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How to deal with Clingy & Troubled friend?

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Curious to know if any of you guys on here have had to deal with something like this. Here goes.

 

A longtime friend of mine has left the Armed Forces and is currently unemployed so he has a lot of free time to himself. Whilst he was in the Armed Forces we had a pretty good friendship, we would meet up and do stuff every 2 - 3 weeks depending on when he could take leave and travel back up here to see me and the other lads. I never got the impression that he was clingy, but since leaving he is pestering me constantly, especially when I am at work. I did a quick flick through my phone logs and he calls about 4 times a day, conversations lasting anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours. He's one of those people that will call to tell you everything that's going on with him and people he knows, it's never particularly interesting and often it is just the same stuff again and again. Typically the afternoon and evening calls are just him telling me what he already told me earlier that day, but he is drunk and has forgotten. It's gotten to the point where I am getting quite annoyed with him, especially when he calls me whilst I am working and trying to get me to bunk off work to go get pissed with him. I don't know if it is lack of respect for my business on his part or whether he is just that desperate for attention that it doesn't cross his mind how he is interfering with my work day. If this were anyone else I'd have probably snapped by this point but since I've known him so long and I know he suffers from PTSD I am very cautious about what I say to him, he's extremely emotional since doing a few tours with the Army and self medicates heavily with booze and lately, Cocaine. He discovered that if he has some Cocaine on him he can stay out all day and night drinking without blacking out until the pubs shut at midnight.

So I'm concerned about his wellbeing whilst at the same time quite pissed off with him for the constant calling. I've tried to subtly suggest he start looking for work and find some hobbies besides drinking until he is paraplegic but it seems to have gone over his head. So it looks like I am going to have to be blunt with him, tell him to stop pestering me during the working week since I am too busy to hang out with him except for Saturdays and the odd Sunday here and there. I think I may also suggest he go see a Psychiatrist to deal with his PTSD since I think that is what he is escaping from with all the substance abuse (and it is definately abuse - I know he spends about £500 a week on booze and Cocaine. Not to mention I discovered from a mutual friend that he had traded his fairly new 4K TV for a big rock of Cocaine).

How would you guys approach this type of thing? Whilst I want to remain friends with him and I do enjoy his company (less so these days though due to the utter states he gets himself into with booze and drugs) I can't be around him 24/7 because I just do not have the time, I have other things to do.

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Basically, there is nothing that you can do other than cut yourself off from him.

Al-Anon (organisation for family and friends of Alcoholics) could be helpful to you.

Never feel guilty about cutting him off.

He is damaging you as well as himself.

Do not become an enabler, Tough Love is the way.

Read ' A Merry go round called denial'

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Out of work and consuming that amount of drink and drugs? Not to be overly dramatic but this could end very badly with that kind of mind state. Up to that part of your post I would have said just to ignore his calls and he'd soon get the message. But it seems he's in a very self-destructive place. If he's a good mate then I'd probably have a frank chat about his well-being, and that he should get (more) professional help.

Good luck.

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2 minutes ago, LC1 said:

Out of work and consuming that amount of drink and drugs? Not to be overly dramatic but this could end very badly with that kind of mind state. Up to that part of your post I would have said just to ignore his calls and he'd soon get the message. But it seems he's in a very self-destructive place. If he's a good mate then I'd probably have a frank chat about his well-being, and that he should get (more) professional help.

Good luck.

Try catching him in the morning before he starts. There are also some charities specifically for ex forces that may be able to advise.

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If he's at the stage where he's flogging his belongings to buy drugs then unless your a professional therapist/councillor I'm afraid you're not going to be able to do too much for him.

Have a very frank conversation about where his behaviour is heading (he won't like this) and if he seeks help then stand by him and be his mate. Do the army or related charity not offer a councilling service for ex-servicemen? That would be a good first port of call.

If it gets worse, don't be afraid to walk away. I had similar with a family member and while I like to think I offered all the support I could, many people cannot be helped until they help themselves.

All the best with it.

 

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His contacting you is a cry for help. The drugs and booze are also. You are probably right in your PTSD theory. But he needs professional help and, unless he gets lucky, I fear that he may never get it.

He needs to go and see his GP to try and get counselling. He needs to contact whatever charities work in your area that help ex-forces personnel like him. You are not equipped to help him other than to be a good friend - which, clearly, you are.

Does he have family members that you can talk to about this. My first thought was some kind of family & friend intervention where several of you get him in a room, sit him down and tell him of your worries for him, that he needs help and try to get him to seek out help.

