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Old 04-10-2018, 09:22 AM #1
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Default Is my friend's therapist acting as she should? worried here! help!

My best friend (43 male) has been dumped by his ex 2X in the past (last break up was in 2011), he had a very VERY difficult time to get over her.
About 4 years ago he had a short and very intense relationship with another lady who also dumped him, they tried to remain friends but ended up fighting and breaking up the friendship 2X over the past 3 years. About six months ago my friend re-instated this friendship (for the 3rd time) with this lady and he declared romantic feelings towards her after about 3 months onto the reinstated friendship, she denied any romantic feelings towards him,that she is seeing someone else, but agreed to to remain friends - they are still friends.
He still struggles with this last rejection, is working really hard to just be friend with her but told me that he still have feelings for this lady.
Now, about 4 weeks ago, he got in touch with his first ex (the one he took a hard time to forget), he claims to have feelings for her TOO, says he is "observing" his feelings, says he is not sure if he should try again with his first ex because he is aware that it may not work again BUT wants to try because he also believes that now as they both are more mature it may work, so he wants to see what comes out of it, says that he is aware that he may get hurt again BUT he says that to the very least it may help him to forget this other lady that he claims to still have feelings towards TOO.
So - he claims to have feelings for BOTH, is strugling to understand what is that he is feeling towards both and that he believes he is doing what is the best for him at the moment.
Facts - He has depression since 26 yo, on and off from meds, is currently on meds, seeing a therapist every other week, apart for this two women he hadn't met or felt anything towards anyone else for the past 10+ years.
He says his therapist encouraged him to "explore" his feelings, try again with his first ex! That he asked his therapist's opinion regarding how "unfaithful" or "unfair" his actions towards his first ex is and the therapist do not see anything wrong with that. He says his therapist wants him to get back to "living his life again" even if his action are not of the wisest for him or it may cause him pain again, she encourages him because many of his last years were completely out of the romantic relationship field.
Is it reasonable for a very experienced, renowned psychotherapist act respond like this?
I am not feeling comfortable listening to all of this mess and keeping quiet. Every time I make a comment, give advice, tell him to meet other women, etc - all positive support and advice friends can give - he says that I should support him to explore his feelings, life whatever way.
Now he is getting annoyed with me because I am his best friend but lately he feels I am not supporting him but imposing my way on him and that if I am his best friend I should "watch" him to do whatever he wants with his life and just be there for him. He wants me to stop giving him advices BUT watch and listen to him messing up his life without saying anything!
Its been hard for me to watch a very dear friend doing so little to help himself, what should I do? is there a best way to help him?
Any advice and comment is very welcome. Thank you!
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Old 04-10-2018, 01:01 PM #2
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Default Re: Is my friend's therapist acting as she should? worried here! help!

if the friend asks you to stop giving advice, then the best way to help them is to respect their wishes. continually trying to impede on what he feels is his best course of action whether it is or not is going to be an obstacle in your relationship going forward because essentially you are not respecting what they are asking you to do.


It may be hard to back off but when it's been overtly requested from the person you feel you need to help you really have no choice but to let it go.
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Old 04-10-2018, 01:12 PM #3
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Default Re: Is my friend's therapist acting as she should? worried here! help!

Hmmm.. I have a slightly different take on it. Yes, I agree you need to respect his wishes to let him do as he pleases.

However, at the same time, you could point out to him that you disagree with his therapist's advice, that you'd hate to see him get hurt again, that you're only looking out for his best interests, but that ultimately it's up to him to decide what to do and you won't interfere. That you simply are expressing your care and concerns that he has already been dumped twice by the first woman and (most likely) will be again.

Good friends don't just always agree & go along with ALL of their friends' actions. A good friend will be honest, even if it pisses off the person. A good friend is true to their own feelings & opinions about what their friends are doing that is harmful. Like, if a friend were an addict, would you stand by and allow it and enable them and encourage them? Or would you say something that their behavior is harmful?

