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Thread: New member, many questions to ask...

  1. #1

    Post New member, many questions to ask...

    HI! My name is Tina and I am 23 years old. I am so happy that I found a phorum like this, because I see that there are many people who are troubled and worried, just as I am. I have lost my sleep for the last 2 months because of a very good friend of mine, who has Tourette Syndrome. In fact, I wonder if I could ever be in friendly terms with him, more than a couple of weeks, because there's always something happening. With most people as time goes by, I tend to feel more secure and easier to approach them. However, with this friend I have experienced many times a kind of "intimacy that hurts". I have so many things to ask you, which I can't understand and I would like to share with you...

    I should tell you that this friend of mine is 10 years older than me, a man with serious vision problems. He was something like my "superior" at work and even if we didn't make a good start, we soon became good friends. He has helped me a lot with my peronal life too and I always felt like "I owe him". I wanted to be a good friend for him, but this was always a very difficult task... Lately I have lost my hope, I wonder if this person had ever seen me like a true friend. Many times I feel that he is taking advantage of my good intentions and I don't know what to do anymore.

    It's not only the "rage storms" which most of the times I can manage effectively. He seems to have a totally different mind from the other people I know and many times I have felt that we can't communicate at all... He is constantly looking for a reason to argue with me or to criticize me and it seems that he enjoys it. Even if I cry in front of him sometimes he gives me a creepy kind of feeling, when he looks at me and smiles- like "this is something funny". He has told me that he likes to play psychological games and to "test" his friends with this way. He identifies himself with heroes from movies or books, who do bad things to others and he can become very vindictive, provocative or manipulative- just "for the tension of the moment". He also has some weird and obessive ideas and behaviors, which are often sexually coloured. For example, if I have a different opinion with his, he may accuse me that "I am against him". Once I told him that I don't like to wear short dresses at work and he wouldn't speak to me for a week, because he felt I looked at him like he was a kind of "predator" and because "I was a very fake person". He often feels that I am hiding something from him, that he can't trust me and whenever I try to help him, he feels threatened by me. On the other hand, he has expressed me many times that I am important to him and that he considers me a very good friend.

    Could you please help me to find some answers?: Are all these symptoms of the tourette syndrome? People with "T.S." may like to hurt others feelings? Don't they have the ability to empathize? How should I deal with them?
    I really appreciate your help!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: New member, many questions to ask...

    Are all these symptoms of the tourette syndrome? People with "T.S." may like to hurt others feelings? Don't they have the ability to empathize?
    Absolutely not! Inability to empathize is not considered a symptom of Tourette Syndrome.

    I have concerns for you about the points you have shared about this person:

    • 10 years older than me, a man with serious vision problems.
    • He was something like my "superior" at work
    • He is constantly looking for a reason to argue with me or to criticize me and it seems that he enjoys it
    • he gives me a creepy kind of feeling
    • he likes to play psychological games and to "test" his friends
    • He also has some weird and obessive ideas and behaviors, which are often sexually coloured
    • if I have a different opinion with his, he may accuse me that "I am against him
    • he felt I looked at him like he was a kind of "predator"
    • He often feels that I am hiding something from him, that he can't trust me and whenever I try to help him, he feels threatened by me
    • On the other hand, he has expressed me many times that I am important to him and that he considers me a very good friend.


    Individually these raise red flags about the relationship, but taken together seem to paint a picture of someone with very serious issues of manipulation, peculiar fantasies and potential for abuse toward you.

    I am not a mental health professional, but I don't think one has to be a professional to recognize potential danger for you if you were to pursue this relationship.

    None of this has anything to do with Tourette, and the best thing you could do for yourself, in my opinion, based on what you have told us, is to get as far away from this person as you can.

    Listen to your intuition:

    Many times I feel that he is taking advantage of my good intentions

  3. #3

    Default Re: New member, many questions to ask...

    Thank you very much for your answer Steve!

    It was quite reassuring to know that all these symptoms are not characteristic for the Tourrete Syndrome. However, this friend has helped me a lot and I would like to give him a last chance. He is really not so bad as I described him in my text- he has nice qualities as a person. He can be really supportive toward others if they have a personal problem, he likes to hug everyone and he has told me that he feels protective towards me because I remind him of his little cousin. But I have seen many times this bad side of him and right now I feel I should be at a distance, in order to make things better.

    I was thinking that this "bad side of him" has to do with the psychological problems that are connected with "T.S.". For example, is it true that people with "T.S." have obessive and intrusive thoughts or that they can't control their impulses and sometimes they behave inappropriately? My friend has been diagnosed twice for his "T.S.", but he believes that "he only has the tics".

    On the other hand, I have met his family and I know that he didn't have a supportive parent or wife to help him deal with his problem. He has told me that with his behavior he has lost important people from his life and that "it is something he can't control" for different reasons. For example when I ask him why he is smiling while I talk to him and I am very upset, he tells me that "he feels awkward" and don't know how to react.

