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Old February 28 2013, 11:06 PM   #1
Deranged Nasat
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Over-dependency on friends and relatives

Good evening, everyone. I have a personal matter I'd like to work through - nothing major, just something that's been unsettling me, and that honestly needs a bit of attention - and I wondered if anyone here might be able to advise. I mentioned this offhand in another thread but now I'm thinking, why not just start a thread about it specifically?

So, the issue in short is my relationship with my sister, and the sense that I've been overly dependent on her, emotionally, as a friend.

For much of the day, I've been in a strange, rather gloomy mood in which I just felt really unsettled and nit-picky, and I'm pretty certain I've worked out what's been prompting this. Yesterday, I got back from a trip to France to see my sister, who is studying there for the year. I had a great time, but I find that I'm not dealing too well with an inevitability that's finally making itself apparent: my sister has moved on in her life and my expectations for how our relationship works have become increasingly unrealistic. I've seen her as my closest friend, and I've been rather foolish in clinging to that while she's been off making a life. I was under no illusions, of course, that I needed her more than she did me, but my poor reaction to the sense that she isn't as invested in me as I am in her - which is no fault of hers; as I say I was the unrealistic one - has forced me to confront the fact that I placed too much importance on her, and I wasn't letting our good relationship evolve naturally.

I'm wondering - should I actively speak with her about this, or should I just make the changes in my perspective without bringing it up?
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Old February 28 2013, 11:13 PM   #2
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Re: Over-dependency on friends and relatives

I'm not sure this is really something that needs to be directly addressed, unless she's getting upset with you for being too clingy or needy. Sometimes people move on with their lives, whether we want them to or not, and it's our job to deal with it. Just because she's in your life less doesn't mean she can't still be just as important.
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Old February 28 2013, 11:16 PM   #3
Deranged Nasat
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Re: Over-dependency on friends and relatives

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
I'm not sure this is really something that needs to be directly addressed, unless she's getting upset with you for being too clingy or needy. Sometimes people move on with their lives, whether we want them to or not, and it's our job to deal with it. Just because she's in your life less doesn't mean she can't still be just as important.
You're quite right, of course; I just wondered if I should explain my reasoning and apologise for my unrealistic expectations, or if I should just let it go. We haven't been arguing or anything, but I did get the sense towards the end that I was grating on her a bit. I'm not sure whether to tell her of my conclusions or just make the change in my perceptions and carry on.
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Old February 28 2013, 11:44 PM   #4
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Re: Over-dependency on friends and relatives

That depends Deranged.. if telling your conclusions will be seen as more stuff about you that is needy of a response from her. The problem with people telling this kind of thing is that the person who hears it can't just say, "cool bro, whatever". They will feel they need to give a response of equal depth which if they already feel a bit pressured in the relationship in some way will be just one more thing of the same ilk. I would say unless your relationship has been full of these kind of conversations in a way that is positive you should just send her a peppy note telling her you had a great time and talking about something non-emotional, like some food you had together or somewhere you went. And carry on from there.
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Old February 28 2013, 11:47 PM   #5
Deranged Nasat
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Re: Over-dependency on friends and relatives

teacake wrote: View Post
That depends Deranged.. if telling your conclusions will be seen as more stuff about you that is needy of a response from her. The problem with people telling this kind of thing is that the person who hears it can't just say, "cool bro, whatever". They will feel they need to give a response of equal depth which if they already feel a bit pressured in the relationship in some way will be just one more thing of the same ilk. I would say unless your relationship has been full of these kind of conversations in a way that is positive you should just send her a peppy note telling her you had a great time and talking about something non-emotional, like some food you had together or somewhere you went. And carry on from there.
I definitely see the wisdom in what you're saying; but I'm sure you know what I'm like by now. These things gnaw at me, and I'm never sure if I should just carry on (and move on) or if I need to make up for it/address it in some way. And I do indeed worry about making things worse, or turning what wouldn't have bothered anyone into an annoyance by dwelling on it.
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Old March 1 2013, 12:00 AM   #6
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Re: Over-dependency on friends and relatives

Well then send her a card but keep it down to one sentence. Otherwise it becomes you dumping on her which is the same kind of thing as what you are worried about

One sentence of apology and lots of sentences of happiness
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Old March 1 2013, 12:00 AM   #7
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Re: Over-dependency on friends and relatives

Dude, let it go. Making a big deal out of it will probably just come off as a "Let's Make It All About Me" moment, even if that's the complete opposite of what you intend. You said you "foolishly" had been "clinging" to this idealized version of your relationship---I think you kinda already know that you, as her sibling, need to let her go. After all, she's a well-rounded, functioning adult who has gone out into the world to live her life. That's what you WANT her to do. Be happy for and try not to dwell on the fact that you might not be as close as you want right now.

Besides, relationships change, people change, circumstances change. Such is life, my friend.
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Old March 1 2013, 01:44 AM   #8
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Re: Over-dependency on friends and relatives

auntiehill wrote: View Post
Dude, let it go. Making a big deal out of it will probably just come off as a "Let's Make It All About Me" moment, even if that's the complete opposite of what you intend. You said you "foolishly" had been "clinging" to this idealized version of your relationship---I think you kinda already know that you, as her sibling, need to let her go. After all, she's a well-rounded, functioning adult who has gone out into the world to live her life. That's what you WANT her to do. Be happy for and try not to dwell on the fact that you might not be as close as you want right now.

