Posted by: Clint | 2009/08/12


I am writing on behalf of my faince. Her mother has been diagnosed with Lupus desease a few years back but did not heed the doctors advise and ignored this all together. Her mom also have a substansce abuse problem where she regulary on a daily basis abuses alchahol and any kind of medication or pills she can get her hand on. She even mixes them which inturn causes further complications. Her mom was recently in ICU for this specific problems related to the Lupus desease. She has since been released and seen a specialist, but it seems that the medication he has provided her has caused an alergic reaction which is also in no doubt directly linked to her substance abuse.

My fiance is a wreck because she knows her mother is busy dying. She has begged her mother to go seek medical attention numorous times but she bluntly refuses stating that she wants it all to end.

She also approched her father to help in finding the right help for her mother, but he also refuse. It seems her father is not to eagre to help her mom and gives the impression that he would also rather prefer it if she just passes on, he also states that illness seems to be more in her mothers head than anything else. Her father is very abusive towards her mom and doctors have also questioned her about spousel abuse recently after an x ray of her skull showed numorous scars. My fiance was also subjected to physical and mental abuse from her father many times and she still is freightened with confronting him when he is blatantly wrong. I recently remarked to her that the story of her breaking her nose while diving in the swimming pool never made sense to me because it seems impossible to break your nose in such a manner and then she confessed that it was actually of the result that her dad broke her nose after they had some sort of altercation.

My fiance herself has a history of substance abuse and completed a stint at a rehabilitation centre more than 2 years ago. She has been clean ever since and has reclaimed most of her life although it is still an ongoing learning curve for her as she has been abusing since childhood and only got clean at 25.

I do understand that most of her problems of standing up for herself and the lack of self believe she has in her own person stems from years of being abused and surrounded in an abusive envioroment like this. She has unfortunatly not developed the tools like any “ normal”  child should of and is still struggling to come to grips with some of her own emotions and thoughts.

She has asked me at times that she wants to see a pshycologist in which I would from time inform her that she could talk to me, but I know this is wrong and selfish of me because I ralise she needs profesional help in learning to deal with her feelings and emotions.

We have both seen a phycologist before she was clean, but we didn’ t actually find any “ go forward”  in this process.

I realise that it has come to a stage where she will need more than my support and advice. I also know that sometimes I get aggitated and angry with her cropped up feelings and might just react in a manner that will freighten her to open up to me about this. She still has great difficulty in dealing her feelings with me and the majority of our arguments stem out of the fact that she is unable to trust me with her thoughts. I realise that as I am a man she probably projects a lot of her “ father”  on to me and this makes me feel extremely angry when she does this, but I can not blame her because this is what she was “ programmed”  to think.

So as you can see, there is a lot of attention that needs to be sorted and im sorry for babbling on like this, but I would like to know the following.

1. Is there any way she can force her mother and father to go seek medical help because if this desease is left unchecked I fear her mother will die resulting directly from this before the end of the year.
2. What type of phycologist can my fiance go and see to help her deal with these “ scars”  that is still so predominantly intervering with her happiness and well being. (good referrals if possible in the east rand area)

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Our expert says:
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Hmm. Her mother apparetly has a complex set of medical problems, further complicated by her alcohol and drug abuse and her refusal to properly seek help or follow proper advice. And an abusive father --- an unattractive and undeserving couple, who she probably still loves, even if somewhat illogically.
Your fiancee surely deserves some properly expert counselling / therapy from a shrink or professional counsellor, to sort out the unhelpful lessons learned in the years of being abused, to enhance her self-esteem and confidence, for instance. This would be in addition to talking with you, not to replace your important role here.
It can be very difficult to help someone you love, in part because it is so hard to be neutral when this is needed. A therapist, espeially of the CBT variety, can help her to "un-programme" herself.
As to your specific questions -- (1) there's no useful way to force her mother or father to get the treatment they need. Theoretically if a person is a danger to themselves or tohers because of their mental state there could be a mechanism for requiring compulsory treatment --- but this doesn't apply to bloody-mindedness, stubbornness, and other annoying habits which are not due to identificiable disease. And the sort of treatment they need, only works with their full co-operation, which cannot be compelled.
As for (2) We can't for various good reasons recommend specific shrinks, but FAMSA could do so, and the variety I would strongly recommend would be, if available, someone practising Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy, CNT, for which there is the best evidence from goo research of effectiveness.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Clint | 2009/08/12

We have thought of that option but as you say, i dont think she has much time left and apparently to dothis we would need the fathers backing and support which he is unwilling to give.

Reply to Clint
Posted by: CTMOM | 2009/08/12

You can have her declared unstable in court and basically take over her care legally which means you can essentially force her to take the meds. Its a long process and you would need to prove she is a danger to herself and without the meds she can die. Its costly too as you need expert witnesses, psych evaluations etc.

Reply to CTMOM

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