First, my heart goes out to you regarding the friend and friendship you're grieving over (due to their change of circumstance). I feel for you and them so deeply.
Eight years is definitely a long time to be out of practice when it comes to interacting with people in such a way. Do you recall how you used to practice this? Are you someone who naturally has a good feel for people, you can get a good sense of their nature? If so, can you imagine exercising this sense, in a professional capacity? Of course, much easier said than done. After years of being a stay at home mum, when I returned to work all I could initially feel were my own stress levels :)
That single parent feeling, I get it, I really do. With my son being 16 and daughter turning 19 this month, it was okay in the beginning when I was given the freedom to manage the kids' lives. Of course, as our kids grow, so does the complexity of their lives. So, you go from managing simplicity (in a way) to great complexity. The more kids, the more complex your life becomes, especially if you're feeling you're the only parent seriously working hard to guide them. Then you can be taking it up a notch, making things even more complex: If the other parent's advice is coming through how they were raised, such as 'If someone at school's making your life hard, just hit 'em' but you've evolved beyond your typical upbringing, you can be left alone to work out how to manage your child's problem without violence as a 'solution', for example. Taking it up another notch, if you become the 'go to' problem solver, the kids learn to approach only you all the time. Can definitely get exhausting. Takes a lot of energy for you do be doing all you're dong Oizys. You're undeniably amazing, you gotta admit. I imagine you even amaze yourself at times.
I've found, over time, while exercising tolerance can put me in touch with my incredibly tolerant sense of self, exercising a healthy level of intolerance puts me in touch with a whole other aspect of self. Whether that other sense of self is 'the bi*ch', who calls it like it is, 'the commander', who commands that no one should be sitting on their butt to leave me to do everything or 'the nurturer' who dictates 'We need to actively love each other through the tough challenges and not leave each other to feel alone', calling on different aspects of self has benefits.
Which sense/s of self do you feel the need to call on?