How do I unfriend a severely mentally ill friend?

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Anonymous #1
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I have a friend, who is good person. They're kind-hearted, intelligent, charitable, caring and generally a nice human.

However, they're just not my type of person. In addition to the traits I just listed, I personally find them to be obsessive, simultaneously over-sensitive and insensitive, unintentionally manipulative, draining and clingy.

They get upset very easily over things I say that really do not warrant that type of reaction. We'll often also get into fights due to differing political and moral stances.

They send long paragraph texts saying how they fear I'm distancing myself from them, to which my people-pleasing self would say they were being silly - even though they were spot on. And yet, despite this, oftentimes it's their texts that are on the cold and distant side.

And, they'll sometimes come off as unintentionally manipulative, essentially saying things to the effect of “you can leave me, but you'll really hurt me”...

They have a lot of severe mental health problems, and I mean a lot. So, much of the above may be indirectly caused by them.

They self-harm too and tell me about it, which I’m fine with, but it just makes me feel a bit more trapped in the friendship - I don't want to feel like I’m going to send them into a depressive episode by calling it quits.

We're just not compatible people and I don't think we ever will be. I have my many flaws too that cause them stress and even though we have lots in common, we have far more differences and it’s gotten to a point where I can't get over them.

This person I feel can also be quite a gossip and sometimes vindictive and I feel they might slander me somehow, which I want to avoid.

I want to know how you guys would go about this. The way I see it, I have a few options:

1) The last friends I had like this, I kinda just straight up blocked them and it worked well. I feel like it’s an efficient, easy and tempting way to do things – I’ve got a lot on my plate these days and really don’t want to go through the stress of having a heavy conversation. However, this friend did make me promise to them that if I ever had a feeling like this, I should tell them.

2) Talking to them is harder, but I suppose the ‘noble’ thing to do, but I don’t know if I can especially after a year of me saying everything is okay between us and that they were just being paranoid – I’d feel so fake. I also feel as though they might unintentionally manipulate me into staying friends of some sort, and I’d give in because I don’t want to see them get hurt…

3) We have this thing where when we need a break from one another we block each other for a bit (with no hard feelings, just when we need to focus on study or need a break from people in general) I suppose I could say I’m going on one of these but just never unblock them… it sounds cruel, I know, but in a way I feel like it could prevent a depressive episode as its not a sudden shock if that make sense. However, it could come at the cost of deepening their trust and abandonment issues over time, which I know they have.



4) I suppose I could also just try to not reply as often to messages, and slowly faze things out, but I find that hard with them being a little clingy and I usually just slip back into old habits. However, perhaps if I really put my mind to it, I think can do it. I feel like this option is a good middle ground.

So, what do you guys think I should do?? Given all this information, what’s the best course of action? Thank you SO MUCH in advance…
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urlocalinmate
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3, then 1, and give closure if things don't work out.
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markova21
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Three.
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sarahjanesmith
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3 maybe 1 if 3 doesn't help
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by markova21)
Three.
Really? Why do you think that's best? Thanks a bunch for replying btw.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by sarahjanesmith)
3 maybe 1 if 3 doesn't help
I wasn't expecting people to go for these ones honestly, which is interesting! Why do you think they're the best options? Thanks for the help and replying too !
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by urlocalinmate)
3, then 1, and give closure if things don't work out.
Thank you for the advice, I greatly appreciate it

What's your reasoning behind your choices?
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ashtolga23
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3 and 4 are terrible options for someone with these symptoms. It sounds very like BPD or something similar so they'll probably be crushed either way, but 3 and 4 drag it into long torture.
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Anonymous #2
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i would start to slowly not reply to messages and maybe they’ll get the hint. you could say you’re very busy when they question it. I had a friend in uni that was so draining and would constantly talk about her ED and mental illness when i was suffering from the same thing. Every conversation revolved around her and i was constantly bombarded with her issues meanwhile trying to sort my own problems out. I stopped asking how she was and she eventually stopped talking to me because i didn’t give her the attention she wanted. You could try that
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urlocalinmate
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Thank you for the advice, I greatly appreciate it

What's your reasoning behind your choices?
Clearly you're overwhelmed so a break (around 1-1.5 months) would be good to clear your mind and start fresh. If things go downhill I'd strongly recommend speaking to someone who's qualified in things related to the mind and social interaction like a psychologist, or maybe Childline if you're under 18.
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Vapordave
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3 then 2. Take a break and then be honest with them.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Anonymous)
i would start to slowly not reply to messages and maybe they’ll get the hint. you could say you’re very busy when they question it. I had a friend in uni that was so draining and would constantly talk about her ED and mental illness when i was suffering from the same thing. Every conversation revolved around her and i was constantly bombarded with her issues meanwhile trying to sort my own problems out. I stopped asking how she was and she eventually stopped talking to me because i didn’t give her the attention she wanted. You could try that
sorry to hear that

yeah I thought that option was a good one too, but its just very hard to do with them. ive tried it before but they usually clock and send me a long, rambling, self-pitying message expressing their fear I'm trying to get away and I always cave in and comfort them - I dunno what's wrong with me, but I end up saying the exact opposite thing that im thinking. I know they don't mean it but it feels SO manipulative it honestly angers.

