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Friendship during a very stressful time

(9 Posts)
ginorwine Mon 27-Jun-16 12:38:45

I'm really hoping for some support and advice pkease as I can't discuss in rl
My close friends daughter has had surgery for cancer . She is now clear but there is a chance of it recurring
For the last two years have tried to be supportive and mostly put my issues aside and listened , Cried with her , supported the other children
When we last let I discribed a situation I found difficult and I was met with a very stressed response which seemed to mean we'll try having my life
Of course nothing nothing is near the fear and stress and anxiety felt by my friend but it was an example of how I feel I just have to constantly watch what I say which of course I'm happy to do and be sensitive
However the by product of this is that it feels as if it s affecting our realatiibship as I do most of the listening ( that's fine ) but she doesn't know anything of what is going on for me and I'm feeling that it's making us drift apart as on my part it's superficial chat as it has to be
I'm happy to support but I feel like it is affecting the relationship as I feel I can't be open anymore
Like if I said ooh I've had rubbish day lets have some wine the response may be - how do u think I feel etc - she has also said people say stupid things to her - which I'm sure they have - I don't want to be one of them and tread on egg shells trying to get it right
She does have counselling
Has anyone had similar and have any tips
I want to support her and the friendship
Thanks

coco1810 Mon 27-Jun-16 14:35:43

I thought I had a really strong friendship with lets call her Donna. Before, during and after her leaving her EA partner, I supported her and her DC through it all. (Sorry - not as traumatic as your poor friends circumstances). I have looked after her children before and after school, helped her clean up the devastation her ExP left when he trashed the house when he left. Dealt with the emotional text messages through mediation, the works.

About a year later, my DH has a full mental breakdown. I was juggling my DC, school, working every hour god sent, helping DH back on his feet, hospital appointments, the works. Where was the one person I expected to have my back? Donna was no where to be seen. Whenever we caught up on the playground, it was all about the latest instalment of her ExP escapades. So I can completely get where you are coming from. You sometimes need that extra bit of support from your friend, a bit of comradeship if you will over a glass of wine while you put the world to rights.

But because that's not forthcoming, you feel a bit narked but also incredibly guilty for feeling that way. Unfortunately, I decided to let the friendship just fade away. I did so with the intention of it was time for her to miss my friendship and want to see me for a chat etc again. However, Donna didn't notice that I have withdrawn from her and so the friendship has gone. Maybe you should consider doing the same. However, if your instincts are shouting out to you right now that you can't do that, then I feel that all you can do is suck it up and hope things improve.

Myusernameismyusername Mon 27-Jun-16 14:41:57

Some people are not very good at care giving, they prefer to receive. I tend to back off these friendships and invest a lot less because I know it's awful, and it starts to drive you mad.
She might be able to let go of some of her stress and feelings in counselling - don't be the unofficial counsellor now, she has one, and they are probably better at it than you. You could always ask her how it's going if she makes such a comment - it isn't that you don't want to help but you don't know if you are helping and maybe talking things over with a counsellor will help her.

ginorwine Mon 27-Jun-16 16:03:19

I provide a great deal of emotional support , hugs etc
When I tried to back off just a little as I had feelings as I described she said she would like to see me more
I think it's the supreme stress of the a cancer which has led to her seeming to forget that others have things going on too as well as her now having some poss difficulty bearing it when people just need to off load their daily little worries alongside the good , that we all witter on about
I personally think it's in part anger at the cancer which I get but I do feel I'm treading on egg shells
I want to help the friendship survive and she has been there for me and I want to be there for her whilst she just can't reciprocate - it's just that over time am starting to struggle . I know cancer affects more than the person and it Wd be a shame for a friendship to dwindle because of it . I'm aware that am avoiding see her a bit out of being unsure how to behave and also I admit a wee bit of anxiety as last time I saw her she was understandably c stressed but I feel she took it out on me a little and also had little conception of my own issues - I feel that her issues are bigger and whilst they are - it means I sometimes feel anxious to share them if I get responses like well some of us have bigger stuff to worry about
I m struggling to be myself really

ginorwine Mon 27-Jun-16 16:06:24

Ps I work in a similar role to counsellor and the lines can blur sometimes
Also I think old pals can treat you like family and be their ' worst ' self with you at times ?
I'm sure, but dnt know , for eg she may be more polite / less 'real ' with others
Her dd has told me she thinks some other friends don't understand for eg

Myusernameismyusername Mon 27-Jun-16 16:08:07

You have fallen into counsellor friend zone and need to gently extract yourself. Whenever you talk to her and she expressed anger or pain, acknowledge it but don't get too drawn, ask her how counselling is going.
Part of counselling isn't just offloading it's trying to find solutions and new ways of thinking, sounds like she is stuck in some emotions and finding it hard to move on past them.
Also you could suggest doing new things together which are more of a distraction than a counselling session, like going out somewhere together and having fun.

ginorwine Mon 27-Jun-16 16:22:04

My user name
That's a really good idea !
Part of me knows I can't use the word fun as it may lead to an implosion but let's have a break , based on what you said is a really great idea ! Thank s I really appriciate it .

Myusernameismyusername Mon 27-Jun-16 16:27:49

Yeah you don't have to say fun but you can organise and invite her to things that will help both of you!

ginorwine Mon 27-Jun-16 16:29:52

Yes I will
Great thinking there 😄
Thanks

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