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Sister and Family Conflicts

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Sorry for that the post may be a little long but there is a lot of things that play into this situation.


The issue revolves around my sister and her current relationship with her family. But her real point of contention is focused on my mom. The problem with my mom is that she was a very emotionally unavailable person. She was not big on physical or emotional affection. She was very distant and the distance was furthered more with her abuse of pain killers. As I was gearing up to graduate highschool my Mom and Dad had a falling out and had a pretty messy divorce. I feel like me, my brother and my sister have suffered a bit of emotional trauma as a result of this. My Mom went on to get re-married and my Dad has had a girlfriend for many years since then. After the divorce my Mom moved in with her parents for a bit and my sister was with her during this time. Then my Mom met the guy who she would eventually marry and they moved in with him.


Things were shaping up at this point yet still a bit rocky. But the big major turn is when my sister was approached by this recruiter for selling magazines. She was very infatuated with the idea as well as the person that approached her. My whole family tried to change her mind on this because it seemed like a really bad idea but my sister was dead set on this and she ended up leaving with him. She began dating this guy and going to different states to sell magazines but as we had all predicted it was a total disaster and my dad had to buy her and her boyfriend a bus ticket back home. At this time she wouldn't go anywhere without her BF so my Mom and her husband let them live with them. And soon we would all realize what an abusive and sociopathic pile of human trash this guy was. He pretty much had my sister brainwashed into thinking her family all hated her and that she was worthless. We all hated this guy and it caused much tension between the family. He had no respect for my Mom and her husband or any of my sister's family. But my sister would not leave his side so eventually he was forced out and him and my sister got another place to live. As you can imagine things got worse but it basically ends with him leaving and my sister finally realizing how bad he was for her.


It can't remember where she went after this but she would shorty rekindle a relationship with a guy that she had dated before. This guy has always cared for her quite a bit and even tried to stay in contact with her while she was dating that terrible guy. She would pretty immediately move in with this guy and it seemed like things were looking up for her. I have known this guy for a while now and I really like him. He is a very nice guy and he cares very much for my sister. I would go over to their place and we would all hang out and it was generally a very good time. She is still currently living with him but I will get back to that shortly.


Drugs play a big role in my sisters life. She has been smoking marijuana very regularly since highschool. It's very clear that it is an addiction because she uses it to band aid her mental issues, but I believe that it is only making it worse. She has pretty much lost every job she has had due to her attitude problem and I feel like it is a result of her drug problems. But on top of that she has done much harder drugs and recently has tried to get help for an addiction to ecstasy.


Now back to her living with this current boyfriend. He also has a huge dependency on marijuana as well. When I would go over to hang out they would be smoking constantly. And this has been going on for about 2 years now.


Now to get into the current situation. My sister won't make contact with any family members now. We try to contact her but she will avoid every call or text that we send. The last time I really know is that she told me she was going to get treatment for her addictions but about a week later she had dropped out of treatment for not getting what she wanted out of it. My Mom and Dad always ask me if I have heard from her because they try constantly to get a hold of her with no success. But I can't get a hold of her either so I can't put their minds at ease. My Mom has resorted to contacting my sister's boyfriend at work just so they can get a handle on the situation. When my sister caught wind that they were contacting him she exploded on my mom with a text about how she wants nothing to do with her and how she was a terrible mother and so on. And that's about the gist of it. I'm just at a loss of what to do or even say. I'm getting to the point where I feel like I just need to forget about my sister for the time being because it's too stressful of a situation and I have my own life to live. I want to see my sister seek help but I can't get a hold of her so it just seems futile at this point. Her issues range from depression and anxiety and PTSD to having a major marijuana dependency, and most likely harder drugs but I'm not certain of that. She has also made attempts on her life before so I always fear she may try again one of these days. She hates my Mom and she is isolating herself from her entire family.


If you took the time to read this I thank you very deeply. Any advice would be great because I just have no idea what I can even do at this point.

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You don't mention how old you are. I will assume that you are both in your early 20's.


You will likely get a lot of advice to just forget her and cut her out of your life. That's not bad advice - but I am very family-oriented personally, so I will answer with that mindset.


Your sister seems pretty hell-bent on making bad choices. I don't think it's fair to put it all on your parents. Yes, she may have gone through some tough stuff (as did you and your brother) but she certainly isn't helping herself. There are many people who have gone through horrible things who don't make those same choices - and there are many people from "perfect" homes who choose to go down a similar dark path. She has the power to make different choices. She isn't because she doesn't want to. You can't help someone who doesn't want to change. I think that is a very key thing to understand. I wouldn't even bother to offer help anymore (it sounds like people have tried). The request for help needs to come from her - when and IF she ever wants it. In my old age (lol!) I have observed that this often comes sometimes before someone's early 30s - but sometimes it never comes and people continue down that path.


