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Old 08-25-2008, 03:21 PM   #1
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Need to learn to stop caring for others

This deals not with my significant other, but with friendships in general. I basically want to learn to stop caring for others...not out of selfishness, but so I won't need to deal with the heartbreak I feel when I lose friends for any reason.

No, I'm not jut spouting this out of the blue. My very best friend is graduating in a couple of weeks. I am very proud of him, but I am also an emotional wreck. This man was the only person who meant enough to me in the last three years to see every day. I found I got upset if I didn't see him at least once a day, and I took him for granted these last few years. Now that he's going to be graduating and moving 600 miles away (no choice on his part), I am slowly going insane. I cry every day, usually multiple times a day, I feel nauseous, and I am very tense. Today I prayed no one would speak to me or my instructor wouldn't ask me anything because I was very much ready to snap on someone. If I am acting like this when my friend is still here, I am so scared to think of how I may act when he has left. I might see if my doctor can drug me up or something because I really do not want to turn to other forms of substance use to keep myself sane.

I have made myself a promise that, from now on, I will no longer make friends beyond the few I have left who still care. I know because I am so bad at making new friends, I get way too attached (not clingy, but emotionally attached) to the real friends I do make. I do not want to feel this awful heartbreak anymore and I realize the best way to stop the pain is to not create meaningful relationships with anyone anymore. If I have no friends, I can't be sad when they move away or die, right? I've thought of telling all my current friends to leave me alone as well, just to prevent any chance of them abandoning me in the future. I've also thought of re-homing my cats and leaving my boyfriend so I won't be upset when they die or otherwise need to leave.

Has anyone else ever felt this way? If so, how did you cope? I promise I am not trying to troll...I genuinely am feeling sick, upset and unstable right now and I don't want to tell anyone I know about my current mood.

 
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Old 08-25-2008, 06:15 PM   #2
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Re: Need to learn to stop caring for others

You can't do that. Don't stop caring for other people, because that means denying your very self. Instead, you just have to develop ways of becoming stronger and accepting the incertitudes of life and moving on. The transience of life. Do you think life would be better if people were the same all the time, if everything was entirely predictable, and if you could stop time?

I think it would help you to bear two small things in your mind:

1. When a friend leaves, or when you lose a friend, you are not the only one who feels the pain, you are not the only one who loses a friend. So does the other party in the majority of the cases. You are not alone in your predicament. I am afraid you are being too self-centred in this case.

2. When a friend leaves, his departure doesn't necessarily mean that he is no longer your friend. In many cases, a friendship will suffer from the long distance, but there are many ways today of keeping it going on. You just have to invest some effort and dedication into this. Are you too lazy to do this? And what about your memories? Don't they have any value?

Don't buy into the idea that life must be always pleasurable and comfortable.

Last edited by pendulum; 08-25-2008 at 06:17 PM.

 
Old 08-25-2008, 07:28 PM   #3
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Re: Need to learn to stop caring for others

Trust me, I know he feels the pain too. He has cried numerous times over this and he never cries over anything, so I know he's hurting as well. I would move with him to his hometown if I didn't have 3 more semesters to go here.

I also know I will not lose his friendship, but I fear we will end up like all other friends who become separated by a distance and lose contact. I am willing to make all effort to keep contact - I have done so in the past with friends who moved far away, and it was always them who ended up not answering my calls and flat-out ignoring me.

Memories, while great, can only help me feel a little better. It often takes me a year or more to get over losing anyone in any way who meant a lot to me. It takes me that year to be able to smile when I remember them instead of cry, and this goes for relatives, pets, and friends alike. It took me a year to get over losing someone who I knew for three months...I cringe to think how long it will take me to get over my friend of three years moving away, if I do get over it.

I know life will never always be wonderful...it just strikes me deeper than usual because my friend and I have always seen one another through those tough times, been one another's crying shoulder and helped the other cope. It will be that much harder on us both not having one another to grieve with. I know I talk like I'm the only person in the world to have lost a friend, but this is just something I cannot handle as well as others who are adept at making friends. I hate people as a rule, but human biology dictates that all of us crave social interaction. So I'm in the middle of a conflict between my instinct and my desire, and it's pulling me in totally opposite directions. I cannot just go and make new friends to replace my lost ones.

