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To think my mother might be causing sister's poor mental health?

(19 Posts)
Heroine Mon 27-Dec-10 14:03:23

I moved away from my home area and home when I was 18 and my sister didn't. My parents were and still are very controlling and interfering. My sister is about 38 now and has never lived more than a few miles away from either her parents or her husband's parents. A few years ago her husband pushed really hard to move into the same street as his mother, who took over a lot of the childcare, but then also started cooking her son's (my sister's husband's) lunches for work, and elbowing my sister out of the housework.

My sister's husband was also a very silent uncommunicative man who pretty much agreed and did what his mother suggested.

When I was 16 my mother latched on to my boyfriend at the time and when he and I had finished kept inviting him round, and wrote letters to hin, then would try to tell me 'what a wonderful guy he was' etc. Even after I was several boyfriends later this still continued.

Recently my sister's husband has divorced my sister because of her mental health issues (unreasonable behaviour?!) and left her to rot in a mental health hospital without visiting her. IN hospital my sister met another guy and had a bit of a thing going.

Now my sister is out of hospital and has said that she doesn't really want to continue in a relationship with the guy she met in hospital. My mother, though, has stayed in contact with him, encourage him to look for a flat for him and my sister, and .. wait for it.. then arranged for him to move into a flat my mum's husband (not my dad) owns and lets out - this flat is about 500 yards from my mum's house.

On boxing day my sister and I went to my mum's house, and this former boyfriend turns up. My mum invites him in, gives him christmas presents similar and more expensive than mine, and then sends him and my sister out to go 'under the mistletoe' even though my sister is a) depressed and b) doesn't want anything to do with him. There is then about a 20 minute uncomfortable time when this boyfriend is 'encouraging' her to go oout for a meal with him, when all her body language is saying shut up and go away. I tried to interrupt, but he kept on with this 'decisde where we are having a meal tomorrow' etc... with her withdrawing obviously into a 'fuck off and go away' quiet.

He then put his arm round her - she looked at the carpet and tilted away - he kept on trying to hug her. If I tried to interrupt he still continued. Then it got so uncomfortable, my sister said 'could you go' which was ace -= then my mum invited him round today! and said that he should spend some time with her!!

This is just awful and reminded me of when boys you hated hassled you at school but you were supposed to be 'polite' and not tell them to fuck off.

Its really worrying that at 38 my mum is still doing this crap.

Am I being unreasonable to think that this can't have helped my sister - I have been away from this area for 20 years and didn't have any idea how much my sister's life was being overrun by my parents.

What, if anything could I do about this??

BitOfFun Mon 27-Dec-10 14:13:45

Speak to your sister about how she should speak to her CPN ec about this issue and get some support to break free? If she is having any therapy, it is definitely an issue she should be exploring. Building a decent network of social support is going to be important too, and the CPN might have some ideas about groups she can join. Then you just have to look out for her yourself a bit more, I guess.

Your mum won't change though. She sounds just awful.

gingerjam Mon 27-Dec-10 14:15:37

Your sister sounds like she should move out of the area altogether.

Does she ever talk about her mental health issues to you? Do you think she would move out of the area? It sounds like a very complex situation tbh.

Your mum's actions sound very controlling and borderline abusive. It is either she doesn't understand your sisters problems or thinks she is helping.

It is something of a question of free will. They are not allowing her to make her choices but then it sounds like she does not make healthy choices. I think sometimes when a sibling leaves the family the remaining child feels like they have to stay.

I think you need to sit down and ask her what she wants? Also if she has had a shelter mummy led life she might not be able to visualise all the possibilities so help her to think/talk out all the possibilities for the future.
Good luck

Heroine Mon 27-Dec-10 14:18:21

Thanks for advice, but I live in an area where drugs are happily paid for, but therapists aren't. When I asked if a therapist would help I was told 'no we recommend drugs' then when I said 'so if I paid for one would you recommend one then' they said 'oh yes we think that would be excellent' so I asked why they hadn't recommended and they said that they don't recommend what they don't provide because 'that would be silly' then I said why don't you have a therapist' and they said 'because so few people would benefit' (i.e because they haven't recommmended it enough!)

Heroine Mon 27-Dec-10 14:24:35

I think there is something in the 'not allowing to make choices' My dad tell you that whatever choice you make it is wrong (eg I wanted to buy a mini when I was 20 and he said 'you'll be buying old technology at today's prices' or if you decide to paint a wall in your house its 'yes but it will look like someone's just messed about and that will bring the price down' etc etc.) My mum will just make choices for you. This has been the first christmas where what I do hasn't been arranged between my dad and my mum without my input, and then me getting told off when their plans don't fit mine (one year my dad even turned up at my house 'to pick me up' without telling me he was coming and I got home to irate phone messages about how I had deliberately been out in order to humiliate him, he continues to 'tell me off' when I next saw him - and this was when I was about 30.

