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Discussion Starter #1
My oldest and closest friend has always had issues with self esteem and insecurity- since I've known her, she has always been in a relationship (and always with really awful losers who treat her like crap) and feels EXTREMELY uncomfortable being single, even if it means staying in a bad relationship.
Recently, she finally ended a relationship which (I found out afterward) was with a physically and emotionally abusive asshole. It was scary for awhile- even after everything he did to her, she kept saying things that hinted that she wanted to try again with him, or 'at least give him a call' etc etc... Luckily, she didn't, but about a week later, she was 'hanging out with' another guy, who treated her like gold. However, she didn't really like the guy so much as the way he filled the void where a boyfriend would be in her life. She let him take her out, buy her presents, even sleep with her... basically, she let him treat her the same way that a boyfriend would. Then, she met some guy at a concert (who seems EXTREMELY shifty) and told the first guy that she didn't want to see him anymore. Obviously he was very hurt and thought that she was interested in him as a boyfriend. She took it one step further by (a) calling the first guy constantly to gush about her new love interest/get his advice about it, and (b)getting angry with him when he seemed upset about what she'd done. She basically can't understand why he could possibly be so upset, and doesn't see how she could possibly be in the wrong in any way.
The main problem for me is that she is calling me to
a) vent and seek validation for her anger with the first guy on at least a daily basis- sometimes more than once. She will talk to me about it for upwards of two hours if I let her.
b) to tell me about every miniscule development about her new fling. Once she called me to tell me that the new guy gave her a kiss on the cheek. I'm not kidding.
c) to seek reassurance every single time she feels the slightest bit insecure about her new relationship- which is constantly. She keeps worrying about if he really is into her/if he likes the way she dresses/if she said something 'silly' and if he now thinks she's stupid/why he hasn't called in 12 hours/why he hasn't called her back within 30 mins of her leaving him a voicemail...it goes on and on and ONNNN....
Basically, I'm getting really annoyed with constantly having to reassure her whenever she has the slightest self doubt- I can only keep telling her that everything's fine so many times. And also with how awful she's being to the first guy, and how completely unapologetic she is for leading him on and hurting him so deeply. I hate lying to her and halfheartedly siding with her when I feel she did something really cruel. I also feel like a bad friend because I should be there to talk to about the new relationship and cheer her on- but the guy she's seeing is really creepy, and she's being really obnoxiously insecure. And whenever I try to tell her that I don't really have time to talk, or that, I already told her, she's pretty and smart and the new guy is lucky to have her (for the 1,000th time) she gets EXTREMELY hurt and upset.
I want to be a good friend, but the situation is getting really ridiculous. And I worry for her, because I'm realizing more and more how severe her self-esteem issues and are, as well as how twisted some of her beliefs about relationships are. I love my friend, and want to be there for her, but I want to HELP her, not just tell her that what she's doing and how she feels about herself iis ok- because its not.
How do I deal with such an incredibly insecure person?
 

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You could try recommending therapy. If she's not comfortable with that, there's a book called Reinventing Your Life, that deals with stuff like this. I've been where she is, I would dump girls, that were good to me, in about a week, to chase down needy, emotionally disturbed women, who would treat me like me shit. The self-esteem has a lot to do with it. She probably got rid of the good guy, because she didn't feel like she deserved to be treated so well, nor to have her own emotional needs met. The book calls it emotional deprivation. It sounds like she probably has some issues with abandonment, as well, with as tightly as she clings to you, bad partners, and as sensitive as she is to you not being there for her 24/7. I'm sure she doesn't realize, that she's pushing you away. I used to do similar things, only my coping mechanism was different. Instead of being clingy, I would go the other way and become extremely distant. I've got myself in therapy now, and it seems to be making a world of difference on my mental state. We're using the book, and I really like it. It helps make sense of things, that I could never understand about myself before. It's filled with stories about clients like me. The website can be found here, and there's even online inventories to assess her personal weak areas. I'm going to guess abandonment, emotional deprivation, and subjugation for a start.
 

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I acctually did try to gently bring up the idea of therapy, and while she didn't react as negatively to it as I thought she would, she still brushed it off. She doesn't think that she needs it or would benefit from it at all, basically.
 
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