Dick in Dorval, Quebec writes:
I met Christine in June of 2008. We had a wonderful relationship until Christmas of 2008 (as friends). She was stalked by a neighbor then. She also told me then that she was abused as a child by her father. In 2006 she lost her son to MS. She changed her phone number to unlisted. Apart from seeing her walking her dog (rarely), I never see her. I have written her, sent gifts, etc., but she does not reply. I have offered her a counselor to help her at my expense. No reply. I know she is depressed; I see it in her face. Is there any hope? Please advise. My birth date is February 4, 1948. Christine’s birth date is March 20, 1960. Thank you, Red, for your help with my situation. It is most appreciated.
Your Christine is having a hard time, but there is very little that you can do about it. She has herself pretty well closed off to everyone who cares about her, and that does not exclude you.
She sees her life as a series of challenges, sometimes a punishment, and really feels as if she is supposed to deal with all of this on her own. While she does appreciate your kind gestures and offers of help, she is not going to accept it.
While you have never done anything unkind or unsupportive of her, she doesn’t want to create an opening where she can be in any way obligated to you. Her opinions of the male species are not intrinsically favorable, because of her experiences. You may know about some of the things she has gone through, but you don’t know all. This poor woman has been mentally, emotionally, physically and financially abused by men. While it may not seem just or fair, every generous or positive advance you make in her direction is actually working against you. She believes that there is always a catch, even with you. While I can see that your intentions are pure, she can’t. At this point in her life, she has some seriously strong walls and guards built up. While her choices may not bring her peace or happiness, they do make her feel safer. She isn’t going to drop her self-created forms of protection any time soon, not even for you.
While none of this is really what you were hoping to hear, it is better for you to understand where she is at mentally and emotionally. She isn’t at a place where she recognizes that she needs help, and therefore, she doesn’t necessarily want any help.
Sending her gifts doesn’t help soften her any, and neither does the content of your letters. While it is very sad and unfortunate for both of you, I don’t see things changing any time soon. She just isn’t wanting or ready.
While I can respect everything you’ve tried to do, what she is hoping for is that you will just leave her be and move on. She knows how to reach you, and the day may come when she is willing once again to be your friend. But that time is not now, nor do I see that changing in the near future.
Even though it hurts, the best thing you can do for her really is to leave her alone. You can’t save her from herself, because she is choosing not to let you in. If you must, send her one last letter. Let her know that you care enough about her to respect her unspoken wishes, and that while you are there for her if she needs you, unless and until you hear from her, you will keep your distance and leave her alone.
I’m sorry, Dick.