(Closed) How to deal with hypochondriac friend? Rant

posted 5 years ago in Relationships
Post # 2
81 posts
Worker bee

She sounds like a selfish person. Hypochondria is a big problem, but that still doesn’t excuse her appalling lack of concern for you when you’re actually sick. I would try to talk to her husband about it (without her present) and tell him you’re concerned that this pattern of behavior isn’t getting better and seems to be getting worse. It’s like she’s holding everyone in her life hostage. Hopefully the two of you can work together to come up with a way to explain to her that she is showing a lot of anxiety about her health and that perhaps she should talk to a mental health professional as well. She feels that something is wrong. Perhaps anti-anxiety meds or other treatments for people with hypcondria will help her. It must be very hard for you. You care about her but she’s being absolutely insufferable. IF she refuses to seek help and persists in making everything all about her and her phantom illnesses, you might need to take a step back from this friendship… for the sake of your own mental health! It sounds infuriating! 

Post # 3
774 posts
Busy bee

sylwia212:  Um good for you for sticking by her. Hate to say it but I probably would have let the friendship slowly die out a little on my end by now. That is frustrating. There is not much you can do aside from have a real heart-to-heart with her about how when she is so focused on her own problems, she tends to neglect you and probably also her husband. I wouldn’t try to tell her that her problems aren’t real, that might start a fight. But just talk about how you feel neglected. Maybe if she receives that and starts to actually focus more on you and her husband, she will not imagine so many issues for herself? I dunno. Good luck on this one :/

Post # 4
3222 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

Sounds like she could do with seeing a professional. She went through a big health scare, I think it is normal to expect a certain amount of freaking out at yr body after especally if you haven’t been paying great attention to it… But it’s gotten to a disordered point.

Post # 5
2092 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

I’ve got a friend just like that and possibly even more extreme. You can pm me sometime if you want more details. But I’ll give you a short version with my solution.

The friendship was toxic, one-sided, and to the point of being irritating. I could no longer have conversations about anything with her because she always changed the subject back to her health and undiagnosed “diseases.” Over the past year I’ve really distanced myself from her, which hurt initially because she was one of my very few close friends. We used to talk daily (about her health) and currently she sends me a text about every other week. Now that I have that constant negativity out of my life I’m better able to focus on my own, my marriage and my goals. It really is hard to constantly sympathize with someone who is always playing the pity party card so I understand how you’re feeling. IMO you’re not selfish or inconsiderate , you’re just tired of a negative, one-sided friendship. 

Post # 6
4856 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Sounds like she has a pretty bad anxiety issue and phobia of health issues. Maybe this small mass is even effecting her brain? Try being understanding instead of judgemental. if you’re close enough maybe you can talk to her about how preoccupied she is with her health. otherwise though just change the subject. 

Post # 7
1527 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2016

This sounds exactly like my mother.

I think she has some serious anxiety issues. I have some myself and it can certainly lend itself to hypochondria tendencies. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I can’t obsess. My mom on the other hand.. has no such self awareness. I feel so bad for her because I know that the things she goes crazy over TRULY do scare her and she thinks they’re very serious, but sometimes I just wish she’d shut up and let me talk for once, lol. 

Just try to support her but encourage her to go to therapy, you can’t help someone who isn’t willing to help themself. 

Post # 8
648 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

Sounds like a possible case of Munchausen syndrome. If she is constantly going to doctors for things like you describe, I wouldnt be surprised if they have already come to this suspicion or conclusion. 

Post # 9
769 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

sylwia212:  Holy crap. Are you sure your friend isn’t my cousin? Just kidding! But seriously… my cousin is EXACTLY like this girl! She has endometriosis and actually had to get her uterus scraped a couple years ago SO NOW THE WORLD IS ENDING. She always thinks she’s really, really, unfathomably ill all the time now. She’s skipped out on work so much that’s she’s lost not one but TWO jobs due to her nuttiness. I’ve also recommended loads of doctors to use but she disposes of them after they tell her, SURPRISE, there ain’t nuthin ta fix except what’s in ya damn head.

Yeah, your friend is bullshitting for attention. BIG TIME. Like… she really wants everyone to feel sorry for her so she creates this garbage in her head that she’s sick. She thinks that by going to all these doctors that one of them is going to be dumb enough to fall for her pitiful qualms that she’s legitimately ill. It’s kinda sick in the head actually. She should seek professional help. I know, because I have a family member is who could be a carbon copy of your friend. Although, she refuses to see a therapist. So we just brush off her “I’m sick” claims and I’ve chosen to not be so close to her anymore. She’s family, though, so I can’t get rid of her.

