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Can't find a way to open up to friends


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I have a 3 close friends who I know want to be there for me. They call to check in. Lots of people check in to see how my daughter is doing but these 3 friends always ask about me, too: how am I handling things? How is my stress level, my anxiety, my thoughts? Only one knows that I tend to cut when I can't cope and, without being pushy, she always asks if I am to that point. Only one lives near me, the other two are 1 and 2 hours away from me. But, all of them would come as quick as they could if I asked them to.

But, even knowing that they want to be there for me, that they want to help me, I jusy can't open up to them. Every time one of them calls or I see them, I always downplay things. I tell them I am handling everything fine, that I am getting enough sleep (I'm not!), that things are getting better (they're not.) The fact is, I can't admit how bad things are because then its real. It will be out there and I can't take it back. And, once they know how bad it is, they will try harder to help out and I don't want anyone going out of their way for me. Doing things for me that I should be able to do myself. And, when I imagine myself coming clean and sharing my innermost thoughts with any one of them, I know I'll be emotional, overwhelmed and will probably lose all control. I can't lose control. I just can't. As long as I can keep everything in a neat tidy little package that I can show to people, then most of them will leave me alone.

My T keeps telling me I need to rely on people. That I need to allow people in. Thats easy to say when its not you. The truth is, I know I don't deserve this level of friendship from these women. I will never be able to repay them in kind. I'm not sure why they are so willing to invest themselves in me. I just can't bring myself to accept assistance that I know I don't deserve.

But, at the same time, I am falling apart inside. It is too hard to hold my child night after night while she cries. It is hard to do what is best for her knowing it brings her such emotional pain. It is hard to see everyone else with healthy happy kids and wonder why not once, but twice, our family had to get the crappy hand! And, its harder still to do it all as a single mom. To know they have a dad who is "there" when its convenient for them, or when it will bring attention to himself. Otherwise, he pays them no mind and its all on me.

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Proverbs, it's wonderful that you have friends who care about you and your daughter.

The truth is, I know I don't deserve this level of friendship from these women.

Have you ever discussed with your therapist why you feel you don't deserve to receive within friendships? I used to have a trouble receiving as well. I would feel guilty or bad about myself for wanting and needing comfort. Not anymore...I understand now that all of us deserve to be comforted, soothed and supported by others when we are in distress. I think when you are caring for someone you love and giving so very much to this person, you need to step back at times and take care of your own needs. This is healthy for you and will enable you to better care for your daughter. What do you think?

I will never be able to repay them in kind.
Sometimes the best way to give to someone else is to allow them to give to you. Many of us enjoy the caring parts of ourselves and I'm sure that your friends would want to be supportive of you.

I imagine you have a lot of emotions right now in going through this difficult and challenging time with your family. You sound like an amazing mother to your daughter. No doubt you are of great comfort to her in being there by her side. I do hope you consider the support offered by your friends. Taking care of yourself right now will benefit everyone...including your daughter.

Take gentle care, Proverbs.

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