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My friend is having anxiety attacks from this boy

This isn’t about me but one of my best friends. She’s been having anxiety attack from this boy. I don’t really know much about their situation but all I know is that the boy went to go date another girl and then the boy used to have feelings for my best friend. She had feelings for him too. He was really special to her too but when he dated the girl, he stopped talking and texting my best friend like she didn’t exist.  I thought she’ll get over it after some time but recently she said that she has been having bad dreams about him and that she’s scared. She has had 2-3 panic attacks from just looking at his name. She gets nervous from his voice also.
I want to do something but I don’t know what do to. Any advice?
Her parents know about this situation too.
3 Responses
Avatar universal
First, how old is she?  Second, does she have anxiety problems with other things as well or is it just this one thing that triggered it?  Her age is important, because if she's really young that's different than if she's not.  You also say she got panic attacks -- do you mean a genuine panic attack, which is a pretty intense thing, or she got very upset and emotional and you're calling it a panic attack?  There's two possibilities here -- she can't handle romantic adversity, that's a very very common thing, and she's apparently over reacting to what seems like a relationship that wasn't even a real relationship as it doesn't appear they spent time romantically together for any length of time.  Or, he did something to her.  Because while some people get really sad and empty from a breakup, they don't get scared of the person.  We have no idea what the whole story is, only the tiny bit you've mentioned, and if what you describe is all that happened and your friend isn't extremely young and inexperienced, this reaction is way over the top and indicates something else entirely is going on and that is what needs looking into, perhaps by a therapist.  If he did something to her, you have a very different story.  All break-ups are hard, but if you're not having sex with someone and you're not in a long-term love relationship, well, they do come and go, you know?  To react this way to something that hadn't actually formed yet is quite odd.  If you're also very young, not much you can do but stay her friend, but again, I've had several very sad break-ups in my life but they all followed a long relationship that was quite intimate.  Can't imagine this much drama over a crush.  So again, needs looking into by adults and perhaps a therapist.
Avatar universal
I'm sorry to your friend about her situation.  When someone is a big part of your life and very special to you, who you have feelings for and they also have/had feelings for you, if they suddenly start seeing someone else and treat you like you basically don't exist, that is very abrupt and jarring and also doesn't sound very nice on the boy's part from what you've shared.  I think having dreams, getting emotional, feeling maybe a little less secure when someone suddenly leaves you like that are all normal.  

I think the other commenter's questions at the start are good, but I disagree that sex has to play a part in it at all.  I'm not sure why someone would think that you cannot think someone is special, or be close with someone, or have a relationship with someone, without having sex with that person.  There are many relationships where sex is not involved, and if you and your friend are in high school, for example, most high schoolers do not have sex, many if not most even their first kiss.  Relationships and connections are more than sexual and in fact bringing in sex can confuse things and can be negative in many ways.

Being "scared" of the boy sounds odd.  I could see feeling sort of "scared" or shaken when the rug is pulled out from under you suddenly, and maybe being reminded of him (like seeing his name) triggers that at the moment.  I could see what happened undermining your friend's trust towards others and being shocking, so maybe it's that.  As long as there was no abuse and that sort of thing, I think you could just be her friend like you are.  Listen to her, hang out with her, allow her to process this I suppose.  And you probably know best because you know the details of the situation and of people involved.  I hope it works out as best it can.
973741 tn?1342342773
Ah, I'm sorry about your friend!  It's really hard to see our friends and loved ones suffer. Panic attacks feel horrible.  Break ups feel really bad too and especially messy ones where they kind of ditch you.  Your friend is maybe in a little shock and mourning and upset. Time often heals these things.  Now clinical anxiety and panic can be situation or triggered by an event.  Learning what to do at that time is important.  Breathing exercises, distracting yourself, etc. can help.  But if your friend has had a lot of anxiety for a long time and this is just something making it even worse, it may be time for her to talk to someone about it.  First, if she is a minor, she should talk to her trusted parent or another trusted adult. That's really important as that is how she would have access to say something like a therapist which could be wonderful to work through this with. They do a lot of therapy online these days.  I belong to a support group for parents of teens with anxiety and depression and many kids right now as we speak get tremendous help from some of the online counseling services offered.  

I also agree with helper015 that no one can judge how someone feels or how close they are to someone and if sex makes them closer or not.  That is irrelevant to your friend's feelings.  As you get older, as you get more intimate, closeness grows but particularly in young people, the emotions of romance are very deep. And I'm sure this boy mattered to your friend. Rejection really hurts. I don't read your post that she was abused or hurt by him other than rejection.  If she was, that's a different story. But as a parent of kids in their teen years, I have seen many spiral after a break up.  It hurts. I'm sorry your friend is going through that.

