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Problems with Best Friend

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I’ll give you the short version of what’s happening; My best friend and I got into a game around the same time, just before I moved cross-country. We only ever talk on the phone, and this past year, she’s been telling me some alarming things. She thinks two characters from the game we like are her….. let’s just call them “imaginary friends” and talks to them out loud when I’m on the phone with her. She’ll do this for minutes on end. Her falsely religious mom is abusive, and has been rude to me whenever I visited in the past. Her mom is probably unstable herself, actually ENGAGING with these “imaginary friends” according to my best friend, saying “if she fights with them, she doesn’t care about them” and stuff like that. My friend is only a year older than ME. Also would like to mention my friend thinks everything has a “spiritual” or “supernatural” cause, (such as “demons cause her problems”, or “if she prays hard enough, angels come down to help her”, etc.) She also believes herself to be a psychic, and her mom enables this behavior by using holy water on my friend, and whatever woo stuff she brainwashes my friend with. Her mom hates me because after she talks to me for a while, she has to start the process of brainwashing my friend all over again. Sometimes, I feel like I’m her only beacon into reality. I’ve exhausted all I can do; I’ve offered her resources she can use to help herself, and she finds excuses not to use them, I’ve listened to her nonsense, and called her mom’s bluff millions of times. Can you guys give me a professional opinion on what may or may not be going on here, and give me suggestions on what I need to do at this point? Because observing this is beginning to affect my own shoddy mental health. Thanks!

Problems with Best Friend

Answered by on -

A.

Your friend seems to be believing in things that are not real. These ideas seem to be facilitated by her mother. Her mother thinks one way about the world and she is sharing it with her daughter. She may be being indoctrinated by her mother.

The possibility also exists that your friend has a mental illness. It’s difficult to know what illness but possibly a psychotic disorder. I could never know what disorder she may or may not have from a distance. She would need to be evaluated by a therapist, in person, to know what disorder she may have, if any at all.

You are doing all you can but as you can see your power is limited. You should continue to express your concern for your friend and encourage her to seek help. After you’ve done that, realize that you’ve done all you can. She is free to believe in anything she wants. The hope obviously is that she would believe in things that are real, and not in things that are not real.

You mentioned that this is beginning to affect your own mental health. In that case, you may have to put limits on the amount of time you spend interacting with your friend. As I mentioned above, you should do what you can but realize that you can only do so much. You can’t make people do things they are not willing to do. You suggested that she seek help and she ignored you. You cannot force her to seek help if she does not want it.

It’s difficult to watch someone you love engage in behavior that is detrimental to their well-being. In some ways, it’s the most difficult position to be in, watching what amounts to a slow-motion train wreck. Unfortunately, that is sometimes the reality of life. People have to want to seek help and have to be willing to get it. For those who are unwilling to get it, there’s virtually nothing you can do. The only time you can force someone to seek help is when they are a danger to themselves or to others. Even in those cases, the danger has to be imminent in order to receive immediate help. It does not seem as though your friend is in imminent danger nor a danger to herself or to others. Theoretically, believing in ideas not based in reality are dangerous for one’s psychological health, however, it is not enough to qualify for inpatient hospitalization.

Do your best and hope for the best. Encourage her to seek help. Realize that your power is limited in this situation. Keep your distance so that you can protect your own mental health. Good luck and please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Problems with Best Friend

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Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2020). Problems with Best Friend. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 8, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/03/30/problems-with-best-friend/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 26 Mar 2020 (Originally: 30 Mar 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 26 Mar 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.