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My DSis and DM - v,v long but I'm begging you for some help as we're stuck.

(34 Posts)
BionicEmu Thu 18-Oct-12 16:27:08

I have no idea where the right place to post this is. I guess it's about the relationship between me, my mother and my sister, so it is about relationships, but not about my relationship with my DH (that'd be a whole other thread if I ever get up the courage to face it.) This is very, very long. I apologize for the length, but couldn't think of a way to phrase it all without inlcluding the back-story. And I guess it's more a problem with a situation rather than a question, so that doesn't help with the length!

My sister is 24. She moved out when she was 19, got a job in a pub and lived in the flat above all free of charge. So she was earning full-time minimum wage, and only paying out for council tax (about £70 a month). Even then she would call my mother up begging her for money for food. She somehow got a credit card with a £3500 limit, and my parents have paid that off for her twice.

Fast forward a few years, and the pub shut down so my sister was being made homeless. She moved back in with my parents, who in the meantime had moved cities (say, they all used to live in Birmingham but now in Manchester). For the first few months my sister didn't work, but refused to claim JSA. So she just moped around the house cadging money off of my parents for everything. My mum got her a job a few months ago, working in an office, full-time at around minimum wage. So she is now earning about £900 a month. She refuses to pay any money to parents for board. She has usually run out of money 2 weeks after pay day. The only things she seems to spend her money on is alcohol and cigarettes. She doesn't do clothes shopping(when she moved back in with my parents my mum spent a week trying to get the stains out of her clothes and repairing all the rips. She even bought her work clothes as she had nothing even vaguely respectable.) so it really seems that all her money goes on alcohol and fags, although I cannot see how that's possible.

I am sure she has a problem with alcohol, she can't go a day without drinking. The other week I was up there visiting my parents with my DS, and she had 2 pints of cider before going out to work (she was working an afternoon/evening shift).

The thing is, my sister's attitude towards my parents is disgusting. She does nothing but scream at them and blame them for her "crap life". She goes out drinking every night and expects my dad to go and pick her up. FGS, he works full-time himself, he shouldn't have to go out at 3am every morning just to pick her up. On the very rare occasion that she gets a different lift home, if it's the weekend and my dad is still up, she will rage at him "What are you still doing up? You should be in bed by now! Great, now I can't do anything because you're still up."

My mother is retired and ends up driving her to and from work every day. It's only a 30 minute bus ride but my sister refuses. Mum says if she doesn't drive her then she just won't go to work, so she'll lose her job. If mum tries to have a conversation with her, she just screams at her.

The real problem is that my sister claims she's miserable and has no friends (so who are all those people in the photos up on FB laughing with you then?). She for some reason blames my parents for her not being in Birmingham any more. Any time my parents try to talk to her about sorting herself out, she just says "I can't do anything when all I can think about is throwing myself under a bus." So she has my parents over a barrel. They're scared to do or say anything to upset her in case she kills herself. Meanwhile she lives the life of bloody Riley, not caring about anybody but herself.

I've suggested to my parents that they give her an ultimatum - buck up your attitude, start paying board and lodgings and act like an actual grown-up. But they won't, because she just threatens to kill herself. I've suggested they just stop giving her lifts everywhere, but again, they're scared of the repercussions.

My mum is retired, and my dad is about to be. They cannot afford to support her any more. Over the last 5 years they have given her over £50k. Yes, really, we sat down with their bank accounts and worked it out. That was supposed to be their retirement, but it's gone. Additionally, they should be spending their retirement pottering about in the garden and playing with their grandchildren (my children), not tiptoeing around my sister, worrying about money and being so stressed by it all that it brings on migraines.

So please, please I am begging anybody who has read this far, please help. What is the way forward? Is there any advice? Or thoughts?

SorryMyLollipop Thu 18-Oct-12 16:30:46

What's the age difference between you and your sister?

Is it possible she could be depressed?

Magrathea Thu 18-Oct-12 16:34:34

My first thought was to ask if your sister has seen a doctor as well? This sounds like serious depression or even bi-polar - especially if she has highs and lows.

She also sounds like an emotional leech and I would be worried about the health of your parents emotionally and physically.

I think, if everything is medically OK, then it is up to your parents to enforce tough love - Have you tried to talk to your sister about this?

Mayisout Thu 18-Oct-12 16:39:55

Can you go with her to Alcoholics Anonymous to get her started.
Can't see your DPs doing anything major if she is threatening suicide.
She sounds a mess.
You and /or DPs can speak to GP for a start. See what they suggest.

