I wish I had seen a column like this when I was trying to understand a former friend's way of talking to me after I was diagnosed with multiple forms of chronic illness. I wouldn't have felt so alone with my conflict, for one thing, and might have gained more insight into her behavior. I was so confused and hurt and her challenges of nearly everything I said about my own life left me feeling worthless and stupid. I wish also that I'd read up on gaslighting.
"S. has been there for me, even when we were in different countries this past couple months. Now that we are back in the same place things have gotten… weird. Her new attitude is “question everything”, because she wants to be a teacher and apply that philosophy everywhere. Yet to me, her questions don’t seem to be coming from a place of wanting to know or understand, but to get me to self reflect. She has also said it is important for her to question me so I can “have a better understanding of the larger situation”, especially because I tend to “overreact”. It may sound dramatic, but I feel like I’m being interrogated a lot of the time. I don’t want a life coach that inadvertently victim blames me (which is why I go to my super lovely therapist), I want nerd out with my friend.
"I told S. that I love her ability to ask good questions, because it means we have really excellent dialogues, but that sometimes just jumping into questions about my personal issues without starting with validation or support is too much for me, and she responded with 'I can’t change who I am.' "