Relationship problems and loss

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I am a seventeen year old female who suffered the loss of my mother in July of 2010. I used to be depressed even before my mother died and I also had a bit of social anxiety. But I had started getting over it around 2008 of my ninth grade year. I have gotten more used to people and I have friends who I would love to hang out with.

And yet… every time I meet a new person post July, I won’t develop a relationship with. I will talk to them but I cannot feel the simple feelings I have with my other friends. I won’t hang out with them and I barely speak with them. I want to be friends with these people but every time we get close I become distant.

Do you know what us wrong with me?

A: I can’t know for sure what is wrong, but I do have an idea. I think you are grieving your mom. She died only 5 -6 months ago. My guess is that you don’t have emotional room for new people right now. They didn’t know your mother and can’t understand your loss. It’s really okay to pull inward for a time. It takes emotional energy to make and maintain friends. It’s probably all you can do to be responsive to the friends you’ve already got. Give yourself at least until next summer to recover your more social self. There’s a lot of wisdom in all the ancient songs and stories that talk about the need for at least a year and a day to mourn.

In the meantime, let your friends be there for you. Be good to yourself in terms of the basics (eating right, getting enough sleep and exercise). Allow yourself time to grieve and to remember. I hope you have some family members who can also give and receive support for this important death.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 9 Jan 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). Relationship problems and loss. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/01/09/relationship-problems-and-loss/

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