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My friends weren’t there for me

I managed to leave my toxic boyfriend but now I feel distant from my friends.

Stop beating up on yourself, says our elder, and find someone you can talk to about your feelings.

Dear EWC

Last August was the start of the worst months of my life. Even before that, I was having personal problems in my first romantic relationship and was emotionally just tired. That semester was the worst semester academically. My boyfriend broke up with me end of August which actually made me feel better for about two weeks at which point he contacted me again. And so began a toxic horrible cycle of breaking up and getting back together that lasted till December. In these three to four months, I lost 10 pounds (going from 110 to 99) and was emotionally destroyed. I left him in December for the good for my own health and sanity. It took a couple of months, but I was slowly getting better.

But this whole time, I was also feeling distant from my old friends. The semester before they had done some things that hurt me. And now whenever there would be some small thing, I would react very strongly. So for a little while I pulled away. I told them about that though and tried to explain that I was trying to recover from the last semester. Still, there were little incidences here and there that made me feel like they were excluding me from the group. I was really close to one of the girls but then she started dating the roommate of one of the guys in the group. So basically the three of them got a lot closer and I felt even more excluded. I tried not to care but it just felt uncomfortable whenever I hung out with them. So unintentionally I hung out with them a little less. And then they started acting weird. But no one ever texted me or talked to me about it.

I stopped texting my friend as much and realized it was always me initiating the text. I stopped initiating and we haven’t talked in months. So I decided there was no point in forcing myself to hang out with them when it made me feel bad about myself and everyone was awkward. And I completely cut myself off from them. Feeling very depressed and friendless now. I have some other friends, but I just don’t feel happy and normal. I’m having a hard time interacting with people in a happy normal way. And I feel like I’ve developed some sort of social anxiety issues. I’m feeling very unmotivated, hopeless, and just overall down about everything in life.

I have a new boyfriend of about three months and he’s great, but I feel like this might start impacting our relations soon too. Already we’ve had one major fight where I ended up saying maybe I’m better off alone which hurt him. That came from a place of self-loathing and everything else and was not aimed at him. I’ve just been feeling like I’m not meant to be around other people. Was I the bad person here? Did I overreact with cutting them all off? Why am I always so sad and negative? Is there something wrong with me?

NanaPopo replies

The first thing to do is stop beating up on yourself. You had a very bad relationship, but you were strong enough to see it was bad and cut it off permanently. That took courage and strength.
You were very depressed because of this and I think it made you very sensitive to how others reacted to you. That may have been what led to you slowly distancing yourself from them. One bad relationship does not mean you should never get close to anyone ever again. Your grades probably suffered because you could not concentrate properly.

Is there someone, personal or professional, you can talk to about your feelings? You want someone who will listen and give you good advice. What is positive in your life? It’s time to say, “That’s in the past. That’s not who I am or ever will be again.” What is good about your new boyfriend? You must have liked something about him to have him become your boyfriend.
Step away from being afraid of being close. Your new boyfriend is not the old one. See him for who he is. Give him a chance and you will be giving yourself a chance also.

You are strong. You are smart (or you wouldn’t be in school) and you know how to make friends. Trust yourself. Bring out the good side of yourself. If you have problems with your boyfriend, take a deep breath and decide to calmly talk about it. “When you do XXX, I feel XXX.” Tell him how you feel, don’t accuse him. Then listen to his side of the story. This is a discussion, not a fight.
Focus on school. That’s what’s going to get you ahead in life. Decide you’re going to make up for that lost semester and do the best you’ve ever done. Then apply yourself and do it.

There is nothing wrong with you except that you are depressed. You can take ownership of that depression by talking to someone about it, then laying out a plan to get back to the happy person you once were.

Letter #: 428330
Category: Friendship

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