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Lively, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 260
Experience:  Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, 10 years experience working with individuals, couples, & families
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Profile of a friend of mine. I have searched the web, talked

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Profile of a friend of mine. I have searched the web, talked to counselors and read books but cannot find a clear cut answer. I and other family members can see behavioral issues but cannot put a name to it. Hope you can help

64yr old female

Family History: Father: currently on meds dealing with depression/breakdown when he was 85 Mother:very nervous/neg with health issues

Personality characteristics and occurrences of questionable behavior:

cries alot

wandering eyes

focuses on things ie. likes white cake..eats a half cake

Emotion confusion. Recent death in the family Asked me

why I wasn't crying. Didn't understand how to behave cry or not


Has anxiety

No close relationships with family or friends

Has been in a few car accidents

Has fallen and broken her arm twice in 2yrs

Gets overwhelmed in grocery stores

Forgets things

Not coordinated

Doesn't watch any tv

Is for self first

Shows no bonding with family (no hugging, no encouragement)

Can be your best friend and talk and talk and the

next time you see each other, ignores you Doesn't speak

Health issues...mimics what someone else has(disease)

Very intelligent Vocabulary advanced at times

Creative with playing piano, writing documents

Needs consistancy/routine

Stays with husband most of the time

Says things without knowing what she is saying (hurtful or not)

**Key behavior which I cannot find an explanation for**

She will (as I call it) be your shadow. She will be like a sponge and take in all the behavior of someone or an instance that occurs and copy it. Ex: Someone would make a compliment to me and in a few hrs., she would call and say the same thing when she hadn't spoken to me in days, I would give her a card and the next day, she would send me one too., Son and daughter in law would sit on the couch and hold hands, she would do the same thing with her husband for that moment and then stop, purchases items others has(clothing,appliances, jewelry)

I can go on and on with more situations but most importantly, I am looking for a diagnosis for this behavior, if there if one and treatment. Can you help?
Hello plumb,

Psychiatric diagnosis are made on basis of presence of cluster of symptoms within a certain time frame.Although you have described the symptoms very beautifully and it shows that you have a keen observation power, but in my view it is difficult to pigeon hole the diagnosis in this case, on the basis of these symptoms alone.

She has a positive family history of Neurotic Psychiatric illness,
many of the symptoms do point towards a Neurotic personality,with possibility of a Neurotic/Psychosomatic illness, but which particular one,it is very difficult to say.There may be some personality defects, but one needs to know are they life long or not?

To reach to a conclusion , more detailed history along with the mental status examination is required in this case.

I hope it helps.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you for your reply. If you had to "guess" on a diagnosis, what would you lean more too? I was thinking it may be add especially with some of the symptoms. What would be the next step? Going to a psycotheripist...medication

As I told in my previous reply,it is not possible to pigeon hole the diagnosis in this case according to me.
In such case,first we need to identify the disease and for that a Psychiatric evaluation should be the first step.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
OK I will mention this to her but I doubt she will make an appt to a therapist. With your knowledge, any idea what the mimic behavior would be?? Thanks again
OK, this is an another example of one of your keen observation, but in order to comment on it, I need to know what is her explanation for this kind of her behavior, if she is confronted regarding it.

It does not fit in many of the classical symptoms of Psychiatric disorders,but just to make a wild guess--
It may be related to emotional insecurity she may have,or the presence of dependent personality traits in my view.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Sorry for the delay. Work related task to complete. In response, she has not been confronted about mimic behavior as far as saying, doing the same things as others but I and ONLY I have mentioned her behavior as it relates to sickness. Ex. I had stomach issues and had to have tests. In a short time, she was complaining about her stomach went to her dr for meds but did not go thru extensive testing. Her daughter had to have knee surgery and a short time after, my friend was complaining about bone spurs in her heel and went to therapy just like her daughter. This covers some of the "health" portion of her behavior but it goes much deeper than this. She is almost "transparent" with her sense of self as I see it. Like a chamelion. No sense of importance in regard to relationship issues or character issues. Ex. Doesn't go to grandkids ballgames ever but sees that the other grandparent goes, then she does the same. If I would mention that I did not like to go to baseball games, she would say the same and sometimes not go. When I first met her, I hugged her after we had gone to lunch (which was not ordinary for her~going to lunch and talking with a friend but she LIKES to talk alot and now also to be hugged. This was foreign to her but now almost everytime I see her, she does it to me ONLY NO family as they do not respond...coldness and not genuine from her family due to her behavior all these years) But as I see it now, even with me who has been honest with her, can see a withdrawl from the behavior. She is isolating herself even from me now. I felt as if I were her coach to give her positive reinforcement. I have looked up add symptoms and histrionic and narsasistic personality disorders but they do not address this particular issue. She is very intelligent but clumsy.
This sounds like symptoms of Asberger's syndrome to me. Asberger's syndrome falls on the spectrum of Autistic disorders- there is lots of available information about it online including symptoms profiles that you could look at and see if they match up with your friends symptoms.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I was thinking about Add too. Based on the websites I have visited re: Asbergers, no treatment is available. What would you suggest as the first step in helping my friend (yes, there is a real person and she is not made up. I am very concerned for her welfare but I may not have any answers to give her, if she will even listen) I want/need to do something for her to help her but she may never change with meds or therapy. I just don't want to give up. Any suggestions would help if you have dealt with this in your practice. Thank you for listening. Not many would even make any suggestions ot take my calls. :-)
I'm concerned about you taking on the responsibility of trying to help your friend sort out what sounds like complicated mental health issues. This will no doubt be very stressful to you and to your relationship with her, and can sometimes cause resentment on both sides. It really sounds to me as though your friend could benefit from ongoing therapy with someone- maybe she would be willing to have you go to an initial session and/or share your concerns with the therapist- but ultimately the work will need to be done by your friend with a therapist who has more training and is able to be more objective than you can be as a friend. You will certainly always play an important support role though, and this is not to be underestimated!
Lively, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 260
Experience: Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, 10 years experience working with individuals, couples, & families
Lively and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thank you SO MUCH for your reply. I now at least have a starting point. Therapy may not be an option for her without her cooperation and acknowledgement. I know this but do not understand someone when another is concerned for their welfare. I can at least in my mind have peace that "something" is out of sync and now it may have a name associated with it. I have been frustrated for some time as her behavior was out of the ordinary but she continues to deny it. I appreciate your willingness and expertise in this matter. I finally have some type of answer. You are a godsend...via email..and I thank you and prayed for you too. May your life be richly filled with God's mercy and grace as you interact with others in helping them with your knowledge and compassion. Thank you again.


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