Feeling sad - Silent treatment - 'Friend'- Fear of abandonment (I)

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Elly_

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Dear all,

I'll try to make my story as short as possible. I'm writing because I don't know what to do anymore. Meaby you have some ideas.

Who is the person I write about?
Co-worker - Boss - Friend

Who am I?
No PD. But I do suffer from fear of abandonment.

Context
We became good friends. We saw eachother outside of work environment. Called a lot, texted a lot. Etc.

Situation
About 4 months ago, I said something wrong I didn't notice (my friend seemed totally fine during our conversation).

Following that evening, we just continued texting as normally.

As, suddenly, I received an email, three weeks later, stating she didn't want to be friends anymore. That message left me being devastated. I suggested to call, but she didn't want to. So I had to cope with it by myself.

The evening after, she called me. And told me she didn't want to totally Block me. (Her mail definitely suggested otherwise) That I do have empathy and asked if I just could give her some time. I didn't say much. I was so sad because of the mail the evening before.

Later on, a week later, she tried to make a bit of contact by texting me asking how I was doing. Etc. I kept a distance.

Months passed by. About a month ago. I ran into her and we had a conversation where I most of the time cried about the feeling of loss of connection. During our talk she stated she never felt as if our friendship was totally over and that it would become ok again between us. But that she had to put boundaries to protect her integrity. She continued saying I could always call her, after work. (Boundaries?..)

She also referred and affirmed what she wrote on a post card I received a couple of months before, stating I mean a lot to her. (I cried even more)

After that talk I left her be. Confused. Two weeks later a new text, asking me if I was feeling better. I answered and asked for a quiet conversation. She replied we surely could have.

I suggested her to let me know when suited her to meet up. Than silence came in. I grieved again, but kind of let it go.

Two weeks later I ran into her (again). She told me she wanted to reply to my text but put it off because she was having a hard time (emotionally, something happened to an important person in her life).

We had a long, emotional conversation about her grief. At the end she told me she certainly wanted to have that conversation, if I still wanted it, or, we could do something fun together. I suggested a combination of the two. And let her have her time to suggest a date.

Couple of hours later, she texted me and we continued the real live conversation. One moment she asked me how I was doing. I made up my mind not to share too personal things, before having a quiet conversation about the friendship-blew up that really catalysed my fear of abandonment.

I answered that I was 'kind of fine'. To which she suggested I could tell more if I wanted to. I did.

I told her I care about her. And that I like listening to her and telling her things of my own. But I also told her I didn't want to behave distantly, but that I fear loss of connection again. (Which I can't take)

After that text, silence came in again. Till the moment (after a week) I sent a text (asking how she was doing and stating I'm there for her if she wants to), that didn't came through to which she asked if I'd sent something. Stating also she understood my last message and that I have to do what makes me feel good.

I sent her the (how are u) message again. And replied with that I do what I feel good about and that  I always liked listening to her and telling her things of my own and that I miss those conversations. I also said I let her know my feelings of fear of abandonment because she has the right to know how I feel (in our interpersonal relationship).

I got the silence again. Five days passed meanwhile..

Question
I'm feeling sad. The silences throw me back on myself all the time. Did I do something wrong? Was I just used as a talking pole? (Did our last conversation didn't mean the re-establishment of connection?) Didn't she mean what she said at the end of that conversation, to do something fun together? Did I 'destroy' that proposal by opening up about how I felt, id est having fear of my fear of abandonment? And also, did my opening up caused a situation where she blocked me and she doesn't want me to check in on her?

Thanks for reading,

Regards,
Elly_

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Bloomie

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Re: Feeling sad - Silent treatment - 'Friend'- Fear of abandonment (I)
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2021, 11:33:14 AM »
Hi there and welcome to OOTF. Thanks for taking the time to share a bit about how painful this relationship has become for you. It sounds really confusing, and given your sensitive heart, like it has become very hard to navigate safely.

I can't know the answers to the questions you pose at the end of your post - and I think it may have become impossible for you to know those things as well? - but, what I do know is that true and loving friendship does not look like this or feel like this. True caring between two people seeks to reassure and comfort even in the midst of difficulties and a need for a break when we have hurt one another.

In my own long friendships saying something wrong happens. There is room to make mistakes and fumble because there is grace and a willingness to work through those mistakes in a sincere way. Friendships can and will get messy at times, but this sounds like it has become unsafe for you and the connection filled with more questions and uncertainty than answers. I am really sorry as I know that hurts a lot.

There is a common behavior in our glossary above that seems like it is similar to what you are experiencing in this friendship and it is called push/pull. More info is found in this article: https://outofthefog.website/top-100-trait-blog/2015/11/4/push-pull

One thing this article points out is that sometimes we find ourselves in a relationship or situation where there is a decided difference between how we see reality and how another does. With a friend who is led by their emotions their feelings may become facts and often they may treat us according to their feelings in the moment. Which is where the inconsistencies come in that throw us and confuse us and cause a great deal of angst.

