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At what point is it okay to say 'I give up'?

(47 Posts)
snafu Fri 22-Apr-05 14:13:17

Probably shouldn't be posting this and will really regret it.

Is it ever okay to wash your hands of someone you're supposed to love and support? If they absolutely refuse point-blank to get help for their problems - if they've told you over and over again that there's no hope for them and all offers of help/advice/support/therapy are useless - even so, it's wrong to take them at their word isn't it? And even if their problems are taking over your life, and messing with your own mental health, if you're still stronger and healthier than them and you love them and want to them to get better, you have to hang in there don't you?

I am so close to walking out on a situation because the person who needs the help just won't take it, not from me, not from professionals, not from anyone. What to do?

ggglimpopo Fri 22-Apr-05 14:14:30

Message withdrawn

NomDePlume Fri 22-Apr-05 14:15:04

Sometimes you have to leave them to their own devices for self-preservation reasons.

vicdubya Fri 22-Apr-05 14:15:42

What other support does this person have, Snafu?

Easy Fri 22-Apr-05 14:19:32

Snafu, you can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped, no matter how much you want them to get help.

Maybe your care and insistence that they try to get better (from whatever it is) is feeding their desire for attention. If you can walk away, you take away that attention, then maybe the person will seek help.

Sometimes you have to look after yourself first, to preserve your own sanity/health.

snafu Fri 22-Apr-05 14:20:03

It's not a dh/dp, btw. It's my mother, and I've posted about it before a few times but have been trying to keep that side of my life separate from MN. She has some fairly serious and apparently unusual mental health problems but she is now refusing any treatment. She is disintegrating before my eyes.

MrsDoolittle Fri 22-Apr-05 14:21:03

You can take a horse to water but....

Sadly, it's soo true

prettyfly1 Fri 22-Apr-05 14:21:15

sometimes its the only thing to do - old cliche but being cruel to be kind can be very very effective!!!! You have to be sure though because it will be something you will question within yourself repeatedly and if you arent it will again mess with your mental state BIG STYLE. I am sorry you have to go through this and i wish you the best of luck!!

MrsDoolittle Fri 22-Apr-05 14:22:09

Ouch snafu. That must be hard. I don't think anyone can tell you what to do, only your heart knows.

Marina Fri 22-Apr-05 14:23:04

Oh, snafu. How awful. My mother had to do this to her own sister many years ago for similar reasons and although it made her very sad she knew she had done the right thing for the sake of her relationship with her husband and her young family.
I am so sorry. Some people cannot be helped.

Gizmo Fri 22-Apr-05 14:23:16

It's really, really hard, snafu, I know, particularly if they are almost trying to push you away (which I've seen in people with depressive illness: is this your situation?)

But you only have the reserves to help them if you look after yourself first. You deserve, at least, a break, even if it isn't a permanent one.

The only time I've had to do it, I left the door open for my friend to come back and luckily, she got help and 2 years later, we are friends again. Things have changed though.

I guess what I'm saying here is that 'love does not conquer all' and you must not compromise your own health and welfare. But it doesn't have to be a permanent hand washing: just time for someone else to take responsibility for their own welfare.

Take care of yourself


snafu Fri 22-Apr-05 14:24:42

It will mean me and ds leaving the home we love. To remove myself from the stress of this situation will mean declaring myself homeless and asking for a council flat, won't it? I've got no money. I'm supposed to be starting university in September. But I just don't know what I can do for her anymore.

Blu Fri 22-Apr-05 14:27:39

Oh, Snafu, horrible situation to be in.

Beety posted about this (her situation concerned drink) a while back.

I do honestly believe that sometimes the best and only thing to do is the hand-washing, and have done it.

One of my past v significant relationships was with someone who became more and more out of control in every area of his life through drink, drugs and general irresponsible behaviour. Like having two children, with a 4 month age-gap, DURING his supposed relationship with me. Don't get me wrong - we had a fantastic relationship. He is responsible for and the inspiration behind what I consider the best moments of my career development. He was / is a fantastic person. BUT he had been damaged by childhood experiences, and I relaised, evetually, that there was a dynamic which went:
'You don't love me!'
'Yes, I do. I really love you'
'You don't REALLY love me, look what I've done - now you'll walk away!'
'No I won't, I love you' we'll sort it out'
'You can't REALLY love me, I've done something unredeemabel this time, i'm such a w**r and i'm so sorry i've ruined our relationship'

And so on. he did it to hismelf as well as me. He just couldn't protect himself or his life. I realised that my (genuine) love wasn't enough - he had to find a way to love himself, and my continued attempts to make my love enough were just driving him to a more destructive 'proof' that he was unlovable, and he was strting to do things that did seriously comprmise my life.

