Sasha: I recently ended things with my long term boyfriend I will call him Jim. Jim and I were together for a few years but believe me it was not a healthy relationship. Jim is emotionally abusive he has a severe anger management problem. He treated me like I didn't matter and I took it because I felt like I didn't deserve better.  Anyways I am insecure but decently attractive and funny (so I am told) and was loved by all his friends. So much so that the majority of them told me to leave him (including his best friends) because they could not stand the way I was treated by him, in their words it made them sick. One of his friends his BF is a guy who I will call Rick. Rick and I were always the closest of the group, so much so that sometimes when we went out people thought he was my BF not Jim. I started to develop feelings for Rick and I can tell he felt the same way, we were always texting each other and meeting up for drinks with or without Jim. Anyways as the relationship with Jim got worse we discussed that we would break it off. I am very insecure and cried for days even though part of me remembers how bad it was. A party was coming up and Rick told me I couldn’t go anymore because Jim was coming and bringing his new gf. I was so shocked I cried part of the shock was the new gf part because I was no longer welcome where I thought I was. Anyways time goes on and I find out Rick lied -- Jim did not have a new gf he just didn't want any drama. I was confused as to why he thought I would start stuff, I don't. Then Rick told me a whole bunch of stuff about Jim and now refuses to call or text me. Okay I am not stupid i know guys loyalty is to their BF but really? We were friends and he can no longer talk to me? I can tell he was attracted to me for awhile and that just stopped? Why are people like this? Am I really not worth the time or effort?

I have a close friend who was emotionally abused and I have to say, watching that relationship suck up every last drop of her confidence was heart-breaking, even more damaging was the lies she continuously had to tell herself in order to put up with the crap.

'He's so good to me sometimes'
'He really loves me and I really love him'

I know, this sounds like some back-to-school special sh-t, but those were the words that came out of her mouth.  Here's the thing, I'm actually not discounting that she loved him or that he wasn't good to her at times, but what a lot of people don't get is that not all love is the good and healthy kind.  You can still love someone who is wrong and bad for you.  This is a hard truth for some people to accept.

On to you C, I'm so happy to hear that you’ve found your way out.  And while that's all kinds of good, the work isn't done yet. It’s time to stop worrying about everyone else and instead, turn your attention to YOU.

I'm obviously a big advocate of therapy, and C, I really encourage you to find someone you can talk to freely.  But if you're not ready for that just yet, hit your local self-help section and start reading.

The reason this is important is because you've been trying for so long to be a certain kind of person - one that needs to be accepted, one that needs to do the right thing, one that needs to keep things copasetic - that you've lost your way.  And C, I can sense by your letter you’re working from a very thin veil of your former self.    When you were with Jim you were working only with only half your self-esteem, half your self-confidence, and in order to be in a positive healthy relationship you have to be a whole. You know what I mean?

I know we all have insecurities. I know it’s never a good feeling to be excluded or dissed. But what worries me here is that I can't help but feel you're attaching yourself to Rick the same way you did to Jim.  Seems to me that for whatever reason, his non-acceptance is drawing you in, when your reaction should be the complete opposite.

Here's my advice.  Let that social group go or at least separate yourself from them for a while. In the meantime do some soul searching, find a new social circle that is all yours and most importantly give yourself some breathing room before you start investing feelings in another dude.

I hope this helps! xx