Friendships which don't feel right at all, and feel completely against my identity.

equinox92101

New Here
29 year old male. I have never been diagnosed with CTPSD but I have read about it and can relate to much of it. I don't want to write loads about my background, but anxiety, OCD, social anxiety, insomnia, and a fragmented identity have been central to my life.

Any ways, my issue is that I have friendships which 'don't feel right' and completely against my identity, and which only sustained themselves because I never had the confidence to move away from the friendship.

2 examples.

Guy 1: Let's call him Andrew. Andrew and I were best friends in primary school, it became apparent to me throughout high school and early college years that Andrew and I were quite different. Different interests, different taste in things, different demeanour, different in many ways. In truth, I never felt excited about hanging out with him and I still don't. However Andrew also had a bit of a capricious personality for years, particularly when drunk, which made me scared of ever ignoring him or drifting away from the friendship incase he reacted badly. Co-dependency emerged, whereby I pretended to like him to avoid conflict. Andrew's capricious personality went away, he became more at ease with himself, and instead my co-dependency transformed into simply not wanting to hurt Andrew's feelings. In doing so I have hurt myself by not being happy. Andrew has asked me to be groomsman at his wedding next year, which doesn't feel right to me as I am not excited by our friendship at all, but it is what it is.

Group 1: This is a group of persons, not just one guy. They were my friends for a few years from the age of 22-26, partly because of confidence issues but also I guess I just didn't know many other people at the time. We did have some stuff in common, but music is very important to me and they were not on the same wavelenght as me when it came to music. At all. For example I never got the chance to go to music venues to see artists I liked, or go to bars and nightclubs I enjoy, because these guys were not into it and were in fact very narrow minded. And in general, I just didn't feel I clicked with them. For example there were groups or categories of people I would like and feel at home with, who they never felt at home with. It never felt right to me, but it just happened that it was the group of people I lived with at the time and was around with at the time. I guess the inability to drift away from this group was partly because of confidence issues, but maybe also just the reality I didn't have any other friends at the time.

Thankfully at the age of 26 I moved to another city which had the exact music scene I wanted, and met loads of new people who were defo more 'up my street'. From 26 and half, to 28 I had an absolute blast and made up for those lost years. Corona obviously came then, but at that point I actually felt burnt out from all the socializing and partying.

However even though I had a great time the past few years, the past was hanging over. Why was I still friends with Andrew even though I felt no connection? Furthermore, despite the present being great, I still had so many regrets for the years I wasted with 'group 1'. People would ask me about different experiences about clubbing and music, and it felt like an empty hole was missing. Also I'm still in a Whatsapp group with Group 1, which means it's hard to escape from them.

My friends over the years should have been people like me - into music, politics, small interest in sport, and generally chilled. I had some of them over the years, but the majority were not and I never really clicked with them. Thankfully my friends in my new city are on the same wavelenght and I was at least able to enjoy my mid-late 20's.

Summary - Some of my closest friendships to me don't feel 'right' at all and only came about due to lack of confidence and co-dependency. I have no way of escaping this, as is the case with the wedding next year. It doesn't feel right at all, my identity with these people doesn't feel right at all, and I don't know how to deal with it. I actually feel frustration and anguish, to the point where I sometimes feel violent tendencies against these friends. Part of me just feels like being absolutely direct with them and ending these friendships, but that's just gonna result in hurt and pain - particularly for Andrew when I have his wedding to go to next year.
 

Justmehere

Moderator
Also I'm still in a Whatsapp group with Group 1, which means it's hard to escape from them.
What do you gain, or what is the benefit, of choosing to stay on this app?
I have no way of escaping this, as is the case with the wedding next year.
What is the source of the belief that you can not escape a wedding?
I actually feel frustration and anguish, to the point where I sometimes feel violent tendencies against these friends. Part of me just feels like being absolutely direct with them and ending these friendships, but that's just gonna result in hurt and pain - particularly for Andrew when I have his wedding to go to next year.
The violent impulses or thoughts are a warning sign. Have you considered changes you could make by how you handle the situation?
 

equinox92101

New Here
There is no real benefit of staying in the whatsapp group. It's just there are a couple of people from that group who I do click with a bit.... and I still have sporadic contact with the other members. It would look very random/strange to them if I just left randomly.

I can't escape the wedding because I got asked to be the Groomsman. How offensive and hurtful would that be? I have known him all his life, likewise his family, and he asked me to be his groomsman. I'm sure you understand that 'escaping this wedding' isn't really an option.

Changes I could make to how I handle this situation? I'm unsure, this is why I'm posting about it.
 

Justmehere

Moderator
It seems like you care a lot about others and really struggle with boundaries - both saying no to others and also internally separating yourself from others. I hear you that you don't want to hurt others.

What's really hurtful is someone acting as if they like someone when they really are so appalled and feeling out of place being in contact that they have violent tendencies towards that person. I mean ouch dude. That's really pretty unkind to all those involved.

I'll be frank because I care - these folks do not need your charity friendship. It's ok to walk away. Friendship is not a life long sentence. Some friends are in our lives for a short time and some for long time. It's normal for some friendships to fade over time as lives change.

You project a lot of feelings of hurt on to others that they may or may not feel. Even in the case of the friend getting married, his wedding doesn't really depend on you being there. Or not. It really doesn't. It may feel like it but what he is likely most focused on - the bride.

There are a ton of possible options to change the situation. What matters most are the changes you are ready and willing to make.

Of paramount importance, I'd recommend doing some reading about codependency and boundaries, and consider some counseling to help get unhooked with this style of enmeshing yourself with others to the point you are struggling with such serious internal rage. Lots of great books and resources out there. It may seem scary to change these patterns but it can be quite helpful to others to do so, and be helpful to yourself to reduce the very real suffering you are facing.

Also, I'd consider reaching out to the few you want to stay in touch with and see if they are willing to stay in touch via other means. You can give any reason like reducing time on the app, or just be direct that your priorities of where and how you spend your time has changed. Make it about you and your needs.

You are not responsible for their feelings. Just like they are not responsible for your feelings. I hope you consider claiming your choice and agency in your life and build up the muscle of saying no and setting boundaries.

I personally feel the most safe with friends who are willing to say no and hold the boundaries they need for their lives. Are you willing to own your boundaries? If you are not ready yet, that's ok to choose to wait - and it is truly your choice.
 
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equinox92101

New Here
Hello and thanks everyone for your feedback - I haven't logged on since last weekend, hence my delayed response to this.

Everything you say is correct about co-dependency, boundaries, and feeling I'm responsible for other people's feelings. It's no way to live, but unfortunately has been a very consistent way of living over the past 5-10 years. I have so many regrets about it already but at least I still feel 'relatively' young and can make these changes now, and not have further regret in years to come. Talking about it on forums such as this is the first step. T

And yes I agree that for the people in the Whatsapp group, it should be no problem to distance myself from them if I feel like doing so. Some of them I do 'click with' and for others there are aspects of their personalities which I click with also, so it's a bit more of a gray area, but if these conflicting feelings continue then just 'cutting them out' is the best option. It should be no problem, and I'm glad I already feel confident enough to say this. But this is just one example and one group of people, I need to implement this consistently in all releations.

The wedding guy scenario is not as straightforward. We have known each other since childhood, my parents are friends with his parents, and I have been asked to be his groomsman. Like, literally asked to be his groomsman. The embarrassment and pain it will cause him if I tell him that I feel our friendship has faded and that it doesn't make sense to be his groomsman.... I'm sure you get it, if he doesn't feel the same way, then obviously that is gonna cause him a lot of hurt.

Therefore I still am no further enlightened on how to deal with this situation - I think I just need to accept it as an unfortunate consequence of years of lacking assertiveness, co-dependency, and boundaries.

I have started to read a book on Stoicism, and some of its core teachings resonates with me already. I'm hoping that it may enlighten me on how best to accept this scenario, rather than trying to change it.
 
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