So I went.

He isn't better, he isn't much worse, but he has hooked up with people who make him feel better / justified by being in the same, or worse state than him.

You can do what you can do, but if it isn't working, you can't do more. And if it is addiction, or something that just isn't being addressed, you aren't helping by being the pair of tights that enables them to put off the day they have to call in the garage to replace the fan belt.

Blu Fri 22-Apr-05 14:29:03

Sorry, Snafu - completely different scenario - took me so long to post I missed the inbetween bits.

snafu Fri 22-Apr-05 14:31:53

S'okay Blu

Selfishly, I guess I'm wavering - big time - because it's not just a case of 'taking a break'. It would turn my whole life (and ds's) upside down. I don't know if I can justify uprooting him again. Who is going to be helped by me and ds ending up in a council b&b just because I'm finding it hard to cope with her?

snafu Fri 22-Apr-05 14:33:37

I can hear her crying in the next room right now. Oh, ffs. This is a crazy life.

Easy Fri 22-Apr-05 14:36:30

Snafu, is it the sort of situation where you can have her sectioned, so she has to get treatment?

Have you been thru this discussion with her Dr.?

snafu Fri 22-Apr-05 14:41:01

Doc won't section her, says it's not necessary. Every couple of days she threatens me with finding her dead on the bathroom floor but, since so far it's only been threats doc doesn't think it's an issue. She's had voluntary inpatient care but to no avail. Found a letter in the bin this morning offering her some more therapy, but she said they can't help her so what's the point in going?

Chandra Fri 22-Apr-05 14:42:34

Sometime ago I was, well I was not, in a similar condition, but I think the advice I was gives applies any way. I was tired of the situation and the relationship dinamics of the place I was living in. I really felt like put everything in a suitcase and leave, but I also wanted to continue my studies and I knew that by leaving I had to forget about that, as I didn't have enough money to work and study at the same time. So, somebody told me, "you have to leave, no doubt about that, but you have to leave when it suits YOU" and he was right, I left a couple of months later when I was sure I was getting a scholarship and I did have some extra money to pay for the expenses of flying out.

Gizmo Fri 22-Apr-05 14:43:23

Gosh Snafu, this thread moves fast - didn't have the full situation before I posted

Obviously it's a bit more serious than a 'take a break' situation in that there are pros and cons for you in doing this: it's not a straight contest between your mental health and your guilt levels.

Damn, that is a tough one. You have my deepest sympathy but I'm going to have to scratch my head for a while before I can come up with any practical suggestions....

flashingnose Fri 22-Apr-05 14:44:50

I have to say, I think you would actually be in a better position to help your Mum if you didn't live with her.

ggglimpopo Fri 22-Apr-05 14:47:34

Message withdrawn

Easy Fri 22-Apr-05 14:48:58

Snafu, sorry for your situation, please don't think I'm ngging, but have you explained that you can't cope any more, that you don't feel this is an appropriate environment for your child, that you are thinking of moving out, that you are frightened for your mother's safety in that situation (exaggerate that bit if you need to).

Because it sounds like you are getting no support for yourself (and child) with this. You can't do this alone, and I think I can understand how you feel (my father was similar).

As I said, not meaning to nag, but you won't get help from the medical sector unless you really press for it.

God bless love.

snafu Fri 22-Apr-05 14:57:40

Oh no, Easy, you're not nagging. You're right. Both myself and my father have written letters and spoken both to her consultant and GP.
My dad often goes with her to appointments. He lost his last job after taking so much time off work to deal with this. The consultant has told me in the past that he couldn't act on anything that wasn't a request from the patient herself and that "the patient's family always think they know what's best, but they don't". I rang the GP in tears a few weeks ago and he came round, but prescribed tranqs she couldn't take (contraindications with her other meds) and that was it. A letter to him emphasising the situation went unanswered. We've spent literally thousands and thousands on private treatment as well, all for nothing.

But the thing is, she is being offered the help, to a point - she just won't take it. And so what can you do with a patient who doesn't want to be a patient, iykwim?

snafu Fri 22-Apr-05 14:59:03

Ggg, the guilt thing is the killer. If it was almost anyone else, frankly you wouldn't see me for dust at this point...

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