The thing is, he probably WILL get rejected and/or dumped again by the first woman. Both women have dumped him, so what he really needs to do is explore the reasons why with his therapist. And I agree that his therapist is giving really bad advice. Why she is saying he should explore his feelings, despite being dumped twice, is beyond me.

But if he chooses to walk down this path, it's his choice and his own doing. He is walking into flames of fire again -- OUCH.

It's SO hard to watch a good friend hurt themselves again and again, I know. It's painful to witness and to stand back and allow it to happen. But perhaps he needs to learn on his own and through painful rejection that going back again and again is not wise. He hasn't learned this yet.
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Old 04-10-2018, 01:24 PM #4
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Default Re: Is my friend's therapist acting as she should? worried here! help!

I have to emphasize that I disagree that you do NOT continue to offer advice when specifically asked to stop. Turn the tables on yourself and imagine if someone was giving you unsolicited advice when you've chosen to do the things that you're doing. Does that sound like something you'd want a friend to do? If I say stop, in my opinion that is exactly what it means and your friend is saying that. you CANNOT control what he does and can only offer advice but when that advice comes at you after you've asked someone to stop doing so, it is wasted advice at best and at worst it could ruin a friendship.
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Old 04-10-2018, 01:26 PM #5
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Default Re: Is my friend's therapist acting as she should? worried here! help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by s4ndm4n2006 View Post
I have to emphasize that I disagree that you do NOT continue to offer advice when specifically asked to stop. Turn the tables on yourself and imagine if someone was giving you unsolicited advice when you've chosen to do the things that you're doing. Does that sound like something you'd want a friend to do? If I say stop, in my opinion that is exactly what it means and your friend is saying that. you CANNOT control what he does and can only offer advice but when that advice comes at you after you've asked someone to stop doing so, it is wasted advice at best and at worst it could ruin a friendship.
I am not saying she should continue to give advice. I am saying that she could explain where she is coming from, what her concerns are, and her disagreement with the therapist's advice and then let him do as he wants to.

Why are you arguing?
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Old 04-10-2018, 01:40 PM #6
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Smile Re: Is my friend's therapist acting as she should? worried here! help!

My personal opinion is that it would not be appropriate for any of us, here on PC, to second-guess what your friend's therapist is telling him. From what you wrote, I would be inclined to agree with you that the advice your friend is getting from his therapist is misguided. But that's just my personal opinion based solely on what you've written here. Clearly I don't really know anything about what is going on in your friend's therapy.

Beyond that... since it appears you have expressed your concerns to your friend, & he has asked that you just "watch" & be there for him, my opinion would be that this is what you must do... to the extent that you are able... difficult as that may be for you. Your friend has set some clear personal boundaries & I believe you have to respect them.

I don't know what the history of your friendship with this gentleman is, of course. But if, as time goes by, you find yourself in a situation where your friend keeps doing things that end up hurting him, & then comes back to you seeking solace, you may find yourself in a situation where you have to establish & enforce some personal boundaries of your own. Here are links to some articles, from PsychCentral's archives, both on the subject of establishing your own boundaries & also on respecting the personal boundaries of others:

https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-ar...do-i-get-some/

https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-imp...al-boundaries/

https://psychcentral.com/lib/10-way-...er-boundaries/

https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-to...es-boundaries/

https://psychcentral.com/blog/4-ways...es-boundaries/

My best wishes to you...
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Old 04-10-2018, 01:43 PM #7
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Default Re: Is my friend's therapist acting as she should? worried here! help!

I'm actually trying to figure out for the life of me what bad advice the therapist is giving? Can you clarify this more specifically?


We can't presume to know what the outcome will be with the first ex so our opinion or advice on this is purely subjective and may be incorrect on either side.


Exploring his feelings doesn't sound like it's saying he should do anything that I would deem immoral or unethical behavior so I'm not sure where this is wrong either.


Lastly the "even if it's not wise" I'm not sure if this is based verbatim on what the therapist said or if that's your added embellishment but I would venture to guess that the therapist is actually not telling him to go ahead and be foolhardy aat all.


