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how to help my cousin?

(13 Posts)
starlover Sun 26-Jun-05 21:31:56

long story.... my aunt married a man with 2 kids. there were allegations of their mum not treating them very well and my aunt and her husband got custody of them. the boy later went back to live with his mum, and my aunt and husband carried on looking after the girl, and the child they had between them
she has always been pretty messed up. and things got worse when her dad walked out on my aunt quie a few years ago. she felt it was all her fault because he had walked out on her mum and them, and now he was doing it with my aunt.
it also transpired that her grandad had abused her as a child.
she ended up being in an awful lot of trouble at school, stealing from my aunt and all kinds of stuff until my aunt eventually kicked her out at about age 17/18. she moved in with her boyfriend and has now got a little girl who is 9 months old.
they are in a halfway house right now while the council try and home them. it's in the middle of nowhere so she mixes with no-one. her boyfriend is undergoing chemo for stomach cancer and all in all she's really having a bad time of it!
we believe that she has suffered from anorexia, she is sooooo very thin. however she has apparently recently been to the doctors about her weight as she was concerned that she was getting too thin... although we don't know if she is just saying this to stop people questioning her.

.... what can i do to help her? she looks so ill all the time. i am going to see if she wants to come out with me during the week, but it's hard as her b/f is in and out of hospital quite a lot at the moment. She also doesn't live that near me... but i would like to be a friend to her so that she knows she has some support...
is there anything i can do apart from this to help her? especially with her eating?

misdee Sun 26-Jun-05 21:38:41

it could be she is very stressed and not eating. i know when dh is admitted my appatite disappears completely.

starlover Sun 26-Jun-05 21:43:39

yes, i think this is probably at least part of it.

starlover Sun 26-Jun-05 21:59:07

anyone else got any advice?

dizzymama Sun 26-Jun-05 22:03:09

Now this may be the most stupid answer ever, but could it be possible she isn't eating because she can't afford much? I agree with the stress too. Invite her over for a meal (or at a time when a meal is going to happen e.g. midday), cook too much and send her home with some. Could cooking be too much trouble? Is it possible she has PND?

edam Sun 26-Jun-05 22:04:12

Not got any advice as never had to deal with a similar situation but just wanted to post some sympathy and say good on you for wanting to help. I imagine just being there for her, phoning her and chatting to her would help - sounds as if she's quite isolated and has a lot to cope with so just knowing there's a friend around might help.

starlover Sun 26-Jun-05 22:08:07

dizzymama... i do think that she can't afford much food, and also doesn't really cook much.
but when she comes over for meals she hardly eats at all either...
as i say, we do believe that she has had anorexia in the past although it does seem that she is now dealing with it by going to the doctor... which is good, if it's true!
i mean, i realise that i can't force her to eat or anything. don't want her to think that she is a charity case or anything, but i was thinking about cooking her some meals that she can freeze and then just cook as she needs them.... but would that seem a bit weird?

i do find it quite difficult, because we have never been a particularly "close" family iyswim. we hadn't really been in contact with her since my aunt kicked her out... it's only since she had the baby that we've seen her more often.

i do really want to help her, and i guess to start with that just means phoning to make sure she's ok and stuff.
my aunt has offered to pay for her to go to local m&t group... but she seems reluctant.

misdee Sun 26-Jun-05 22:10:37

starlover i think the food idea is a good one. some days after gettiung from hospital visits i am soo shattered, it really does take it out of you, and we end up ordering a takeaway as i dont have ready meals in the freezer.

hatstand Sun 26-Jun-05 22:11:09

agree with Edam - just being someone to talk to and be there is offering a lot. Could you take her dd off her hands for half a day to give her a break? Or, maybe evn off-load both her dd and your kids (could your dh/dp have them all?) and have a child-free nice day out together?

starlover Sun 26-Jun-05 22:12:01

yeah... i was worried that she would just think i was pitying her, or that i thought she was crap at cooking or something..
but if i go along the lines of "i know you've got a lot on your plate and are busy with dp in hospital".. that would sound better wouldn't it

dizzymama Sun 26-Jun-05 22:12:31

You sound like a great friend / family member to haev around SL. I don't think cooking meals would seem off, just say it's because her partner is in hospital a lot and you realise she is having to run around a lot with him and the baby. Don't make a big thing of it, she may be reluctant to take help because she feels she has to pay it back in some way? Again, just throwing out thoughts here.

starlover Sun 26-Jun-05 22:12:39

hatstand... that's also a good idea. a childfree day!

starlover Sun 26-Jun-05 22:13:22

i was so touched, because she brought ds a present today as it was his naming day, and i know they can't really afford it.

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