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Luann
Luann, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 158
Experience:  Licensed Psychologist, 24 years experience working with children, adolescents, families and adults.
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Hi, I suffer from bipolar and anxiety disorders. There is

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Hi, I suffer from bipolar and anxiety disorders. There is a great deal of marked depression and social phobia. But I am using many coping tools and doing quite well, except one area. I have been angered by a friend of mine for not understanding my phobia. She has been a friend for over a year and recently expressed her romantic feelings for me. I expressed that I have the same feelings for her. It was overwhelming. When I let her closer to share my life (upbringing, friends, past relationships, faults, phobias, work), I get filled with anxiety. I feel that there is greater scrutiny now that there may be a future for us. It's a wonderful new occurrence. And I want a healthy relationship. I have been a great source of support for her and I am easily hurt now. I am over-sensitive to the slightest pause before she responds, looking for her approval. I feel like a child sulking. I see my behavior but am helpless when it happens. She is so patient and kind. She has set the boundaries and I am proud of her. How do I keep from being hurt when I don't get her attention for more than a moment's time? I won't even try to explain the the self sabotaging depressive mind games I play on myself. But how to I work on this and save her from it in the process?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Luann replied 3 years ago.

Luann :

Hello

Luann :

I am very impressed with all of the work it sounds like you have done on yourself. You have come a long way in managing your mental health. Keep being as honest as you can with your friend. Be aware of the warning signs that your anxiety and insecurity is being triggered. Take one incident and go backwards writing down what was going on and what your feelings and thoughts were. Go slowly backwards until you hit the point that you are feeling OK and calm. Then mark the early warning signs that you are heading for trouble. Come up with multiple ways to cope, alternative behaviors. The earlier you try to intervene the easier it will be for you. Enlist the help of your friend. Telling her what you are doing, if you need to take a break from talking being together do that for a short time, like a 5 minute bathroom break to collect yourself. It may be a good time for you to get into therapy to look at these relationship issues. I am guessing that you have been in therapy in the past. This may be the next layer for you. You are now ready to deal with these deeper issues. I admire your motivation to have a healthy relationship, do whatever it takes to reach that goal. You deserve it.

Customer:

hello

Luann :

Please respond, I would like to hear your comments

Customer:

hello

Customer:

I am talking to her still. She loves unconditionally and not just me. And I question it almost at every turn. She spends so much time talking with men online. I prefer to have full attention. And I'd rather not speak than to compete for her focus. Yet she spends most of her time with me. She is willing to help me with my phobias. She thinks she can help everyone she speaks with. And she probably could. She speaks of her male friends all the time. How they make her feel good and share favorite songs. It's odd. I feel special at times and simply a convenience at other times. I feel jealous and selfish when I am around her. It's an untenable situation as she is being gregarious and I am being possessive. The tables have turned on me this time. Although she is almost a decade younger than me, she seems to be the teacher.

Luann :

From what you are describing, she is giving you some reasons to be unsure. It is normal to feel some jealousy when someone you care about is giving attention to someone else, especially when they are of opposite sexes. Don't discount your feelings or your wisdom. Don't attribute everything to your anxiety. Some may be that but not all of it. Trust yourself. Have a discussion with her about relationship expectations. How does she envision a relationship, how do you envision one? What are your expectations? Your relationship is new and these are things to figure out between the two of you. It is not all one person's way or the other.

Customer:

Thank you for the encouragement to trust myself. We spoke again for a long time yesterday. I am working on trusting her as the fear seems to come from a previous deep relationship. I was open about feeling jealousy, being upset, feeling nervous, and not being trusting. She was dismayed at first and wanted to run. But she stayed as I explained that my feelings were not justified by her actions. That I am grateful for her patience. And that I take everything she feels seriously, sometimes to seriously. We set expectations as you suggested as best we could at this point but will discuss more later. She does give me the most attention and gives me examples of how she deflects others when I am around. I think I really need to work on my trust issues. How do I go about that?

Luann :

I recommend that you are explore what your thoughts are around trusting people. When you start to feel insecure and jealous, what exactly are the thoughts you are having? Write them all down, look for themes. A theme may be that you believe you are unloveable or you may believe that people always leave you. Be thorough in dissecting these thoughts. Realize that they are probably irrational, especially in your current relationship. List the evidence that shows these thoughts are irrational, not grounded in fact. When you start to feel untrusting, tell yourself to stop the irrational thoughts you are having and focus on the facts in your relationship. You will also need to do some counter thoughts on the irrational belief you have, whatever it may be. Make a list of neutral thoughts, I deserve to be treated nicely or I am likeable. Say these beliefs to yourself many times throughout the day. If you continue to be stuck, consider individual therapy to assist you in moving forward. Good luck to you!

Customer:

Thank you

Luann, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 158
Experience: Licensed Psychologist, 24 years experience working with children, adolescents, families and adults.
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