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Is She Mentally Ill?


Relatively recently, I had a major argument with a once-close friend, and while I could initially tolerate it, as it has developed I have begun to suspect that there may be more to it, psychologically speaking, than her simply overreacting. She has always been promiscuous, and in the general opinion of all our mutual aquaintances, she is far too quick to engage in sex with relative strangers, each time looking for a meaningful relationship which she never finds. Her encounters with each new man (there have been at least 10 in the 3 years that I have known her) are predictable and invariable: it lasts a few weeks, during which she thinks he is perfect, then according to her side of the story (I have never met any of these men so I can’t know their versions), he will then terminate the relationship unexpectedly and unjustifiably, and she will experience excessively low moods, and alcoholic behaviour, for the next few weeks as she gradually and inefficiently recovers. I should probably mention that she and I were almost romantically involved (as a one-off we spent literally hours kissing) before she told me later that the incident had been purely experimental for her, and we would not be going any further at any point. I was very upset by this and temporarily developed a self-harming habit. Although this would seem irrelevant, since I’m discussing her and not myself, it is important since she became aware of it and felt that I was deliberately doing it to upset her and make her feel guilty. After that, I considered our score to be just about even, with her slightly on top since I had derived some satisfaction from upsetting her, but I remained “heartbroken” and now had suspicious scars on both arms which I must live with for the rest of my days. The current argument, which is my main cause for concern, began when she told me that she was intending to abstain from sex for the time being since she had met a new man who was a perfect gentleman and she didn’t want to rush things (you should see the dominoes getting ready to fall again). Since she had said this on previous occasions, I carelessly said that it never works, at which she became extremely angry with me. She accused me of being unsupportive, when in fact I was the only friend who had stayed by her when she spread a false story that she had been raped to gain some attention at school a couple of years ago, and that I should be happy for her rather than critical. She demanded an apology from me, which I refused, since I still felt that IF either of us owed the other an apology, it certainly wasn’t me, since I still feel that she behaved inappropriately when she kissed me (incidently there can be no doubt that she made the first move on that occasion). She called me arrogant, hurtful, and a number of other things which I honestly cannot deny, and said she wanted never to see me again or speak to me again (and she hasn’t since, except for one occasion some time later, when she sent me a message completely out of the blue just to reiterate the fact). I know I have been extremely excessive in the telling of the story, but the background is vital. My concluding point is: I feel this is beyond a social overreaction… isn’t it? Terminating your entire relationship with someone? Especially considering how close we once were (we shared things with one another that we both swore we would never tell anyone else). So, after much preamble, here is my question: Is she mentally ill? I already suspect that she may have Borderline personality disorder, but that wouldn’t explain all the behaviour that I think needs explaining. More specifically, I would like to ask: Is there an acknowledged condition which causes the individual to perceive themselves as the victim when they are in fact the one at fault?

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What immediately strikes me about your E. Mail question is not its length as much as the way you leave yourself out with a very few exceptions. For example, you report that you started to harm yourself and that you were pleased because it made her feel guilty.

This self harming is an important point because the entire “relationship” or friendship has the characteristic flavor of something sado masochistic. Maybe I should state what I am trying to say more simply: Why have you remained in such an unhappy friendship for so long? The question really is not whether she is mentally ill or not (something that I have no way of knowing) but why you would hurt yourself and why you would “hang around her” for so long?

By the way, your defensive way of stating that she kissed you first does not stand up very well because, after all, you kissed her back and for a long time. Then, she insulted you by stating that she was experimenting. Still, you remained friends.

Remember the old saying: “With such friends, who needs enemies?” It fits this situation.

In my opinion, based on what you have described, you are better off looking for friends elsewhere. In addition, I would urge you to enter psychotherapy in order to explore this example of self hurting as well as why you remained so preoccupied with thinking about her. Sorry if you are not preoccupied but, I will say that it seems like that.

There are happier friends and relationships out there. Look for them, leave this behind and go into therapy to find out why you stayed around for so long.

Best of Luck

More "Ask Dr. Schwartz" View Columnists

  • Jordan Rastrick

    Like you both, possibly, have mental health problems,.

    Her Promiscuity, alcohol use, extreme "friendship ending" outburst, etc, are classic symptoms.

    The fact you self-harmed as a result of her behaviours effecting you are not especially good signs from your point of view.

