Obsessive Friend

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Obsessive Friend

Postby davey_nice » Mon Apr 26, 2004 8:41 am

I really need some advice on this one as it's starting to affect my life in a bad way. About 3 years ago I befriended a colleague from work. We were into the same kind of art scene and he'd recently moved up from Southampton so had no friends (bar his wife and two kids) so I invited him to a gig with my other friends when a ticket became spare. We kind of bonded and became good friends. Everything was cool, then about 6 months later he had a very bad nervous breakdown.

Because I had suffered badly from depression and anxiety a few years previous I felt I was able to help him and give him advice. It was hard, as the phone calls would come at all hours and I'd be over his house 5 nights a week helping him. Of course this meant I wasn't seeing my other friends as much, but I felt I could ditch someone having such a hard time. Then he tried to kill himself. I basically saved his life as I found him. Again I was pushed into being a friend, but also a counsellor. I didn't like it, and over the months my own depressive and anxious wounds began to be picked at.

Sometimes when he was down he was horrible to me, and he started to act like a girlfriend, wanting to know who I was with and why he wasn't invited out if I went out with other friends. He'd get down about the silliest and smallest things and I felt resposible. I couldn't relax when I was out, and if I didn't hear from him I would worry. It really started to get to me, and started to ruin my life, but I knew what he was going through, so just did my best to be a good friend. After proper couselling and anti depressants his life got back on track. He'd have episodes of depression and anxiety, and would immediately pick up the phone and call me. We even went on holiday together to Scotland (as I promised him we would when he was at his lowest).

Now it's three years on. He's told me over the years that I am the bestest mate in the world, and how he's always wanted a friend like me and how he'd be gutted if he ever lost me. He still has issues, and gets down and upset over minor things. The problem I have now is that his obessive friendship has never let up. I've brought him into my world and my group. I have friends of 25 years that I no longer feel I can see without inviting him because he'll get upset....and he does. He texts and phones me daily. Gets down if he doesn't see me a few times a week. If I don't reply to a text he sends another asking me if I am OK. He's still sometimes nasty when he's drunk. If we have the slightest of words he gets down. The guilt and worry is overwhelming, and now I feel like I don't even like the guy anymore, let alone be his 'best mate' in the whole world. I feel like our friendship was forced because of his situation, but now he is a massive part of my life and I don't know what to do. I just feel now like too much water has passed under the bridge and that our friendship is unhealthy.

The reason I am asking for help is because of the constant worry and anxiety he causes me. I don't know why it effects me, but it does, and it's ruining my life. I'm always worrying about him. I'm worried in case I say something wrong, or worry that he took a certain text the wrong way, or worry that if I see a mate behind his back he'll find out and go ape. WHY DO I WORRY SO MUCH? I have several mates of 25 years that I NEVER worry about. So why do I worry so much about this one, and most importantly HOW CAN I STOP? I'm starting to feel depressed again, and it's affected my home life. In reality I wish he wasn't a part of my life. But he is, so now I need to know how to deal with it. Any advice would be gratefully received. Sorry this was so long! :)
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Postby Moose » Sun May 02, 2004 7:10 pm

God how awful for you. It's going to be difficult but I think you need to start looking out for yourself. If you've already suffered from depression yourself, this cannot be helping. Why isn't he relying more on his wife? You're not a qualified counsellor are you? I've been looking on the internet recently, trying to get into counselling as a career - it's really hard if you haven't got the qualifications already. He sounds like he needs professional help. Don't be so hard on yourself - you can't take on all the responsibility for him by yourself.

Do you have anyone else who can help? Is he seeing a counsellor or a doctor? Such a dependent relationship can't be healthy - friends break up all the time, you can't feel like he's going to end his life if you can't see him anymore.

Plus, you shouldn't have to explain where you are all the time, or invite him along every time you go out. You have your own life - you don't have to drop him altogether, but losening his grip on you would help I reckon. Maybe you could try to see him one less time a week for a few weeks. Then one less time after that... that kind of thing.

Good luck, and don't forget yourself.
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