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Dr. Rossi
Dr. Rossi, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4627
Experience:  PsyD, LPC, CHt
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A person I called a friend for many years has started

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A person I called a friend for many years has started manipulating me and has become abusive in some sense. I knew she was doing this somewhat wiith her husband but I thought she would never turn on me. I am suffering emotionally because of this, and having just gone thru cancer surgery I feel very vulnerable.   What is the best way to handle this friend?

Dear Afflicted,

Interactions w/ others even friends are not always pleasant.

You said " it kept nagging at me why she would treat me that way seeing that we were long time friends. I went back asking her why she had been angry at me when I did not deserve it. "

Would an answer from her as to "why" she behaved in such a way help you not feel afflicted or disappointed? Sometimes and answer to a why question does not change how we feel.

You have already expressed your feelings to her, now the ball is in her hands. It is not a bad idea to "give each other a break" A true friend will understand this. Of course, our expectations of others are not always congruent w/ what the other person is capable of doing.

It may be a wise idea to perhaps take a break from communicating w/ her over the phone if it is upsetting and try email for a while (and see how that goes) If it is the same frustrating scenario for her perhaps your health and peace are more important than trying to guess what she needs or why she behaves in such ways.

Sometimes, taking care of yourself is a priority whether this is in regard to mental, spiritual or physical health.

Dr. Rossi and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Is there not a way a person can say "That was really bad what I did" I will make sure that it does not happen again, You are too precious to be treated that way" or something in this vein...

Some people say sorry, some do not god only knows why. I think depending on how much you love her and she you (and the strenght of this relationship) that will determine where things will go. You've mentioned that she also mistreats her husband. It is very painful when the closest to us hurt us, yet it happens. I sometimes remind myself that friendships are like marriage "for better or worse in sickness and in health"

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Are there people who are more prone to manipulation? I am a very straightforward person and this kind of behavior bothers me specially when it comes from people who are close. Is there a way I can disregard it or go around it? any ideas?

Yes, there people more prone to manipulation. You can disregard it only if you feel ok so internally. Sometimes we do things out of politeness, necessity, etc but feel unhappy about it. You do not want to add more stress to yourself.

Ideas - you could make up a pro/ con list about your friend's behavior and how it affects you. If you check more negative things, then perhaps the relationship is not friendly.

It is not uncommon to be in a one sided relationship even after many years. One side where only one of the parties contributes the most.

In regard to how to feel about this- from experience I know that only time sooths the ailing and that during our healing period we start to see things more objectively and not personalize why someone did or said something to us. Things become more clear not just black and white and we are able to move along our own humble path and perhaps be more mindful in not causing such similar afflictions to other sentient beings. Pain teaches us and disappointments are a part of life. Look at Jesus' story? Who betrayed him? His friend/disciple Judas. What about Ceaser? Who stabbed him? His friend Brutus. So, these stories remind us that we are all vulnerable and that even a friend can hurt us. What may be helpful is to find ways to pick ourself up and keep on going.

Dr. Rossi and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thank you for your answer and for mentioning Jesus. Yes, He is my Lord.

Yes, I am looking for healing power.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

One last question if I may:

Is it ever a good idea to confront a manipulator about what they're doing?

Or try to correct their behavior?

I think this is too much for one to take on

Good Afternoon,

In regard to confronting your friend; that would depend on the outcome you hope to get.

What I mean is-

Some people, when confronted, never change nor apologize (although the one doing the confronting, in this case, you – may experience a short surge of satisfaction for having spoken out one’s feelings)

In the long run though, you will realize that this may have not had the desired effect over your friend and you may once again feel let down and disappointed.

So, it is totally up to you how to handle this. If the other person does not change or make a conscious effort to improve their behavior, the person afflicted (you) will continue to struggle w/ this situation in a vicious cycle. "Is it worth it?" you may want to ask yourself or let bygones be bygones.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Dr. Rossi,

I am feeling more and more depressed over this situation. What do you think I should do. The thoughts go round and round and I don't know what the answer is. It's as though I want to know who is at fault. Or to know that there is not more hope from this relationship. I think I would have liked to continue but my friend made it more and more difficult.

