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Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1701
Experience:  Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
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My father died a year ago from cancer and my Mum (aged 55)

Resolved Question:

My father died a year ago from cancer and my Mum (aged 55) is still extremely depressed about the situation. She doesn't work, doesn't have any hobbies and her friends are beginning to get tired of her constant negativity in life. She sits around the house complaining that no one visits her.

I have tried to get her professional help but she refuses. She's on antidepressants. She refuses to get a part time job or anything that will fill her life. She complains that she worked hard for 30 years with kids and husband and now Dad's gone, kids have moved out she has no purpose in life. She enjoyed being a housewife and now she has nothing.

She's always had a bit of a glass half empty outlook on life but now she just complains about everything and anything. She wants me to move home (I'm 28) but I want to stay with my boyfriend and believe that moving home is a bandaid solution.

I try not to get dragged into the negativity but find it very hard. I have listened about the last hours of Dad's death no less than 200 times and have been an active listener for the past year but I cannot continue to be the sounding board.

Do you have any ideas for me? Thank you.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 3 years ago.

Dr.Keane :

Hi I can help you today

Customer :

Thanks

Dr.Keane :

I am sorry to hear about your dad, it's hard to lose a parent especially when the surviving parent is difficult and negative.

Customer :

Thank you. Yes very difficult. Dealing with your own grief and the grief of someone affected differently

Dr.Keane :

If your mum has historically been less than an optimist she will feel sorry for herself and it is going to take a long time for her to come out of her grief. It has only been a year and that isn't a long time for some.

Dr.Keane :

I will tell you that you should not go back home unless you want to, do not feel guilty about it either. You mum may be suffering from more than grief, she may be depressed.

Dr.Keane :

If you have tried to get her help and she has refused then you need to take a step back, tell her gently that you are dealing with your own grief over your dad and it's her choice to not get any outside help. I know it's hard for you to not get drawn in, after all she is your mother. However, her negativity will only drag you down too.

Dr.Keane :

So what do you do. You can get some names of therapists, you can find a grief group that meets near her home (try the churches) and give her the information. Tell her you love her, you will visit her but you cannot move back nor can you be subjected to all the negativity. Give her the list and offer to make some phone calls to set up appointments or find out times of any grief support meetings. Her local hospital may have support groups too for spouses.

Customer :

Okay. Will do. Thankyou

Dr.Keane :

You have to be strong (I know, it's tough). I wish there were a more concrete solution but she is an adult, you need to validate to her that you understand how hard it is for her but that it will be up to her to decide when to do something about it. Remember though, it may take her longer than a year.

Dr.Keane :

If you are satisfied please accept my answer so I get credit for it. If you have follow up question feel free to continue here or again at another time.

Customer :

Your advice has been very useful....thank you

Dr.Keane :

Also, tell her that you have reached your limit in terms of listening and that there are other women in the same position as she is and she would benefit from reaching out to them (in group)...good luck and my sympathies again. I know how hard this is for you.

Dr.Keane :

you are very welcome.

Dr. Keane, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1701
Experience: Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
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