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What is wrong with my friend?

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MichaelTheFriend

New member
Joined
Aug 29, 2020
Messages
4
Location
England
Hi everyone,

I’ve joined this forum to see if anyone can tell me what is wrong with my friend.

My friend is in his 40s and we’ve been friends for about twenty years.

His behaviour has become more strange in the recent months.

I’ll list a few things that I’ve identified which I find to be rather odd:

He distrusts any authority e.g. the government, the council, bosses, managers, etc. He regards any sort of authority with suspicion and dismisses anything someone who has authority says. He thinks they are lying to people, trying to control people, etc.

He’s really into conspiracy theories and it’s impossible to have any rational argument with him about almost anything these days. Basically, his opinions are right and anything someone says which refutes any of his opinions he just dismisses. He’ll tell me that I’m ignorant about a subject, that I’m brainwashed for believing the media, etc. His mood then changes and he is very defensive. If I don’t see him for a few days then the next time I see him he just goes on rants about different subjects.

He thinks that a woman who works at the same place as he does fancies him and wants to marry him. Despite the fact that she’s married and has three kids. He asked her to go for a drink with him a few years ago and she said “no”, yet he still thinks that they are going to be together one day. Every time I see him, he mentions her and that he’s been thinking about her.

He’s never been able to keep a steady job. He’s either walked out or been sacked. I got him a job in the late 1990s and he walked out because he was asked to wear safety boots (it was a job on a building site). He told me that he doesn’t like it when people tell him what to do. He works part-time at a supermarket at the moment and the only reason he’s lasted so long is because he doesn’t have to bother with anyone.

He doesn’t look after himself and has very poor hygiene. His house smells, he doesn’t have any carpets on any of the floors, etc. He doesn’t even own a sharp knife. He has an old TV from the 1980s, a mattress on his bedroom floor and three chairs in his sitting room. I hate to say it, but most people would regard him as looking like a ‘tramp’. He He wears the same clothes that are way too big for him. When we go out for a drink, I notice that people do look at him. If he sees someone dressed smartly then he thinks that person is a snob and insults him or her. He is always insulting people who are what he considers to be middle class. Despite the fact that he’s never spoken to any of them, he thinks that they think that they are better than everyone else. When we are sitting in a pub, he thinks that people are talking about him and looking at him. It’s complete paranoia and is actually very annoying because when he thinks either of those things then he starts to try and attract attention and embarrasses himself. He seems to always be on edge and never seems to be able to be at ease.

He doesn’t cook any meals and only eats snacks such as crisps and biscuits. He’s underweight and looks very puny. He is a very loud eater and the only time he has a real meal is if my wife makes a Sunday dinner and he comes over to my house. He doesn’t own a cooker. He collects water in bottles and sandwich spread.

He’s always ranting about women only wanting to be with men for money. He’s never had a stable relationship and I don’t think that he’s had a relationship that has lasted more than a few months. He thinks that a woman should not have any male friends if she is his with him. I’ve told him that there are good and bad men and women and that he can’t judge all women because of his bad past experiences. Of course what I tell him just goes straight over his head.

If I didn't arrange to meet up with him a couple of times a week then I don’t think he would leave his house. His family don’t bother with him and he doesn’t have any other friends. He doesn’t have any hobbies and is quite lazy.

You may be thinking, why do I bother with him? Well, I’ve known him so long that these quote clear problems are things I’m used to and in a way I feel sorry for him. My wife can’t stand him and thinks he’s just overall a very negative person.

I have been seeing him less and less because the longer I don’t see him then he must just be thinking about different things 24/7 and I just have to listen to him ranting for a few hours which I am starting to find annoying.

What disorder or disorders do you think my friend suffers from after reading my post?

Thanks everyone.
 
Tawny

Tawny

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England
You think he has a personalty disorder?
 
Tawny

Tawny

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If you are concerned about his behaviour, i don't think trying to diagnose him is going to be helpful.

Nothing you wrote made me think personality disorder at all.

