Ask an expert

03 Oct 2011

My mother and future Step Father
My mother is engaged to a man (let’ s call him John) she met a few years ago. My siblings and I have been skeptical of him since we met him, and my mother has just given this guy everything. I even wrote here about a year or so about him- the first time she properly met him he left with her car (she bought another one) with the ‘ intention’  to pay it off monthly but he never did, never got it registered in his name, never got it re-licenced, racked up a few thousand rands in speeding fines, etc. He never has money  I know my mother has paid his levies a few times, paid for his plane ticket (he lived in Durban) for him to visit, etc. etc. He hardly paid for anything when he is here. He smokes like a chimney and drinks like a fish. He went to a churchy convention a year or so back and was a changed man for a while. A while- he’ s reverted (my mother thinks he still isn’ t drinking). John is terribly moody for no reason- always mopey on Facebook despite all my mother has done for him (she’ s given him a car, paid his debts a few times, gave him an opportunity to earn R10k a month, gave him a PC, etc). He is unhappy/ stuck in a rut and my mother is paying the price. Now, he has moved up from Durban with my mother. No doubt he isn’ t paying rent, he doesn’ t do what my mother asks (for him to earn the extra money), didn’ t help my mother unpack ANYTHING, spends all his time at coffee shops or bars. It was her birthday a couple of weeks ago, and we had two braai’ s (on the day before and a small one on her birthday as her birthday was on a Monday). The first braai John left the moment everyone was done eating to go out. He came home MIDDAY of her birthday with some lame excuse about how he had a heart attack and these good Samaritans had driven him all over the place to get help. Please. He looked more hung over than a teen after Woodstock. He has no proof that he was admitted to ANY hospital then said he was admitted into a hospital that my friend works at- she confirms he wasn’ t admitted. He didn’ t attend the second braai at all. Like I say, my mother thinks he doesn’ t drink, or she’ s completely in denial. How do we save my mother A) without looking like we are interfering or trying to hurt her and B) without making John look like a complete looser (I am very sensitive to people and I don’ t want to humiliate him or making him feel worse about himself).
Answer 427 views

01 Jan 0001

From your description, it does indeed sound as though he reaction to this guy, and her lavish generisity towards him, even from first meeting, has been excessive.

One would expect a sensible and adult woman to notice the signs of his irresponsibility - not paying off the car, running up fines she'd need to pay, and so on. It does sound as though she's heavily into denial, and maybe feels desperate to have a relationship, though this sounds like the sort of unreqarding and potentially damaging relaionship nobody needs.

So he's moody and perhaps unpredictable - you sa he's secretly drinking, might he also be taking what are coyly called "recreational drugs" as well ? If he'd actually had a heart attack, he would not be sent home so quickly, and would probably still be on prescribed meds.

But sadly, unless they are definitively diagnosed as severely mentally unfit, adults are allowed to be stupid even foolhardy.

I don't see how you can "save" her secretly and without her knowledge. That'd need more than magic. You can talk to her kindly and firmly about why you are all worried about this.

And stop worrying about his feelings - he has chosen to place himself in this position for the most selfish of reasons, and if he behaves like a complete loser, which is what you are describing, he shouldnt be protected from looking like what he is.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.