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Counseling/Friendship: Smoothing the creases


Hi Nori,
Here is my issue/ question:  I have this friend whom I feel a particular closeness to, whom I'll refer to as Karissa.  To give you an idea of how we met, I should explain that I am 33 years old, and she is 59; I am living at my mom's house, as I have no money, and Karissa is a neighbor.  About a year ago, I had a hairdresser, whom I used for 20 years fry up my hair, so as a result, I cut ties.  I should explain now that Karissa is a hairdresser, and she has since taken over (she works primarily in real estate.  I feel like fate brought us together, as these things really don't happen a lot.  Karissa and I have as a result formed a friendship with vulnerability.  
At any rate, here is the glitch:  It's very rare that I find a friend whom I can share anything with that is on my mind.  I have tried to just ease into the friendship, as I've learned that manipulating a relationship of any kind does not work.  I should explain that I am in a serious relationship with my boyfriend (who is actually 2 years younger than Karissa), however, I feel I need at least one girlfriend whom I can share my secrets with, and want to move things along faster.  I should explain too that when my boyfriend's mother was alive (she was Peggy), I could tell her anything, and always felt like I had an open door that would never close, and her passing is another event that occurred when Karissa and I started talking more.  Not having Peggy around has been very emotionally draining, and there was a certain mentor (we'll call her Rose) I once had, whom I was hoping would support me.  To my surprise, Rose stepped away, wouldn't talk to me, and has not since.  I really did not see that coming.  I was with Karissa for the last two days, and so wanted to tell her how much she means to me, and that I want to keep the door open.  I had mentioned this issue to a few cousins, and two told me to ask Karissa to become blood sisters with me... I don't really think in this day in age that would happen (at least not the traditional way), however, I'm thinking I would like to "seal" our friendship somehow, and just agree to treat each other as family, particularly since I come from a dysfunctional family, which is hard on me.  What do you think I should do.  Even with all of the time I've spent with Karissa these past 48 hours, I couldn't tell her.  I gave her a friendship card, however, as I started to explain that I just want to make sure our bond lasts, I lost my courage.  This is so hard!!  Please help; I'm so lost, and if I knew our friendship was permanent, I would have so much more peace in my life.

Dear Katie,
Thank you for your letter. Glad you have met good people you want in your life. All friendships are vulnerable to ending or transforming. That is just how it is. However, at times, good friends discuss the friendship itself. Friends may tell each other things like, "I love our friendship. It is good to have someone to talk to. I like having you in my life." It is good to tell our friends we appreciate them when the time and mood are right. You can put it in a card or just say it. Then the rest of the time you trust your friends, that they are there for you.
We cannot allow our self-esteem to fluctuate depending on whether someone returns our affections the way we want, or how soon they answer our emails, or how often they text us. The best answer is to love yourself and supply yourself with the positive acceptance you need.
Please write back if you want to discuss further.


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Nori Muster


Art therapy, positive thinking, and abuse recovery.


I have been an expert at since 2000. Before that, during college and graduate school, I put in approximately three hundred volunteer hours working at juvenile halls. I also worked in drug and alcohol counseling agencies. In addition, I have done art and writing therapy with young people who grew up in abusive religious groups.

The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA), helps families, people who grew up in cults, and people leaving cults.

Books by Nori:
Dreaming Peace: Your Thoughts Can Change the World, a history of positive thinking and how to practice it in the post-9/11 world.
Child of the Cult, a collection of stories about children who grew up in restrictive religious groups.
Cult Survivor's Handbook: Seven Paths to an Authentic Life, a recovery handbook for people who had a bad experience in a group.

For a summary of all writing, see

Masters of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies (psychology, counseling, and criminal justice), Western Oregon University, 1991.

Awards and Honors
Betrayal of the Spirit: My Life behind the Headlines of the Hare Krishna Movement won an award from for best selling book in its category.

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