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Struggling to Maintain Meaningful Relationships

lovemimoonlovemimoon 🦋Community Champion Posts: 2,311 Boards Champion
- mentions of suicidal thoughts and self-harm
I don't go into detail about this but I know people are going through a really rough time and the mention of this might trigger bad thoughts.

I don't know how to start this so here we go:

I struggle to maintain relationships because of my emotions. Back in secondary school, I didn't know how to cope with my emotions so I would often indulge in toxic and destructive behaviour. I was okay as a student - worked hard, had a good attitude and my grades were decent but I was seen as a bright student with emotional issues. My moods would change constantly, I've had periods where I couldn't shake off my emotions (anger, sadness, etc) for weeks. It would persist until I either blew up or broke down. I was severely depressed and would self-harm in response. There were periods where it got so bad, I had suicidal thoughts. It especially got worse when I was in arguments with my friends.

In Year 10, I began internalizing my feelings as a way to cope, but it manifested into something destructive and toxic. I struggle to open up to my friends because I'm afraid of two things:
- that I will blow up again then and cause damage.
- that it will come back to bite me.
Any form of emotional and mental vulnerability no longer becomes about expression, it's about protection. I'm scared of being vulnerable around you so I'm going to push you away but I don't want you to go.

I want to meet new people but I'm afraid of letting them be too close to me because they'll see through me and realize that I'm just a shitty person. So far, I have, maybe 6 longtime friends? I see a therapist who has helped me slowly overcome this (and my emotional issues) and my longtime friends have been helpful too. But I feel like I've reached my limit with 2 of them. To keep this short, I created a situation and I'm in the wrong for it but it's not about the situation, it's the comments that came along with it. It's not the first time either and today, I've reached my breaking point - I don't really want to tell them how I feel about it because I feel like I'm setting myself up. It's more awkward because it's a group dynamic. It's a struggle because I understand where they're coming from but I have very unpleasant thoughts about them and I just want to maintain my distance. But if I do that, I know that I'm going back to my old ways.


  • MaisyMaisy The Mix convert CymruModerator Posts: 407 Listening Ear
    Hey @lovemimoon

    From what you have said, it seems that you have strong and long-lasting emotions, which you find difficult to deal with, but also that you struggle with feelings of vulnerability when it comes to friends because you worry about the strength of your emotions.

    That is a lot to be dealing with! But it’s good to know that you have 6 long time friends and a therapist that you talk to. I’m wondering what your therapist would make of the situation you are referring to with two of your friends?

    Emotions are tricky because we can’t really control them as such, though we can take steps to help us deal with emotions in healthy ways. But otherwise it may be that we have to let our emotions run their course. However, while we might not necessarily be able to fully control how we feel or let alone how others behave towards us, we can learn to control how we react.

    You mention that your moods can be persisting for weeks until you either blow up or break down. It’s clear that there are triggers that cause you to feel this way and a particular breaking point. But I’m wondering if you can think of how to prevent the situation from escalating into blowing up? It might be that opening up about how you feel to friends might prevent you from reaching breaking point. It can be difficult trying to communicate our inner most thoughts and feelings, so you might want to consider writing things down (you might also find writing things down helpful when you are trying to figure out how to talk about your feelings). Think about what you really want to say and what action you would like to happen to help prevent things from escalating emotionally. Then think about how your friends might react and prepare for how to deal with negative reactions. Ideally, your friends should listen to you and take your thoughts and feelings on board. Though this does depend on having friends who are understanding and accepting of you as a person.

    Pushing people away may have the opposite affect. While you may feel that it is protective in the moment when you are experiencing strong emotions, it may have the unintended consequence of actually pushing friends away as they may not understand why you are withdrawing from them. You’ve explained yourself well here and I’m wondering if your friends know and understand about why you are scared to open up and why you push them away? It might help them to understand you more if they understand how you react to strong emotions.

    You’re not a shitty person. I know that’s easy for me to say and hard for you to believe, but it’s the truth. People may surprise you by sticking around and getting to know the real you if you let them. Of course, some people might leave or hurt you, but not everyone will be like that.

    It is okay to have some distance with friends at times though. Friendships can be difficult but we all need time to ourselves, especially if things are getting difficult and we feel we need to be alone while we try to figure out how to deal with the situation. The situation aside, I’m wondering how you feel about these 2 friends in particular? Would you say your friendship with them is generally good or not really? You’d stated that you created a situation and that you admit you were in the wrong, so if you do want to talk to these friends about how you feel, I’d say you were off to a good start. Taking responsibility can really help. But it’s also important to express how you feel as well- which is less about the situation and more about the comments. If you do want to talk to them about it, you can say what you have said here- that you understand where they are coming from, but the comments they have made have upset/angered (whatever you feel) about it. It might also be an idea to talk to your therapist about it and get her input.

