doing much better with out her 

      You need to drop this friend and go with ones who do not put you down or brag like my friend did to me 

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    I'm going to be blunt, but it comes from a good place. I've been where you are and have made it through to the better side, so I feel I can speak with some authority on this subject. People go through their own version of challenging times in life--your friend has the salary thing and feeling like she has to fight her way through life to feel important, and you have your periods of feeling low and inadequate. I will tell you right now that jealousy, competition, and envy is a waste of energy and time. It may be that you two are incompatible as friends, honestly, because you're both looking to be the victim in need of assistance. This dynamic ruins marriages during tough times, too. Either make friends with "savers" who will coddle you (and keep you where you are), or become the version of success that you will feel comfortable with no matter who is around. Either is a choice, and totally within your control. I hope you choose the latter; real happiness involves being real with yourself and taking your own steps to get stronger and more confident. Envy, by contrast, tears you down and just serves as a secondary gain for you to stay trapped in the hell you're in. Choose the good path. It may take a little more effort initially, but I tell you the rewards are far greater. No more comparing and contrasting with what others have. It's all about self-acceptance regardless of what others atre up to.
    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply.

      I'm not sure if you've read my earlier post, but I have struggled hugely with chronic, and very severe at times, depression .the eventual road out of this was via 3 years of CBT and learning more positive ways of thinking. One specific result of this was learning to not think of myself as a 'victim' - i.e. someone to whom 'things happen', and instead someone who is in control. Though it's interesting that you chose that word as my mother used to tell me I was 'putting myself in the role I victim' when I was being bullied at school. She was wrong and so are you. I feel that that sort of judgement is mis-placed.

      I worked very hard on myself - and continue to do so - in order that I am independent and confident (sometimes only outwardly but that's OK). I very rarely want to talk about this to anyone - indeed I am always far more comfortable talking about other peoples' lives than my own. That's just me and I'm like that whether I'm low or not low.

      Over the years I always chose men who wanted to look after me, specifically because I thought the answer to my happiness lay in other people (in that case, men). My total crash and hospitalisations for depression in the late 90s made me realise that this just made it worse. I haven't had a boyfriend for 15 years and honestly I have never felt as well and happy as I do now.

      The friends I have are all 'enabling' and positive people, and our times together are never 'static' - in other words, we encourage each other towards the future and don't dwell on crap.

      I agree with everything you say about envy being a negative waste of time. I make certain that if this emotion comes into my head I have my mum's voice in my head saying "jealousy is a wasted emotion Anna". She wasn't always right, but she was certainly right about that.

      I won't say that you were being patronising or making assumptions about me, because I would've be so blunt. But I feel that honesty is almost always the best policy and being true to oneself. I believe that at (nearly) 49 I have finally achieved that and I'm proud of myself for that.

      With best wishes,

      Anna.

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I try and be meaningful at all times! wink xx

      p.s. only very trivial, I know, but can these posts be edited? There are some typos, which I'd like to change ...... is this possible?

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      P.S.

      Couple of corrections:

      'putting myself in the role I victim' should be 'putting myself in the role of victim'

      ‘I would've be so blunt’ should be ‘I wouldn’t be so blunt’

      (I typed the earlier one on my iPad, not as easy to get it right)

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Oh well, as long as I was making at least some sense! I've been at work all day, where I only cried once - believe me, that's progress! It's just taken me ages to get home on the bus, as it's Bonfire Night and they do a huge display at the local park and traffic gets backed up ..... But now I'm off to do my teaching placement, which I've been really looking forward to. So all is good (well, reasonable anyway!). How about you?
      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Good for you Hun keep yourself busy. I'm not to bad Hun I'm a full time carer for my mum as we all live together just done some housework and washing looking after mother and 3 rescue doggies hubby gone to work and my youngest is upstairs playing computer so I'm sitting down to telly with a bottle of Liebfraumilchsmile
      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      It was a washout up here too (Leeds) but the sky was still covered in fireworks (very pretty!)... I was in a classroom struggling with parts of speech. I thought I was good at this, but in some things I was learning along with the students .... I definitely need to brush up before I'm exposed! I really enjoyed it though. 
      Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up