Need advice about sister ...
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  1. #1

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    Default Need advice about sister ...

    This could be long and I hope I am putting it in the right place...

    Just to give you some background, I come from a family of 8 kids. I am next to the youngest child and my sister,who will be 48 this year is the oldest.We grew up poor. I never knew how poor we were until my dad passed away when I was 7.My mom pretty much left us kids to care for ourselves and around age 11 I started a pattern of being bounced around between relatives and foster homes. I finally got married at 16.My oldest sister was already married by the time dad passed and so she was spared being dragged from pillar to post by Mom.None of us kids are close and frankly the further my mother stays away from me and my kids, the better.I have tried to keep a relationship with my oldest sister over the years since I remember her taking care of me as a little kid.But she makes it really hard...

    Mom had my sister when she was just 14 and they never got along. It was always like they were in competition or something.Taking care of the younger kids was put on my sister's shoulders.When Mom brought new babies home from the hospital, they slept in my sister's room so she could get up with them at night etc...As a result (my theory anyway) my sister grew up with the attitude that she had worked hard enough and now the world owed her.She had always had a very addictive sort of nature.Not drugs,but shopping and eating out and such. She will actually borrow money to go out to eat. I would never dream of doing that. We rarely eat out except for special occasions which we save for.

    Anyway, about 4 years ago, all this addictive eating finally resulted in my sister weighing almost 600 lbs.She couldn't even leave her house.She was in a wheelchair,had to sleep with a breathing machine, and could not even get into her own bathroom due to her size.Most of her time was spent in a hospital bed in the living room.Finally, her insurance agreed to pay for gastric bypass. She had to lose some weight before the doctors would perform the surgery.It all worked out and now she weighs 118 lbs.About 5 months ago, her husband left her. Originally he had told her he wasn't attracted to her because of her weight.She lost the weight and he left her for a heavier woman.Men are so confusing.

    Instead of staying in the house they had together, she decided to rent a mobile home just a few miles away from me.He gives her x amount of money each week and she also collects disability. She has the means to get along just fine from month to month but here is the problem.She still buys food and eats out like she is that same 600 lb person.Like going to a steak house and paying a ridiculous amount of money for the buffet when she can only hold a few spoonfuls of food.I went to visit her and there was so much candy sitting around that I thought it was left over from Halloween and Christmas. It wasn't. She just likes to keep it around.As soon as she gets any money,she spends it.She never puts anything back for later.She has rooms full of things she buys and never uses,like paint,window blinds,dishes,cookware(she doesn't cook),clothes,towels,exercise equipment .I would love to just accept that her money is her business but I can't. Because she is constantly calling me asking to borrow money. She never calls and asks how we are doing just to touch base.If she shows up at my house, she tries to go "shopping" in my pantry. I use coupons and shop sales so I have multiples of may things like detergent, shampoo, etc... She is addicted to the internet and tries to get on my computer and stay for hours. This doesn't work because I have to have it for my job.

    It all just really hurts my feelings.Like if she calls, it isn't to talk to me, it is to try and get money. If she comes over, it isn't really to visit, but rather to see what free stuff she can score and to take over my computer. It is impossible to even have a conversation with her.I have a house full of kids to feed and clothe and one on the way.She has no kids to support.I rarely eat out, get new clothes or have my hair done.I just don't understand how it seems logical to her to ask me to finance her life of luxury while I scrimp and save to get by.I need advice on the nicest way to put an end to all of this...

    Thanks,
    Susan

  2. #2
    Registered User Nada.Leona's Avatar
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    Honey, you're telling all this to the wrong people. It's HER you have to tell this all to, not us. She is only going to get worse, not better. Wait til she wants to move in with you, or if she gets pregnant and drops the baby off on your doorstep! No, she seriously needs help, but not the help she's getting (i.e. the handouts, etc.) -- she had to work when she was younger because your mother didn't want to shoulder any responsibility. Now she's trying to do the same thing -- she doesn't want to take responsibility for herself and her actions, and so she is sponging off you.

    Tell her exactly how you feel. Tell her you are not going to give her anything else, she is no longer allowed on your computer and you don't have money to lend her all the time. In fact, tell her she OWES you $X.XX amount of money. That'll keep her from stopping by. Remember, you don't owe her anything. And she shouldn't be coming by all the time getting free stuff from you.

    This seems like a very negative, volatile person to be in your house all the time, and I don't think this is someone you should be letting around your kids. Nor do you need this stress while you're pregnant. I would tell her straight up that she needs to stop this and seek help, and she's only allowed to come over if she's actually there to visit. If she asks for free stuff next time she is over, tell her no and promptly tell her it's time for her to leave. She isn't entitled to your stuff just because you're blood related. She has no right to do this and it burns me just thinking about it. It's time for her to grow up, and stop being such a brat.