If I were in your shoes, I would send a casual text/Facebook/whatever about once a month and say something to the effect of:

"Want to meet for dinner? My treat. I just miss you"

"Miss you! Do you have time for a coffee sometime this week?"

"Want to go play mini-putt? I miss you!"


Don't expect an answer. Don't be hurt if she doesn't answer. She may be in a drug-induced state or something. In fact, I wouldn't even let it bother you if she lashed out. Just calm, quiet persistance.


I would offer to pay (if she's on drugs she probably doesn't have money). I would meet on neutral ground (not at her apartment or where she could be using drugs). I would not use it as an opportunity to "spy" on her for your parents. I would not ask about her life or her drug use or anything that could even remotely be perceived as judging her life and her choices. If she manages to say "yes", I would simply go and talk about your own life or movies you've seen or whatever. Do not report anything back to your parents besides "I've seen her and she is alive". If she thinks you are a "spy" or are judging her/asking her to change, she will not want to be around you.


All of that is really tough because you have to watch her continue to make bad choices without judgement. And oooooh will you ever want to step in and help. But what it does is it lets her know that you love her and leaves the door open. Just as she "snapped" out of it before with the other guy, she may snap out of it again later - and at least you will have been there. And at that point (if And when it ever happens), if she asks for help, you can help her.


That would be my approach, personally, but it requires you to build a bit of an emotional "wall" when it comes to her and her choices. Not everyone can (or even wants to) do that.


If that's not something you can or want to do, i would agree that forgetting about her for the time being would be the right approach.

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I too would never suggest cutting her out of your life. Family is family. People go through difficult times in their lives, especially when they're young before they figure things out. But people also change and pull through, and most cannot do that without support and love from family. She needs you. She just hasn't realised that yet. Be her rock, and more than likely one day it'll be worth it when she's ready to have a real sibling relationship with you again, she'll remember the loyalty you showed her and repay you in kind.


I would not ask about her life or her drug use or anything that could even remotely be perceived as judging her life and her choices. If she manages to say "yes", I would simply go and talk about your own life or movies you've seen or whatever. Do not report anything back to your parents besides "I've seen her and she is alive". If she thinks you are a "spy" or are judging her/asking her to change, she will not want to be around you.


This is really good advice. Don't talk to her about drugs, I wouldn't even go so far as to express sympathy for her situation as she clearly doesn't see the issue in all its entirety - she's not asking you for help and she's not committed to seeking it elsewhere. Unfortunately, I've learned this lesson from actual personal experience. My best friend throughout my teenage years became involved in drugs in our last year of school, and this grew more regular over time. She was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder sometime around 19-20. On my 22nd birthday I invited her out to dinner with our friends, we'd drifted apart by this stage, I told her I was "sorry for everything she was going through". Due to her mental health issues combined with drug use, she had a full-blown abusive tantrum with me for "judging her", insulted me, acted irrationally and stormed off leaving me in tears. Have only heard from her a few times since, half the time telling me she loves/misses me, half the time telling me she despises me. People with drug and mental health issues combined will take it out on their closest and most loyal friends and family. I think they know on some level the damage they are doing to themselves, and thus they both push away the people who show them love, and try to justify their actions by blaming the people around them, thus removing themselves from total responsibility. (i.e.) I'm only in so much pain right now because of my past, not because of the present choices I make. Also, drugs are a coping mechanism for people with undiagnosed/severe mental health issues and any inference that this could be harming her rather than helping her is probably going to cause an extreme reaction.


I also had another friend with an eating disorder and burgeoning meth dependency. I expressed she was looking particularly thin one weekend (combination of both issues) and she also became abusive and I had to end that friendship permanently. You can't help people who aren't ready to help themselves or seek the treatment they need. Mainly sharing my experiences with you to let you know your sister's behaviour is quite normal for someone in her situation, and that you can expect volatility and resentment from her.


What you choose to do is entirely your own judgement call. If things get to the point of her being abusive towards you, distance is the safest option. But in the interim, I like the idea of sending her reminders that you care for her. Things will probably eventually change for her, and you'll be there when that happens (I hope)

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You are right on the money, I'm 27 and she's 24. Thank you so much for the advice. I'm just at the point where I'm sick of hearing about her. I would never write her off by any means but I'm done stressing so much over her. Today just hit the boiling point that had been working up for a while. I read the text she sent my Mom earlier and it was extremely nasty stuff that was written with the intent of hurting my Mom severely. I just don't know why my sister has come to have such a deep seated hatred toward my Mom. She really just doesn't want to take responsibility for her bad decisions and blames all the bad things that has happened on my Mom. She cannot let anything from the past go and it's ruining her mental state by dwelling on it while trying to band aid it with drug abuse.


I will still send her messages once a month as you suggested to let her know I still care. But it's ultimately her choice if she chooses to get help or not.

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