Breaking up with friends
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Marilyn McKenzie BSc, PGDip, MBACP
20th January, 20180 Comments
Loss can be traumatic for most people. Even when you know the end is coming, when it actually happens it can feel like your heart actually hurts and may ask yourself if you will ever get over this pain.
When breaking up with a partner it can feel similar. You had a vision of how your life would be with this person and now they and your view of your joint future are gone. So you grieve, hang around people who care about you and eventually move on with life or learn to life with the loss.
When breaking up with friends people often assume that it's a different kind of loss. Your confidant, The person who you thought knew you best and you them, is no longer there. However, same as in marriage there can be a division of the friendship group. Depending on how the friendship ended, a lot of resentment can brew within you and the grieving process might still need to be processed like the end of a partnership between lovers.
When losing a close friend it can be surprising on how we deal with it. If you drifted apart then you might think of them fondly from time to time. If there was an argument there can be some "what if's" present. If there was a crossing of boundaries and the break sudden then you might evaluate your whole sense of who you and your ex-friend was. The person who you would laugh with and thought would always be there for each other isn't and you can't help but feel that this is just like breaking up with a partner.
All the intimate secrets that you shared should remain private but that doesn't always happen. Anger and sadness can fill you and the loneliness might feel unbearable. Who will take their place or whether anyone can be that close friend for you and you them.
Break ups between friends can hurt and like any other solid relationship and attachment. The loss of the other can take a while to heal. People don't often think of coming to counselling after a falling out with friends in the same way they would if they were upset at the ending of and romantic partnership but the feelings can be so similar that I often wonder why.
If you feel as though losing a friend is a major loss to your life and want to seek help please don't be shy about it. If you were close to someone then the loss will feel huge and that's nothing to be ashamed of.
About the author
I am Marilyn McKenzie and I am a qualified Psychotherapist who has worked with Couples, Addiction, DV, Young Offending, Grief and Bereavement as well as Anxiety and Depression.
I am Integrative in my approach but often work Systemically. I have a private practise and work with Relate.
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