I know that sounds very American but it can and does work if handed just right - quite often in life people need someone to sit down with them in a quiet room, to physically hold their hand, look in their eyes and tell them how it is.

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Until the individual sees in themselves that there is a problem nothing is going to happen;  this is the sort of thing that takes professional advice.  Try contacting armed forces charities (combat stress springs to mind) to see what advice they can offer.  But I wouldn't be to optimistic -- many ex forces have loads of problems and the state isn't as helpful (IMO) as it should be.

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Not only can someone like this use up your time, but they can drag you down with them. The idea that "you are the 5 people you spend the most time with" is true.

On a far smaller level, a close friend of mine now spends much of his free time stoned, frequenting hookers or searching for hookers. He's become quite nihilistic and never wants to do anything beyond sit and talk about whatever mixture of the above activities he has planned. Even though I enjoy his company I'm trying to spend less time with him and build a better life for myself because I kind of had a realization that we're getting on like real life versions of Richie and Eddie from Bottom; two 30-somethings getting on like adolescents.

I think all you can do is tell this chap that you're concerned about his behavior, and that you think he needs professional help - try and get him to think about what his life will be like in 5 years if he continues down this path, and whether that's the life he wants for himself. Then explain whilst you're not deserting him there's only a certain amount of time per week/month you can devote to the friendship. Then when you do spend time together, make sure it's not indulging in the substances that he's abusing, because then you're enabling him.

From my own experiences, enabling can also stretch to spending long periods listening to your mate talk about his substance abuse - I've found my mate has become much more narcissistic conversationally - he either wants me to listen to him brag about what he's been up to, or listen to him talk about the same chaos/problems that he's spent the last few months/years talking about but yet repeatedly self-sabotages e.g:

"the weed has messed me up so I threw it all out, I'm stopping it", then two weeks later "I got a new big bag of weed - I love weed"

or

"I want to lose weight, gonna start eating healthy, I don't want to go out or do anything until I lose weight" then next week "I ate two whole packets of biscuits last night I can't control it"

With the two cycles above going on for years. I think if someone is an addict and even has one person that can listen to their drama it validates it in a strange way. Hard to describe as I'm not a shrink, it's just a feeling I get from my mate. Eventually you have to be a bit selfish and realize life's too short and you can't change anyone, just be honest with them and point them in the direction of professional help.

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Be tough.  Byron is right about the enabling behaviour.  Give him the Samaritans number - 116 123 - same from anywhere in UK and on a mobile.  They'll point him in the right direction for help, if that's what he wants.  You telling him about his behaviour may be just what he needs to realise he needs professional help; if it isn't then it's his problem, not yours.

I know this because for years i was unknowingly an enabler for my husband's alcoholism.  Just being there feeding him, doing the housework and supporting him was 'aiding and abetting' his alcoholism.  It took years before, with the help of some psychiatric nurse friends, I realised that I had to be strong enough to cut him off.  That I did.  He's still alive, his liver is shot and he's diabetic.  Tells me that he doesn't drink now - I'm not convinced.  He's remarrying, so maybe he has his life back.  I hope so.  I do regret the time I spent enabling his behaviour.  It did neither of us any good...

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You need to accept that both you and he are powerless over his addictions.

You cannot change him.

Neither have I heard of a long term successful professional doing so.

Only he can change himself.

He will not do so until he hits rock bottom.

So, the sooner he gets there, the better are his chances of living.

He has a terminal condition, enabling is  going to kill him.

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I fully understand where you're coming from. I've a girlfriend who has her claws in me...and it's impossible to break away, partly because I actually love her, but also because we have such a fun time together....but at a price.

The other side of the coin is her neediness...she has spells of drinking and becomes over confident.....followed by a big downer.

My job takes me away from home for 2 - 3 months, but she still hangs onto me. Sometimes she's loving other times totally pissed with me and makes a scene.

And occasionally she eats loads of paracetamol....and ends up in hospital...which is really crap because I'm a pathologist and have explained to her over and over again how ******ing stupid she is.

And it's not as though she's poor. She own's her own house. She has no real money worries....but she's just needy. A right pain.

(Still love her though) 

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Lots of good advice on this thread. As an ex alcoholic I would reiterate that you should not enable your friend.

Encourage him to get professional help and/or attend Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous.

The bottom line is that he MUST want to help himself. If he does be supportive. If not then you have to be tough and walk away. 

Sadly, often people have to reach rock bottom before they'll address addiction. 

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4 hours ago, Expanding said:

A good charity to contact might be "combat stress".

