Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: For sublime1-ga ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: For sublime1-ga
Category: Relationships and Society > Relationships
Asked by: liebesfrage-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 16 Aug 2006 10:29 PDT
Expires: 15 Sep 2006 10:29 PDT
Question ID: 756649
Thanks for the invitation to go somewhat farther.  From what you said and
the pages you pointed to, the woman would seem to be a Borderline case, with
some degree of Bipolar.
It doesn't seem to be dependency, as the response to abandonment is not
at all submissiveness, but various degrees of rage.  Also it's not histrionic,
because the woman is not notable gregarious or publicly seeking attention--
although for her work, she definitely craves attention.  
The idea of Bipolar does ring some bells.  The woman is definitely manic
about her work, putting in hours or even days on a few lines.  As for
depression, she does not ever claim to be depressed, but some kind of
depression may lie behind the periods of rage.
I wonder if her habit of dressing nearly entirely in black (though it does
suit her--she has black hair and pale skin) says something.  She is also a
person who rarely says more than she has to--she is not spontaneous with
the man--but instead waits to be asked her opinions or feelings, and then
responds quite minimally--unless she feels very secure.
I thought the idealization of people--either wonderful or awful--was
interesting.  Also (maybe this comes from Bipolar) the tendency to
adopt the
opinions of esteemed authority figures instead of really working out her own
opinion.  In her field, for instance, she is very aware of the current 
attitudes and one might say dogma, and repeats it.  This goes along I suppose
with her tutoring with top people, whom she says will insure that when she
finally polishes and perfects her (already written) volume, it will surely
be accepted for publication.
My inclination from your answer and the readings is to advise the man 
definitely to NOT attempt to renew the relationship, since the fit with
a serious condition seems pretty clear, and he will just be disappointed 
and threatened again.  But if you have any thoughts as to how he might
alter the situation for the better I'm sure he would appreciate it because
he does like the woman a lot and appreciates her mind which is rather
extraordinary in its feel for language and literature.
Subject: Re: For sublime1-ga
Answered By: sublime1-ga on 16 Aug 2006 14:19 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi liebesfrage...

First, please realize that Google Answers are not meant to
substitute for informed psychiatric advice, and the only way
to do this satisfactorily is by way of a formal psychiatric
assessment which includes a thorough patient history. You're
also asking for thoughts about how "he might alter the 
situation for the better", and I'm not sure this is possible
without extensive face-to-face professional intervention.

So I'm not sure what else I can offer you that is substantive,
but here are my thoughts:

First of all, the man is married. Without adopting any moral 
stance, this kind of dividing of one's attentions and energies
generally has a negative impact on one's health and sense of
integrity. Add to that that he is mixing his psyche with one
of questionable stability and it becomes an even greater risk.

You also said the woman was married, is now separated and has
been living with another man for 6 years. Presumably you mean
a man other than the one this question is about. This adds yet
another layer to the mix.

You note that, several times, the man has desired the relations
to end due to the woman's insatiable demands for attention and
the threats of telling his wife. Add to this that she is charging
him for each meeting, periodically asking for additional funds,
and charging him an "exit fee", and I really see no hope for a
healthier form of relationship. From your description, it's not
clear whether she likes him at all, except for the monetary
benefits he can provide, and the threats about telling his wife
amount to extortion. I see nothing in your descriptions that
tell me that she exhibits any personal affection for him at all,
whereas it's clear she likes his money. I have to wonder what he
believes he is getting from the relationship, other than the 
chance to appreciate her unique and extraordinary mind.

Since these patterns of interaction are well-established, I see
little likelihood that they can be altered, in which case they
are likely to be repeated, and the man's desire to end the 
relationship as it stands will re-emerge. Realistically, I 
believe he should honor this desire and end it once and for all.

On another tack, if she is Bipolar, it would not be unusual for
her to lie about her association with "top people". This goes
along with the tendency for grandiosity. My first introduction
to this disorder was an, as yet, unmedicated patient who said
that the song currently playing on the radio had been written
by him. Bipolar disorder can be treated with some success with
a combination of medication and counseling, however many feel
that the medication brings them down from their "normal" manic
state, in which all things seem possible, and so they stop using
their medications. To them, normal feels dull. It's also true
that Bipolar doesn't necessarily mean equal amounts of time
in manic and depressive states. Many are manic for most of the
time, with shorter periods of depression which they may hide
from others, since it feels so abnormal to them.

You note that she rarely says more than she has to and responds
minimally. In my experience, this would be unusual for Bipolar
disorder. One of the diagnostic features is called "pressured
speech", in which the person speaks very rapidly, as though
trying to keep up with a veritable waterfall of thought. You
also noted that she is unempathetic.

Given this, it may be that she is suffering from Narcissistic
Personality Disorder, as mentioned by pinkfreud-ga in a comment
on the original quesiton.

