Thursday, June 21 , 2018, 12:24 am | Mostly Cloudy 62º


Randi Rabin: Why Do My Friends Seem Heartless After My Divorce?

[Noozhawk’s note: Montecito psychotherapist Randi Rabin, M.A., MFTI, is now writing a weekly Q&A column for Noozhawk. Click here for a related article.]

Dear Feelings Doctor: I am recently divorced, living in a small community, and I am very depressed and alone. My friends whom I have had for 15 years sharing car pools with, going to PTA meetings with, none are standing by me. They act like they don’t know me anymore, and I feel left out of my entire life that I have built for so long. I just want to talk and share what I’m going through with my close friends who care about me, and no one will answer their phone ...

Is everyone that heartless ... ?

— J.B. in S.B.

Dear J.B.: As harsh as this may sound, leave your friends out of this “extremely personal” situation. Call your friends with fun and joy in mind, but leave your private issues for you and your therapist to discuss. Nothing is harder than trying to stay neutral when a divorce splits up lives. Stay strong and positive, remembering why you decided to make this big change to begin with, and happily focus on where you are going.

— F.D.

Dear Feelings Doctor: Oh, man, please help me with my teenage son! All of a sudden he has turned into someone who won’t talk, won’t listen, and won’t even be around me and my husband very much. He is getting good grades in school, has his buddies, and that seems to be all he cares about. He is pushing us away to such an extreme, I am sad and scared all the time, thinking that our relationship with him is ending. Who is this person?

— Fright Club

Dear F.C.: First, close your eyes and take a deep breath ... ahhhh ... now, remember this: Everyone makes it through puberty!

This sweet boy whom you helped bring into the world is still in there — although he’s hibernating to some degree. You are operating from polar opposite places right now. The most important thing to you and your husband is the safety of your child, and the most important thing to your child right now is his friends. So, do not engage him in battle; he’ll want to argue just to hear the sound of his own voice.

You are correct in that part of your relationship is ending — the part where he remains a baby and needs you for everything. Our job as parents is to “help” them row their boat until they can do it alone. Continue setting boundaries for your teen and know that everyone will make it out alive. Your sweet boy is still in there somewhere!

— F.D.

Dear Feelings Doctor: I have a dear friend who I care about and have a blast with when we’re together. We are busy mothers who volunteer for functions at our childrens’ school and also help out at local nonprofits, raising funds for different charities. The problem is she drinks too much! When we go to lunch during the week, one glass of wine turns into five or six. Yikes! It’s taking a toll on our wonderful relationship. Help!

— L.F.

Dear L.F.: Each year, excessive drinking contributes to nearly 80,000 deaths in the United States. Be straightforward with your friend and let her know that you’ve noticed a change in her behavior. You may be stepping over the line a bit, but it’s only in the name of concern for her. If there is anything she would like to talk about, you’re there for her. Sometimes the door doesn’t have to be completely open for a little beam of light to shine through.

— F.D.

Dear Feelings Doctor: My husband and I have been married for 14 years. We have two children who are now both in high school, so we have more time to spend together. The question I have is: how do I add more excitement to my life? There is really nothing wrong, exactly. I just don’t feel like I used to feel, and I really wish I could be more spontaneous with our new found freedom.

Help me, please!

— Looking for Passion

Dear Looking for Passion: What a wonderful question, and you will feel better after reading this. Instead of being pushed by your problems, become driven by your dreams. Sometimes we get our gauge stuck in the “I’d rather be sailing, or I’d rather be in Paris mode!” How about, “I’d Rather Not Be Rathering.”

Be kind whenever possible. ... It is always possible.

— F.D.

Got a question for The Feelings Doctor? Click here to submit a question anonymously.

— Psychotherapist Randi Rabin, M.A., MFTI, answers reader questions in her weekly Noozhawk column, The Feelings Doctor, and can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Antioch University Santa Barbara and completed her master’s degree in psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute under the guidance of renowned psychologist Stephen Aizenstat, Pacifica’s chancellor and founding president. She has worked as a counselor with a number of local nonprofit organizations and schools. Click here for more columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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