I'm sorry if I sound very vitriolic...I promise I'm not yelling or venting. Just...it's hard to be upset about the loss of a friend in the face of tons of folks who lose friends every day and who are used to it. I know very few, if any people feel the pain I feel when they lose a friend.

I still do think just cutting everyone out is the best way to go. If I want to avoid the negative result of something, why not remove or abstain from the cause?

For example, a person may love cheeseburgers, but they hate getting fat from eating them all the time. So, rather than eat more burgers to temporarily enjoy them and eventually get fatter from them, why not just eliminate them entirely? That way, you won't get fat from the burgers...you will miss out on the pleasure of eating them, but you also won't need to deal with the inevitable weight gain.

I hate to compare my friends to cheeseburgers , but do you kind of get my point? If the source of the pain is not there, the pain cannot be felt. I will feel another pain - the pain of having no one - but I will also be exempt from the pain of losing those friends, be it through relocation or death. To me, it seems foolproof. I will likely keep my current friends, pets and BF, but I think I will still give everyone else the cold shoulder. I have plenty of loved ones in my life who will eventually get ill or die that will cause me great heartache and I don't need any more.

Thank you, though, for your insights. I hope I didn't come off as rude or ranty in what I just wrote. I'm not trying to necessarily argue with you, but more explain how this all looks from my perspective.

 
Old 08-25-2008, 07:35 PM   #4
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Re: Need to learn to stop caring for others

Wow...if you do all that...then what's the joy in life? You know, a couple years ago I lost my chihuahua that had been my constant companion for 9 years. I told myself then I would NEVER have another dog because I just couldn't take losing them. I would gladly do without all the joy she had brought me because at the end the pain wasn't really worth it and overshadowed it. Even now when I think of her I seldom think of her life or the good times, instead my mind goes to her death and how things happened when I lost her.

I decided to get a cat. I thought (in my warped mind) that I couldn't love a cat like my dog as they are too independant. WRONG. I now have three and love them all dearly and worry about them just like I did my little dog! Heres the thing...or the point I am making in a really round about way.....you really can't just turn off all the sides of you that are human. Humans are made to love and become emotionally invested. No matter what you do or say someone, somewhere is going to touch your soul and you cutting yourself off from friends you have now is only going to cause you more pain, when at the moment what you need is their support!

Please ask someone for help. Please take the wall down and allow someone to get close enough to you right now to see how this friend moving is hurting you. People really do need each other to survive.

I am sorry you are going through this pain of losing someone to so many miles between you...but can you plan a trip in the future that you can look forward to for a visit? He is moving 600 miles away, he isn't dropping off the face of the earth. Plan when you might see him again....even if its months ahead and it might help you to see that this isn't the end of the world, and also give you something to look forward too!

Mileena

 
Old 08-25-2008, 09:42 PM   #5
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Re: Need to learn to stop caring for others

It is said that all experiences teach us about ourselves, the worse ones even more so. You are discovering things about yourself and your capacity for feeling pain and loss. This is almost an inevitable consequence of being a normal caring human being. You care so you are hurting now. This is hard, but imagine the alternative..An emotional range that runs from mild pleasure, through indifference all the way to mild sadness. How awful that would be. I know people like this (I am sure we all do), and a lot of it is due to fear of the negative emotions. I will not tell you to think on the positives etc etc, but to really be there in this emotion, feel it and embrace it. It proves that you are alive and human, and that you are also capable of the other extreme which is great joy. Then you will be able to let it go and focus on whatever your life is doing. The best thing to know about great sadness is that it cannot be sustained constantly (in healthy people) for too long, it will always lift at some point. You cannot give up on caring; it is your nature to care deeply, and this has its rewards and its "punishments". This is life, none of us get out of here alive. Sera

 
Old 08-25-2008, 10:47 PM   #6
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Re: Need to learn to stop caring for others

sadly this is a part of life.

there are givers and takers. and you my friend are a giver. and so am i, and thats just the way it will be. for you asking not to care about others, is asking to not be human.

i have moved around a lot in the past few years and i've gotten to realize who my real friends are through it all. the one's that call you and want to see how you are doing without initiation...those...those are the one's to keep.

it is life. things effect people in different ways. but what doesn't kill you...yep...makes you stronger. its like...some people give money to homeless people some do not, some people are givers...some are not. some people are compassionate, some are not. you just have to choose the right people to let into your life!

