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No idea how to handle my sister

(42 Posts)
whatkungfuthat Mon 21-Jan-13 21:51:29

This may be long, sorry, and I can't be bothered to name change so if it outs me in RL so be it.

My eldest sister is deaf (is relevant) and lives independently in an old people's bungalow, they let her have it early due to her difficulties. She has always been very single minded and quite cold and selfish. She would strip our elderly mother of all her money and assets given the chance and doesn't seem to feel any kind of shame or embarrassment. She can also fly into very violent rages, this broke up her marriage. We seem to lurch from one drama to another with her and her behaviour can be appalling but the latest is quite worrying:

She has a number of those plastic storage boxes/lockable sheds in her garden and a few weeks before Xmas one fell over and broke the neighbours fence, all her neighbours are elderly. The neighbour has been more than reasonable and has said she would get the fence replaced but has asked my sister for a nominal amount to replace the single panel, which my sister initially agree to. Now she has decided that she won't pay and basically expects someone else to, in the past this would have been our late DF. She doesn't have money issues so paying isn't the problem. My other sister, who lives nearer, has been the interpreter/go-between and has tried to explain she must pay as the neighbour is quite within her rights to sue. She doesn't believe that this will happen as she thinks that being deaf somehow excuses her. This is a constant theme. She has also been throwing rubbish into the woman's garden and, quite rightly, the neighbour called the police. The neighbour has pictures of my sister doing it. When the police arrived she flew into a rage and the officer showed her his handcuffs as he thought it would calm her down. She just laughed in his face, not believing she could be arrested. There has now been another incident and the police have been called tonight. I am trying to find out the details. If we challenge her on her behaviour she refuses to listen or attempts to become violent, apart from with me (I had to restrain her once when she attacked our DF so she knows her threats won't work). I have texted her to tell her that she could lose her home as the police are involved and the neighbours can complain to the housing association but she just ignores it. She goes round all her friends complaining and seeking validation until she finds someone who agrees with her, this is then enough to convince her she is in the right, she truly believes her disability protects her from any kind of consequences. I guess what I am worried about is that if she gets evicted she will end up back with my DM, which will kill my DM.

I am not unsympathetic to her needs, I have an autistic DS. The reason I have mentioned her disability is that she believes it absolves her from any consequences and in the past this has been true as my DF used to drop everything and run. Can anyone suggest anything we can do to or any kind of intervention please? She has support workers but they keep leaving due to her aggression. My BIL will pay for the fence but that is not really the issue.

TheFallenNinja Mon 21-Jan-13 21:56:23

I strongly believe in learning by the consequences of your actions.

I would be inclined to let the neighbour deal with it as they see fit.

pixi2 Mon 21-Jan-13 22:02:20

Let her live her life the hard way? I'm partially deaf (vaccinate children, this is what happens if you don't). It not an excuse. I have a bonkers sister too who everyone tiptoes around. Sounds harsh but maybe some professional somewhere along the route would refer her for a psych assessment?

ImperialBlether Mon 21-Jan-13 22:03:49

Me too. Your sister's deafness is the least of her problems. Your poor mum will be worrying about her moving back in with her - is there anything she can do to preempt that now?

She is old enough for you not to step in. Maybe you should have left her to it years ago and she would have learnt by now.

Step away, allow her to sink or swim, she is an adult and you are facilitating this behaviour!

Arseface Mon 21-Jan-13 22:40:31

If OP steps away and allows Dsis to take the consequences, she may well be evicted and their DM will have to house her.

OP, is there any way your DM could be persuaded not to take your sis in?
Even if you get this current crisis sorted, it sounds like it's only a matter of time before she's facing eviction again.

ImperialBlether Mon 21-Jan-13 22:45:53

Her mum won't have to house her - she may feel that she should, but she doesn't have to. It's time for them all to stand up to her.

That's the problem with people like her DSis, I have one too who was sheltered from the consequence of her actions until everyone stepped away.

It didn't take long for her to change and no one died in the process!

Theoldtriangle Tue 22-Jan-13 06:47:44

My dsis was diagnosed with ms over 15 yrs ago and has been using this as an excuse to be an even bigger pill ever since. Violent towards me and her mother, who minded her until she broke down and died. My dsis has always refused treatment of any kind, therapy bounced off her and her carers have been many due to meanness and selfishness. She only has me now and I have set boundaries to how she can treat me and this has helped both of us I think. Her personality will never change but you and your mother need to protect yourselves.

whatkungfuthat Tue 22-Jan-13 07:30:34

Thank you for all your replies, I have been trying to find out what happened last night. No luck yet but I will speak to my other sister at lunchtime when she gets in from work. It wouldn't surprise me if the police called out the psych team as she rages so much. MadameCastafiore that is exactly it, she has been sheltered from the consequences for years by my parents, particularly my late DF. She tends not to try it with me as I am the youngest and was at home with her for longest before she got married so I know all her methods of getting what she wants and they don't work on me. I am also the only one who isn't scared of her physically when she kicks off, which seems to make a huge difference in her attitude towards me.

I have spoken at length to my DM about her moving back, DM is insisting she won't let her back but she is in her 80's and easily manipulated. When I sent the text to my sister last night one of the things I said was that if she was evicted then I wouldn't let her dump herself on our mum, and that our DM was too old to deal with her ridiculous nonsense. BIL is going to pay the neighbour, he has got to know her a bit and feels bad about her being out of pocket as well as everything else. I don't know what is going to happen about the rubbish and her raging. I know its harsh but I sometimes think a night in the cells would be the wake-up call she needs.

