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sister treating mother unfairly

(17 Posts)
galaxy81 Sat 08-Mar-14 11:44:06

How can I convince my younger sister to treat our mother with more consideration? I am 33 and she is 21 and she's always "walked all over" our mother, who has spoiled her because she's a single mum and often has little else to do. I'm always the one who picks up the pieces, the responsible one, and I know that comes with the age difference. However I thought she would grow up to at least have some consideration but she is still just as selfish as when she was a teenager: going to our mum for money when she knows mum has very little, insisting on favours even when she must surely know that it is awkward for mum. Our mother finds it almost impossible to say no to anyone, let alone us, but I can see her going without so that she can give my sister money to spend on frivolous things. She'll never clean up after herself and is perfectly happy to see mum doing all the cooking, washing up and cleaning without ever offering to help. I would always help, whether it was mum or anyone else, because I would see it as the polite or mannerly thing to do, but my sister will just eat the food, sit down with her feet up without ever offering to help and happily watch as me and our mother clean. This is just a small example. I have tried talking to her but she flies off the handle, often insulting me by saying I'm "jealous" because she's young and "has a life" while I'm "old" and "boring". Is there any reasoning with her? She doesn't feel at all guilty for asking our mother for money even when she struggles to pay the bills...what sort of person can be so selfish?

HelenHen Sat 08-Mar-14 11:56:11

I think your mom is the one who needs to take action here. 21 is a very selfish age and she won't actually even notice things that need to be done, never mind do it... Especially if your mom is happy to just do it! My sil is the same and everyone treats her like a baby. She means well though so when dinners at my place I usually give her specific jobs like it's no big deal. Don't accuse her of being lazy, just 'oh sil can you start washing the dishes please' and she always will with no fuss. As for the money, maybe you need to talk to your mom and ask her to be a bit less accessible! If she doesn't stop giving her money you have to assume she's happy with the situation. Your mom's an adult too.

At the moment she will see you as just being a nag and probably become even worse just to prove her immature point.

HelenHen Sat 08-Mar-14 11:57:54

Do either of you still live at home?

Logg1e Sat 08-Mar-14 12:00:08

OP How can I convince my younger sister to treat our mother with more consideration?

You can't.

Your mother's making her own choices and their relationship is their relationship. You are not responsible and you just choose not to pick up the pieces any more.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 08-Mar-14 12:19:56

I agree with Logg1e that you can't make an inconsiderate person considerate and that it is for your mum to set the boundaries, not for you to intervene. However, don't play skivvy while she sits there doing nothing.... that's just daft

Just so I can understand the geography, do you all live in the same house, you, DM, DSis and the baby?

galaxy81 Sat 08-Mar-14 15:16:05

She lives at home at the moment, although she did live on her own before she returned when she ran out of money. I live with my partner in another town. I know that its up to my mother to stand up for herself but she's just too much of a pushover...she is with everyone, and its got her into trouble in the past. The thing is it really makes me dislike my sister, who shows no sign of ever changing. I sat her down recently and tried to reason with her: I said that mum has had things very tough since dad left (many years ago, but she's never really got over it) and that she deserves to be treated with respect and consideration. She told me to "f**k off" and mind my own business. I can see myself disliking my sister more and more...I know 21 is a selfish age but even though I can see I was selfish at that age, I would never have wanted to burden my mother or ask her for money, I would have felt bad about it. I just wonder how some people can act a certain way without ever feeling guilty. When I visit I end up picking up after her just to give mum a break. She already works long hours in a low-paid job and I feel its my duty to make things easy for her when I visit.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 08-Mar-14 15:32:29

Realise you want to give your mum a break but you'd be on more solid ground if, when you're round there, you don't try to reason with your sister to shift herself or pick up after her, but gave her no option but to pull her weight.

21 is not a selfish age. That's just an excuse.

Logg1e Sat 08-Mar-14 15:53:05

OP I know that its up to my mother to stand up for herself but...

No. It's up to your mother to handle it in any way she chooses.

