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  • What is wrong with my friend?

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    Old 11-26-2006, 10:50 AM   #1
    Perry2
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    What is wrong with my friend?

    She has an ongoing relationship with a guy who is a textbook BPD plus substance abuse case. 5 years together and a child a year ago but she kicked him out about 8 months ago because of his antics. He is extremely jealous and tempermental and would call her at work screaming about all the men he imagined she was spending time with, calling her vile names, when I think in that whole time she maybe has had maybe two lunch dates.
    The thing is while he is unloading this on her she just sits there calmly, as though his insane ranting is just pleasant conversation, even occasionally pulling her ear from the phone and smiling at me to indicate the tirade is almost funny to her.

    She would give regular reports on his chaotic actions to me and another close friend of hers, but every couple of months try to reconcile with him which he would screw up within 24 hours. The child forces them to maintain regular contact, and like many BPDs he deals with that part of his life fairly well. He is a very small man and not capable of manhandling her, and in fact has never struck her or given her reason to fear him out of violence. I say this last part to explain why she allows this uncontrollable temper around her and why she probably isn't hiding from him in fear.

    But she has a history of a physically abusive boyfriend a couple years before this one who was a very violent man and the daughter with the violent abuser ex also appears to have been sexually abused by him.

    Anyway that is my friends history. She is dealing well with being a single parent, has a career. and is getting proper treatment for the daughters ODD+

    But why does she do what she does? She keeps giving the second guy chances after swearing to us after each blowout he is the definition of an evil loser? It is like she completely forgets the behavior that led her to dump him after 4 years, and to send him packing after each screwed up chance?

    After telling her closest friends what a psychotic he is, and every detail of his actions, she suddenly stops speaking about him for a period of time and we now recognize this to be a sign of a coming attempt to reconcile. She won't say anything to us that will result in any kind of conflict, or require her to defend her actions, and will almost plead for support when we ask her why she is going down the same path again

    So she avoids any kind of conflict where she is doing something others might diasapprove of. When you catch her it is always "I need to give him just one more chance. Please respect that" or some such.

    From the first time I met her I found her extremely forthcoming, unafraid to tell me some of the most personal things in her history, which struck me as odd, but I appreciated the trust, and assumed she was opening up hoping she could find someone to lean on a bit.

    When she is on the outs with him, or at east not openly trying to patch things up, she has a need to tease. She will talk about sex(I am male BTW. Outfits, threesomes, sex while on drugs, and when I ask her why she is talking like this she will say "just trying to make you crazy". Last week she brought a picture of herself to work in a bikini from before her last child. She was quite spectacular looking and I told her so but after that she remarked a few times "can't get that picture out of your head eh?" I honestly haven't encouraged this behavior and I would expect that her other male friends are the targets of the same kind of unsolicited flirtation, with no indication she wants to do anything more than that. Like a cry for acceptance or a need to use her attractive looks for approval, even though she has close and supportive friends that don't really ask anything in return. The only problem person in her life is the ex.

    Another thing is her tirades. She has never directed that anger against me, but she will totally go off the charts when talking about her physically abusive first ex, the emotionally abusive BPD ex, or our employer if she is not being treated properly by them in her mind. Not normally an angry person but in these situations she is practically foaming at the mouth,and repeating the same things over and over, as though she hasn't just said the same things seconds before.

    Finally, and this might be totally unrelated, she has difficulty looking you in the eyes. During a warm moment when we are laughing together she is just like any other friend I have, but if we are having coffee or just chatting about small talk she is constantly looking off to the right. It is like she is reading a bulletin board

    Anyways, I may be just listing one persons quirky personality traits but it seems like there is a picture that can be put together. She doesn't have a mean bone in her body and she has convinced the screaming ex to see a therapist on his own in addition to couples therapy. Aside from the BPD the screamer has no redeeming qualities, so one has to wonder what she saw in him in the first place, but maybe there is just no accounting for tastes, and with the child together I can see why she wants to make it work.

    BUT, does her constant need to resurrect the imploding relationship suggest that she has acquired an affinity for the abuse? Are her repetitive tirades a sign of neurosis? Is her need to arouse or be desired by men an attempt to use her looks to control and if so, why, if she already has that persons friendship. I don't feel like she is trying to manipulate me(but maybe that just means she is good at it ) After a bit of time spent together when I noticed the eye contact thing I point blank asked her if she was on meds and she said no, but then told me about her daughters problems.

    It won't cause me to treat her any different if she does have a psych problem, but it may help me to understand her better.

    Any thoughts?

    Last edited by Perry2; 11-26-2006 at 10:59 AM.

     
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    Old 11-26-2006, 03:31 PM   #2
    rosequartz
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    Re: What is wrong with my friend?

    WOW - You've put quite a lot of thought and detail into your post and explained the situation quite expressively. I was involved with a man who had BPD. Fortunately, I got away after only one year. I can't imagine being tied to him by a child. A couple things strike me about your friend, and I could be way off base, but I'm guessing she has some pretty low self-esteem. I say that because she needs attention and re-assurance......showing you the pic in her bikini and teasing you.....
    she wants some positive strokes because he's not giving her any. I'm guessing in her head he's "better than nothing". It's too bad so many women have that mentality about unhealthy relationships. Have you ever asked her point blank......why do you keep tolerating this? I bet she says....."I love him"..... Are you interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with her? I don't know what to tell you, she will have to decide on her own, when enough is enough.....

     
    Old 11-26-2006, 09:14 PM   #3
    mvilla2426
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    Re: What is wrong with my friend?

