Ex-BFFs: A Coping Guide From Painful XP

Many of us are blessed to have best friends in our lives. You know those cool people that we just click with and accumulate wonderful experiences alongside? Having a supportive BFF at your back is seriously the best thing ever.

What is the definition of a BFF, anyway? To me, this is someone you strongly relate to, can talk about absolutely anything with, would punch anyone for, and someone you will always love unconditionally.

They’re there for you in your darkest moments, and you’re there for them in theirs. Merely talking to them makes you smile and gives you comfort. They become as important to us as family members. Soul friends, as one of my best friends likes to put it.

Never in a million years could you ever imagine such a strong emotional bond being broken. Just like in all the cheesy stories, the power of true friendship can overcome anything, right??

Wrong!!

Sadly, harsh reality begs to differ. We are all human beings, and all human beings create drama. Longstanding close connections you took for granted can be nuked beyond repair in the blink of an eye. It’s those feelz, man.

Human emotions are the complex and messy elements in any relationship equation. When incompatible mental health issues meet, it can be comparable to the reactions that occur when fire touches ice or lightning strikes water.

None of these elements are inherently good or bad; they just clash.

Where this is all coming from

I’ve gone through what I would describe as the biggest personal relationship loss in my life recently. The closest best friend I’ve ever had the honor of knowing decided they were done with my drama and abruptly door-slammed me from their life, right after I had the happiest time of my life with them.

I did NOT handle that well AT ALL. I put myself through almost an entire year of emotional hell and made the whole sad situation a billion times worse in the process.

Sure. I could pull out a list of everything I wished my ex-BFF had done differently during our friendship (especially offering them some suggestions on how to more kindly cut ties with people who love you), but those thoughts are all irrelevant.

It is not my wish to vilify my ex-BFF because they are not the villain in my story. They are actually one of the most kindhearted, smart, beautiful and inspiring people I’ve ever had the pleasure knowing on such an intimate friend level. The disastrous drama that happened between us never changed that fact, nor made me ever stop loving them. In fact, I know I’ll always love them no matter what.

I’ll have you know the biggest villain in this story is me, thank you very much. If I can pull out a list of everything I wished my ex-BFF had done differently, I can write an entire encyclopedia boxed set on everything I wished I would have done differently.

Okay. It’s actually unfair to call me the villain here, too. That’s probably my depression making me feel extra guilty about everything I’ve ever done wrong. I’m a good person who deserves to have nice friends… probably? I hope so, anyway.

I needed professional help

I am a very intense overly emotional person. The rare people who get close to me will see the very best and absolute worst in me. I can’t hide my true feelings from my true friends.

If I trust you, I will tell you honestly what is in my heart at the given moment, whether you want to hear it or not. I wear my feelings on my sleeve for you to see, and can wave them around like the brightest red flag in the world.

It is not okay or healthy to be at the mercy of your own emotions like I was. Looking back with the knowledge of now, I can appreciate that my ex-BFF had reached their limit of dealing with my chaotically cycling emotional patterns.

I had developed a very unhealthy emotional dependence on my ex-BFF, to say the least. Whenever I needed to vent about anything, they were merely a message away and always made me feel very, very happy whenever they talked to me. The friendship with my ex-BFF had become the only good thing I could see in my life, and I was clinging onto it like a life preserver.

When that life preserver fully deflated from all the holes I inadvertently poked into it, it felt like I was drowning. My beloved confidant had abandoned my continuously sinking ship, and they were no longer there to save me from myself. Whoa… see! Told you I’m intense.

The best thing that came from this situation is that I made myself so miserable, I was finally able to get professional mental health help from my country’s healthcare system.

My newly appointed therapist officially confirmed that I was suffering with depression, anxiety, and that my brain is hardwired to experience emotions more intensely than most humans.

I never got an official Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis from my therapist (based on my own personal research, I suggested that to her as a possible “what the hell is wrong with me”), but she did make it a point to mention that the coping strategies we went over were commonly used to treat that disorder as well.

