A.sk Ross is where I, Marissa A. Ross, answer questions you ask me. Keep in mind I am simply a girl who’s been through a lot & has acquired some wisdom along the way. I own no certificates proclaiming my word is law, so please don’t take it as so. If anything, take my advice with a grain of salt and a pinch of optimism.
One of my best friends used to suffer from crippling depression and self esteem issues. It got so bad that she considered suicide at one point. Thankfully, she got some help and now she’s doing so much better. I’m so proud of her new-found confidence and her willingness to get out and prove to the world that she is the awesome person I always thought she was.
Now, this next bit is a bit tricky. I don’t want to sound like I’m being a brat, or that I want her to go back to being a doormat. I don’t want to stifle her in any way at all because she’s worked hard to get to where she is, and I don’t think it would be fair for me to make her feel bad again. However, she’s starting to make me feel bad about myself now, and I’m not even sure she knows it.
It’s like this: She’s super talented at a lot of things. She is one of the most creative, artistic people I know. She’s good at just about anything she tries, and if she isn’t she works at it until she is the very best. She is the very best at a lot of things. That’s what’s starting to bother me. She’s starting to get sort of braggy about it. Whenever we do anything together, she always turns it into a competition if she can. If I doodle something just for fun, she draws a beautiful masterpiece to overshadow it. If there’s music in the car, she has to sing louder than the artist, she has to be absolutely perfect at it, even if everyone else in the car is being goofy. In group-outings, she always turns the attention onto herself, bragging about her extensive knowledge on random subjects, randomly stopping conversations so she can sing and have people who don’t know us that well praise her ability, and if all else fails, will start talking about her sexual and romantic conquests just to get everyone else’s attention, especially if there are guys around. She takes the attention away from everyone else and moves it to her. Whenever we both get into the same interest, she’ll purposefully throw herself into it just so she can lord it over me that she’s a bigger aficionado than I am and that if I really want to be interested in this, I need to be onto her level.
Basically, it seems like her new-found confidence has morphed into the need to be better than everyone else. It’s a subtle put-down to everyone around her, and the worst part is, I’m not even sure she realizes she’s doing it. Maybe she is on a deep, hidden level, but I really don’t think she even knows how she’s making me feel. I keep trying to chalk this up to jealousy on my part, and I try to just ignore it and support her, but it has really started to wear down on me. I feel like every time I get annoyed with her, I’m being a bad friend. I don’t want her to be angry with me. I don’t want her to lose any of her new confidence. And I don’t want her to feel like she has to change in order to heal my bruised ego. I don’t like the implications of that, and I don’t like the way I feel.
What do you think I should do? I’m really worried about her regressing if I tell her anything, and I really don’t want that. Is there a way that I can deal with these feelings of jealousy and inferiority without hurting her? She really is one of my best friends in the whole world and I would be so sad if I lost her over something as stupid as this. I’m just kind of at a loss of what to do.
Your friend may have been treated for her depression, but she still isn’t happy with herself. That’s why she’s doing all this. She has yet to find happiness comes from within, and she is trying to find it in attention, approval and praise outside of herself. These ego trips say much more about her emotional state than they do about her skills– she needs to find a healthy way to build her self esteem.
But for now, that is not my concern.
My concern is letting you know that you are not wrong for feeling the way you do, and you can’t be scared of her digressing. It’s hard having serious confrontations when people have a history of depression, but you also have to look out for yourself. You can’t let your own emotional state go down the toilet because you’re afraid of hurting someone else’s.
Friends are supposed to be there to support and uplift you, not make you feel like a loser. It’s difficult, I know it is, but you are going to have to be honest with her. She needs to know that her actions are hurting those closest to her, and if you want your friendship to have a future, you must talk to her about her it. This sort of behavior will only get worse, and your resentment and frustration will only grow. Take a gander at my Tips To Start Speaking Up From The Heart post; I think it could prove helpful.
Hopefully in you speaking up, your friend can find healthier ways to feel better about herself. I would usually recommend taking up hobbies but it sounds like she has plenty of those, so I will leave her issues to her therapist and wish you the best.
I have some rolling baggage. That’s what I call it, because my ex from 5 years ago seems to drag behind me every step of the way.
We had a long-distance relationship, but we were intensely passionate when we were together. It lasted a year. I dumped him after I found out he’d cheated- a second time. I cut off all communication as I did after every breakup, but this time was different. The more I openly hated him and told him to leave me alone, the more he persisted. I received unwelcome emails, social media messages, blog comments, phone calls and voice mails. I should have seen the red flags back when I was with him – he kept pictures of his exes and still tried to be their friends too.
Eventually I decided it was easier to keep him at an arm’s length, be cordial and just appease him. He stalked my online stuff no matter what, so I felt I was better off just accepting it. I am friends with him on Facebook and I humor him a little when he sends me messages, or comments on stuff, just to keep his cray-cray dormant. He doesn’t flirt or try to win me back. It’s like he just can’t deal with letting me completely leave his life, though he has a new girlfriend now. I don’t even like him; I think he’s immature and slimy, but I just want to avoid the drama of angering him.
The trouble is, my boyfriend of 3 years is uncomfortable with this whole situation. I can’t blame him. I explained the whole thing, but it’s weird. I mean, I wouldn’t want my boyfriend talking to an ex! I care much more about keeping my current boyfriend happy than keeping the old one happy, but I don’t want to deal with the harassment again.
Any ideas on how to handle this delicate situation?
Ah, yes, the crazy ex. Don’t we all have one?
I would delete him immediately, for a number of reasons. Your boyfriend is one of them, but the biggest reason is you. This dude has proven to you to be a huge jerk, in more ways than one. He has disrespected you over and over again. He has cheated on you and he has harassed you. The bottom line is he doesn’t deserve to be a part of your life.
If he begins to harass you after deleting him, you are only allowed to respond twice. The first time, you explain that you feel he is a negative energy in your life, and that you prefer not to be friends on Facebook. Tell him you wish him well, and truly want the best for him, but you have made your choice. Tell him you hope he can understand and respect your wishes, and that you two can part ways amicably.
If he writes back, you can just copy and paste this: “I explicitly explained my feelings and that I did not want you a part of my life in my last email. I find your continuous emailing to be intrusive and disrespectful. Please leave me alone.”
Now, you make a folder in your email account labeled “EVIDENCE”. Every email, Facebook message, whatever he sends you goes in there. If he’s as crazy as you say he is, it won’t take very long for you to gather enough evidence to gain a restraining order. I know, this sounds like a real pain, but he should be held accountable for his aggressive behavior. Obviously, if he starts physically threatening you, report him. You have evidence that you asked him to leave you alone, anything beyond that is harassment.
My ex recently just gave up after five years of intermittent spasms of internet stalking, so you could also always just ignore him and wait it out. But don’t ever respond. These crazies feed off that sort of thing. The important thing is to get his bad vibes out of your life before it creates tension in the relationship you care about.