Keep in mind what you hear from his explanations of what his T said are second hand and through a filter of his and you may not know everything that was said behind closed doors and are missing context likely..


Try to be less overbearing about what you think is right for other people and give your advice and opinions when welcome but know when it becomes something that will cause a rift which you clearly have made apparent here by his annoyance at your continued dialog about it.


don't get me wrong, I know you're worried and this is an age old situation with friends, family and other close people... sometimes we want and do offer advice and want to do all we can for these people but our hands are tied outside of speaking our mind... again, until it's unwelcome.
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Old 04-10-2018, 01:52 PM #8
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Default Is my friend's therapist acting as she should? worried here! help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Msilva View Post
My best friend (43 male) has been dumped by his ex 2X in the past (last break up was in 2011), he had a very VERY difficult time to get over her.
About 4 years ago he had a short and very intense relationship with another lady who also dumped him, they tried to remain friends but ended up fighting and breaking up the friendship 2X over the past 3 years. About six months ago my friend re-instated this friendship (for the 3rd time) with this lady and he declared romantic feelings towards her after about 3 months onto the reinstated friendship, she denied any romantic feelings towards him,that she is seeing someone else, but agreed to to remain friends - they are still friends.
He still struggles with this last rejection, is working really hard to just be friend with her but told me that he still have feelings for this lady.
Now, about 4 weeks ago, he got in touch with his first ex (the one he took a hard time to forget), he claims to have feelings for her TOO, says he is "observing" his feelings, says he is not sure if he should try again with his first ex because he is aware that it may not work again BUT wants to try because he also believes that now as they both are more mature it may work, so he wants to see what comes out of it, says that he is aware that he may get hurt again BUT he says that to the very least it may help him to forget this other lady that he claims to still have feelings towards TOO.
So - he claims to have feelings for BOTH, is strugling to understand what is that he is feeling towards both and that he believes he is doing what is the best for him at the moment.
Facts - He has depression since 26 yo, on and off from meds, is currently on meds, seeing a therapist every other week, apart for this two women he hadn't met or felt anything towards anyone else for the past 10+ years.
He says his therapist encouraged him to "explore" his feelings, try again with his first ex! That he asked his therapist's opinion regarding how "unfaithful" or "unfair" his actions towards his first ex is and the therapist do not see anything wrong with that. He says his therapist wants him to get back to "living his life again" even if his action are not of the wisest for him or it may cause him pain again, she encourages him because many of his last years were completely out of the romantic relationship field.
Is it reasonable for a very experienced, renowned psychotherapist act respond like this?
I am not feeling comfortable listening to all of this mess and keeping quiet. Every time I make a comment, give advice, tell him to meet other women, etc - all positive support and advice friends can give - he says that I should support him to explore his feelings, life whatever way.
Now he is getting annoyed with me because I am his best friend but lately he feels I am not supporting him but imposing my way on him and that if I am his best friend I should "watch" him to do whatever he wants with his life and just be there for him. He wants me to stop giving him advices BUT watch and listen to him messing up his life without saying anything!
Its been hard for me to watch a very dear friend doing so little to help himself, what should I do? is there a best way to help him?
Any advice and comment is very welcome. Thank you!
I understand that this is frustrating for you and I understand where you are coming from, however while you do have very valid concerns, you may need to respect your friend's wishes and stop giving advice or your opinion on this subject. Because at this point in his recovery, your friend needs you to be there for him without sharing your opinion. Hopefully soon, your friend will get better in his recovery and you can provide your opinion on his situation and the his therapist's decision/perspective but the time is not now.
In addition, you are hearing only one side of the story. I am NOT saying (at all) that your friend is making things up... not at all; however you are not in the room with him when he meets his therapist and you do not exactly know the conversation they had. May be your friend is interpreting his therapist's advice in a way that fits him? The thing is, per my experience, most people (especially those suffering with MI, including myself) tend to be self centered and demand that we understand their feelings and desires and bow to their sensitivity and troubles; and if this in fact how your friend is behaving, then providing your opinion under these circumstances is a waste of time... Right now, may be (again I am just speculating) he is not in a place where he can handle the realistic perspective and you need to be patient?
In summary, while I empathize and understand your frustration, I would say please do not continue to offer advice, since you were asked to stop. Would you like it if we were to keep on providing our opinion or giving advice when you specifically asked us not to? It would be very arrogant and controlling (and insensitive) of us to resume doing so. Also, it would be a recipe in damaging the friendship.
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Old 04-10-2018, 02:17 PM #9
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Default Re: Is my friend's therapist acting as she should? worried here! help!