  3. #3
    Member Darlene's Avatar
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    Your sister needs something only a therapist can give her. She uses food & things to fill up some empty space inside of her. It's not healthy.
    Hard as it may be I would tell her to please stay away until she gets some help. She's self destructive & you don't need that in your life. It's ok to tell people who don't treat you with respect that sorry, I don't want to have a relationship with you at this time. Maybe someday when she can treat you with respect and not just want things you can open your door again. She's the one who has to want to change & she's not there yet. Toxic people (even family) have no place near you or your family.
    I'm sorry.




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    Registered User Marie78's Avatar
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    I am sorry your sister is treating you this way. It sounds like you both grew up in a very difficult situation and you moved on and built your own life that you can be proud of. It also sounds like your sister needs some professional help to deal with the shopping and food addictions, I am sure this is how she comforts herself. Maybe you could sit down with her and tactfully tell her the concern you have for her, but also let her know you can't be her crutch anymore. You have to take care of your own family and the new baby on the way.

  6. #5

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    Thanks to each of you for the advice. HUGS I do try my best to avoid her.Telling her that I have no money to give her really does no good as it is like she just doesn't absorb what I tell her.For example,recently she called and asked if I would purchase some paint and painting supplies from her for $70.00. I told her I really had no need for it and that even if I did, we just did not have the extra money.Two days later she calls back and asked if I ever discussed with my husband purchasing the paint from her LOL I told her that I had not and explained AGAIN that I did not need the paint. The next week she shows up out of the blue and says she has brought the paint with her and left it in my garage.I told her I was not buying the paint and she should take it with her. She said she would just leave it and I could pay her for it later. ( I am not kidding, this is how pushy she is)I said," Just load it up and take it back with you. I am not buying it".It ended with her saying that she would just leave it here and pick it up another day.After she left, I just had to take a look and see what she was trying to sell me for $70.00 bucks. It was 3 quarts of white paint,some plastic gloves and some paint thinner.No were near the value of what she was asking for it.I swear to you, the next week she called back again and asked if my husband was going to let me buy it !I told her NO and then she asked if we had a twenty she could borrow. Of course I said no.

    At this point, she goes every month to a check advance place and borrows on her disability so when it arrives she owes them the whole thing after interest.So she then writes them another check to hold until the following month.She went to one of those car title loan places and borrowed $600.00 ( not a typo) on her jeep with a 3 year pay off plan.The payments are like $60.00 a month for 3 years so I bet the interest is through the roof.One missed payment and she loses her car.The money she borrows was gone within a week. She just spent it on silly stuff.

    My other sister and I don't really get along but we do call each other and share info about the oldest sister.We discovered that she would come to my house and tell me she needed money to pick up her medication and even if I did give it to her, she would then go straight to the other sister and borrow money from her using the same excuse.Lately, we have been discussing having her committed so she can get help. Or at the very least to save her from herself because she is going to lose what little she does own.She gave us medical power of attorney over her when she was having surgery and didn't want her husband to have soul control over her medical decisions.We also have financial power of attorney if she were to become medically unable to handle her affairs. I am unsure if these papers cover mental illness as a reason. I can't afford to get a lawyer to go over them at this point.

    At any rate, it has really helped clear my mind a lot by putting it down it writing (typing) and having you folks take the time to give me advice.

    Take Care,
    Susan

  7. #6
    Registered User wanderlusting's Avatar
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    No advice, I just wanted to say that you're so strong to be trying to help your sister. Good luck, and I hope everything works out.

  8. #7
    Registered User frugalwanttobe's Avatar
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    I just wanted to say that, that old saying the apple doesn't fall far from the tree certainly doesn't apply to you. From your post you seem so responsible. I realize that when people are born into situations it is very hard for them to be unscathed from the dysfunction. You should be so proud of yourself that you are making such an effort to create a better life for your children and you.

    I agree with the others. Your sister needs professional help. She carried a burden as a child that no child should have to carry.

  9. #8

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    i echo the others in saying that i really admire you and congratulate you on doing so well.

    obviously your sister bore the brunt of the bad mothering you all received, makes some stronger, some weaker i guess.

    i think you should see about getting her that help. in the meantime, when she calls be too busy to talk and if she visits tell her the internet connection is cut off.

    this problem is bigger than you, so you really need help. its good you can talk about it with your other sister, maybe together you can organise some assistance. your eldest sister seems to be in a really bad way.

    good luck to all of you

  10. #9
    Registered User FrugalMomof3's Avatar
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    I admire your for being there for your sister, but enough is enough, while she can be pushy, you be pushy back. Next time she leaves something at your house even though you have told her NO a dozen times, bring it right back to her house and leave it there.

