Helping a friend with mental illness has made me vulnerable

I wonder if anyone can offer any advice. I recently became friends with a young man through work and training. Initially it was clear he was quiet and quite sensitive, but when work threw us together it seemed we had lots in common and a friendship sprang up. I should state here that I am happily married with 4 children, and this friendship was entirely platonic. As time went on, he opened up more about his struggles with MH issues (anxiety mostly) and I was happy to be a friendly ear and to arrange things to look forward to, as I believe this helped. After a few months, when everything seemed great we had a work night out. Whether high or drunk I dont know, but he behaved awfully. He was frightening, aggressive and intimidating towards me and I drove him home alone against my better judgement. He nearly made me crash. A week later he wanted to meet to apologise, and I thought I should give him that opportunity; unfortunately it went terribly sour as i wasnt "sympathetic enough", because I didnt ask enough questions. He has since taken to trolling me on social media, using private conversations we have had to humiliate me publicly, and always deleting his accounts so I can never control his access to me online. I tried addressing it directly with him but he says it is my fault for abandoning him in his time of need. My husband is furious and my friends think he has an unhealthy obsession. I never wanted to abandon him, but I'm just not capable of dealing with this. I just dont know what to do, what he'll say online next, or how to rectify this with as little damage to both of us as possible. Helpful advice would be received gratefully.

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  • Go to the police, it's not that your husband doesn't know. You have nothing to hide you were being friendly and trying to help him. I know you just usually read about this in magazines but please don't be a statistic act now because there is no telling what he will do. I hope this helps you.

  • I feel like that may push him further into his problems, though I understand why you would suggest it. I mostly want reassurance that aggression like this isnt a typical symptom and that i shouldnt tolerate or accept it :(

  • Look I'm going to Be blunt here, why the heck does it matter if it's a typical symptom or not, Don't worry about him, worry about yourself and your marriage, I would go to your HR Department and tell them everything and I would also be making a the Police station.

    Are you infatuated with him? You really need to keep business an and pleasure very separate, it's not sensible to try and help people if they are unstable, I dont quite get it,

    What does your husband think? I'm sure he would think you should take Robbies advice and go to the Police, This is a Forum for people suffering from Depression, and your. Issue seems to me to be a Police or legal matter.


  • Thank you for your bluntness. I have suffered with depression, thankfully I have a handle on it now. I suppose it gives me an affinity for people in need of help. I obviously made a huge error of judgement here and I cant solve this one. I found communities like this to be a great source of experience hence my question. Someone here might have similar symptoms. I apologise if this wasnt the place to ask.

  • HI of course you can ask here, but I just thought that the problem wasn't really your Depression, but the fact that you were scared f the man at work.

    I'm sure other people will have other views.


  • No it isn't acceptable he can't unload every bad thing that happens to him on you. I have a friend that split from her oh he was giving her space to get her head sorted. She went back to the situation but it didn't work out, he started stalking her sending her texts which was all out of character I told my friend he has to be watched she kind of laughed my concern off (as if) never a truer word was spoken he was watching her house secretly being in her garden, anyway she met someone else, which obviously he couldn't handle one night he rang the doorbell and stabbed her new partner. He ended up in prison never been in trouble in his life I said to my friend I told you so and she was in shock with the whole event. He has done his time and walking the streets now but what he put my friend and her new partner through is still to this day haunting them. I'm not trying to frighten you but if things are still kind of weird with him, I would definitely go to police. It might wash over but I think better being safe than sorry he seems a bit unstable to me I'm sorry if I've not answered what you wanted to hear. I hope you can get it all sorted.

  • Thank you

  • You need to stem this into the bud. These e mails will become more demanding and could affect your Mental Health Depression. That in turn could cause further problems with all your close family members.

    Discuss all with the Police and see what can be suggested, in some ways it is fast becoming a Stalking and it needs to be stopped. You need not feel guilty regards this person and He needs to look for another outlet for His Depression, and discuss that with His GP. A Treatment Plan will be laid out for Him.


  • I like to help people too if I can, but surely you can see he isn't right, I'm glad at least your OH knows, if you think police is to severe watch from afar keep your distance. Hope all works out.

  • Wow you do get some right blunt people don't you. Hannah she was asking a question you could of messaged the poor woman private it's not a place to be blunt tbh. And Chaucer do what's best I suggest the police but tbh a don't think there's a lot they can do he will get sick in the end hope your ok xxx

  • Thank you. I felt so guilty knowing that me ceasing contact has caused more hurt and i was desperate for anonymous advice. It isn't a weird thing like Hannah insinuated, and I'm so glad you responded because I was lying here not sleeping thinking now I'm an attention seeker! I introduced my husband to him, before all this melted down, and my intentions were genuine. I just feel so terribly guilty. His last message was that I had contributed to this latest low. Thanks so much for the kind words. I will keep my distance, focus on family and hope for him to get better from afar.

  • I know what it's like to lie there and churn things over and being deprived of sleep, but you tried to be a good friend and help him, and as I said I'm glad your husband knows and understands. I think this person knows how to manipulate and that's what he is doing playing on your gentle side. Please try and put this aside concentrate on your lovely kids and husband and having the time you deserve at Christmas. I wouldn't let anyone ruin my time and please don't feel guilty all you did was try to help someone in their time of need. Now try and get some sleep and remember your in the right here.

