Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Friends and their existential fears

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

I have a friend called Mireille who lives locally, we sometimes go out for coffee. But she is plagued by existential torments, she will sometimes ring me up crying and talk to me about how she feels she isn’t worth anything, how the world for her is empty, how nobody feels for her. So I just say a few sweet things to her, how the world would be poorer without her and how she has friends, that it’s often the little things that provide meaning in our lives.

But I wish I could do more for her. I’ve tried to point her at communities she could be a part of, but she feels she has tried that in the past and doesn’t want to get involved in being pushed around. I’ve tried to point her at spirituality, but she says she has already gone down that route. Whatever I suggest for changing her life she rejects... somehow it doesn’t seem to get through.

The only thing she seems to accept is her need for therapy, and then when the therapy appointment is changed or cancelled she ends up in a crisis where she needs to be supported and just held. The therapy does seem to help her, the crying phone calls have lessened over time.

Still I find it sad to see a friend so overcome by repeated crises of self-confidence. Perhaps we could send her some metta?

Comments

  • KaydeekayKaydeekay Explorer

    Sorry to hear about your friend 💕. Has she had a diagnosis of anything? High emotionality and hopelessness can be a sign of borderline personality disorder. As can a trauma history. What kind of therapy is she getting? If there is something deeper awry then getting the right treatment designed for her struggles will make all the difference. For example, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy is wonderful for borderline. General counselling is more suited to people with less complex issues. Just something to think about. It’s necessary and important to turn to people for emotional support and to give it but repeated discussions of the same issue is something we used to call ‘assurance seeking’ at the charity I used to volunteer at, providing counselling for for people with anxiety disorders. In the short term letting them know everything would be fine/alleviating distress made them feel better but in the long run it would uphold the feelings because they never tackled them themselves head on - they just kept going for temporary aleviation that just upheld the cycle. Sending her meta.

    KeromeSnakeskin
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    it would uphold the feelings because they never tackled them themselves head on - they just kept going for temporary aleviation that just upheld the cycle. Sending her meta.

    @Kaydeekay -- agree.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Kaydeekay said:
    High emotionality and hopelessness can be a sign of borderline personality disorder. As can a trauma history. What kind of therapy is she getting?

    Her official diagnosis last I heard was depression with borderline features, and she is getting schema therapy.

    Kaydeekay
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    ....I would however, also warn you about "The Emotional Vampire" Syndrome....

    yagr
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited April 15

    Friends and their existential fears

    I guess the important thing to keep in mind @Kerome is, not to make their fears, your fears :)

    <3 Metta <3 to you and your friend :)

    BTW do you think your friend could also be suffering from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

    Women are 40 per cent more likely than men to experience symptoms of the condition sometimes referred to as “winter depression”....

    KeromeSnakeskin
  • KaydeekayKaydeekay Explorer
    edited April 16

    @Kerome said:

    @Kaydeekay said:
    High emotionality and hopelessness can be a sign of borderline personality disorder. As can a trauma history. What kind of therapy is she getting?

    Her official diagnosis last I heard was depression with borderline features, and she is getting schema therapy.

    Could you gently mention DBT? I think I've heard of schema but DBT just has by far the best track record treating borderline features and it actually is based on Buddhist teachings of mindfulness and something called radical acceptance. Obviously it is totally up to your friend and she may not feel comfortable, but it's a wonderful therapy and it has the most research behind it - many people who receive it 'recover' from borderline. It could be helpful but best of luck to her. Just look to see if you are making the problem really better, and look to see if it is draining you as @Federica mentions. Sometimes letting people talk and vent upholds the neurosis and feeds it in both of you - I try to say this from a kind perspective, but having worked in mental health, I quickly learned the difference. I used to live with a girl with narcissistic tendencies, who also had panic attacks, and I recommended her the best therapies based on my experience working in mental health - I genuinely wanted her to get better and not have to suffer with anxiety because it sucks, but at the same time, sitting in the kitchen and letting her go over and over all her feelings and vendettas and worries would've just be upholding the neurosis.

