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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5968
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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I had 2 best friends. Lets call them Jane and Emily. I met

Resolved Question:

I had 2 best friends. Let's call them Jane and Emily. I met Jane through Emily 7 years ago and we've been friends ever since. Recently, Emily and I had a falling out. I told Emily that something she did hurt me and she said she wanted to end the friendship and asked me to never call her again.

Emily called Jane and told her that we ended the friendship and to prepare herself for the fallout. Jane told me about that conversation. She told me that Emily said that I am a loser who cannot get her shit together. Jane said that Emily had been complaining about this to her for the last year. (I was fired a year ago and have had a hard time maintaining full time employment). Jane also told me some other ugly things that Emily said about me during that conversation.

As time went on, Jane kept telling me things that Emily had said about me over the year. I told her to stop and that I didn't want to hear anymore. She has stopped; she hasn't told me anything else Emily has said about me. Although, she does complain about Emily (most of her injured feelings regarding Emily are exactly like the ones I had; the ones I confronted Emily with). I think now that Emily and I are over, Jane is excited to talk to someone who has also experienced some of Emily's hurtful actions. I told her that I don't want to talk about Emily at all. That seems difficult for Jane. She really wants to unburdened herself to me about how hurt she is by Emily.

I don't know what to do about Jane. I feel betrayed by her actually. If it weren't for her, I wouldn't have the phrase "I'm a loser who can't get her shit together" rattling around in my head everyday. I was very very hurt by that. Heartbroken actually. Being around Jane reminds me of the fallout with Emily and Jane isn't making it easier because she constantly wants to talk about her own problems with Emily.

How should I handle this relationship? Can you give me a healthy perspective on this?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

Dr. Z :

Hello

Dr. Z :

I believe I can help you with your concern

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that you had this fallout with Emily and are currently having this difficulty with Jane, I can imagine how distressing this must be for you

Dr. Z :

Well you are right that Jane is making it difficult for you to get over and move on from the fallout with Emily because she keep bringing up Emily and wants to discuss her issues with Emily. For Jane, venting about Emily is cathartic for her and this allows her to feel better about the situation.

Dr. Z :

Now for you, you should mention to Jane that everytime she brings up Emily it is like re-opening the wound from the fallout and that it hurts you a lot when she talked about Emily as it reminds you of what Emily said about you.

Dr. Z :

There are plenty of other things to talk about between two friends besides one person, so it is a very reasonable request to tell Jane to talk about something else. Also talking about the negative thoughts that you both have concerning this situation, puts your focus on this and will not allow you to open up and see the positive/objective aspects of the world and your friendship. When Jane brings up Emily, it just reinforces those negative thoughts and feelings you have.

Dr. Z :

So this link may help you, it contains a technique I use with patients called a thought record. It will help you keep track of any negative thoughts you have. You put the negative thought on paper, the emotion accompanying, the evidence to support it, and the evidence against it. Then I want you to come up with an alternative thought for the situation (more objective and plausible). This will help you change your way of thinking to be able to think more positive and not automatically go to a negative type of thinking.

Dr. Z :

Also this may help your friend Jane more than you to allow her to better cope with Emily, but you can use this technique too

Dr. Z :

I think if you start to focus on the positive/objective aspects with Jane you will not be reminded as much by the fallout with Emily and how heart-broken you were at that time.

Dr. Z :

Did you have any questions or concerns at all?

Customer:

I actually don't think this will help with Jane. She has not responded to my efforts to get her to stop talking about Emily and I've been persistent. She is so hurt by Emily (not by our fallout but by something Emily did to her) and there is a struggle every time we get together about this issue. I've become Jane-phobic. Plus it doesn't help that she told me all the ugly things Emily said about me. I know she did that to rally me and get me on her side so she could vent to me. But that just makes me even more Jane-phobic. I feel betrayed by her and this bubbles up every time I see or talk to her.

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry to hear that, well if Jane will not respect your wishes, which again are not unreasonable at all, then maybe distancing yourself from Jane would be a good approach as you have been doing. It seems that Jane is obsessed on this Emily topic because she feels compelled to talk about it all the time. You have the healthy perspective as you are trying not to bring it up anymore and you are trying move past this fallout. Also it definitely does appear that you are frustrated with Jane and I think you should tell her how you feel. While it may not change Jane's behavior, it will at least open up a dialogue possibly and it will be cathartic for you. Here is a good worksheet I use with patients to help them be more assertive in these situations and let me express their frustration in a more appropriate manner that can start the process of communication on this issue.

Dr. Z :

If she still will not listen to you and respect your wishes, then definitely try to distance yourself because you do not need this grief and like I said I feel that you have the healthy perspective as you are not dwelling on the matter and are actually trying to move on with your life concerning this.

Dr. Z :

Another option that you also have is to have another friend come in and tell Jane that she should probably stop venting about Emily too. This can give you an objective viewpoint on the issue that backs up your concerns

Dr. Z :

But concerning your relationship with Jane, I think you should express your frustration and how you feel betrayed by her because of the fallout with Emily and hopefully it can spur a good conversation where both of you can work to repair the friendship

Customer:

hmmmm...well I expressed my frustration with Emily and it didn't spur a good conversation. It destroyed the friendship and led to me learn that Emily has been calling me a loser for a year and Jane has been listening. Learning this about Jane has led me to downgrade our friendship. I've stopped telling her more personal things as a result. I've tried talking about other things like the news, tv shows, more superficial things. Jane has definitely noticed and she doesn't like it. This is just a mess and I'm not sure it can be fixed. I'm pretty wary about expressing my frustrations at this point.

Dr. Z :

I understand, I just wanted to give you all your options. I think you definitely have a right to feel betrayed here and it is possible that Jane is not the good friend that you thought she was because she just listened to Emily talk negatively about you without saying a word for Emily to stop or a saying a word to you. I think distancing yourself from Jane would be a good approach that you have been doing and find other friends that will value you like you deserve. I can tell that you care a lot about your friends and are very considerate, but if Jane will not make the effort to change or to apologize for her actions, then you do not deserve that. You deserve to be happy with friends that value you and your friendship.

Dr. Z :

I mean so far you have done everything right here and I know you asked for a healthy perspective on the situation, but so far you have been taking psychologically healthy approach with this situation

Customer:

Thank you for saying that. It's hard to see whether you're making the right decisions when the consequences feel terrible. When the consequences of something I do feel terrible I usually conclude that I did something wrong. So, it's good to hear an opinion that my approach has been healthy.

Dr. Z :

I can see how you would think that, but just because we do everything right does not mean that the conclusion will be how we want it unfortunately. But in this I do not see that you did anything wrong and you have the healthy approach by trying to move on from this.

Customer:

Your perspective about Jane is good too. If she cannot respect my wish to not discuss anything about Emily, I have the right to distance myself from that. If it does come to that, it will probably hurt, but it will be the right thing to do. I'll talk to Jane again about my boundaries and why they're so important to me. I'll tell her that I want to keep our friendship but we'll probably have to find new common ground.

Customer:

Thank you for your help

Dr. Z :

I hope you both can find a common ground and continue the friendship in a meaningful way. I always happy to help and I wish you and Jane all the best. My goal is to provide you with excellent service, so if you ever have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime.

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5968
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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Dr. Z
Dr. Z
Psychologist
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Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.