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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: 1 1/2 y.o. daughter lost mother - family bond affected


 worried friend - Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:39 pm

Hello,

I have a friend I've known for about a year now, we met at a playgroup as our daughters are the same age. For the first six months everything seemed pretty normal with her. She had lost her mother a year and a half before I met her to cancer (the only family member she had any relationship with) and was still (understandably) feeling a lot of grief and depression. I tried to talk to her many times about seeing a grief counselor, and she would say she would, but never did.

Then about six months ago, things began to change. She would constantly tell me stories about her family where she was always the victim - how her family had always treated her horribly and unfairly, the same was true with any previous friends or relationships she had. The stories became more and more strange. Up to this point she always said she had a wonderful relationship with her husband.

Then a couple months ago, overnight (literally) she decided she wanted to divorce her husband, and again had a lot of stories where she was the victim (none of them involving any abuse), but how he treated her unfairly, didn't work hard enough, how she was "a good wife, but he is a horrible husband", how she never loved him and needed something different. Her husband is a nice man, and I have witnessed her screaming at him and belittling him many times in public and in their house in the last couple months.

Then a few weeks ago, she told me she was raped repeatedly as a small child (5 years old) by a neighbor. The story came out of the blue, and to be honest, there were some parts of the story which did not make sense.

Now all of this boils down to my main concern - her daughter (although I am obviously concerned about my friend as well). My friends mother-in-law stayed with them in their house for a month (she just left), and in that time became very close to her granddaughter "A". From the beginning my friend seemed very jealous of their relationship. My friend believed the grandmother was destroying the bond between mother and daughter. I kept trying to tell her that it was normal for "A" to be interested in her grandma, but my friend believed otherwise, and would constantly tell detailed stories about how horrible her mother-in-law had been to her now and in the past and how she was alienating "A" from her.

Today, when my friend and "A" were visiting. My friend kept telling me that "A" wanted nothing to do with her and that she felt their bond was broken. She kept trying to force "A"'s attention, and when "A" would not look, she would say "See, she has no interest in me anymore. You have no idea how hard it is to have no more bond with your daughter". She went on to blame the Grandmother, but also "A" as well, who is only 1 1/2 years old. This went on for an hour and a half.

I am also concerned about "A" because she is looking very frail - she was only in the 10% for weight at her 18 month check-up and that was before she was recently very sick and lost even more weight. She is still almost exclusively breastfed and will really not eat table food. I kept trying to convince my friend to take her to a pediatrician - but she doesn't seem to think there is a problem. I had to convince her to take "A" to the emergency room the other night when her daughter was running a 105 degree fever for the second day in a row.

I really don't know what to do. Our other mutual friend has the same concerns I do. Our friend becomes almost manic in that she is *constantly* running around doing something and going somewhere - she needs to be constantly busy. Her stories and actions are becoming increasingly strange and erratic as is her behavior towards her daughter. We've thought about talking to my friend's husband, but I think our friend would see it as a betrayal and I don't know her husband well enough to know how he would handle it - but from previous things my friend has mentioned, it seems he is concerned and at a loss with what to do as well.

I am worried about how my friend will take being confronted about this. She has no other family and is alienating her husband. I am worried about her daughter and what will happen if my friend thinks no one is "there for her" anymore.

Any advice on what could possibly be going on and what I should do would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

-Worried Friend
 worried friend - Tue Sep 30, 2008 1:21 pm

I also forgot to mention in the original post that a couple months ago, my friend has told me that she has dreams where 'A' is dead and she is arrested for it and blamed for it (although she says she knows she is innocent in the dream), she said she is afraid that somehow these dreams could come true. She has also told me that although she loves 'A', sometimes she wishes she could just get in her car and drive away.

All of this has happened over the course of the last few months. We are at a loss over what to do or say...

Thanks,

-Worried Friend

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