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My Friend Is Too Attached to Me

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From a teen in the U.S.: I have a friend I met about last year who is a year younger than me. She lives in a different state than me, so we met online.

She has had quite the upbringing and ultimately suffers from a variety of issues including abandonment issues. She also struggles to accept change and constantly overthinks and doubts herself. From what I have seen she also trusts too easily, despite what she says- less than a week after we met she had said that she “felt as though she met a true friend” and proceeded to tell me her entire life story and adding in details I didn’t even need to know.

That being said, she trusts me a lot. But it’s to the point where she practically talks to no one BUT me. She says that a lot, too; “you’re literally my only friend”, “all of my real life friends aren’t my real friends” and other forms of that.

She’s extremely attached to me. Every day she tells me how much she loves me, how I “mean the universe”, and praises me to the point where it means nothing. She writes letters to me everyday and has an entire notebook full of them and is planning to mail the entire thing to me. She draws me and us together often and says she only ever talks about me to her friends at school and I’m constantly on my mind. She says she misses me even when we’re texting. She even talks about me to her doctors. She wants me to go to the same college as her in Texas so we can live together- she planned an entire future out with me.

I am beyond creeped out and uncomfortable. I feel very trapped in this relationship and I feel guilty and obliged to continue to talk to her, but a notebook full of letters to me? That’s too much. All of it; we’re only kids.

I want to stop talking to her. But since I’m the only one she has, it makes me feel as though it’s not the right thing. I’m not sure what to do. This is unhealthy and I don’t want to be in this relationship anymore. She knows when I’m distancing myself and if “something is different” I don’t know what to do anymore, I feel like I’m being stalked and watched all the time.

Advice?

My Friend Is Too Attached to Me

Answered by on -

A.

You are absolutely right. This is unhealthy for her and dangerous for you. You are only 14, so you can’t expect yourself to be able to handle this on your own. Regardless of age, it’s never healthy for someone to be another person’s “only”. It’s very hard to pull away from someone like this due to worry about what she might do in response. None the less, you can’t stay in this strange relationship for your own safety and peace of mind.

To be safe and to feel okay about withdrawing from this girl, you need to turn her over to someone who can help her in ways you can’t.

I suggest you ask your school counselor for help. Share your letter to me to fill her in quickly. The counselor may be able to intervene directly by talking to the friend. If that doesn’t work, she has the professional obligation to contact the friend’s parents. In order to get her the help she needs, her parents do need to know how troubled their daughter is.

Do talk to your parents. Sometimes it helps when parents agree that a teen can tell the “friend” that their parents have forbidden them to see them anymore. Yes, she’ll try to get you into an “us against them” scenario but you can tell her that at your age you really have no choice but to do as your parents demand. I can’t promise but, if your parents agree, it might be a strategy to try. You know this girl well. I don’t. Be wise. Only use this approach if you think it will be helpful.

Your parents may also want to protect you by talking to her parents or to school authorities. Don’t object. It’s their job to keep you as safe as they can. It’s okay for you to reach for parental support. Really.

However you try to withdraw, she may freak out and trash you to everyone she knows. Be strong and remember that none of this is about you. It never has been. It’s about her illness. Take the high road. Don’t trash her back. Don’t get involved in defending yourself to her. That is just another form of this toxic relationship.

Friends who know you won’t believe what she says. Just tell friends who ask that the relationship was too exclusive for your comfort and you needed space and time to be with all your friends, not just her. My guess is that most of your friends will understand.

If she threatens to hurt you, by all means go to your parents and the police if you have to in order to ensure your safety. Unstable people sometimes do harm others. Trust your instincts and don’t take unnecessary risks. You deserve to feel and be safe.

I wish you well.

Dr. Marie

My Friend Is Too Attached to Me

TALK TO A THERAPIST NOW:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). My Friend Is Too Attached to Me. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 22, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/12/16/my-friend-is-too-attached-to-me/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 15 Dec 2019 (Originally: 16 Dec 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 15 Dec 2019
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.