I need advice...one of my best friends is having a big ol' problem & I don't know what to say (well, I know what I'd LIKE to say...but I need to be careful). Her husband has cut off all emotions towards her (but not with people he's not close to). He's bored with his life, including her. He's taken the first step by going to a counselor, but she's frusterated still. Mainly I just listened when she told me what's going on...should I give advice?
Advice...should I say something?
The worst thing you could say is nothing. Friends are people we trust and whose advice we listen to when we might ignore our own feelings. I find that relating a fictitious story about someone in a similar situations often helps me to speak to my friend, without actually offering intruding upon their personal life. Most people will see thru this and recognize it as a loving gesture in that you are allowing them to keep their dignity and not reveal matters of a personal nature. You might both even be able to refer to this other "person" and their fictitious situation and ask and answer questions about how they might best resolve "their" issue.
Having been living a similar situation for many years, what she probably needs is reassurance that it is not HER that is the problem here. She just ended up being the baby thrown out with the bathwater. If he doesnt like ANYTHING including her, then it isnt her in particular thats the problem and her self esteem is going to circle the drain. She may also be inclined to try to become something else in order to regain his interest, selling herself out trying to change him. It wont work. If hes going, hes going. And he might be suffering from depression which causes people to lose interest in life.
Be supportive, keep telling her she is an amazing loving fun lady and THATS who you wanted in your life THAT lady THAT great friend. :)
you didn't say what your advice would be. If your advice is "shoot the mfer" I say hold your tongue.
My quick take is that she shouldn't make too much out of him not being emotionally cut off from people he isn't close to, in terms of being hurt because of the natural jealousy and feeling less-than because of said attention paid others. However, it does seem to indicate that the problem is between the two of them and not just boredom. Besides, who over the age of 15 actually gets bored and doesn't know how to fix it?
AwSnap: "Mainly I just listened when she told me what's going on...should I give advice?"
Don't ask us, ask her.
Do you want my advice on how to ask her? If so, read on...
Let her know that you want to provide support and help in whatever way you can. Does she just need a listening ear as you have been? Or does she want advice on what you would do? Or would she like to discuss options on what she can do and sound off on the cost/benefit of the different options? And if she wants advice, start cautious and see how she reacts. Perhaps share a scripture and a quote from the publications of the "Faithful Slave"... just kidding there on that last part.
In the past, when I have had to face similar situations, I listen completely until the person is done. Then I say something like "I am glad to have listened to you. I am glad you trust me enough with your thoughts and feelings. I really want the best for you, and I have a couple of thoughts for you if you ever want to hear them. If not, thats ok. It doesn't have to be now. The important thing is that you know I care and that I am there for you..."
By doing this, I leave them with the power to ask for my advice. Maybe they will want to hear it then, or they will remember to ask me another time. Or not at all. I do this because I personally believe to offer instant, unsolicited advice should be a last resort option. I want my friends to ask me, and have it be on them. If they don't want my advice, thats cool with me...
The best thing you can do anyway is to listen. And in my experience, more then one "listening" session is needed to really understand the angles. Moods can effect narratives. In fact, its the different moods, different expressions, that can really color what is going on and give some insight....
Sounds like you are doing a great job!
Is this person open to seeking therapy?
Issues may be more complicated than even a close friend is aware of. And this one sounds like it could be life-altering.
In the meantime, being a supportive listener would help the person to know they are supported and cared about. Everyone needs to know that they have a friend who cares.
Billy the Ex is right. She isn't necessarily wanting advice from you as much as she wants a listening ear.
Don't ask us, ask her. Duh, sometimes the answers are right in front of ya. Good point.
If your advice is "shoot the mfer" I say hold your tongue. That's where I'm leaning.
And he might be suffering from depression which causes people to lose interest in life.
If he doesnt like ANYTHING including her, then it isnt her in particular thats the problem and her self esteem is going to circle the drain. (yes, her self esteem is going down the shitter)
Depression and/or narcissism is a possibility, and the question to that is: how long do you hang with somebody who can't seem to get out of their rut? I guess, from a Christian standpoint, you're supposed to stick around till the end & sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice.... Hmmmm, but from other's perspectives...You've got to know where to draw the line. You know? From my understanding, this has been an issue for quite some time.
Thanks for letting me turn jwn into a Dear Abby column, lol ...I just couldn't ask any of our mutual friends about this because I'm not a big gossiper...well, except with thousands of ex-jdubs on here
Depression and/or narcissism
Better hope for the former. One is iminnently curable, the other is thought to be virtually impossible to cure.
Treatment Modalities and Therapies
Frequently Asked Question # 77
By: Dr. Sam Vaknin
Narcissism constitutes the entire personality. It is all-pervasive. Being a narcissist is akin to being an alcoholic but much more so. Alcoholism is an impulsive behaviour. Narcissists exhibit dozens of similarly reckless behaviours, some of them uncontrollable (like their rage, the outcome of their wounded grandiosity). Narcissism is not a vocation. Narcissism resembles depression or other disorders and cannot be changed at will.
Adult pathological narcissism is no more "curable" than the entirety of one's personality is disposable. The patient is a narcissist. Narcissism is more akin to the colour of one's skin rather than to one's choice of subjects at the university.
Moreover, the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is frequently diagnosed with other, even more intractable personality disorders, mental illnesses, and substance abuse.