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Dealing with a former friend who may be histrionic

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Dealing with a former friend who may be histrionic

Postby parakeet » Sat Apr 30, 2011 5:32 am

Hello,
It's the first time I've posted here and hoping I can get some good advice on dealing with a former friend. We were best friends for four years - very suddenly close. I thought she was the best thing since sliced bread - super friendly, very huggy, interesting, exciting, we had so much in common we'd tell each other we were soul sisters. She'd always leave packages at my door when someone in my family was sick or if we were gone for awhile - big on giving presents. Our kids were good friends. We'd see them several times a week. Everything seemed perfect. She emailed me almost every day and if I didn't respond to her page long emails within a few days, she asked if I was upset with her. She also emailed my husband (not as frequently); however, her emails to him started becoming "mushier." Finally she emailed my husband and told him she was in love with him. He did not respond and showed me her email. I thought it must be a joke - no way would she do that. However, she confessed to me a few days later that she has been feeling all kind of emotions for my husband, can't stop thinking about him, can't sleep, etc. She called it a "crush" and said she couldn't tell her husband, he'd be too upset (we then found out she keeps her email secret from him). Anyway, I responded and told her we'd get through this - I thought she was telling me because she wanted distance to get over her "crush." Not so. She started emailing my husband again 2 days later - very flirtatious emails. I finally asked her to stop sending him emails - that I wasn't comfortable with it (he wasn't responding to her and she admits she knew he wasn't interested). This lasted a week and she sent him another message. I confronted her and her response was really strange. She couldn't look me in the eye - someone who seemed so in control and on top of things acted giggly and giving responses like a 12 year old. She told me she had to write him a message because she thought he'd be sad otherwise. She also said, "I don't know why you are making such a big deal of this, I would never let it get physical." I told her if she sent one more thing I'd send all the emails to her husband. She sent an email a few days later "explaining" her actions by saying things like "it's like not having a chocolate in your cupboard for a week" and other really weird stuff. My husband and I were both pretty freaked out - it was just so bizarre. Anyway, I asked for no contact shortly after that and she continued to leave packages on my porch. Three months later (and 2 months of no contact) I defriended her on facebook and she freaked out, sending me an email asking why I was making such a big deal of this. I sent her a long letter explaining what she put me through and, again, asked for no contact. She sent me an email back (I didn't read it) and send me another email about a month and a half later. Now I'm hearing that she is trying to join an organization that she knows I belong to. I am baffled by this. Some friends (several psychologists) mentioned that it sounds like she has a personality disorder and from a little bit of reading, I thought it might be histrionic. I just don't understand why she would keep trying to be in contact with me (or not caring that she's pissing me off). I have not mentioned this to her husband or to mutual friends, so I feel I've been very reasonable in letting her be. I could, so easily, trash her reputation, but I haven't (I have all the emails). Is she trying to push me into it? Is she just really stupid? Is she dangerous? (I ask this because my doctor, after hearing the content of her emails, said that, not only should I stay away from her, but I should keep my children away from her because she isn't using good judgement). Any advice on how to handle her? Thank you for any help!
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Re: Dealing with a former friend who may be histrionic

Postby ironman79 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 7:57 am

I'm in no position to give you an advice, but will try to shade a few things i know form my own experience.

First of all, although she sounds like HPD, you can't be sure, and she might have some kind of obsession that may be really dangerous.

I tried for months & years to understand what was happening, and the only solid thing i came up with is: she deals with different set of rules, and these rules don't make any sense to you. No contact is the only way.

Your situation is different from many of us on this forum, because you have a family & she has a family... the damage will affect many people. I'm still single & the damage was unbearable. Stay No contact.

Don't waste time trying to understand everything, she's not good for your family, simply stay No contact.

Hope I helped a bit.
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Re: Dealing with a former friend who may be histrionic

Postby treetop » Sat Apr 30, 2011 4:17 pm

I'm a female who was friends with an HPD female as well, and what you're describing with the stalking thing doesn't seem to be anything particularly histrionic.. besides the flirting with your husband and sending him emails, then lying and blameshifting when she was discovered. that type of thing is very HPD. but most HPD's don't seem to showcase that 'stalkerish' behavior unless they are going after a former lover of theirs that finally said no to them. or, they're going after someone who has shown them 'mild' interest but that interest quickly tapered off.

