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AIBU to care so much about what friends think/feel?

(32 Posts)
Nicebucket Sun 17-Jan-16 12:18:47

I've been doing some soul searching recently and I've found that maybe I care too much about what my friends think of me...

My dad left my mum for another woman when I was 4 and never looked back. Never got in touch with us, not even a phone call.

My cousins, who I grew up with, don't speak to me at all. Their dad sexually abused me when I was little and when my mum and I spoke up about it, there was a falling out.

I have a complicated relationship with my grandparents - it's caused more pain than happiness, that's all I'll say.

I was a very sick child- had an autoimmune disorder and bad asthma, so I couldn't go to school regularly. As a result, I didn't start making friends until Uni and I was very shy.

You could say I have some abandonment issues. I also have some lingering issues with confidence. I don't come across as shy or introverted anymore, I'm perceived as outgoing and chatty. But I guess somewhere inside I'm still the girl who was ill, overweight, abandoned by family and didn't have any friends in school.

Anyway, given that I have no real family apart from my mum, no childhood friendships, I am very invested in the other friendships I've made since Uni.

When I have a fight or argument with one of them, it hits me very hard because I start to think they'll never speak to me again. Even if they don't call me for a week or don't reply to a text, I feel like the friendship might be over. Or I feel like they're annoyed with, find me boring, no longer want to spend time with me.

I'm careful not to reveal these vulnerabilities and insecurities to them, but in the end I know they're there.

An ignored message in my head is a friend who can't be bothered or is irritated. A fight means the relationship is over...

I know this isn't true and its immature. But I can't help it...

In some cases, I imagine my concerns are justified. For example, some friends never contact me first, and I'm tired of being the one to always take the initiative.

Anyone else feel this way? How did you deal with it?

knobblyknee Sun 17-Jan-16 12:29:51

Would you consider going for cognitive behaviour therapy? I think I recognise some of your thinking patterns, You can tackle them on at a time and it would really ease the burden.

Its not a talking therapy, its more like being given an instruction manual for your brain. smile
Anyway, what have you got to lose?

Nicebucket Sun 17-Jan-16 12:32:30

I've had CBT before, it didn't help much.

I know this will sound strange but I would rather not have CBT on the NHS, due to the nature of my job I don't want mental health issues on my record. And I can't afford private, so...

theycallmemellojello Sun 17-Jan-16 12:37:26

I think a lot of private therapists are prepared to negotiate rates depending on customers' circumstances, maybe worth looking into? Otherwise, I guess mindfulness and self-help books are the way forward. Hopefully recognising the problem is a start. It seems like you've already come a long way, so don't feel disheartened.

Nicebucket Sun 17-Jan-16 12:49:31

Ok, will look into it further.

Thank you.

Elledouble Sun 17-Jan-16 12:55:44

It sounds like a bit of an anxiety problem to me - I'm being treated for depression, anxiety and OCD at the moment and I think most things come down to desperately wanting people's approval. For example, I end up thinking that if my house isn't perfectly clean, I think my friends or family will think I'm disgusting and dump me. There are very particular CBT techniques for anxiety, maybe you could discuss this with a doctor/therapist?

Schmoozer Sun 17-Jan-16 13:03:57

I have difficulties with my family, since a challenging childhood, and I've found that I place a lot of importance / value on my friendships as my surrogate family I guess
I get very unsettled by any disputes or perceived disputes between me and friends
And I think it really hits me hard because of the family issue
Just wanted to say I think I relate to what you are saying

SirBoobAlot Sun 17-Jan-16 13:06:17

I can relate a lot with your post OP, and the first thing I want to do is sending you a hug.

Because of what you've been through, your feelings are completely logical. Don't be too hard on yourself for how you're reacting to things which trigger memories. As much as you might not want mental health on your record, you might really benefit from some input.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 17-Jan-16 13:11:44

I don't share the difficult history you have had but I too can overreact to a friend not replying etc.

I try to do something else now to take my mind off it, rather than dwell and allow myself to spiral in to a bit of misery and self loathing.

Soooosie Sun 17-Jan-16 13:15:53

You could probably find a useful cbt book on amazon.

www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?k=cbt

Nicebucket Sun 17-Jan-16 14:39:18

I think the books are definitely a good idea! I'm going to look into this today itself.

And who,e depression comes and goes, I have a constant anxiety problem.

Nicebucket Sun 17-Jan-16 15:39:03

I'm also looking to do group activities where I can meet people!

Many classes etc are pretty expensive but I'm trying to figure something out.

Soooosie Sun 17-Jan-16 15:47:18

Also do yoga Pilates or run or speed walk. Get enough sleep too. Endorphins can help

Chipsahoy Sun 17-Jan-16 17:03:47

You've been wounded a lot in your life, of course you are going to be hyper vigilant to it happening again.
Some private therapy to examine what has happened and the resulting anxieties would be a good place to start. And also if they are good friends, why not explain your fears?
My closest friend knows I obsess over everything and so because he cares, he reassures me when necessary that he isn't going anywhere.

