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Question
Posted by: concerned | 2008/06/03

NEED ADVICE TO HELP A COLLEAGUE URGENTLY

Hi there

I am aware of a very unhealthy situation and I dont know the right channels to go through. A colleague of mine took on the responsibility of looking after her dysfunctional neice & family. The neice is really ill & refuses to go to a doctor for treatment. She locks up her 2 adult children (19 & 26) & husband and 15 cats in the house 24/7 and she roams the streets all day long & also spends a lot of time at various internet cafes. The niece walks up to 22 kms a day to go & get money from her aunt for the internet cafes and for the sake of peace the aunt (my colleague) hands over R100 - R200 every single day, if she does not the niece goes into a state & screams & shouts in the complex or street or whereever. She has a blog on the interent and has posted some very defametory remarks about the rental agents from whom the house is being rented & my colleage has now been told that this family are to move out by the end of July'08. my colleage fold her neice this morning and as usueal her niece went beserk. My colleagues brother is a recovering alcholic & he also has been hurled abuse from the neice & is on the verge of breaking out again he can no longer stand the stress. in a nutshell my colleage supports her sister & brother, her neice & husband & two adult children, they are all dysfunctional. My colleague is a woman nearing her 78th birthday she is still working to support the whole lot of these dysfunctional people. I need to know who can we approach to get help for the niece and then the children will also need counselling, we have had been told various conflicting options. My colleageu phoned Tara & was told to call in the assistance of either the police or ambulance to assist with getting the neice to JHB hospital for assessment and further procesing, my colleague is reluctant to do this & then she has also been advised by others not to do this. Her neice tells her no ways does she need the dr my colleague is the mad one and needs help. What is the correct procedue and who are the correct people to call upon for assistance. I need to remain anon, my colleague would be distressed & would feel that I have betrayed her confidence is she knew I had approached you for help.

Thanks

anonymous

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Our expert says:
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The niece sounds seriously psychiatrically disturbed and in urgent need of proper psychiatric assessment and care. And her husband and the other adult children simply accepting this peculiar behaviour suggests that they cannot be all that well, either. If they are mentally retarded, which you have not said, then they probably need to be in an institution, at least until they can learn to be properly independent, and then maybe in a hostel or other sheltered care. There must be more going on here than you are telling us / more than you are aware of.

If the niece causes a disturbance ANYWHERE, the targets of her performance ought to call the police and ask them to take her away for disturbing the peace or whatever other charge seems suitable, and they can, if she appears unable to properly care for and protect herself ( or others, such as her children ) ask for her to be seen by a doctor / psychiatrist for a proper assessment, and possibly even compulsory treatment, if needed.

It makes no sense at all for your colleague to struggle to support these peculiar people. The niece and her husband, and these adult children, ought to support themselves, or if too sick to work, should be under treatment, even in hospital. I understand that this good lady is reluctant to confront her niece, but she needs to recognize that she is NOT helping this sick woman to get better, but is enabling her to remain sick and to evade the treatment she probably needs. And at her age, she needs to recognize that should she die or fall ill, what on earth would this wildly dysfunctional family do without her ? Social workers may be able to advise and help, too.

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Our users say:
Posted by: willi | 2008/06/03

Yes I have thought about the repercussions and yes it would be a blessing in disguise, I am sure when she starts screaming & shouting and harassing them they will call in the police. She has done this just recently when a cleaning coy was called in to clean up the property but the aunt was also on site and the house rental company rep was also on site and they took pity on the aunt and did nothing.

Yip I will keep you posted and thank you for your comments and I can see you are a concerned soul, thank you.

Take care

Reply to willi
Posted by: Maria | 2008/06/03

You know, if the AACL inspector runs into trouble it might be a blessing in disguise, as they might then call in the police. Will you come back and tell us what happened?

Reply to Maria
Posted by: willi | 2008/06/03

Hi Maria

Thanks for you input. U R quite right. The cats need to be removed soon, the humans have been given 2 months notice so I have contacted the anti animal cruelty league & they are sending out an inspector so we will take it from there, needless to say the owner, if she is at home, will go beserk but so be it as for my colleague i will take my chances, she might turn on me but so be it, i was confused as to what i should be doing to help, all of the input I received today has cleared my thought pattern so from my side no more talk and some a action.

