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Jen Helant
Jen Helant, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1386
Experience:  I have a degree in psychology and worked with many couples. I am happily married and have been for 10 years.
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A friend of mine is a 23 year old woman whose mother died when

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A friend of mine is a 23 year old woman whose mother died when she was 16. Her mothers medical problems began after her birth and she blames herself for creating those problems. Just before her death, her mother was scheduled for an organ transplant. A fever prevented her having the operation. She didnt get a second chance. On the day before her mother contracted a fever, my friends father forced her to leave the hospital early she blames herself and her father for not staying because they might have been able to stop the fever. She now refuses to let people get close to her because she says they will die and leave alone. She will not seek professional help. What can i do to help her?

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
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Thank you for your patience. I am so sorry to hear about what happened to your friend. Children of parents who die sometimes do blame themselves. They feel they could have stopped in some way. It is certainly understandable how she feels. It is sad that she will not seek professional help because even though you are there to support her professional help can help her to cope with all her feelings and move on toward the future.

In any case the best thing you can do for her is to be there for her as you have been. Be the shoulder she needs to cry on in her time of need as well as the hugs to lift her spirits. It is important that you explain to her that it is not her fault. She did what she thought was best in the moment. We can not change the past and we all need to live with the consequences of our actions, but we do not need to live with the guilt. Her father thought it was best that she went home that day. It could have been many reasons why he felt that and whether she was young and was forced or made the decision herself she either had no choice if he forced her and even if she did have a choice she was doing what she or her father thought was best at that time. She had no idea that her mother was going to contract a fever. If she knew that she would have done something and would have not left. See in each moment of our lives we make decisions and choices based on the current facts. This is why sometimes we say "we should have done things differently", but the truth of the matter is after the fact she knew what she could have done, but there was no way to know before hand. Her mother could have not contracted the fever and lived, so it is not her fault. She did not cause it or know it was going to happen. Same goes for if she had stayed there was still a chance that her mother would have still gotten the fever.

It is important you continue to remind her of this until she gets it instilled in her. She may hurt anyway because of her loss, but at least she will be able to get passed this guilt and pain. She does not deserve to do that to herself. Also, let her know that if she continues to not get close to people because she is worried they will die then she already is causing the pain before it happens. Anything can happen in life since it is unpredictable, but if we do not live because we of our fear then we are allowing our fear to control us and not live anyway. But if we live and enjoy getting close to people we will live in happiness and if something were to happen at least we spent our time with them instead of without. Living in fear and guilt is just punishing herself and causing the pain before it actually happens.

I hope that you are able to let her understand this by talking with her. Continue to communicate and lift her spirits with your positiveness. If she sees you are there for her and continue to explain these truths one day she may realize and be able to get passed this.

I wish you well with her and I wish her peace and happiness. Please let me know if you have any more questions or need clarification.
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