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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5808
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Im so worried about my friend/partner. Hes 52, self employed,

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I'm so worried about my friend/partner. He's 52, self employed, never married, no children.
He has suffered relationship problems throughout his life. He goes in to a blind panic when he feels a loving emotion for a person and runs away from the relationship even though the other side of him desperately wants to settle down and get married. He goes through good phases, feeling as though he's turned a corner but as he gets carried away with wonderful thoughts of the future within hours all his demons return and they leave him curled up in corners of the room, so distressed and suicidal to the point he can't have that person around him under any circumstance. It was thought at some point that he displayed all the traits of philophobia... the fear of love.. He agreed with all the symptoms. His GP seems unwilling or unable to assist any more than group therapy, and seroquel (100mg a day). I'm taking him to see someone at MIND tomorrow morning but fear at some point he will attempt to take his own life. Can you offer any more avenues we could try, please? Susan

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


Has your friend said anything about hurting himself? If he has told you that he wants to hurt himself and he has a plan (For example, "I have a gun and I've thought about shooting myself"), then he needs emergency services as soon as possible.


But if he has had thought of hurting himself but they are fleeting or he does not mention a plan, he may have Major Depression. In that case, a combination of anti depressant medication and outpatient therapy should help him feel better.


Also, do you feel your friend wants help? It is often hard to get someone to feel better no matter how much help you can get them if they do not want to get better. If you feel your friend is gaining something out of feeling bad, he may not want to recover. I know that sounds a bit harsh, but it happens more often than not. People become used to the pattern of feeling bad and others worrying about them. They like the attention. So it works for them. It does not mean they do not have a legitimate problem, it's just that they do not go about resolving it very well. It worth mentioning to you as a possibility however remote it may be.


If your friend truly wants help and nothing has worked so far, then he may need a change in who he is seeing. Sometimes with counseling, you may not click well with who you are working with. It is much like a doctor, you need to search until you find one who works well with you. Your friend may just need to see someone other that who he saw before. To find another therapist, try searching on line at



Your friend could also have been through trauma in his past that causes him to be fearful of relationships. Any type of abuse or neglect can cause someone to have a panic reaction to whatever they fear the most. It can also be a transferred fear. For example, someone who is traumatized as a child can grow up to fear bridges. The bridge itself is not dangerous, but the trauma caused the person to feel overwhelmed and they developed a fear that has nothing to do with the original trauma. So your friend may feel upset about his childhood, but he transfers it to his attempts at relationships. He may have also developed a social phobia related to his relationships. That would explain his fear of thinking about relationships.


One of the best options for your friend, if suicidal ideation's, depression and other more serious disorders are ruled out, is self help. He can go on line for self help groups and he can also talk to someone here on Just Answer. Some other resources are:


Adult Children of Abusive Parents: A Healing Program for Those Who Have Been Physically, Sexually, or Emotionally Abused by Steven Farmer


Adult Children Secrets of Dysfunctional Families: The Secrets of Dysfunctional Families by John C. Friel Ph.D. and Linda D. Friel M.A.


Breaking the Patterns of Depression by Michael D. Yapko


You can find these books on or your local library may have them for you.


Please feel free to let me know if you have more questions.


I hope this helps,


TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I agree. I think some of it is attention seeking but still accept that this is part of his illness. He does have guns and has mentioned this as a way out. In one traumatic episode he said he thought I should take the keys to the gun cabinet for safe keeping. I didn't. He needed to give me them himself. I won't take charge of his life to that extent. There must be some part of me that thinks 'he won't do this and it's an attention seeking threat..' He has been through a period of 'physical' ill health recently.. Disc replacement in his back. Funnily enough, he spent 7 weeks at my house being 'nurse-maided' by me. He did not suffer one episode of his psychosis even though he was with me 24/7. He even thought he'd turned a corner at one point and that we could move forward 'personally'. He was ecstatic. Sure enough as soon as he was fit again and I stopped fussing his demons returned and he backed away at a million miles an hour but was so distressed and threatened suicide again. I do know he needs help but getting to the bottom of his problems seem cavernous at the moment. ?? Susan...



Thank you for the additional information.


What you said makes a lot of sense. It sounds like he may also have a personality disorder as well. Attention seeking is part of a Histrionic personality disorder. People with histrionic personalty disorder like to act out to get attention. Everything is dramatic. It also fits with his suicidal thoughts and threats. Being suicidal will get you a lot of attention and fast too.


He may not want to get to the bottom of his problems. Personality disorders are very difficult to treat unless the person has insight and wants to get help. So you are doing very well with him and treating him normally. It just means that he does not respond to the treatment normally.


Here is some information about personality disorders to help you. They can be complicated to deal with so the more you know, the better you are able to respond. And don't forget to care for yourself in all of this. This friend is not your responsibility and people with personality disorders will make you feel very responsible for them.


Difficult Personalities: A Practical Guide to Managing the Hurtful Behavior of Others (and Maybe Your Own) by Helen McGrath PhD and Hazel Edwards MEd


Let me know if I can help any further,


TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hi, Kate

You have been extremely helpful. Many many thanks. Andy is due to collect me soon this evening and we will spend some time together. He wants me to check some work over for him and we also need to go to the airport together to collect my daughter and her boyfriend who are en route from holiday.
I'm more than happy to pay for all your professional advice which has been more insightful than his GP and therapists to date.
As time goes on, I am more than happy to pay again for your assistance. It is good for me to finally speak with someone who understands and of course I will try and take care of myself. I'm pretty logical and as fond as I am of Andy, I know I need to put myself first with my own family and life..
I will go back over our conversation and ensure I have paid all that you are due. With bonus if poss'.. We did pay £240.00 (that ran well over a thousand pounds by the time Andy decided it wasn't working) per hour for one psychotherapist so I am well aware that your consultation is wonderful value for money.
I hope you will be around in the event I need you again and perhaps can carry on his treatment.

Many many thanks to you again,

Very best regards




Thank you so much! Your kind words mean so much. I am more than happy to help. I am glad you found my answers useful. Please do not feel you must compensate me for each response. If we talk again, there may be a lot of back and forth as we exchange information and that could get expensive. But I do appreciate your accepts and the bonus. You are very generous.


If you would like to talk again, just post your question with my name at the beginning and other experts will know not to answer it. Requests through Just Answer's system are fine, but they only allow 10 minutes for me to get to the question or it goes into the queue and anyone can answer it.


I usually check in every day so anytime you need to talk, I'm here.





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