Diabetic in denial

Hi I am the mother of a type 1 diabetic. She was diagnosed at 23 and is now 43. I also lost a sister to this disease at the age of 19. My daughter does well for a while and then just gives up. She eats whatever she wants and forgets to check her blood sugars. It is tearing me apart to see her not take care of herself. My question is what can I do as her mother ? She also resents it when I say anything. What should I do? I am desperate for advice.

If she is 43 and chooses to live that way, there isnt much you can do. You would have more options if she was a minor in your care. You can try an intervention to see if it helps, but it may or may not if she resents what you say. Im not sure what to tell you to do on that…Hopefully she will see the light.

I guess I knew the answer to that question but thanks for responding so quickly!

This is tough. In many ways this type of self-destructive behavior is like an addiction, so an intervention is a good idea if you can pull it off. Make sure that you’re taking care of yourself, though. There probably aren’t any specific support groups for this, but al-anon or something like that could probably give you some emotional support if you’re in need of live human beings. I’m really sorry that you’re going through this, I hope she turns things around:)

That is sad Dee. Any obvious reasons, explanations, excuses that your daughter shares with you for giving up? Do you think she might be suffering from depression? Solobaricsrock is right. There is little you can do, as any 43 year old daughter is ultimately responsible for herself.

If you do feel that she might be depressed and having difficulty coping, you might be able to encourage her to seek help. You could search out a counselor yourself to find one that has the sort of experience that you feel might ultimately help your daughter. You obviously can’t force her to get help, but if you find someone that helps, you learn to cope, with the decisions that your daughter is making, you might offer to cover the cost of some sessions for your daughter to attend some sessions, herself. She may choose not to accept, but some professional help / a different perspective, might at least help you to come to terms with all of this.


Maybe you could suggest she join TuD. People here who understand.

Nothing you can do change another adult’s behavior, as painful as it is watch someone you love not taking care of herself.

I’m a Type 1 and also the mother of a Type 1. I took it at 10 and she took it at 11. She’s now (soon to be 22) and really dosen’t do that well with control. I just ask her politly what she’s doing with her d care sometimes she answers and sometimes she dosen’t. I have got the feeling that there isn’t much I can do about it so I let her do it.

I can kinda speak for your daughter here. I’m a bit older than her but not much. She will have to get a grip on it herself. I had to my mom tried all she could do but until I decided to lesson it was worthless.

I’m so sorry you’re going through this…I’m a 38 year t1 vet (diagnosed at 2), and I also went through a rebellious phase neglecting my health, and paid for it in the long run. But luckily I turned myself around quickly enough that most of my complications stabilized.

I’m guessing, like the others said, that she’s going through depression. I’d also suggest she join TuD, or start reading diabetes blogs, get more involved in the diabetes community so that she can see that she’s not alone, that there are so many people who struggle every day with the exact same issues and come out on top, succeed in living happy, successful lives along with taking good care of themselves.

You might also want to make sure she understands how horrible and helpless you feel watching her neglect her health, how much it worries you. It sounds bad, maybe, but guilt is a great motivator…(Does she have a husband who could help with this motivation? The more in person support she can get, the better.)

Once she takes the first steps in getting back in control, and gets support from other diabetics, it’ll be much easier maintaining that control. The first step is always the hardest though, just like dieting. Good luck, Dee. I really hope she turns herself around soon…

No problem. I didnt mean for that to sound down and depressing. Its just that she must realize that she needs help, and then know where to go for that help. Im sure she will have no problem finding that in you. You have showed that you care (to us) by trying to seek help for her. Thats a sure sign that you love and care for her. And thats also step number one right there…It will get better if you show her that you care and why you care. She will come around, but persistance is the key.

Is there something in your life you’d like to change/ get better at? Maybe if you work on something for yourself, and ask for her help, you’ll be modeling the strength it takes to change. She might feel closer to you that she’s part of your support team and express her own concerns along the process.

If she feels needed, rather than a source of worry for you, maybe she’ll find the strength in herself.

Just a thought… good luck!

Wow, I feel like I can relate to her situation. I was diagnosed at 20 and hit a serious denial phase starting in my late 30s into my early 40s. Nobody could tell me anything, because none of it felt real to me.

As horrible a thought as your daughter going through these things is, sometimes it takes a step on the toes (neuropathy), maybe a slap in the face (retinopathy), or an old fashioned kidney punch (microalbuminura) to wake someone up and bring them home to the realities of the situation if they haven’t already experienced them.

Sorry I have no other advice for you but you and your daughter are certainly not alone, and many people have come out of this and prospered.

Thanx to all of you for your feedback. I appreciate all of the responses. You have given me food for thought!

I can really sympathize with your daughter… I’ve found myself. most of my life. in the cycle of dealing with, then not dealing with, my diabetes… For me, sometimes it’s a combination of feeling overwhelmed. anxious, and exhausted dealting with the diabetes versus feeling the desire to just LIVE MY LIFE.