 
Old 08-25-2008, 11:22 PM   #7
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Re: Need to learn to stop caring for others

I wish I had a friend that cared about me that much. Most of my freinds only cared about using me for my money. Good luck though I am sure you will make it.

 
Old 08-25-2008, 11:27 PM   #8
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Re: Need to learn to stop caring for others

Regardless of your choices, pain will always be an aquaintance.

Pain happens. We can't stop it. I guess we're not supposed to.

The first thing you need to realize is that pain can't kill you. Unless you decide to let it, of course.

The second thing you need to understand is that life isn't being REALLY mean to you - it's trying to teach or show you something.

<shrugs> That's just my opinion for what it's worth.

Last edited by rpett; 08-25-2008 at 11:45 PM.

 
Old 08-26-2008, 08:06 AM   #9
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Re: Need to learn to stop caring for others

I am not good at opening up to people, and the only person I really would tell this to is my friend. He's stressed out already with his impending graduation, and I don't want to add to his stress. Besides, I don't think anyone could actually help me because I know they'd just tell me to "get over it" and construe my feelings as those of a typical over-emotional girl. If there is anyone I would want to help me, it would be someone who has numbed themselves enough to be emotionless, or to the point where they feel only mild emotion. I may lose the ability to be ecstatic, but I'd also lose the ability to have intense fits of sadness like I am having currently.

Honestly, I think I would like to try and abstain from being human as much as possible in the emotional sense. I think by training the emotion out of myself through a lot of self-discipline, I could become....almost a superhuman, who is immune to the emotions that weaken people. I could deal with mild sadness and mild joy all the time, and not be incapacitated by the extreme forms of either sensation. And it is clear that I am paralyzed by my extreme sadness, and that paralysis would only inhibit my ability to function in important situations. I know I will still be human due to other factors...hunger, physical pain, the need to breathe, and so forth. But what I think I'd like to become is a physical human with a 'robot' mind. A hybrid creature that is condemned to the physical limitations of a human, but with the ability to not let my guard down as the result of emotion. I think this is something to truly strive for because it will result in incredible mental strength, yes?

I know I can never stop pain altogether, but I can drastically reduce the amount of pain I feel in my life by not establishing new personal relationships. I think if I learn to live not being dependent on others to keep me company, I will be better off in the long run because I will have achieved a far greater sense of independence; I would become a mental hermit, in a sense. While everyone else will age and be forced to watch their tons of friends die one by one, I will age and be able to keep on going. I won't need to take time off work to attend a funeral. I won't need to be paralyzed by sadness I'd otherwise have never felt if I did not allow myself to be pulled into a relationship with that person. Personally, I think the benefits outweigh the downsides.

Pain may not be able to kill me, but I can't count how many times being in pain has made me simply want to die. And life is much too short to be wallowing in tears wishing oneself dead, soooo...why not "extend" life, so to speak, by cutting people out and wasting little or no time mourning?

I know I will have to face more pain later on, because I do have loved ones in my life right now whom I do not want to cut out. However, I wish to limit the pain I am destined to experience by not allowing more people to invade my mind and my life in order to establish relationships of any sort, because I know friendships provide only temporary joy...and then inevitably end in sadness and pain when the friend leaves or dies. So, why invest the time and effort in a relationship that is doomed to end anyway? That's like buying a Hummer - you'll get one to drive it around and look cool, but eventually it's going to hurt you when you can't afford to fuel it and then you'll have to try and sell it to people who are buying hybrid cars and non-gas-guzzlers.

If friendships were the other way around, they may be more bearable...they start off somewhat painful or annoying, but then end with joy. I would consider making myself more open to people if I could get the bad experience out of the way from the start and then enjoy the pleasure for the remainder of the relationship. That, I believe, would make the friendship more worth conceiving, but the way it is now...it's not really anything I want to deal with any more.

Thank you all for your input, though. I know I am probably becoming a little difficult to understand, and whomever runs the board is probably scratching their head. I seem to be writing short novels for responses too. Oops.

