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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5418
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi I have a friend who is causing us some concern. I believe

Resolved Question:

Hi
I have a friend who is causing us some concern. I believe she may have some sort of personality disorder. She is a lovely person , but has also been becoming very destructive amongst our friendship group. She appears to morph in to other personalities. For example, I met her through our work, and I was her mentor. Others commented that we looked a little alike, so she told people we were sisters. She starst off by being really helpful and doing lovely things and then starts telling you about personal things,. Very soon after we met, she said she thought she was pregnant, and spent two weeks umming n aarring about doing a pregnancy test. Of course at first, I was sympathetic. Encouraging, responding to countless open ended text messages, requiing an answer of probing for whats wrong!. Over time, she started to dress like me, her nana required lots of help apparently, as mine did, and I realised that as my own personal situatioin with my husband became difficult she would compete. She also over spoilt my little boy, buy huge amounts of presents for us. She also manipulates him, n to saying destructive things to me as his mother, and slso , makes secrets with him, tho on the surface she makes out she is being helpful to me as a single mother, taking my son for a couple hrs so i can work etc. This year, I had a traumatic event in my own life, and distanced myself from her as I felt it was an extra problem I couldnt cope with.I was off work with stress and couldnt cope with her constantly tellin me about work!!. I explained to her, that I would see her when we were back at work, that I found it difficult to have her around as I felt so guilty about work and it upset me , her coming to my house talking about it. I said I still cared about her, i just needed a bit of space. She was upset, buut overreacted alot as she does. I had always encouraged her to make new friends and used to take her out with my two closest friends. Over the last few months, I have been unable to go out due to no babysitters.She has befriended my two closest friends, and recently it has emerged that she has manipulated them,. lied to them , tried to keep them away from me, changed stories, and is now "morphing in to " my friend Helen. She has dyed her hair to look like her and started dressing like her, etec. She has maintained an emotionally need y relationship with me, when upon knowing im stuck at home and cant do anything, she tells me she is slef harming, or going to take pills etc, yet the next day I discover from a third person she has been helping someone move house.Or she text me saying she was ill in bed and needing lots of sympathy, buut actually she was out at Chatsworth house,etc.Recently, I had a traumatic event when my violent ex turned up on xmas eve and I had to have the police Upon finding out about this through another friend, she told me her boyfriend had sexually abused her. and refused to go to the police. In the same evening, she told another friend that her sex life was wild and very fulfilling.We also believe she may have spiked another friends drink and started drinking herself one night as it was the one night in 6months Id been out , and left me to drive them all home. She didnt want me to hav any attention from my two friends, so she got herself drunk, and her and another friend were uncharacteristicly sick, and I had to look after them. Theres been numerous things, n this all sounds petty Im sure to you. But my friends have realised theyve been a bit unsupportive towards me and now we are all sharing whats been said and done, we find that our other friends appears to be lying and trying to divide us. They have distanced themselves a little and been spending more time with me, which means she has started to invent more stories, or having dramatic episodes where she has to leave and come back and leave again, etc, without telling any of us whats going on. She is very obsessive with my five year old son, and whilst i want to support her, I have a duty to my son, and Im really concerned. I have enough going on ,with divorce and my husband who has psychopathic tendencies. I have been lookin at personality disorders and wonder if our friend may have BPD? I dont want to be unkind to her, but she is making life even more difficult
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

You are probably right, it sounds like your friend has a personality disorder. The traits you describe could be Borderline personality disorder or Histrionic. She could also have traits of other disorders as well. The only way to tell for sure is for her to have an evaluation with a therapist. But as you say, she will not go so that leaves you to deal with her behavior the best you can. And one of the best ways to cope is to learn more about personality disorders and how to respond to someone who has one.

Personality disorders are typically ingrained behaviors that someone develops, usually in response to being raised in a dysfunctional home. The person could not get their needs met (for unconditional love and attention) so they developed other ways to get what they needed which usually involved dysfunctional behaviors. When they grew up, they continued these behaviors even when they were no longer needed.

Here is a resource to help you learn more about personality disorders and which one(s) your friend may have:

http://www.nmha.org/go/information/get-info/personality-disorders

When dealing with someone with a personality disorder, it is helpful to keep in mind that they are not reacting to who you are as a person or even what you are doing. They are going by cues they learned long ago on how to relate to their world. And their responses can seem overwhelming and out of touch with the actual situation. They can also be very hurtful and hard to cope with.

If your friend won't get help or change in any way (common with someone with a personality disorder), you may have to change how you interact with her. One thing that helps is to see what she does as about her own issues and not you. Also, think of one phrase you can say to her that neutralizes anything she might say. such as "I'm sorry you feel that way". That usually shuts down the person and you can make a quick exit out of the situation.

You also need to protect your son from her actions, since at his age he can become hurt by something she does or confused by her expectations of him. Leaving him alone with her could also potentially harm him emotionally. So keeping a distance is a good idea.

Also, keep in mind that she is unlikely to get better. She needs to have insight into what she is doing and without that, she is going to keep on acting as she is. So the best way to deal with her is to set some boundaries and keep yourself as protected as possible or stop dealing with her all together.

I hope this has helped you,
Kate
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5418
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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