Has your friend ever told you that he has a mental health diagnosis? If he has a mental illness, he may have a community psychiatric nurse who should be in regular contact with him. It is possible he is under the care of his GP though. If it were me, and i felt i could not discuss this with my friend or his family, i would phone his GP surgery and let them know you have concerns. I think you are right to be worried.
 
JessisMe

JessisMe

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Feb 27, 2020
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Your friend sounds paranoid, eccentric and not someone who places a lot of value in what people conventionally find desirable like clothing and hygiene. That doesn’t make him mentally ill. If mental health professionals were to engage with him it would have to be as a result of his own initiatives and desires because he does not appear to be a danger to himself or others. The mental health symptom you mentioned that does stand out is paranoia. My guess is that if you were to bring it up with him he wouldn’t consider his paranoia to be a problem. Many people have eccentricities and lead off color, off beat lives because it is their personality makeup and because they choose to.
I’m sorry your friend is not doing better for himself but it seems like it’s exactly the way he likes things. xo, j
 
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MichaelTheFriend

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Aug 29, 2020
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England
Yes, I do believe that my friend is suffering from a mental illness.

For example, he thinks that because his neighbours (who have lived next door to him for over ten years on both sides of his house) are quiet that they are in contact with his family and are trying to spy on him.

That sort of thinking is quite clearly not a normal thought process or normal behaviour.

I’m not someone who is qualified to diagnose someone, but I don’t know anyone else who behaves or thinks the way he does and I believe that his personality goes beyond just being eccentric. I know the difference between one being an eccentric person and one being mentally ill.

I don’t believe that it’s just eccentric to sit down in a pub and then think that everyone is looking at you and being on edge. The same as I don’t believe it’s just being eccentric for him to purposely ignore instructions/guidelines/rules because he doesn’t like being told what to do.

I know that I shouldn’t really try and compare my other friends to him, but I need to so I can see the quite clear differences. He talks really loudly and is often not coherent enough for people to be able to understand him because he gets lost in his thoughts or struggles to say what is on his mind. My wife and her friends were once out and they met us in a pub and they all asked her what the hell was I doing with him.
 
LittleMissNameless

LittleMissNameless

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Mar 2, 2019
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425
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canada
Talk to your friend, check in on him see if hes ok.
 
Alice Raven

Alice Raven

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Mar 3, 2020
Messages
886
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USA
Hi Michael,

You are a really good and true friend to have stayed through so many odd behaviors. Have you ever spoken to him about what you have observed. I know it's probably easier said than done considering the paranoid ideation that he exhibits. In my experience it's extremely difficult to talk to people who behave that way about their behavior or to get them help.

My husband is a hard core conspiracy theorist. Any "proof" against the conspiracy is just proof of the conspiracy because it had to be manufactured by dark powers. I've given up on trying to show how some of the theories he follows are fantastical and highly unlikely. It also sounds like your friend has some pretty hardened beliefs to where it would be extremely hard to chip away at and you'd likely be accused of being part of the conspiracy.

I also have a former friend who has dysfunctional and fixed beliefs about women, similar to what your friend has. Unfortunately, he fixated on me and has an unshakable belief that I am love with him in spite of my being married. I have shown, told and written him that he is incorrect in his belief and that I'm not interested in him. Just like with your friend's thinking, he also demanded that, because "we are together" that I cease all contact with any other male.

Is there anything in his past relationships that you might think have caused your friend's behavior? Does he truly think this like mine does or is it some sort of defense mechanism? It sounds like your friend's aversion to people who are better off than he is some kind of defense. I think part of my former friend's obsession with me is a defense. On several occasions he told me that he needed someone far out of his league so that he could show his family and friends he was successful to spite their negative comments about him that he was a failure.

Anyhow, like I said, you are a good friend and it sounds like your friend needs one. Still, it sounds like it is causing tension in your marriage and, honestly, your wife comes first. Best wishes for a positive outcome and I hope you find some fellowship here that will help you.
 
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MichaelTheFriend

New member
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Aug 29, 2020
Messages
4
Location
England
Hi Alice,

Thanks for your lengthy reply.

