Sister/Daughter cannot get her life together, at my wits end. Need advice, please. please. please. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 12-26-2012, 11:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I am creating this thread in the hope that someone, somewhere, has some advice for me on this matter. Thank you in advance to any thoughtful responses that you may be able to offer.


I am writing this on behalf of my mother, who is 62 and a widow of 4 years. I am my mother's son, 25. My sister is 23, almost 24. My sister and her inability to get her life together is the subject of this post. My parents had my sister and I in their late 30's. My parents were married until they day they died. They were loving, nurturing parents who did anything and everything they could for us. We grew up not wanting really anything, a middle-class family. My father had a college education and provided well for us until his death 4 years ago. My mother was a homemaker who home-schooled my sister and I until high school age. My sister and I both went to a private school for high school, where we both graduated. We both worked in high school at a fast-food restaurant to gain work experience. My parents wanted us to get a feel for the value of money and the value of an honest days work. 


I consider myself lucky to have had the upbringing that I have had. I know I am fortunate to have had the childhood that I referenced to above. I have provided the above information to give a sense of background of what my sister and I came from. Hopefully this can help eliminate or point out any factors contributing to her problem.


My sister barely can make her ends meet and is consistently asking for money from my mother and I. She also borrows money from her friends, but never pays it back. She works at a part-time retail job, not really interested in moving up or taking on a second job. She does not enjoy working, in her own words, and tries to work just enough to make ends meet. She has the best cable/internet package, a smart phone, video game systems, and music production equipment. Yet, she refuses to sell any of her possessions in order to pay for emergency bills or situations (IE: car battery died, overdraft fees, etc...). She has gained 100 LBS since high school and food is her comfort. She struggles with depression and self inflicted pain. She is introverted, but loves the attention she receives when recognized for anything. Her dream is to become a musician, but she doesn't put in the necessary work needed to make that dream a reality. She does not want to go to school, she does not want to better herself it seems in any way.


My mom loves her and somehow feels responsible for the way she is (she obviously isn't). She does enable her by helping her with money in situations like I referenced above. My mother wants to help my sister and has tried to set up counseling/mentoring sessions to get her going. My sister will go to these sessions but no change ever comes out of these arrangements. My sister has never had a boyfriend or even been out on a date, though she used to be beautiful and funny. She is extremely shy, but many people are that way. She plays RPG video games (World of Warcraft) religiously and I think she may be addicted to those type of games.


I have tried to help by being tough, being supportive, trying to find resources that could possibly grab her attention, etc... I want to help her help herself, but whatever I try to do, it does not seem to get through. I want to see her find some purpose, find something to grab onto. She is wasting the best years of her life. I do not know what to do. Any help or solutions you could give me would be much appreciated. I will try and check this thread often to answer any questions that you may have. Thank you again.



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#2 of 7 Old 12-28-2012, 05:16 AM
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I honestly don't know what I can say to help the situation (I'm only on here for my cats problems for I am 16, but can offer great advice). I think she may be suffering from some form of depression (but I'm not a doctor, so don't take my word for it) because of your fathers death, so I think the counselling session should continue ahead, is she seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist? If she's seeing a psychologist, perhaps have her see a psychiatrist, that way if they do diagnose her with depression or something else, they can at least prescribe medication for her to take. Another thing that might help her in the job area is encouragement. If she has the encouragement behind her, and enough of it, that might help her get on her way to a job she'll enjoy and want to work for.

Now I know this part is out of your control, but maybe introduce her to new people, so she can get out there and live a little. It might make her feel better about herself to have MORE people showing affection to her, and she may end up in a relationship out of it. I hope this helps.
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#3 of 7 Old 12-28-2012, 05:32 AM
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You say she loves the attention she gets, but when was the last time you gave her positive attention? If you are trying to help by pointing out her problems, then that's how she gets your attention, and has no reason to change. If it were me, I'd spend a couple of months ignoring her problems and looking for things she does that I could extole! At the very least, you would get a couple months break from looking at her problems. If she does change, expect the change to be slow, baby steps at first.
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#4 of 7 Old 01-01-2013, 04:29 PM
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Does she have any post high school education?  Her job prospects may be limited without further education.  However, if she isn't motivated to pursue career advancement or education, there is only so much you can do.


Perhaps your mother or you can offer her assistance if, and only if, she agrees to meet with a career counselor at your local workforce center and set up a plan for improving her earning potential.  I do also very much believe in living within your means.  I have to admit that my parents have bought us plane tickets and admission tickets to amusement parks b/c we could afford to join them on vacations otherwise, but beyond that, we don't have smart phones, I drove the same car for 12 years until we could afford to finance a new one, etc.  


It sounds like a combo of some tough love and assistance with certain requirements in place to continue to get that assistance is in order here.

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#5 of 7 Old 01-01-2013, 05:01 PM
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WoW is a serious problem. But, sometimes the only way to notice that WoW is a serious problem is to take a WoW vacation, and the best way to do that is to have the internet shut off for nonpayment, kwim? I take it that sis lives at home? Is she a musician of any sort, or it a someday dream to become one?

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#6 of 7 Old 01-02-2013, 12:58 PM
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Well, sometimes fiscal responsibility takes time for people to learn and appreciate; maybe letting her pay her own bills (ie don't bail her out next time) could be useful for sending the message that she's an adult now and needs to learn to live within her means. As for the weight gain and food addiction, therapy is probably a good place to start. Once the underlying psychological issues are addressed, she can start moving on to a healthy diet and fitness regimen to get her way back to physical health once again. Hope that helped!

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#7 of 7 Old 01-07-2013, 02:30 PM
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She "was" beautiful... But now she's not? Because she plays Warcraft? Or because she gained weight? I'm confused.

Anyway, she sounds like my brother, who is 32 and has never held down any job longer than 6 months, and has never been financially independent. I am younger, and while not well to do, way more financially solvent than he's ever been. Both my mother and I agree that he is mentally ill, but he is way too left to "buy into Western medicine" or whatever his philosophy is, so he refuses treatment, and there's nothing we can do except not continue to enable him. I started working when I was 13 and he was 14 when he did, so I don't really know if teen job experience has any particular correlation to success as an adult, though...

Keep trying to get her to take advantage of mental health opportunities in whatever capacity you can. Maybe even stage an intervention if it comes to that. If she really is addicted to video games, it might help.

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