Anyway, let us know how we can help or how your friend is doing. You are good to her to be concerned.
Just to clarify, from what we know so far there was no relationship here.  There was a crush but unless there is more to it that wasn't said, they did not date, they did not hang out, they did not engage in the things that constitute a relationship, and so there was no rejection at all here.  I mentioned sex because at least when I was young, and I have to say, everyone started having sex in high school and for girls often junior high, but I mentioned it because it elevates the intensity a ton especially for young experienced people.  That would make more sense.  I am concerned that either the friend has a potentially profound attachment problem that needs addressing, or, and this is the sex thing, something did go on between the two of them that frightened her or harmed her.  That was my point, since we haven't heard from the person involved, if he poster is truly talking about someone else.  Peace.
I don't think we should infer how close they were or how important the relationship was to the girl.  Regardless of our critique of the situation in terms of closeness, intimacy, what exactly it was, she is now having panic attacks.  I hope she comes back to tell us if it was from fear or hurt which are two very different matters on how to proceed. But anxiety leading to panic attacks are such that she should talk to her trusted adult and begin looking at what to do about it.
I would like to hear from the actual person as well, unless of course the poster is the actual person.  If you are, don't be embarrassed, nobody here is going to be mean, although we might disagree about what constitutes actual help.  But as to the above, we don't actually know from the post if she's having anxiety attacks or something very emotional that is being called an anxiety attack.  Again, why is she afraid?  I get sad.  I get a sense of lost opportunity.  But we can only go by what posters say here, we can't invent our own narratives and be of any help, and according to the post, the girl was interested and the boy seemed interested but no relationship was ever entered into.  If this is true, the problem is much worse than if the girl is just suffering a sense of loss.  I had a friend who used to talk endlessly about being sad about a girl, but it turned out he never once went out with the girl and only interacted with her once.  That's a far different species of problem than having a relationship that gets intense enough to hurt when it's over.  That's an act of invention, and that's a very different animal entirely.  Which means, to the poster, we need a lot more info to be of any help, as you can see, we're trying but we're in the dark.  Peace.
Paxiled you’re trying to help so that’s appreciated but I gotta say that I think some things you’re claiming could actually be harmful.  Especially if we are talking to someone who is in high school, where there is already intense pressure to engage in sexual activity (into adulthood too), saying things like everyone in high school has sex, and a relationship is not a real relationship if sexual intimacy is not involved, and there is no reason to be that hurt if there was no sexual relationship, can be harmful to put out here, and is also atrocious to me to be honest.  That’s at least how I read it.  I don’t want the poster thinking this stuff is true because it’s not.  I wasn’t going to write again but I feel compelled to respond to some of this.  I think it could be harmful to be left as is.

First of all, I don’t think sex and even a relationship needed to be brought into this conversation, but it has been and claims have been made so let me counter by saying it might feel that when you Paxiled were in high school everyone was doing everything, but they weren’t.  Statistics kept for decades show that a majority of people graduate and finish high school still as virgins.  And that makes sense looking back.  And as we all know, some people say they are not virgins, when they are.  In fact, I think the stat numbers are even inflated, and the majority is even bigger, because I know when I was in high school and got those forms to fill out for these surveys, I think I checked off that I was sexually active when I wasn’t because they hand them to you when you’re in class sitting next to your friends and other classmates.  So no, not everyone is having sex in high school.

Next, I’m not sure where you got that the definition of a relationship is to have sex.  That’s just not true.  I think we generally define a relationship as two people who are committed to each other.  Many people wait until marriage to have sex.  For those that are not waiting until marriage, you can still have an official boyfriend-girlfriend relationship with someone who is sweet, supportive, who you are similar with and enjoy spending time with and are exclusive with, with no sex, and it can be as special as special gets.  Not a hard concept.  For adults and kids alike, a relationship does not need to have sex to be a relationship.

And anyone who is pressuring you to have sex, saying things like it’s not real unless you put out, is a big red flag.  And anyone who cares about a person should not be behaving like that.  No one has a right to pressure you into sex.

And finally, says who that you can’t be very hurt if you never had a sexual relationship with that person?  That just makes no sense to me.  There can be someone big and important in your life that you are not in a relationship with and that you are not sexual with (of course).  And if that important person suddenly changes, and behaves worse towards you, that hurts.  I never assumed they were in an official relationship, i.e. the boy was her boyfriend.  It’s irrelevant to me, given what is in the original post.

It may have been, for example, that the boy and girl exchanged notes/messages and talked and hung out in the hallways of the school, where they are every single day, and made a connection, and then suddenly the boy is hanging out with a different girl in those same hallways and ignoring her, so of course she is going to be upset.  In fact I would find it strange if she wasn’t upset.  I think it’s very normal and human to be very upset about something like this.  So it’s good your friend has emotions.

I don’t want your friend thinking she is some freak for being upset, or that she needs to feel embarrassed over being upset because she wasn’t in a sexual relationship, nor do I want her to feel pressure that she needs to do that.  That’s why I’m writing again.  There was someone important in her life, very special to her as you wrote, and he likes/liked her as well, who is now ignoring her, and relationship or not, doesn’t matter, that info alone is enough to justify someone being very upset.  She doesn’t even have to justify.  She is upset.  And that’s a very normal and human reaction to me.

So I would just continue to be a friend to her, and maybe things will even change again for the better.
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