Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Friendship

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Question
Hello!
I am a 32 year old wife and a mother of 2 beautiful children. I am lucky and grateful for many things that I have in my life. But there is one obstacle that interferes with my inner peace and because of which I often loose sleep. I always need friends. And it's been like this since teenage years when I didn't have a lot of friends and couldn't really get along with peers. I remember it really hurt me. In my mind I was always an outgoing person and I was supposed to have lots friends who would've liked me. And in the beginning of every new social setting it would appear that way but slowly everyone  would loose attention towards me. Being unpopular at school or college was the worst thing for me. I changed my school (there were many other reasons, one of them was an unhealthy social relations among kids) and I thought then since no one knows me it was my chance to act a different way in order to get friends. I guess I always wanted to seem cool.  Of course  it didnt work out. The same thing happened when i went to college. After college I left everything behind and moved to America. But still wasn't able to make friendships. I often fell very lonely even  though I was married. I felt like life was passing by me and I was missing a lot of fun. Now I am 32 and still can't get over this problem. I know it's me. Right now I have 2 very good friends but that's about it. I am a very sociable person and NEED people who I feel close to around me. I can't be by myself for a long time even though I like it sometimes. It's very hard to describe this feeling and I don't know if I portrayed a correct picture. Here is one very common scenario: I make a friend, then two of us meet somebody else who becomes a better friend to my friend. Sorry for all the confusion. And eventually I become left out. It really really hurts. I have a hard time to forgive.  I understand it's a personality thing. And the problem really is not in changing my personality but in getting independent from any friendship. I don't know how to learn to be self sufficient. As I said interaction with others and communication are things I live for. My best birthday party would be the one with zillion phone calls then big celebration and possibly dancing))) but I only have my hubby (who is a good guy but it's really a different story )  and a couple of friends (I am blessed to have them). Doesn't sound like it d make a big party(((
I hope maybe you could help me with this problem or recommend some books I could read. I think it's time now that I grow up and learn to be content with who I am))

Thanks in advance,
Diana

Answer
Diana

I am not sure I understand your question about, friendships,

It sounds like you are making too much of an abstraction or fantasy out of the idea of friendship.

Human beings are social animals so it is true that we are better off feeling more connected to the world around us rather than less.  Friendships, however, are just that, they are meaningful connections to the outside world, but they are not the same as lovers, spouses, children or family members.

When we try to make friendships that are that close they frequently disappoint us or alienate the people we call friends by the feeling of too much pressure from us.  I think you are perfectly capable of making more friends, just by socializing more which you say comes naturally to you.  You will never have a million friends because there aren't that many that you or anyone else can feel reasonably comfortable with, and vice versa.

Friends are often transitory and one dimensional, meaning this friend is good for a certain type of interaction and not all and another friend is good to be able to be with in a different way, but friends do not have to be people with whom you can do everything you want with, because that degree of compatibility is rare...this people will be your best friends, and you only need a few of them.

Also you are right, it is not healthy to feel too needy and we all need to feel autonomous and self sufficient.  Happily  it is easy enough to strengthen that faculty, because all you have to do is learn to keep your own company by finding things you like doing by yourself and doing them on a regular basis.

Best,

Dr. Elmore

Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Andrew M. Elmore, Ph.D.

Expertise

I can answer questions about: Stress. Headaches. Stress-related Disorders. Anxiety/Panic Disorder. Depression. Psychopathology. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Personal Problem Solving. Life in General. Relationships: Love, Friendship, Business Partner, Coworker, Family,Child/Parent. What makes us tick. The use of psycho-pharmacological agents in combination with psychological treatment. How to deal with evil people in your life. How to improve your outlook under duress. How to control stress. How to control mood. How to control headaches. I cannot answer: Questions about Eating Disorders. Questions about computers.

Experience

30 years in private practice as a psychologist in Manhattan. Dealing with people from almost every conceivable ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and as many character types as exist in this country. Dealing with patients from 8 years old to 90 years old. Pioneer in biofeedback and the treatment of stress-related disorders. Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine since 1982. Treatment of stress-related, anxiety and depressive disorders with biofeedback and cognitive behavioral therapy. Developed personal problem solving, an extremely precise form of psychotherapy. Relationship therapy for couples, families, parent/child issues, business partners, coworkers, employers, and dealing with psychopathic individuals in your life.

Organizations
American Psychological Association. Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. Biofeedback Certification Institute of America. New York Academy of Sciences.

Publications
The journal, Psychophysiology. The book, Expanding Dimensions of Consciousness. The journal, Headache. The journal, Biofeedback and Self-Regulation. The journal Psychiatry Digest. The book, The TMJ Book. The book, Dental Phobia. The network, CNN. Parade Magazine. The newspaper, Newsday. The Manhattan TV station, WCBS. The national news program, The CBS Evening News. The newspaper, The New York Post. The national TV program, The Phil Donohue Show. The magazine, The New Yorker. The magazine, Glamor. The magazine, Redbook. The magazine, Health. The magazine, Bottom Line Personal. Web MD. The website, Healthology. The magazine, Newsweek.

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. SUNY at Stony Brook, 1979. B.A., magna cum laude with Honors in Psychology, Illinois Wesleyan University, 1974.

Awards and Honors
Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare, First, Second and Third Editions, 1997-2000. Appointed to the Training Faculty of the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA), 1993. Senior Fellow BCIA. New York Academy of Sciences, 1987. Who’s Who in the East, 1983-present. Who’s Who in Frontier Science and Technology, First Edition. Citation Paper Author. Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Biofeedback Society of America, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1980. Biofeedback Society of America Scholar, 1979. Co-author, USVA Grant, “Variables Affecting the Experience of Pain in Migraine,” USVA Medical Center, Northport, New York, 1977-1979. Biomedical Research Fellow, Department of Biomedical Engineering, SUNY at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York, 1978. NIMH Predoctoral Fellowship, 1976. BA, Magna cum laude, with Honors in Psychology, 1974. Danforth Fellowship Nominee, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois, 1973.

Past/Present Clients
Most of my clients are my private patients. However I have provided many seminars, lectures and workshops for: Columbia University. The Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Museum of Natural History. The UJA Federation. The university, CW Post. The College of New Rochelle. Equinox Fitness. Travelers Insurance. AutoOne Insurance. Chubb Insurance. Metropolitan Life. Allstate Insurance. State Farm Insurance. Encompass Insurance. The public relations firm, Porter Novelli. The investment firm, Capital Re:. The Estee Lauder corporation. The law firm of Irwin Abrams. The National Insurance Crime Bureau. GEICO Insruance. Beth Israel Hospital.

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