    Sometimes I misinterpret this reaction because of the tics and the individual characteristics of his face. Even if he has many friends, it is difficult for him to feel really close to them- because he can't see their facial expressions or because he has the need to touch them constantly. I know him for four years now, so I have learned how to protect my self from his "rage storms".

    I have even asked a psychologist to give me some practical advice on how to deal with his weird ideas and behaviors. However she didn't really seem to know the psychological factors of the Tourrete Syndrome (she had to "google it") and she told me to act naturally, as I do with other "normal persons".

    But you can't have the "T.S." only in your body and not in your mind or in your soul- isn't this a fact?
    Last edited by Steve; October 13, 2012 at 03:37 PM. Reason: re-format

  4. #4
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    Default Re: New member, many questions to ask...

    But you can't have the "T.S." only in your body and not in your mind or in your soul- isn't this a fact?
    I am not sure I understand what you mean by this. Please elaborate.

    is it true that people with "T.S." have obessive and intrusive thoughts or that they can't control their impulses and sometimes they behave inappropriately?
    In some people who have Tourette Syndrome, they might have some associated (co-morbid) disorders, namely obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder, anxiety, depression. These may or may not be present and require a competent medical health professional to properly evaluate the person.

    I know him for four years now, so I have learned how to protect my self from his "rage storms".
    There should never be a situation where you need to protect yourself from someone with Tourette Syndrome, even in a rage reaction. Tourette Syndrome is never an excuse for rude and especially abusive behaviour toward another person.

    If a person who happens to have Tourette Syndrome behaves badly toward others, there are likely other issues going on, because people with Tourette should have the same sense of decency and compassion toward others as anyone else in the general population.

    There is never any excuse for abusive behaviour and should never be tolerated or excused.

    she told me to act naturally, as I do with other "normal persons
    People who happen to have Tourette Syndrome are as "normal" as normal can be as anyone in the general population, and should not be treated any differently. Sometimes they may need special accommodation in certain situations because of the tic activity, but a person with Tourette is a "normal" as a person who might stutter, has migraine, or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

    Has your friend ever been seen by a doctor or been evaluated by a mental health professional for the issues and behaviours you have described?

    How deep is your commitment to this person? Are you just casual friends, or do you have a closer relationship with plans for having a life together?

  5. #5

    Default Re: New member, many questions to ask...

    Hallo again Steve!

    I am happy to read your answer again! With the phrase "you can't have Tourette Syndrome in your body and not in your mind or your soul" I meant that just like many other disorders it may not affect only your body. I mean it's not only the "tics" that has to do with this syndrome- there are others issues too, of a more psychological nature. I have seen this in my friend's behavior and this is why I try to justify him and to protect my self by not taking seriously his rage storms or by constantly discussing our misunderstandings. However, he rarely does the same for me, he says that when he has these "rage storms", he only wants me to comfort him and calm him and maybe after this he will see that he is wrong... Many times he acts like a child or a teenager... And this is why I feel that even if he is 10 years older than me, emotionally he is not so mature.

    But we are just good friends, not anything more... In fact, I was worried about this issue when I had first met him because he would constantly hug me or pat me on my back and rub my hand. This is something that he does with everyone, but sometimes I feel uncomfortable because people ask me if I am his wife or tell me to "be careful with this man". I am an open-minded person and I have worked with blind people, so I know that they communicate better with this way. But he seems that he can't understand this and he tells me that he needs to have this kind of communication with his close friends. I once advised him to see a psychologist, because he was having problems with his wife. The psychologist diagnosed depression and helped him for a while, but this was long time ago. Himself he doesn't feel that he has the need to see a mental health professional for all these issues. Maybe because nobody has ever tried to take him seriously. For example, I see that when he gets nervous or acts irrationally, his relatives or even his friends react with indifference and use humour to deal with him or they just avoid him.

    I really consider this person very important for me, even if I have seen that he has "serious issues" and some of his ideas and behaviors doesn't seem quite "normal". As I told you, he has helped me a lot and I want to help him too. But I just can't find the way to approach him without making him act defensively. For example, when I told him that I don't like it when he constantly rubs my hand or my back, he felt insulted and he said that this movement permits him to trust me and feel more close to me and that if he stops it, he won't feel intimate towards me. But myself I already feel this kind of intimacy, because of the personal confessions we have made with each other, our friendly actions and the support we have shown both to each other all of these years... Is it so hard for a person with "T.S." to control this kind of impulse and to feel close with someone without having to rub him or hug him constantly? How should you react when someone with OCD believes bad things about you and considers you one of his most precious friends at the same time or when he feels you are against him just because you express a different opinion?

    I am looking forward for your answer and I really appreciate your advice!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: New member, many questions to ask...