BionicEmu Thu 18-Oct-12 17:02:29

Thankyou for your replies.

She’s just turned 24, and I’m about to turn 27, so almost 3 years between us.

I have often wondered about the mental illness side of things. I’ve had a few bouts of severe depression, but I’m worried my own experience is colouring my view. For example, when I was very bad I didn’t have the energy or hope to leave the house, nevermind go out with friends (or not friends – who the heck knows?)

I tried talking to her on Tuesday, her and mum came to visit. I suggested that if she really did feel that bad then maybe she should try and get some help – maybe start off by seeing her GP. She just turned on me and raged right in my face “I’m not seeing any fucking doctor, I’m not taking any fucking pills so you can just fuck right off. They fucked you up anyway.” I don’t know where she got that idea from, I happily take my meds and as far as I’m concerned the doctors and psychiatrists saved my life. I said if she was honestly feeling that bad, then surely she doesn’t want to feel that way any more? But I just got more screaming “Just fuck off. It’s none of your business, it’s my life and I can do what I like!” Well not if you’re making my mother ill and hurting other people. I had then had enough – you do not talk to me like that in my house in front of my children (2 year-old DS was there, and I’m 25 weeks pregnant.), so I took DS out into the garden away from her.

BionicEmu Thu 18-Oct-12 17:08:41

My parents would desperately love to get tough with her, but they're just terrified that if they do she'll kill herself and then they'll blame themselves.

I've suggested AA to her, but she refused point blank. Apparently she doesn't have a problem with drink, she can stop is she wants, but she doesn't want to. Also apparently most people drink as much as she does anyway (personally, I don't know anyone who does.) It's difficult for me to go with her anyway as I live about 1.5 hours away from them.

When mum's called me in tears, I've suggested to her that she goes to her GP to ask their advice, but she can't see that they could do anything as it's not her with the problem, it's her daughter. I have a CPN who comes every 2 weeks, and I've even spoken to her about it, but she just said that when it comes to alcohol it really is the case of "you can't help somebody who doesn't want to be helped."

BionicEmu Thu 18-Oct-12 17:12:57

The thing is, she has no concept of reality. No concept of money, and no concept of how to treat people. So I can only think that she's either suffering with mental illness or drug abuse. (How do you spend £400 a week on just alcohol and fags?) Mum is fairly certain it's not drugs (and she's not particularly naive about them herself!). The only alternative is that she really is just a calculating, manipulative, poisonous little witch.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 18-Oct-12 17:29:12

I would stay well out of the emotional dysfunctional mess both your sister and your parents have created for themselves. They are all responsible for your sister's overall mental state of health now.

It is also your parents fault as well because they have bailed her out so often that she has come to accept it as a given. You have suggested the right things to your parents but as they are all so codependent on each other (I would read up on codependency) any counsel you give will likely be ignored by all parties.

I write the above as someone whose ILs have utterly screwed up my BIL by their overprotective, ignoring and excusing of his sometimes outrageous behaviour. Codependency is rife there as well. He like your sister is a master at manipulation and once told them he had only a few weeks to live. He's still there in their home. He blames them too for his situation but he also caused it as well. Goodness alone knows how much they have spent on him, it must run into thousands by now.

Mayisout Thu 18-Oct-12 18:11:40

I imagined you and sis were 40-50s and DPs 70s.

Gosh you have years to sort this out. Maybe as above you should just take a step back.

BionicEmu Thu 18-Oct-12 19:15:49

My DP's are in their 60s, so nearly wink

I've told them for years to stop giving her money but they just won't listen. I've tried distancing myself from them, but then I just get my mother calling me up in tears wanting me to tell her what to do. But then even when I make a suggestion she either ignores it or says it won't work.

When the pub closed, sister even turned up on my doorstep saying that mum had said I'd give her somewhere to stay and she'd like it more with me than at our parents. Turns out mum had told her exactly that, but had never asked me. So I said no way was she coming to live with us!

And then mum has the audacity to say "imagine if it was your DS - you can't just abandon them." Well, if it was my DS I wouldn't have let things get to this point in the first place, so it's a futile comparison.

Maybe I just need to cut ties completely. But then I feel bad for DS not seeing his grandparents, and they do adore him, and he them.