Over the years I have mentioned in subtle ways that he should change his ways, but he always blamed other people (mainly his family members) for all of his problems - his parents are in their late 60s and he refuses to have any contact with them because according to him they didn’t treat him properly, despite the fact all of his other siblings have full-time jobs, partners and kids. I do know that they all regard him as a problem and I do understand why they think that.

As soon as I did mention anything about his behaviour, his beliefs, etc, he went straight on the defensive and quickly changed the subject.

Anyway, I invited him over to my house for dinner and a drink on Friday because after reading your reply I wanted to see if I could get any sense from him at all. My wife said she would make a meal for all of us (she works as a chef and loves cooking so don’t worry I have not been influenced by my friend’s ridiculous views about women! :D). Unfortunately, the complete opposite happened and I’m actually quite angry with him. He came over to mine at a time when my kids were still in the house and in front of my wife and kids his first words were, “Hey Mick, what do you think about 5G?” So straightaway I thought to myself, “Here we go...” I quickly changed the subject to sport. My wife went for a meal with one of her friends and my kids went upstairs. So, I opened up a bottle of whisky and we just had a little talk about what he had been doing over the week and as I thought he just said that he had stayed in his house all day watching TV. I tried to get a little bit personal to see if he could tell me why he believes in conspiracy theories instead of researching the evidence, reading books, watching documentaries, avoiding relying on fallacies (especially the appeal to emotion), why does he distrust any sort of authority, etc. His simple response was “I don’t like anyone to tell me what to do and I don’t trust anyone”. Needless to say, I was speechless, but I expected him to respond something like that anyway. It’s impossible to have a discussion with him about his beliefs in a serious and rational way - he responds sarcastically as a defense mechanism. Anyway, I went to the kitchen for a glass and when I came back I saw him pouring whisky to the top of the whisky glass and then began drinking it! It was as if he were just deliberately being awkward. You see, he thinks he is funny and is always sarcastic, when really his behaviour is just odd and embarrassing.

My wife came back to the house with her friends and by this time my friend had quite clearly had a drink. At one point, my wife and I were talking to each other in the kitchen and we could hear him telling my wife’s friend that COVID-19 is a hoax and other BS. She tried to laugh it off, then he got really defensive and said, “Are you too stupid to realise that the government has made it up to control you?” A few minutes later I went to the toilet and when I came back he had left the house. I asked my wife and her friend what had happened and they told me he left because my friend’s wife called him “ignorant” and “dangerous”. This may sound awful to state, but I’m glad she did because for once someone told him the truth and was not simply his echo chamber or whatever you want to call it.

The next day I sent him a text message asking him if he were okay or not and I didn’t get a response so I drove to his house and knocked on his door. He appeared to be hungover and was incredibly rude to me. He told me that I should just go and drink with my wife’s friend and that I’m an idiot for not defending his beliefs. I told him to have a good day and then drove home.

A part of me feels sad that it has come to this because I have known him for so long, but another part of me (most of me) knew this was going to happen eventually and I don’t know why, but I feel happier. Does that make any sense? I don’t feel like I’m surrounded by anyone who has what I consider to be negative views.

I view conspiracy theorists the same way as I view religious people; I don’t mind if people have views, but don’t preach to me because I’m not interested.

I’m not sure if I’ll see him again because I’m not going to go out of my way to contact him and my wife has told me that I’m better off without him in my life.
 
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MichaelTheFriend

New member
Joined
Aug 29, 2020
Messages
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Location
England
I’m not the type of person who likes to cause arguments and I try to avoid confrontation. On the other hand, my friend is a contrarian and seems to enjoy going out of his way to be provocative and cause arguments. We have totally different personalities.

Over the years there have been many times when we’ve been out drinking when he has behaved badly or said things that I disapproved of and I have walked home in the past.

A few nights ago I was watching a documentary about people who believe in conspiracy theories and I think the bloke on it hit the nail on the head when he said that when some people go down a rabbit hole too far then there is nothing from saving from those people. I can’t remember how many times I’ve told my friend to shut up and stop talking about 9/11 being an inside job or some other BS.

