"Is it the sea you hear in me, its dissatisfactions? Or the voice of nothing, that was your madness?"
May 4, 2012 2:58 PM Subscribe
How do I deal with my (very insecure and overly sensitive) friend's tendency to take things said in passing as deep, personal criticisms? I used to be able to take it in stride but his recent prescription steroid treatments have ramped this trait up to stratospheric levels.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
In the last year my friend has been diagnosed with a physical medical condition that requires treatment with prescription steroids. While he's always been mildly depressed, the steroids have made him deeply depressed and intensified other emotional issues. He's being treated for the depression and has a good support system in place so at least that part is covered.
Another problem he's always had is really low self-esteem, which makes him very, very sensitive to things other people do or say...even if what's said or done isn't directly related to or about him. There are times when he takes innocent situations and conversations and interprets them as personal insults or slights. Like I said above, the steroids have made this tendency so much worse. Where he might've taken something too personally before, but brushed it off eventually, now he'll literally worry himself sick (to the point of vomiting).
I'm not going to DTMF because I love this friend dearly and I've known him forever. I want to be a good friend but having to watch everything I say because it might be taken the wrong way is not something I'm sure I can (or want) do, especially when he gets upset but never says anything to me. If I have no way to know when something I've said bothers him, there's nothing I can do to fix any problems that might be my fault. I'm willing to accept that I'm to blame some of the time, but everything can't be my fault.
Is there any way to get him to open up to me? How can I word it so that I don't hurt him but I can still let him know that he's sometimes making mountains out of molehills? Lastly, any ideas on how I can maintain my equilibrium when it feels like he's constantly freaking out about things that I had no idea were a problem (and might only be a problem in his head)?