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Take Things Very Negatively & Hurt Friends, but Never on Purpose

by Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

For the past 7 months or so, I have been feeling very irritable and upset. I notice I tend to takes things negatively almost immediately and realize I probably shouldn’t. Work is stressing me out when it never used to and I have trouble staying focused and concentrating. I am supposed to be close to graduation, but I am nervous about actually being ready. I feel like my friends are hurting me and then I hurt them back but don’t really mean to. My friends then ignore me and it makes me feel even worse and resentful. I feel like I only have one friend who really talks to me anymore. She thinks I should see a therapist, but it really scares me and makes me uncomfortable to be honest. My friend has offered to come with me the first time if I go. Do you think I should go and would her coming with be a good idea?(I realize I already submitted something, I sent it ahead of when I finished by accident).

You have noticed a change in your mood and this is likely contributing to how you’re treating your friends. It may be a case of displacement. Displacement is a psychological defense mechanism where you take out your frustrations or anger on people who have little or no connection to what is causing your unhappiness. Essentially, displacement is misdirected anger.

You may be worried about your future and thus have become hypersensitive to what others are saying about you or what you perceive others are saying about you.

You stated that you “feel like” your friends are hurting you but it’s important to recognize that you could be wrong. Just because you feel like something is true does not mean that it is true. Your perception of these situations might be skewed. The fact that you have noticed a change in your mood increases the possibility that you’re wrong about the intentions of your friends. It’s important that this issue be resolved because it might be damaging your friendships.

Your friend wisely suggested that you consult a therapist. You should do this. Counseling could provide an objective third-party perspective that may be necessary in this situation. Yes, you could bring her to your first appointment but it really isn’t necessary. Therapy is a positive experience. They are there to help you feel better. They will do the talking and ask the questions. It’s not like a test in school. You don’t need to study or to get ready. Just go in and talk. If you are nervous at first, they will make it very easy and pleasant for you.

The purpose of counseling is to help clients improve the quality of their lives. I would encourage you to consider it and hope that you will. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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