Thursday, March 29, 2007

Responsibility And The Insane

I’m grateful that both my parents came from large families. This gives me plenty of cousins. They’re in a variety of ages, and a variety of jobs.
But mostly, it gives more relatives for my mentally disturbed sister to call. That spreads out the frustration.

She is seriously mentally ill and should not be out on her own, but she is. Last winter she took to calling me regularly at the full and new moons of every month. She’s nocturnal; I’m diurnal. The calls commonly came at her schedule, not mine.

Dawn rarely has a point to her calls. It’s her time to complain about how awful things are for her, how unfairly she is treated, how no one listens or will help her, and how she can’t move into any kind of care due to her old cat.

Since our dad died a few months ago and I’ve sent her some estate money, she hasn’t called so often. She has, however, called or spoken in person to many of our cousins about it. Each person is treated to a different version of how she hasn’t received anything.

It is difficult dealing with insane persons. You never know if what they’re telling you is true. In my sister’s case, she doesn’t want help as such. She wants someone to do everything for her while she yells and chain-smokes and tells you you’re not doing anything right.

Our current system offloads everything. Cuts to health care in Alberta has eviscerated the system leaving only the barest of publicly directed help and care available.

Persons who should be in care are turned out on the street to fend for themselves as best they are able. Sadly, many aren’t able. Those who are smart and manipulative, like Dawn, may fool you into thinking they can cope.

Who should be responsible for the insane when the insane cannot or will not take responsibility for themselves?

7 comments:

Talia, Centre for Emotional Well-Being said...

Leah, first my heartfelt sympathy. Your sister sounds emotionally draining.

I'm not familiar with the legal structure in your country, but as far as compulsory treatment under mental health statutes is concerned she probably doesn't meet the requirements. Although she appears self-destructive it doesn't sound like her self-harm extends to suicide, she doesn't show homicidal tendencies, and she is able to function (albeit not at a high level). So, in most countries she probably doesn't qualify for compulsory treatment.

Does your sister have a clinical diagnosis? Is she under the care of a health professional? I think you have mentioned a personality disorder, which tend to be the most treatment resistant.

When people are acting as victims they need to find people to fill the other roles in the triangle for the drama to continue. They need a rescuer and they need a persecutor. She may be casting you in the role of the persecutor and hoping for rescue from other relatives. Maybe understanding the drama will help you and your family break it!

I found something about Karpman's triangle here http://www.jubilee-centre.org/online_documents/VictimChicTherhetoricofvictimhood.htm
If you do a google search you may find some better resources.

As I'm sure you already know, you can't change others but you can teach them how to treat you.
Good luck
Smiles through the rain (it's autumn here)
Talia

Talia, Centre for Emotional Well-Being said...

trying that link again...
http://www.jubilee-centre.org/online_documents/VictimChicTherhetoricofvictimhood.htm

Talia, Centre for Emotional Well-Being said...

lucky last try for the link
Karpman's Triangle

Talia, Centre for Emotional Well-Being said...

Hah! Never say die, back again. I love Karpman's triangle (in fact I might blog about it). It is incredibly useful

Here is another link that explains the three roles in the drama

Leah J. Utas said...

Thanks for your kind words, Talia.

Karpman's Triangle was interesting and nailed the issue. She's got the victim role down cold.

No, she doesn't qualify for compulsory care. She's only ever hinted at suicide, apparently, and not to me. Hinting isn't enough to get her arrested under the Mental Health Act.
The only diagnosis we've ever heard is OCD and that was more than 30 years ago when it was still called Compulsive-Obsessive Psychosis.

Talia, Centre for Emotional Well-Being said...

Yes it's unfortunate that a lot of people don't qualify for care but are emotionally or mentally damaged. Not much you can do except learn how being a rescuer or persecutor helps her stay in her drama and try to find ways to retain your inner calm.

Good luck

m said...

Hope your weekend was awesome!