I feel the same way you did about your friend, they just don't have much of a filter and unload onto you, its exhausting. but I feel like unlike your friend, mine is needy on-top of it and that makes it harder to get away.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by ashtolga23)
3 and 4 are terrible options for someone with these symptoms. It sounds very like BPD or something similar so they'll probably be crushed either way, but 3 and 4 drag it into long torture.
I fear that too. im assuming you think I should just have an honest conversation? im just worried it will look like its will come out of nowhere, because ive essentially been very fake in attempt to not offend them - just a week ago i said how I think we're going to be friends for a long time when they said the same...
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glassalice
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If you feel that you need to cut all contact, do it. Be honest about what your intentions are going forward, is this a short/ mid term thing or is this a long term thing.
This is probably the harder option for you in the short term, but best for them in the long term.

You might want to get in contact with one of their other friends or a family member to let them know what is going on. Prehapes this is getting too involved. I suspect that there will be some kind of fall out.

No judgment towards you, but it seems odd to label them expressing that ending your relationship will be emotionally painful as being unintentionally manipulative. It's true and you know it's true.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by glassalice)
If you feel that you need to cut all contact, do it. Be honest about what your intentions are going forward, is this a short/ mid term thing or is this a long term thing.
This is probably the harder option for you in the short term, but best for them in the long term.

You might want to get in contact with one of their other friends or a family member to let them know what is going on. Prehapes this is getting too involved. I suspect that there will be some kind of fall out.

No judgment towards you, but it seems odd to label them expressing that ending your relationship will be emotionally painful as being unintentionally manipulative. It's true and you know it's true.
I am leaning towards this slightly now. I'm thinking a polite and lengthy goodbye paragraph explaining it all, and then just blocking them without giving them the chance to reply - this feels mean, but I feel like all they'd say is just "oh okay" and then probably block me anyways.

I feel they definitely will go through some stuff afterwards sadly. They are affected by things smaller than this and they can send them into a very bad mental place. I only really have the number of a few of their friends, none of which I'm close with so I'm not very comfortable contacting them. However, I do trust they'll eventually be okay after a week or two since they have a therapist, a supportive family who knows of their mental health issues and are on medication.

Also, I suppose I didn't really explain the situation well. Of course it's pretty normal to express that a friendship ending would be upsetting - who wouldn't be upset? But it's the way in which they bring it up and how often they do it. Imagine someone indirectly but repeatedly saying that to you and in a way that made you feel like actually leaving them would potentially cause a meltdown given their mental history. I know they're probably just opening up to me and didn't mean it like that, but I still fell so trapped and manipulated when they do it. But I recognise im maybe being a bit judgmental and it's partially my fault too anyways.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Vapordave)
3 then 2. Take a break and then be honest with them.
Thank you! Any tips on how to go about it? Because I've essentially been lying to them for the past few months, saying our friendship is fine and that I think we're gonna stay friends for a while as I'm a massive people-pleaser and didn't want to upset them...
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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I have a lot of thoughts on this, as well as recent (well, last year) experience of doing this myself. Brain not working atm, though - can you quote me tomorrow to respond to you, OP?
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
I have a lot of thoughts on this, as well as recent (well, last year) experience of doing this myself. Brain not working atm, though - can you quote me tomorrow to respond to you, OP?
Of course! Thank you for interacting! I'm very intrigued to hear your thoughts now since you've gone through the same thing
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glassalice
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I am leaning towards this slightly now. I'm thinking a polite and lengthy goodbye paragraph explaining it all, and then just blocking them without giving them the chance to reply - this feels mean, but I feel like all they'd say is just "oh okay" and then probably block me anyways.

I feel they definitely will go through some stuff afterwards sadly. They are affected by things smaller than this and they can send them into a very bad mental place. I only really have the number of a few of their friends, none of which I'm close with so I'm not very comfortable contacting them. However, I do trust they'll eventually be okay after a week or two since they have a therapist, a supportive family who knows of their mental health issues and are on medication.

Also, I suppose I didn't really explain the situation well. Of course it's pretty normal to express that a friendship ending would be upsetting - who wouldn't be upset? But it's the way in which they bring it up and how often they do it. Imagine someone indirectly but repeatedly saying that to you and in a way that made you feel like actually leaving them would potentially cause a meltdown given their mental history. I know they're probably just opening up to me and didn't mean it like that, but I still fell so trapped and manipulated when they do it. But I recognise im maybe being a bit judgmental and it's partially my fault too anyways.
In regards to the comment I made about your friends 'unintentional manipulation', I shouldn't have minimized the stuff that has been going on for you.

I am going to run with the assumption that your friend suffers with EUPD/ BPD. They will likely have an extremely strong emotional reaction to this, for this reason, this kind of conversation is probably best had over text as you have suggested. This isn't their fault and it most certainly isn't your fault.
This emotional reaction will probably subside after a couple of hours or days and she will begin to feel more like herself.
You need to block her off all your social medias. I would also suggest requesting that your friends not to talk about anything that is going on with her. Hopefully these precautions wouldn't be needed.

Sometimes 'hitting a rock bottom' can encourage people to put everything they've got into recovering. With mental health it isn't just about taking meds and going to therapy. Basically you aren't doing a terrible thing, perhaps it could even be beneficial to her.
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Corpus Callosum
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I would say to talk to them about it honestly without worrying about their feelings. Tell them that you don't think you're compatible as friends but have nothing against them as a person. Let them know you have good intentions but that you are not able to sustain the relationship anymore, and if she tries to guilt-trip you I'd say to block them and never talk to them again. But then I understand that it can be quite difficult to confront people about this, I'd say to leave three as the last resort but if you really can't bring yourself to talk to them do 3. Just as long as you manage to distance yourself.
No matter how much someone is suffering, they can't trouble other people and make their lives harder because of that.
Last edited by Corpus Callosum; 1 month ago
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