    Well... I have Borderline Personality Disorder myself, and so does my father. So I know a little bit about it from both sides of the fence.

    My Mom deals with the stuff Dad does... SHe too has a history of abusive relationships. She stays with him because she says "he has treated me better than anyone ever has, and I have nowhere to go." Perhaps your friend feels the same way.

    As someone who used to be in an abusive relationship myself, I can understand how it can happen-- being treated bad becomes addictive. I was also in a relationship where I was the one treating my boyfriend badly-- only me emotions were so out of control I didn't even realize it. Even though we are the BEST of friends now and he knows I am working on my issues and have come a lONG LONG way, he will not give me a second chance either.

    But it sounds like this guy doesn't really deserve one. BUT-- until your friend knows that, there really isn't much you can do-- except be there for her when she needs you. She has to realize on her own that he is bad news, and until she realizes that, all you can do is be a shoulder to cry on.

     
    Old 11-26-2006, 09:49 PM   #4
    Perry2
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    Re: What is wrong with my friend?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rosequartz
    WOW - You've put quite a lot of thought and detail into your post and explained the situation quite expressively. I was involved with a man who had BPD. Fortunately, I got away after only one year. I can't imagine being tied to him by a child. A couple things strike me about your friend, and I could be way off base, but I'm guessing she has some pretty low self-esteem. I say that because she needs attention and re-assurance......showing you the pic in her bikini and teasing you.....
    she wants some positive strokes because he's not giving her any. I'm guessing in her head he's "better than nothing". It's too bad so many women have that mentality about unhealthy relationships. Have you ever asked her point blank......why do you keep tolerating this? I bet she says....."I love him"..... Are you interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with her? I don't know what to tell you, she will have to decide on her own, when enough is enough.....
    Thanks for the response. There was a time when I was interested in something with her but her inability to sever the ties with her ex makes me think I could get messed up trying to make something normal work with her. I really think a regular relationship is what she needs if she is ever to get truly out of it with him, but it is hard enough some times just being her friend so I think it is best if I leave that to someone else. I will always be supportive though, because I see the special person that she can be, but I don't want my head cut off
    I agree with the low self esteem coment. You don't see the neediness in her daily actions but the regular verbal abuse has to leave her needing some stroking from time to time. As I mentioned, I thought it might be a component of a recognized disorder but everyone needs to feel good about themselves and it doesn't make one necessarily neurotic.
    I agree until she decides it for herself she is not going to be talked out trying. The recidivism with the ex makes me worry if she will ever get out of the cycle but there is hope. At least he isn't violent.

     
    Old 11-26-2006, 10:21 PM   #5
    Perry2
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    Re: What is wrong with my friend?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mvilla2426
    Well... I have Borderline Personality Disorder myself, and so does my father. So I know a little bit about it from both sides of the fence.

    My Mom deals with the stuff Dad does... SHe too has a history of abusive relationships. She stays with him because she says "he has treated me better than anyone ever has, and I have nowhere to go." Perhaps your friend feels the same way.

    As someone who used to be in an abusive relationship myself, I can understand how it can happen-- being treated bad becomes addictive. I was also in a relationship where I was the one treating my boyfriend badly-- only me emotions were so out of control I didn't even realize it. Even though we are the BEST of friends now and he knows I am working on my issues and have come a lONG LONG way, he will not give me a second chance either.

    But it sounds like this guy doesn't really deserve one. BUT-- until your friend knows that, there really isn't much you can do-- except be there for her when she needs you. She has to realize on her own that he is bad news, and until she realizes that, all you can do is be a shoulder to cry on.
    Thanks for the perspective. You comment about people with a history of abusive relationships is interesting. Serial victim or serial enabler? I read somewhere the the brain chemistry of abuse victims can be such that they do in fact become addicted to the chemicals that their body produces in response to these stress situations. Likely not a true addiction, but something like endorphins or seratonin that is released under stress and these limit or eliminate the normal avoidance reaction to those stress situations, until limits are exceeded and self preservation instincts take over.

    I don't think the fellow deserves another chance myself. Of course I am biased but I think it takes a special kind of strength and dedication to purpose to overcome something like BPD. When you talk about working on your issues and how far you have come, you have to know this. He is addicted to pain medication as well. A huge uphill battle to handle both those things if you are an exceptional person, which he is not. He is only trying because he hasn't been able to find a lot of other women that are interested in his act.

    It is too bad that you could not patch up your own relationship because it sounds like you would like to. The positive thing is that the next one will see the improved you, with no painful baggage for him and no guilt for you. It really hurts to lose the comfort of a long term relationship but too many bad memories are like scar tissue and will prevent your relationship from ever reaching the very best level it can. A fresh start means you can still hope for 100% happy, and isn't that what we all want?

    I WILL stick by my friend as long as I can, and be the shoulder for her to lean on. And if she falls prey to the screamer and he moves back in with her, then I will at least hope that he will make a liar out of me and turn out to be something decent after all. You beat the demons right? Maybe he can too.

     
    Old 11-27-2006, 01:53 PM   #6
    Perry2
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    Re: What is wrong with my friend?

    In answer to my own question I have found several sites defining Codependent, all of which have a huge amount of overlap. The term in my mind applied more to people who were connected to chronic substance abusers but what I have found indicates psych issues fit the same category, and it deals in detail with people like my friend. I have emailed her the info on Codependant, and what she does with it from there is up to her. I would list the info here but it is readily available with a browser search on other help boards. Thanks again to those who responded. It is nice to get thoughts and answers from people that aren't just quoting textbooks.

     
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