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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / Emotional toll and guilt over looking after a depressed friend

Topic: Emotional toll and guilt over looking after a depressed friend

2 posts, 0 answered
  1. Catlover123
    Catlover123 avatar
    1 posts
    29 June 2020

    Hi everyone,

    I am reaching out for support or to hear from anyone who has been in the same situation. I have had to recently set strong boundaries with a depressed friend because her behaviour had become very toxic and she has not spoken to me again. I am okay with not having her in my life, I prefer it actually. But I feel so guilty for not being there for someone.

    When we met several years ago, I was very anxious, insecure and a people pleaser. I offered her constant support for years and years but the more I gave the more she wanted. If I was busy or going through my own stuff, she was polite but seemed to get distant and never offered support. She seemed to ask if I was okay sometimes just as a way to talk about all her own issues. She was mean to everyone but me. The minute they set boundaries or disagreed with her or made a tiny mistake she would say to me how unfair they were and cut them off or start arguments with them. Over things like someone not saying sorry when passing her in the hallway. Her arguments made me feel sick - she would send me screenshots of her bringing up peoples vulnerabilities to make them break down and give in to her and was proud that she won. I never told her I thought this was wrong because I was afraid. I was afraid to speak my mind in case I did something wrong and that happened to me. She would also make very entitled remarks and if anyone in her life brought up their mental health she would say behind their backs to me "they should be nicer to me, it's not that hard, I can be nice despite all I am going through... which is way more than them!!" It was always a competition. She thought that everyone was jealous of her too and that people were trying to imitate her and wanted to be her and she would complain about it.

    Basically I had to cut her off after several years because her messages started to make me feel like i was going to have a panick attack when I saw her name pop up on my phone. Last week I decided to tell her how I felt. She hasnt contacted me since after saying sorry and that it wasnt her intention to hurt me.

    I feel guilty for letting her go knowing she is in a bad headspace and has depression. I feel so bad knowing she has not many other people in her life because she pushes them away when they are honest with her or disagree with her. We had things in common and she didnt criticize me directly but I didnt feel safe.

    How do you move past the guilt and feeling like you are a bad person?

  2. jess334
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    jess334 avatar
    392 posts
    30 June 2020 in reply to Catlover123
    Hi Catlover123,

    Welcome to the forums and thanks for posting about such a difficult topic.

    I think you were really strong to put yourself first and tell her how you feel. Hopefully she reflects on it and it helps change some of her behaviours.

    It is difficult to put ourselves first sometimes, especially when we think others need our support.

    Guilt can be difficult to overcome. Maybe when you are starting to feel guilty and are thinking about reaching out to her, remind yourself of the reasons you stopped talking to her (make a list). They seem pretty valid to me.

    Kind thoughts, Jess

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