My daughter, 28, and her boyfriend of three years, 32, live in a condo we own, paying partial rent. Often, she pays for him too).
He has only a part-time bartending job. She’s a successful executive, supporting him.
I know it’s her choice, but we feel he’s taking advantage of her. He had earlier episodes of schizophrenia, which she says were never diagnosed.
He was hospitalized for several weeks. She says he’s now off his medication.
She’s a successful executive, appreciated by her managers.
Why can’t she see that he’s not a good match for her? She’s said she sometimes feels like kicking him out. It’s not easy because his parents and brothers have given-up on him, and give no financial support.
He won’t leave, despite her having said he must, unless he pays equally for everything.
She feels that her friends are moving on, buying houses, getting married, etc. But her life’s not going anywhere.
Is she scared of him? She doesn’t want us to interfere. Is there no way of learning whether he’s schizophrenic or has another mental illness?
How do I convince her to look after her own life and not be overly kind?
She feels responsible for this guy, and yes, he takes advantage. They’ve become co-dependents.
His medical diagnosis is their business, as his staying on medication may be crucial. She needs to insist that they discuss this together with his doctor, if he wants her continued support.
It’ll help her to privately assess his potential for becoming a full partner, so she can make an informed choice about whether she wants to keep paying his way.
Her mentioning her friends’ “moving on” shows that she already sees her life as limited by him.
So don’t pressure her too much about him, just be supportive of her thinking about it. Otherwise, her kind nature may override her concerns.
However, if you think she’s afraid of him, ask her. Raise the point that whatever she does for him is her business, unless she’s acting out of fear for her own safety.
If so, she must make a safe plan to disengage from him – perhaps moving back home for a couple of months. She may even have to consider advancing first and last month’s rental costs to him so he can move out.
My close friend’s very needy. Throughout university she was very anxious.
She graduated top of her class but her anxiety and pessimism have remained. She reacts negatively to minor inconveniences (e.g. a bat in her attic, promptly resolved by exterminators).
I’ve become her go-to friend to vent any problems. I’ve always been encouraging, responding with ideas for four years.
Two years ago, I gently recommended that she see a counsellor for her anxiety, to no avail. She disclosed that her other friends aren’t supportive.
I’ve tried ignoring her texts/emails for several days, but it makes her more insecure.
I’m currently in grad school abroad and need to be upfront that I’m too busy to always respond, but it’ll make her even more insecure. How can I help her be more self-sufficient?
Relied on Too Much
It’s not your job to “make” her self-sufficient. She’s smart scholastically, and also clever enough to know who to lean on rather than look after things herself.
Back off. Alert her you’re in a very busy phase of studies and won’t be able to respond quickly for some time.
She’ll find someone else to email and text.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman with an "invisible illness" (January 17):
Reader - “I'm a Guillain-Barré syndrome survivor (rare disorder which attacks nerve cells), heading up to two years since I had the disease.
“Fortunately, I was never paralyzed (this occurs in the worst cases), and recovery is long. I expect to live with symptoms and the risk of relapse for the rest of my life.
“My advice to the woman is to find support through a support group, church, etc. Celebrate life as best you can. And continue to set goals.
“I think many people believe life can be controlled these days, but it can't be. If your goal is to have a family, please think of all the ways you could make this happen - including ways that won't risk a relapse (such as adoption).
“You’re not alone in this situation, and there is happiness after illness.”
Tip of the day:
To end someone’s taking advantage, you have to end feeling responsible for that person.