perhaps if your husband did show her what might have been deemed 'mild interest', maybe then she kept pursuing it. since HPD's have a tendency to exaggerate the intimacy of relationships, maybe she saw his friendliness and misinterpreted that as romantic interest. or, another possibility, she knows he has no interest in her whatsoever, she doesn't have interest in him either, but she's pursuing this to make you feel jealous and insecure. HPD's are known to play all sorts of odd games like this.

there is a chance she isn't HPD, too. the thing is, labeling her with one diagnosis or another doesn't really matter in this situation, the lady's obviously got some issues. no contacting her was a good decision. if she continues to leave unwanted presents and send unwanted emails, the first step would be one more time of contact with her (preferably in writing so you have proof) warning her that if she continues this behavior you will go to the authorities. if that 'threat' doesn't stop her, then follow through and go to the authorities. stalkers like this could be harmless, and they could be dangerous - as ironman pointed out. the thing is, you never really know. her emailing could one day turn into spying on you and your husband, or smearing your reputation. you just never know.
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Re: Dealing with a former friend who may be histrionic

Postby parakeet » Sat Apr 30, 2011 7:08 pm

Thanks so much for your replies. I did send a final "no contact" email (after a previous "no contact" email) detailing why I do not want contact (perhaps a mistake - this was when I was still baffled by her responses and thought she her strange obsession was just temporary). Also, once I told her I would send the emails to her husband if she didn't leave my husband alone, she stopped contact with him, but continued trying to contact me. Since the final email, no presents were left and I only received one response from her and, recently, another email where she was trying to organize her kids' church classes and wanted to make sure we had little contact (so I thought she got it). However, hearing that she is trying to join a social organization of mine (for moms & kids) alarms me. I'm not sure how to react. Either to tell others in the org what happened (I don't feel it's safe to have her watching my kids, which is what the moms end up doing in various rooms of the building), try to ignore her, or be cordial when we meet and quickly end the conversation. I have been trying to ignore her in group situations or avoiding these situations altogether, but I don't want to live my life trying to avoid this person. Also, I would love any books/materials you've read that helped you feel more empowered, if that's possible.
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Re: Dealing with a former friend who may be histrionic

Postby Breathingroom » Sun May 01, 2011 3:32 am

I can't urge you enough to go no contact and going no contact does not require an explanation from you. You owe her nothing. If she starts showing up at your group, I would pretend that I did not know her. I have the same issue and that is that my former friend(who is HPD) has her kids at the same school as me. It has been over two years and she will still approach me. Each time she does, I just hold my hand up and say "no thanks" and walk away. Any feedback from you is what they want. Don't give in and give it to them. The silence will kill them. If you want to know what is going on in her world, just poke around here on the board and you can get some great insight on how they live and how they manipulate. Resist the urge to talk bad about her because it will just come back to bite you. Don't let your kids or husband be manipulated either, because she will approach them if you continue to ignore.

I have a question for you regarding the gifts that she gives. My friend was a tremendous gift giver as well, but most of the gifts were junk off the clearance rack disguised to look expensive and thoughtful. Was this the case with you?
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Re: Dealing with a former friend who may be histrionic

Postby Twistedmister » Sun May 01, 2011 6:09 am

I agree with what they are all saying.

Since no other HPDs have responded yet.......i just thought i'd add my stamp of approval.


There isn't really a perfect way of handling this. As, they're right.......she's playing by a set or rules you'll never know. No one will, not even other HPDs. You can't read any books about her, that will help you. Unless there is a book, specifically produced about HER.


Use common sense. Common sense number 1.........listen and analyse advice you get here.


I wouldn't be too alarmed...........just don't do anything to rock the boat.
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Re: Dealing with a former friend who may be histrionic

Postby parakeet » Sun May 01, 2011 7:09 pm

Thanks for all the responses. I think a lot of my anxiety has to do with an adrenaline response I had to finding out about her inquiries. The doctor said I suffered from a trauma after this occurred (I thought I was hyperthyroid - great way of losing weight), so I'm still suffering from some of the effects of that. My initial response was fight (tell people) or flight (leave the group). Today I realized I had another choice - ignore her as best I can. She has every right to join whatever group she wants to - trying to force her out would just make me feel like a bully I think. My biggest concern is for my children's safety, but, realistically, I'm not sure that's an issue with her (she hates confrontations or yelling and will do anything to avoid this - except by email - she can't even use the phone, just email - which is why I have a written record of this entire weird episode). From what I've read on this site, that shouldn't be a problem either. So far she's been keeping her distance and I think I'll just wait and see what happens. I've been very lucky in that my husband was the one who started noticing the behavior and being bothered by it. Not only did this not negatively affect our marriage, but helped to strengthen it. It made me realize how important my family was and how my boundaries were way off (I MADE him email her back when she first started the email correspondence because "she was our friend and she'd be hurt if you didn't respond" - I kept telling him "not to worry" when her emails got "friendly" because "that's just the way she is") - now we spend a lot more time together talking and having family outings.

