“My Mentally Ill Friend is Off His Meds and I Want to Block Him”

I have this friend I will call John. John has severe mental illness. He doesn’t stay on medication for schizoaffective disorder, and he abuses substances. He’s burned so many bridges. He has been in several nursing homes and halfway houses even though he is only forty. He gets kicked out for bad behavior, and family of origin has cut him off.

He goes in and out of my life. He creates many social media accounts and then deletes them.
Lately he’s been making me very uncomfortable. My last straw was when he posted getting wasted in a hotel on bum wine.

The thing is I want to block him. But I am afraid he will keep making many accounts just to bother me, whining “Why did you block meee?” Thankfully, we don’t live in the same state, but I fear harassment. What should I do? — Ready to Block

You should block him on all avenues of contact (email, text/phone, social media, WhatsApp, etc.) and live your life without guilt. Just because someone is mentally ill or struggles in some way doesn’t mean you are obligated to remain friends or a source of support for that person. Friendship out of sheer obligation is martyrdom and who wants to be a martyr? I don’t – which is why I have blocked emotional vampires in my life before and suggest you do the same.

The last time I blocked an emotional vampire like John was nearly five years ago and when I finally did it, after a couple years of contemplating it, you know what happened? My own peace, that’s what. I don’t know how my John reacted because I blocked them. Not only did I not have to deal with any irrational and unfair harassment, but also I didn’t have to deal with endless grievances and sob stories anymore because my John no longer had any way to contact me. I was free! And I still am! It’s great. I highly recommend it.

As an emotionally sensitive, empathetic person, you can feel it’s really counter-intuitive to prioritize your own well-being over “being there” for someone who is struggling. But when you are the person who is often there for the people who have burned bridges with nearly everyone else, you risk burning yourself out. If being of use to others is important to you, then preserving your energy and your well-being is just as important – more important, really – than trying to be a friend to someone you no longer feel much of a bond with anyway.

From the forums:

It’s been five years since I was with my ex; we weren’t together for that long – only a year. I can’t help but feel he was the right person at the wrong time. When we ended, I quickly got into a new relationship that I’m still in now now, and I have a 1-year-old son with my current boyfriend. Things are fine with us and always have been “fine.” I have tried to tell myself that this is what is meant to be, but I feel myself starting to distance more and more, especially recently.

We’ve had a bit of a rough year with a new baby, and I have struggled a lot with that! He is an amazing dad and he tries to help when he can. I haven’t brought up my feelings to him as I know he would just implode that I’m having these thoughts. He has plans, and we have spoken so much about our future. Do I just need to get over myself and my ex? — Everything is ‘Fine’

Leave the ex in the past. He’s just a distraction for you as you subconsciously look for ways to avoid the real issues in your relationship. Stop avoiding, and face them. The best way to do that is to start with naming them, and you can begin that process by talking with your partner. You’re doing him and yourself zero favors by avoiding confrontation. So what if your partner “implodes”? Let him implode. And let him help support you through the feelings you’re having around new motherhood and the effects it has on your relationship.

It’s through these kinds of challenges that we learn what our relationships are really made of. Is your partner interested in supporting you? Does he want to problem-solve with you? Does he listen to you? Does he want to work together to pursue shared goals? It’s not “fine” if he doesn’t; it’s a red flag.

If a relationship is only “fine” when one person actively avoids upsetting the other by sharing her feelings, it’s not a fine relationship. (It’s a bit of a sham.) But if a person can hear what his partner is saying, can feel his feelings too and support her through hers without feeling utterly threatened and attacked, then suddenly the relationship has more promise. Give your partner the chance to be what you might need. If he isn’t, well… fine. Better to learn that now and move on if that’s the right choice than hang around in this gloomy-sounding purgatory you’re in, daydreaming about someone from your past simply because your present is too depressing to contemplate.


  1. I did end up blocking him. So far I haven’t heard anything from him. I do feel bad for him, but I drew the line when he raged and cursed.
    I tend to give people too many chances. Yay fawn response. ☹

    1. if he won’t take his meds there is nothing you can do

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