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Doctor Blake
Doctor Blake, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 146
Experience:  Ph.D., Ed.S., NCSP Clinical Psychologist; 15+ years of experience; dual licensure
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My friend is a widow and has an out of control 16 year old son, she has tried therapy for

Customer Question

My friend is a widow and has an out of control 16 year old son, she has tried therapy for him but he is getting worse. He steals, lies, smokes pot and gets violent. I have spent several nights at her house because she is afraid of him and have received numerous middle of the night hysterical phone calls from her but she refuses to call the police and when I say I'm going to do it she begs me not to. I don't know if I should call the police anyway. She begs me to help her but has an excuse for any suggestion I offer and I have run out of ways to support her. We even managed to get him to a hospital to get a psychological evaluation but once we were there she refused to sign him in. This situation is having ill effects on my life and is effecting my job. She is a widow and I am single and I have basically given up living my life and am living hers. I think she is afraid of the consequences to her son and any scrutiny that may befall her if the authorities get involved. I don't kno
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  cathy replied 6 years ago.

cathy :

Hi and thanks for writing JA

cathy :

I am just sending this out as an information request and not as a response so please do not press accept for this. I have read your post and it just seems as if things are so dangerous and out of control there. I would so strongly advise your friend to consider a PINS or CHINS (varies depending on which state you live in) and ask the courts to become involved. Is this something she can consider? Thanks for the additional information so we can best help you from JA. Warm regards, Cathy


She will not do a PINS because she says she doesn't want him a group home nor does she want children's services involved in her life.

Expert:  Doctor Blake replied 6 years ago.
Good evening, and welcome to JA.

I'm afraid that, at this point, I must agree with Cathy's assessment. Your friend needs to involve legal authorities (e.g, police) to get this addressed properly.

What may be more important, especially since you are writing this question, is that you have become overly enmeshed in this situation. Your objectivity has been compromised because of the extent of this 16 year old's behavior. Essentially - your friend is an enabler of his behavior (and is keeping him unhealthy). You, in turn, are doing the same thing.

Believe me, I understand how very VERY difficult it is to receive middle-of-the-night hysterical phone calls. However, if you are going to help your friend (mom) and subsequently, the son... you must either (a) call the police when things are out of control or (b) back away and reduce your contact significantly with the family.

There are times when we must "step back" to allow a sick individual to "accelerate their bottom" so that they recognize the extent of their illness. By continuing to "save" your friend (and her son) you are, in effect, keeping them sick. If you either (a) call the police to intervene or (b) back off to let them figure it out for themselves -- you are allowing them to realize the extent of their pathology and, hopefully, move toward a solution.

I urge you to develop an appropriate support network to help to thru this process of disentanglement. This may happen through a professional mental health professional, or through a good support network (including Alanon) to help you establish good boundaries for yourself and this family.

I realize this is hard to hear... but please consider the ramifications of continuing to "help..." which really may just be continuing to ENABLE.

I do wish you and your friend (and her son) all the best. Please reach out to those around you for support during these trying times.

Thanks. Please click <ACCEPT> unless you have additional questions or concerns.
Doctor Blake, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 146
Experience: Ph.D., Ed.S., NCSP Clinical Psychologist; 15+ years of experience; dual licensure
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