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Adult sibling that can’t cope with life

(73 Posts)
Raella50 Wed 01-Jul-20 19:02:14

I’m just wondering if there’s anyone in a similar boat and if you’ve found any way of helping. Mainly I’m concerned for my parents. They’re getting on now, they’re we’re older parents to begin with and are in their late 70s now. My sister is 35 and seemingly never grew up. She is incapable of holding down a job, taking care of a house or just coping with life really! She never finished school, was always in trouble and is an emotional rollercoaster to put it politely. My parents have spent her whole life “fixing” everything for her. She’s ALWAYS in some sort of financial mess, has no friends, can’t form a lasting relationship and is currently back living with my parents. They are so, so, so stressed out and I feel awful for her. Over the years I have done lots for her, including trying to help her socialise with my friends, getting her jobs where I was working in bars whilst I was at uni, spending time with her and listening to her rant and rant about life. I really struggle with her though because she’s not just so NASTY to me. Well, she’s like that with everyone but I just can’t bear it’s. My husband hates her, my friends hate her, everyone hates her... to be fair she’s been absolutely disgusting to people over the years. I do think she needs professional help of some sort by she refuses to listen and threatens suicide if you try to persuade her to reach out for support. M parents are at the end of their tether and I feel sad for them in lockdown with her and supporting her financially in their pensions. Any advice welcome I’m at a complete loss.

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hotstepper4 Fri 03-Jul-20 07:53:59

This sounds exactly like my brother.

He is also 35, never worked long term, never had a partner, doesn't understand how money works so blows through his universal credit in days then keeps asking my dm for loans. He lives with my dad, has never moved out and has no friends. He is prone to violence and lashing out, and like your sister will threaten suicide if you moan at him about all this.

He's obsessed with his PS4 and plays it all day.

He has Asbergers Syndrome which is a type of autism. Is it possible your sister could have ASD? Something about what you wrote screams this to me.

TheLegendOfZelda Fri 03-Jul-20 08:03:49

Is she claiming benefits? If not, a diagnosis is very helpful (asd?, depression, personality disorder, who knows) You can phone her GP and explain the issues then try and go with her. If you look into being her appointee then you can claim benefits on her behalf, if she is not capable of doing it herself (and if she isn't already, that suggests she can't manage to claim for whatever reason). So that would be something to consider to lessen the financial burden. It also then leads to housing benefit (or the equivalent) and a way for her to live independent of your parents
If she threatens suicide, phone for medical help. Each and every time. If she is violent, phone the police and tell your parents GP
You could also consider a social worker for the family if your parents are at risk of elder abuse. It's very common

Raella50 Fri 03-Jul-20 09:34:28

Hi thanks for your replies. She does claim benefits, I think she gets £80/ week which my parents say she spends on “crap”. She can’t manage to buy food for herself even. She spends any money she’s given immediately on the first shiny thing she sees and then cries that she can’t look after herself. She’s signed up for everything going (catalogues, finance deals etc) and owes a lot of money. She’s a total nightmare for my parents having to try and bail her out constantly. I would definitely believe she has autism but how on Earth can you force an adult to be assessed? Can I phone her GP?? I didn’t think they’d eohld even talk to me. The issue is she has never been diagnosed with anything at all despite always being this way.

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hotstepper4 Fri 03-Jul-20 09:36:09

@Raella50 she can definitely speak to the gp about being assessed. My brother wasn't diagnosed until he was in his late twenties. Everything about what you've written points to this.

Raella50 Fri 03-Jul-20 09:36:20

Also she was claiming housing benefit at one point. She moved out and was renting with this housing benefit supporting her and she even had a job. She stopped working secretly, let the rent go unpaid and was kicked out. Now she’s back with my parents and they’ve had to bail out her housing debt too. They are pensioners!!

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Raella50 Fri 03-Jul-20 09:37:43

@hotstepper4 but if she won’t go herself? If she won’t see there’s an issue? Is there nothing I/ my parents ca do?

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fascinated Fri 03-Jul-20 09:37:50

Read up on boundaries. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. If you swoop in and fix things every time you’re enabling the behaviour. She needs to see that actions have consequences.

fascinated Fri 03-Jul-20 09:38:32

She needs to present as homeless next time. Her parents shouldn’t take her in.

hotstepper4 Fri 03-Jul-20 09:42:55

@Raella50 no unfortunately if she refuses to seek help herself there's not much you can do. I know how frustrating it is. I'm pretty much nc with my brother, I know it's not all his fault how he acts but I can't stand the stress he puts on my mum. It's hard. By all means you could call the gp for advice though

Raella50 Fri 03-Jul-20 09:44:12

@fascinated I agree but then they won’t see her on the street. They are getting on and very stressed out by it all. I see my parents at breaking point to be honest. They are absolutely gutted by her behaviour.

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Raella50 Fri 03-Jul-20 09:49:16

@hotstepper4 I completely understand. I can’t bear my sister either, she can be lovely and then two minutes later really horrible!! She’s aggressive, screaming all the time and has pushed me over in the street when we were younger. It doesn’t matter what I do for her, she tells anyone who will listen that I don’t do enough. So honestly, I’m not continuing the relationship with her. I can’t. I want to support my parents if I can but it’s draining to listen to them moaning every phone call when they won’t say “no” to her. She’s such a drain on the whole family.

