Is this a mental disorder? If so, what is it?

My friend Alice has a problem. At least I think she does.

Recently, she “accquainted” herself with a little “friend”, Jenny. Now, in addition of making Alice the centre of her life, Jenny appears to be jealous of anybody who knows Alice more or whom Alice is more friendly with.

For example, Jenny would constantly pester others for Alice’s home address, even though it is clear that Alice doesn’t want Jenny to have (yet). Or that she has to be right next to Alice at all times during social occasions.

It seems to be that Jenny has a mental disorder, but when I looked up Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), the symptoms don’t quite fit. Does anybody know what it is? I am concerned for the possibility that Jenny might become a stalker.


Try this link and see.

It sounds to me like the markers of borderline personality disorder. Here is more about what could be going on with Jenny.

Hmm… borderline sounds close. I was thinking dependent personality disorder.Reading my DSMIV I’ll see if I can get a link.

Of course with no more than what you’ve said so far. It is not possible to make any determination. The diagnostic list of criteria for any disorder would require at least four or five features. As well as some history of the person and any medications etc.

After reading the different personality disorders and the criteria, I still think IF ANY disorder applies, dependent would be most likely. Borderline includes several suicidal aspects that you have no mention of.

You really need more info. to do any good, some relational and/or family history. As well as any medical/psych. history you can get.

Perhaps criminal activities/juvenile…etc.

A profile of likes/dislikes…

Just voicing a few ideas, if you really are concerned, maybe something will stick.

Hopefully it’s just a case of “puppy love” w/ a little possessive behavior. Kid just needs some attention…hmmm, now that sound histrionic.


Yeah, I need more observations. But certainly I hope that it is something harmless.

Dependent personality disorder would be on the money. Is there a link? (I have a personal distaste for Googling, due to noise-to-signal aesthetic rejections).

How old is Jenny? You call her ‘little’. If she is a kid, this could be fairly normal behavior; some kids to latch onto people.

Jenny is 19.

Here’s a link that lists the criteria for DPD.

NOTE: It says generally passive but not always.

Jenny is 19?

Nope she’s not a child. DSD onset is early adulthood.

Hmm… granted I have no formal training, but that being said:

What’s Jenny’s background? Divorced family? Mom or Dad die? Abuse? Poor relationships with parental figures? Absentee parent occuring at an early age?

This seems to me to be classic fear of abandonment disorder. In extreme circumstances a person defines their entire being / happiness / validation ONLY through someone else. Obviously this isn’t a healthy mental state to be in.

Either that or there is some suppressed homoerotic feelings that she’s having trouble acknowledging. As they say, Da Nile ain’t just a river in Eqypt…

Just my two cents… hope it helps…


That’s not mental illness, that’s just a typical young teenager behavior. {I’ve often claimed that since teenagers have adult brains, but no adult experiences to guide their adult brains, being a teenager is almost indistinguishable from mental illness. :slight_smile: }

At 19, however, Jenny should be growing out of such behavior. She may just be simply immature and behind the curve of emotional maturation. Her environment (e.g., dysfunctional family) may be the cause, in which case Jenny just needs a gentle mentor to show her and talk to her about age-appropriate behavior. Or, there really could be a deeper mental disorder underneath.

If Jenny doesn’t respond to appropriate guidance and correction, then it may be time to get her to a counselor.


Note that there might be an entirely different thing going on. I have known people who are real manipulators who search for others with weak defenses and go to work on them. Jenny might have targetted Alice as her next victim. Once in control, they start getting whatever they can from them.

I don’t know Jenny’s background. I hardly know her, in fact.


Thanks for the heads-up. If that’s the case, she picked the wrong person. :slight_smile:

My suggestion is to GET Jenny’s ATTENTION, BIG TIME!
It appears she is playing games, best to sever the relationship.
Jenny needs to grow up and find something productive to put her energies into.

As a person w/psych training, you learn to say, “I don’t know- I need more data.” The most malignant feature is be “right next to her at all times.” As doctors say that could be consistent with …etc. That statement drew my attention- but I need more info.

Way too many professionals offered opinions (before capture) on last year’s Wash DC snipers-all experts,many well known, were wrong. There is a compulsion to answer when it is just a guess.

Could you run that by me again doc? Not trying to be a smartass but I’m not quite getting your point. The OP asked a question with admittedly too few details for accuracy. Responses were made with notice that until further details were forthcoming these possible diagnosis were preliminary at best.

Q. Is this a mental disorder?

A. Possibly

Q. If so, what is it?

A. If so, here’s your possible disorders. Include a list of criteria and do the observations.

If not…see moriah & ftg.

And as a person with a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology, I think it’s a good idea for folks to brainstorm for solutions as long as we are all clear to the fact that these are only guesses. This is a message board and NOT a doctor’s office.

I’d much rather a person be cautious now, rather than sorry later.

Urban Ranger you understood all this, right?

Did anyone NOT?

Again, sorry doc…maybe I did get your point after all. It was a good one. The SDMB is NOT a substitute for professional expertice, as per Ed Zotti’s sticky today.

It’s not stalking, at least by legal definition. Stalking is the repeated following and threatening of a person. If she followed the person everywhere and threatened her with physical violence, then it’s stalking. Sadly, I learned all this very recently as my sister-in-law has fallen victim to a stalker.

t-keela-no need to apologize. as long as we know it is speculation w/insufficient data- then I think she is more pathological than a personality disorder or OCD. Sounds like incipient psychosis. That wanting to be next to her at all times is BIZARRE. Now I’ll be criticized for calling her crazy. :confused: