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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7664
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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I have an interesting question for you... My ex girlfriend

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I have an interesting question for you... My ex girlfriend 22 years old (we are both female and the same age) has a lot of what I would consider to be legitimate mental health issues but I do not know how to go about trying to help her...
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Other.
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Dear friend,

I believe that I can be of help to you Please get back to me with as many details as possible

List the problems or symptoms you see in a list

One by one

with as much detail

as possible

I look forward to helping you.

Warm regards,

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

A little bit of background on her...



Her parents divorced when she was 12 and she developed OCD (diagnosed)


Her mom became addicted to pain killers when my ex was 9 years old. She now combines those with adderral, vodka and mouthwash...she is not mentally present most of the time and can be verbally abusive and not remember.


Her mother remarried and my exe's step brother raped my ex at age 16. I believe this was around the time she started/continued cutting herself.


My ex then lived with her father who was physically abusive with her (ie pushing her up against a wall and choking her to show dominance). Most people agree that he has some sort of narcissistic personality disorder but I do not have evidence of that.


Recently, when we were dating he hit her in front of me (his logic for this was not reasonable). Coming from an abusive household myself I grabbed him and got between the two of them so he couldn't do anything else and got her out of the situation.


He then threatened her later and told her to apologize to HIM for the situation and then write him a thank you note for everything he has done for her.



Although she seems to know better she still blames herself for that situation. She is honestly an absolute mess and is on her way to becoming a moderate alcoholic. She says she hates who she is and I can see that she is in pain from all of this. I have tried asking her to seek professional help but when her father put her in therapy before to get her through the divorce and OCD, the therapist just told her she wasn't really gay and obviously that made my ex unwilling to have a trusting relationship with her therapist.


This whole situation breaks my heart and I have no idea how I can help her.



Dear friend,

Thank you for a most clearly written and illuminating response.

Your ex girlfriend clearly has Borderline Personality Disorder.

She may have OCD but you mentioned nothing that would remotely indicate it.

She also does not have narcissistic personality disorder.

She has every reason in the world to have a trauma based disorder, and BPD is what it is, basically, although there are no clear and absolutely clearcut and mutually exclusive disorders. She would, however, qualify as diagnosable for BPD.

Here are the official symptoms for you to look at yourself. These come from the psychiatric diagnostic manual, the DSM-IV.


1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.

2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterised by alternation between extremes of idealization and devaluation.

3. Identity disturbance - markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.

4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging, e.g. spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving or binge-eating.

5. Recurrent suicidal behaviour, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behaviour.

6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood, e.g. intense episodic dysphoria, irritability or anxiety, which usually lasts for between a few hours and several days.

7. Chronic feelings of emptiness

8. Inappropriate, intense anger, or difficulty controlling anger, e.g. frequent displays of temper, constant anger or recurrent physical fights.

9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.

Anyone with six or more of the above traits and symptoms may be diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. However, the traits must be long-standing (pervasive), and there must be no better explanation for them, e.g. physical illness, a different mental illness or substance misuse.

She needs, first of all, someone who is capable of diagnosing her and then of treating her. The best treatment is NOT medications but a form of psychotherapy called Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

Let me suggest four excellent books that can help you AND her.

The first two describes BPD and the third is a girls story of her recovery, and the fourth is a self-help workbook to start her off on DBT.

Product Details

The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder: New Tools and Techniques to Stop Walking on Eggshells... by Randi Kreger

Product Details

I Hate You--Don't Leave Me: Understanding the Borderline Personality by Jerold J. Kreisman and Hal Straus (Dec 7, 2010)


Product Details

Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder by Rachel Reiland


Product Details

The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal... by Matthew McKay, Jeffrey C. Wood and Jeffrey Brantley


I hope that this information proves helpful in your quest for fix her. She needs help very much, and needs a true friend such as you. Abandonment is her issue and your dedication to her is very healing.


I shall keep the both of you in my prayers.


Warm regards,



Elliott, LPCC, NCC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I will definitely agree with all that you have said. Strangely enough I actually own a copy of "I Hate You, Don't Leave Me", I picked it up for a psychology class (a truly random choice) and oddly enough after years of having that book it occurred to me one day that that may be her issue. I asked her to take an online assessment for it (not very official but I was curious) and she matched those 9 symptoms perfectly. She almost seemed relieved by the results. I am glad that you were able to see that without me saying anything about it because sometimes I think I am just grabbing at straws and people think I am nuts for trying to help her since they do not understand what she has been through. Thank you for your help, I really needed this in order to move forward.

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