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13 Mar 2004

avoidable spastic colon etc
How would you handle a young adult, highly intelligent although you may not believe it! and independent (yet living at home due to studying and no money of her own) who is careless about taking preventative measures (rest, vitamins, moderation) to avoid over-fatigue, severe sinus and tension headaches and spastic colon, resulting in numerous visits to the doctor which turn out to be unnecessary in that no prescribed treatment is required. Her symptoms are real but could be avoided or minimised. I have now refused to accompany her to the doctor again, saying she must take herself, and her comeback is that fine, she'll get really sick and miss lectures and if she fails it will be my fault. Although she knows I mean business, as I have carried out previous ultimatums, I know she won't back down. She is quite capable of holding out forever, and I know I will end up feeling guilty- besides, she seems to have no conscience of her own. Similarly, she gets very wound up when others frustrate her by being unfair or unreasonable or immature and although I, a very calm type, try to convince her that although her anger is justified, she's only hurting herself, she ends up giving herself muscle spasms and headaches from her inner tension- then I have to nurse her and massage her better again! (I can't refuse to help a person in pain- that's spiteful in my opinion)Don't get the wrong impression- in spite of this situation, she is a well-liked and respected young woman, who apart from the above, is willing and able to be totally responsible for her actions and to take the consequences. I take my maternal responsibility very seriously and would like to do what's best for her.
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

marc, Sounds like the girl seriously needs to see a psychologist for in-depth counselling, and the chance to learn necessary skills like a realistic view of who is going who a favour when she promotes her own health or succeeds in her studies, and also to learn proper methods for relaxing and reducing her stress levels, which ought to help the symptoms she has.
You have nothing to feel guilty about. Not only does the silly girl expect you carry out her instructions, but would consider it your fault if she deliberately failed ? Would she allow you to get in the gown and accept the degree if she passed ? If she chooses to "hold out indefinitely", then she needs to face the inevitable consequences of such a daft decision --- no need to waste money waiting for her to deliberately fail --- tell her if that's her plan, it'd be better to withdraw her from university promptly, and send her out to get a job without a degree. That's what anyone else would have to do, so why should it be any different for a girl who chooses to be sick and unqualified ?
She can hold out because she knows that you will blame yourself and give in.
Frankly, I would also withhold those head massages and all that nursing, also --- they're far more likely to be helping to cause the headaches, than to relieve them. She has, from the sound of it, learned to use symptoms and ill-health to make you jump and ultimately to do what she wants. That will be very bad for her. It is NOT spiteful to withhold soothing attentions that encourage an increase in her ill-health, when she ought to be caring for herself. It's wise.
She is NOT taking responsibility for her actions and choices, except where it suits her to do so. Where someone is encouraged to use ill-health as an excuse to evade responsibility, to place blame and guilt on others, etc., this can re-inforce this as a lifelong patern, and she'd be far better off losing this maladaptive habit as soon as possible.
But arrange for her to see a psychologist, having in advance explained this situation to him/her in detail, so they know wat they're dealing with.
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