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My Best Friend Has Been Self-Deprecating for 3 Years Ever Since a Bad Best Friendship

I’ll start with a background. I’ve been best friends with (Lets call him David for privacy) David for 3 years now. He is diagnosed with anxiety and depression. We started being friends shortly after he stopped being friends with another guy (named Alex for privacy). Alex basically (from what i’ve heard) was a terrible friend. He started ignoring David, lying to him, saying mean things,and even ruining other relationships to be closer to David. I feel like these experiences for David have traumatized him where he is always bringing himself down for every little thing he does. Everything he does is wrong. This, in turn, means everything that I do correct. This makes it extremely hard to be open about things in our relationship, which i think is needed for a healthy relationship. He places me on a pedastool for everything, and I cant feel comforble with that. I know that he is also right in his own way, and its healthy to compromise. I feel like we cant compromise because i am always the right one no matter what. I’ve been getting overwhelemed with it and I’m not sure what to do. I feel like anything I say will make him feel bad about himself for the next few months. Whenever I bring up something, he shuts down and can’t say anything. I usually feel like I just caused a mental breakdown, as he has had a few in the past. He does have a therapist, and has had one for 2 years. I know this might’ve been scatter brained, because thats how i feel right now. Thank you!

You mentioned that your friend is diagnosed with anxiety and depression. This seems to be causing problems in the relationship. There’s very little you can do except encourage him to seek help. He’s had a therapist for two years and progress takes time.

It’s also possible that his therapy is not working. You might suggest that he try a new therapist or new type of therapy.

Otherwise, there’s little else you can do. Psychologically, this is how he behaves, at least for now. It can be difficult to be in a relationship with someone experiencing psychological problems. That’s because psychological problems often impact interpersonal relationships. You seem to be experiencing that firsthand.

Ultimately, you’ll have to decide whether or not you want to continue this relationship. It does not have to be an all or nothing situation: that the two of you are either best friends or not friends at all. Rather, you might try limiting the time you spend with him. That might be a better way to manage the relationship. Thanks for your question. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

from Ask the Therapist

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