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Mother (79) won't stop enabling my 50 year old deadbeat sister. My sister claims she is bi-polar. I'm not sure about the diagnosis but I believe she is using the bi-polar as an exuse for not holding down a job and bleeding moms money dry. Mom won't listen. my sister is on pills and probably crystal meth. Mom tries to cover for her all the time. The sister never helps with my dad who is in home care. Everytime she comes over she takes things from mom, food, toilet paper etc. I have told her to shop for herself moms house is not a store. My mom won't listen to me or my siblings. When we called my sister out on things She cries to my mom that we give her anxiety attacks for confronting her. We found out my mom has paid my sisters rent the last 2 months. We told her she better not this time, we will see. My mom is in total denial or won't level with us for help. We told her we will help, whe won't let us. Mom lives in her own home. The sister doesn't come over to Thanksgiving, or Christmas becuase of "anxiey attacks" I think she just can't face rational adults who know what she is doing. This is a nightmare when it is a family member who plays on my moms vulnerability and emothions. Plot twist, my ststers daugter always comes to my mom for everything too. I almost feel like abandoining the whole thing if I continue to be ignored.

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Is your mother totally mentally competent, or does she have mild dementia or dementia? I don't know what the laws are in your state, but you may want to do research if she is not totally competent. Maybe someone else will know something about this subject.
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My advise is let go. My mother, who recently passed away owned a 4 family house. My 55 year old alcoholic brother and his son have been living in one of the apartments for $100 a week. In what world can you rent a 2 bedroom apartment that includes heat and hot water with a front porch and a back porch, washer & dryer for $400 a month? My Mom should have bern getting at least $900. In other words my mother was like yours, 'old school' and and a mother who will always and I mean always take care of her babies no matter what age they are. At this point and I'm sorry to say there is nothing you can do. A wise man once said you cannot make someone do the right thing. Although I miss my mother more than anything my brother is going to have to grow up now because I am the executor and I am either going to go up on his rent or evict him. My other siblings and I all agree that we are NOT going to support a grown man. Again my mother was old school like yours and she's not going to change. And it sounds like your sister, just like my brother, is perfectly content to be a burden. My mother is gone now but back at the time, I thought about going to alanon or in your case Narconon just for my own mental support. However, you can't change other people and make them do the right thing. I'm so sorry. Good luck and you will have a clear conscience. You cant pick your family. We (elder posters here) know. This site has helped me to know I am not alone with struggles. Sorry, that is just my experience. Pls dont let your sister ruin your relationship with your mom in any case.
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Slate, you story is very similar to my family except I had 2 siblings that never grew up. My folks enabled the addictive behavior of these children until they died of their addictions, one at 42, the other at 60. There is some money left for my folks old age but if they live very long they will be on Medicaid.

I tried everything through the years, tough love, compassion, reason, nothing had the slightest effect on my parents or siblings. It had become their way of life, just like you niece is now following in her mothers footsteps as a dependent mooch.

I finally detached from it all years ago, physically and emotionally. I suggest you also find a level of detachment that is comfortable and workable. You won't change this. Addicts will destroy everything and everyone around them to keep that buzz going.
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Jerome72 - as long as the parents are competent - you cannot do a thing. What you can do is refuse to enable the crazy show by giving your parents any money. Be in contact, be loving, but refuse to give money.
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Literally? Your sister gave a convicted murderer the key to your mother's house and asked him to call by in the middle of the night to drop something off.

Did your mother find the experience frightening? If so, she could change the locks. Just for example.

I can't imagine that there would be any great difficulty in persuading the police and/or parole authorities to intervene if your sister's ex-husband poses any threat to your mother; and you wouldn't need your mother's permission to alert them to what is going on.

But, as you say, if he visits with your mother's blessing, and it troubles her not at all, then that is up to her. So bottom line: if you have a specific concern, report it. If you haven't, let them get on with it.
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I have parents doing the same thing. They pay for my sister, her two boyfriends and two kids that belong to a friend of hers. They feel bad for the one boyfriend because he has to pay child support for his 4 kids to his ex-wife. So, he won't work so they can't take out money for child support and my parents pay ALL the bills for everyone. Then they tell me they don't have money to pay their own bills and ask me for help to find ways to save money. Are there any laws against what they are doing?
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going to give you a frame of reference, sister has been in and out of rehab / the all the years. her ex husband is a drug addict and an ex convict, convicted of murder. last week my sister wanted to drop something off at my moms but couldn't make it so she asked if her ex husband could come by with the key in the middle of the night and drop it off. that is suspicious as hell, and scary but mom won't listen, please try to help my sister all her life she wont accept help from her siblings. believe me we've tried over the past 30 years. but mom won't listen so I'm just going to have to sit back and let something happen. I've tried and I'm done. like that show Intervention and somebody won't let you help them then you have to walk away. I've got my own kids and job to worry about.
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slateviper, keep it simple when explaining to your Mother that unless she is wealthy, that Medicaid will step in to help her as she gets older.... but Medicaid will deduct all the things that she gave to her daughter, thus she will get less care for herself and for her husband. And how sad that would be :(
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You know, my boss has a daughter with similar issues. She also has a son, a nice young man with a job and "prospects". The son understands to a certain extent what is going on, but if one of the "golden rules" of parenting is not to talk about one sibling with another, then the "well" sibling often doesn't get how debilitating a mental illness can be.

I said "walk away" because you seem overinvolved in getting your mom to see how "evil" your sister is, when in fact she's mentally ill. Mom needs to understand, probably best explained by a lawyer, that she needs to set up a special needs trust for this daughter so that she can be provided for in the future, and not have mom disqualified from Medicaid.

If you end up being mom's caregiver, you will be consumed with ill feelings toward your sister. This, of course, is just my opinion, but give it some thought.
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I agree that if you mother is competent you cannot prevent her from enabling your sister.

But your mother can be competent, yet still be vulnerable. I don't think I'd want to walk away from it, in your place.

Your mother won't listen because you are telling her things that she doesn't want to hear. To take a few examples from your post:

deadbeat
excuse
"anxiety attacks" - specifically the finger-hooking inverted commas

My guess is that your mother wants to help her daughter, and is pretty sure that you have no such interest in helping your sister. She loves her daughter, but she's not noticing any love from you towards your sister. Every time she perceives an attack on her daughter, she's going to become more protective and therefore more enabling. That's no good to anyone.

The only way for you to get your mother to listen to your concerns about your mother is to change what you are saying to your mother about your sister. Try discussing your sister's, and your niece's, welfare and future in a less judgemental and more compassionate way, perhaps; and be patient about it because you're going to have a job convincing your mother that you're sincere.

By the way, it would help if you were sincere. What do you think would be a better, more effective way to help your sister?
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Walk away. If mom is competent, she can do what she likes with her money. I would explain to her that if she needs care down the road, it won't be you doing it. And that Medicaid will be out of the question due to the gifting. You might ask her if she'd like to be taken to an ElderCare attorney to work out a Special Needs trust for your mentally ill sister.
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There have been dozens of questions here that are very similar to yours. You might want to do a search and read the other questions and answers.

As long as your sister is continuing to get what she wants from your mom she is unlikely to go away. And your mom is unlikely to stop enabling your sister. She's probably been enabling her for years. Trying to get your mom to stop is going to be like talking to a brick wall. These are behavioral patterns that have evolved over years. I doubt that you will be able to talk your mom into not helping your sister anymore. I think your only two choices are to either accept that this is the way it's going to be or abandon the situation like you mentioned.
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