How to best be helpful?

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qcdlvl

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How to best be helpful?
« on: August 26, 2019, 12:15:58 AM »
I hope this is the right subforum for this, if not, mods, please move this as appropriate.
So recently my wife and I had lunch with a couple (M + F) we're friends with. They live with his parents, who seem to be as toxic as hell - she labelled her FIL as a malignant narcissist (she's not a mental health professional and I don't know if he's been diagnosed by one). They've (the parents) split up, and not amicably, but they're still both living in the house - they're well off and could surely afford to move out. They argue constantly and my friends are concerned things could escalate once they leave.
The father has stolen from this couple, gone through their stuff, etc - they ended putting an electronic lock on their door as even with the door locked he managed to get in. He's made lewd, offensive remarks in their presence. The only thing that seems to deter him is practical stuff like her threatening to not do housework for him. The F doesn't want them to move out and has offered to build an extra room for any children they may have.  :sadno:
My friends are seeing about getting a mortgage and seem determined to move out but seem completely unhurried. Their normal meters are broken, they both come from dysfunctional families.
So my question is basically my post title - my wife and I are concerned matters could become worse for my friends, and I'm not sure if or how I should broach the subject next time we're in touch and, indeed what so say.

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Penny Lane

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Re: How to best be helpful?
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2019, 02:34:14 PM »
I would say affirming that what he's doing isn't okay is a great first step. Sharing your own experience with narcissists - "I've found that when I'm in a situation like this, your sense of normal becomes skewed and you end up living with a ton of unhealthy stress without realizing it." That sort of thing. If it comes up, share the tools from the toolbox - gray rock, the three c's, etc. Can you give them logistical help towards homebuying? Even something as simple as saying "I'm worried about you living in that environment" if you think it'd be well received.

All that said, don't let it stress you out too much either. They are adults who make their own decisions. And one of the most important things abuse victims need to hear (often) is "I trust you to make good choices about your own life." I would say that goes for parental abuse as well as domestic violence.

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qcdlvl

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Re: How to best be helpful?
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2019, 01:18:07 PM »
Thanks, Penny Lane, I think that's more or less what I will do. I think they've got the logistics sorted, or at any rate I don't see much I could help them with, but apart from that I think I'll give the rest a try.

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Penny Lane

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Re: How to best be helpful?
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2019, 01:50:15 PM »
Good luck! I hope they can get out as quickly and painlessly as possible.

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clara

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Re: How to best be helpful?
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2019, 02:20:00 PM »
I wonder if there's a co-dependency issue going on here.  If that's the case, there's a limit on anything you say being actually heard.  The fact that they're taking their time getting out of what sounds like a bad situation is what makes me think this.  Do they give excuses for why they remain? (I see they claim to be worried about what will happen if they move out).  Sounds like a lot of serious enmeshment, with the parents separating but not willing to live apart, with the couple not in any hurry to move out etc.  I think PennyLane is right about you giving examples from your life and how you handled it, because this couple may not have learned any tools to understand what is actually going on.  But the next step is theirs and yes, they have to make their own decisions and don't be surprised if they keep kicking the can down the road.

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qcdlvl

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Re: How to best be helpful?
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2019, 12:38:25 AM »
Sorry not to have replied earlier. There is codependecy of sorts, I think - he's never lived away from his parents, at least not for any significant length of time (he went to college while living at home) and works in the family business. It's a bit hard for me to empathize sometimes as I left home at 18 and have never worked for my parents or for the same employer as them.
It's perhaps more suprising that she's putting up with it, as she too left home at 18, but then she has a hard time being assertive. I think the combo of her lack of assertiveness and his own issues in flying the nest are a bad combo. I think rationally they know they have to move out but that's why they're going about it so slowly.

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hhaw

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Re: How to best be helpful?
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2019, 02:05:50 AM »
q:

I might wait for your friends to bring up the topic, and ask for your opinion, before sharing more about this.  IF they ask, they'll likely be open to what you have to say.  They know the situation isn't ideal.  They know moving out is something they need to coordinate.

This is a sad situation, and I'd be very uncomfortable listening to friends talk about living like this too.

hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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qcdlvl

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Re: How to best be helpful?
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2019, 07:29:13 PM »
Thanks, hhaw, I'll keep that in mind. I've not seen them lately (I've  been supebusy with a newborn and work!) but will try to see about meeting for lunch soonish.

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hhaw

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Re: How to best be helpful?
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2019, 10:55:50 PM »
Enjoy that newborn, qc.

That's all you should be worried about right now.

The other adults can fend for themselves. 

You have joy to attend to.

That's your job right now: )
hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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qcdlvl

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Re: How to best be helpful?
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2019, 12:02:04 AM »
Thanks, hhaw, I appeciate it.