    Also, she may not want to go for DBT therapy but this is a wonderful book that you can send her way. It's a workbook so super easy to work through :). https://www.amazon.ca/Dialectical-Behavior-Therapy-Skills-Workbook/dp/1572245131

    Snakeskin
  • yagryagr Veteran

    @federica said:
    ....I would however, also warn you about "The Emotional Vampire" Syndrome....

    Took the words right out of my mouth.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited April 16

    @Kaydeekay said:

    @Kerome said:

    @Kaydeekay said:
    High emotionality and hopelessness can be a sign of borderline personality disorder. As can a trauma history. What kind of therapy is she getting?

    Her official diagnosis last I heard was depression with borderline features, and she is getting schema therapy.

    Could you gently mention DBT? I think I've heard of schema but DBT just has by far the best track record treating borderline features and it actually is based on Buddhist teachings

    I’ve passed it on to her, but I’m not holding my breath, she can be very independent-minded and attached to being right. She accepts things from her therapist that she wouldn’t accept from anyone else, and sometimes argues her point way past a reasonable level.

    [edit] I got a predictable reaction, “don’t you start talking to me about therapies, I’m doing that already”

    Just look to see if you are making the problem really better, and look to see if it is draining you as @Federica mentions. Sometimes letting people talk and vent upholds the neurosis and feeds it in both of you - I try to say this from a kind perspective, but having worked in mental health, I quickly learned the difference.

    Mostly I’m not bothered by the things she says. She doesn’t vent so much as need reassurance about her place in the world. She talks about her difficulties connecting with people and how she thinks people are not on her level. Personally my view is that people have different strengths and weaknesses, and that love and fellowship are found in strange places.

    So I wouldn’t say she is an ‘emotional vampire’, or characterise the relationship as particularly draining for me. I do what I can for her, and she is careful not to call too often.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited April 16

    @Shoshin said:
    BTW do you think your friend could also be suffering from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

    I’d say it is very unlikely, she walks a lot in the sunshine even during the winter, she goes onto the beach where I live but then well past where the buildings are, until it’s totally quiet, and she finds some peace out there amongst the wind and the waves...

    She’s just a very sad lady, caught between seeing herself as very smart and worthy and one of the elite on the one hand, and on the other hand feeling bereft of human contact and value to others.

  • KaydeekayKaydeekay Explorer

    @Kerome said:

    @Kaydeekay said:

    @Kerome said:

    @Kaydeekay said:
    High emotionality and hopelessness can be a sign of borderline personality disorder. As can a trauma history. What kind of therapy is she getting?

    Her official diagnosis last I heard was depression with borderline features, and she is getting schema therapy.

    Could you gently mention DBT? I think I've heard of schema but DBT just has by far the best track record treating borderline features and it actually is based on Buddhist teachings

    I’ve passed it on to her, but I’m not holding my breath, she can be very independent-minded and attached to being right. She accepts things from her therapist that she wouldn’t accept from anyone else, and sometimes argues her point way past a reasonable level.

    [edit] I got a predictable reaction, “don’t you start talking to me about therapies, I’m doing that already”

    Just look to see if you are making the problem really better, and look to see if it is draining you as @Federica mentions. Sometimes letting people talk and vent upholds the neurosis and feeds it in both of you - I try to say this from a kind perspective, but having worked in mental health, I quickly learned the difference.

    Mostly I’m not bothered by the things she says. She doesn’t vent so much as need reassurance about her place in the world. She talks about her difficulties connecting with people and how she thinks people are not on her level. Personally my view is that people have different strengths and weaknesses, and that love and fellowship are found in strange places.

    So I wouldn’t say she is an ‘emotional vampire’, or characterise the relationship as particularly draining for me. I do what I can for her, and she is careful not to call too often.

    Sounds like you have a good balance ^^. Thanks for passing along anyway, thought it may be helpful but she sounds quite strong minded (good for her!). I'll go back to sending metta :).

Sign In or Register to comment.