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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5467
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I have a friend who I speak to on the phone for the past 5

Resolved Question:

I have a friend who I speak to on the phone for the past 5 years when my relationship with my husband was very bad. She was a source of support. Now my relationship with my husband has improved and she is grieving terribly. She called me on the phone telling me things are not the same anymore and she is not needed anymore since my relationship improved with my husband. She feels she is no longer needed and is
crying that our friendship is not the same. Literally crying. I still think of her as a good friend but I don't give her the drama anymore, since things improved at home. Now she is considering ending our friendship and feels I was being selfish. She is lonely too.
She at times couldn't handle the drams either, so she doesn't get overwhelmed anymore.
Our conversations are much lighter. She is also quick to get a temper and can be judgmental, which is why I limit what I say to her. What am I missing? Did my husband really take the place of her? She feels so. I told her let's speak every day even if for just a short time, and I still value the relationship. She thinks it's not the same, and is in tears and wants to end the friendship.. These hot and cold displays of emotion are scaring me. They remind me of how she can sometimes have a quick temper, and other times be very warm and supportive. A little unstable but I know she is ailing with a chronic sickness, and so am I. We both have constant pain, so our emotions are raw.
I feel that I can't meet her expectations. Although I told her how important she is to me, she hung up the phone she will think about it. She is considering ending the friendship. I am just confused. Although she doesn't miss being overwhelmed with my problems, she misses being needed in this capacity and appears to feel replaced by my husband. At times if I didn't call her as she expected, she would get explosive. So where do I go from here? What did I do wrong? How come she won't let me fix this? Does any of this ha e to do with her own possible abandonment issues? Will she just trash the relationship even after I told her I am willing to talk more often to her? Is she too unstable and we should end it? She is very upset about it and told me she needs time to think about the relationship. She feels a tremendous loss since I have a better relationship w my husband. But I made it clear we can become closer and talk more but she said it would never be the same. I also told her I am in a better position to give more to you now that I am no longer in a crisis. She's grieving and a mess, and I'm confused.... Thanks
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

Hi, it's nice to work with you again.

 

Your friend sounds like she may have a personality disorder. Her range of emotions is a sign that she is not responding normally to this situation. She goes from supportive to tearful to explosive. Even considering that she has a serious illness, she should not be responding to you in that way.

 

It also sounds like she feels betrayed. She "owned" you for a long time, having your exclusive attention, and now she has to give you back to your husband. To her there was a bond between the two of you and your husband was the enemy. Now you are bonded again to your husband and she is left out, although that is not really the case, that is what she feels.

 

There is nothing you did wrong. This reaction is about her and her emotional health. She most likely remained your friend because she got a lot out of your relationship for herself, not so much because she helped you. She felt needed and wanted by your dependence on her for support. She felt important as well. And for some reason, the drama of the relationship appealed to her. By repairing things with your husband, you removed her ability to be the center of your life and now she no longer has control over you.

 

If she was truly your friend and cared about you, she would be happy for you that your marriage is on the mend. Any friend is going to put you before her and feel that when things are going well with you, she is happy.

 

You may want to consider letting this friendship go. It is not a healthy one and unless your friend sees that she needs help with her problem, she is not likely to change.

 

I hope this helps,

Kate

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I agree she has some type of mental health issue going on.
And she Felt needed and wanted and bonded with me against my husband.
And that she feels betrayed and no longer owns me.
I have two questions to ask.....
What I don't understand is why is she upset she is no longer the center and has control over my life?
And why is she considering ending the friendship?

I hear her saying she will never again give of herself like this to anyone ever again.
I am flexible by nature and can give her
Time and attention, but these ups and downs are scary. I thought I could remain friends
With her so long as I am careful to keep it on the surface, but her demons are still coming out.


Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

It sounds like your friend developed a personality disorder from something that occurred in her childhood, maybe abuse or some other type of trauma. Most people who have been abused develop deep needs they continually try to get fulfilled throughout their lives. She sounds like she may have this problem.

 

She is considering ending the friendship because she feels she can no longer get what she wants from you. Her unfulfilled needs are no longer being tended to so she wants to withdrawal and try to find another way to fulfill them.

 

Kate

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Do you happen to know what these needs are that I can't fulfill?
From the sound of it, and her behaviors, she will never find anyone to fulfill
Them, particularly with a mental health issue getting in the way.
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

There is no way for me to know what happened to her and how or why she reacted the way she did without talking to her in a therapeutic evaluation. People are very diverse and everyone reacts differently to traumas, abuses and other negative things that happen to them.

 

You most likely will never be able to fulfill her needs. She must get help and gain insight in order to be able to fix this problem.

 

Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5467
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

You are very welcome! I enjoyed working with you again.

 

Take care,

Kate

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Sorry you said she no longer has control over me. So this is a control issue?
Because I feel like I am never good enough. Sorry for another question
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

That is ok. I am glad to be of further help to you.

 

It could be a control issue. The evidence is that she became upset when you went back with your husband. She no longer was the focus and she could no longer have control over you. You would not react the same way to her because you no longer needed her in the same way. So her emotional outbursts and other drama did not have the same effect. Because of that, she wants to end the friendship.

 

This has nothing to do with you or you being good enough to her. This is totally her issue and something she needs to work out.

 

Kate

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Sorry a little confused. I got the part where she was not the focus as much and felt some loss of control.

Because I don't react to drama, she wants to end it?
Let me then to interpret what you are saying,
The drama is her way of controlling me?
And the pay off is an increase in attention from me?
her tears and pain sounded real, is that the mental illness or manipulation?
Right after I told her I care about her and love her, she cried more.
Manipulation or mental illness?
but she hung up telling me she has to think
About our relationship. She said this right after I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX she is important
In my life and we can talk more often because I care about her.
Now I won't hear from her for days, her pattern. Feels manipulative come to think of it.
Come to think about it, is this why when she gets mad I don't hear from her
For days despite my effort? Again, a control issue.
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

Manipulation is part of mental illness. In this case, it probably is manifesting itself as a personality disorder.

 

Her way of controlling you is trying to end the relationship, telling you she "has to think about it". She is trying to make you feel guilty, which as you said works with you because you feel part of this, if not the whole thing, is your fault.

 

Yes, she does not contact you for days to play into your guilt as a way of controlling you. If she withholds her attention, you will feel bad and "beg" for her to talk to you and be your friend. It's a game, one she probably is not aware she is playing. But somewhere in her background, probably through abuse, she learned how to play this so she can get attention and guilt someone into being her friend. She does not understand the regular way to have a relationship so she uses this dysfunctional way to get what she feels she needs.

 

Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5467
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX Great answers.
I have a lot to think about.
Long term, no matter how I act, it won't work
And as I get healthier and more stable, she looses control.
Long term I may be better off not having a relationship with
Her due to the tendency to become toxic and unpredictable.
She has wonderful qualities I will miss, but in the end,
I gotta stay healthy.thanks again.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Just a comment. Her son is a therapist and thinks she has PTSD
But I don't know if her symptoms are related.
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

You are welcome! I am glad to help.

 

I am not surprised her son is a therapist. And he may be right with his diagnosis.

 

You are right, in the long run, this relationship is not going to work for you as you become healthier and she is stuck in her ways. Hopefully someday she will see that this is not working for her and she will start to work on getting better.

 

Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5467
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I am not surprised he is a therapist either.

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