    You have to be firm and NO means just that, NO! I have pushy friends and pushy family members but I know when I've had enough, it's time to put your foot down and tell her the facts of life. She's surely not a good influence to have around a home with children around and it seems she acts like a child herself, she needs to grow up! I dont mean to sound harsh or mean but if it were me I wouldnt be having any of that.

  11. #10
    Registered User claimsgirl66's Avatar
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    What a tough spot to be in. She needs some professional help, or at minimum, a little tough love. She is an adult and needs to be responsible for her own troubles and you are entitled to live your own life and to be happy....remember that! You will not be taken advantage of if you just say no. I think in the old Dear Abby columns, when someone would write in with an issue and how to handle it, she would tell them cut out the column and hand it to the "offender". Maybe printing your posting and giving her a copy will make her see how much she is hurting you. Or type up a letter and give it to her and tell her no more help til she gets her act together. Good luck.

  12. #11
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    Hey. I watched an Oprah show one day about women who go through gastric bypass, and how their addictive personalities just get changed to focus on something besides food after the bypass. This sounds like your sister, except that her addictions stayed food and spending money. Like everyone else said, she definitely needs help to sort through her issues.

    Unfortunately, neither you nor anyone else in the entire world can make her get help. You and your other sister both need to accept that. I think it's good to try to get her help if you can, but remember that she needs to go for herself. You can make her get all the help you want, but in the end if she didn't want it for herself, then it won't have done any good. Like I said, I'm not saying that you shouldn't try to get her to get help, just to remember that it's ultimately her choice and her life.

    I think what your sister needs most is tough love (like everyone else says). If she says that she needs money for medicine, then get your keys, drive her to the pharmacy, and pay for the pills personally. If they are pills she can live without, you may even have to flat out tell her that you won't be paying for them. She is a grown woman and knows she needs her pills, so she can be responsible enough to have the money for them. And if not, then she can live without them. If the pills are for something minor (say allergies) then not having the pills may make her life just uncomfortable enough to remember to put money aside for the pills. If they are pills she needs to survive normally, then I would take her to the pharmacy and pay for them personally. If she doesn't like that idea, then don't help her.

    Also, your sister may just need to fall flat on her face before she'll change or want help. It may take losing her car, her mobile home, and all her possessions before she realizes what she's done and that it needs to change.

    And honestly, no matter how miserable her life becomes, she may never want to change. That is her own decision and you are not responsible for it. She is an adult and in charge of her own life and choices - not you. So take a deep breath, and remember that none of this is your fault and if she doesn't change ever - it isn't your fault. I sincerely hope that is not the case, but if it is, I don't want you to look back and think "If only I had done this..maybe she would have changed."

    I have had family members have difficulties before, and no matter how much people tried to help them, nothing got through. Their choices have made it impossible for me to spend time with the people I have cared about - like my grandfather who was told that he needed to be sober or would stop seeing my mom, sister and I... and he chose to drink and not see us. About 10 years ago he died of alcoholism. Or family friends who my entire family tried to help in many ways, who in the end never got help, refused to let their kids see us (their kids were like family to us - I was their "auntie mindy" and my parents were grandma and grandpa) or to have contact with us, and now I've heard that the mom lost the kids due to child abuse. I have two step-brothers who drink way too much, hardly hold down jobs, and despite all of our attempts to help them, still end up making wrong decisions and ending up in jail repeatedly. We have little to no contact with them either.

    I'm not trying to say pity poor me and my family - just trying to tell you that I know how it feels to want to help someone so badly, but to just watch them refuse your help, withdraw from you, or after getting your help, just return to their old ways.

    I'm not telling you to give up on your sister. I just really want to make that clear. I think its a good idea to talk to her and tell her how you feel and that you're worried about her and her decisions. Tell her you know that she had a rough child hood and offer to help her straighten things out. Offer to help her get help, and maybe even to go to counseling with her. Tell her that if she wants to change and get help, then you'll be there for her 1000% - but if not, then you won't help her financially. Tell her you love her and want to help her become a free woman, whose not stuck in so many difficulties. And then let her take it from there. If she refuses your help, or in the end reverts to her old ways - take peace in the fact that you tried and know that none of this is your fault. And keep her in your prayers. Prayers help more than we ever can.

    I hope this helps - sorry it got soooo long.

  13. #12
    Licence to Kill Luv2BeFrugal's Avatar
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    I agree with everyone else...tough love. Don't give up on her by any means (unless you've absolutely had your fill)...but a letter is a good idea. Or some sort of boundary until she gets her act together... It's obviously affecting you deeply and you don't need that kind of stress in your life...it's not good for your health.

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