A good friend of mine is "toxic", but I really empathize and want to help. How do I do it?

Hey, I have a friend going through a breakup, and he's been suffering from major depression for much of his life. I'm cool with him because he's honestly a great guy to be around, but I know that he is toxic (I'm able to handle the toxicity, but not everyone can). He seems to always refuse to acknowledge that he makes bad choices and that he is extremely clingy to the girls he's with. Hell, he was a Senior in high school and got engaged to one of my freshman friends just one year after dating because he was scared that she would leave him if he didn't get her fast enough. (circa 7 years ago)

He knows he has major depression and mild bpd, but aside from taking his meds, I don't see him taking any active steps. I understand I can't get him to take active steps, but whenever I try to bring this up, he always plays the victim card. Like this:

"I always try my best to make her happy, but every girl I've been with stabs me in the back; all her friends tell her that I'm abusive and my ex goes out of her way to tell my new girlfriend that I was manipulative."

I really want to say "yes, you are manipulative, but I understand why you're doing it. I want to help" but he plays the victim card so often that I don't know how to help. Saying that would just make him chuck his victim cards at me. I feel like I'm walking on a tightrope trying to help him.

I know he's toxic, but I'm not caught up in the flame. He hasn't impacted me negatively, but I do see why others would see the opposite.

I'm the only friend he has left, and if he loses me, he has no one to go to. I've been suicidally depressed and I know how much having just one loyal friend can really help. I want to be that loyal friend. He was my "sensei" in high school, so we do have a good past together. I know many of you will be saying something along the lines of "stop helping him, you can't change his mind by yourself", and I know that. I still want to help him; he's my friend. Friends in need are friends indeed.
Updates:
3 d ago
UPDATE: I am not suicidally depressed now; I was in the past (got out about a year ago-ish and working on solidifying myself)

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Most Helpful Guy


  • You have a gift of empathy, that's a special gift to foster! Thanks for being a good guy, most people don't have your patience and concern. There are downsides to your gift that you must learn to manage, as I did.

    Your friend took some impactful traumas in early life, and he is now acting out of those wounds. Thats how humans work and that is humanity in general... trauma instead of love. To help him will require getting him to recognize the patterns and see the value in revisiting those traumas to heal them. A counselor (which I'm not... yet) or help him to see how his blind spots are impacting him. The problem is drugs are a crutch and holding him in place, and it can take many years of painful mistakes to get someone to budge.

    If you told me even 15 years ago I had traumas in life, I'd be like... what? Now I know better we are, perspective on the world, what is going on. It's a flawed world that is not of pure love, and we are very fragile emotionally. I had them, so does he... and they are in control even though the heart yearns for love, it's emotional distortion that is in charge with our core nature of love working through it. The good news is that "love" is working, the bad news, is there needs some wounds healed, development and training to get him on a better path. And that may be true for you as well given what you said about depression.

    Attributes Noted: "Clingy, got engaged so wouldn't lose a girl, manipulative, fear of rejection and separation. "

    The mating hormones have kicked in on a person whose emotionally doesn't trust... he feels abandonded. That wound likely traces back to 0-2yrs age, and I can only guess more ontop after that. This guy is poison to girls in that he is functioning out of "needy love". He likely is attractive in stature and personality, but the girls pick up on his sub emotional tones, and run. The girls want a strong, stable, masculine guy to mate with. This guy is probably in great physical condition, but emotionally, he's hurt, he needs to be loved which is the opposite of giving love, ... not ready to handle the girls emotional swings, handle the challenges offspring. Girls are smart emotionally, they pick up on this and it doesn't feel good... and they bail.

    So he has wounds from childhood, possibly with mom rejecting... losing his mom, not getting the love from her he needed. Guesses, but it's something like that.

    What to do... he needs a counselor, maybe you can help dislodge him to explore his own recovery. A person has to want it, can't force it. See the Johari Window... we have blind spots... people dont' want to change and can't see their stuff. So it helps to have encouragement, love to progress.

    With guys, much easier to put a toy in their hands as they are more comfortable, or do something together (maybe get him in arm bar... joking), and ask him about his earliest child memories of that time. That will expose the real issue. Then he needs to progress to resolve those wounds so they are love and not trauma. That to me means God/love/Jesus. Maybe there are other techniques, but that is the path I see making sense.

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    • 3 d ago

      I dropped a part. There is the you side of this, why you want to help so much. Probably because you've been through it as you noted and you want to give. That is positive. There are good boundaries to hold as toxic people are just that. That isn't always easy to do so having good friends around, support to know what is good for you is helpful until you have a good sense of boundaries.. if don't have them yet. Toxic people can wear a person out...

    • 3 d ago

      Thanks man, you gave me the most insight here and I have set my boundaries with him today. Thanks!

    • 3 d ago

      Welcome!

Most Helpful Girl

  • You had to leave him alone and let him figure out his own life. Is that means you got to disconnect from him, then you got to do what you got to do for what's best for your health. The problem is that you can't really judge him because you both have problems. And you both need to be seeing a counselor in a professional to get your life in order. You cannot help him with his problems. The promises that he has psychological issues, is taking medication he should not be even dating in the first place. Because not going to 10 times, everything that you are experiencing his exes are experiencing when he's dating them. You're not dating him, so you don't know how he is in a relationship. This is why I always want people if you know that they are not psychologically fit for a relationship do not date them I don't care how bad you feel for them, I don't care how sorry you say you are for them. Sympathy and pity is not going to help him. He has to make the choice to change or something to stay by himself until he gets to a place where he needs to be at in life. Because at the end of the day it's making you sick.