One year of Dialectical Behavior Therapy later, I’m in a much better place. Far from perfectly okay, but at least growing properly in the right direction. I’m trying my very best to no longer allow my intense emotions to influence my behaviors, dammit.

I’d just like to add that it felt really awesome when my therapist told me I would be an easy fix. I had come to her already fully equipped with the hardest thing she has to teach most of her patients: self-awareness. Go me!

No always means no

Back to my deflated life preserver analogy, yes, it felt like I was drowning and my world had ended when my ex-BFF door-slammed me. Panic creates a whole bunch of awful emotions, and I sadly allowed those extra painful feelings to turn me into the craziest of trainwrecks.

The memories are mercifully quite foggy now, but wow, I seriously turned about as psycho as any traditional romantic ex can get, let me tell you. I remember blocking my ex-BFF everywhere, unblocking them everywhere, sending them multiple direct and indirect messages on social media, gifts, and so many other unwanted communications. I think I even had a fake Twitter and Patreon account to try to reach out to them at one point.

Yikes.

No. None of that was okay and I’m not at all proud of what I briefly became back there. That’s why I eventually destroyed every trace of my previous online self and totally disconnected from all social media for a few months. I felt like I was the worst friend ever and the most terrible human being on the planet. Sigh.

I’d like to say when I came back online I had finally learned to leave my ex-BFF alone, but no… no, I did not.

What made me decide to go back online in the first place was the pandemic and our world seemingly falling apart. My panicked feelings of worry triggered me to start contacting my ex-BFF again. I wanted to do everything in my power to help them, show them my love, and support them unconditionally during this globally difficult time for humanity.

Up until far too recently, I was utterly oblivious to the fact my help, love, and support is not at all wanted by them. And that truth hurts more than anything else happening in the world right now.

My big learning point here is this: when someone tells you to stop messaging them and leave them alone, listen to them. Forcing your support on someone who doesn’t want you in their life is wrong, even if you mean well. I know that concept sounds simple enough to grasp, but I could not for the life of me figure it out at the time for some reason.

Fact: I didn’t realize I was doing it, but I have disrespected my ex-BFF’s wishes, broken what little trust was left, and completely shattered the boundaries my ex-BFF was trying to set between us.

I take comfort in knowing that my big obnoxious heart was at least in the right place, but I was still doing the very wrong things, and venting my feelings about my ex-BFF in all the wrong ways. Ignorance is never an excuse for bad behaviors, just a reason for why they can happen.

We can only control us

I’ve given my depression a lot of direct shout-outs in this article, but my anxiety deserves far more friendship destroying credit than I’ve given it so far.

As an aside, anyone who lives with both of these mental health beasts will know that the internal battle between them is a never-ending emotional nightmare. It’s like a continuous cycling between being scared of death and wanting to die (or the really weird mental state of feeling both these statements at once).

I knew on some level that my life preserver was slowly deflating. My intuition could sense that beloved best friend connection slowly slipping away from my life one thread at a time, yet I wouldn’t listen to it. The vibes never lie, and ignoring them changed nothing.

As confirmed by my therapist, I’m also an empath. This means I can almost literally feel other people’s emotions and notice the subtlest of changes in people’s patterns. It’s like a horrible superpower I wish I could turn off sometimes. My own feelings are more than enough to deal with, thank you.

Anyway, good ol’ anxiety was picking up on all this and causing me to try and take control of everything.

Panic mode!! My bestest friend in the whole wide world is starting to not care about me anymore!! We have so many mutual friends and I can see them having so much fun without me!! I’m so JEALOUS!! Gr!! What do I do??!! I have to do something right now to stop this and make them love me again!! Paging all the irrational behaviors ever… stat!!

Okay!! Surely if I set out some goals, come up with a plan, proved my love for them, changed my ways, reminded them of all the good times we had, and gave them a bunch of things, all the relationship damage would magically be reversed!! My ex-BFF would forgive me and welcome me back into their life with open arms!! We will be true friends forever and fight the forces of evil together!!!

Nope. Sorry, but friendship doesn’t work like that, my dear panicking brain. I’m sure the only thing I achieved with all that was prove to my ex-BFF that I’m a clingy mess who needs further distancing away from.