I am going to try and find the numbers for her key workers, she deliberately won't let anyone have them as she thinks we will plot against her! In reality its so we won't find out when another one has left due to her appalling behaviour.

HecateWhoopass Tue 22-Jan-13 07:34:58

Let the neighbour take legal action. let the police come. imo.

It would be best to not try to protect your sister from the consequences of her actions.

She needs to stop feeling like she can behave however the hell she likes and the world must bend around her.

whatkungfuthat Tue 22-Jan-13 07:42:08

I know you are right and that is basically my position too, I am just worried about what would happen if she were evicted. Would Social Services force my DM to take her in? Does anyone know how I could stop this happening?

HecateWhoopass Tue 22-Jan-13 07:50:39

No. Social services could not force your mum to take her in. No authority can force anyone to have anyone in their home.

They may try and pressure her to! Let's be honest! They may work hard to convince your mum that she 'has' to.

But that's where you come in and you say no way. Don't even TRY. My mum is 80whatever and frail and she doesn't need to have to look after my sister when she does <list all the ways your sister would damage and has damaged people and outline how it would affect your mum>. It's not fair to my mum to make her final years stressful and unhappy and basically put someone in her home who would verbally and financially abuse her.

You'll have to be the buffer. Prevent it from happening. Be a vocal pain in the arse grin

whatkungfuthat Tue 22-Jan-13 07:52:25

Thanks Hecate, I can do that. I'm good at it grin

HecateWhoopass Tue 22-Jan-13 07:53:49

No. You don't say wink

Branleuse Tue 22-Jan-13 07:55:20

I was reading it and thinking she sounds like shes on the autistic spectrum, then you said your ds was.

She sounds like she doesnt really understand or have much empathy for the people around her.

The problem when you have a serious disability, it tends to be that other comorbid disabilities or issues are overlooked

Branleuse Tue 22-Jan-13 07:56:03

*then you said your ds was, so therefore there is a family history....

whatkungfuthat Tue 22-Jan-13 08:14:43

I'm not sure what I can do about that though. You could be right but she has seen a huge number of doctors over the years and it has never been mooted as a possibility. She is very highly functioning in all the other areas of her life. She worked until recently and travels a lot independently with her on/off BF who has a similar condition. It seems that when something like this happens she just opts out. She doesn't want to pay the money, thinks the neighbour is being unreasonable and then kicks off at anyone who tries to intervene. This is her usual pattern but its more serious this time as she could lose her home.

drizzlecake Tue 22-Jan-13 09:01:57

Might she be rehomed (somewhere less desirable). If it's a HA home can the HA just evict her, or would the council be obliged to find somewhere else (if she is registered as disabled). Just thinking that elderly mother might not be obliged to house her. What about elderly mother moving into some sort of sheltered housing where Sis wouldn't be allowed to move in to.

Perhaps if there wasn't this option of moving in with DM available to sis she might be a bit more cautious.

I think I would chat to your GP, describe her behaviour and see if Doc thinks there could be any other health issues contributing to this.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Tue 22-Jan-13 09:19:22

Your BIL shouldn't pay the neighbout: where, in that plan, does your sister have to shoulder her own responsibilities?

Imaginethat Tue 22-Jan-13 09:24:38

Agreeing with branleuse, from your description your sister sounds as though she has mental health problems. A lot of mentally ill people end up in police cells if they are not first able to access help through the health service. V difficult if she isn't motivated to change her behaviour.

EmpressOfThePuddle Tue 22-Jan-13 09:55:44

Have you considered that SS's response might be to try to get you to take responsibility for her?

whitecloud Tue 22-Jan-13 10:34:05

whatkungfuthat - expressing my support. IME with dh's family, the disabled or disadvantaged person becomes very good at playing on other people's sympathy, especially dps, and all kinds of excuses are made for them. People outside the family always feel so sorry for the person with the disability. Fair enough, but their sympathy doesn't seem to extend much to family who have to put up with all their negative, difficult behaviour.

Three cheers for you for standing outside situation and seeing all this as it is, deciding that other family members have rights and taking the difficult path of standing up for your dps, who can no longer cope with what she is throwing at them. Think older people, especially, feel very responsible for adult disabled to the extent of bailing them out all the time. Sadly, they are not doing the person any favours, because no-one can live their life for them and they have to face up to the consequences of their actions in the end.

She is bright enough to know she can't get away with it with you. If everyone stands up to her, things might improve. Getting families to see that, however, is not easy. Bet she is an expert at manipulating your parents. Have every sympathy for mh problems etc, but everyone can do something to help themselves and climb out of them. If she doesn't want to, why should everyone else suffer?

Think you are quite right to resist pressure if authorities try to push her onto your dps to save money. It is too much for them and totally unfair.

whitecloud Tue 22-Jan-13 10:41:14

Very sorry - have just reread and realised your df is no longer here. Am sure it makes you even more determined to protect your dm.

SlatternismyMiddlename Tue 22-Jan-13 10:53:03

I agree with all the previous posters about your DS having to face the consequences of her actions. I think you biggest difficulty is going to be ensuring your DM does not cave to pressure to be DS's escape route.

Whilst you have a clear picture of what is appropriate and not appropriate behaviour and realise your DS cannot keep getting away with it your mother is in a much more awkward position. She is her mother - and with that carries a lifetime of guilt and responsisbilty that is not going to be easily ignored.

As the OP said, her DM can be manipulated. I would concentrate on helping your DM stand strong. Your DS is not going to change her behaviour and you will be beating your head off a brick wall if you try, I would concentrate on protecting your DM.

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