Good Evening,

I am a firm believer that at times, finding and answer to a why question does not lead to inner peace. (In this case "who is at fault")

Obsessing about this situation will make you feel down (as you are focusing on the negative side)

Was there ever a time when you and this friend of yours were able to just speak openly to each other? What is different now? If there are changes present, are they in both of you or just one of the parties?

Finding fault with others, even when they truly afflict us (may justify how we feel, but then as you see, as time goes by, if things don't change in how the other person responds to you, will eventually lead to you hurting yourself emotionally )

What I mean is - even after the person stops hurting us, our thoughts about the incident and our difficulty in letting go of those thoughts start to hurt as in the same way as though the other person is still afflicting us (when in fact they may not at that moment)

If you feel really depressed (not just disappointed and unhappy due to this friend's actions) I would consider some brief therapy that you may find by a counselor in your area.

Sometimes when we feel that a friendship is ending or has ended for whatever reason, it is not uncommon to grieve the loss of it and to become depressed.

You in a way had answered your question- you would have liked to continue if the person did not make it difficult. Hence, now you are taking care of yourself and your emotional well being and that is all right.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

There was a time, over the years, we were able to speak more openly than most people I know, and we have helped each other in times of trauma, and we have prayed together.

I think from my side I was trying to make amends, but her manner put me off. she would say " I can't talk to you before such and such a date" or she stopped opening up about her life and tried to make small talk.

When I tried to bring up subjects like why she gets emotional or hangs up the phone, she does not want to discuss it. I am trying to correct things but she wants to go on as though nothing happened. She has this 'take it or leave it' attitude about issues. Could it be I'm over-sensitive?

The other thing is the 'bullying' way she has about her. I told her we should consider ending our friendship (I guess that's not very nice...) She started screaming at me. It seems she tries to control people with her emotions.

I think the communication has broken down somehow and we are both being self-defensive. But I find that she tries to take the upper hand, and control things.

The other thing is that she brings up my weak points that I have confided in her (kind of hitting me under the belt). All this I find like invading my space while we're not having any real communication. (It sounds very complicated doesn't it?)

What is happening to me now is that I keep all of this turning in my mind and asking myself if I could have done something differently. Also asking myself why certain behavior on her side was hurting me, I should have dealt with it while it was happening. It's as though the more I was trying to fix things the worse it was getting.

So all this took my mental energy for about 4 months and I think I got depressed gradually.

Now I need to unravel all this, or put it away. In the back of my mind I keep thinking that there might be hope for a refreshed friendship (Is this a dream?).

So if you can make any sense of all this ....

I am so sorry to hear about this ordeal with the alleged friend.

To me, it sounds as an unhealthy relationship especially if there is bullying and screaming and disregard for human feelings.

You are mentioning that you may be hyper sensitive. Even if that is so, there is still no need for bullying or the ignoring of your feelings.

I don't know how you hope to "fix things" What is it that YOU belive that you did wrong and that You Need to fix? If you do not see anything like that, then there is nothing to fix right? Ask yourself : Are some things in life better left undone?

I believe that things in life are temporary - even relationships, our feelings towards others and their actions towards us. I think that perhaps this had showed you the true nature of your friend, your vulnerability and what you can and can not tolerate.

In all of this, you are left with your feelings, your own interpretation of how things went wrong and you are hurting emotionally. Pain (even emotional one is an indicator that there is something wrong that needs healing)

Healing starts within! Do take care of your self first!
Dr. Rossi and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Well, all this started happening a few months after I had some surgery - colorectal (not to make you feel sorry for me) But I was in a weak state. I might not have been the most pleasant person to talk to and some tact might have been missing.

The other thing I did wrong is taking her ways too seriously. I should have brushed it off as a person with such and such a character.

When you say "your interpretation of things" - I think what I'm trying to find out is: Is this interpretation true? Or could there be another - more global - way of looking at this (Am I overworking my mind?).

What I want to ask you is this: Is psychotherapy or a counselor better for this type of situation?

I guess friendships are hard, specially long distance ones.