Don’t play the blame game

Yes, you made a mistake and you apologized.

Our elder shares suggestions for letting go of the guilt and moving on.

Dear EWC:

Hello… Recently my friend told me while she was drunk that I am the reason why she is depressed and repeated that throughout the night. The next morning when I brought it to her attention, she said she is not depressed and that I should brush it off. She said ‘my bad I was drunk and didn’t mean it’ but I don’t know if I can trust that.

Over the summer, I made a terrible mistake by hooking up with one of her brother’s friends while I was drunk, who she happened to have a crush on. Obviously she was upset and I understand that she needs time to heal from it. However it has been over four months and she knows how awful I feel about it. I have apologized many times and have tried to show her that I have changed as a person but she has not shown any forgiveness. Our friendship has not been the same since, and we used to be best friends.

I find it ironic how she uses being drunk as an excuse while she will not even consider that aspect in my mistake. I do not think that she understands how hard it was to hear that I was the reason for her depression, I feel like the worst person in the world and I do not know what to do. I want to fix this but I feel exhausted in this seemingly one sided relationship.

Good-Listener replies:

I’m sorry you’re having these awful guilt feelings about your friend’s self-diagnosed depression. First off, no one can give another person depression nor are they responsible for someone else being depressed. I’m not a medical professional, so I can’t analyze or diagnose anyone—and, neither can you—but there is something called common sense. Some folks have all sorts of hardships in their lives and come out on top while some get thrown off by the tiniest little incidents or words. You have not caused a disease in someone else.

We’ve all done things in our lives that we aren’t proud of, and have had stuff done to us. We can apologize and try to do better and to make amends. We can’t change time, change people, or change the past. If your friend doesn’t forgive you, that’s her prerogative, and if she is finding herself depressed, then she needs to get help—but you did not cause it. And, using the “drunk” excuse, could be a symptom of a much larger problem that has to do with substance abuse, and why she is behaving in a particular manner. I can’t answer that either—she has to—but it looks like she may not have the ability to do so.

You are not the worst person in the world and you did not cause anyone’s illness, mental or otherwise. Unless a person physically harms another, that person has to work out things for themselves. It may be time to move on from this “friendship”, as she appears manipulative and it’s very easy for her to blame you for her issues. As you said, you apologized. She needs to deal with her feelings instead of using you as an excuse.
My best advice is to pursue friends who are, perhaps, more stable and not looking for someone to blame for their own issues. You deserve better people in your life. Good luck.

Letter #: 450641
Category: Friendship

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