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Kristin, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 454
Experience:  Licensed Mental Health Counselor. 11+ years specialist in mental health. Expertise and insight!
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What clinical definition best fits a person who in common

Customer Question

What clinical definition best fits a person who in common terms is "two faced"? This person has multiple intimate relationships and manages them by speaking ill of the others when direct conversation.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kristin replied 6 years ago.

Hello and thank you for your question.

Can you tell me a bit more about this person's behavior. Are there any other indicators in her personality or behavior that seem off to you? There could be many reasons for someone gossiping about their friends, etc. and a clinical definition cannot really be given for this one facet of behavior alone. Maybe you could explain more about this person...thank you.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
This young woman is 23, with a six year addiction to meth-amphetamine. She supports her habit by working as an escort.
She is highly intelligent and a very good writer.
She has a very well developed list of personal beliefs which are really quite admirable, though she lacks the impulse control to maintain her behaviors within the boundaries of those beliefs.
Her childhood was filled with both being spoiled by her grandparents and terribly rejected by her mother. Father figures (except grandfather) are abusive or non existent.
Anti-social behavior, with very limited circle of friends - all men few of whom have much knowledge of one another.
The observed "two faced" behavior is to her closest confidants, a husband and two or three "others" whom she professes to love to their face and speaks of in very derogatory terms to the others.
This "two-faced" behavior is not well hidden - it is perhaps even "shared" (in journals and chat histories) in some unrequested attempt at being understood.
Difficult not to believe she is capable of feeling some "love" and/or empathy and the behavior seems so irrational that it is difficult to believe it is not a manifestation of an illness.
Talking her into therapy not likely to be successful at this time.
Looking for a clinical definition that fits the common term "two-faced" and avenues for further research and or learning on my part.
Expert:  Kristin replied 6 years ago.

Hello and thank you for the information.

Before any true clinical definition could be observed, it would be necessary for this young woman to first be drug-free. The reason I say this, is so many of her behaviors could be caused by her addiction to meth, which obviously sounds like a severe addiction in her case. Once she is clean and sober, then a more accurate assessment of her could be done. Many of her "behaviors" could be the result of a traumatic childhood which culminated in personality disorder type traits, or there could be a mood disorder going on or both. But again, her first clinical issue is her drug addiction,

And if she is not willing to get into treatment, then she really can't address any of these other behaviors, until she is more functional.

I would really advise that she looks into getting treatment for her drug abuse. If you would like to give me her zip code I could look up some treatment centers in her area for you.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Good advise, but not an answer to my question.
I omitted that there is also a family history of depression with her grandmother, aunts and mother. She has a limited treatment history with anti-depressants during adolescence. Her use of meth-amphetamine seems to be self medication.
I am not a health care professional, but I am not uninformed regarding addiction or young women with PTSD issues. Obviously, there is little to be done until she acknowledges the need for assistance and/or receives treatment for her addiction.
Please answer my main question regarding the clinical definition of "two-faced" behavior. Does it simply fall under cognitive dissonance? The behavior seems extreme and there is even acknowledgement on her part of it's irrationality.
I am not looking for a diagnosis of this person; rather a place to seek more understanding for myself.
To refine my question further - is her willingness to share her diametrically opposed feelings in the form of published memoirs and/or the sharing of her intimate conversations (journal entries and chats)preliminary attempts on her part to request help?
Expert:  Kristin replied 6 years ago.

It could be that she has mixed feelings about these people, and doesn't know how to appropriately express them directly and so she does so indirectly. Either through talking about them to other people in a derogatory fashion, or as you mentioned putting these thoughts and feelings into a forum that is not hidden and will be viewed by others. Is that an attempt for help? I would think that you may see many behaviors that are signs of "acting out" what is going on with her internally. I don't know if those are conscious cries for help or simple attention seeking behavior.

There are many layers to this woman and her issues. You may want to read about cluster b type personality disorders online, in an effort to better understand her. I'm in no way indicating that is what is going on here, but with some of the erratic behaviors you describe, you may see her in these descriptions.

The only way to help someone such as this person you describe, is to let her know you are here for her, while also setting boundaries and holding her accountable for her behaviors. You can't tell her what to do, but you can have a consequence for harmful or destructive behaviors, to show her that there are limits. Otherwise, it will enable her to act out and not see herself realistically. Thank you....

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I have studied personality disorders before. So while I again appreciate the advise, being directed there does not seem to be a direct answer to my question.
Directly answer this question and I will accept your answer.
There seems to be a common dictionary definition for the term "two-faced" which includes "deceitful; insincere; hypocritical"
What is the clinical term or definition for the behavior commonly know as being "two-faced?
I am looking for a clinical term for the behavior. If there is no clinical term or definition for this behavior please state that.
Expert:  Kristin replied 6 years ago.

I understand what you are asking, however unlike the dictionary definition, there really isn't just one clinical definition or term for two-faced, as the reason for someone being two-faced and exactly how it presents as a whole needs to be looked at to determine a definition. That being said, with the concept of psychology in mind, someone could call someone who is often two-faced in behavior as displaying a "false self" meaning the true feelings and thoughts of the person are masked by an outward display of another kind of feeling and behavior. That these behaviors are an unconscious acting out of unresolved or repressed true emotions.

Other than that, I really don't know of one clinical term that is used to describe two-faced, unless someone has actual separate personalities in which that person would be considered as dissociative as in dissociative identity disorder.

Hope that helps or atleast answers your question. If not please let me know. Please click accept and also feel free to continue the discussion with me even after clicking accept. Thank you.

Kristin and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I accepted and added a small tip. Thank you.
I must question your motivation for the offer to continue the discussion. I am new to "justanswer" so I am not sure how a continuing dialog would be billed. I am hesitant to continue unless there is some way you benefit as well, and honestly will not invest much money. I have always learned best by making my own mistakes and I seldom accept the advise of others unless it also "feels" right.
Which is where my personal involvement enters our conversation. I have always trusted my intuitions and they have seldom failed me.
I need to arrive at a way of judging whether my intuitions are correct or whether I am in denial. On the face value of the examples I could provide, it would be difficult not to arrive at a judgment of the latter. However, except in moments of anger, intuition says there is a value to what I share with her and I hold hope, that to use your terminology, one day she might acknowledge (and we might agree) which is her "true self".
Expert:  Kristin replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for the bonus, that is appreciated. Just Answer is set up as a fee based system per question. I just like to offer any follow up to the original question posted.

Yes, it's often true that even when there are undesirable traits in someone that can be hurtful or perplexing, that there still can be "value" to what you two share. That being said with the drug addiction and the other personality traits presented, this is someone who is creating more destruction at this time, and those around her will also feel it and be affected by her. There is no way around that, until she decides to get some help for herself, and you have heard the term "rock-bottom" and its often in that place, where someone will go for help. Often underlying addiction, is a great deal of emotional pain that has been suppressed and with the healing of such, one's more authentic self can be realized.

Just keep in mind again the best way to help her is to support her healing while setting boundaries and limits with her. I do wish you all the best....thank you.