Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché,
My daughter suffers from some chronic conditions physical and emotional but her fiancé is against her being on any medication whatsoever. He has promised to take care of her and he gives her 27 supplements every morning. He has convinced her to go off her medication, against her doctor’s advice and against my better judgement. She sees this as love, I see this as crazy. She will not listen to me.
Am I wrong? What should I do?
This is serious. Many people, even with the best of intent, can be dangerous love bullies. This is a form of soft abuse. He has promised to be her everything and is requiring her to give up all of her other support systems! She will lose her connection with you and become more and more dependent on him. She might lose her health. Unfortunately, statistics show that even if her condition worsens, she won’t do anything about it. She will become less self-sufficient and less sure of herself, depending on him to tell her what to do.
Unsolicited advice is usually rejected, but she is your daughter so it is your right and job to protest. You can send her books and pamphlets on soft abuse, and codependence; and her doctor should provide a list of the risks and consequences in stopping her medications. Ignore her fiancé’s whining- he is delusional and misled, from what you describe. A soft abuser usually ends up dissolving the relationship at some point. She will need you then.
But the best way to teach is via role modeling- thus, you cannot make her dysfunction the center of your life. You need to create a stable healthy life with healthy relationships. Eventually, that will make a difference for her too.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Granny says: My heart really goes out to you- it must be tough to watch your daughter place herself in the hands of a fanatic.
What alarms me is the sheer number of supplements you say he is giving her. Herbs and alternative medicines can be as powerful and damaging as pharmaceuticals if given in the wrong doses or mis-prescribed. Is your daughter’s boy friend a doctor? If not, he’s just experimenting with your daughter’s life.
Since unsolicited advice is generally thrown back in one’s face, I can’t advise you to give your daughter any. But make an effort to stay connected with her no matter what her boyfriend does, because your daughter needs perspective. She needs to be around people other than her boyfriend.
If you see your daughter’s health worsen, you may need to step in. After a certain point, some damage can’t be undone. Screw protocol and don’t wait for an invitation. It will always be a parent’s job to protect their children from damage at the hands of others.