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Anxiety and Stress Disorders

Friendship Crisis

05/14/2010

Question:

Dear Doctor,

I am a male of 39 years old and have been undergoing a strange situation. This is because of one of my childhood friends (a male 38 years old person). My friend and me have shared our views and used to have a good relation all through our past days. But, nowadays this friend of mine has become quite successful and rich and suddenly started behaving very strange to everybody; especially to me.

Due to the nature of his profession (I.T. Professional), he had been abroad several times and nowadays back home. He always complains about our country and finds all of us responsible for this. According to him, he pays a fat amount of money towards Government Taxes and that is enough he could do for his country. It is rather us, according to him, who should be pro-active to make our country a better place since we do not pay taxes as much as he pays.

He always tries to humiliate his friends in front of everybody for several things. For example : He feels he has a very good knowledge of Music, Literature, Sports, Arts, Movies (actually “everything”) than all of his friends and tries to establish his comment about these things as a final verdict.

Of late, we i.e. the common friends have stopped having contact with this friend for these reasons. And the isolation, thus faced by him, has made him very angry. Due to this, he has started passing nasty comments on us. He is even trying to defame us by every possible means.

According to him, it is our “ego” which disabled us to mix up with him normally. He thinks that all of his friends are very jealous for what he is at present. We have tried to explain him that it is not the “ego” which is creating difference but something else. We intimated him that he should be more sensitive to judge these feelings. But he refused to be a sensitive person and to consider the feelings of his childhood friends.

I have no idea about the state of mind, he is going through. But for me, I can tell you, it is a very difficult one since he happens to be one of my very good child hood friends and I just can’t afford to maintain an enmity with him.

Please suggest what I should do.

Thanx n regards.

Answer:

While it is always difficult when friends drift apart, it is certainly not unusual.  However, this site is for answering questions related to stress and anxiety disorders.  Should you be finding that the change in your relationship with your friend is causing you significant stress related distress, such as difficulty sleeping, appetite changes, trouble concentrating and even physical symptoms such as palpitations, trembling, and sweating, I would encourage you to see a mental health professional, such as a counselor or therapist.

Loss of a friendship is much like any other loss, and people actually go through stages of grieving -- anger, bargaining, acceptance.  Working with a counselor, trusted friend or a spiritual guide can be helpful as you work through the changes in your relationship.

Good luck

For more information:

Go to the Anxiety and Stress Disorders health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Nancy   Elder, MD Nancy Elder, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati