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I Choose Victims To Comfort Me

Question:

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p>OK I know I have a mental illness, I’m a logical young woman, but I don’t understand it, and no-one has ever been able to help me so far, you’re my last chance before I actually do go insane!

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p>You see, ever since I was little, I always thought I was a bit different, I always assumed that maybe I saw the world a little bit differently to everyone else, and I do, I just don’t really understand it. I like to be the centre of attention, but it’s not just attention I crave, it’s empathy and comfort, a bit of love. And you may think that makes me normal, but it gets wierder…

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p>I don’t want this attention, empathy and comfort, (now known as the ultimate trinity), from just anyone you see, I choose people. I choose sometimes a sister figure, and sometimes a um, little bit older, but never old enough to be a mother figure.

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p>For example, when I was 13 I had my first prime victim, called Lucy, she’s 4 years older than me, like a sister figure, and I wanted her to care, I wanted her to empathize with me, and comfort me. So i came up with plans of how to make this happen, I was bullied a lot in my old school, so much so that I changed schools, and I’d never really talked it out. So I would come up with scenarios in my mind, places where i would sit down and talk to her about it all, and she would feel sorry for me and comfort me, and I would cry and she would give me a hug.

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p>I planned similar scenarios using the same issue with a few other ‘victims’, but these scenarios were never enough, not only did i come up with those, I came up with unrealistic ones too, I imagined the school burning down and us 2 being trapped and me being badly injured and 1 of them rescuing me, I imagined being held hostage, and 1 of them comforting me after watching the whole scene. I came up with it all, but it became so real in my head I felt almost desperate to make 1 of these fantasies real, sounds sick doesn’t it?

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p>So eventually I plucked up the courage to make my fantasies a reality, i organized to meet up with lucy and talk to her about and it went ok, i talked, she comforted and felt sorry, but i didn’t cry, and I didn’t understand why. This was ok, I was happy to have finally got what i wanted, but to me, it felt like a drug, ok so I got it once, now i felt indestructible. I was getting older, and becoming more aware of issues, and becoming more involved in different issues.

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p>for about a year I would let myself get involved with issues that would upset me, and then pick a victim to help me out. or i would make myself ill or something and then a victim would have to help me out, it was so simple. The problem was, these issues weren’t serious enough, I wanted to go nuclear so to speak, take it much bigger and get some proper attention and some proper comfort.

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p>About that time I was dating a guy who treated me quite badly and he took advantage of me, naturally I used it to my advantage and told a victim about it, I also didn’t break up with him as early as I should, in a sick kind of way I wanted it to keep happening, because the attention i was getting out of it, was greater than the pain,

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p>it got me thinking, and by this time I knew i was sick, I knew i must be mentally ill, I just don’t know what the illness is, and how it can be helped. OK, this was where my um, addiction took over and I took things to a much more serious level.
i watch a lot of TV, and I mainly focus on Casualty, Holby City, and CSI, and these 3 shows contain a lot of what I want, the most serious case of that is often rape. It makes my part vulnerable and the ‘victim’s heart often just cries out, wanting desperately to help. I became inspired, after a lot of going back and forth I found a guy who was up for the challenge. He lived in London, and I had no intention of calling the cops on him anyway, so when my folks finally decided it was ok to leave me home alone for a weekend, my brother was looking after me but at 18, he was partying instead obviously! I planned to have this guy come down to mine and basically rape me, but he didn’t want to do it alone, he brought 2 of his friends along too.

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p>So it happened, and I was 14, and unexperienced apart from with my previous boyfriend, so I didn’t know what to expect, and it was a pretty horrible experience, but i still let it happen, and i let it go on longer than i needed to, for pure effect. I wanted to really experience it, before i could even think about getting anything out of it

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p>And so now, 2 years on, I’m still meeting new victims, leading them in slowly, giving off subtle hints and slowly revealing what happened, (with a few minor details changed) and I still want more! I want, I don’t’ know, something more serial, more life-threatening, a real bonding time with my victim, where we can share, and open up, and also look out for each other, but ultimately her feel as though she wants to protect me, look after me,

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p>I’m still letting things happen to me that shouldn’t, I’m still creating situations for myself, and I still don’t know what’s wrong with me, if you have any ideas as to what might be wrong with me, or how i can be helped, (and I don’t mean by seeing a damn shrink I don’t do that) then please let me know! I’m desperate! and scared I might one day take things a step too far, and someone else might get hurt in the process!!

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Answer:

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p>By writing this letter are you fishing for a new victim, perhaps? Do you genuinely want help? Maybe a little bit of both. Where does the manipulation stop and the hurting begin?

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p>To summarize what is happening here for the benefit of readers, you have developed a pretty manipulative way of getting other people to care for you. You put yourself at risk (of abuse mostly) and actually get yourself hurt, and then you use your misery as bait to attract “victims”; people who are drawn to comfort you by the signal of your suffering. You’ve been doing this in one form or another for a while. Now that you are entering what is typically called “young adulthood” you’re escalating the severity of your victimization by inviting worse and worse things to happen to you. There is a compulsive aspect to this behavior. You aren’t able or willing to stop it from happening. You know that what you are doing is “sick” or “ill”, but the payoff for doing it is enough that you do it anyway. Reading between the lines, there is a certain amount of pride you display as you describe how you manipulate situations to your desire. I believe that you are sincere in being alarmed at what you’re doing, and wanting to stop, but there is also clearly a part of this behavior that you like, that makes you feel confident or something. It is the pride of a confidence person around whom other people revolve and who are at his or her mercy. The predator confidence of a spider sitting in her own web waiting for flies.