This disorder is characterized as follows, on the Encyclopedia
of Mental Disorders site:

- He or she has a grandiose sense of self-importance (exaggerates
  accomplishments and demands to be considered superior without
  real evidence of achievement).
- He or she lives in a dream world of exceptional success, power,
  beauty, genius, or "perfect" love.
- He or she thinks of him- or herself as "special" or privileged,
  and that he or she can only be understood by other special or
  high-status people.
- He or she demands excessive amounts of praise or admiration
  from others.
- He or she feels entitled to automatic deference, compliance,
  or favorable treatment from others.
- He or she is exploitative towards others and takes advantage
  of them.
- He or she lacks empathy and does not recognize or identify
  with others' feelings.
- He or she is frequently envious of others or thinks that they
  are envious of him or her.
- He or she "has an attitude" or frequently acts in haughty or
  arrogant ways.

If an individual exhibits five of these nine characteristics,
they can be diagnosed with the disorder. There is much more on
the page that will help you to comprehend this disorder. As is
noted, the prognosis for this disorder is fairly poor, due to
the tendency for the patient to devalue their therapist, and
to have great difficulty forming the kind of therapeutic bond
which is necessary to resolve the underlying childhood issues.
Additionally, managed care no longer provides for extended
therapy, but focuses on resolving symptoms in the short term,
rather than allowing time to uproot the underlying issues.

Also on the page, there are two subtypes, out of four, which
may fit the woman you're describing:

"Craving narcissists. These are people who feel emotionally
 needy and undernourished, and may well appear clingy or
 demanding to those around them.

 Manipulative narcissists. These people enjoy "putting
 something over" on others, obtaining their feelings of
 superiority by lying to and manipulating them."
See the section on 'Personality Subtypes'.

The diagnosis is not easily made, and many with the disorder
are mistakenly diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder,
again, due to the limited interaction with the therapist which
is available under managed care.

Additionally, many with this disorder are quite functional
and successful, at least until later in life, so their 
behavior is often excused as eccentricity rather than
coming to the attention of mental health professionals.

I even knew one such person who was the clinical director
of an outpatient mental health facility, and my boss! My
initial impression, and that of many co-workers, was that
here was a brilliant man whose understanding of the fine
points of many diagnoses was so detailed that it could 
only come from a deep empathy and compassion for the 
clients. It took many years for some of us to recognize
that on an interpersonal level, he was anything but 
empathetic, and didn't think twice about bringing an
employee to tears, berating them in front of others for
having the audacity to challenge his perspective.

So, the bottom line is, I think the man will continue to
find the woman "unempathetic" to the point of great
detriment. This is not the kind of disorder that can be
effectively handled by a partner in relationship with 
them. She would need extensive professional assistance,
and, as I noted, this is highly unlikely to occur while
she feels she is functioning effectively, and unlikely
to be adequately addressed in a managed care system, 
even if she were to actively seek therapy.

I would definitely agree with your inclination to advise
the man NOT to seek to renew the relationship.


Request for Answer Clarification by liebesfrage-ga on 17 Aug 2006 07:35 PDT
Thank you again for a very informative answer!
I must say I was also puzzled what the man can possibly get out of this
relationship emotionally.  But he says that the woman is completely
transformed during the short intervals they are actually together.
Then, she is receptive and feminine--in all the good old-fashioned senses.
She becomes very sensuous and loving and tells him that everything he
does is wonderful.  It seems that the woman, during that time, feels
safe and secure (I've mentioned this) and that then they are completely apart
from the world, which frees her of inhibitions.  The man also says that he 
feels an unusually strong, almost fetish-like desire for the woman (rare 
for him) that keeps him coming back.  There must surely be things in him that
in some degree complement the woman's nature, and I haven't said much at
all about him, but he seems to me and to others as normal and
well-adjusted. Clearly, though, he has needs that this relationship
meets, if expensively and dangerously.
I will let you go!  Thank you so much again.  This material gives me much
more assurance in advising the man.  I see that you answer questions on a
great diversity of topics, including computer technical.  I am a Linux person
but do not really have quite the level of expertise that a Linux person should
have to get everything to work within a Microsoft world (I'm thinking e.g.
of broadband), and I may have some technical questions later on.

Clarification of Answer by sublime1-ga on 17 Aug 2006 11:27 PDT
It may be as you say, that when this woman feels completed by this
man's attention, she is capable of creating an unparalleled atmosphere
of fulfillment which could easily be addictive. But, as with all 'highs'
there is a subsequent crash when reality sets in.

Simply put, I think the man would be better off investing the same
amount of attention, time and energy into discovering that same
degree of fulfillment within his own spirit.

As for technical questions, I do well with Windows and its children,
but am a rookie when it comes to Linux.

Best regards...

liebesfrage-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $20.00
Very high quality answer.  I thought you went to great lengths
to answer thoroughly and thoughtfully!  Thank you.

Subject: Re: For sublime1-ga
From: sublime1-ga on 17 Aug 2006 16:23 PDT

Thanks very much for the 5 stars, the rating and the generous tip!
Some customers make our efforts more enjoyable by their appreciation
than by the the financial rewards. You've excelled in both areas.

Warm regards...


Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy