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Carol Kryder LMFT
Carol Kryder LMFT, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 808
Experience:  APA Board Certified, Diplomate,Substance Abuse Professional, 20 years family therapy experience
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how do I tell a relative that they are showing a needy pattern

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how do I tell a relative that they are showing a needy pattern? I have said how their repeated requests (for gifts and money) make me feel. I am hesitant to send a link with a description of this pattern, which the person fits to a T. As well, she has a 6 month old baby now...which makes it more urgent for her to find help.

Carol Kryder LMFT :

Hello and Welcome to JustAnswer. Your question is not closed until you are satisfied. I am happy to assist you with your question.

Carol Kryder LMFT :

If this relative has a personality disorder, such as dependent personality disorder, there is very little you can do to get her some help, other than to encourage her to do so. The best thing you can do is to keep your boundaries firm. If you are going to refuse to give her money, for example, do not let her persistence in asking change your mind. Stick to your guns. She will only learn by consistent repetition and the establishment of clear boundaries.

Carol Kryder LMFT :

Just curious: What pattern do you think she fits to a "T"?

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hi, sorry I missed the chat. The pattern she fits to a T is the one described here

http://www.toddlertime.com/mh/terms/needy.htm

 

and in two other places. I found these online because on Christmas Day, after having brought her and her baby by plane for several days at Christmas, I was experiencing stress at a build-up of indirect requests and complaints. I had noticed this pattern before for rent payments, computer purchase, clothing, etc. with myself and others but we mostly had telephone contact which was more limited. I am very concerned that she has a 6 month old baby, is single and low paid. So this makes it harder.

I looked at the link and it is describing Dependent Personality Disorder. The interventions described on that website will be helpful, but as you can see, they require a lot of time and attention.

This is a time for tough love. She will never learn how to take care of herself or her baby unless you draw firm limits. This person has a sense of entitlement, meaning, "Since you have more than I do, you should help me and I deserve to have some of your money." You will not convince her otherwise. She is playing the victim, here.

If she continues to hint about money or gifts, I would direct her to resources in her area, such as WIC for formula for the baby, other human services. Do NOT give into her victim stance or she will be a parasite on you forever.

To answer your question, you really can't TELL her she is being needy or has a needy pattern, you must SHOW her that while you care, you are not going to rescue her. Think of this as giving her the dignity to struggle and solve her own problems. This will raise her self-esteem and be much better for both her and the baby in the long run.

Make sense?
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
OK thanks, XXXXX XXXXX what I thought but it helps to have a response directed at my specific situation. I have done this part way by refusing to pay rent. But, as you noted, she then got me to pay half the rent. After that she found someone else who asked her to work for the money which was the right response. I communicated with her in a recent e-mail that her requests make me uncomfortable and as an example itemized the most recent situation of how she kept adding on $ to one of many gifts I gave her by finding increasingly expensive alternatives. She focussed on the object I gave her rather than what I had spent on it, so rather than take the value and use it for something else, she found increasingly expensive boots that she wanted that I was to buy for her. I did not feel right just passively declining. But being open makes me anxious, as I feel for her: my brother committed suicide, her mother died of cancer 8 years later. Plus more drama after that. Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX is very helpful. I actually now feel that stating my feelings was an allright thing to do.