Am I being paranoid or is my BPD classmate is manipulating me?

I go to school in the adolescent psychiatric ward of a local hospital, and there is one girl who I can’t tell if she’s telling the truth to me or at least not manipulating the truth.

I thought she was funny and nice at first, but I feel like she’s either really sick with BPD or just manipulating me.

First off, this girl conflates her illness (BPD, OCD, depression, anxiety) with her identity. Every day she wants to talk about her symptoms and my symptoms, and I just don’t want to be constantly reminded of my illness (going to a school for mental people is bad enough) so I’ve told her this but she doesn’t respect that. She interrupts everybody and in group therapy whenever the focus isn’t on her, she interrupts the conversation and tries to make it back on her again. Today she talked literally the entire hour and went off topic on all of our turns. The therapist eventually had a stern talking with her.

That’s just to give some background. She self-diagnosed herself with schizophrenia but has according to her talked to MANY doctors about this and all have said she wasn’t, yet she insists on that label saying things like “oh my schizo’s acting up” or “omg I’m so schizo hahaha.” She reports hallucinations and “disorganized thinking” which I didn’t have the heart to explain to her was severe cognitive scattering that is so impairing that contact with reality is largely lost. It’s not just feeling foggy.

I don’t want to say she’s making it up, because it’s really none of my business what she has going on (well, she makes it my business), because she said doctors have told her she was malingering and she was really upset saying things like “you guys believe me right?” I don’t want to say I don’t believe her but she just throws around the phrase ‘psychotic episode’ and laughs about it like “oh haha that’s because I’m in a psychotic episode and am totally crazy.”

There is one kid in the program who I suspect is severely autistic, because he is intellectually impaired, but this girl is convinced he has “disorganized schizophrenia” and acts like she could be like that if she “got worse”.

When I explained that such catastrophic cases of schizophrenia have largely been mitigated by the invention of the antipsychotics and that his diagnosis is really none of our business, she said she overheard doctors talking about his diagnosis and saying he was a disorganized schizophrenic. Now this is just a bold-faced lie because it makes no sense. Why would two doctors be talking about a diagnosis, much less in audible range of students. Also doctors haven’t used the subtypes or the term “disorganized schizophrenic” for the last four years.

Anyway, she came to lunch one day and was crying about how she had repressed memories of her being molested as a child. When I asked how she knew this, she said that she would remember being in rooms only the staff had access to. That’s it, it was her only reason and she was crying about it all lunch.

So basically, either this girl’s BPD is so bad that she is convincing herself she’s experiencing these symptoms and that she is convincing herself she was molested (which, for all I know, might have happened) or she’s straight up manipulating me. I don’t know I feel like my head is being ■■■■■■ with.

I think it’s the BPD and her own other issues combined. Not sure if it’s manipulation or if she believes her own lies.

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I don’t know, I just feel bad for her because she seems really messed in the head either way. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I just mean dealing with a lot of problems.

Well, she seems to feel appeal for serious mental illness, so she might try to use you to get info so she can manipulate doctors, so be careful. Other than that, be her friend and kind to her.

Even if she is manipulating you, it’s her illness, not exactly her fault.


We get them here on the site occasionally as well… when people are just really anxious about it, I feel bad for them. But some give me the impression they get some kick out of it. I don’t feel bad for these people. This story reminds me of the latter.


Yeah I think it’s a very good possibility that she knows what she’s doing. I think it’s a combination of a need for validation (‘let’s see what people will believe me’) and a victim complex why people do stuff like that.

How many other students are there? Maybe you can tactfully extract yourself from conversations with her and go hang out with other students.

Yeah, I probably could. The issue is that it’s a very small program (like 16 kids), but I could avoid her.

It’s okay to not like someone. Definitely be kind to her but under no circumstances do you have to be her friend. Do you ever work on setting up with boundaries with people?


Maybe I do have boundary issues… I thought I set down the law pretty clearly when I said I didn’t want to talk about my symptoms, but she didn’t really respect that so maybe I’m not being assertive enough.

You probably are. BPD’s are well known for having boundary issues…

Maybe you should be honest and not give her so much attention

Yeah, I think especially in those instances where she starts in on a topic that you’ve specifically told her is out of bounds, you have every right to cut the conversation short.

Okay, yeah I think I’m just going to eat lunch on the roof instead of in the room with her, and I’m going to not initiate conversation.