BionicEmu Thu 18-Oct-12 19:17:26

Shoot, meant to add thankyou all ever so much for your replies and putting up with my waffling!

cocolepew Thu 18-Oct-12 19:25:16

I would tell your parents that you are cutting ties with your sister, but want to continue to have a relationship with them but only if you aren't brought into the drama. There is no point your mum asking for help then not bothering with your advice.

NanaNina Thu 18-Oct-12 19:41:23

I agree with Attila and cocolepew - you are wasting your emotional energy on a dynamic that has been created by your parents and your sister and nothing you say or do is going to make any difference. The best advice is to stay out of it, but of course maintaining a r/ship with your parents. You see your parents are rescuing your sister and then your mom cries to you and you are rescuing your mother. It will just go on round and round in this circle unless you opt out of it.

Are you not concerned that your parents have given your sister such huge amounts of money and not you............I would be!

BionicEmu Thu 18-Oct-12 20:00:21

You're right, I need to basically have nothing more to do with my sister, but still see my mother.

I'm used to my sister getting everything TBH, I guess I'm immune to it now. I moved out when I was 17 and since then have borrowed £750 from my parents for a deposit on somewhere to live (was paid back years ago.) They've taken my sister on holiday, clothes shopping and even paid for her to go festivals etc.

TBH what prompted me to write today is what happened this morning. I'm 25 weeks pregnant, but have an awful chest infection. The violent coughing was making me cough up blood and vomit, and was causing some pain and tightening in my bump. I was first in hospital in suspected pre-term labour with DS at 25 weeks (happened a few times, eventually had him at 34 weeks.) So the hospital wanted me to go in to be examined/monitored.

DH is working 3.5 hours away. My MIL took DS, but I was petrified about what was happening. I asked mum to meet me at the hospital (it's only about an hour's drive from her, if that.) But mum said she couldn't come because she had to drive my sister to work at 12pm.

So I spent most of the day strapped to a blinking monitor with all of this stewing in my head, as well as the immense worry about what was happening to my baby.

Thankfully am back home now, ordered on bed rest until cough dies down enough to stop causing tightenings. Have to go back if I get any pain or tightenings not directly caused by coughing though.

cocolepew Thu 18-Oct-12 20:25:32

Oh poor you, take care and rest up x

BionicEmu Thu 18-Oct-12 23:05:03

Thankyou smile Looks like things have settled down now, thank goodness.

joanofarchitrave Thu 18-Oct-12 23:17:26

So it sounds like your sister is an alcoholic. I would agree that the best option is for you to stop trying to help your sister and just carry on being a daughter to your parents - at least they will have a place to go where they know that sanity rules.

Really common of course for people who are depressed/mentally ill to self-medicate with alcohol or other drugs. Thank goodness you haven't gone that route. I think it's also quite possible that she is giving money to other alcoholics, hence perhaps why she seems to be broke and surrounded by people she feels nothing for.

I would decide on a simple message which you can use if your parents try to draw you in; something like 'I think you would benefit from contacting Al-Anon but please don't ask me to get involved as I don't think it helps'.

NonnoMum Thu 18-Oct-12 23:28:04

It sounds like your parents are being abused by your sister.

Contact help soon.

imperialstateknickers Thu 18-Oct-12 23:32:44

I've had a sick feeling as I read this, I've lived through this whole thing except replace 'sister' with 'brother'.
She is an alcoholic.
Your parents are co-dependent, and are enabling her.
Neither you nor your parents can make her accept help. She has to choose to do so.
Al-Anon may be able to support them to make the decision to throw her out. Until they do so, there isn't a cat's hope in hell that she will even start to make any progress.
I like joanofarchitraves wording. Incidentally, my DB used to do the 'buying friend's' thing.

SundaeGirl Thu 18-Oct-12 23:48:29

Lots of people who work in pubs/the drinks industry for any length of time become accidental alcoholics. They just lose track of what's a normal alcohol level. Sounds as though is might have happened to your sister.

I think it will give your mum a shock if you refuse to listen to any more of the drama. That might be a good thing.

BabylonPI Fri 19-Oct-12 06:08:27

6 weeks ago I found out that my sister (who I have had little/no contact with for almost 3 years) has been alcohol dependent for 9 long fucking years sad

She has constantly denied it and it took for a crisis to happen for her to finally admit there was a problem - she drove to school to pick up her 4 DCs, pissed as a newt, wearing just a bra and wrapped in a blanket covered in her own vodka vomit sadangry

I'm afraid your CPN is right - until she is ready to accept help there is nothing, literally nothing you or your parents can do.