 
Old 08-26-2008, 10:33 AM   #10
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Re: Need to learn to stop caring for others

Well I guess if you want to talk to someone who is nummed and emotionless that would probably be me. I went through so much pain, isoloation, and abandanment through growing up that nothing really effects me. I receantly just left my city and didnt even say goodbye to a lot of my friends. The best advice I can give is just to not see this person after they leave. Talk to them once in a while but don't change your life aorund for them. You will make new freinds, I have found through time that most people have the same inherent qualities, yes some of course are better than others, but mostly it is what you bring out of them. I dont think cutting off people mentally is a good idea. You just gotto realize that this is how life is, people come and people go. Make the best of it while they are around, and know when they leave they are going on there journey to a better place. Maybe it is easier for me as a male but I say don't do the things you are talking about. Isolatioin is not good. Maybe try some spirtual stuff? Eckhart tolle..Power of Now...check it out. Dont give up on freindships and realtionships, that is what the best things in life are composed of.

 
Old 08-27-2008, 09:52 AM   #11
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Re: Need to learn to stop caring for others

Yeah, but that's just the thing...I don't want to make new friends. Being lonely is totally lame, but I'd rather take the loneliness over the grief I'll inevitably feel when friends abandon me or die on me. I don't think friendships are an essential part of life, really. People just think they are because there's so many people in the world right now and we are taught that we NEED to establish these personal relationships to be "healthy" when, in reality, I think anyone could thrive without the interference of friendship or love with a little effort.

It's just harder to thrive when you have already experienced love or friendship. I have a feeling I could be happy without friends if I can just find the proper way to spend my free time. I could occupy my free time with a job, a hobby (that is not dependent on being social), being a cat-petter at a local shelter...I will need to deal with people in thee settings, but not on a personal level. Life may be easier if I don't have people hanging off me left and right, dumping their emotional baggage in my lap, expecting me to do things for them, and so on.

I also am somewhat into spiritual things...particularly spirit communication. So, I may also possibly be-friend someone on the astral plane.

Perhaps I am developing depression...I have quite a few of the symptoms. Lately, aside from my sadness, I have been feeling very irritable, haven't wanted to go anywhere, and just have no motivation to do anything...even things I like. When I'm around my friend, I feel fine...when I'm not, I am miserable. A tiny part of me almost wishes I never met him so I wouldn't be feeling this awful heartbreak now as the result of him leaving. If I'd have known I was going to be this upset from him leaving, I may have distanced myself from him from the beginning to prevent this pain. The friendship was worth it when it started, but now that it may end, it feels like it was never worth it.

 
Old 08-27-2008, 10:09 AM   #12
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Re: Need to learn to stop caring for others

So let me get this right....you are planning to never again have a new friend and once all your old friends are gone, then you are no longer a slave to your emotions and would be "numb" to any and all pain after that?

Ahhhh in a perfect world!

For starters I don't think it would be possbile for you to do this, as you stated in the OP that you seemed to feel pain more intently than you believed others did.....if you find a way to turn that off then you need to bottle it and make yourself some money.

Second, if you were able to do this (impossible) then you are becoming a shell of a person and even stating that you wanted to become subhuman and have a robot mind. Here is my advice: Get some help. Fast. Get into some kind of therapy, and start telling real people these things (not the computer people we are). You seem to be building this fantasy land in your head where you can go through life happy and detached. It doesn't exist and I am concerned that you might become so involved with building this world that doesnt exist that you lose touch with the real things around you (which is what you have in mind I know). This kind of thinking is not emotionally, or mentally healthy for you. Before you get into this any deeper go out and seek the help you need. Please.

Mileena

Last edited by Mileena42; 08-27-2008 at 10:10 AM.