    But I'm probably the wrong person to ask, since I have a severe Mental Illness myself.

    I can tell you, from personal experience that I believe is well backed up with evidence, that relationships with the mentally ill are especially challenging, although they can be very rewarding. If both parties have significant problems it adds to both the challenge and, IMO, the potential reward.

  • kristina

    hej mitt nam e kristina o ja undrar om du kan förklara om man har haft problem med misbruk sen ja var 15år i dag e ja 38år o har ej haft utbildning av nån skola alls jobb har ej haft .har gåt på heroin sen ja va 18år inan tog ja allt förutom tripar ok coc has (alk så där) JA LEVER PÅ SOSIALEN HELA MITT LIV O SKULDER HAR JA OXÅ .jag har deprsoner mår ej bra pallar ej se fålk melan åt e jobit som fan ja har ej nerver prata me dom snabt iriterat vill va ensam e bäst har sökt metadån nu har de ny nestan 2år .går på lurika som ja har fåt av metadånkliniken ret så stor dos har ja 400mg 2 gånger om dagen ska ja ta det med metadånet första 30min e ja helt vek vilket e bra de e bre ja men ja fatar ej vad e frågan ja sökt sjuckersetning kan du skriva tilll mej en sån som jag tycker du ja ska kuna jobba nej jag kan ej kona det i mitt liv e bara en kort förklarning ja har skrivit har korator o spukoelog o ifektonen papper där de står mina problem o ja har hepatit oxå ja håler på med kåntråler o masa sker som dom vill göra. jag har ett bagas som e tragisk vill ej tencka på de ja mår ej bra när ja tencker myket o beretar jag vet ej var ja ska göra för den läkaren som fin på klieniken han har ja ej nån förtroende o kan ej prata me han e ej bra så tycker alla på stelet har sama åsikter om han o sama problemer oxå jag vill järna att se dina åsikter om vad du säger tycker vore jette viktit för mej hör järna av dig snela tack på för hand MVH kristina s

    Via Google Translate:

    hi my nam e kristina o yes wondering if you could explain if you have had problems with misbruk yes were 15 years ago today, e ja o 38år have not had the training of school at all, someone has not had a job. has gat on heroin then yes huh 18year Inan took so everything except trip ok coc has (alc like that) YES live on Sosial my life O LIABILITIES OF YES UXO. deprsoner feel I have not played pallets not see falcons to e jobit melancholy as hell yes, the nerves not talk me they snabt iriterat want to be alone e most sought metadån now have the new nestan 2y. lurika goes on as I've been barrels of metadånkliniken ret so large a dose is yes 400mg 2 times a day, so take it with metadånet first 30min e yes quite weak as email me the e bre yes but yes Fatar no matter what e ja sought sjuckersetning you can tilll me one of those that I think yes you should kuna work no I can not taper it in my life are only one short explanations yes've written has been voted o spukoelog o ifektonen paper where they are my problems o yes have hepatitis oxå yes håler on with kåntråler o masa is that they want to do. I have a bagas as e tragic would not tencka on the yes not feel good when I tencker myket o ready I do not know where to do so for the physician to fine the klieniken he does not favor anybody trust o can not talk me his email yet well so do all the stelet sama has opinions about his o sama problemer oxå Squill I want to see your opinions on what you say, think it would jette viktit for me hear from you Squill snel thanks to hand-MVH kristina's

  • Random Woman

    I felt the comment showing that you do not believe that your friend's effort to change in how she approaches men in an effort to secure a relationship was very judgmental and negative of you. In truth, there are people who are only able to secure relationships by taking things slow, and others who secure marriage partners by jumping into bed with them - no matter how much you have heard that only bad girls would 'be fast' or only bad guys would ...'be fast'. You seem to be very judgmental about that. Your relationship with her is curious you write that you are normally just friends but enjoyed making out with her once and self injured out of emotions which you claim have to do with your feelings about her.

    I wonder if you are interested in her or were just a devoted friend.

    Only 5% of accusations of rape are false. Have you considered the possibility that she had not lied about that, but you assumed she had?

    I would not diagnose her mental health from what you have described. However, if you are a men I can tell you that the general assessment is that from the female perspective "Men are stupid." and from the male perspective "Women are crazy" so if you are male and she seems insane, that's pretty normal.


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