Thank you again for input

Take care

Reply to willi
Posted by: Maria | 2008/06/03

Willi, your friend is in effect conspiring with her niece to keep the husband, son and daughter under house arrest. It has to stop. I'm a cat lover as well, have three felines at home, but the welfare of people must come first. Depending on what happens the SPCA may have to make a plan with the cats.

Several suggestions have been made in these posts. Your friend, or you, can contact Social Services, the police or perhaps even FAMSA. It's impossible to say offhand who will be best, you will just have to start somewhere. If your friend is so deep into this situation that she cannot recognise it for the mess it is, perhaps you will be doing her a favour if you start the ball rolling and call someone for help.

Good luck

Reply to Maria
Posted by: willi | 2008/06/03

Hi Maria

Thanks for input. No there is no GP and heaven knows when last any of them have seen the dentist and they have been very fortunate that they have not become ill but then they do eat very well, 3 full meals a day prepared by the daughter, mom does not eat with them because she is convinced that they are trying to poison her, part of the illness no doubt. The aunt and her brother do/does the weekly shoping and delivers this to the house every friday.. What do you think i should do about the 15 cats that are imprisoned in the house as well, most unhygenic for the humans and bad for the cats, they are not living normally, cats like to roam. The cats are very much loved and are very well fed by the aunt of course and when they have needed medical attention they get takewn to the vet, no expense spared and also for the aunt's account..

Reply to willi
Posted by: Maria | 2008/06/03

TP, dysfunctional and mentally retarded are is not the same thing.

Willi, do they have a gp that one could talk to about this situation? Otherwise approach the Department of Social Development in your province and ask for help.

CS won't see any additional messages you type after he has replied, if you want him to see it you must start a new post.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: willi | 2008/06/03

Thanks for all the input. Yes you are right I am not telling all of what is going on, it gets even worse and I am not kidding. The children are not retarded and there is a third child but this child, now in her early twenties ran away frm home or was kidnapped or was adbucted by who ever and the mom is convinced that she is being held somewhere as a prostitute, this happened in 2001 and according to my colleague this is what threw her neice over the top. It appears that at some stage they were a normally functioning family, the kids went to school and mom and dad wrked and they had a beautiful home...and then granny died and the mom went crazi and has gotten worse over the years, this is where the aunt (my colleague) picked up the pieces. I have worked with my colleague for just over 8 years and this has been an ongoing saga and the last two weeks has been hell for my colleage, she is highly respected at work and we all want to help her because she is soo deep into all of this she does not even realise how illl her neice is and basically she does not know how to help herself. My colleagues brother is a recovering alcholic and her sister is a horse racing addict & the niece's mom was a depressed person and often landed up in Tara and underwent shock treatment, sooo there is an inherent dependancy problem and my colleague seems to be the only sane one out of the whole bunch, I have been told that she is a co-dependant and also needs help. She is financially supporting herself and 6 other people. With what I have said above there is still loads more, however, I now need to do something but ultimately my colleague will have to take the 1st step and what we really need to know who do we contact in taking this 1st initial step, who are the correct authorities to approach.

Thanks again for "listening" and for the positive inpout already received.

Reply to willi
Posted by: Ness | 2008/06/03

I agree with Maria, it does seem like a rather odd thing locking up the family like that. Why not just call the cops to that address and say there are people there being kept hostage. The cops will sort it out from there. You could even do it as a anonomous tip off.

Reply to Ness
Posted by: TP | 2008/06/03

Maria-this ppl are mentally retarded,whats hard to understand there?

Are this ppl not getting social grants?This lady needs to call in socila workers and the police ASAP!

Reply to TP
Posted by: almost mad | 2008/06/03

call the police and a mental institute and have her admitted.

Reply to almost mad
Posted by: Maria | 2008/06/03

How does one person manage to lock up 3 other adults in a house? What are they doing about it? It just sounds strange...

Reply to Maria
Posted by: sideways | 2008/06/03

It's abuse in many forms. She needs to contact the police and a lawyer and get them out of her life ASAP!! She needs to also make sure they have to stay away from her by a court order. She then eneds to go and get some therapy to help her recover.

Reply to sideways
Posted by: LOL | 2008/06/03

wow thats one hell of a lady! her fam shud b takin care of her. this is nothin short of abuse. her niece nds to b kept as far away frm her as possible. id start with the SAPS n an interdict. yes its fam, bt that is mental, emotional n verbal abuse nt 2 mention its an elderly lady... it is sick! my heart goes out 2 her

Reply to LOL

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