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fascinated Fri 03-Jul-20 09:49:23

But she won’t be on the street. The council have a duty to house her.

Raella50 Fri 03-Jul-20 09:57:22

Well maybe in a bnb room or something. I think basically there’s nothing we can do unless my parents are willing to throw her out and see her end up wherever she does. They won’t do that. It’s just horrible to watch.

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averythinline Fri 03-Jul-20 10:04:31

There is nothing you can do .. your parents are adults and are choosing to do this... all you can do is choose how you react to them moaning etc whether you just empathise or ask them not to talk about it if they won't change what they do.....

I think you will need to be very clear that you will not be picking up their role with your sister and they would be better preparing her for adulthood..
They are really not doing her any favours at all .. what do they think is going to happen after they die? You may have to have some open and honest conversations with them...

Raella50 Fri 03-Jul-20 10:24:14

I think you’re right! We have had many conversations over the years. My parents say that when they die they’ll leave their house to us both jointly and think that she’ll be ok because of that. Doesn’t that sound like a nightmare in itself though?! I mean, she wouldn’t be able to cope there on her own. Even if I signed my half over to her and left her th house, she wouldn’t be able to pay the basic bills and feed herself. She is that ridiculous. Am I going to be the evil sister who sells the house, splits the money to give her half and makes her homeless in the process? I don’t believe he’d get a mortgage. Ahhhhh honestly I can just see her becoming my responsibility. It’s so unfair. She’s not even nice to me! Last year for her birthday I turned up with a thoughtful present, card and helium balloon and offered to take her out for the day. She said everyone would be looking at her (she’s paranoid about people judging her) and she’d prefer to stay in, drink tea and have a natter so I did that. I was there the whole day!! Popped out for food and wine later on. Left with a big cuddle. Then two days later she called me crying about something else. I couldn’t stay on the phone and she lashed out at me saying I never talk to her, I’m a total selfish bitch blah blah. I reminded her about her birthday and how we’d caught up and she just denied it even happened!!! I mean what!!!! What’s the point even?!

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Nellydean21 Fri 03-Jul-20 10:31:05

OP I empathise completely, similar situation with a brother. Again no work, no friends, few social skills. Been bailing him out emotional all my life. Hes 54 and has never left home, cant cook or clean etc.

Fir my own sanity I have cut him off without him knowing. I refuse to take care of him when my parents die. It's sad but it only causes me extreme pain and I'm sick of it.

You have to protect yourself. And you do hear of people who suddenly cope when they have to.

Raella50 Fri 03-Jul-20 10:35:56

@Nellydean21 thanks for sharing. I’m not sure what I was hoping from this thread really, I just needed to get it out. My parents have been calling a lot recently saying she’s really really low and mentions me a lot saying i dont care. I know she’s manipulating the situation and wanting them to say this to me so I go to visit her. That sounds as though I hate her but I’ve just had enough of it’s. I have my own children, husband, friends, career... a life! I don’t want to be her carer. Maybe I would’ve been if she’d been nice to me.. I actually can’t bear her!! It’s awful.

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Nellydean21 Fri 03-Jul-20 10:45:14

It's a terrible burden, one you didn't create yet feel obliged to. I have lessened that obligation in my head and heart. Shes not your responsibility.

Raella50 Fri 03-Jul-20 10:48:00

You’re right. Thank you, I really appreciate you replying with your similar experience - I don’t know anyone in real life with siblings like mine. I’m sorry you’ve had to live with the same.

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houseforanartlover Fri 03-Jul-20 10:48:38

This sounds really hard. Just to say that you don't have to tolerate toxic relatives just because they are related to you, whether they be parents or siblings. You owe her nothing - if people behave intolerably, they don't get to be part of your life. You and your parents seem to be feeling guilt for her situation, but she's an adult and has abused and rejected your offers of help and support. It's ok to say 'enough'. You can't make that choice for your parents but you can make it for yourself. Good luck!

annabel85 Fri 03-Jul-20 10:52:36


This sounds exactly like my brother.

He is also 35, never worked long term, never had a partner, doesn't understand how money works so blows through his universal credit in days then keeps asking my dm for loans. He lives with my dad, has never moved out and has no friends. He is prone to violence and lashing out, and like your sister will threaten suicide if you moan at him about all this.

He's obsessed with his PS4 and plays it all day.

He has Asbergers Syndrome which is a type of autism. Is it possible your sister could have ASD? Something about what you wrote screams this to me.

Sounds like the OP sister has a personality disorder.

JMAngel1 Fri 03-Jul-20 10:58:25

Why does bad behaviour require a label? Maybe she's just lazy and irresponsible and needs a huge kick up her behind?

Fatted Fri 03-Jul-20 10:59:42

The only way you can get help for her from social services etc is to cut her off. While there is family there to support her fob her off onto social services won't get involved.

It probably does sound cruel, but it's something you need to do for your own sanity. Colleague of mine has had similar with their elderly parent. They'd been propping them up for years. Since lockdown, they've not been able to do everything they would usually and it's ended up with social services involvement. Colleague is secretly relieved because they are finally getting some much needed help and support with it all.

Isthisfinallyit Fri 03-Jul-20 11:01:29

Sometimes people need to be left alone till they hit rock bottom and finally decide to do something for themselves. Keeping on saving people from their own decisions doesn't teach them anything. If anything your parents should have stopped baling her out a decade ago.

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