Chill, anxiety.

A lot of good and bad things are going to happen to all of us as we bumble along our life paths. We cannot control what happens to us, only how we react to situations. Trying to control things beyond our, well… control, is a huge cause of so much unnecessary pain.

Worrying and overthinking everything doesn’t resolve anything. It only makes problems worse and creates problems where there were none.

We are actually never powerless, though! Nope. Never. See, we always have control of us. Truly understanding and learning how to wield that realization will get you through absolutely anything life throws at you.

None of us are here forever. Work well with what you get while you’re here. That’s the key to finding happiness whenever you lose it.

The only person who can save you is… you

Dear brain,

You will never be able to let go of our ex-BFF, and that’s okay. What you allowed your feelings to turn us into… not at all okay, but I know you weren’t trying to be an asshole on purpose. I forgive you and am proud that you’ve grown a lot from this harsh long term life lesson.

Guess what? This is what true love feels like to you, in your atypical demiromantic asexual way, and you didn’t at all know how to handle the powerful feelings that true love brings. You have a hard enough time processing your normal feelings, to be honest.

It’s all seriously okay! These extra hurt feelings do suck and make you feel lonely beyond words, but you’re actually not alone in nursing unrequited love wounds, that’s for sure. First love is quite difficult for everyone, and it ends very painfully for a lot of people.

True love is capable of both lifting us up to eternally blissful heights and sending us crashing down into the darkest of hells. Almost every song ever is about love for a reason. Now you understand why!

This entire experience is not something to be miserable and angry about for the rest of our life. This is something to be grateful for, actually. Few people ever experience such a deep level of true love for someone else. It’s rare.

I know, I know… you feel like we almost had a Player 2 in our life there for a bit and are quite devastated that it didn’t work out. They simply didn’t love us back, and that’s okay too.

Yes, I’m sorry. Our ex-BFF has ditched us and your drama (can you really blame them?), but you have a lot of happy memories with our ex-BFF, right? Those experiences should always be treasured. It really doesn’t matter if our ex-BFF cared about their time with us or not. That time mattered quite a lot to us!

No one is in our story forever, by the way. Be grateful for the friendships we still have while they’re here. Stop clinging onto other people because you’re terrified of losing them. That only ends up pushing them away. We don’t need to depend on anyone else for our happiness.

So brain, please stop doing everything you can think of in sad attempts to try to “win back” and justify yourself to our ex-BFF. They have decided to move ahead in their own story without us. How they feel about us is absolutely irrelevant to our story. Wish your ex-BFF all the happiness in the world. They deserve it!

I understand we have a lot of mutual friends with our ex-BFF. That means we’re going to have to see our ex-BFF out there having a great life without us a lot. Managing fear of missing out (FOMO) is another thing you’re going to have to work hard on.

Some days will be much harder than others. But please, do whatever you can to keep our mutual friends out of this drama. Feel free to just disconnect from everything when you need to. No one who is truly our friend will abandon us because we had to walk away for a bit.

Bottom line: our ex-BFF is an amazing person and worthy of everyone’s love. Never lash out at them in public if your sore feelings for them flare up. I’m pleased you haven’t let that happen yet. Keep it that way!

Yup. I am aware you still have this stubborn hope that maybe, just maybe, one day the nuked bridge with our ex-BFF can be rebuilt and a new friendship will grow. It’s okay to want that, but you have to understand that it will most likely never happen. That wish is way beyond your control, so stop wasting so much energy trying to make it a reality.

Carrying around all these heavy unrequited love feelings will always be hard, but you got this! Looking forward to a happier life working more with you instead of against you in the future.

Best regards,
Your Conscious Self

P.S. – Tell depression and anxiety they need to tone it the fuck down. I’m so tired of living with their drama. Jerks!


