My friend’s barbecue

Ugh. So now I’ve written Ron an email in an attempt to break through this depression. It helped a bit, that and writing it out here. But he hasn’t responded, so now that is bothering me. I feel so lonely. I said the part about how I feel he’s probably judging me, and of course I hoped to hear back that he wasn’t. Since he hasn’t replied, I figured he kind of is.

I got out to buy veg and meat for supper and lunches. I cooked supper. I sat in the cafe and read my book. I even felt some pleasure, sitting at a small table in the shade, half listening to others chatting, eating a salted brownie and sipping earl grey. It was OK. Better than yesterday, when absolutely nothing brought any pleasure.

Yesterday I was invited to a friend’s barbecue, and I did go. It’s really hard to be social when I’m so depressed, and I feel I didn’t do a great job. These are not really the kind of friends that understand about depression, so I don’t explain what’s going on, just try to cope. I figure being with people might be good. I’ve been trying to be more social after all.

Nothing bad happens. These are all pretty smart people, they’re discussing issues, and travel, and such. I like it best when drinking wine and eating. After the meal, we sit in a small humid sunroom, as it’s started to rain. No one there drinks, though there was wine with dinner. They just discuss. I guess this could be good – to me it’s like they’re very much in their heads though. The talk is not very personal at all. Perhaps I long too much for wine, but also, I long for relaxation, not this endless competitive type discussion that we seem to be having.

A former friend of mine is there. She’s a very intellectually smart person. In the sunroom, I start feeling more and more uncomfortable. I realize I’ve never liked these gatherings where she is. She always seems to need to be the centre of attention – directing conversation, picking topics, being the authority on things. And I’ve always felt uncomfortable that she insists that you agree with her opinions – you can’t have a different opinion and have that be OK.

The two men who are there, new friends of my friend the host, seem mesmerized by this former friend, whom they are meeting for the first time. They start looking at her, and directing all their conversation towards her. She is very  clever. She is a decade older than I am, and so quite a bit older also than these men. I guess she does charm.

I think about this afterwards – isn’t this what narcissists do? They charm at first, and draw you in….But you cannot disagree with them, or they turn nasty. I don’t know. She also has good points – it’s not black and white. She is kind to various people who need help.

I sit there in the sunroom, and grow more and more quiet and distant. I start to feel really uncomfortable. I start to long for my therapist, which is a strange feeling. What would I want him to do? Care about me I suppose. Be there in a human type of way.

Was I envious of this friend, or her broad knowledge and her incisive way with words? I really don’t think so. Could be it was my depression, and I lost my ability to handle social interactions. Or, it could be I no longer want to put up with one person controlling an evening, one person who must be the centre of attention? Where no one could be themselves…… I left early, not even making an excuse, just saying good night.

This theme of needing to be clever, and needing to agree with the dominant person, comes right out of my family background. In there world, everyone must have the same opinions on important matters – differences are seen as threatening.

So. Today I remain by myself. I cannot handle being with others. I just try and feel better. And tonight I am somewhat better. I’m going off to pack a lunch for tomorrow, pull out the laundry, wash up the dishes. The basics.

I guess I seem negative about people. Who do I like, after all? Well, I am getting along with my friend E at the moment. She was the host of this event. I likely disappointed her though with being so quiet yesterday. Still – we are getting along at least. She confides in me and invites me to things.

I think my relationship to my former friend was deeply problematic, and I’m just getting insight into why that was, from my point of view anyway. These are new thoughts for me after all. I’d never thought of her as narcissistic before. I’ve understood where some of her behaviour comes from – she had a deeply painful childhood as well, and so I feel sympathetic to her for that. I was thinking lately maybe I should try to re-connect with her. I miss her insights into books and films. But….I think a narcissist is too problematic for me to deal with. I think I’ll let things stay as they are.

  1. That sounds tough. Social gatherings can be very difficult and I am personally feeling socially exhausted right now. I wish you rest.

    • Ellen said:

      And I wish you the same! Social gatherings with family are much more wearing I think. Thank you.

  2. Trust your feelings. I often feel exactly the same as you at similar gatherings. You possibly missed Ron because with him you can discuss deeper things. We cant always do that but my experience is that when I cant I start to feel lonelier and it gets better if I trust my feelings and listen to what I need…

    • Ellen said:

      I think you’re right about why I missed Ron in that situation. Though I actually have no idea what Ron is like socially. I’d hope he’d be real though.

      I agree it’s important to listen to our own intuitions and feelings. I’ve been busy ignoring mine for a while, especially in social situations, because I have to push myself to go into them in the first place. But I remembered Ron saying something like how can you take care of yourself in these situations…so first I spent a bit of time alone in another room, felt a bit better, and decided I need to leave early. It was a good plan.

      Thank you EFDK.

      • Its amazing how feelings can shift when we really listen to ourselves. Its funny I too push myself to go to events at times I don’t really enjoy all that much and then I have a backlash. Its a great idea even just removing yourself to another room.

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