They can stop giving her money but tbh if she wants it (alcohol) she will get it no matter what.

It is hard, but you could save yourself a lot of heartache by cutting all contact with her.

Tell your parents why, but that you don't blame them nor are you expecting them to cut contact too - they have to get to this decision alone.

Tell your parents they are still welcome to visit you, but WITHOUT sister in tow.

In 15 weeks when your baby is due, you will need to be concentrating completed on yourself, without some little drama queen trying to get in the way.

I had a baby 6 months ago - my sister didn't even know I was pregnant. She has since seen DS once - she begged to meet him from her hospital bed.

Our brothers partner had a baby 9 weeks ago, sister didn't know about that pregnancy either and hasn't seen baby.

Neither me nor brother wanted her involved as we knew she would either be very very jealous and bitchy, or all over us like a rash sad Either way, we didn't want it.

There are 6 years between me and my sister (she is 40 I am nearly 34).
It has taken a long time for me to accept that she is very different to me. She suffers from depression, alcoholism, low self esteem, self confidence issues, jealousy, and a whole host of other stuff.

Look out for yourself here OP, your sister will ask for help when she's ready to accept it - until then there is nothing you can do. sad

BabylonPI Fri 19-Oct-12 06:11:58

I can't link on my phone but if you search under my name, there's a whole thread with some really useful info and links within.
Title is something like AIBU to feel ashamed and disgusted about dsis?

BionicEmu Fri 19-Oct-12 22:27:58

Thanks everyone. Mum called again today and I told her that I am effectively washing my hands of sister. I just don't have the time or energy for her any more.

Mum did not take this well. Apparently if I do this it will "undermine all the work I've done on her since she moved back, and I'm so close to success.' There has been no change in her, if anything she's worse. I then got the inevitable "she's your sister, at times like this if you can't rely on your family for support then who?", as well as "why are you punishing your son by not letting him see his only aunty? It's not fair on him."

I told her that sister is not a good role model anyway, and it's not my fault - this is a situation of my sister's making, not mine.

Apparently all my sister needs is "support and time." I pointed out that you can't help someone if they don't want it, but that seemed to fall on deaf ears.

They're as bad as each other. Mum appears to be just as unrealistic.

SundaeGirl Sat 20-Oct-12 00:01:59

Well done! How did the conversation end? Did your mum get that you meant it?

Ginga66 Sat 20-Oct-12 00:33:17


I have a very similar situation so maybe if I share mine it will help I don't know.
My brother is nearly forty and still lives with my mother. She is nearly seven and has fractur discs in her back, sciatica and depression. She lives a good hour and half bus from me and does not drive.
Brother is an alcoholic, like your sister he drinks every day. He also has managed to spend forty k in blink of an eye, it was his inheritance and now it's gone.
My mum gets tiny pension but she's whittling away her savings, which incidentally is the money she won in court over my fathers death as hospital could have saved him. It was her nest egg for a place but she forks out nearly six hundred or so on brother every month.
She is also scared he will kill himself as he has looked up hanging on the net.
He has other issues too, there is definitely some mental illness but we are not sure what exactly.
I'm not keen on online diagnosis, it should definitely come from a face to face assessment but some of your sisters behaviour sounds like borderline personality disorder as well as alcoholism. Both will make her an angry, confused, manipulative, selfish and even dangerous person to herself if not your parents whence she suffers blackouts.
I haven't read all the thread so as not to be swayed by opinions before just offering mine so someone prob said this already but...
I have turned myself inside out trying to make my mum see sense. I think she is enabling my brother and she needs to step back to give him a chance to sink or swim. She is afraid he will end up homeless or dead. I feel her assistance is helping him towards that eventually anyhow.
The thing is you cannot make other people change. If they are in a co dependent fear based cycle they will stay there until they have had enough.
It drives me mad as I also wan my mum to see more of my kids but she cannot as I won't take kids to her house as dh has banned me as unsafe he says and hard for her to get to me.
If she lived closer I would help her too.
She will not see sense. We have don this discussion I've and over.
You need to detach. If u have said ur piece then that is all you can do. If your parents have capacity you cannot intervene. You will merely drive urself mad.
Be clear with your dsis that u think she needs help as I have done with my brother but don't try and change situation as u will wear urself down.
I a, just saying this as I have tried everything to no avail. Ultimately hard as it is to accep your parents are getting some secondary gain from all the drama. Or at least. Know my mother feels needed and less lonely with my messed up brother than without. Best of luck.

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