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16 thoughts on “Ex-BFFs: A Coping Guide From Painful XP

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  1. That’s a lot to go through and that you’ve acknowledged it and learned from it shows a lot of strength, it’s never easy dealing with any kind of loss whether it’s through our own faults or if it’s out of our control.
    Your honesty and openness about these issues is both heart breaking and inspirational and I applaud you on doing so as it’s not something many people could do.
    Anyways before I get too emotional myself with this I’ll just say anxiety and depression are THE biggest of wankspaniels and can do one 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Powerful story! i have been on both sides of your story at some points. I was the dumpee once and the dumper a couple of times.

    We are spoon-fed this disney ideal of friendship…lasting forever, facing every hardship simply on the power of friendship, however this is a lie. That ideal of friendship doesn’t look at the people behind the friendship. While a bond sometimes is very strong and seems unbreakable.. we as humans are fragile as hell.

    I had a fragile friend, whose drama demanded all my time and at one point it took up so much time of my life.. I did notice I had no life of my own anymore I was living only for them. Even Then I could have considered them worth it ..but once they made a drama that one time for themselves I could not do it anymore.. I broke myself. I had no more energy to help them, I felt sad I had no life of my own.. in order to be happy myself again… I had to break that bond. I had to keep myself safe.

    I realise my friend could not have known how I felt, even though I shared my feelings with them because we looked at this idea of friendship differently.. they saw it as this thing where you are there for each other no matter what, because they needed someone to be there for them no matter what. I saw it as a mutually beneficial boon to our life. They did not agree, maybe some day.

    No one takes blame in the end of a friendship neither do you.. you did what you did because you are who you are, while it might not have been the smart thing to do or the right thing to do you acted how you acted because that makes you , you.. that is never wrong in an on it’s own. Mistakes is how we grow and the prices we pay help us reshape. What happend was something unfortunate but that still was you.. and your ex-bff to the very core. I don’t think you made a mistake by being who you are..it just showed that at this point in time you and your former bff needed something else. A moment , for however long, of incompatibility.

    I do not believe in an absolute right or wrong myself, no one hurts their friends just to be evil or for the sake of hurting their friends. One who undervalues their friends isn’t wrong persé neither is the person who is completely depended on them and to whom they mean the world. We all choose our path.. for me friends are more important than family, to others their hobbies might be more important than friend, neither view is wrong yet both are against the “status quo”. It’s okay to be different, if you are more demanding or more fickle than the standard that is okay.. but so is the person saying they are to fickle to me.

    We can not control how much we matter to others, or if they have room their lives for us or not. there are so many modifiers in play we can not label anyone good or bad based on how they act, not unless we have full transparancy and that doesn’t exist. So live your live the way you think you should.. it will draw people in and push people away thats how life goes! A friendship that want past it’s expiration date doesn’t invalidate what has come before! I have some beautiful memories on some people I now find horrible. I do not hate those memories I still love them even if I no longer love the person I made those memories with.. not in the same way at least. I shall forever love them as those who gave me that memories.. just not as a person.

    You seem to be on a road to a brighrer future now based on your story and for that I cheer for you! You realise who you want to be and work towards it. You will get there! Stay strong, it’s okay to fail at times! You are not alone, even if things seem dark! Hang in there!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts! ❤

      Friendship is so much more complex than most people realize. You’ve given me some great perspective on things. I’m making a conscious effort to be true to me and accept people aren’t going to like me at all, and that’s okay.

      Thank you again! It felt really good to write this post and the comments I’ve gotten (including yours) definitely makes me feel so much less alone. Here’s to hoping for bright futures for all of us!

      Like

  3. Thank you for sharing this experience and what you learned from it.
    My Mum did a similar thing as you did to your best friend for years and then couldn’t understand why I needed a break from her – often! I did that exact thing to my boyfriend and couldn’t understand why he needed a break from me – often!
    My Mum has passed and my anxiety (not all her fault) has almost gone (although I have a naturally fast thinking brain which is prone to over thinking everything) and me and my bloke are happy.
    BUT It took him to dump me and have months apart (where I did not stalk him…much) for me to become more independent FOR MYSELF and to learn to be calm in tough situations, basically.
    I’m sure you will find another good mate and maybe a little posse where you are all best mates (much less pressure). It is so true what you say about only being able to control how you REACT to the situation. That is powerful. 🖤✨

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and for sharing your thoughts! ❤

      Sometimes we just can’t learn until the mistakes happen and people leave us. Nothing to beat ourselves up over, just points to grow from.