    I mean it's not only the "tics" that has to do with this syndrome- there are others issues too, of a more psychological nature.
    I think you need to be careful not to self diagnose this man, by looking for ways to rationalize his behaviour. As I said earlier, some people diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome may have associated disorders, but Tourette on its own is manifested by muscle or vocal tics. Associated disorders are generally treatable, and neither Tourette nor associated disorders are justification for abuse or rude behaviour.

    when I told him that I don't like it when he constantly rubs my hand or my back, he felt insulted and he said that this movement permits him to trust me and feel more close to me and that if he stops it, he won't feel intimate towards me.
    I find this kind of response is insulting to you because you have the right to say "NO" to anything you find uncomfortable in someone else's behaviour. To me this sounds like the kind of remark a child predator uses when claiming to play "tickle games" with a child he is attempting to abuse.

    More red flags:

    • I feel uncomfortable because people ask me if I am his wife or tell me to "be careful with this man".
    • I once advised him to see a psychologist, because he was having problems with his wife.
    • The psychologist diagnosed depression and helped him for a while, but this was long time ago. Himself he doesn't feel that he has the need to see a mental health professional
    The man has a wife, and is engaging in seemingly sexual interaction with you, is diagnosed with possible mental health issues, but denies he needs professional help.


    How should you react when someone with OCD believes bad things about you and considers you one of his most precious friends at the same time or when he feels you are against him just because you express a different opinion?
    People who care about another person respect and solicit their opinion and take their opinion into consideration. What you describe is a person trying to keep you off balance, acting in what appears to be a predatory, controlling and abusive manner.

    There has been very little you have described that can be linked to Tourette Syndrome, and in my opinion, trying to justify any of these bahaviours to Tourette Syndrome is deluding yourself, and placing yourself in potential danger from a married man, ten years your senior, who has been diagnosed with mental health concerns, refuses to be treated, abuses you psychologically and phsysically.

    How can this be good for you?




    Consider these external resources:

    Abuse, Domestic Violence, Child Abuse

    Abusive Relationships

    Are You Dating an Abuser? | Psychology Today

    Domestic Violence and Abuse: Signs of Abuse and Abusive Relationships

    Abusive Men: Top 10 Signs of an Abusive Man

  7. #7

    Default Re: New member, many questions to ask...

    Dear Steve,
    thank you once again!

    I think you have helped me a lot to understand that Tourrete Syndrome is not associated with my friend's psychological problems. I have been asking myself the same questions that you arise here and it's true that I try to rationalize his behavior. But, you see, I really care about him and there are some issues for which I can not be sure because I am not an "expert". For example, I have red that people with Tourrete Syndrome has the need to touch other persons and in my experience I have learned that people with serious vision problems do communicate much better with this way. So I can't be sure if his need to touch and hug me constantly is something sexual or not. I mean, he hasn't done anything "abusive" in that sense...

    Anyway, I tried to talk to him and he said that he will go again to see his psychologist. Maybe I should try not to be so much close to him and help him from a distance.

    Thank you very much!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: New member, many questions to ask...

    I have read that people with Tourette Syndrome has the need to touch other persons
    While it is correct that some people with Tourette, who happen to also be afflicted with the associated (co-morbid) disorder of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) sometimes express a compulsion to to touch another person, it should be understood that compulsions are not directly related to Tourette, but to OCD, and that you have the right to say NO to anyone doing something inappropriate to you, that might make you uncomfortable whether it's in speech or in action.

    As I have said several times, Tourette Syndrome is not an excuse for any kind of inappropriate behaviour.

    My position about his touching you with hugs or anything else still stands, in the context of all the red flags you have told us about.

    something sexual or not. I mean, he hasn't done anything "abusive" in that sense...
    Repeating that I interpret what you are saying in the context of what I see as a number of red flags in this man's behaviour. My concern is that he is manipulating you, keeping you off balance with feelings of guilt and possibly even "grooming" you in the way sexual predators are known to do, by first touching you in what might be seen as innocent hugs, tickles or touches, then escalating into something more sinister.

    I would counsel you to seek advice from someone you trust such as your doctor, your own independent psychologist, a social worker, a women's support or advocacy group, your spiritual advisor....someone with professional training in understanding relationships, and victims of possible predatory behaviour to advise you on your own feelings and to objectively evaluate your relationship with this man..

    Please understand that my concerns are for your well being and safety. From the details you have shared about this man and the nature of your relationship with him, there are potential red flags that might suggest manipulative and predatory behaviour that could result in abuse to you. You need to place your safety, and personal dignity first.

    Anyone who wants to have a relationship with you must respect you, and respect your wishes and never ever cause you discomfort or harm in any way.

    Maybe I should try not to be so much close to him and help him from a distance.
    Excellent conclusion.

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