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Feeling immense guilt and anxiety over a mistake I made tonight

Hello Better help, I’m a first time poster who needs some support due to something which has been happening with one of my friends recently.

My friend, we’ll call them Lucy, has been one of my best friends for years, and I love her deeply. She experiences borderline disorder and feelings of abandonment, which she often seems to believe rather than treating them as intrusive thoughts.

This has caused us to clash on more than one occasion, while always managing to move on eventually. Because she often feels abandoned by her friends and I often see her in difficult mental situations, I try to help the best I can, but it always ends up going wrong in some way and I can never give her what she needs, often making her more upset or improving nothing.

I’ve been feeling like my attempts, and the attempts of other friends to help her, have been falling on deaf ears, and it’s been impacting my own mental health as well as my anxiety.

This evening, I was on a discord call with her and another friend, and it was perfectly relaxed the entire time. I’d just finished my dissertation for university and was relaxing with them both.

It got late, and I said I wanted to come off soon and sleep. She said ok but I find it very difficult to leave without seeming rude or wanting to make her feel like I’m abandoning her.

I stayed in the call for another hour getting progressively more tired and admittedly frustrated that I couldn’t sleep, and the conversation had also moved to more personal territory so it felt even harder to leave.

Thinking I was inaudible, I said “please just let me leave” and it was picked up by the mic. She heard it and is now extremely extremely upset, again.

I feel so stupid and guilty for saying such a thing and I keep getting intrusive thoughts about me being an awful person, feeling like I’m losing my friend. I know what I said was wrong, and I regret it so much even if it was a mistake, but I just need some words if validation and common sense to help me through this time.

My friends tell me I’m good, as do my family. I’ve messed up and don’t know how to move forward. I’ll be mentioning it to my therapist in the next few days also.

Thank you for reading and I wish you all every last bit of peace with your own problems

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Yeah, it’s regrettable, but also understandable. When I get super tired, I say things I otherwise wouldn’t. I think everybody does. Your friend is so reactive due to her mental state. No doubt she’s been upset with you before. I suspect she grabs hold of comments and hangs on to them because she can interpret them as offensive because they align with her self-perception.

You tried so hard to be nice and accommodating that your fatigue pushed yourself over the edge into the realm of impulsive rather than rational thinking. So, you made a regrettable, understandable, yet as you already said, a stupid mistake.

Apologize. It isn’t her fault that you gave the impression you could keep talking. We all mess up that way. Then the only thing to do is apologize and try to figure out how to prevent it from happening again.

Your friend sounds a lot like my daughter in law. She doesn’t want to let go of a conversation. I come up with reasons to hang up, for example, “I need to use the bathroom, and I really should go to bed after,” or “I have visitors,” “the cat pooped on the couch,” or whatever.

You have a long history of friendship with her. I think she’ll get past this in the not too distant future.

Don’t drive yourself to irrational exhaustion and try to be sociable at the same time. In fact, don’t get so tired for any reason if you can avoid it.

You may have to come to terms that her “deaf ears” may remain that way, and just do what you can to support her anyway. Once in a while, it changes and all the nurturing comments made will come back to a person.

One way or another, she’s lucky to have you as a friend.

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Hi @ZanzibarFox

Welcome to the forum and for trusting us.

I have borderline too and I’m sorry that you’re having to deal with issues like this. I know it’s confusing and probably very frustrating.

When you have a fear of abandonment and you hear (misinterpret) something like that, it just confirms all our fears. You wanted to leave because you were tired which is a valid reason, but she interpreted it that you didn’t want to be around her. I know that doesn’t make sense, but that’s where I would have went too.

I know it’s very hard to deal with and I feel for you, but I just want you to know that you did nothing wrong. I’m not sure if you’ve ever done any research on BPD and how you can cope with being with someone who struggles with it, but it would really help you to understand why she reacts the way she does and what you can do to help her better cope. I would also recommend for her to get treatment, because it will help her learn coping skills.

I’ve learned a lot about my BPD and how to cope from Dr Fox on youtube. He just posted a new video that might help you some. Also, he has other videos for the loved ones of people with BPD to help you cope. I hope it helps.

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Hello Zanzibar,

I just wanted to be one of the first to welcome you to the HeartSupport community. Thank you for trusting us to help you & encourage you. It sounds like you & your friend need to have a heart-to-heart about what you need & what she needs. Maybe you need to talk about a time limit that suits you & one that works for her as well.

I think we can all relate to your post, all of your feelings & this situation because we have experienced it at least once in our lives. Give yourself grace. Be extra kind to yourself. Thank you for being you.

You are strong. You are valid. You are enough. You matter.

-StarFox :yellow_heart:

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From: twixremix

hi zanzibar,

i’m thankful to be able to connect with you and offer any support i can. it’s difficult when you know that both sides of a disagreement are hurting equally, not knowing how to find peace with a situation. you acted on exhaustion when you said “please just let me leave” and i feel like having a conversation with lucy about being okay with quick sign offs in order to get proper rest will be beneficial. by adding assurance that you will talk to them again like “we’ll talk again soon!” will help immensely. i also want to say that rosie (mystrose) left incredible advice and perspective so i hope that response gives solid guidance for the journey ahead in y’all’s friendship. from what you’ve shared, you sound like an incredible friend and support system so please know how appreciated and valued you are. i truly believe that the right amount of understanding/education and communication will help provide peace between and for you both. you got this, my friend!

love,
twix

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From: Lisalovesfeathers

Hi Friend, Thank you for your post and welcome to HeartSupport , I can relate to your post somewhat having a good friend with BPD it indeed can be a fine line between keeping them happy and yourself too. The way myself and my friend have always done it is to “talk” and that sounds a bit simple but it really is, we have a completely honest and very open line of communication so we both know at all times where each of us stand in our friendship, that way there is not miscommunication, no suprises, shocks or upsets. it works for us. I would encourage that for you and your friend, I feel that you both were responsible for the issue at hand and you both should own that and move forward. Nothing happened that cant be fixed. it was a blip and certainly no friendship breaker. Be honest with her. you owe it to her and yourself. I wish you lots of luck. Much Love Lisalovesfeathers. x

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From: Mamadien

ZanzibarFox, you sound like a wonderful, caring friend to Lucy. Please don’t beat yourself up over what happened. Forgiving yourself is important in maintaining your friendship with Lucy. If you haven’t already, please reassure Lucy that you are her friend. And as you talk with her, can I suggest that you talk about how you can let her know when you need to set a boundary as such (like needing to hang up because you need to sleep)? If you can talk with her about this and help her understand that you are not abandoning her but need to care for yourself she should be able to accept this idea. This can go a long way to preventing this type of situation in the future.

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Hey ZanzibarFox,

Welcome! The Heartsupport community is always happy to see a new face. I am sorry to that you’re dealing with intrusive thoughts right now surrounding your situation. It seems like you are putting a lot of effort and care into how you are interacting with your friend, and giving a LOT of care to how she experiences things from her perspective. That speaks greatly to how good of a friend you are. Keep that in mind.

But, as others noted, there is also room for boundaries in all relationships. Boundaries may help in keeping situations like this from happening, as they help set and manage expectations. You can keep being the amazing friend you are, while also having these healthy boundaries in place.

At any rate, I wish you the best of luck, friend.

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