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Counseling/Issues with a friend

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Question
Hi Maia,

I have a complicated problem... I have a friend (we'll call her Alisa), whom I want to call my best friend, but have roadblocks that I need to get beyond.  I am 33 years old, and back at school online, so I have my hands full, and just can't have additional stress, or take on too many extra friendships, which is why Alisa is so important, particularly since she is one of the few friends I enjoy.  I have health problems too, which don't help stress.  To give you an idea of how things started, I have had a tough time these last 12 years.  My father died unexpectedly on an airplane, coming home from business.  To say the least, it was very devastating and emotionally draining.  Dad has a sister, whom I never liked, but she pushed me way over the edge after my father died.  She even took away my job.  As a result of my sheer dislike of my aunt, I developed an "aunt/ niece" bond with a friend of my mother that goes back to 1965 (we'll call her Rachelle), since Mom let me join them when going on antique outings, which I always enjoy.  Rachelle lifted my spirits, and we frequently made plans, sometimes simply during Mom's work hours, when Rachelle worked from home.  I was having a blast, however, things came to a screeching halt when Mom went on a kick of wanting me to make amends with my dad's sister.  I tried countless times to explain that I did not want that~ that I liked Rachelle, and don't want my dad's sister to be part of my life.  Regardless, since Mom and Rachelle likely talked on the side, Rachelle still pulled away, and it was like a closed door... I still hear the lock today.  Rachelle was worried about how it would effect her friendship with Mom, so she did what she thought was best for maintenance.   Mom had to learn the hard way that my dad's sister was toxic to me, and they have since cut ties, as well... we don't see my dad's sister.  Rachelle and I basically get along today, and Mom and I often go to dinner with Rachelle and her son.  Although I hope that continues, and at this point, hopefully prayers are powerful enough to make that happen, I still long for the old days.  This is where Alisa comes in...  Alisa kind of reminds me of Rachelle, though I can't explain why.... she is a decade younger than Rachelle (so still older than me, but I'm not looking for people my age, as I feel a lot of resentment towards anybody who got to enjoy their 20s from my generation, since most of my 20s were put to dealing with health problems), and Alisa is married, and a mom of grown children and has grandchildren, but not living with her and her husband.  I kind of feel like fate put Alisa in my life.  Alisa is a neighbor of my mother, so we have known each other for a while, just not on a personal level until now.  We started bonding more after I went through 2 difficult events.  Back in 2012, my "Surrogate Grandma" (Peggy, a niece of my actual grandma) passed away, and Peggy was basically my only friend.  I also cut ties with a hairdresser whom I used for 20 years, as I can't have people creating me highly expensive damage.  I should explain that Alisa is a hairdresser, but works primarily in real estate.  She has since taken the reins for me.  I also get together with Alisa, and we have coffee, and talk.  I want to keep that going, but build a closer friendship.  Here is one of the biggest glitches.  We have another neighbor (we'll call her Sarah), who has close ties with Alisa as well.  Sarah spends her winters away, since her husband can't do business where we are located, since he runs a cement business.  I like Sarah fine, but I feel she does interfere with my relationship with Alisa.  I wish Sarah didn't know that I'm the same age as her daughter, as unlike me, her daughter does like spending time with people our age (it isn't that I dislike Sarah's daugther, it's just with my health problems, I feel old, and don't want to get involved with somebody raising 3 small children), and I'm so afraid she might use that as a way to make it so I can't spend time with Alisa.  Unfortunately, Sarah is coming home, and I'm so afraid that I won't get to spend time with Alisa anymore.  I've tried to prove I'm Alisa's better half... I recently gave her an expensive friendship bracelet (which I can't really afford).  I need to establish an understanding with Alisa that we are good friends, and explain to her that she is my best friend, at least in my eyes.  I want to eventually find a romantic relationship too, however, since I won't get involved with anybody my age, I'm thinking that Alisa might know some men her age, in that respect.  How can I explain my concerns to Alisa?  I don't expect her to cut ties with Sarah, and know that they're going to still be friends, but I don't want Sarah to have a closer friendship than me, or get more of Alisa's time than I get.  Please help!!!  I'm so stressed, as I worry every free minute.

Answer
Hi Suzette,

Thank you for your interest to write me a question.  I would be happy to answer your situation but remember, the answer here won't be an absolute solution to your concerns... if you have noticed I use the word "concerns" not concern because it seems like there are a lot of people, circumstances and worries that are involving your current situation.  

First thing first, you would need an expert in the field of counseling, psychoanalysis and/or behavioral modification to help you get through your situation.  

Secondly, your childhood history does say a lot about your current belief or "schema".  In psychology/counseling schema is a term use why current response/reaction are happening because of the past experience and beliefs/virtues that were past on by your parents, brothers and sisters or the psychosocial/emotional bearing from childhood to current life.   

Based on what you have told me you were devastated when your dad died.  You didn't mention anything related to that why you were devastated but you started introducing your aunt (your dad's sister) which you dislike too.  You also didn't mention why you didn't like her but you started introducing another person to whom you develop sort of aunt/niece bonding.  Nothing is clear on this bonding that would establish a correlation on your "disliking" your aunt. So I guess the question here is why do you not like your aunt, or maybe it is just really what it is.  Certain people have this feeling of certain "dislikeness" toward someone.  I am not saying it is right not to like someone but I do understand that there are cases where you can't really like a person just because.  If you tried your best to ammend or patch up things and it didn't go the way your mom had to, you don't have to explain things to her over.  I think you are old enough to think for yourself.  

In terms of Alisa, let's say you are Alisa instead of Suzette, how would you like to have Suzette respond to another friend (Sarah)? I assume at this time you haven't said anything to Alisa yet about how you feel to Sarah.  I guess that is the reason why you are not comfy because you feel resentment on her friend Sarah by thinking that she is getting her attention and that Alisa is not giving you the time you need to.  I am not sure what you are wanting in terms of the closer friendship, have you figure it out? Have you thought of Alisa's feelings if you take away another friend of hers that she wants to keep?  Have you had a friend someone taken away from you?  

Lastly, if your concern is really finishing your online course would it be better for you to concentrate on your studies rather than focusing on this issues.   Which one really is your concern at this time?  The friendship of others or your schooling?  

I hope this will help you.  

Thank you kindly.

Maia

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Maia

Expertise

I can answer any counseling concern related to coping with stress, emotional imbalance, sibling rivalry, marital relationship, spiritual confusion that affected/affecting and will affect your well-being. I am not the usual "what is in the box!" type of counselor. I am very polite and gentle but direct to help you understand your situation. I also use pastoral technique to help you understand that human needs supernatural power from the source in order to cope with stressors. Please be informed that I am very much welcoming in any questions you would like to ask but PLEASE DON'T BE RUDE in the stating the subject/concern. ANY FOUL LANGUAGE can restrict me to entertain your queries. Thank you very much.

Experience

I am a Counselor with BS Behavioral Sciences degree. I have experienced in counseling both individual and groupd sessions. I have conducted a lot of workshops related to peer counseling and healthy mind body and spirit related topic. I did a couple of thesis counseling session when I used to work in a Medical College. I have been commended for my research work. My passion is to listen and be able to assist anyone who needs problem-solving solution.

Organizations
Psychological Educators' Society (2001-2004)

Education/Credentials
BS Behavioral Sciences Counselor for 5 years Researcher for 2 years Psychometrician for 2 years Adept in counseling, use of psychological testing and administration and interpretation/use e-clectic technique

Awards and Honors
Graduated with Honours (CLINICAL OFFICE ASSISTANT)

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