Don’t Know How to Help Friend

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Hi there. I have been staying over at friends house for a few days now and every time I am here it gets more uncomfortable, stressful and down right unbearable for me mentally so here’s the situation: To begin with, my friend has always seemed to be slightly this way but lately I just need to know what is going on with her. Her symptoms include constant negativity about everything in life, low self esteem, apparent sexual abuse as a child/teen, hypochondriac, convinced she is going to die from not being noticed when she’s “sick”, constant talk of every ailment in her body, repetitive stories of her traumas from the past and health issues, possibly lying about symptoms being present, constant talk that no one cares, etc. Manipulating people close to her for attention, refusing medical/rx help of any kind. Talk of extreme physical and sexual abuse as a child, no social life outside her husband, mother and her dogs. Constant self badgering. Severe emotional outbreaks at husband regularly. Plucking out her hair, assuming the worst, never changing anything to make a stride for positivity. Honestly its like being sucked into a dark vortex feeling trapped and can no longer handle listening to it all day and am wondering what disorder this may be or the symptoms, etc so I can understand how to help as friend. It is very hard on me to watch this. What do you think? I’m running out of energy for this…to save myself. Please let me know.

A: Sometimes we help people by getting close to them, sometimes we help by moving away. It seems like these conditions were there since you moved in and stayed there. I think there is something to be said about being too close and not being able to appreciate a friend from afar.

I would make arrangements to leave as soon as possible. Make your observations about some of her behaviors and patterns without the threat of her reaction or greater stress for you in these tight quarters.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Dec 2013

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Don’t Know How to Help Friend. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/12/06/dont-know-how-to-help-friend/