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Worried about the relationship between mother and sister

(9 Posts)
31yoson Thu 26-Nov-15 14:57:48

My initial hope was that you could point me towards some literature to help my mother understand the issues surrounding depression, anxiety and substance abuse. I feel that this is totally incomprehensible to her.

My mother is the most loving, caring individual and would do anything for her children. The biggest problem she faces is the feeling of helplessness, not knowing how to fix things.

She is a somewhat bullish person, she sees a problem and confronts it head on. My sister once approached her with problems in her marriage and instead of providing the proverbial shoulder to cry on she marched over to their house and demanded results. I suspect her mother would have done the same so in a sense she's enacting learned behaviours. In her mind I genuinely think she thought that was the right thing to do. For people of her generation this may well have been perceived as the correct course of action. The advances in psychological sciences over the last 30 years I fear has now proved this to be erroneous. The result unfortunately is this bridge between them when perhaps it is needed the most. Her actions were clearly not the correct course of action and more importantly has lead to a breakdown in meaningful discourse.

My mother drinks regularly but never to the point where she is visibly intoxicated and has always had the propensity to say 'enough is enough'. She is not an alcoholic. At least not a dysfunctional alcoholic (to which many of us can attest!). My sister is morbidly obese, smokes and occasionally drinks to excess. A ticking time bomb. To make maters worse it is less easy to hide and I believe holds her back in the eyes of society, particularly the job market). Our father died through alcoholism and alone.

I feel that if my mother were to better understand the highly nuanced and circular nature between depression, anxiety substance abuse it may help to rectify the situation. I lack the knowledge and communication skills the address the situation myself. I do not feel as though I can allow tragedy befall our family once again.

Despite being a childless man, I hope your collective wisdom might provide me with some pointers. Particularly with regard to the literature as what with Christmas coming up my mum has read all of the Agatha Christie novels and my sister has all the scented candle money can buy!

Yours Hopefully

EmmanuelleMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 28-Nov-15 12:30:36

We are moving this thread to the Relationships topic, where we hope you will get some replies OP.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Sat 28-Nov-15 13:05:02

I wonder if the best thing to do is to be as blunt with your mother, as she can be with everyone else.

Maybe find some respected literature to back you up (something on how to succeed in persuasion, or something; essentially something that gets the message over that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar!)

But then to speak to her that feeling of helplessness is awful. Would your mum be open to you acknowledging that straight up? might it be a relief to her, or would she shut it down?

Either way, I think maybe the way forward now is quite straightforwardly telling her that you know she loves you both dearly and wants to try to help you sister, but another approach is more likely to have success than the one she has at the moment. It can be done neutrally and kindly. Right now her way isn't working. Its creating more of a gap and meaning that your mum's love isn't being as healing as it could be.

There are also some good books on depression available, though I'm not au fait with the current best-thought-of ones. Maybe a smallish book on How to Handle Someone With Depression would help.

Have you tried talking to your sister yourself, or pushing her towards a talking therapy or the doctor? Wondering if one/ a mix of medication or talking would help her.

Good luck, your sister sounds pretty lost atm

pocketsaviour Sat 28-Nov-15 14:54:49

So has your sister asked you to help with her being a fat, chain smoking jobless scourge on society then?

Or are you just sticking your oar in because you think she shouldn't be allowed to make her own decisions?

Your mum likes a drink.
Your sister likes a pie.
You like writing on an internet forum aimed at mums, in the style of a Jane Austen novel.

We all have our funny little habits hmm

random256 Sat 28-Nov-15 18:53:29

OP is concerned about his family pocket-why the very nasty response? Anything to do with him being a man?

31yoson. Sadly you can't fix everything. I would suggest that you try to talk to your mother straight and tell her that blundering in won't help, even if done with good intentions. As for your sister-you can only give non-judgmental support but without protecting her from consequences.

*I cannot let tragedy befall my family again*--sadly you don't have the power to prevent it. Give what support you can but have boundaries and look after yourself.

Does my writing style meet with your approval, pocket? Those sorts of remarks are bad enough on AIBU.

People post in relationships because they are worried and upset.

springydaffs Sat 28-Nov-15 19:08:22

But your style is a bit odd op. It's hard not to mention it.

So, are you saying your mum has been bullish with your sister? Or that she may be?

pocketsaviour Sat 28-Nov-15 20:04:46

Random people post on here for support.

The people in OP's post who need support, aren't posting. And OP comes across very judgy towards his sister, in my view.

Still have no idea what he actually wants, nor whether he's a time traveller.

31yoson Sat 28-Nov-15 22:13:46

Thank you to all of you you who offered kind, constructive messages. Something like How to Handle Someone with Depression sounds like a very fruitful starting point.

To those of you who think I have no place here as I lack a uterus I would suggest you research feminism in the modern era. You are clearly very small-minded and probably trolls?

As for my writing style, I apologise profusely for arousing any sense of inferiority. This was not my intent, I wanted to make my point clear and provide some background for the issues I was seeking to rectify.

springydaffs Sat 28-Nov-15 23:04:33

Did anybody say you don't belong on here bcs you're a man? I didn't notice that op.

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