Post # 10
11585 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

No matter if this is real or not, bottom line is you need to take care of you. That means less focus on her. maybe when you do that you’ll have room to make other friends.

She sounds draining — even if the mass is responsible for her behavior, that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to be supported. Clearly she can’t do that right now, so branch out!

Post # 11
2087 posts
Buzzing bee

I have an anxiety disorder that causes a lot of weird physical symptoms and hypochondria. Honestly, when you feel like there’s something wrong with you and Drs are saying “no, you’re fine” it is incredibly frustrating and can lead to you seeking out other opinions just because you want an explanation for your symptoms. When you feel a constant pain, or something “weird” is happening, no amount of “You’re fine” will help because you don’t FEEL fine. I have had heart palpitations, esophageal spasms (which cause extreme chest pain), cold sweats, joint pain, shortness of breath, and numbness all of which were physical manifestations of my anxiety disorder.

My anxiety disorder has also lead to Drs brushing off symptoms as my anxiety when there actually was something going on. I dealt with cramps in my lower abdomen for months before I found a Dr who was willing to refer me for an ultrasound. And that was the 4th Dr I’d seen about it before I was taken seriously.

I get issues like this can be frustrating to those who don’t understand it, but don’t write your friend off as just attention seeking because of it. It’s likely she DOES feel sick or hurt or whatever and isn’t doing it purposefully. The human mind is incredible that way. It’s likely she already feels “crazy” because of all this, so just try to be as supportive as you can without playing into it yourself. If she says “I’m going to the Dr because of x” just say “I hope everything is ok. Let me know how it goes” not “Why are you going to the Dr again? There’s nothing wrong with you!” You don’t have to hold her hand, but you also don’t have to try and fix anything either.


Post # 12
645 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

I went to college with a girl like this and i sympathise its hard to keep trying to be a good friend. For me my “friend” actually stole my health problems and said she had them which is just dam weird and then would act like my real health problems were nothing even though her fake ones were my real ones! 

I would speak to other people close in her life and see if there is some way to approach her about this and say you are all worried she is destroying herself and people around her with fake illnesses. 

Post # 13
746 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

As many of the PP said it sounds like she needs professional help.  Clearly, she’s getting some psychological need met by doing this, being the centre of attenton sounds like one of them.  Sounds like you’re a good person and friend.  But I don’t think you’re helping her by letting her manipulate you.  Like asking you to write notes to her boss or being angry if you don’t.  Someone needs to tell her no or she’s just going to keep up this behaviour.  I’d tell her you value her as a friend but you’re not comfortable writing her any more notes, you can’t come over everytime she’s “sick” as you have your own life.  She going to get angry, no question.  But I don’t think that can be avoided.  If she’s angry and won’t speak to you then so be it.  You’ve done nothing wrong and have nothing to feel gulity about.  She’ll most likely contact you eventually. 

Maybe you and her husband could sit down with her? Tell her you are both concerned because it seems her “illnesses” are affecting her job and how going from doctor to doctor, when they keep saying nothing is wrong, seems to have taken over her life.  Tell her how behaviour is affecting the friendship and her marriage.  And ask her to go speak to someone.  If you tell her you both think that she may suffer from anexity she may go.  I bet that in her mind this is another chance to be diagnosed with something.  But who cares because at least she be getting help for the real problem. 

Post # 14
602 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

She actually sounds a lot like me.  It’s something I struggle with every day, and it’s psychological.  I had to watch my mom slowly pass from terminal cancer a few years ago, and it’s really messed with me.  Every random ache becomes cancer and I have had so many doctors visits and invasive tests that come up negative. 

It’s probably hard to understand if you haven’t been through it, but here’s an example.  Say I have a pain in my ovary.  It’s probably ovulation, but my mind goes to worst case scenario.  Then I google ovarian cancer, and see the symptoms are super vague.  Oh gosh, I pee a lot, and sometimes I feel full fast.  Suddenly I have all these symptoms of ovarian cancer, so I go to the doctor who does an ultrasound and it comes back negative.  But 6 months later I wonder if it’s there again and it just didn’t show up in the ultrasound.

It’s exhausting, and I realize what I’m doing. But then there’s the little voice saying “but what if it is serious, and if you just shrug it off you’re going to get sick and die like your mom did.  It’s better to catch it early.”  And that nagging doesn’t go away until I get it checked out.

It’s all encompassing.  It also causes anxiety, which can cause major health issues and random body pains.  Which makes me more anxious.  It’s just a bad cycle.  I get to the point where I can’t discuss it with anyone anymore as they all roll their eyes, and it makes me sad because it’s very real to me. 

I guess it’s possible she’s doing it for attention but it could be a far more serious issue.  Facing death, or watching a loved one face it, can really mess with your head sometimes.  

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