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I've been on here a million times before over the same issue…

I've been on here a...
I've been on here a million times before over the same issue and I don't know why I do this.With certain people in my life, we start a friendship, or it might have been an old boyfriend, and it is mutual give/take but I am indifferent towards them.I start to see them pulling back ~ maybe they felt my indifference, maybe they thought we had nothing in common, maybe they were legitimately too busy and still liked me and had intended on reaching out. . . I suddenly paint them out in my head to be great and perfect and I lost them and I lure them back in any way I can ~ first through reaching out and offering favors ~ (I can babysit if you need me to, I can loan you my car if you need to get to that appointment, I can tutor your kid if he's stuck) and then I start acknowledging their birthdays (and their children's) through gifts and money. The gifts start off as give and take (they give back to me and my family), but then I see them pulling back again. My gifts get bigger, better, but theirs gets smaller and smaller. I panic I am losing them and take everything up a notch . . . . BIGGER favors, BIGGER gifts. . . .
It snowballs into years of me giving emotionally and financially (at this point I am obsessed with the person), only in the end for them to resent me, laugh at me and walk away. I am married, 49 years old, and this has just happened AGAIN with me and 2 female friends.
My husband saw it, but I couldn't see it. I'm ashamed and humiliated now. I put the person on a pedestal and ignore their flaws.In particularly, last November, I offered my female friend of 8 years, my timeshare for her family. She initially said no, but then she said yes. I was THRILLED. She said, "And when I get home, you and I will have coffee together and I'll show you all of the pictures!" I was on cloud 9 thinking we were going to do things together again (we hadn't in 6 years). A month after she returned I texted and said, "Whenever you are ready, let's meet up. Can't wait to see the pictures." She texted back, "I'm way to busy. Maybe in a few months." I made the mistake of buying Christmas gifts for her kids (just shirts) and they told me she threw them away.
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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
As I am reading this I sound insane, but can I just add throughout the 2 female friendships, 1 lasted 19 years ~ she was my next door neighbor and she moved w/o saying goodbye or a forwarding address, the other is on year 8 ~ she is a parent at the school I teach at ~ THERE WERE ALWAYS GLIMMERS of hope and reciprocation and a HUGE reason a clung on was because I felt THEY NEEDED ME and there were aspects of their lives/situation I felt sorry for. . . . the neighbor needed me to babysit and to borrow my husband's tools, the parent needs guidance on her kids' homework, to get her kids the best teachers, for me to see that her kids got home safely. . . .
Answered in 35 minutes by:
1/15/2018
Linda D.
Linda D., Psychotherapist, LMSW, CASAC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 871
Experience: LMSW, CASAC
Verified

Welcome to JA. My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in NYS. I am preparing my reply and will post in one moment.

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Hello again, you and I have had a conversation here before. First, you do not sound insane but you do sound hurt and confused. There is a really good book I use with my clients called Boundaries in Relationships by Charles Whitfield. In the first part of the book there is an assessment you can complete of 40 questions that will help you determine whether you have good healthy protective boundaries or whether they are too loose (letting others matter too much) or rigid (not letting others matter enough). What I hear in your relationships with "friends" is that even though their actions are hurting you, you are hurting you more by not making better choices for yourself with others. Relationships are a give and take, if another person is not able to give than they should go to the acquaintance level not friendship. We sometimes don't get what we need when we are growing up and then we spend our entire lives trying to get our needs filled by others, even when thy can't meet our needs. Does this make sense to you? I know this book will give you insight and tools to start making the changes you can control. I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, ***** ***** LMSW, CASAC

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Thank you.I am drawn to people who reject me. My parents were and are still married, but my father really never had anything to do with me growing up ~ other than providing financially ~ and my mother was always disappointed in me. Everyone else was more beautiful, smarter, more fun than me. I have 2 siblings and I always felt I was the least favorite. I talk to my parents now and then and we get together for holidays and although my mother will compliment me here and there, it doesn't make up for the words she's said the past 49 years.I have 6 months left of with the parent friend ~ her child will be out of my school in June. I am going out of my comfort zone, and as much as I've bonded with the child, I am not going to: acknowledge his birthday, acknowledge Valentine's Day, St. Pat's Day, or Easter, nor will I reach out to the friend on her parents' deaths anniversaries saying, "thinking of you today." I will not text her small talk, nor forewarn her of projects and tests coming up, nor will I inquire about sporting events or if the child got into private school. I am a speaker at the end of the year celebration in June, and I will not go over to them to say goodbye. I am trying to muster up some self-respect and if I meant anything to them, they will reach out to me.The neighbor friend was fat and miserable and her husband always winked at me or stared at me. I heard she moved and was making fun of me to a group of people. I texted her and told her, "You are trusting the wrong people. Your party guests are stabbing you in the back. Looks like karma. And for the record, I was there for you the 19 years to be a friend to you because I felt sorry for you. Good luck." That was a year ago this month! I think I shocked her and I am glad. At least she knows I'm stable.I am trying to regain some dignity and self-respect, but when I do, I end up feeling guilty.I know this parent friend will turn around and ask me, "What's your problem ~ why haven't you texted me" ~ she's done this before ~ but I have to know if it's always a 1 way friendship that is continually hurting me then it is not a friendship.
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I will leave you alone now, but I want them to see me on stage in June, full of happiness and confidence, and for them to realize they lost an amazing friend. Do you think that is possible?

Yes, if you reclaim your dignity and self respect and focus on giving and caring for yourself and what is right and best for you, then you will take that stage with a feeling of self worth and self pride for what you accomplished this year. I don't know what they will think or how your strength will affect them, but that is not what matters. What ultimately matters is how you feel about yourself. Direct that caring toward yourself. Be good to yourself and be your own best friend. Sincerely, ***** ***** LMSW, CASAC

Linda D.
Linda D., Psychotherapist, LMSW, CASAC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 871
Experience: LMSW, CASAC
Verified
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Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 871
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