Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Archive for March 9th, 2012

Broken Friendship

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on March 9, 2012

Maureen grieved Leslie as a friend after she felt “iced out.” Unexpectedly, Leslie ran into Maureen at a coffee shop and with seeming disregard for their past, Leslie said they should have dinner. Maureen, hesitantly agreed. “I asked her why we stopped talking for a few years,” Maureen relates to me. “Leslie said she was going through a hard time so she could only think of herself, but then I said that friends are there for when you go through a hard time, and then she said, ‘well, that’s not how I work.’ I was stunned. Leslie could not imagine what it was like for me who cared about her, suddenly being pushed aside from the friendship.” “It must have killed you that unlike in other break-ups, Leslie had no compassion for your experience.” I said, sharing that stunned feeling with Maureen. “Yes, that is right,” Maureen responds enthusiastically that I was understanding her pain. “Leslie was completely self-centered. I was astonished. I guess I had always known that in the relationship, but I guess I pushed that aside since our conversations were so entertaining and stimulating. I am ashamed at myself for not having a better read on her, but at the same time, I know that it is hard to get to know people and it takes a long time before they deserve your trust.” “Yep,” I respond, understanding Leslie’s point of view and trying to support her through this difficult reminder of her previous ‘break-up’ with Leslie. “Self-centeredness, narcissism, is hard to get comfortable with, especially if you have not appreciated that before,” I say, continuing with our theme that lack of empathy from someone you care about is a very hurtful experience. “That Leslie drew into her shell is one thing, but that she did not imagine the impact that it would have on you is another,” I say, stating the same idea in another way. “Yea, I am in a lot of pain right now,” Maureen cries.

Posted in Friendship, Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy, Relationships | 1 Comment »

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