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If you think you have been the most benefit you can to your friend and you just cannot continue to participate in this process then it may be time to bow out. If you are not happy or the friendship is just too hard then I would let it go. The way to decide about limited contact is to ask yourself if you have maintain a friendship that would include such drastic changes from how it has been in the past. You have functioned in a very important way. Can you change that role now. You know that. Ask what you want your role to be for you to be happy! Base this decision on your needs and wants rather than those of others. Regardless of the situation you have to consider your mindset. What kind of friend do you want to be? That is where your answer lies.
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You have given me something to think about: This is a friendship of 25 years. The family has always been dysfunctional in the same manner. Grandmother was also friend of mine, she died last year, she always had 2 of her 3 adult children living at home plus at least one grandchild and sometimes their friend(s). I have limited my interactions in past years to short visits, and did not get caught up in the dysfunction. My present concern is that my friend's adult son and buddy will stay just long enough to go through all the trust funds, then put the father in a home without family, freedom and pet/dog. My commitment in the work of past 10 months was to offer the family a clear picture of where they are and what options they have, and to encourage beneficial changes. Family would seem to agree on some changes, then withdraw and revert back to dysfunction. I understand that people don't change until they are ready to do so. However, sometimes intervention is warranted...such as contact authorities and report this as elder abuse. I realize that would embroil me further in their drama, take more time, alienate me from the family, and I would most likely lose the friendship anyway. I also feel like I wasted my time...a lot of time! And, that does not make me happy. The only other options that I currently see are a) take a break, then just stop by for short social visits, or b) end the relationship, and go on with my own life, happy and focused on positive relationships.
Maybe my botXXXXX XXXXXne questions are: Can I just put on blinders. Do I feel morally obligated to report this elder abuse? Would I be comfortable with those consequences, knowing that potentially a whole new set of circumstances could have positive and/or negative affect on my friend and his son.
Thank you for your answer. I just want to clarify: There is no physical abuse. I would not hesitate to report any physical abuse. What I see is mostly financial abuse, ongoing misuse of my friend's trust funds. Outside of the family, I am the only person who has all the financial information, only because I did accounting work for the family. So, they would most likely know that reported it. I also see verbal abuse, not screaming/yelling, much more subtle than that. The verbal abuse appears in the form of emotional blackmail, the son playing on the weakness of my handicapped friend, the father, who is home-bound due to physical limitations and dependent on in-home-support. The son threatens to leave if he does not get money he wants, which creates fear, stress and uncertainty in the father. The general family dysfunction is basic co-dependency. While intervention may be justified with regards XXXXX XXXXX abuse, it is harder to determine where the line gets crossed on other issues.