I know it's difficult if you're used to being the "rescuerer" and the one who makes the peace and solves the problems. You may not even be aware that that's your role. But you have to step out of it. Just take one step back and it's as simple as that.

Also, I think you need to stop thinking about your sister going through a teenage phase or a 21 year old phase. She is who she is going to be.

I think it's nice to want to treat your mum, so why don't you ring her up and say what you'd really like to do, what would really mean a lot to you, is for her to come and stay for the weekend / meet you at a lovely cafe / spend a night somewhere nice with you etc.

BillyBanter Sat 08-Mar-14 15:59:28

As said it is for your mum to set boundaries. Does your mum complain to you about your sister or, for instance, about being skint as a result of not being able to say no?

All I can suggest is you can be supportive to your mum in setting those boundaries if she is interested in changing the dynamic between her and your sister.

galaxy81 Sat 08-Mar-14 16:13:13

yes, my mum complains frequently, which is why it's difficult to take a step back. I do understand this is what I need to do, and in many ways I'm just fulfilling the role I've always held: the responsible one. Mum will ring me and complain that my sister is not paying her way around the house, asking for money for clothes and make and up and generally not pulling her weight. I always say the same thing: "don't give her money, don't clean up after her" but I think in the end mum always just caves in order to keep the peace. My sister can actually scream and shout like a toddler, so I understand how mum just tries to keep her quiet...I guess she always has. I must remember not to spoil my own children if I have them!! I think not having a father figure around really has a lot to do with it. It seems to me that single mums often have a hard time maintaining discipline in the face of having work responsibilities, money worries and no help.

Logg1e Sat 08-Mar-14 16:18:17

When your mum rings up, you listen and you make suggestions.

You could just listen and make "hmm" noises but not offer any suggestions.

You could just listen and say, "hmm, what do you think you're going to do?"

Or you could just say, "mum, I find it really difficult to listen to this all again".

Walkacrossthesand Sat 08-Mar-14 16:18:52

Well, I think I speak for a lot of single mums on here who don't let their self-centred offspring treat them like this...Have you said to your mum , when she's complaining,'look, mum, you're the only one who can do anything about this - if you always give in in the end, then X will keep on until you give in. If you can day no and mean it, a few times, and ignore the tantrum, then you might get somewhere.'

BillyBanter Sat 08-Mar-14 16:28:30

some questions you could ask your mum during your conversations:

So what are you going to do about it?

What do you want to change?

What sort of changes do you think you could make for that to come about?

How likely do you think that change is to happen if you give in all the time?

What do you think will happen if you say no and stick to it?

Are you afraid she will physically attack you?

Do you understand that she is abusing you?

Have you considered counselling?

CailinDana Sat 08-Mar-14 16:33:00

Your mother is handling this situation really badly. She is the parent, not you, and it is really not on for her to be complaining about one of her children to the other. She is letting you both down - your sister by not standing up to her and setting boundaries, and you by making you feel responsible for the whole mess. She is also damaging the relationship between you. The way your sister is behaving is bad but it's none of your business. You need to relate to your mum and sister separately and stay out of their relationship. If your mum tries to complain about your sister just say "that's between you and her mum" and don't discuss it.

Queenoftheworld Sat 08-Mar-14 17:29:13

Things you can control: your behaviour to your Mum.

Things you can't control: your sister's behaviour to your Mum, or your Mum's encouragement of it.

My experience is that your sister won't change, nor will your Mum. If you can accept this now it will be less stressful for you in the long run.

Just focus on your own positive actions.

rozanamak Sun 09-Mar-14 00:00:12

I totally understand you I am in the same situation its come to the point where I haven't seen my sister for over 1 half year and this monday she said lets meet. I am only seeing her cuz my mum wants us to but I hate my sister and I really dont know wat to say to her anymore. I have just learned to accept thats life amd hope one day she will grow up and be nicer. .

HelenHen Sun 09-Mar-14 07:21:46

I think cailindana has this one nailed. It's terrible that your mom puts up with this and then comes bitching to you about your sis.

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