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Helping a friend


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Hello all,

Unfortunately I really couldn't figure out where to post this as it covers multiple subjects. I'm writing to this forum so that I and my friend can help out a mutual friend of ours. Both I and my friend "K" think we have identified several mental factors in our friend "D" that needs help.

Now I and K understand that we are not mental health professionals but we do have some knowledge on how to coax, cajole, and downright manipulate a person for their betterment. We have already done some of that and she is getting past previous difficulties. But on the other hand we think that are things that D has hidden in her mental chest that actually scare us and make it difficult to help her work around it. This is main reason that I am writing, especially if to see if D should see a mental health professional.

The things that we have identified about D are that she has spent a good chunk of her life isolated both from family and friends. She feels that she was neglected most of her life even when she had had cancer as a teenager. This is something she will tell you repeatedly. We have been able to work around this by one or both of us being there for her and showing her that people care about her. She has also had to deal with severe domination issues within her family. To the point that she would almost do anything that anyone would tell her to do that was family. We think we're getting her pretty close to breaking that completely. She had a pretty healthy self-confidence to begin with; we just shored it up where it comes to her family to be able to say "No".

These things are pretty simple things that just being a friend are enough to be able to help correct. The things that worry us are what we are terming the "rejected boyfriend syndrome" and "terminal naivety". Of course these aren't the proper medical terms and I wouldn't even know where to look for the right ones. These are the ones that scare us. Especially I as I had an emotional interest in D and I want to see her develop to her full potential.

The easier of the two, the "terminal naivety" expresses itself as a complete lack of understanding of certain situations D gets herself into. Whether this is willful ignorance or just an inability to recognize what’s going on is frustrating K and me. An example of this is that at the store that D works at part time she has a habit of wearing a bit more risqué than normal fashion statements. Frequently very low cut shirts. She usually wears a work shirt over these shirts while at work, but once she stops working the over shirt comes off. The fashion she affects, we have no problem around us as we know we are safe, but the place she works is not exactly in the best part of town and lighting is not that great. She will sit on the ground, read a book and be completely absorbed in it until someone picks her up from work. Whether this is a simple naivety she needs to be educated on or just, to be blunt, plain stupidity is another matter.

As for the harder of the two, the "rejected boyfriend syndrome" is one that really has K and I worried about her mental health. This is the story that we have pieced together so far: During D's high school years she met a boy and they became a couple. During this time as a couple, D had sex with this partner. Near immediately afterward she decided that she wasn't ready for more sex and informed the boyfriend and broke up with him. Now this sounds like a nice and normal teenage thing to do, but when we try to get her to talk about this issue, to make sure it's not affecting her current ability to interpret relationships, she goes into a near panic attack. This is not normal behavior for such a "simple" past action. We also think that this incident is the root behind her relationship problems. We know that D can affect deep emotions to another person of the male gender and can want to start a relationship, but once that relationship starts to get more than an infatuation stage, D retreats, especially if ANY connotation to sex can be inferred. This is what confuses us and makes us worried.

That behavior is at total odds to how she allows K to treat her. K is happily married and will stay so but he is known to come up to female friends and fondle them, smack their posteriors, etc. Just act in an extreme sexual context. Most women at least give K a dirty look and define to him his limits of behavior. D has not. K has gotten worried because he has gotten away with way too much with D. Not normal behavior at all. The only item that she has gotten mad about with his behavior is his mention of having sexual fantasies with her. That only produced him getting water dumped on him.

As I said before, the “rejected boyfriend syndrome” is what has us worried the most but any suggestions on how to advance her mental health to a more stabilized area would be most beneficial.

Thank you,


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