Besides, relationships change, people change, circumstances change. Such is life, my friend.
I think she's got it right here. Relationships do change. I'm not sure how many siblings you have, but I have two and the dynamics have changed so much over time. I remember being in school and my brother and sister being a lot closer to each other than to me. Then my sister and I were inseparable, nowadays I have a lot in common with my brother, etc.

It's also okay to need someone more than they need you. Just watch how you act on that and let it shape you. If it prevents you from doing more with your life, that's not healthy. But not all relationships are always going to be evenly balanced. I've been way more dependent on my family and friends in the past several months since I filed for divorce. I'll want to tell someone something, or just be lonely, and before it all fell to my husband. Now I am totally the one calling other people and bugging them. Do they think of me as often as I think of them? Probably not. But I know that they love me and support me, and hopefully I'm not going overboard with neediness.

Over-dependency is when you're so dependent that it's preventing you from having a happier, or more fulfilling life. I don't think you need to address any of this with her. Just sort yourself out, shuffle some priorities around, and try to have fulfilling relationships with the people in your life, whatever the terms are.
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Old March 1 2013, 03:29 AM   #9
Gul Re'jal
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Re: Over-dependency on friends and relatives

I have no siblings, so I can't really relate here, but I have friends and sometimes they go on with their changed lives while I'm stuck somewhere else and am not allowed, so to speak, to follow.

But I think talking about it to her is not a good idea. It I were in such a situation, I'd worry I could make her feel guilty and uncomfortable that she made me feel abandoned and I can't think that could be good or could improve anything.

Be like Borg - adapt. She moved on with her life. So you do the same. I know you're in tough place in your life right now and that change doesn't come easy, but I think the best is to relax and go on. It's not that you won't see her again, not that you're on "don't speak to you" terms. She's still there, just a bit farther, that's all.
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Old March 1 2013, 11:19 AM   #10
Deranged Nasat
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Re: Over-dependency on friends and relatives

Yes, thank you everyone. Really, I already knew what you're all telling me, but I needed a few of you to spell it out before I was completely ready to accept it.

Thanks.
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Old March 2 2013, 12:38 PM   #11
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Re: Over-dependency on friends and relatives

I'm sure if she knew how it would make you feel, she would not have shown any kind of reaction, and would have spared you this... find comfort that it was probably unintentional, or maybe she had something else on her mind and you assumed it was about you... I find the assumptions we make are often wrong. Give her the benefit of the doubt, you will feel better, and you will certainly be dealing with her more fairly, unless she verbalized or acted out your suspicions in a direct way, all they are are suspicions right now. And unfounded suspicions can drive people apart.

It's always best not to lean too much on others though, unless you cannot avoid it, in which case you should of course ask for help without hesitation... leaves you with your dignity and satisfaction in personal accomplishments and puts less stress on relationships.

Simply try to spend more time focusing on what makes you happy, rather than the things that weaken you or make you unhappy. The difference between a person at peace, and an anxious person is not necessarily their life circumstances, but the things they choose to spend their time thinking about... Easier said than done of course... you're stronger than you think, we always are, just chip away a little each day - self soothing and being positive, and you will definitely make progress, more than you think is possible.

Good luck, and feel free to post back on your progress. Best wishes.
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Old March 2 2013, 06:11 PM   #12
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Re: Over-dependency on friends and relatives

Nasat, you're fine, you're normal. You've realized something, possible actions, and the one i think it is you've decided on--dealing with it on your own and remaining open to your sister--seems like the right one.

If you grated on her at the end of your trip, that's normal with visiting people, too. Send a thank you card, or gift, or whatever, to her to let her know you appreciate her letting you visit and being good company. Them don't worry about it as long as things stay good between you.

As for, you, yes! Look into expanding your own life and circle.

You know, not everyone goes out with a bunch of friends all the time, or even occasionally. It's possible to have a few really good friends, whom you see only a few times a year, if that. Then there's the, week, more acquaintances that you might get pizza with or watch tv with. And creative people are often somewhat loners.

Don't feel that you have to live up to what you think are the expectations of others. What works for them may not work for you, and vice-versa.
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Old March 4 2013, 06:34 AM   #13
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Re: Over-dependency on friends and relatives

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
Yes, thank you everyone. Really, I already knew what you're all telling me, but I needed a few of you to spell it out before I was completely ready to accept it.

Thanks.
Well now, my work here is done... and I didn't even say anything!

Seriously, I think all you needed was a little confidence that you were thinking the right thing all along. Some very good advice here was: don't say anything, learn and grow. Siblings often grow apart, because their lives change and evolve. It doesn't mean you love each other any less.

From your posts, confidence in yourself means you will grow to be less dependent and more self-reliant. This, unfortunately, comes with age or life experiences. Rarely, do we learn it the easy way, my friend.
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