Grown Child Controlled by Mother
Date: April 24, 2009 05:55AM
I'm new here but didn't know where else to go for help. I live in a very isolated, rural community. Pop. 250 and everyone keeps to themselves. There is a family who lives close to me with a mother and 8 children. It's hard to describe how this mother is. At first she appears friendly, but soon turns into a bully type. Anyway, her children range in age from late 20's down to 12. The odd thing is 8 of her children still live at home. They don't work, drive, date, go to school, etc. I know that one of the kids (I say kid but it is a grown kid) got married and had a child but won't have anything to do with the family. I was friendly with her at first, but then started to get weird feelings about what was going on in the house. First, every child supposedly has something "wrong" with them. Some have Aspergers (sp?), many have various allergies and vague sicknesses, the youngest one has autism, etc. I still stay friendly with her only because I'm trying to figure out what is really going on. Every time we talk, she launches into a narrative on one of her child's recent illness and complains about everything she is going through (lack of sleep, having to go to the hospital at night, the incompetent doctors, etc.). Basically a poor me, give me sympathy type of thing. And every time I talk to her it's the same thing. But the illnesses are never specific. For example, she talks about how she sprained her ankle and now she has to use crutches, and the doctor said she couldn't walk on it, but she's such a martyr because she has all this stuff to do and can't possibly sit down. Or her daughter tore ligaments in her knee and now her knee is terribly swollen and she can't walk, etc. But it's never a break, or an actual diagnosed illness, or something concrete. So, here's the point (sorry to be so long winded): She has one particular daughter, I think she is in her early 20's, who I think she is abusing in a Munchhausen by Proxy type of way. When I first moved here 2 years ago this young woman, along with her younger sisters, would come over to babysit my little ones while I slept after working the night shift. She was very thin in an anorexic type way, and extremely shy, but seemed very nice and of average intelligence. After sensing something wrong I quit having them babysit for me so I didn't see anyone in the family throughout the winter (very long winters here). In the spring the mom came to visit and told me she had spent many weeks at the Mayo clinic in Minnesota with her daughter, but the incompetent doctors couldn't find what was wrong, and now she had to take her daughter to the hospital near our town twice a week for potassium infusions. So one day I was in town (the larger town 20 miles away) grocery shopping and I saw this woman and her daughter. Oh my goodness, this girl looked like a walking skeleton! Really, she looked like a holocaust survivor. I was shocked. So I asked the mom about what the problem was and she said that her daughter was just allergic to everything she ate and couldn't keep anything down, so basically she was starving and the doctors couldn't figure out why. I looked at the daughter specifically and asked her "What particular symptoms do you have when you eat a food you're allergic to?" She got a deer in the headlights look and said meekly, "Whatever my mom says". Her mom just laughed and said her daughter had Aspergers and wasn't good at communicating. I had never noticed anything wrong when she babysat for me. My friend, who is a nurse at the hospital, told me that this young woman is never left alone- she's either with her mom or her older brother and sister (who have the same bullying type personalities as the mother. By the way, the mom and the two oldest kids are pathological liars. I have personally caught her and them in three major lies but never called her out on them). Like I said before, she doesn't ever leave the house, she has never gone to school, and her mother keeps her totally isolated. I think her mom is starving her to death for attention, but I can't get anyone to help me! Child protective services won't help because she is not a child. Adult protective services won't help because she is not elderly or disabled. The social worker I spoke with at the hospital told me in a round about way that the doctors and nurses are aware of the situation, but can't do anything about it. Basically, they all say that she's an adult and can leave if she wants. I couldn't imagine this girl ever having the ability to leave. She is so controlled by her mother she probably couldn't function without her mother telling her what to do. She cowers like a beat dog whenever someone tries to talk to her. She doesn't even have any knowledge of the 'real world'. How could she when she has spent her whole life locked in the house (no TV, no radio, and no internet either)? My friend said that it's like this girl is in a cult, totally controlled by her mother. So that's how I ended up here, with my story long enough that I should have just written a book. Has anyone ever encountered a situation like this? I'm not talking about a "my mean mom was a controlling bitch" type of situation here. This goes way beyond that. What can I do? Should I just give up and let her starve? I'm truly afraid that this girl will die, and that the mom will move on to one of the younger children. Also, I didn't even go into a small fraction of the weird stuff that goes on in that house (the youngest pounding on the basement door to be let out, the massive fraud being committed by this woman on the welfare system- no one in that house works, they all collect welfare or disability,) I think someone must have called CPS in the past because the mom brags about how she refused to let the social worker in her house, and then filed a lawsuit, so now they leave her alone. Really, she just bullies everyone into doing what she wants. I think most people just give up because it's easier than fighting her on something. So is this girl mind-controlled like someone in a cult might be? How do you help someone who is totally helpless and locked away from everything by a psycho parent? Any suggestions would be appreciated, and I'm sorry to have taken up so much space with this post!