Do you or your sister believe in God? I have been thinking of this a lot lately, and am starting to feel like in my lifetime I have heard constantly that how much people struggle with people around them who need help, due to drugs or life choices, etc. IMO people are overly involved with each other. Relationships have replaced spiritual development to some extent.....
She sounds important to you, so you probably should reconnect, but maintain boundaries and distance. Don't visit or call a lot. Your sister has her own Presence of God, whether you can accept it or not, and she can work through her problems herself. It's not up to you to save her. Pray for her. If you feel it would help, confront her. If she wont' change or get help, there's nothing you can do.
I have a similar situation, with my cousin, who has bipolar disorder as well.
With her disorder, the times she was nice to me was amazing. She was great to talk to, and I made the mistake of getting close to her. The times she was suffering from her disease, she was unbearable. She used the closeness as a way to attack me. She pushed every button, tried her hardest to make me cry. She abused drugs and alcohol, stole things, broke the law. Her dogs suffered when she was in an episode. She was poison to my life, brought out the worst in me, and intentionally tried to alienate me from the family.
I let her win. I alienated myself. I don't talk to her anymore, I stay away from her immediate family. I got a new phone number, and did not give it out to her. The calls stopped, the criticism stopped. I am much happier and have much better self esteem without her dragging me down all the time.
A few weeks ago she tried to reach out to me, but clearly had not changed. She started pushing my buttons, trying to hit me in the sensitive spots, being critical of my life (of what she could see on my Facebook page, on which she wasn't 'friended'). I had to block her on Facebook.
Your situation might be very different from mine. Maybe it's different with immediate siblings. But for me, it seems, there are some people, even family, no matter how much you love them it is better for yourself to not have them in your life. You should not have to suffer, too, just because your sister is suffering from a disease. If you feel you are strong enough to handle it, that's great. But don't be surprised if things fall back into the same routine.
Well, my religious beliefs and her religious beliefs are very different. I feel that she has her priorities completely wrong. I hate to talk negatively on her, but since this is anonymous, I feel that if I divulge a few instances where her behavior has gotten to me, all of you can understand my situation more clearly and give me a more straightforward response....
She is seven years my senior, and has never had a job for more than a couple months at a time. This meant that while I was living near her, she asked to "borrow" money here and there. I estimate that she would owe me over $1200 if I ever expected to get any of it back. She also receives $1k+ from my grandparents each month, and they cannot afford to give her this kind of cash. She's driven them deep into debt. She had a child young, so she didn't graduated from high school or received her GED. She has three children, all of them born from different men. She is married to her second child's father, but has been separated for almost two years and instantly found a new man with which she had a baby with who is now 1 year old. Most of the time, her children are never with her, and are usually with their father, my parents, or my grandparents because my sister cannot handle the stress of her own children. However, she always has multiple pets -- puppies, kittens, baby birds, fish, you name it; the only reason this bothers me, though, is because as soon as the pet grows out of its "cute" phase, something happens to it, and it disappears, or she lets it go. I don't really know what's happening to these pets, but I know that no one can have bad luck with 15 or more animals in less than 3 years for no reason... This may be because of her prescription painkiller addiction/dealing with withdrawals. I also suspect she is doing meth because the condition of her teeth have gotten really bad since I've moved away. On top of everything, she does not go to any therapy, even though she thinks that she has every ailment under the sun. She takes on everyone else's ilnesses: whenever my mother suffers from fibromyalgia, so does my sister. Whenever I was going through anorexia, my sister also claimed to be suffering through it as well, "worse than I was." I could honestly just go on and on, but I wanted everyone to know what kind of person she is. Despite all of these things, I don't want to leave her all by herself in this world. She pushes away so many people and doesn't understand why no one sticks around with her. She thinks everyone is against her and out to get her, and I feel really bad for her. I want to help her but I am just really at a loss. I know this post is TMI, but I don't know who else to go to. In real life, I couldn't tell my friends any of this stuff just because of how shameful it is.
CiKi, she sounds severely mentally ill. The babies thing, what with both the pets and the children, tells me she has a constant need to be needed. When she is no longer needed, or when the kitten grows up, she goes and dumps it in a corn field. I can almost guarantee she is dumping the animals. She needs attention; when you are sick, she is jealous of the attention you are getting, so claims to have the same illness only 'worse' she she also gets attention.
I don't mean to come accross as rude, but I'm going to ask these questions:
-What makes you think you can possibly help her?
-How is coming back into her life, and giving her the attention she so desperately needs, going to help her?
She will need to learn to fend for herself, and live on her own, without being needed or getting attention from people. The constant seeking of and craving of attention is a red flag for mental disorders. She needs to see a professional. Giving her what she wants, spending time with her because you don't want to leave her sick and alone with her disorder, will only fuel the problem. She will associate you being there with her being sick and helpless. There is no drive to get better. In my honest opinion, a better drive to help oneself is to realize you have a problem because your close sister won't have anything to do with you. The grandparents need to stop writing her a check, and it sounds like she needs to be reported to the place she's getting the animals as someone who is cruel to animals.
Also, she needs therapy. She needs a doctor. You, your granparents, your family; no matter how much you love her, you just might not be able to help her. Therapists go through years of education on how to deal with these problems, and how to help these people. If an adult person is determined to not be able to take care of themselves (she can't even take care of her kids?), the court can appoint them a guardian (your mom?) and order them to go to court ordered therapy. If she doesn't want to get help on her own, that might be a way to do it. If her kids and animals are suffering because of her disorder, she could lose custody. If she goes crazy on one of her kids, and the school finds out, she's screwed. She needs help.
