Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

When someone who helped you becomes distant

Community Member

Good evening

I've posted this in staying well, as I've over the worst of my condition at present and using strategies to keep well. But really this could relate to anyone in life at any stage of their Journey.

​What do you do if someone you trusted, that helped and supported you during your illness all of sudden becomes really distant from you?

I can't see its because I'm unwell and a burden, because I'm now quite well. I can't see its because I'm overly needy or reliant upon them because I'm not.

I don't know the reason, and it's disappointing. I don't know whether to ignore it and just go on with my life and forget they exist, OR whether to approach them and ask what's going on?

I don't know! I have so much going on in my life, I really don't need this and just wish people where honest with their feelings.


15 Replies 15

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Good Morning 150

Good news by the way on your progress.... Nice1

Just my humble opinion but usually a friend being distant can mean that they are having difficulty coping themselves with their own life and issues.

Your situation is similar to any relationship....communication would be the go here 150. It can be a pain when someone doesnt communicate their feelings but I must admit I have gone 'quiet' on some people I know when my depression really kicks in. Unusual for me to do but I guess sometimes I take time out so to speak.

Definitely gently have a chat with them....nothing to lose and absolutely everything to gain.

Kind Thoughts


I sent a short email asking why and no response

I guess silence is as good a response as any

I have my answer

Community Member

Hi there. I'm so sorry your email received no reply. Perhaps Paul is right with your friend. Maybe their depression is stopping them from replying. Are you able to visit them, to see if everything is alright? I would perhaps visit, leave a small note to say hi, thinking of you. If your friend is unable to reply, due to illness/depression, perhaps a visit from you could be the one thing that helps cheer them.


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi, I hope no-one will hate me for suggesting this, but could it be that your friend liked being the well one & you being the one who needed help? Now that you don't need help, your friend might be finding it difficult to maintain a relationship of equal partners. It's just a thought.

It's not something I have experienced but rather read about.


Community Member

Thanks pipsy and Lyn for your responses.

I am not really sure and both scenarios are possible.

I don't think it's fair to me, particularly after everything I've been through and they know. But if they are going through their own thing maybe I just make things worse and they want to distance themselves.

I just sent an email back onto my original one saying that what hurts people the most, is those that originally care and then they don't anymore. Because you're left wondering whether the relationship meant anything to begin with, or whether you've done something wrong. For me this person was one of few that seemed to understand me and I feel really let down and disappointed. I'd be there for them in a heart beat. I'm not going to go see them. Not now, and not ever.

Hello 150

Good on you for emailing your friend. It is sad that there has been no reciprocation to your efforts to communicate. It feels like you have had the rug pulled out from underneath you especially without having even a basic explanation as to why. I would be feeling the same as you....


Yeah thanks Paul

Would anyone believe it if I said this person was also a doctor?

Should they not know better?!


On another side note

The distance started when i emailed them a scenic picture that I took. I'm now into photography as it settles me, so brought new gear, and I took an epic picture on a cliff top of sunset at the beach with storm clouds coming over and my boys sitting on the cliff.

She made some comments about it been beautiful and some memories of her kids years ago, and then went distant after that photo.

I don't get it - did I do something wrong? I have heaps of photos but I must admit this one is very good, almost professional quality really if I do say so and several people have commented on it. How can that make someone change their behaviour though?

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi 150lashes,

Nope, I was going to guess a psychologist, so a doctor does not surprise me.

A possible reason for withdrawing might be if she felt she was developing too much of a personal relationship with you. It's totally unethical to be in a relationship with your patient/doctor, however, it does happen. None of us can be totally in control of our feelings and sometimes things just sort of sneak up on you... by the time you realise it can be kind of scary. This is not limited to developing friendships/relationships with clients, sometimes you might resent the client... there are some really painful people out there, you suddenly realise you are feeling defensive... The concept is called countertransference which you can google if you want to know more.

Believe me, if she is withdrawing for that reason, she's doing you a favour. A doctor/patient or therapist/client relationship is sacred, it's a relationship where one gives advice and the other receives it, always in that same order: that is not congruent with a personal relationship where the power relations need to be equal otherwise problems develop.

It's great that she helped you through your illness, and I think it's within reason to thank her for that via an email, if that's how you are used to communicating with her. But at the end of the day, people can change their minds, or things can occur to them that make them realise they need to change their behaviour, that's volition and you can't really interfere with it... There could be any number of other reasons why she stopped communicating too, but if she doesn't communicate you won't really know why... Try not to be too hard on yourself.

I'm sorry to hear you're having a tough time with it, and hope things get easier.