How do you learn to trust again and stop caring about those who don't care about you?
I apologise in advance, this is a long story. I just made this account because I don't want know who to turn to. But I'd love to seek the advice of others...
At school I never had anyone I could call a real friend, I went through it being bullied and completely isolated. I was picked on for being skinny to the point that I looked malnourished. My BMI was way underweight (I'm a guy btw). As a result, I learned to keep to myself. I didn't care about anyone and what they thought anymore, and to be honest, I wasn't upset, I didn't depend on anyone for my emotional needs. I didn't know what it meant to open up to anyone. I was okay with that. I knew nothing else. My parents are extremely religious and I am not, at all, this drove a wedge between us to the point that I am simply coexisting with them. I can not talk to them about anything. As well as that, my father never had time for me as a child, always working. Just to put it in perspective, I live in Sydney, and the first time I went to the beach, was when I was 20... I went through university the same, lectures, home, study, sleep, repeat. No parties, nothing. I had never celebrated a birthday up until this point. Okay that's a little about my past.
When I hit the age of 22, I got into the workforce, a 9-5 job. And I started to feel something was wrong. I was the youngest person there, and although at university I didn't make friends, I always had a form of socialising while at school and university, and this was suddenly, gone... I wanted someone to talk to...
First thing first, I wanted to make new friends, so I started going on hikes hosted on meetup groups. No dice. Everyone was older than I was. Then one day I struck gold when I went to an event and made the most amazing friends ever, all expats. Some brazillian, french, korean, chinese, you name it, and one Australian. I clicked with the 4 guys there and suddenly, I became a part of this large group of 25 people. And we became the closest of friends. I was so happy. They hosted my first birthday ever, I cried because I didn't know people could care about me. This group has now dwindled down to 10 or so people as most have gone back to their respective countries. That's okay. I kept in contact with them, and I had a network of friends who I thought I could rely on.
But I wasn't happy with myself. These people around me all seemed to have these amazing experiences and skills. I've never travelled, never danced, never explored. I was like a 5 year old again, discovering the world for the first time. It sucked. I listened to self-help audiobooks. Started to dress 'nicer', I still dressed terribly, I was experimenting. Fixed up my hair. Got rid of acne. Lined and trimmed my beard rather than clean shaving. Started hitting the gym. Took up photography. Started playing the guitar and got relatively good at it. Took up combat sports. I was so busy. And within about 3-6 months, I had gone from 50ish kg to a very healthy 65-70kg. For being 6ft. One day, I stood infront of a mirror and oh boy.... By all accounts, I looked handsome and finally, I was confident, I felt... interesting.... This was validated by my friends who would tell me that I have changed a ridiculous amount since they first met me, on a regular basis (and in a good way by the way, not bad).
Time and time again I told them that I loved them, they are the family I chose and I would do anything for them. I cared for them and I showed it by constantly, being there for their emotional and financial support. Little had I realised at the time, that, I had infact become codependent on them for my own emotional needs.
So then I started to chase girls, and this is where it all went wrong. I liked one of the girls in our group, but never felt good enough for her, suddenly, I was confident. I honestly didn't care at the time and made a move. She immediately put distance between us. But we moved past it, except it stuck in her mind. Because now I started going after other girls, and I wasn't looking for anything serious, I was flirting around. Exploring. I'd never had a girlfriend. The girls in my group saw it as 'being a player' and put distance between me, they told me I wasn't the same person I used to be. Okay, no problem. I dialed back on what I was doing. But they started to ghost me and then one day, the girl I liked at one point, and had done so much for, I asked her one thing. Can she speak her language with me? (I was learning it at the time). She was my only resource in Australia to learn it through speaking, surely she would, being so close and all. This was met with a resouding no, she said she wanted to learn English, I got so upset. She is in a English speaking country, she speaks her language with EVERYONE she can, it's hypocritical, but when I ask, "No!"?. Here's a person I've leaped oceans for, I literally offered to pay for her medical expenses if her insurance didn't cover it after she got a bad head injury and was beside her hospital bed and she cried, and told me she loved me and would always be there for me, and she wasn't willing to jump a tiny puddle? I blew up at her and wrecked our friendship. I told her she was cold hearted, told her she didn't care, blah blah. I learned something quickly from this.... that just because you care about someone, doesn't mean they will care about you back, and that I obviously cared way more than she did. Just because she said she loved me and I was family, she hasn't done anything to prove it. The signs were there, I should have seen them. In the year i've known her, i initiated conversation each and every time, invited her to events etc. She wouldn't even pick up the phone. The signs were there, I am stupid.
Unfortunately the damage was done, she completely blocked me on all social media and refused to acknowledge my existence. It broke my heart, I couldn't work or think straight anymore. I went to bed thinking about her. Woke up thinking about her. Started finding new ways to text her in desperation. And this has been going on for close to three months now. And the other girls in her group, they followed. They cut contact with me like her. Except for one girl who really cared about me, she now simply responds with she's so sad about the situation, and always says she is too busy to respond to me, she was never busy before, but she will hang out with me by herself for short periods. I am so confused. The girls organise events now and invite the guys too, except me, and the guys genuinely feel sorry for me and tell me everything. They tell me how they are talking behind my back saying i'm desperate. Well... ofcoarse I am.... I care about them and I am trying to fix things.... As for the guys, I still see them every now and then, but they all have girlfriends now and it's becoming rarer and rarer to hang out with them. That's why they just go to major group events with the girls.
I feel so betrayed, so used, I feel I didn't do anything wrong and every time I see my facebook, I see them hanging out together in their biweekly group meetups, my mood for the entire day gets destroyed right then and there. But what do I do? Ghost the only people that still care about me and start from scratch? It has really affected my ability to trust anyone... It's so hard and quite frankly has plunged me into depression... I am going through the motions, my hobbies give me some comfort, but it's not enough... No matter what I do I am thinking about all the problems....
I have started to go to meetups again, and meeting people slowly for now, but it hard to make friends with my current mindset... I'm too scared to open up again....
Sorry it's long, if you got through it, thank you.
Re: How do you learn to trust again and stop caring about those who don't care about you?
Welcome to RO @cesvie and thank you for sharing your experience and history with us. It sounds like things are a bit sensitive for you at the moment, which is understandable given everything that's happened. It sounds like you tried really hard to mend your connections with you friendship group, but I guess now might be a time to take a break from this group and like you have, focus on meeting some new people and developing some new connections with people. I would say it sounds like you feel like your previous friendship may have used you a little bit? Or you feel used because of how much you put in to the friendships? This can definitely make the loss of these friends feel heavier and it sounds like perhaps these friends didn't live up to your expectations of how a friendship should work?
I think though that this may actually be a really great opportunity for you to find "equal" friendships and relationships, as some the examples you gave seemed to be a bit out of balance (you putting in all the work)?
Just know it's okay to feel a little bit cautious about things moving forward but just try to be open to new people but perhaps work on having some boundaries with them too? Have you chatted about all this to counsellor before?
Re: How do you learn to trust again and stop caring about those who don't care about you?
Hey @cesvie Welcome to RO!
That sounds like such a painful and confusing friendship situation, I can hear how much you're hurting and i'm sorry to hear how tough things are right now. From what you wrote it sounds like you're worried about having something similar happening in a new friendship group, was that right? How did you find the new meet ups so far?