    Have a Merry Christmas


  • Thank you so much. God I feel better! Crying over this was ridiculous and I will make my NY resolution to be more guarded. Wishing you a lovely Christmas, you are obviously a kind soul to give a stranger comfort when it was needed :) thanks

  • Like you if I can help I will, but then again I'm kinda I can help others but when it comes to myself, different story lol. Your not silly crying it's obviously affected you, don't let him put anymore guilt on you, it's him that's in the wrong here. I bet if you think about it he's probably done this before, and he's exhausted all other avenues. Thank you for saying I must be a kind soul (that means a lot) take care and Wishing you and your family the best Christmas ๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿผ๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿผ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„ xx

  • The poster was asking for advice and Hannah said what she thought. There is nothing wrong in that. She is always honest and genuine in her responses and is a great source of support to many of us on here. She only replies, like most of us on here, if she thinks she can help. x

  • Hi Tanyaisback16 i think the police take trolling on social media serious now I'm sure it's an offence, i only hope he does get sick of what he's doing but humiliating her on line to me is bad and yes he's sick.

  • I took screenshots and showed my OH, as soon as he is 'live' again I will block him for his own good. Thanks so much. I think I will be able to sleep now x

  • Don't worry to much he sounds like a nutter let him do it like a say what's he guna get out of it nothing your happily married with kids. Why an earth does he feel the need to do it I don't no xxxx

  • Or right am not sure Robbie as I had it done last year fake account made up with my photos there was nothing they could do at the time xxx

  • I'm sure I seen it on the news that they are going to be acting on it, to many unstable people out there.I hope I'm not imagining it lol xxx

  • Lol a bloody hope they do Robbie hahhha there's so many creeps around xxx

  • ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ xx

  • Hey Chaucer, I understand your need to help, I know you are a people pleaser, and I know this person intimidates you. I know you are a victim waiting to happen. You have made some very bad decisions which you need to stop immediately. As others have told you report this to some authority, take it as far as you can. Shut down all social media even your phone for awhile, use it for out going calls only. The biggest mistake women make in these situations is to not take it seriously enough. We women are too worried about what others will think and it doesn't matter. Your responsibility is to your family. Get some street smarts, don't go any where alone for awhile. I hope I have scared you. Never ever see or speak to him again, he will see that as interest in him. Always be aware when you go out of who is around you. You have given up the luxury of innocence. Please be careful. Pam

  • Hi Chaucer,

    I'm a "fixer", and I think you are too. It sounds like you were maternal towards him more than anything.

    If I were you, I would make a statement on your Facebook or other social media so that you gain control. Something along the lines of "Please disregard any information you hear or read about me for the time being. I am addressing an ongoing issue and appreciate your support".

    Then you need to ignore him; you focus on just yourself and your family. You have no control over his happiness, although he made you believe otherwise. He needs to get help, but that is nothing to do with you. He is probably feeding of the excitement and drama he has created. Showing that it has zero impact will dampen his fun. I doubt this is the first time this has happened.

    I'm not going to comment anymore on him, because now you need to look ahead. Focus on your family, and on healthy friendships.



  • I really appreciate the advice. It's stupid for me to feel guilty about this. I wish there was something I could do in return for how much better this thread has made me feel!! Merry Christmas xx

  • Lori, You are right about the maternal thing, I think. I have found myself playing this role several times over the years and it never ends well. I think I have absorbed the idea from my mother that women should be motherly to any sad case that comes along. She had self-esteem issues and felt better about herself if she was being motherly, as this was a huge part of her identity. Unluckily for my sister, this meant Mum was constantly rescuing her, so thereby not forcing her to stand on her own two feet. She is still looking for the next person to rescue her and gets very angry when she is turned away, as I know to my cost. When Mum could no longer fill this role she tried to make me take it on. It ended in me moving 200 miles away.

    Having been through all this I have come to the following conclusions.

    a. The person who is looking for a shoulder to cry on probably has never been supported in being an independent adult, and often has issues with their own mother, seeing her as abandoning them, and will not take lightly being dumped when it all gets too much.

    b. Their own mother may have had good reason to 'dump them', sadly, and you are just the next port in a storm for someone who is refusing to grow up and start getting proper help for themselves. You are worth more than this.

    c. You are actually harming said person by allowing them to use you, as you are supporting them in their current state and not encouraging them to move forwards.

    d. Once you recognise their is a mental issue, keep your help as impersonal as possible unless you are prepared to be dragged down.

    e. You do not need to get approval by rescuing strays who do not appreciate you. If you want to donate to charity, find a deserving cause, such as the local cats rescue charity.

    f. Remember the saying, 'No good turn goes unpunished'.

    If you absolutely cannot help yourself from responding to a call for help from such a person, just as when rescuing a drowning person, use methods which do not put you in danger yourself. Do not allow them to drink in your company, do not be alone with them, do not listen to their endless problems more than once, without insisting they seek proper help as all you are doing is becoming a wailing wall. Remember, tough love is for their own good. Do not listen to manipulative words. These people will fight you trying to withdraw. It is part of their sickness and you have to shut your ears and eyes if you really want to help them.

  • You can enjoy your Christmas with your family and leave this unfortunate episode behind. A new year is waiting to begin and hopefully a lot of nice things to surface. That's enough for us.

    Take care xx

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