It comes up a lot in threads here where someone wants to have a friendship with a former romantic partner. It never turns out well. It always leads to hard feelings on someone's part.

When a romance is over, it's over. Both need to let go and move on. That's what the therapist should encourage. But you can't control all this dysfunctional behavior. All you can do is try not to feed in to it. It will all resolve eventually. You don't need to fix all this stuff. Just step back. When your friend wants to keep talking about these former relationships, try to be kind, but don't act too interested. It will just wear you out.

Your friend is fortunate to have you caring so much.
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Old 04-11-2018, 07:44 AM #10
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Default Re: Is my friend's therapist acting as she should? worried here! help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Msilva View Post
My best friend (43 male) has been dumped by his ex 2X in the past (last break up was in 2011), he had a very VERY difficult time to get over her.
About 4 years ago he had a short and very intense relationship with another lady who also dumped him, they tried to remain friends but ended up fighting and breaking up the friendship 2X over the past 3 years. About six months ago my friend re-instated this friendship (for the 3rd time) with this lady and he declared romantic feelings towards her after about 3 months onto the reinstated friendship, she denied any romantic feelings towards him,that she is seeing someone else, but agreed to to remain friends - they are still friends.
He still struggles with this last rejection, is working really hard to just be friend with her but told me that he still have feelings for this lady.
Now, about 4 weeks ago, he got in touch with his first ex (the one he took a hard time to forget), he claims to have feelings for her TOO, says he is "observing" his feelings, says he is not sure if he should try again with his first ex because he is aware that it may not work again BUT wants to try because he also believes that now as they both are more mature it may work, so he wants to see what comes out of it, says that he is aware that he may get hurt again BUT he says that to the very least it may help him to forget this other lady that he claims to still have feelings towards TOO.
So - he claims to have feelings for BOTH, is strugling to understand what is that he is feeling towards both and that he believes he is doing what is the best for him at the moment.
Facts - He has depression since 26 yo, on and off from meds, is currently on meds, seeing a therapist every other week, apart for this two women he hadn't met or felt anything towards anyone else for the past 10+ years.
He says his therapist encouraged him to "explore" his feelings, try again with his first ex! That he asked his therapist's opinion regarding how "unfaithful" or "unfair" his actions towards his first ex is and the therapist do not see anything wrong with that. He says his therapist wants him to get back to "living his life again" even if his action are not of the wisest for him or it may cause him pain again, she encourages him because many of his last years were completely out of the romantic relationship field.
Is it reasonable for a very experienced, renowned psychotherapist act respond like this?
I am not feeling comfortable listening to all of this mess and keeping quiet. Every time I make a comment, give advice, tell him to meet other women, etc - all positive support and advice friends can give - he says that I should support him to explore his feelings, life whatever way.
Now he is getting annoyed with me because I am his best friend but lately he feels I am not supporting him but imposing my way on him and that if I am his best friend I should "watch" him to do whatever he wants with his life and just be there for him. He wants me to stop giving him advices BUT watch and listen to him messing up his life without saying anything!
Its been hard for me to watch a very dear friend doing so little to help himself, what should I do? is there a best way to help him?
Any advice and comment is very welcome. Thank you!
I don't see anything wrong with what he's doing.
He's trying to cope with life differently, very fair in my eyes
If you really want to help him then you need to listen to what he says he needs
But what about having a good time together?
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