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psychlady, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 6893
Experience:  Psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of a variety of mental health issues.
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I am about to end an intensive process of past 10 months that

Resolved Question:

I am about to end an intensive process of past 10 months that I have been helping my friend, who has adult son and another adult man living with my friend and not fully paying their own way. It is really hard to watch this verbal and financial abuse. My question is: How do I evaluate if it is time to bow out of this disturbing situation completely, or take a less drastic approach i.e. maintain minimal contact with my friend and offer no more input?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  psychlady replied 5 years ago.

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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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

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.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I got interrupted and lost connection with Psychlady. Would appreciate response to my reply above.
Expert:  psychlady replied 5 years ago.
If there is abuse you have a moral and social obligation to report that. The person reporting has total secrecy. No names are XXXXX XXXXX any report. So they would not know it is you. I think if you feel so strongly and there is abuse you should withdraw from this situation. Short visits are appropriate but only if there is not abuse where you have to avoid seeing something harmful. Chances are if this dysfunction has been going on for some time nothing is going to change that. Dysfunction is hard to ignore and change. They have to do that on their own. If it is dysfunctional then I would call the authorities then let the relationships go. You can get your time back. That is impossible. Being resentful would be another reason to let this go. Just take comfort in the fact that you did a lot of good deeds and karma will reward you for that
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

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.

Expert:  psychlady replied 5 years ago.
Verbal abuse is damaging as well as financial abuse. You can't make a family less dysfunctional. They have to do that themselves. With help or without. I think this is horrible. The family needs an intervention but the son probably isn't going to let that happen. It sounds like there is sick dynamic here and everyone is involved. I would encourage the family to find a professional to help them get along better but then you can't change it after that. Help always has to be welcome. For anything!
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