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Counseling/Should I keep or ditch this 'friend'


I'm sorry if I've posted this in the wrong category, but I couldn't see one for "friends".
I’m 44 and single, heterosexual.  I've been newly socialising with Rose*, a co-worker, after work (she’s a few years older than me).  We go out about every 2-3 weeks to secretarial events where they have food/drink.  I’ve never met anyone like Rose before.  I’m a very shy person and she’s the opposite.  Is she taking advantage of my ‘weakness?’  I’m a very contended and happy individual who loves being at home, etc.  I got out on these nights out to help with confidence and a better social life, but to be honest I’m not really that bothered.  
1. One lady there (at these nights out), Lisa*, was made redundant. I gave Lisa names of agencies, etc, as a help. Rose noticed me talking with Lisa and took me aside and said to me, "Don't take her problems on". I said to Rose, "I'm trying to help her". Rose said, "Why don't you have a walk round and have a look at some of the stalls around here instead?" Rose, the next day, emailed me saying she’d received an email from Lisa saying she was struggling with unemployment. I emailed, “Well, Rose, like you told me, don’t take on Lisa’s problems” and she said, “Well, I have to help her.  I’m a Leo and loyal to my friends”.  Is she starting to control me? Or does she want 'the glory' by helping Lisa herself?
2. I'm new to the secretarial nights and Rose introduces me to a few of the secretaries. Rose said, "You really ought to be remembering their names".  (I’ve only been going 3 times)
3.  I exchanged email addresses with one of the ladies there and Rose asked, “Who did you get that from?”  I told her and she said, “You know you’ll never hear back from her”.
4. Rose also corrects me if I look at my watch there saying, "You shouldn't keep looking at your watch.  I know you’ve a lengthy journey home, but Lynn* over there has a lot worse one than you and yet she can still make it to these events”.
I’ve never met anyone like Rose before.  I’m a very shy person, but at the same time, whilst I don’t like her talking to me the way she does, I’m scared I’ll lose the only friend I have.   Is she taking advantage of my ‘weakness?’  If I bend down to get a better hearing of what she’s saying (sometimes these nights out can be loud), she’ll say, “Oh for goodness sake, don’t bend down”.  Rose also said, “You need to live a bit more”.  She'll roll her eyes at me if I get my journey planner out.  Is she being emotionally abusive to me or am I just way too sensitive? Thank you for taking the time to read this.  One night we sat down together and she said, “I can read you like a book.  You blame yourself for your father’s death in your childhood.  I think of you a lot at home and you are the mirror image of me”.  (well, she’s way over extrovert than me and I’ve never blamed myself for his death).  
Should I just let these comments ‘go’ or should I get rid of her before she hurts me anymore?  I work in a different dept to her and when I do meet her at work, she’ll say, “I wish you’d come by and see me.  I’m always coming to see you”.  Well, I regard the workplace as that, work.  I don’t see it as a social club.  I have never stood up to her, as I probably don’t know how but each time I see her she makes remarks.

Hi Michelle. It sounds like you may doubt your own judgment about how to respond to Rose. From your description, she sounds unempathic, controlling, and judgmental - and is probably a "Grown Wounded Child" (GWC):

If so, here are some suggestions for relating to and communicating with her (or any GWC):  //

I recommend that you draft a personal Bill of Rights ( Then use it to assert some respectful feedback and boundaries with Rose: Guideline: your needs are just as important as hers!

I encourage you to trust your feelings as a reliable guide to decide what you need and what to do.

If these resources bring up new questions, Michelle, please ask! - Pete


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Peter Gerlach, MSW


I can answer questions about mood disorders, depression, suicide, relationships, communication skills, problem solving, clear thinking, bonding disorders, trauma recovery, addiction management, grieving, shame, guilt, fear, reality distortion, and trust disorders; courtship, family functioning, "problem kids," mediation, (re)marriage, divorce, stepfamilies, stepparenting, boundaries, self-neglect, abuse, parental neglect, personality subselves, ("parts work"). I cannot answer legal or medical questions.


I maintained a private therapy practice near Chicago for 27 years, and have worked with over 1,000 men, women, couples, and families on a wide range of personal and family problems. I have been in personal recovery from growing up in an alcoholic family since 1986, and have worked with five therapists to heal my own psychological wounds. I maintained a "warm (phone) line" for callers on the topics above for 20 years, and have taught over 200 seminars and classes in midwestern universities, churches, support groups, and schools since 1981. I have practiced internal-family therapy ("parts work") with trauma-recoverers since 1991.

National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC) Experts Council; Compassion and Choices, and Final Exit Network

# Several hundred articles in my non-profit "Break the Cycle!" Web site at These articles are augmented by over 150 educational YouTube videos .

# six books on childhood-trauma recovery, effective communication, and stepfamily courtship, coparenting, and management.

A bachelors degree in mechanical engineering (BSME, 1959) from Stanford University, a Masters degree in clinical Social Work, (MSW, 1981), and over 500 hours of post-grad training in the topics above - including clinical hypnosis, spirituality, codependence, addicrtion-management, and guided imagery. My post-grad traning includes two 9-month internships on doing internal-family therapy at the University of Illinois.

Awards and Honors
Hundreds of grateful emails and comments from students and clients all over the world.

Past/Present Clients
Over 1,000 average Midwestern-US women, men, couples, and families. A physical disability limits me to doing telephone and Skype counseling now.

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