This. Call them on his behalf RI and explain the situation - they'll have some great advice or quite possibly make arrangements to contact him. Sounds like he needs an understanding outlet to deal with the crap he's suffered in the past.

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4 hours ago, Wahoo said:

I fully understand where you're coming from. I've a girlfriend who has her claws in me...and it's impossible to break away, partly because I actually love her, but also because we have such a fun time together....but at a price.

The other side of the coin is her neediness...she has spells of drinking and becomes over confident.....followed by a big downer.

My job takes me away from home for 2 - 3 months, but she still hangs onto me. Sometimes she's loving other times totally pissed with me and makes a scene.

And occasionally she eats loads of paracetamol....and ends up in hospital...which is really crap because I'm a pathologist and have explained to her over and over again how ******ing stupid she is.

And it's not as though she's poor. She own's her own house. She has no real money worries....but she's just needy. A right pain.

(Still love her though) 

Sounds a bit like borderline personality disorder

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10 hours ago, Longtermrenter said:

Sounds a bit like borderline personality disorder

I was thinking the same. definitely on the DSM 

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24 minutes ago, spunko2010 said:

I was thinking the same. definitely on the DSM 

Wahoo - I suspect you realise that you are in a codependency relationship? I suspect, as others have stated, that there is some kind of personality disorder going on there.

It is fantastic that you love and support her. A part of me still loves a woman that I have not seen in over ten years, and who has been married to someone else for that length of time, because my feelings during our relationship were honest and genuine.

But when I think back of all the stress and grief that I also went through in that relationship I get momentarily stressed and then feel enormous relief that I am no longer in it.

Take care of yourself.

 

 

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28 minutes ago, hotairmail said:

 

Wahoo's post alone made me mentally run a mile.

The ups and downs are all part of the putting the other on the back foot, keeping them uncertain, their head is spinning and being trained to dependency to receive compliments and little emotional gifts and the good times.

I'm sorry to say but not unlike a dog and its master. The more the master beats the dog, the more it craves his/her love.

 

 

Fully agree.

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27 minutes ago, hotairmail said:

Wahoo's post alone made me mentally run a mile.

The ups and downs are all part of the putting the other on the back foot, keeping them uncertain, their head is spinning and being trained to dependency to receive compliments and little emotional gifts and the good times.

I'm sorry to say but not unlike a dog and its master. The more the master beats the dog, the more it craves his/her love.

Yep I've had the same thing - the woman from the dating site who I was most besotted with had an official borderline diagnosis and was the most psychologically abusive in very subtle ways. I think what I thought of as 'love' was more 'fear' to be honest.

Almost 5 years on she still crosses my mind most days. I realize this says more about me than her.

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46 minutes ago, JoeDavola said:

Yep I've had the same thing - the woman from the dating site who I was most besotted with had an official borderline diagnosis and was the most psychologically abusive in very subtle ways. I think what I thought of as 'love' was more 'fear' to be honest.

Almost 5 years on she still crosses my mind most days. I realize this says more about me than her.

 

But, the good thing is that you have learnt from the experience and hopefully will be able to spot the warning signs in future dates.

(Just as long as our willies are on holiday.)

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17 minutes ago, The Masked Tulip said:

But, the good thing is that you have learnt from the experience and hopefully will be able to spot the warning signs in future dates.

(Just as long as our willies are on holiday.)

Oh but of course. I'll never fall for another nutter again.

Unless she's really hot.

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Thanks for your honesty guys.

Yes....you're absolutely right. Personality disorder. 

I've been working on a plan to finish this relationship for good....one that will leave her in an ok place and for me to avoid any false accusations etc.

 

Thanks again...much appreciated.

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Seems like the right thread to post this.

My older brother has been a heroin addict for over ten years. We all thought a 2 year prison sentence for burglary would be his rock bottom. He lasted a year or so after his release before falling back into it again. He managed to clean himself up again and had twins last Jan with his (very) short term girlfriend.  I think they were together about a week when she got pregnant.

The whole family thought (hoped) this will help make him and he'd been doing ok for a few months of their life when the stresses of it all got the better of him and he started using again. My dad sent him to rehab for a month. He scored the day he got out.

about 6 weeks ago he ended up in hospital with blood poisoning and clots and very nearly died, organs starting to pack in etc. Her got out last week, was arrested a day after for something he got involved in before he was hospitalised and I am now looking after his twins together with my own 3 to stop them going into care. The mum has a drink problem. When he was arrested, they found tin foil for smoking heroin in his pocket.

Shittty situation.

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