BreathingRoom - her gifts did tend to be inexpensive or homemade, but were well thought out (at least I thought so). Typically they were for our kids and she took a lot of time thinking about each one and what they would like. Maybe she was obsessed with my whole family? I don't know why - her family is lovely - really nice husband and wonderful kids. It really sickens me to think that she would be doing this to them. I only hope she gets the help she needs before it's too late and she loses everything. She would also leave homemade tea or soup if someone in the house was sick. Also, if you said you liked anything - a bowl or plate, she would give it to you. She wasn't big into ownership and presents to one of her kids were always the property of the other ones as well. Maybe she felt the same way about husbands :wink:

As for books/sources, I'm actually thinking of something more generic (not about her, more about empowering me). Meditation techniques or something that could make you feel like you could enter a social situation with her in the room and not have a sick feeling in your stomach. Anyone past that point? Anything help?
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Re: Dealing with a former friend who may be histrionic

Postby thisislabor » Mon May 02, 2011 12:02 pm

i didn't read all of this just your first two post parakeet. i'm a histrionic and from the sounds of it you are just mirroring her and how she felt at the beginning of this... hyper obsessive. it is one thing I have noticed with my relationships with other people, I feel one way at a certain time and then I'll feel the opposite way and switch emotions with people. how you feel now is how she felt then so to speak. and how you felt then is probably how she feels now. my thoughts are that she is ignoring you and you are now probably making stuff up in your head.

- histrionic behavior is caused from emotional invalidation. this is what it looks like.

- thisislabor.

(P.S. I have a feeling all it was is just a normally good person who got just a little too loosely emotionally attached to a member of the opposite sex - I doubt it was a personal offense. The care packages to the house were probably just because she liked you and thought of you as a great friend, if she really is a TRUE histrionic, she may not have very many of them....)
When the time comes there will not be enough people to bury the dead.
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Re: Dealing with a former friend who may be histrionic

Postby Cpt » Mon May 02, 2011 12:23 pm

treetop wrote:but most HPD's don't seem to showcase that 'stalkerish' behavior unless they are going after a former lover of theirs that finally said no to them. or, they're going after someone who has shown them 'mild' interest but that interest quickly tapered off.


Yeah, mine admittedly stalks my facebook. Its funny, whenever a good looking girl would post on my wall it would be followed by contact from the HPD, ever during severe devaluation cycles haha. She checks up on her fan club.

To the OP:

I disagree with my fellow posters here, I think its pretty clear that this woman is a Histrionic Personality. The question is whether she is disordered. I think she is, I mean she tried to seduce your husband, AND she is sticking around, probably enjoying this drama and gaslighting you. Admitting to the deed and then sticking around is pretty disordered I think. The nonsensical explanations for her innapropriate behavior REEK of ESFP personality type and it HPD correlate in my opinion.
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Re: Dealing with a former friend who may be histrionic

Postby Wishing4Peace » Mon May 02, 2011 11:36 pm

I'm curious, did you start to sense that something wasn't right before she started coming onto your husband? Were there other warning signs that she wasn't genuine, was attention seeking even to the point of it affecting her relationships with friends, or manipulative? It would stand to reason that someone that lacking in perspective (enough to risk your friendship and her marriage when you both have children involved) would have given you other clues there were deep seated issues even before that happened.

You were friends for a long time, 4 years...I think if she truly has a personality disorder you'd have seen many clues in that time. With my ex friend there were numerous warning signs that I ignored or made excuses about for a while, but it was like her mask was slipping more and more as time went on. The lies, deceit, manipulation, taking advantage of people, attention seeking, disloyalty to friends, husband, family...in the end it was all so overwhelming that I COULDN'T ignore or excuse it anymore.

If this was the first and only issue you had with this woman, even though its an extreme case of betrayal, it does make me wonder if its not an isolated incident in her life. Yes, stupid, immoral and lacking in judgment, and unforgivable if you ask me....but perhaps not a personality disorder.

It IS interesting how she managed to worm her way so thoroughly into your life though. That was my experience with my ex friend too, when we first met it was like a full on assault to woo me :) If I hadn't been so vulnerable at that point in my life I'd have been a lot more wary.
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