As a friend, you’re in a powerful position to help, but the kind of help may be different than what you’re thinking. It’s time to have a heart to heart talk with your friend and explain that watching her do self-defeating things is taking a toll on you. Let her know that as much as you care about her, and that her behavior is starting to affect you emotionally. This is a very common phenomenon. She is doing to you what is happening to her. Let me repeat and amplify that. She is doing to you what is happening to her by going to you for support and then goes away and the cycle repeats. She’s distracted and overwhelmed by the relationship and is losing herself and feeling frustrated. The same is happening to you. You were feeling frustrated and overwhelmed at her antics and it has become so much of a distraction for you that you’re not taking as good care of yourself as you should. You are in parallel with her and it is very hard to spot it when you are in it.
Let her know how much you care about her as a friend, but then let her know you can continually be there for her watching her do self-defeating things because it’s not healthy for you. My hope is that this honest conversation lets her realize that unless she starts making better decisions for herself you can’t let yourself get pulled down. This is EXACTLY what you want for her. What you’d be doing is role modeling what she needs to do. By setting a limit on how much energy and frustration you’ll put into this relationship you’re giving her the role model for what she needs to do with these boyfriends.
Wishing you patience and peace,
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral