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How to help someone with MH problems?

(16 Posts)
anicesitdownandshutup Sat 03-Jan-15 18:49:14

My brother has left his wife. She was mentally abusive to him. He can't be near her or speak to her. She is from the US and although her family know, they don't seem to be coming to comfort her. She has no friends and is totally alone. We don't live anywhere near her. She texted her parents to say that she was suicidal but the police were called and she reassured them that it wasn't serious.
My brother is very upset at the thought of her being alone, with no emotional support.
Can you get help for someone who doesn't want help? Is there anyone he can call?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 03-Jan-15 18:53:11

You did the right thing calling in the emergency services. We're paramedics involved or just the police?

Balders74 Sat 03-Jan-15 18:55:12

This is a tough one. I think maybe the suicide thing was a call for help because her family have not really responded in her time of need. Unfortunately, there is no helping someone if they don't want it.

He needs to look after himself and heal after what sounds like a rough time.

anicesitdownandshutup Sat 03-Jan-15 18:55:44

Just the police, no paramedics. Would the police follow up or pass on her details to someone?
She is very manipulative. He thought that she was depressed for the past year but now isn't so sure.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 03-Jan-15 18:57:53

If someone is emotionally abusive, suicide threats are often less a call for help and more ramping up the abuse. 'If you leave me I'll kill myself' is a pretty common tactic to reassert control.... Which is why it was the right thing to involve the emergency services and let them decide if someone is really sick or just being manipulative

Has she actually been diagnosed as mentally ill?

anicesitdownandshutup Sat 03-Jan-15 19:13:38

Can't understand why one of her parents isn't getting on a flight and going to her.
She hasn't been diagnosed as mentally ill, that we are aware of. She is very private and her parents haven't given any indication that she has pre diagnosed conditions.
Agree that she probably wasn't going to harm herself. She's a total narc so not in her nature.
Just that my brother still feels responsible for her but can't help her himself.

Meerka Sat 03-Jan-15 19:55:15

I thnk that you may need to help your brother more than her actually.

With respect, he left her and the relationship is over for good reason. He obviously feels guilty but he is not the one to help her now.

She needs to go to the doctor.

But your brother may need help to 'detach with love' - to understand that what he has chosen is for his own self-protection which is justified and is the right decision for him. it's ok to make the right decision for yourself as long as it's not -unnecessarily- at the expense of others. This was not unnecessary.

It may even be the right decision for her in the long term. Some people who are mentally abusive never learn until the person they are with says Enough.

It's worth talking over with him that he has done the right thing for him, and that that is ok.

If he's also at risk of changing his decision because of her manipulative aspects then it's worth reading some of the websites on manipulative behaviour and the things that a manipulative person does. Identifying what's going on can help someone stand strong during the process of detaching.

anicesitdownandshutup Sat 03-Jan-15 21:10:05

Thanks. He won't have any communication with her. He's been through hell the past year and is a broken man.
He just wants to hand over responsibility for her to someone else. He takes no pleasure in leaving her or thinking of her suffering. She has no friends in the UK and no family support.
I presume that you can't help someone if they don't want to be helped. And not sure what line she spun to the police when they turned up. Just wondering if there is anything we can do or is there any way to get someone in the NHS to check on her.

Meerka Sat 03-Jan-15 21:21:41

Not entirely sure but I'm sadly afraid the answer is no, that she is now the captain of her own ship, on her own.

Did they meet on the internet or something? Or has somethign happened? if she's been engaged then married a while and living over here and yet made no contacts she can go to or no friends, then something seems a bit unusual.

rumbleinthrjungle Sat 03-Jan-15 21:35:08

It's horrible for your brother in that he will worry but she has to find her own support network.

I got myself into this awful situation with a partner years ago, was absolutely convinced by them that if I withdrew it would be the end of them as I'd been so sucked into the responsibility for their needs and illness for so long. In fact within hours they had re established contact with all the professionals they'd previously refused to go to appointments with and became more proactive in their own care than they'd been all the time we were together and I was there to lean on.

It's very hard to step away, but he can't do anything else for her and it isn't his place to now.

anicesitdownandshutup Sat 03-Jan-15 21:36:39

They met through a friend of a friend but that person has moved.
She wasn't working so didn't have work colleagues.
She was isolating my brother, didn't want them to have any outside contacts.
He's concerned for the kind, loving half to her personality, not the manipulative, lying abusing side of her.

Meerka Sat 03-Jan-15 21:59:02

Its so sad when you see someone half-decent, half-awful. But again, he cannot take responsibility for her ... having been married to her, he's the last person who can help. She needs (sadly) friends now or medical support.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 04-Jan-15 09:51:54

If this woman has MH issues and refuses to get help that is a great shame but, like everyone else, she is not entitled to make someone else's life hell & she is responsible for her own health. Since diagnosis & treatment can only be made by a health professional, that's why it's important to call paramedics or her local GP if she is believed to be at risk. It's important to say that, if she successfully killed herself, it would not be your brother's fault.

That said, I suggest you and your brother need to do some reading around the subject of coercive control and emotional abuse. Both are soon to be outlawed on the statute books. Isolating victims, manipulation, lying and abuse are very common traits in coercively controlling people and it doesn't necessarily follow that they are mentally ill. It's precisely by setting up an image of being a sparrow with a broken wing that some lure in a victim in the first place. "You are the only one that can save me" ... "I had a bad childhood".... "We don't need other people, just our love" is the appealing type of stall they set out. To maintain control they alternate glimpses of loving, kind behaviour with frightening, intimidating, irrational behaviour.... like threatening self-harm and so forth. The ultimate effect is to create a co-dependency whilst at the same time crushing the victim's spirit. The same techniques are used by professional torturers, in fact.

Your brother has done extremely well to get away if he's experienced the latter. Coercive control is a horrible thing that destroys victims' self-esteem and makes them question their own judgement. The effects last long after the relationship finishes. The guilt and fear sticks around, as does the fantasy of the nice kind person they were first attracted to.

There is an online resource called the Freedom Programme which is principally aimed at female victims of this behaviour but which your brother may find useful in the transition.

TwoLeftSocks Sun 04-Jan-15 10:44:56

My DB left an abuser, much like your DB's, and it took him best part of a year for it to sink in that he isn't responsible for her well-being and mental health, and that there really isn't anything he can do to help her beyond all his best efforts over the years they were together.

Cogito, your sparrow with a broken wing rings true for DB's ex - very hard to walk away from, for anyone with a kind heart who's been 'trained' to believe they are the one responsible for fixing that person's unhappiness and woes.

I hope your DB recovers quickly OP. If she hasn't anyone else to fall on (maybe she has a poor relationship with her family too) that doesn't make any of you bad people for completely walking away from her.

TwoLeftSocks Sun 04-Jan-15 10:52:00

Just a thought too, he might find the Mankind Initiative good to browse / chat too, and also any local DV support groups. There was a book too that my DB found / was recommended on abusive narcissists, it really helped him understand how her behaviour was (unconsciously) self-driven and not his fault. I'll see if I can find out what it was.

TwoLeftSocks Sun 04-Jan-15 10:54:26

And this website's good too - I found them both useful myself, I think there are tips for relatives too, or you could ring them yourself if you needed.

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