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My friend has let me down

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 21 August 2014
Dear Patricia Marie,

I've had this friend for years - since we were at college together. And I always thought we'd be there for each other through thick and thin. Three years ago, she went through a messy divorce and I supported her. Then, last year I found out my husband had been cheating on me, and after trying to work through it naturally, I went to my friend for sympathy. But she turned on me, telling me I was dragging her down and asking too much of her. We're still friends, but the closeness has completely gone. Was I wrong to have expected more from her?

Patricia Marie says...

No, you weren't wrong to expect more from your friend at all, but you may have to accept that she wasn't rejecting you when she let you down. Sometimes people can't be how we would like them to be, or act in the way we'd prefer them to. It hurts because it feels personal, almost as if she's decided you don't deserve her help. But in reality, her behaviour is about her, not you.

It sounds like your unhappiness, in a situation so like her own, dramatically brought back her grief and pain.

When we want to offload, we have to take some responsibility. Just because we want to get angry and upset, it doesn't mean our friends are able to deal with us being this way, especially if they have issues they are trying to deal with, which we may be ignoring because we are too focused with what's bothering us. While friends can, and should, be there for us when we need their support, often a professional can give us the care we really need to move on. Perhaps if your friend had gone for counselling as well as asking for your help, she might have been able to put her sadness aside and be there for you - and now not feel so guilty about failing you, which I suspect is what the distance is about.

I believe you may benefit from some counselling yourself to help you move forward with this situation. Hopefully, once you start to feel better you'll be able to forgive her and that closeness will return.

The British association of Counselling and Psychotherapy have a directory where you can find a qualified therapist in your area. www.bacp.co.uk



Have a dilemma? Please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk  Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.


In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows

Tough love

Posted by Slummy single mummy
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on Tuesday, 15 January 2013
Today I have a sick child home from school.

Yuk.

I am really not very good at the whole sympathy thing. For me, caring goes about as far as a pat on the head and a ‘you’ll feel better soon’ before I turn back to something far more important on my computer screen. Like Twitter.

I do believe that she is ill, (I sent her to school yesterday with what turned out to be quite a high temperature), but I don’t believe that staying home from school should be fun. In fact, the duller the better in my experience if you want to keep that attendance record looking half decent.

Whenever I was allowed to stay home from school as a child, (which was quite often to be honest as my mum liked the company), I was allowed to watch Richard & Judy on the sofa under a duvet and was given tomato soup with grated cheese on top for lunch. Sometimes my mum would even buy me a bun from the bakers. I suspect she was trying a little too hard to make home a fun place to be, but you get my point.

When my kids are sick then, they have to stay in bed.

“Can’t I come downstairs and watch TV?” they will ask in a pitiful whiny voice.

“Oooh no,” I will say seriously, “with your terrible headache it’s absolutely the worst thing you could do. You’re ill,” I will add dramatically, “you need to stay in bed all day.”

Funnily enough, a headache soon passes when confronted with the prospect of eight hours of lying staring at the ceiling.


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