Sent: Friday, May 07, 1999 10:50
Hello Dr. Irene,
My name is Rhonda and I need help, and I hope that you can direct me in the right
direction. I have a 50-something year old female cousin who is extremely co-dependent and
depressed and in an emotionally and monetarily abusive relationship with a man who
possibly has a criminal record (he is also a former psychiatrist who may have had his
medical license taken away). He is involved in many outlandish short-lived expensive
businesses, and 'makes her' foot the bill for everything (while she works 3 jobs to
support him & her). He also sends her to a psychiatrist for 'therapy' (he also
sometimes goes with her) and 'coincidentally' the doctor is also a good friend of his,
which is probably unethical. This man is very controlling of her, and he has his own
mental imbalances (I have met him, he is narcissistic, belittling and overbearing).
They are living in the next state with him and I believe she is also abusing prescription
medication. I am sure this has been going on for years. Our whole extended family is
worried about her, and she might end up harming herself. We would all love to get
her out of this situation, but I know it is her that should want to leave. Would
you happen to have any resources for families of abused women?
I know that you are probably a very
busy person, and I would appreciate any information that you could give me.
Thank you very much!!!!!
Unfortunately, there is nothing
you can do. It takes two to tango, and the two are consenting adults. I realize your
cousin is in a controlling, if not abusive, relationship - and she is possibly addicted to
prescription drugs, but you have few options.
Unless your cousin is in great
pain, she is unlikely to want things to change. She is the only one who can take the steps
she needs to in order to transform her life. I don't know enough about your cousin to give
you any referral advice.
But you and those who love her
who are having difficulty with her lifestyle may want to go to an ALANON or CODA meeting
(look them up on the web or your phone book). They can help you deal with your
inability to help her. They can also help you recognize when your attempts to help are in
fact enabling her situation.
Remember, there is only one
person you can help - yourself.