How Can I Help My Struggling Friend?

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“I have a friend struggling with grief, health and emotional issues. She is extremely negative, sarcastic and angry in all aspects of her life. She has no other friends and thanks me for being a positive example in her life. Very slowly, she is trying to change to more positive thoughts and actions. Problem is I am getting drained being her only friend in life. Her complaining is constant and she needs me so much of the time..I have a husband and other friends and I love to journal and read. I don’t seem to have time for much anything else. I don’t want to give up on her. I care deeply and couldn’t bear knowing she has no one. What can I do?” ~ Patti, Oregon City, OR

Dear Patti,

As a friend, of course you don’t want to abandon her, but you might suggest that she get involved in a support group. It is so much easier working through traumatic issues when you are embraced by those who understand and care, because they have “been there, done that”.

A trauma recovery coach to guide her through the process of recovering from her issues is also very beneficial for a similar reason: the coach has likely also been there. A coach can help her find out the things about her trauma that are keeping her locked in a negative state, and look at what can she do to reconcile this.

Also, point out some uplifting books on healing and recovery, such as my book Radiant Survivor: How to Shine and Thrive through Recovery from Stroke, Cancer, Abuse, Addiction and Other Life-Altering Experiences and The Root of All Healing by Misa Hopkins. Perhaps if you have time, you could even read the book(s) along with her and share each other’s thoughts about them, hopefully providing a more positive environment for your friendship.

Erica Tucci

Erica Tucci

Erica Tucci has been a Fortune 500 corporate manager, pianist, ballet dancer, Reiki master, massage therapist, mother of two wonderful young men and an author. She has also gone from trauma to transformation after a stroke brought her to her knees in 2011. It taught her what was really important in life. Since then, her passion has been her books and how her messages can help others journey down their own path of transformation. Her most recent endeavor has been her Sarah's Gift series for children. It speaks to the special gifts that children have and how they use these gifts to deal with various circumstances. She is also re-entering the professional writing world as a copywriter, focusing on customer success stories. She is targeting women entrepreneurs (particularly ones who have faced adversity in some way and have used that adversity to reach their fullest potential).  

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  1. M. Catlett
    M. Catlett says:

    Important question and helpful response. Also, remember that excessive support can also be harmful; the friend will need to learn to cope independently eventually, regardless of how much interim help is given. There is a subtle line between being a supportive friend and being an emotional crutch over an extended period of time (we all need to be crutches in the short-term, that’s part of friendship).


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