Greetings and thanks for contacting Just Answer - Let me see if I can help and answer your question...
OK..... I have read your post a couple of times and I think I can help. It is my intention to answer your question and exceed your expectations.
It is often challenging to be away from one's social support system and it seems that you have found yourself in such a situation. I gather that you are away from family and friends studying.
And it seems your question is how to deal with the feeling of being isolated....
Can you tell me more about your life since moving to London? For example, how far is it from your home, how often to you get to see people from home, and what kind of social support network have you developed in London - such as acquaintances from school, religious activities, etc.?
I am also wondering, what have you done so far to address this problem?
I will try and provide some insight and direction based on what you have submitted thus far....
Yes. It's not as if I haven't met people, but it's a different matter to actually make friends. I knew lots of people before I moved, but then they make excuses for not contacting you, and you end up doing all the work. They either say 'you're studying' or 'I'm busy', for which both is a cover up for saying that they can't be bothered to think about you anymore. I'm not a hermit, so don't study 24 hours a day, and people are not 'busy' 24 hours a day. I feel so begrudged to call these people these days, as I am usually so lonely and desperate at the time. Then you get people who just disappear on you for no reason. My family have never been supportive, so never speak to me.
Boy do I hear you! It seems to be getting more and more how society is - sadly :( It may be important to point out that it is an issue - I often conduct seminars and one of the key themes in my work (even though the topics of the seminars are different)... anyway a recurring theme that I point out is that (arguably) one of, or perhaps the, greatest of all human needs is the need for acceptance.
We are social beings and we ABSOLUTELY NEED relationships to live happy lives.
exactly!!! No one cares anymore, all they care about is themselves and then you end up all isolated and frustrated at society. Then your 'supposed' friends wonder whats wrong with you!!
OK.... I definitely hear you and I have worked with others who I would say feel very much like you.
I have had people come to me and say (as you mentioned earlier) that they feel like they are doing all the work to keep any relationship alive....
I have dropped out of my course a couple of times since being here, and did not pass it in the end. I have had ongoing counselling for the duration, and CBT. I can't seem to sustain relationships, as they seem to care more about themselves. But my mental health is not going to get any better without social support, it is just going to remain frustrated, depressed and anxious and going to need ongoing counselling/therapy.
It is not an easy problem to solve, because the "problem" is not with the person I'm talking to, it's with others or the fact that society has gotten so complicated and busy. HOWEVER.....
People, then don't like it when you tell them the truth and ask them why they can't be bothered!! They just say well you don't have to be my friend then!!!
OK... I'm glad you are getting support from a CBT therapist. Now, here are a couple of things that have worked for those I have seen in my private practice.....
And speaking of CBT, I would suggest that we work on one relationship or maybe two at the most.
Choose the relationship(s) that are the most functional and "best" and do what you can to cultivate those. And here is something that has worked for others...
One thing is quite conventional and one is unorthodox but has proven to be very effective....
Ok. The only person that has remained has been my best friend, who I was at school with. Then there are maybe a handful of others, who are not so close.
The first, along with CBT, please read up on Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT). It is quite congruent with CBT and I am sure some "light bulbs" will go off for you. SFBT sheds light on how to focus on solutions in a way that small improvements lead to bigger and bigger improvements....Part of what happens when we find ourselves in these circumstances is we feel overwhelmed and SFBT can show us how small victories lead to more and more victories and then bigger and bigger victories...
I have not heard of that before.
My clients in similar situations have reported back to me that they were very pleased to see how focusing on the solution they did have some control over led to greater victories and gave them a greater sense of control of their lives....
I am so excited that you will learn about this - it's not at all difficult and is very "user friendly" my clients love it.
How do I learn about it? Do I get a book?
There is ample literature on the subject - and the books are not difficult. There are hundreds of books - I suggest any one that is written by Insook Kim. The next thing is somewhat unorthodox. But my clients have loved it as well and it has helped them with their relationships
This next thing is to learn more about the psychology of persuasion and the science of influence. And for this, there is only one book, Influence by Dr. Robert Cialdini.
Oh ok. Is it freely available?
Dr. Cialdini takes an ethical stance on how to influence others in a positive way and JUST AS IMPORTANTLY points out how we can take charge of our lives and NOT BE INFLUENCED in UNETHICAL WAYS. He approaches this from the angle of marketing, as well as other disciplines, including relationships and you (like my other clients, I'm sure) will clearly see how to apply this to your situation. You can order the book from his website (influenceatwork.com) or from any book store - he has done plenty of work in the UK.
I'm glad you contacted Just Answer and I'm glad I have had to opportunity to serve you, as I have dealt with this previously and ironically have stumbled upon this combination that has worked for others - I have faith that this will help your situation as well.
So it will help me feel less isolated, and stop me losing friends when I get so upset with them?
I would point out that it's important not to get overly frustrated - even though you have every right to do so! But instead focus on the solution that you have more control over and you will soon remember these intense feelings of isolation as things from the past.
As long as we live, we are going to have some frustrations in our relationships, but with this plan, those unwanted feelings will be much less intense and more importantly, you will have many more positive experiences which will give you the strength to deal with any disappointments so that they aren't so overwhelming :)
Ok, thank you. I will try these then.
I just want to congratulate you for reaching out and not being a victim!
Is there anything else I can do for you?
I'm not sure. I just feel very unsettled and unsupported. I can't face the prospect of studying for retakes at the moment, and wish my family would look more favourably towards me for once. They are just so stuck in their beliefs and don't want to acknowledge me at all.
This is completely understandable. As I mentioned previously, acceptance is perhaps the GREATEST of all human needs - as it's easy to see how upsetting it is when one doesn't get it - especially from those that are supposed to love us most.
So do I just go on as I am, and do these things? I always wanted to be understood by my mother, but not bothered about my father as he is just too opinionated and arrogant. People say there is nothing I can do, as they will always be like that. I also hate it when relationships fail, as it just seems to relate to my family.
Having said that, it's important to remember that none of us can control anyone else. So, there is nothing you or a counselor, etc. can do to change your family. The good news is that since none of us can change or control anyone else, your family cannot change or control you either - it's a two way street as it were. So, you are free to study in London and make your own life choices.
Ok, I just need to sort out my life to see where I want it to go then.
Let me just say that there is plenty of hope in your situation and if this were face to face therapy we could get through all this pretty easily. However since this is a question and answer forum on the internet, I will recommend one more book....Showing Your True Colors by Mary Misicsin. This will help you understand why relationships are so important to you and why your parents and family are the way they are. You will find many answers here.
We are limited by this forum, but please know that you are not alone and there is much hope in your situation.
Oh wow, ok. That should be enlightening. Wish it was face to face therapy now. Thank you so much, you have been very helpful!!!
Thank you - I wish you all the best :) Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
Sure thanks. I will definitely try to get hold of the books, and hope they are of help. Thanks again.