How can I help my parents deal with my violent, mental 31-year-old sister?

by Iona
(Farnham, Surrey, UK)

My youngest sister is 31 years old and lives with my parents (as she has done for years). She doesn't have a job (can't hold one down), is addicted to 'legal highs' and in the past gambled, stealing money from my parents to do so. Every few weeks she goes off on drug and alcohol binges (in my parents' house) and, alarmingly, has become increasingly violent towards my parents; she is often destructive of their property (eg smashing things, throwing milk over the kitchen, or paint down the stairs in anger). Last weekend she punched my dad in the face when he tried to throw her out of the house, and kicked him in the ribs, resulting in him having to go to hospital with a suspected heart attack. She ran off and I hoped she'd finally decided to do the decent thing, stop sponging off them, and make her own way in the world. Not so. She turned up again on Friday without so much as a sorry and screamed at me when I questioned her over it (my mum didn't back me up, just seemed to pretend we weren't arguing). My sister keeps going round in cycles where she'll be OK for a while, then she takes more drugs and goes mental, having episodes that cause my family a great deal of embarrassment (eg lying with her face in the mud in the front garden). I have tried to suggest to my parents that they should kick her out, change the locks, and show her there are consequences to this behaviour but I know they don't agree with this, and can't stand the thought of her living on the streets. It seems to me that they now accept her behaviour as normal, or because they feel in some way that they deserve what she's doing to them. I'm seriously worried that she will give my dad a heart attack or worse if something like this happens again. What can I do to help them?

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Jul 02, 2014
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Truth can be Bitter
by: Anonymous

It's probably Not what you want to here, but this is your parents problem not yours. You actually can't control your sister or your parents. It's unhealthy for you to dwell on it. Unsolicited advice is seldom heeded, usually it creates resentment. My suggestion for you is to attend an Alanon or Narcanon meeting and follow their suggestions implicitly. There you will find the tools and support to properly deal with this. You're right, they should kick her out and change their locks. They should also prosecute her for assault, theft and property damage. If my parents and wife would have done that I believe I would have dealt with my problems sooner. Enabling behavior only makes matters worse. Your parents can't control her anymore than you can control them. Having healthy boundaries is realizing just that. Addiction affects everyone involved. I can't control the people around me, BUT I do control the people I'm around. Today I can't be around MY sister, I love her from a distance, currently that distance is 100 miles.

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