SWelcome to Friendzone, Jezebel's column devoted to dealing with the valuable people in your life whom you're not humping. Got an issue and looking for guidance? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have secretly not liked my BFF since our junior year in college, and after 10 years, it's finally come home to roost. In college, I had a BFF who loved to do the usual things two college girls do: party heavily, take road trips, bitch about class. By senior year, the honeymoon was over. Luckily she moved to the other side of the country. I let her sustain her illusion of our friendship. She had frames with our photo together where "friends forever" was carved in wood, talked wistfully about our future in each other's wedding, and described me as her best friend to whoever asked. Meanwhile, I hid behind the distance and saw her twice a year. To me it was just putting on a fun mask until it was over. Well, she just moved to my city and we've had two serious blow-ups. How do I get rid of her? I seriously don't want this person in my life.
Um, you stop leading her on. Why in the flying fuck have you continued this charade for ten years? You're hurting her, you're hurting yourself, and you're wasting everybody's time. I can understand being tactful and avoiding confrontation (I do that), but it sounds like you've stewed in active dislike (or even hatred) for a decade. Maybe it makes you feel superior to have one punching bag in your life about whom you can talk shit to your other friends. You're in your late twenties or early thirties now. Grow the fuck up.
Kindly, simply and directly tell her the friendship is no longer working for you, and you wish her the best, but you think it's time for you to move on. Then move on. If she has tearful questions – and she will – answer them as gently as you can. And please don't do this in future. It's not worth anyone's energy.
I'm a high school Jezebel reader, and I think I have dissociative identity disorder. Yes, I'm going to get help (I already see a psychologist, and I told my parents about my most recent memory blackout). However, I left out the part about it/he/she creating an email account (with mine as backup) and emailing several of my best friends with sort of hate messages about me. I'm going to deal with the personality, but all sorts of psych help won't deal with the rifts in friendships I expect I caused. I'm new to this whole thing. Any suggestions on explaining alters (which I've researched a lot, actually) to a bunch of confused teenagers?
Dissociative Identity Disorder, or DID, used to be known by the old moniker Multiple Personality Disorder. I don't know your background and I certainly can't give any medical advice, but I can give you friendship advice based on my own background as a former Teen With Issues ™.
When I was in high school, I suffered from panic attacks and the beginning of what turned out to be a truly un-fun case of agoraphobia (fear of travel, open spaces, crowds – basically a fear of being in public). The first time I visited a hospital ER, I was 18 and thought I was dying. They gave me a sedative and sent me home.
By the time I was 21, I was so afraid to even leave my bedroom that I'd stopped using the bathroom. I peed in bowls and hid them under the bed. I also stopped showering and brushing my teeth, and I listened to the same song on repeat over and over again and rocked myself back and forth. And I was afraid of tunnels, riding in a car, having a wet head, and like sixteen other things, including eating solid food. I got real skinny real quick. And sometimes I forgot about the bowls of pee for days on end.
Try explaining that to your friends.
So while I don't know what it's like to deal with blackouts and alters, I do know what it's like to be the weird kid with the brain problems who acts funny sometimes. And friends have questions, especially when we do stuff that freaks them out.
The only way I have dealt with a lifetime of this stuff is to be as upfront and honest about it as possible (I wrote a book about it and I speak at colleges about it). I found it helpful to learn as much as I possibly could about my disorder so that I could explain it to my pals in clear, simple, user-friendly language. They don't need fancy jargon, but they do need to know that you are aware of your condition and are seeking help. You may even find it useful to give them a couple of good, reliable websites to check out, should they be so inclined. And remind them (and yourself) that maybe you're different from most of your classmates in this one way, but you're similar to them in a ton of other, more important ways.
Don't believe people who say you should just "snap out of it" (heard that one many times) or that yoga or running or herbal remedies will "cure" you. These things can certainly help, but nothing replaces the assistance of a well-trained professional with expertise in this area.
Here's the great news: you're tackling this thing in a proactive manner. That's fucking awesome, and so rare. You told your parents at least some of what has been going on, and I hope you tell your psychologist all of what has been going on. It's really the only way he or she can make the best possible decisions regarding your treatment. Because maybe it's DID, or maybe it's something else, but you called in the professionals at exactly the right time.
Your shrink may ask you a lot of questions. You be sure and ask him or her a lot of questions, too. Make sure you're dealing with someone who really knows his or her stuff about DID. And make sure that person is willing to teach you. You're in the driver's seat here. After all, this is your life we're talking about.
You're going to do great. You're obviously smart as hell and have excellent taste in femmeladyist website advice columns to boot. I'm proud of you for taking care of yourself. Never stop doing that. You can lead a very full, very happy life with the right treatment but you've first got to know deep down in your heart how valuable and worthy you truly are. Be good to yourself first; then worry about other people.
My college roommates are overweight (and beautiful, by the way). I'm a petite size 4. This matters to me not at all, except that these girls constantly put themselves down and compare themselves to me in a negative fashion. They call themselves fat, or criticize themselves for eating ice cream, or look at my clothes and sigh loudly. It happens so much that I've begun to feel uncomfortable as well as to worry about them. I know exercise and a healthy diet are key to a healthy life (to be honest, they are largely sedentary and only eat junk food), but fat-shaming helps no one. What should I do?
Weight is a complex issue, and what works for one person may not work for another. I'm overweight and come from a sugar-obsessed family with a history of obesity-related illnesses, including diabetes (plenty of fat folks are perfectly healthy; this is decidedly not the pattern in my family.) If I were their very very very very good friend, it might possibly, maybe, sort of, hypothetically be acceptable for me to say, "Girls, it's important that we take care of ourselves. Fuck getting into a bikini; this is about our health. We are all going to take a daily walk, dammit." But you, the skinny chick in the teensy jeans? Oh hell no. Do not even attempt to lecture your pals about a damn thing. If one of my thinny thin thin girlfriends tried to have a didactic talk with me about my weight, I would flush her down the toilet.
Here's your script when they get all self-critical: "It makes me sad to hear you say those things about yourself. You're beautiful. I wish you could see yourself the way I see you." I mean, hell, it's the truth, isn't it? These girls need to know that you love them at any weight. If the discussion goes deeper and they talk about wanting to exercise or eat well, tell them that you're ready to support them in whatever choices make them healthiest and happiest. Don't give prescriptions. Just be the kind buddy that you already are. Oh, and one more thing – don't go on any stupid crash diets out of solidarity with them. Remember, slow and steady wins the weight loss race. Should the topic come up, suggest a trip to the college health center to consult with a nutritionist and/or personal trainer. You might even want to do that to make sure your own habits are as healthy as can be. Skinny doesn't necessarily equate healthy.
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