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p>Your condition may be similar to “Factitious Disorder”, otherwise known as M?nchhausen’s Syndrome. Whether or not this diagnosis actually applies to you cannot be known until such time as you get yourself diagnosed by a local psychologist or psychiatrist. But superficially at least, it does sound as though you’re in this general ball park. To quote the DSM,

“Factitious Disorders are characterized by physical or psychological symptoms that are intentionally produced or feigned in order to assume the sick role.”

“The essential feature of Factitious Disorder is the intentional production of physical or psychological signs or symptoms (Criterion A). The presentation may include fabrication of subjective complaints (e.g., complaints of acute abdominal pain in the absence of any such pain), falsification of objective signs (e.g., manipulating a thermometer to create the illusion of fever), self-inflicted conditions (e.g., the production of abscesses by injection of saliva into the skin), exaggeration or exacerbation of pre-existing general medical conditions (e.g., feigning of a grand mal seizure by an individual with a history of seizure disorder), or any combination or variation of these. The motivation for the behavior is to assume the sick role (Criterion B).”

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p>A variation of factitious disorders are factitious disorders by proxy. In this lovely condition, you have someone who makes someone else who is dependent on them sick in order to play up their care giving role. For example, a mother might poison her child in order to enjoy caring for her now sick child. Clearly this is not your thing, and that is wonderful.

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p>In other words, people with a factitious disorder make themselves (or someone else) sick (or appear to be sick) in order to gain the attention of caregivers (medical or otherwise). As you can see from these descriptions, the condition can get really bad and very disruptive of a person’s life. Champion factitious disorder patients get very skillful at manipulating doctors into performing unnecessary surgeries and dispensing unnecessary drugs, etc. Thankfully, this isn’t where you’re at. Hopefully you’ll find the description pathetic enough to not want to go there.

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p>Factitious disorder is usually seen in the context of medical services, which is why it is described in medical terms above. You’re not doing your thing in the context of hospitals, but you are doing something very similarly manipulative with your “victims”.

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p>Factitious Disorder is a way of relating to others in a manipulative way. It is a cousin disorder to pathological lying, which, curiously enough, is not defined in the DSM, although I don’t know why not. It is thought to be related to a class of problems known as personality disorders, and specifically to a sub-class of personality disorders known as the “dramatic-erratic” Cluster B, containing the antisocial, borderline, narcissistic, and histrionic personality disorder diagnoses. Think of personality disorders as psychological developmental delays; ways in which people fail to mature in the social maturity dimension, often due to early traumatic experience and particular personality sensitivities. People with Cluster B personality disorders tend to be rigid and compulsive in the ways that they handle relationships. They tend to want to be the center of attention, and to have a difficult time seeing other people as equal beings who aren’t just there to serve the needs of the personality disordered person.

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p>You want to know what help is available, and the short answer is that if you are dealing with something like a factitious disorder or personality disorder, the only real help for these sorts of conditions is psychotherapy. These are not medical conditions like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder where there is a brain problem that will benefit from medication. These are problems with the way your personality, your “self” is seeing things. The way you are seeing things is causing you to harm yourself, and to manipulate other people into caring for you. Both of these behaviors are really problematic; they dramatically lower your chances for finding happiness in life.

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p>These diagnoses are fundamentally relationship problems, not physical ones, and only through the relationship of psychotherapy (or something similar) are they helped. You are very young, and it is certainly possible that you’ll mature out of this stuff, but so far things look like they’re getting worse not better, so I wouldn’t count on that. If you aren’t willing to see a “shrink” for talk therapy, there probably isn’t much that can be done at this point in time.

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Comments
  • jaynu

    Research does exist which demonstrates that many compulsive often do have structural brain differences compared to most individuals.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=87922568

  • Anonymous-1

    I experience somthing similar. I'm about your age now, and I'm aware of my issues as well.

    But I think it's getting better with me. When I manipulate my 'victims' it feels like a drug at first, but then I feel like a sick psychopath for manipulating them like that. I still imagine scenarios the way you described, quite often, and I used to act on them, but now, not so much. I realize that it doesn't always play out like that in real life, and I try to keep it real.

    Recently, I've been surrounded by a lot of older females who actually do 'mother' me and comfort me and look out for me (mainly because I'm so much younger, and I'm just one of those people who come off as more naive and innocent and younger than they are). Gradually, I'm trying to get more positive attention from them. Which, in my opinion, is healthier.

    I'm learning to love and look out for them, too. I think the craving for comfort was selfish, like most children are till they grow up a little. When I feel like I need their attention, I give them attention and I'm just my loving, big-hearted self. I'd do anything for my 'victims', and they notice that after a while. And to be honest, I get more attention and love from them this way, albeit a different kind. And they do comfort me the way I need them too when something bad does really happen.

    I'm sad though, becasue as you grow up, it's rarer that people are going to comfort you and take care of you, but I know that there's always going to be older females who will still think of me as a baby, and I'm okay with that.

    Maybe it's me making excuses, but I really think I'm getting past this. I think it's just a phase most young children want love and comfort from the rest of the world as they grow up, they get the capacity to love themselves. Maybe I'm just a little late in that department.

  • Anonymous-1

    Oh, and an addition -

    Remember how I said I used to act out on my scenarios? Well, I think that helped me in a way (not encouraging it just suggesting to you how to learn from your incidents).

    Once or twice, when I injusred myself for attention and lied about it (God I was sick in the head!), or told them things that asked for comfort, I saw that they really did give me the attention and comfort that I wanted, perhaps even more so.

    I never did it again, because all I needed was to know that I did matter. And I know that I'm worth their attention and comfort if something real happens.

    I guess I just needed to know that I'd get the attention if I really needed it - think of it that way. You never have to do this again, because you've seen the results, right? They're what you wanted. That's all you really need to know.

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