When I come to think of it, he has quite a controlling personality which is something I don’t like in a person. Two examples are if I were sitting in his house and I hadn’t drink my cup of coffee then he would say something like “your coffee is there, drink it” and if we were in a pub and I saw one of my friends then he wouldn’t be happy and would actually tap me on the shoulder and cry like a little baby and in the past he has walked out of pubs because of that reason. I think that’s incredibly childish.

The bottom line is that the fall out had been building up for a long time. I never felt comfortable sitting in a pub next to him and listening to him say loud enough so other could hear every word that if he had a girlfriend then she shouldn’t have any male friends and no one else matters, women are toxic and only use men for money, etc. Or, that all middle class people look down on the working class and other such nonsense is not what I want to hear. It’s when people look over that I feel the most
embarrassed.

He hasn’t done much travelling and is very ignorant which is why despite his age he is still immature and thinks his preconceived ideas are facts.

Also, he is incredibly lazy and I really don’t like that personality trait. He does absolutely nothing and just always moans about everything. I think he would even make the Pope swear!

Anyway, I don’t think I’ll be hearing or seeing him any time soon. It’s a shame really, but life goes on and I’ve always been there for him, but he’s just too much and I can’t be bothered with the personal insults and embarrassing behaviour which he does every time we go out for a drink.
 
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Rex Smith

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Aug 30, 2020
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You might look into seeing a psychiatrist or therapist. They might be able to help you understand and even better your life. From all that I read you definitely have deeper issues to explore that would be best for a professional.
 
E

Elisante

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Diagnosing people online is impossible. Especially since most of us here aren't therapists. Having said that, it kind of sounds like paranoid schizophrenia to me.
 
Alice Raven

Alice Raven

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Wow, he is a handful. I always talk about common denominators with people. For instance, if you have a problem with one or two people, maybe it's a bad day, maybe it's just personality differences. If you have a problem with 20 people, maybe you should look inward. However, that type of person will often be the last to think that and it'll be everyone else's problem. I also think that if someone is that arrogant, they should have something to back that up.

My husband and I have fought over 9-11, TWA 800, The Boston Marathon bombing, and a host of other conspiracies. The one factor beyond scientific and engineering evidence that I present to him is human nature. For some of these conspiracies to work it would require thousands of knowing conspirators and, in the instance of 9-11, 1.7 million knowing conspirators (according to Popular Mechanics). No one could imagine that staying a secret. Anyhow, my opinion on that.

You're absolutely right on the rabbit hole. I've seen people go down it and not come back out. A friend of mine and I seemed to notice that it gives some people who believe in these things a sense of smug superiority. Everyone wants to believe in something and often something bigger than themselves. In my experience I've often seen that some of these people want to look down on others. It sounds like your friend really wants to put himself in that superior position where he can be in control and dictate the terms of any relationship.

Like you, I tried to be a good friend to my now stalker. I stood by him. I defended him when others thought he was weird and bizarre. But, a relationship can only bear so much and he crossed the line repeatedly. My former friend was also incredibly demanding and arrogant at times. This drove me to exasperation and I even told him that he was more arrogant than doctors, lawyers and fighter pilots that I know and at least they have something backing them up and that a guy living in his mother's basement with no job or education shouldn't be this arrogant. The mistake that I made in my course of action once I knew that a friendship was untenable was that I initially wanted him to chose to go his own way so I acted like a bitch, thinking that he'd be the one to end the friendship. Little did I know that he had a fetish for mean girls.

I can sense your exasperation too. It seems that, for as many times as you've extended an olive branch and the hand of friendship, he bites it. Perhaps you could let him know that the ball is in his court now. He can behave like a friend or not and then you will know which path to take. Personally though, I suspect that you already know how this is going to turn out.
 
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Prycejosh1987

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Jul 7, 2020
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He distrusts any authority e.g. the government, the council, bosses, managers, etc. He regards any sort of authority with suspicion and dismisses anything someone who has authority says. He thinks they are lying to people, trying to control people, etc.
You need to talk to him and find underlying issues. Authority is put there for a reason. We should always obey, i do not like cops because of the way they have responded to my concerns in the past. But my heart is open.
 
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