Obsessed by a breakup

Published: November 23, 2009 | Last Updated: November 23, 2009 By | 18 Replies Continue Reading

QUESTION

Dear Irene:

I, too, have recently had a friendship break up with my bf. We both had a stressful year, I lost my job and she has had various stresses. She told me I was too intense, despite the fact that I tried not to call or ask her to go out too often. If I ever upset her, she went hysterical calling me names and screaming at me over the slightest thing.

 

I miss her terribly and told her so and that I could not stop thinking about her, like an obsession. However, my feelings are that of love for a friend nothing more. We are both happily married with kids. I think she misunderstood what I meant and is now completely ostracizing me-despite telling me she missed me too.

 

Is it normal to feel like this, so sad and unhappy that someone is no longer in your life? I’m very confused why I can’t stop thinking about her. Our kids go to school together and it’s making life very uncomfortable.

Signed,

Anonymous

 

ANSWER

Dear Anonymous,

I’m sorry that you’re reeling from your loss and, yes, it’s normal to feel that way when you lose a close friend. You took a risk and told your friend how much your relationship meant and she didn’t reciprocate. In fact, she pushed you further away. Making it harder, she’s someone you have to worry about bumping into at your child’s school.

 

It sounds like both you and she have been under considerable stress and that the relationship had become quite volatile before this split. You both need a break from that intensity which probably wasn’t fun for either of you.

 

You have less reason to be embarrassed that she does. Be cordial if you bump into her and say hello but don’t build your life around hers. There may be more going on with her than you know about.

 

Try to put the relationship on indefinite hold and stop thinking about it. Spend time with your family and other friends. If you need support, it might even be a good time to read my book ☺—and don’t be surprised if she comes back to you when her life calms down.

Best,
Irene

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Comments (18)

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  1. jealous woman says:

    I recently had a conflict too with my best friend. We are good friends back then but way after college we had different lives. She was more than successful than I was and it made me feel inferior about myself. We met often before and every time we do I just don’t feel comfortable anymore since she talked a lot about her successful experiences and I felt that she was just bragging about herself. Soon, I felt jealousy was within me and I tried to be away from her. I do not know if it was me who was having a problem with our friendship or is it her attitude that really changed.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I had one terrible friendship breakup years ago and am having another one now, and I am also completely obsessed. It’s horrible; it’s completely taken over my every waking second. It’s another case of not being told what the problem is but having someone push you away.

    I am honestly not sure how I am going to get through this; it took me long enough to get over the other one, and I didn’t think this was something I would have to face again.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I can definitely relate to this problem – had a very painful breakup with my BFF of over 15 yrs – she just stopped talking to me, didnt respond to several calls/texts/emails; I eventually had to accept that it was over with her. It was especially painful as it occurred while I was going through a very difficult divorce – I know that it is with life changes that friendships will often end, but it was so hard as she was the friend I was most relying on for support through the emotional turmoil of the divorce. It was a very dark and lonely time for me, and though it was now over 3 yrs ago and I have been working on ‘moving on’ it is still hard to accept how she treated me. I know that I have to, I’ve talked with other friends and a therapist, and I am making progress. I no longer think about her every day, so that is a relief. However, same problem with the dreams! I wake up after an angry or sad dream about her and then start my day off feeling terrible again, even though I am making progress. It’s very discouraging. I’m trying not to ‘beat myself up’ for still feeling sad and sometimes even rather obsessed, but I do wish the dreams werent happening. I guess it is just a normal part of processing the grief. It’s weird, so often the dreams are more about her than my exhusb, though that breakup was also very painful, and still is. I have some other friends who are very kind, but live at a distance from me, so sometimes still feeling very bereft and disconnected. It is (and I am) a work in progress..!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hello there,

    It seems that you are really pathologizing the fact that you feel badly about this friendship, referring to yourself as obsessed and depressed about normal hard feelings. Try to go easy on yourself here, as Irene says, it is completely NORMAL that you feel the way you do. Any loss of a close relationship includes a grieving process-lots more so when there is no closure, read literature here about friendship divorce, sometimes break ups between women are harder emotionally than a real divorce.And she is in your cirlce so Naturally it’s harder than if you didnt see her.From reading you, it seems you have a hard time accepting understandable difficult feelings. If the friendship was bf and very close it will be on your mind and make you sad at times for awhile. Dont expect to get over it for awhile, and dont pathologize yourself for feeling natural grief.
    It sounds like your friend has a bit of a mental illness from your first description. If she acts uncharacteristic and moody and not so nice once in every blue moon ok, but regularly doing about face with you demonstrates signs of instability. If you’re willing to go the long haul with her there is a book called I Am NOt Sick I Dont Need Help that suggests ways of conversing with someone who has mental illness but would also be useful with difficult people.Another tool is Conscious Loving (for friends also) that helps parties communicate difficulties. However, you should determine for yourself if you can handle a rollercoaster friendship where one day you’re in and the next you’re out. If you cant it’s ok, it’s hard! I had a similar situation and if we had made up I was prepared to propose an agreement between us on how to handle conflict that did not include shutting the other out, if one needed a break, should be expressed and why and agreed to between both parties. For example “I understand you say you need a break and I respect your need for that, but I need to know for how long, when it will end, or whatever your legitimate needs are.”Agreement such as a regular “how are we doing?” talk could also help if you make up.
    Again, it’s normal you are not over it given the circumstances and lack of closure and the time factor. Some therapeutic reading and doing things with other people will help you during this tough time.