    And remember, whatever happens, The Mix is always here for you!
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  • lovemimoonlovemimoon 🦋 Community Champion Posts: 2,311 Boards Champion
    Thank you @Maisy ! I often write down my thoughts when I'm experiencing these strong emotions and you're definitely right about the triggers! I have opened up about some but they've been... dismissed at certain situations.

    I've explained that I do not have the best reactions in certain situations, hence why I push people away, and they have encouraged me to express myself in the moment but I'm afraid to do that because I'm aware of how hurtful it is. Any heated situation would have me just... leaving the conversation because I'm feeling my emotions on such a high intensity. So when my friends express their anger or sadness towards me, it hurts me, and I often find myself being mad at them, then myself. Cos they can say whatever but I know that if I recopricated, then I know it would be very different. I've had moments where I've responded emotionally and it hasn't landed well.

    In terms of the two friends, it's been good until now. They're confrontational people which is great! They're caring, strong, often look out for other people and have a strong sense of loyalty for people they care about. I care about them a lot but I feel like there's a lot of misplaced anger coming from my part and it's nothing to do with the situation at hand. :confused: Thank you for your advice about my therapist! I've emailed her about this so I'll be hearing back from her soon. :3

    Thank you for that! I appreciate that you think I'm not a shitty person <3. But I'm more comfortable calling myself that, unfortunately.
  • HannahHannah Posts: 31 Boards Initiate

    First of all I want to say how brave you are for opening up to us at tThe Mix. It isn’t always an easy or straightforward thing to talk about your feelings and share your doubts or insecurities, so this in itself is an achievement and we are proud of you for doing so!

    I think you are still blaming yourself for how you may have reacted or dealt with difficult emotions or processes in the past, and this is carrying on with your present day and how you manage your current situations. You say you had a tendency to push others away or not open yourself up to them out of fear. It isn’t an easy thing to just change your ways or put a stop to this fear, it is just something that you have to recognise and learn to manage in a healthy way. I don’t want you to blame yourself though, or think of yourself in any less way. It is amazing that you are able to actually understand your emotions, feelings, reactions and behaviours. And it is even better that you are willing to improve upon your current mindset to produce better outcomes for yourself and everyone else involved.

    You’ve said you don’t feel that you are a good person and this is a reason why you don’t want people getting too close to you. Firstly, this is not true. You seem like a remarkably strong person, and I am positive that you have many amazing attributes and qualities that make you a good person and friend, and anyone would be lucky to have you as one! Please stop putting yourself down and thinking so badly about yourself, it is only going to cause you to isolate yourself further and feel even more like you are undeserving.

    It is completely okay to take a time out for yourself and just focus on your own personal wellbeing - I do this, I have friends who do this too. It is necessary I believe, to get yourself in a more positive space and practice your form of self care. But it is tricky to understand the boundary between taking some time to yourself, and pushing others away. You may want to express to your friends that you have some things that youre working through, and you need alone time or space to do these things in a positive way, and perhaps say to your friends that if they ever feel that you are distacncing yourself too much, or if they are worried about you or if your friendship, to tell you. Practice communication, it’ll be good for you and for your relationships. Maybe this is something you could talk to with your therapist.

    As for blowing up or being destructive in the past, I think its amazing you have recognised this and are willing to alter your ways, so I would say - don’t focus on these things. The past is the past and even though it is so easy to say this and not actually fully believe in this, the past does not exist anymore and it is only there to teach you how to behave in your future! Take it as a learning opportunity, and reward yourself for implementing positive change okay. Things will get better I assure you.
  • lovemimoonlovemimoon 🦋 Community Champion Posts: 2,311 Boards Champion
    Hi, @Hannah!

    Thank you so much for your response! It was really inspiring to read! :3<3

    Since the post, the situation quickly escalated and now I've taken a break from my social group. It's bad timing, given the circumstance but it's for the best.
  • HannahHannah Posts: 31 Boards Initiate

    No worries at all, I'm so glad it helped you! <3

    Okay, maybe taking a break from your social group is a good thing for right now, though. The distance from them may be what you need to assess your overall relationship with them, as well as to just gain greater perspective on the whole situation- which is a lot more difficult to do when things are happening or in the middle of an argument, or when emotions are running high.

    Take this time to truly focus on yourself, what you want out of your friendships, the type of friend you feel you are and would like to be, as well as how your friendships are contributing to your life in general and overall happiness and mental health. You can also use this time to gain a greater understanding into the POVs of your friends, which again, it isn't always easy to see this when you're having conflicts or stressed out about certain things or going through a bunch of emotions. It's always a good thing to think about others' opinions, even if you don't necessarily agree with them. But by practicing this you may find that you can become a more open minded person which can improve your communication with others and can help you to manage conflicts in a healthier way!

    Always always here - if you want to discuss this further you know where to come!!! <3:)
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