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What level of support to offer needy friend

(11 Posts)
newlifenewname Mon 01-Oct-07 10:50:32

I have a friend who I've mentioned in passing here before. She is Indian and has been separated from her husband (arranged marriage) for 2 years and has been living in some kind of catatonic state for the last 2 years with him paying all her bills and mortgage, etc. She has not moved on at all. He has never seen her or the children since he left but has been gradually over the last months removing himself from her life by cutting the phone off, removing her from the joint bank account, etc.

This weekend she received a letter concerning access and maintenance from his solicitor. The exdh is asking for just 3 hours access on a Sunday.

My friend is in pieces over these letters and has not eaten or slept and claims to be falling apart. I don't think she realises her inner strength so I am trying hard to support her by having her here, feeding her children and giving her as much time as possible. As it is though she seemed to need to spend every morning at my house drinking coffee. She isn't particularly whingey but she is needy.

I'm going to help her draw up an action plan and accompany her to solicitors and CAB. I've sorted out her car insurance for her on the internet, etc.

The problem is I;m not in great shape emotionally and I'm finding this VERY hard work to be honest. She also apologised for how when I was going ona date it depressed her to see me so 'sorted. (hmm yeah right!)

She's coming over tonight to sleep at mine and I've asked her to bring food because I can't afford to keep doing lunches and teas for all 5 children (my 3 plus her 2). We're going to have a girly 'sort you out' night in but after thatI need space.

What do I do? I've enjoyed her company when I've been low but I feel a little suffocated. I don't demand or enjoy 24 hour friendship. <eek that sounds wicked witchy>

maisemor Mon 01-Oct-07 10:55:58

She does sound as if she is needing some kind of a wakeup call.
Was she okay about having to bring over the food?
You do not sound wicked witchy.

pixelchick Mon 01-Oct-07 10:59:55

I just wish I had a friend like you!

I reckon she's suffering from depression and needs to see a doctor. It may well be that she has the inner strength she needs, but she clearly can't access it.

I often end up with friends like that but they are usually on their way up, and need a bit of experience / knowhow and it's great when they pick themselves up (for me and them). But as you say she's not moving forward and I would suggest she looks into assessing herself for depression.

newlifenewname Mon 01-Oct-07 11:06:59

We discussed depression but she is afraid that if she gets help she might lose the children because of the admission. Am trying to get her to the doctors.Ido find myself repeating the same reassurrances even though I give experiential 'evidence' of stuff to do with my ex.

She was okay about the food - just wish sh'ed offered because I felt bad saying.

Baffy Mon 01-Oct-07 11:15:35

You sound like a fantastic friend.

I hope in time she realises that. I'm sure she will. But for now I don't think you should feel guilty about wanting some time and space for yourself. Just gradually try to reduce the amount of contact and the amount of help you give her. Whilst making sure she knows you're always there when she really needs you.
Difficult one. But you have to make plans for yourself and live your own life too.

snowleopard Mon 01-Oct-07 11:16:09

You do sound like a good friend, but to someone who really needs more professional help than you can give. I've been there... having the person come round too much and that feeling of giving the same reassurances over and over and not really getting anywhere. I also think her resentment about you having a date is really hard for you and a guilt trip - she can't help it and she did apologise, but this is exhausting.

I think you need to guide her towards some kind of professional counselling and at the same time withdraw a bit from doing so many practical things for her, as that's a message to her that you don't think she can cope. People like this can get into a kind of parent/child relationship with you where they rely on you on several levels and it wears you out. Also, I would say to her "I am not free from x date to x date as I am busy with blah-de-blah (make up work/family obligation or just say you are busy) so let's arrange to do something together in a week's time" or whatever. Then have that time you need to yourself. You need space, just as much as you need to do the housework or work or whatever else you have to do - so make time for it and stick to it.

Good luck, I know how hard this can be.

maisemor Mon 01-Oct-07 11:17:17

She probably just did not realise (re. food).

She is not going to lose the children because she is getting treated for a depression. However, she might end up losing them if she does not get treatment/help with it and she ends up harming herself or the children because of it (or am I being too dramatic?).

snowleopard Mon 01-Oct-07 11:17:42

She won't lose the children. If all mothers who suffered from depression had their children taken away, many millions of children would be in care! Tell her hpow very common and normal it is.

newlifenewname Mon 01-Oct-07 11:19:22

That's exactly what
I said - even backed it up with startistics. I said the state cann't afford to rehome every child of every depressed parent at a costof about£12000 per annum, per child!

snowleopard Mon 01-Oct-07 11:22:35

The truth is, it's difficult to go to the GP and say you're depressed and need some help, and it's easier for her to stay in a rut and keep leaning on you, isn't it? Maybe do the thing I suggested about not seeing her for a week and say it will be a good time for her to make a GP appt and you look forward to hearing how it went when you next meet up.

CountessDracula Mon 01-Oct-07 11:37:11

apologies for the hijack
newlifenewname here pls!

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