Monday, May 12, 2014

I admit it: It's beyond me

My oldest friend has me stymied. I don't know how to help her anymore.

Her 22-year-old son is still living at home, sleeping on an air mattress on her living room floor. He has a friend with him, also camping out on her floor. They promise they'll be out in the fall, but she's not sure they'll be able to afford it. (Never mind that he just took his girlfriend to Las Vegas for a long weekend.)

This young man, who has a DUI and an overnight prison stay to his credit, is filled with advice for how his kid sister should be raised. He reported to his mother that his sister is known around town for her pot supply. I don't see where this is a surprise. The girl has been an outspoken stoner since she was in the 8th grade.

Yet for some reason, hearing this made my friend spin out. She's decided that her daughter needs to live with her father for the summer, to get her away from her Beverly Hills pot smoking crowd. To do this, she concocted an elaborate lie: She told her ex husband she needs major surgery, followed by 8 weeks of recuperation.

Naturally this backfired.

So now her son and daughter are fighting because Sis says Bro is a hypocritical snitch (she has a point). Now her daughter knows my friend tried to ship her away for the summer and lied about the reason. Now her ex-husband knows she made up a health crisis to manipulate him into taking their daughter.

Oh yeah, and her MRSA infection flared up. She took Friday off because she was upset and her car needed work. Then she got sick on Sunday and is off again today. She's had employment trouble. She can't afford to lose this job, so she's got an extra patina of stress.

Happy Mother's Day, huh?

I'm overwhelmed just listening to her. I don't know how to help her.

I'm not a mother. I'm not crazy about a lot of the choices she's made up until now, but I truly have no idea how to advise her here. She needs to talk to her shrink. She needs to talk to her cousin, who raised two sons.

All I can do is love her.

Image courtesy of marin/


  1. Your friend sounds so desperate. What a tough situation she's in. You're probably the only steady in her life right now.

  2. Love her, pray for her burden to be lifted and keep walking your own path.

    Taking on her crap doesn't serve her and drags you down. Listen, hold compassionate space and let her figure it out.


  3. Lisa's right on this. Your friend needs a compassionate ear, and you need permission to not take this stress onto yourself.

    The best advice you can give her is what you've already told us: she needs to talk to her therapist, or perhaps a clergymember if she has one. Often they have connections to support groups and advocates.

  4. listening is hard...especially when you know they are making matters worse for their life.
    and for me...i can't hardly keep my mouth shut and tell them how stupid they are. :0(
    you are a good friend and it is sad she can't see your wisdom.