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What should / could I do - If anything?(23 Posts)
Hi all. I guess I'm asking for some advice here because there's not anywhere else to turn. This post is about a friend of mine (single mum) who has "problems" and she has a 10 yr son who's really suffering as a result. I've known them for about 8 months now and want to do the best for them. I'm a close friend not a lover btw.
Mum (32) is a lovely lady when sober but has self esteem issues that result from an abusive childhood. Ay 17yrs she tried to commit suicide and ended up in a psychiatric unit. At the moment her only answer is the bottle and last night I had first hand experience of what that really means and what it does to her son.
She'd been drinking during the afternoon so I invited her and her lad out for something to eat. I knew she'd want a drink with the meal but had hoped the food and my company would help sober her up. We were , I thought, doing quite well until she went out for a ciggy. She was gone for quite a while - The first sign of real trouble was when her lad came back in white as a sheet, and said I had to "come and help 'cos mummy was being chatted up by some boys". We went outside and she was well away being bought drinks. Luckily once the guys she was talking realised what was happening they wound down the chat up and told her to take her son home.
I drove them home but by the time we got in, mum was barely able to walk so I got her upstairs and into bed. But what to do about the boy? I tried to persuade him to go to bed but he wouldn't leave his mum's side so I had to leave them with the lad cuddled up to his passed out mum.
The lad is having problems at school, he's difficult at home with mum and she either hasn't or won't acknowledge that her self destructive behavior is the root cause.
I had a word with mum this morning and pointed out to her how much the way she behaves upsets her boy but all I got back was "I'm not really a bad mum, just a bit of a crap person".
Her doctor says she's not an alcoholic but "has problems controlling her drinking"
As an adult, what she does with her life and her body is I guess, up to her but honestly, seeing her little boy obviously in so much pain has really shaken me.
She needs help. But more importantly, her son does. Does she have any family? The child's Dad?
It's messing with a child's head, I would ask social services/child protection for imput.
Family are a no go - both mother and sisters are less than useless, a father is never mentioned. The boy's Dad seems OK but has him most of the time anyway, except school hols. He's aware that there are problems.
I'm just so shocked that she behaved the way she did in front of the lad, I knew she drank to excess occasionally and could get silly but I really didn't think she'd do it when the boy was about.
I'm going to press her to get help if I can, if not yes, social services may need to get involved. IMO He should probably be on their "at risk" register.
She's trying to get the school to get him seen by their Ed-Psych, maybe something will come out there?
You can see history repeating itself. Its so sad I almost cried last night
If you know her GP surgery, you could contact the surgery yourself giving info about your concerns. They won't give out any information to you but it could help give them a more complete picture than what she self-reports and what they suspect.
It sounds like the alcohol is due to problems that require more than a close friend to help with, and she'll just return to it after any nice day trips or whatever you suggest as a distraction. It's a lot to take on. It seems like the mum and child are both unhappy.
Btw you might get more responses if you have the thread moved, maybe to Relationships. Just click "report" on one of your comments and ask for it to be moved.
Hi Miramar. Thanks for the replies.
The GP idea is good and I'll try to find out the surgery/GP.
I'm sure you're right about the alcohol problem, anything relatively minor can trigger a bender, eg bad day at work, row with the boy's dad etc. The biggest "trigger" though is someone letting her down, even a mate cancelling an evening out can cause a big upset. A fella cancelling a date is the worst. I'm sure that says something about a deep seated insecurity.
And you're right, whilst a good friend is a very good thing to have for someone who is essentially depressed, it will take a professional to get to the bottom of it.
"It's a lot to take on" - well it is, but none of us deliberately pick a problem person, in her case, the severity of this has gradually become more obvious, but the only other option is to cop out and disappear, which in all honesty I couldn't do. I love this person dearly, not as a lover but as a friend. I'm too old to be a bf and married anyway Will ask for this to be moved. tx x
Hi, yes I just meant that it sounds like she needs a good friend, but also needs something else, maybe professional help. Good luck.
I don't like this one bit.
You said you knew she'd been drinking that day and that your aware she has problems with alcohol. You also said you knew she'd want a drink with her meal. Why on earth did you then take her somewhere that served alcohol ?????
You've then gone on to say how upset the boy was , how sorry you felt for him. In actual fact you are partly responsible for what happened and the state she got into. I note you consider yourself the hero for putting her in bed. I don't think you are.
I think there's a type of person who hangs around the vulnerable and attempts to fix them ( while sabotaging them ) for their own reasons. Your far too interested in this new friendship , 8 months ? I can't imagine why anyone would want to be friends with the type of person you describe your friend to be. I wouldn't want someone like that in my life , despite the sob story.
If your a male , and married , I find it even more questionable. If my husband made friends with someone like that he'd be single real quick.
