My friend Nanci is 26 with a two year old son whom I love to death. Lately she is depressed, constantly crying, smoking cigarettes while breast feeding and never sleeping. I try to tell her what she is doing is not healthy for her or her son, but I’m not getting through to her. I tried talking to her on many occasions, but the only thing she tells me when it comes to her being down is her ex or her son’s dad is an ass who won’t give her money for her son and she is tired of being broke. So I usually take her son for a few days and later find out that she has not gone to work or done anything except borrow money from other people to pay bills, but ends up taking the money and going shopping. The only time I see her happy is when she is showing me all the new stuff she has bought. She has more stuff than she can possibly use and she is getting deeper and deeper in debt. She is falling fast what can I do to help her?
ANSWER: What can you do to help her???? What can you do to help YOURSELF???? That is the real question and the only one you can really answer! So first, stop enabling your friend by taking her son for free!
Second, understand that your friend may be suffering from post partum depression (encourage her to see her doctor) or may be depressed about the requirements of being a single parent. Whatever it is, you can’t rescue her. She is not interested in facing the prediciment she finds herself in, but rather in blaming her child’s father, escaping her pain by shoving off her responsibilities to well-meaning friends, by habitually shopping, by avoiding the truth of her finances and what she needs to do to stabilize them.
What you can do is keep your eye on her son to make sure he is being cared for adequately (and be ready to call Child Protective Services if things get bad), reach out to your friend’s parents (just in case), spend as little time with her as necessary, and stop being a patsy!