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    • 3 d ago

      Asker, thank God you are getting out of it. But that is YOUR CHOICE. Let your friend make his choices. You got to do you at the end of the day.

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    • 3 d ago

      I never said for you to abandon him. I almost ate it exactly what you had said what you said and rounding. But if he is crossing those lines do not allow him to get away with it. Because the same thing is he doing to her he would do the same thing to you.

    • 3 d ago

      Said*

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What Girls & Guys Said

56
  • Honestly I don't think there's much you can do besides be there for him. But also don't be scared of giving him the cold truth. He may or may not start throwing victim cards at you too, but so what? At least you'd be doing something instead of being passive, which could eventually only feed this toxic mindset he has. If you're honest with him every time he starts pitying himself, maybe he'll slowly start realizing that there are more sides to the story than his own, and that his might not necessarily be the absolute truth.
    Also talk to him about therapy. Feel free to help him do some research. While it's great that he has you by his side as his friend, you're also not a professional. At the end of the day, there's only so much you can do. And it seems like his jealousy, his insecurities, and his impulsiveness are so deeply rooted that only a therapist could help him get out of that mess. These are traits that you shouldn't mess around with unless you know what you're doing, because he could potentially become a danger to the girls he dates if he doesn't get the help he needs. Wanting to trap a girl in marriage is already a really fucked up move.

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  • First, read the book "Boundaries" by Henry Cloud. And don't feel that your empathy is going to be reciprocated: it probably will not be. If you can set your boundaries, be honest yet kind in your responses, not get bummed out if they don't accept all of your support, then you are ready to help.

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  • Role reversal another words ask him why be thinks his ex sees him as being manipulative. Also ask him why he has a fear of being alone without a girlfriend at his age. Your friend has tunnel vision and can only see his own perspective and his own side of the story and not see the situation from a different point if view. He lacks empathy when it comes to relationships and he shows signs of expressiveness and clinginess. He could have aspergers syndrome or some social autism

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    • 2 d ago

      He could have aspergers or some type of social autism he may not know he has

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    • 2 d ago

      But he needs to get his testosterone levels checked because it sounds like he could be producing more estrogen than testosterone. Basically his hormones could be out of whack. And also tell him to quit masturbating for 1 week then jerk off one time to spew his load then the following day to not masturbate for another 7 days. Repeat this constantly. Read why on Google. Not masturbating help boost testosterone levels by 40% to 70% or more if you go 1 week without masturbating. It's on Google

    • 2 d ago

      Also have him change his diet make sure he gets rid of all sugar ie soda junk food cookies candy bars chips since sugar is linked to serotonin which causes depression part of the amygdala gland in the brain. Get rid of the sugar fruit drinks soda candy bars chips cookies all the junk food. Then have him start lifting weights fuck cardio since it doesn't do shit and don't bother with any bullshit diet plan of carbs fats and protein since that's all bullshit anyways just don't over eat and do a 16 hour fast as well. This will help him as well to raise his dopamine levels up

  • Ok my advise is you is not try and help him and just be there for him.

    But honestly bpd in someone who isn't going to help themself is a lost cause, been there myself and the issue is that they dont really understand what they saying saying. Sometimes it takea someone to hit rock bottom before they'll soar and for others there's no help. It's heart breaking but how you go about it is down to how well you know him.

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  • You can tell every bit of truth on his face and still be his friends.
    Help him as much as you can. Try take him away on better things. Try to teach him that girlfriend isn't big thing in life.
    Enjoy activities with him.

    But in all this process dont lose yourself, be brave enough to cut him any time you see necessary.

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  • You gotta be honest with him. He will play that victim card. The you gotta be honest about that to. In the end remind him your honesty is harsh but its because you want to see him happy and this honesty is what he needs.

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    • 2 d ago

      Been doing this with my exe. No matter how much I want to run in and save him. I don't. I blurt out the truth say I love you and walk away before I instinctly fix the problem for him. It has been working.

  • You are a true Bro. I have been in a similar situation as your friend. I was toxic too and after my break up I was miserable and pushed everyone away with my victim mentality.

    What helped me out was a personal revelation. I was close to committing suicide and the sun was rising and I heard a bird chirp. That birds chirping saved my life.

    I forgave my ex-girlfriend, and apologized to her
    I forgave my mom and apologized to her
    I forgave my brother and apologized to him.

    I realized forgiveness is the first step forward

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  • I really think the best thing to do would be to push him to see a psychologist / psychiatrist / cognitive behavioural therapist and actually deal with his problems to live a healthier life.

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  • One of the things I hate about modern society is that we have to put a Instagram filter on everything. If something bad happens in your life, you’re supposed to just smile your way through it. Life isn’t always beautiful, it can be downright ugly and painful. You aren’t playing the victim card if you decide to let yourself feel your pain for a while. It enables a person to fully move on. The point is to not let it overtake you.

    You are an amazing friend. But you need to be honest with your friend. Tell your friend that you are there for him, but he is making you feel depressed, and that he needs to seek help or he will alienate his friends and family. If he is a good friend to you too, he will get some help! Good Luck to you both.

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  • you have to be very honest and say what you think

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  • Have a man to man convo with him and give your whole opinion on the issue

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