There is very little you can do. My sister isn't an 'alcoholic' because apparently she isn't addicted (checked herself into a mental health unit and suffered no physical withdrawal symptoms while there) but is an 'abuser of alcohol' which I guess is the description of your friend.
Sadly, her daughter has asked to live elsewhere, her son is badly damaged emotionally and there is no end in sight.
Your friend needs to stop seeing her son for extended periods, and only have day visits so the damage can be minimised.
I'm with BBB. You're not being a good friend to this woman. You're hanging around being creepy and showing off about how wonderful you are. What does your wife think about you spending so much time with a troubled single mum and then wringing your hands about how much you love her in a non creepy way honset honest?
I think you need to make sure your wife is on board with this, and you also need to look at why you have this rescuer thing going on.
That boy needs help, true, so contact the GP, call NSPCC and social services. Could you contact his dad and bring him up to speed?
She does have a problem with alcohol and that is alcoholism. She must get help, and while she does, her son needs to be somewhere safe.
You are in grave danger here of getting over involved in what will become a mess. Added into this your existing life and responsibilities, it could become a complete car crash.
I think you are at a juncture where you need to choose to actively assist.
If I were at that juncture, I would make a call to social services and give them an account.
They will likely investigate the family and out this issue will tumble, and from there a management plan will be put into place.
I would imagine that will be the mother being asked to attend alcohol groups and from there, counselling. Which she probably needs and is the better answer than drinking.
And then a support package out into place for the boy, including school, extra curricular assistance and a family support worker. Maybe so a youth counsellor.
If I were friends with them still, I would want to be regularly taking this boy out for the day, playing football, having him round etc. to balance the adults in his life.
All this could be what happens. The boy thrives and is no longer isolated caring for his mum, and the mum gets the support she actually needs because she was assaulted when a youngster and that may have gone unaddressed, and it needs addressing fairly.
Just read some of the other replies. Not sure I agree. I think its nice that there are caring people in the community who don't just turn a blind judgmental eye on what is happening here. And he is not to know what to do from the angle of we professionals. He tried to help in his naive way, now he is asking for a better quality of help. I don't see anything wrong with it.
I was wondering if you loved and cared for your male friends quite so deeply. I'm always suspicious of people who make friends with this type and attempt to rescue or play social worker with them. They often want something in return for all the caring and helping they've been doing.
Has she actually asked you for help ? Because apart from one episode of her getting pissed ( when you took her to the pub) it sounds like you have decided the boy has got issues at school , that she's got self esteem issues , that she needs help and the boy needs help , that her family is crap ect.
Yet you go on to say boy lives with his father and stays with mum in school holidays. You also say boys father is aware there is issues. Do you not think him capable of making appropriate choices about his son ? I don't think he's going to appreciate you butting in and contacting social services ect. It's interesting that you don't want to address these concerns with boys father , but instead want to contact social services and the gp.
People who are into rescuing ( white knighters ) are often just as troubled and wounded as the people they are trying to rescue. I don't think it's for you to decide whether she needs help or not.
Many children who suffer with safeguarding issues have alcohol/drugs problems at home. Please phone someone to get them both help.
I'm trying to see this from the boy's perspective:
He sees his mum drinking in the afternoon. A man comes round and takes him and his mum to a place where she can carry on drinking. He sees men chatting up his mum.
The man then takes him and his mum home and goes into her bedroom with her and gets her into her bed.. The man tries to get the boy out of her bedroom, but he refuses. Can you really blame him?
I think this woman may need help but I really don't think you're the right person for the job, OP.
I note the OP says the boy wouldn't leave his mum's bedroom until OP had gone. Maybe that kid knows a self-righteous, creepy predator when he sees one, eh?
It's all a bit 'me-me-me' too, isn't it?
"seeing her little boy obviously in so much pain has really shaken me."
"Its so sad I almost cried last night"
Where did your wife think you were yesterday when you were having dinner with this woman and getting her home to bed, all of which presumably took some hours?
This is dodgy as fuck. Boy lives with dad for whatever reason. Contact with mum occurs only in holidays. After one episode of drinking that he's encouraged he's now decided boy needs to be on at risk register. Freind my arse. I wonder if troubled mum knows his intention is to cause problems with contact.
I hope your friend and more importantly the boy gets the right help they need. Im actually nearly in tears tbh brings back memories of my alchholic father
Of all the places to take her to eat, why on earth would you choose somewhere she could buy alcohol if she'd already been drinking all afternoon? You've facilitated her drinking further. Wouldn't a cafe have been a far more sensible option?
And I'm not surprised he didn't want to leave his passed out mum alone in a room with a man he's known for a maximum of eight months. What were you thinking?
I think I have suspicions about your motives in this 'friendship', particularly as you were at pains to point out that you were a friend not a lover (assuming that it would even have been questioned) and that you were too old to be a boyfriend. Your marriage seemed to be almost an afterthought.
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