Owllady Sun 17-Jan-16 17:08:10

As someone who has had alot of trauma in their life too, I think it's quite normal to feel a bit insecure but I think psychotherapy would really help smile

You sound a nice person, don't worry 're friends etc Concentrate on yourself x

fondationmaeght Sun 17-Jan-16 21:00:04

I can relate to this as this is what I do. I too have had a dad leave at 15 and then when we got reacquainted he passed away. My mum is very critical. And my school friends bullied me. I'm going to try explain what my therapist said... (This was also do to with my anger too)
My therapist says I'm on high alert, my mind is ready to respond, So I react to arguments, criticism etc in a fight way (Google fight or flight). I have been told to imagine a "window of opportunity" above the window is hypersensitive and below is the opposite (can't remember what it's called but when you are desensitised).
Try to remain in the "window of opportunity" in there you are able to make decisions and reactions better. So take yourself down out of the sensitive area to the window and think about your ideas on friends etc. If you are hypersensitive you react in a flight or fight way. I don't know if this makes sense. ?

fondationmaeght Sun 17-Jan-16 21:02:06

I'm now thinking it's not called window of opportunity but something else. Anyway it's definitely "window of..."

Nicebucket Sun 17-Jan-16 21:34:08

Fondation- yep that definitely makes sense. I think I need some coaching to react to situations in certain ways sad

I used to be ok being alone and not having too many friends really. But now I want to surround myself with people and positivity.

So it does disappoint me when people don't respond with the same enthusiasm that I have now.

Nicebucket Sun 17-Jan-16 23:34:08

Example: I've been through a terrible time with work, love life recently and I texted my best friend an update about it. She hasn't responded since morning. Firstly, she hasn't initiated a text or call in the past 3 weeks, it's always been me. i tell myself I won't message or call her first and see if she initiates it- but I always "lose" and end up texting first...

Nicebucket Sun 17-Jan-16 23:35:43

I guess other people initiating messages or calling me first just makes me feel wanted.

MrTiddlestheFatCat Sun 17-Jan-16 23:40:54

This sounds a lot like me, and a lot like my anxiety. I am constantly terrified that I've annoyed someone/said the wrong thing/they're just talking to me to be polite- it's quite torturous on bad days. Now I think about it, I can't quite pinpoint a technique I have to deal with it- perhaps I need to listen in on this thread too! I just thought maybe it would help to know that I'm another who feels exactly like this. On occasions, when my anxiety has been really bad about it, I have just told my friend how I feel, and they have reassured me.

Lots and lots of people have CBT, I don't think it would have much negative impact on a career at all- it is not a crime or a black mark against your name to have anxiety OP!

Nicebucket Sun 17-Jan-16 23:46:03

MrTiddle- I'm sorry to hear you suffer as I do! What you feel sounds identical to what I go through...Its horrible. It's like I'm an outgoing, confident person on the outside and on the inside I'm riddled with insecurities.

CBT or any mental health treatment on the NHS is out of the question- for various reasons I absolutely cannot risk having that on my record in my line of work.

I will try saving up this year and go privately...

SuckingEggs Sun 17-Jan-16 23:46:30

Completely understandable. You've been through so much. Don't underestimate it.

Books might be a way forward and there are some online resources. Will look and send when I can (busy week), but I promise I will do so as soon as I can. They were recommended by a fab therapist.

Sending another hug and some flowers

Imknackeredzzz Sun 17-Jan-16 23:51:05

Omg this could be me. At the moment stressing over a non reply to a message from a particular friend. It proper sucks

MrTiddlestheFatCat Mon 18-Jan-16 00:24:23

I think for me I put on an outgoing and chatty persona because I think that's what people will like the most. Quite sad really. If anyone compliments me on being funny, or a good friend, or anything of the sort, it makes me ridiculously happy- I guess its needing validation and reassurance.

When I look back at how some ex-friends have dealt with my anxiety, I realise that I am very glad they're not in my life anymore- they were just people who didn't understand my need for reassurance, and that I wasn't just being annoying, but I needed a response or I needed to apologise to them because I felt I'd upset them! I think I tried to overcompensate for my perceived short-comings, and that became annoying. So, I think a lot of it is self-esteem issues also, I believe, in thinking that I wasn't worth their time or I am not as funny/intelligent/interesting as they are.

So now I try only to remain friends who don't make me feel like this. Who know how I am and who I can always rely on to reply, and listen, and I do the same for them. Even just friends who can say 'I'm not ignoring you, but I'm really busy right now so I hope you're okay and I'll talk to you soon', sort of thing. For anyone who hasn't felt like this, it always comes across as clingy and annoying and I'm surprised nobody has told me or you to grow up or get a grip yet! Unfortunately, you can't help how your mind works.

Sorry for the huge post here, and I realise that I'm talking about me a lot, but I hope you might relate to some of it too and it might help a little if you feel you're feeling the same way!

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