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How to help someone who won't help themselves

Community Member

My name is Michelle, I’m 40 from qld. I have had my 19 year old step daughter in my care for the last 6 years now. She is mentally unstable and shows all the signs of being either a narcissistic sociopath, a sociopath or a psychopath. I’m not a dr to state she is any of those things but her behaviour matches with all of the above and some bpd. I have been trying to get her help for many years now and continue to fall flat on my face because it seems that unless a person is willing to get help them selves- nothing can be done.

My step daughter is incredibly dangerous. She has taken her entire family down with lies and accusations to police and authorities. She will say and do anything she can to get her own way. Even asking her to pick up after her self or saying no to her results in serious consequences for whom ever does it to her.

In 2018 she had a baby. Obviously the child was removed from her because she is unstable. They tried insisting that she get help but she refused. She is joe pregnant with number 2 and a high risk yet again.

Have you ever seen the movie “gone girl?” My step daughter is identical to Ben Afflecks wife in that movie. I fear to no end that she is going to up grade to murder at some point, just to get her own way. She is that bad. I’m drained of having to deal with it and I don’t know how to get help for her without it being involuntary. Is there any option for involuntary treatment? I fear so much that her next step will be to take the life of her victims 😰 I don’t know what to do.

3 Replies 3

Community Member
She can be held under the mental health, but there's a difference between being a narcissist and mentally unwell.

Does she live with you?

Community Member

Hello Mclarke

You are facing a difficult situation and asking for help here is good start. You say the young lady is your step daughter and she has been living with you for 6 years. Where is her father? Are you living with him too? What is his reaction to his daughter’s behaviour?

Yes, there is a section of the Mental Health Act in all states relating to involuntary hospitalisation. The regulations vary between states but the SANE Australia website has a breakdown of those regulations by state. Generally speaking, the patient would have to be a danger to themselves or to others and be suffering a deteriorating state of health.

However, until a diagnosis is made, you can’t be sure she is suffering a mental illness. I know Qld has a network of Adult Community Mental Health clinics. Could you consider visiting one to get some advice?

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Mclarke

Your stress and despair come through clearly in your words and I truly feel for you.

The physical well being of your family is your #1 priority. If your stepdaughter has been physically abusive, I suggest you call the police if the need arises in the future. Do not feel guilty about doing this. She must learn that there are consequences to her behaviour and this living situation has become incredibly serious for all concerned. It may pay to keep a journal of her behaviour in case you need it for future reference, such as with a mental well being team or the police. Of course, doing such a thing will possibly trigger her so I would keep this private.

Like Betternow, I am wondering about her father's part in this. He may need to face looking into involuntary treatment for his daughter. It may be the only way to raise her our of this behaviour. He may need to face the real possibility that she will not be able to achieve this kind of reformation any other way. If he refuses to face what may need to be done and you feel your life is in danger, personally I would leave.

Would be interesting to know whether your stepdaughter has always been enabled when it comes to her self serving behaviour, even as a young kid. I would be even more concerned if the behaviour came on suddenly at some point in her life. This may indicate she has faced some great trauma people around her are not aware of. If the latter is the case, I imagine she is suffering deeply and angrily in some way and really needs help.

You have some hard decisions to make and, again, I truly feel for you. I can't even begin to imagine the stress you're under. You should not be having to walk on eggshells every moment of every day. This is no way to live.

It sounds like you have done all you can, short of involuntary help. She is lucky to have you looking out for her. For her own sake and yours, trust your instincts and take action to get help as soon as possible.

Look after yourself 🙂