From the article:
Quote
How It Feels

What often confounds the person on the receiving end of Push-Pull treatment is they can clearly see inconsistencies in the cyclical arguments and behaviors they are dealing with, yet the person with the Personality Disorder may be completely blind to the contradictions. This difference in perceiving reality can often lead to Circular Arguments between the PD Sufferer and the Non, which generally only pours more fuel on the dysfunctional fire.

It can be hard not to take a hit to your self-esteem as you try to guess from one day to the next what kind of mood your PD will be in when you wake up, or when you arrive late from work, or when you go to a social gathering. Itís entirely normal for humans to try to find patterns in a personís behavior such as ďLast time I said xyz it really pleased her,Ē or, ďEvery time I try <---> he always does <---->Ē.

However, when the behaviors are driven by the feelings of a PD the same actions do not always produce the same result.

There are many other great articles and resources at the drop down menus above and all over the forum boards. Take some time to settle in and read, absorb, and be supported by this amazing community.

Learning to only take responsibility for our side of the street, what we actually have control over which is always and only ourselves, refocusing our energy on understanding our own choices and behaviors in any given relationship, but especially in one that has gone sideways on us in a painful way, is our good work to be done that will bring tremendous benefits and health to our lives.

You may never fully understand what happened here, but you are beginning to understand what may and may not work for you in relationship with this friend going forward.

Keep coming back and sharing your journey. I look forward to supporting you!




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Elly_

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Re: Feeling sad - Silent treatment - 'Friend'- Fear of abandonment (I)
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2021, 04:47:03 PM »
Dear Bloomie,

Thanks a lot for your friendly response.

Youíre right. It has become very hard to navigate safely in the relationship with my Ďfriend'.

It makes me sad to admit there is no true caring between my friend and me. I do care about her, but my feelings donít count to her and that makes me grief. There hasnít been a real opportunity to work through the mistakes I made (mistakes, in her opinion). I definitely read about people who consider their emotions as facts. She really does.

I feel powerless. I know I donít have control over any of this happening. Only about myself. But even so, it doesnít feel that way. Iím totally out of control and close to depression (as my doctor said - but not only because of this happening, also because of other things - I really don't need a toxic friendship on top of that). I feel like being thrown back and forth, between invitations as ĎI want to do fun things togetherí (that get no consequences) and Ďsilent treatmentsí.

I got a reply on my last (how are u? -) message, after 5 days of silence. She replied quickly that she only then had found time to answer. Stating there was a lot going on, but too much to text. I proposed a chat, with or without walk, but silence came in again.               

I keep people to their word. Her included. And Iím a fool. Iím sticking to her words, but it's actions that count. Iím longing to have the talk she promised me (about the discard I got a couple of months ago, that I really couldn't cope with, because of my own fear of abandonment) and other friend-talks and just doing friend-things. But it looks like she just wants to keep me behind, for in case she needs me (for listening). And even then.. when she tells me things that I'm getting worried about, afterwards she goes no contact and just closes me out. I may not even know how she's doing.

It feels difficult for me now, because I really didn't understand the sudden discard and afterwards the slow rapprochement (followed in turn by silent treatments). I canít bring myself to believe she doesnít want me in her life anymore. But if she did, she wouldíve talked with me about my grief and wouldíve answered my texts with content, instead of pushing me away with texts that say nothing.

If only we had never become friends.

Regards,
Elly_
« Last Edit: April 28, 2021, 04:49:06 PM by Elly_ »

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Bloomie

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Re: Feeling sad - Silent treatment - 'Friend'- Fear of abandonment (I)
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2021, 12:14:30 PM »
Elly_ -as we all know, friendships can bring a tremendous amount of joy and companionship and also when the relationship breaks down as much grief as the loss of any other significant relationship.

The difference, I have found when a friendship I thought was deep and for life fractured, is that kind of loss often is not recognized to be as painful and profound as it really is. Working through the grief of this loss - as you acknowledge you are, is important inner work and honors what the relationship has meant to you.

It seems clear that you and your friend both want different things from the relationship and the level of connection and reliability this person has to offer is not working for you and only hurting your heart. You may never know the real reason for this change.

I imagine it helps to focus on this person's consistent behaviors over time versus their words and discern the messages they are actually sending you. I say this every so gently, it is understandable you 'feel' powerless in this situation because you are unable to get to the point of having an honest, respectful conversation about what may have gone wrong, but you are not 'actually' powerless at all. You decide and have 100% control over how you go forward.

Part of letting go and the grief work in my own experiences is accepting what I cannot change, changing what I can, and having the wisdom to know the difference. If you can find a way to release this friend in your heart and mind to a good and healthy future and redirect your energies to healing and moving forward and dropping the rope that keeps you tethered to her it may bring peace in the coming days.

Strength and wisdom to you as you journey through this time of change and a shifting in a relationship that was obviously very important to you.