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I have a friend, he is younger to me, has had a hard

hi, i have a friend...

hi, i have a friend, he is younger to me, has had a hard upbringing. at times with him i feel like i am putting a lot more energy than him in the friendship, at times he confuses me about the nature of friendship, dropping hints that he might want more, when i confront him, he denies it. he recently shut down on me without explanation,  i tried to talk to him but he is not saying anything, I expressed my worry, concern if i did something wrong, i know he is reading my mails but he is not replying, i expressed my frustration at him shutting down without explanation. i told him that i am ok with even cutting off the friendship or giving him space but tell me if he was mad at me or something, its 4 days and i got nothing from him, what to do ?

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Answered in 28 minutes by:
3/4/2013
Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1,168
Experience: Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
Verified
Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I would like to help you with your question.

Dr. L :

I can understand how confusing all of this is. The likely answer is that he is just not as mature as you and is less able to talk about his feelings like you do.

Dr. L :

Your response...to ask if he is mad or if you did something to upset him...is natural, but the likely reason he shut down is that he is doesn't know how to handle his feelings.

Dr. L :

You wrote that it's been 4 days and he has not responded. It might be best to give him a call or text or email just to say: I've been thinking about you. How goes it?

Dr. L :

Then...depending on if he even responds...you will know what your next step is.

Dr. L :

I see you are offline. I will be notified when you come online and we can chat.

Dr. L :

Thanks.

Customer:

Hi

Customer:

sorry to see you are offline, i also need to know how to handle my frustration and insecurities when he shuts down, cause it leaves me uncertain and i just cant handle that !! and i think i worsen the situation by saying stuff that makes it worse for both of us. i think a little background here will help, earlier i was in an abusive relationship and the man in question wouldn't take calls and stuff to 'punish ' me, also, i was physically and emotionally abused by my father and all that comes to the forefront when he shuts down, i try a lot of things to calm down, but i just go ballistic.. i really need help with it...

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I'm sorry that you have had a background that includes abuse...and as you already know that makes it difficult for you to have trust in others and also that it is far to easy to get over-emotional.

Dr. L :

Does this person understand - or even know about - your past experiences? That might help.

Dr. L :

If you have never had counseling...I encourage you to consider that. It seems you would benefit from sorting out the past, healing from those wounds, and developing new strategies for keeping today's relationships separate from the past.

Dr. L :

And yes...calming down is the right thing to do...whether that be through exercise, deep breathing exercises, yoga, reading, journaling. It would also help to be clear in your mind what you are upset about....is it about what is happening today? or something that happened in the past?

Dr. L :

This new person is NOT part of the past. He is NOT your father. He is NOT that other man. Separating him out from those men will be important. He deserves to be seen for who he is.

Dr. L :

I do think that counseling would be important as a way to have all the tools you need to build a healthy relationship with this person.

Dr. L :

Let me know your thoughts.

Dr. L :

Thanks.

Customer:

well, i have been to counsellors, they havent actually helped to sort past issues and most particularly heal them, but i myself try and do a lot of what u said, i also do EFT, affirmations and meditation, i dont know what to tell my counsellor, what do u think i should say ? my friend does know my past, you have been very helpful, thank u

Dr. L :

I'm sorry that past therapy hasn't been helpful. Have you seen someone who specializes in trauma and abuse? That would be very important.

Dr. L :

The EFT, affirmations and meditation are all good strategies for reaching and maintaining calm.

Dr. L :

I think it would be helpful to tell your friend about your past so that he understands the
"triggers" that make it so hard to not panic when he pulls away. If he knew how you interpret these behaviors...he ought to be able to be more clear about what he is thinking and feeling.

Dr. L :

Alot of this has to do with communication...and because each of you have come to this relationship with very different pasts...how you "hear" each other is not the same. Sometimes it helps to think about the "dictionaries" that each of us carries with us. Most women have a huge dictionary...let's say it is 2 feet high. Whereas most men have a very small dictionary...let's say its a few inches high. So..you can see right from the start that words mean very different things to us. That's why it is some important to have good communication.

Dr. L :

As to what to say to your therapist...as I said...you need to be working with someone who has experience and training with trauma and abuse. Then what you need to say is how panicky you get when people pull away from you...how hard it is to see that clearly...and that your first reaction is that this person is like all the other people who hurt you in the past..who mistreated and abused you. Tell the therapist that you want to "clean up" the past by being able to see that you did not deserve to be abused and that you had nothing to do with making this happen.

Dr. L :

Let me suggest a good book for you to read as well:

Dr. L :

Secrets, Lies and Betrayals by Maggie Scarf

Dr. L :

Also..Feeling Good by Dr. David Burns

Dr. L :

Both of these books will be beneficial as they will help you better understand your history and inspire you to see that your life can be much, much happier.

Dr. L :

Please let me know if I can be of any additional help!

Dr. L :

Thanks!

Customer:

this is wonderful, thank you :)

Dr. L :

You are very welcome!

Dr. L :

Take care!

Customer:

you too !

Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1,168
Experience: Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
Verified
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Dr. L
Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1,168
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