 
Old 08-27-2008, 10:33 AM   #13
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Re: Need to learn to stop caring for others

Nah I would not suggest going to a therapist. That is not something I think is necessary. Yes they may be able to temporarily comfort you, but overall it is you that needs to change the way you think. Or more so the reaction you are having. It is like a catalyst that you are refueling with the redundant negative thoughts. You can't change the event, but you can change the way you react to it. Think of it is a positive thing. This friend of yours is moving on to bigger and bigger things. Be happy and positive that this perosn is purseing there dream, and I am sure you have been there to help him in the process. I think you are just having a huge emotional reaction and these thoughts you are having are temporarily irrational. Give it time, remeber the old adadge 'out of sight, out of mind'. I have feel head over heal for girls before...had some short realtions and then when they had to go or whatever I felt devasted. All it took was some time. Time heals everything. Please do not cut off human contact. Everyone goes through these things, it is the trials and tribulations in life. If you really beleive that you are getting depressed than maybe seek out help. I think it is more of an reaction to your friend leaving, and I think that it should past. However, I am not you, so you need to do what you feel is necessary. Remeber the old buddhist saying, "This too shall pass". Maybe check into some spirtual stuff, that is what I did when I was getting on the ropes with myself. I started reading the bible, going to church, reading eckhart tolle, buddism, readings on Jesus, and so on. Maybe some alone time would be good to regroup yourself and then return to the 'human' world and re-establish friends down the road. Just remeber and this is the way I think, everything happens for a reason. Every person you meet, every event that happens...is for a reason. Each friend serves as a reference point for your overall human growth, emotionally, menataly, spirtually. People serve to find that core confidence and self-esteem we had when were born. We are all one and on the same path. Every person has its significance to you and your potential. Sometimes that means of a person leaving you, or sometimes it is a person loveing you, sometimes it is makeing an enemy of someone. It is all for human growth and your potential. Good luck and posts any more questions our comments if you have any.

Last edited by Mr.G; 08-27-2008 at 10:41 AM.

 
Old 08-27-2008, 11:46 AM   #14
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Re: Need to learn to stop caring for others

Quote:
if you find a way to turn that off then you need to bottle it and make yourself some money.
I think it's already being marketed under the name "Bacardi"

I would seek help...but I can't expect the type of individual I am attempting to distance myself from to understand what I am feeling or what I am attempting. I know I will probably be blown off, or possibly admitted (haven't the time for that - I have a degree to get) or just have some happy pills thrown at me. I kind of want to be drugged into calmness, but I would refer to do so (legally) without a "professional" telling me I need to change this or that. That, and I haven't the money for a shrink. I can't afford $50 an hour when I'm counting my coins out for ramen and rice.

I don't meant o argue too vehemently, but may I ask something, Mileena42? Is my plan (if it can be called that) unhealthy for me, or is it unhealthy because we as humans are told we can't live without interaction with other people? I'm not saying you're wrong and I'm right or vice versa, but I am just wondering if how I feel appears unhealthy because we have been taught to find deviant forms of mental behavior to be wrong or unhealthy. I'm kinda just thinking out loud, but am I making sense? My coffee should kick in real soon and I may get more coherent as the post progresses.

Mcgunther, you could be right...time may heal me, or it may not. I admit with each bout of sadness I felt in my life - relatives dying, friends abandoning me, pets dying and so forth - I did eventually move on. Somehow my current feelings of sadness seem different; with each instance of loss I've felt, I just knew intrinsically the end of that relationship was near...Grandma getting old and ill, my friends not talking to me, my pets getting weaker in their double-digit years...I guess a large part of me figured my friend would stay here, especially after we talked a couple weeks ago and he decided he'd stay in this city for a few months so we could goof off for a while longer and then we'd move on, either together or separately.

He changes his mind so damn much about things that it has me spinning in circles, and I think that is making this particular loss that much more heartbreaking. I don't know whether or not to feel happy when he says he's staying, or sad when he says he's going, and my mind is just at odds with itself, not knowing what in the heck to actually think or feel in regards to his graduating.

Believe me, I am very happy for him for graduating - getting a bachelor's degree in his major is very impressive and I am proud of him. I know he will excel in his field, and I have told him I don't want him to stay behind if it means it will prevent him from finding a good job. I know he will be going on to great things, and I realize trying to make him stay will make me very selfish and I don't want to hold him back, but on the other hand, I don't want him to leave. Cue more confusion and opposition in my head.

And my conclusion is I could avoid future confusions by not allowing people to get this close to me anymore. If I don't care, I won't be hurting. Maybe these feelings will pass like all the others, or maybe this will be the straw that breaks the camels back and sends me spiraling into long-lasting depression. I don't know, but if time will do anything, it will determine how crazy I become as a result of all of this.

 
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