      Keep being awesome!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I obviously don’t want to comment on your exact position as only you can truly understand that but I do want to say that it was brave to seek help, brave to write this, and seriously impressive to have made it so eloquent and considered given the subject matter. Everyone’s situations are unique, but you’ve written about so many different feelings and experiences here that I think it will help people, and I’m grateful to be in a social circle that includes you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I experienced almost this exact situation, when my best friend of nearly 10 years and I stopped talking. Both of us had issues, but it was hard for me to acknowledge that I put too much pressure on her to prop me up – I couldn’t make myself happy so I was looking for that elsewhere. I still think about her a lot, but I know I’ll never reach back out to her/try to rebuild that friendship. I appreciate the times we had, and how she helped me grow, but I’ve gotten to the point where I’m content with leaving that door closed. I hope anyone else in this kind of situation can find their way through it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ow! That sounds very similar to what I went through, for sure. I hope one day I’ll be able to be at true peace with this closed door situation. Time and space can definitely heal! Thank you ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve been in the position you’re in now at two points of my mental health; how you’re feeling right now, drowning and out of control and then less than a year ago where I was perfectly in control.

    That allows me to read everything you just said, recognise and understand where you’re coming from and also know what I’ve re-evaluated myself over the years. I have a best friend who has known me since I was 13 and has put up with all sorts of emotional crap from me, and she’s still with me. She’s seen me at my best and my worst, and she is what a true friend is supposed to be. Everything you said at the start of your post; that is her. Minus the Disney idealism because neither of us is perfect and we’re both well aware of it.

    Your friend sounds like her, apart from at some point things started to get too much and she didn’t bother to communicate that with you. Either that or she never really understood that you were ill. Yes, your behaviour wasn’t great but you were ill. Someone you were that close with is supposed to know and understand that. We beat ourselves up way too much because we worry about being a burden, about causing trouble etc. but our brain is literally turning against us. You’re right about accepting the blame and saying ‘this is on me’ but you also need to sit back and say ‘but I was sick, I wasn’t myself’ and acknowledge that she failed you as a friend because she did.

    The reason I say this is because she opened the door for you to talk to her. She kept reopening and allowing you to use her as a source of respite, as a port of call in your storm. And I think you know that she did something wrong because several times you say she slammed the door in your face. That’s how it feels because that is what she did. I’ve been in a situation where someone has dumped their problems on me, using me as a therapist essentially without me opening that door. There’s a big difference in those two situations.

    I said that I’d had the same thing happen not long ago. I was in the middle of seeing my therapist and feeling pretty grounded. Instead of unravelling and blaming myself, I was able to see the relationship for what it was; 7 years of me helping her deal with whatever dramatic crisis she got herself into next. I was able to evaluate it, and my feelings in a safe environment. I was emotional, I was upset because that’s normal when your BF suddenly turns on you and throws your mental health in your face. But I didn’t lose myself in the emotions which was something I honestly never thought would happen and to this day I’m quite proud of it.

    Right now you’re still feeling raw but one day I hope you’ll be able to do the same with this one, maybe you’ll need to do it with your therapist and there’s no shame in that. That is what therapy is for. Just remember that because you were struggling and did some bad things doesn’t mean your friend was automatically elevated to sainthood for being there for you before.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for this comment! You’re understanding and support really means a lot. ❤

      You’ve definitely read between some of my lines regarding my ex-BFF. My biggest source of anger with them is unclear communication. Someone who is truly a supportive friend forever would never abruptly slam the door on you.

      Step 1 for getting over this is fully accepting that this isn’t entirely my fault, as much as it feels like it. The people who are truly my friends will stay in my life no matter what. It’s best to just let go of the friendships weren’t meant to stay.

      Letting go of someone so special to me is much easier said than done, but I’m working really hard to get there!

      Liked by 1 person

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