  5. Think I'm over it when... says:

    I can relate to the poster Obsessed’s problems. I feel like a crazy person sometimes. My breakup happened over 3 years ago and while it’s certainly no longer a daily problem – she occasionally shows up in my dreams! It’s very disconcerting to wake up and feel this sadness. Also because I can’t control my dreams and it’s like my subconsious won’t let me get over this breakup. We don’t even live in the same state, so I don’t have daily reminders or anything. We were friends for almost 17 years, but many of those years were conducted over email and phone since we lived in other states with visits just here and there. But we had an intense friendship, nonetheless. And yes, she dumped me…without any real closure. So I think not granting me the closure is what haunts me to this day. I can’t believe how disrespectful friends can be in these situations…

    anyway, would love to know how to stop this ex-friend from entering my dreams so I don’t wake up feeling like I’m still obsessed!

  6. Irene says:

    I’m so sorry that you are still having trouble dealing with this loss. I don’t know what kind of antidepressants you are taking and who prescribed them but you might ask the doctor whether he/she thinks your depression is related to this friendship problem, per se, or perhaps it is just a symptom.

    Also, since it takes antidepressants some time to work, you might want to ask the physician how long it will be until you get some relief from your depression.

    Have you been able to hook up with other friends? Do you have a close family member that you can speak to? If you feel isolated, it might be a good idea to have someone to talk to.

    I wish I could be of more help but I don’t know you or your specific situation so this information is pretty general. I’m confident that you will feel better over time. Given that you had a milestone birthday and the holidays so close together, it’s natural you would miss your BF.

    My best,

    Irene

     

     

     

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hi
    I wrote the article obsessed, however I still don’t seem to be able to get over this as I have to see her at school nearly everyday and whilst she says hello she now goes and stands with other friends and chats and laughs. We did not give each other Christmas cards and she overlooked my 40th birthday. Our children are best friends and my son can no longer go and play at hers. It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have to keep seeing her. I really wish I could move on and thought I had over Christmas when I didn’t run into her. I would be prepared to put this behind us but she doesn’t seem to care. Do you think I need counselling? I’m in the UK and it’s not like the US, where counselling is encouraged but I’m at that point where it’s been months and I can’t get over it. I have been given anti-depressants because of all of this.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I once ditched a friend abruptly after six years of friendship. The reason was because not only were we both going through changes but because I was becoming more confident. I had previously had low self-esteem and she was confident and slightly bitchy which left me feeling like I was always her sidekick. When we separated for college, I realized I had never liked her attitude. She was lying to me about cheating on her boyfriend and leaving him for the new guy because she was worried about me judging her. I encouraged her to date the new guy because I had suspicions and they were perfect for each other, her problem was that she was so judgmental towards others, she’d assumed I would be towards her! I now realize that she has never been a great friend. She did the bare minimum but she never made me laugh, I hated her gossiping and bad attitude and she was constantly critical. When I heard she had been crying to friends about my sudden abandonment of her, I couldn’t have felt less pity, even when my friends were all turning against me. Best decision I’ve ever made! I can now say I’m confident and know what I want quite well and had I stayed with her, I would have stayed the same person, afraid of others criticisms and probably bitter as a result.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hi I recently wrote about being obessesd by the break up with my BF. However, it is over a month since we spoke and if we bump into each othe at our childrens school we have politely acknowledged each other. However, Christmas has been a good time for me as I have reconnected with old friends, learned to value other friends who I always had but overlooked because I was putting all my eggs in one basket with my former BF. Therefore despite the fact that I am sad about the loss of my closest friend I now realise I was putting too much emphasis on the friendship and ignoring my other friends and not making an effort. I feel much healthier now.

  10. alışveriş says:

    Thank you very much for the excellent and useful subject.

  11. Irene says:

    Thanks so much! I’m so glad because that’s why I wrote it 🙂

    Best,

    Irene

  12. Anonymous says:

    PS read your book it was a great help. Thanks.

  13. Irene says:

    She is still holding some kind of grudge. You need to focus on your other friends and family!

     

    Best,

    Irene

  14. Anonymous says:

    Hi

    I wrote about being obsessed by my ex bf not talking to me anymore. A quick update, we bumped into each other at school and went for a coffee. She told me how much she’d missed me and would take things a day at a time and see how it goes. A few days later I texted her to ask if she was OK and she did not reply so I called her and she went back on everything she said bringing up things we’d argued about in the past. Now I feel really hurt and am finding it hard to be cordial when I bump into her at school. What should I do ? I don;t want this bad feeling as we were once close and I thought the world of her.

  15. Irene says:

    Ouch! Sounds like your friend is really NOT treating you nicely. It is going to hurt you for a while but you should focus on friends who are more loving and supportive.

    Best,
    Irene

  16. Irene says:

    Thanks for your post and your link to your blog!

    Best,

    Irene

  17. Amethyst moon says:

    Great advice! I just posted a recent story of a friendship breakup. Very appropriate

  18. heartbroken and confused says:

    hi
    recently my best friend since 2nd grade and I suddenly stoped talking.
    it was so strange and sudden that I’ve been left completely bewildered.

    it was hard knowing that my best friend for years had started ignoring me. and then the other day she claimed she hated me. she also said she didnt miss me at all and her lifes never been better.

    I have also started to see that i was become obseesive over this break-up. I kept asking myself what i did and how could i fix it?

    i went over it for three weeks but i still cant figure it out or stop thinking about it.

    do you have any tips or ideas on how i could fix it or at least get over it?

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