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JoeBot

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Hi,

I am new to this forum and was hoping to get a bit of advice.

I have always struggled with my sense of identity and over the years I have experienced feelings of low self-esteem, and a frustration that I could never explain which often lead to depression and anxiety. I always just assumed that I ?had? depression and that was just the way it was. However, after a very difficult period recently I have been doing a lot of soul searching to try to get to the bottom of things. I have realised that the frustration probably comes from never feeling that I could really express my true self.

I have come to the realisation that I have a history of letting certain people in my life manipulate me into being who they want me to be. I have always looked up to these people and often been dependent on them to feel confident and because I have often felt insecure with myself I have suppressed who I really am through fear of judgement and have never stood up for my true self. I now know that this has kept me from ever building a true sense of identity.

One person in particular is someone I have always considered to be my best friend. I have been friends with him for the last 15 years ? over half my life. We have always been like brothers but over the years he has always tried to get me to be like him (like the things he likes, have the same attitudes as him etc) and has critisized me whenever I tried to be an individual. I have gradually come to realise over the years that he has a side to him that is very manipulative and shallow and he can be pretty heartless at times. I have always tried to look beyond his negatives and to see the goodness in him but it is becoming increasingly difficult to do this. I have lost a lot of trust in him and I?m just coming to terms with the fact that our relationship is one of me being dependent on him and him manipulating me.

This makes me feel very betrayed and I feel a lot of resentment towards him but I understand that really it?s my own fault for letting all this happen and I do take responsibility for it but I?m now at the point where I just want to cut all ties with him but I don?t know how to go about doing this because if I try to sit him down and tell him how I feel I know he?ll just twist what I?m saying and make me feel like I?m overreacting and being stupid. Also it will mean I will lose all of my other friends who are also his friends, some of which I have good relationships with and I don?t want to have to explain all of this to them.

The problem is I don?t know whether I am being oversensitive about all of this and overreacting or whether it?s actually a real issue to be addressed because in the past when I?ve been through periods of depression I have thought about cutting my ties with him but I have always reverted back to the old familiar ways as soon as I?ve felt better but I have often regretted not doing something about it at the time.

If anyone understood anything I?ve just said I?d really appreciate some advice.

Thanks.
 

David Baxter

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A question to begin with, Joe. Are you currently seeing a counsellor/therapist or have you in the past?
 
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learning to be yourself isn't always easy, but it is something that will make you feel whole. i see it as a journey; it is not something that will happen overnight but through small steps forward. change will be gradual.

i think it is important to surround ourselves with supportive people, and not those that always criticize and put us down. it is important to be able to be yourself and listen to yourself. if not, depression most certainly can be a consequence. i think you're coming to the realization that something in your life needs to change, and i think that something is to be who you want to be.

you may not necessarily need to cut ties with your friend. if your friend does not like you asserting yourself, one of two things can happen. either he doesn't want to be around you anymore because you're asserting yourself and being yourself, or he eventually comes around and accepts you and the changes in you. i think either way the problem will eventually solve itself if you choose to stick up for yourself, with acceptance and the friendship intact, or with the friendship ending.
 

moonriver

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Maybe this isnt the best advice and someone else can comment if it isnt.

I have found because I am not as assertive as I would like to be and I have a hard time sticking up for myself that it is better if I dont surround myself with friends that are aggressive or make me do things that I dont want to do. I limit my contact with them, I might not cut it off completely, but I just keep it enough so that I dont always get it situations where I am going places I dont want to go and doing things that I dont want to do. Also, somewhere else on the forum someone said not to commit to things on the spot, that helps me alot with not doing things I dont really want to.

I dont know if this is passive aggressive behaviour or not but at least I dont get stuck feeling bullied and resentlful to the other person. Thats not really a friendship in the end anyway,
 

JoeBot

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A question to begin with, Joe. Are you currently seeing a counsellor/therapist or have you in the past?

I've recently arranged some councelling but I have to wait a while to start it. I think that's why I'm finally facing this issue, it's made me address certain problems I always knew I would have to face one day.

you may not necessarily need to cut ties with your friend.

Thanks for your reply. I've been thinking about the different ways of handling this and I have considered trying to keep the friendship going and making an effort to be more assertive but I keep coming back to the fact that I would be trying to force it. Although part of me still sees him as a friend, I've lost a lot of trust and respect in him over the years so I would be trying to keep the friendship going even though I didn't consider him a real friend. I think I'm at the point where I need to do the difficult thing and be straight with him about the way I feel and go my own way, otherwise I can see myself slipping back into the old routine. Even though the thought of all the drama that will cause bothers me, I need to start being my own person and I guess this is the first step.

Hi Moonriver, thanks for the reply.

I think your right about not surrounding myself with people who are a bad influence and I need to get out and meet people who aren't aggressive etc. I know what you mean about not cutting off completely, it's just that I'm at the point where I just don't want people in my life that I can't trust and whom I don't have an equal relationship with. I don't know whether that's just being unrealistic about friendships but I like to believe the world is full of good people and I think I can do a lot better than my current situation.

But I think you're probably right about not making a snap decision as it's important to know I'm coming to it with a rational state of mind.

I guess I'm still not 100% sure.
 
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