More guilt, IMO, will NOT help. To me, having someone I love tell me that the way I care for myself (or don’t ) is making them upset and miserable would just be one more cherry on the really big “Guilt Sundae”. Most of us, by the time we’ve dealt with the D for 20+ years know WHAT to do - however, if she is like me, she probably needs a new reality check for what she can expect from her diabetes… I’ve been through endos (and family docs) who told me back in the late 80’s early 90’s that the best I could hope for with my sugars was to get under an 8 a1c and aim for under 200 “most of the time”… Now we know more, there’s better meds, there’s more informatoin - it’s easy for us long-time diabetics to stagnate and not try the new treatments or follow the newer guidelines. Tudiabetes gave me information I DESPERATELY needed… Currently my a1c is a 7.8 (not the best, but FAR from the worst I ever had) and improving with each endo visit.

Another consideration would be her endocrinologist… Are they giving her what she needs to live with and control her diabetes? or are they giving her lectures and fear tactics? SO much of my lack of control came from a feeling of overwhelming hopelessness from doctors who LITERALLY yelled at me when my numbers made them believe I was “noncompliant” I was asked if I had a “death wish,” I was told that I’d lose my legs, my kidneys and my life.

When I FIRST started talking about getting my sugar under control to look ahead to getting pregnant in a couple of years, the doctor looked at me and said, “Do you have a death wish? Did you SEE Steel Magnolias? Diabetics should NEVER have children!” Not only did I feel like a “bad diabetic,” but I drove around town for over an hour, crying my heart out, feeling like a subhuman. My “TYPE” should not procreate - I was not worthy…

Then I found doctors who essentially patted me on the head and said, “Oh well, you do your best - looking at your past, you probably just can’t get better control.” I stuck with that for a while, because it hurt so much less than the guilt that I’d felt with the other type of docs…

What I needed was reassurance that I could improve, without condemnation for being where I was…

Part of that mindset, however, is internal - and again, Tudiabetes HELPED! Seeing others who had been through poor control and denial, complications (or not), and then made improvements and found some hope for the future has offered me REAL HOPE that I can do the same.

Does your daughter have children? If she does, she KNOWS that she needs to care for herself, to be around for them - sometimes, however, it feels SELFISH to take time and money to go to all the doctor’s appointments, to buy all the medical supplies you need, to go home early so you can go to bed and get 8 hours sleep, etc. when you’re also trying to pretend to be a “normal” mother to your kids, a “normal” spouse to your husband…

Anyone who is not diabetic (though parents of diabetics understand WAY more than most, and parents of young children with diabetes have a struggle that is equal or beyond, in my opinion) can not understand the CONSTANCY of this disease… the never-ending; morning, noon and night; 24/7 of it. I feel pressured sometimes to suspend my diabetic care because everyone around me is so obviously sick of hearing about it. Then, if I’m not doing all I should, I wake up at 2 in the morning wondering if my family will resent me for not doing it all “right” when I’m gone - or when they have to provide care for me someday if I can’t do it for myself.

Intervention? It seems to me that intervention is for people who don’t realize they have a problem… If that’s where she TRULY is… it’s probably a good idea. Otherwise, I’d suggest support and counseling.

If she (or you) would just like to talk to someone who’s been there… and still is… drop me a note. I don’t have answers, but I have good days and bad days and a listening ear.

I wish you all the best - and I have a great respect for you in your desire to encourage your daughter and your concerns for her…


I about lost my foot last year. I don’t think a lot of people consider the consequences. Trying to get around with a foot bandaged up by myself was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Nothing is too much trouble until you lose limbs or even your eyesight. I currently have a cataract at 43. It really comes on fast! Give her my regards.

She is old enough, Mom, to make her own choices. Due to HIPPA laws, you can’t talk to her doctor about it, unless you have a very personal relationship with that doc. All you can do is pray, hope, serve good foods when she is eating at your house and then be there when she does crash, and she will. If you want to give her something for a BD present or Christmas, a membership in a gym so that she does get some exercise…but that’s about it. Sorry to say, we have to sit back and watch our children journey down those roads and then pray. I have a saying when one of my sons is doing something that I have a very hard time with, in the Bible, it says that “Mary pondered all these things in her heart” Meaning, to me, that as a mother Mary watched Jesus grow up, and make his own mistakes, or do his heavenly father’s business, and kept them in her heart.
It’s about all we can do, too. I’ll pray for you both.

Hi Thank you so much for your imput. I am happy to report that my daughter is back on the pump and has signed papers to get a newer more advanced pump. She has gone back to her endocrinologist and is back on the right track. She does have 3 childen and a part time job. I cannot imagine trying to keep all this in balance along with her diabetes.

All I can hope for is that she sticks with it and eats healthier. As for now, my prayers have been answered. My heart goes out to all diabetics and I hope to see a cure for this awful disease in my lifetime!