All you can do is encourage her to get help. And try not to fuel the attention cravings. Just my $0.02, as someone who has dealt with a similar problem. When you describe your sister, you may as well be describing my cousin.
I feel for you as I have been there myself. I have a mother that is severly bi-polar with personality disorder on top of numerous other medical problems. Dealt with her shit all my life and finally had to cut her out for the last 3 years. I was able to do alot of healing during this time and I am a much better person for it. It is still very hard at times, kills me not to have her in my life but she only brings me heartache and problems. I know for me personally, I can never go back to her as much as I want to. Being bi-polar, they always go in cycles. Being good for awhile then really bad, it takes a toll on a person and your own family. You just have to do what is BEST for YOU!! My mother has received all the help she needed: counseling, drs visits, meds, inpatient care and then lived in a sort of "assisted-living" place for patients with mental disorders. They even have guardianship over her finances (which is a huge blessing)! For me, it was always damned if you do, damned if you don't and then living with the guilt. All you can do is pray and hope for the best. I wish you the best and hope all goes well.
YOU have to be strong and secure enough to deal with any and all possible negative reactions upon reconnection, first. If you don't feel completely confident and happy with yourself, do not contact her yet. If you think you can handle her flipping out on you and knowing that you might have to stop talking to her again, go ahead and contact her; writing a letter is probably a good idea because it is non-confrontational. Just steel yourself for bad reactions, and approach her in a loving and not attacking way (but DO speak up about all things that are bothering you about her).
I've had more than one friend I've had to cut out of my life. I stopped talking to my best closest friend of my life 8.5 years ago, when I was going through a hard point in my life and I couldn't give her the time she required, and I also had resentment that she was taking advantage of me and didn't appreciate me, and I didn't have the energy at the time to fight with her about it, nor the interest in confronting her over it. I was dealing with my own problems and disappointments, and didn't have time to babysit her daily. When I came across the phrase "emotional vampire", it just clicked, that is just what she is. She was never malicious and taught me to live much more freely, but would want to talk on the phone for hours on end, among other issues, and I just couldn't handle it in addition to my own problems at the time. My husband, who is a very loving, giving, forgiving person, (and who never met her) encourages me to contact her, but I am not so sure yet. I still might, but I need to be in a completely secure place with myself first (and have a lot of spare time to deal with her). He wasn't in the relationship with her, so I don't think he understands just what a drain she was. These relationships I stopped were ones that simply took and took from me and stopped giving back, and sooner or later I just cut them off, to save myself. So, it's all well and good for him to say that, but it is something else entirely to make it happen. Also, I am afraid she will hate me after I've cut her off like that.
I also had a fight with my other lifelong friend a year ago. We got on each others' nerves and he sent me a long nasty email (full of anger over issues pent up from our entire relationship probably)- which I haven't read yet, because I was SO upset by the previous angry emails that I would be upset for hours on end for many days if I thought about the situation. I caught up with him again last Christmas and was cordial, and decided to let it go for now, to save the friendship and not cut him off like I have the others. But his attack on me is not forgotten. Unfortunately I tend to hold grudges for a lifetime... and it has taken a year to not be so upset when I think about it. I don't feel angry about it now, but I do still plan to read that email and respond to it to let him know it's not ok to trash me when I didn't do anything wrong. There are also several people in my family who I do not approve of the way they live their lives (losers, essentially) and thinking about them causes me to stew and be upset as well. But in general I am non-confrontational so I say nothing to them (probably wouldn't help anyway). Also, it can be very hard to trust the person again, after they have attacked you and broken your faith in them.
Ultimately, one of my life goals is to learn to let go of things like this (the other is to strive to not criticize my husband).
This is the truth of the matter, and I am still and probably always will be working on achieving it:
"Forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness but because you deserve peace." ~actual advice mallard
I "adopted" a bird that belonged to someone like that. The poor bird was left locked in a cage outside under several blankets. The people that owned the house would push food through the bars. The drug-addicted, mentally ill woman who owned the bird had left it behind. I dragged the cage over to my house, cut the lock and we've had the nicest pet cockatoo for the last decade. We love her. I would never let that woman into my life or let her have her bird back. It would be cruel to the bird.
I would never allow your sister into my own life and that's mostly because I am protective of my nice life. However, if I was you and she was my sister I would not allow her into my life because not only would it be detrimental to me, it is actually not helpful to her at all.
And forgiving others does not necessarily mean you have to talk to them ever again. It is more about having peace for yourself.
Even thinking about all of this is too heavy for me. There's no way I'm ready to actually deal with it.making this thread has made me realize that I mostly feel sadness for not being able to see her children, and hearing about how their lives are being effected by all of my sisters bad choices. I would try to get them to live somewhere else, under my mother or grandmothers custody, but since the kids live with either of them most of the time anyway, there's hardly a point in doing the paperwork in their perspective. And to the person who said that my sister might go crazy on her children -- that wouldn't really be an issue, she really tries to be a good mother. The only harm she does to her children is by giving them unstable living conditions due to her lack of money/unwise financial choices.
The main reason I brought this whole thing up, though, is because usually around this time of the year, I go to visit my family across the country. This time, I'm completely avoiding the whole trip because of my conflicts with her. I feel guilty that I won't e able to see my parents, though, because the last time they saw me I was in really bad condition, physically ill and all. And, no, there is no way to only see my parents without seeing her. There would be no avoiding it! They live walking distance from each other. I think I am just going to write a letter to her, when I muster up the emotional strength to do such a thing. As for now, my stomach is in knots just thinking about such a daunting task.
Thanks, everyone, for your sincere advice and honest opinions. I appreciate all of you who advised me without judgement towards my family, and were very understanding of my situation.