I think my sister should run away - as I did, but this mental health condition gives my mum full control - not only that, but the whole conversation all boxing day was about my sister's 'problems' and that in ittself was wrist-slitting talk -

Heroine Mon 27-Dec-10 14:25:48

btw gingerjam your last point is definitely true,,,

HecTheHallsWithBoughsOfHolly Mon 27-Dec-10 14:26:18

can your sister come to live with you? Then you can hopefully get her into her own accomodation near you and away from them?

Heroine Mon 27-Dec-10 14:30:33

sadly i'm not far away either at the moment - they only stay away from me because i threatened legal action in the past

HecTheHallsWithBoughsOfHolly Mon 27-Dec-10 14:32:40

And you still spend time with them? You choose to do this? I don't understand.

FakePlasticTrees Mon 27-Dec-10 14:42:30

Could you invite your sister to stay with you for a while? Give her some space to think for herself.

missismonky Mon 27-Dec-10 14:53:17

Your poor sister. She sounds like she's in a position where she is less than powerless. Even if she was capable of thinking about choices, and what she might wish for in life, those thoughts would just be dismissed and overridden.

Does she have any outpatient appointments with the hospital or a community nurse? I think she really needs some help.

The situation you described with the man's arm around her seems like a condensed version of her whole life, 'I have to sit here and tolerate this, I want to say "fuck off" to everyone, but I have no idea how to do that. ' If you can find any way to support her, you should. I'm sorry you've both had such a hard time with these people. Awful.

classydiva Mon 27-Dec-10 14:53:49

OMG your mother caused the illness to start with.

Can you not get your sister away from her she does not need to be with someone so controlling.

Your mother sounds like a total asshole. Sorry but she is hindering your sisters progress, is probably the main cause of it.

Mental Illness starts in puberty, the teen years and is born of how we are brought up, how we are taught to manage things, everything we see, do hear in our teens shapes the way we are as adults.

God your mother needs a slap. You are right to be concerned.

Spinkle Mon 27-Dec-10 17:04:20

This is tricky.

Now, I have a sister with mental health problems. She goes from relationship to relationship without a lot of thought. I believe she would rather be with a complete arse than on her own.

My mother has colluded in this a bit. For one, telling my sister NOT to do something usually has the opposite effect. Secondly, my sister, being as difficult as she is, is hooked up with a 'keeper' which keeps her on the 'straight and narrow' (according to my mum)

Maybe your ma is trying to promote this relationship because she (misguidedly) believes it will make your sister happy and take her off her hands for a while?

gingerjam Tue 28-Dec-10 00:18:10

heroine, it sounds to me like your sister is a product of her upbringing and that would could possibly indicate a personality disorder. I don't know her so please don't be offended. It is very hard to reverse when people have been negatively programmed by controlling parenting, it can take 5-10 years of re conditioning. I'm going on the upbringing and relationship info you gave.

If she has simply (ha!) been diagnosed with depression then you should try conditioning behavioural therapy (CBT). It would help with decision making and releasing the free will. It is hard when mental health teams are drug based but it is usually because the therapy they have had closed down previously was awful. Talking therapies are a varied success. Psychoanalytic therapy would be bad.

The mental health system is about to undergo a massive overhaul in february where the funding will change. It is worth shopping around your area for a gp who is mental health sympathetic and finding a local private cbt therapist via etc.

hideyhideynamechange Tue 28-Dec-10 00:24:47

God. I never think it is as simple as parents causing mental illness. It is also quite possible that your sister is not able to function without a lot of the interference that you were able to break away from. She deserves a chance to try though - it sounds awful.

How much help can you offer her - realistically and longterm? What professional support does she currently have?

monkeyflippers Tue 28-Dec-10 09:55:02

I don't know what to suggest! You sister needs to get away from there!

saffy85 Tue 28-Dec-10 10:01:09

Your poor sister! Sounds like she needs some therapy to boost her self esteem otherwise she'll never be able to stang up for herself. It's sad the NHS would rather fork out for drugs than therapy (although most of their mental health teams are beyond crap ime).

My mum went to confidence building classes a few years ago that really helped think she heard about them through her GP. Could you maybe visit DSis' GP with her and ask about things like this? Can't remember the exact names of the classes blush but GP might be able to suggest something.

RectalNourishment Tue 28-Dec-10 10:18:11

what about iapt, can't she refer self (or via gp maybe)?

PigValentine Tue 28-Dec-10 10:25:54

My sister has mental health problems and a personality disorder, stemming from problems from a very early age. She is easily influenced, finds it hard to make even simple decisions, and finds it difficult to organise herself. I can imagine how a controlling boyfriend or parent could easily exploit this. I think you can help your sister by staying in close contact with her, encouraging her to stand up for heself, and supporting her - she has probably been really ground down by your parents negativity, and you could really give her a boost. It is a shame counselling has not been made available, as I think that is what your sister really needs.

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