Twisted Sister

06/12/2009 11:00

I am having an issue with my sister. She recently left her husband leading him to believe she is depressed and unable to cope. Well the truth is she is living with another man. The sad part is she left the five kids she has with him. She doesn't have hardly any contact with them. I am so frustrated! How could she do this? And she makes unimaginable lies to everybody including me. She has left the family in financial and emotional ruin. I am trying to protect her and at the same time protect the rest of the family. She is having me deal with her problem. I don't know if I can take it much longer!

 What Mary Says...  What Crystal Says...

Dear Sister:
I'm so sorry. It's awful to have to go through this. I'm not a clinical psychologist, but it sounds as if your sister may be depressed. She may not know how to be any other way right now.

Here is the name of an organization that may help point you in the right way and perhaps you can have your sister call, too:

NAMI - 1-800-950-NAMI (6264). They offer support: from trained volunteers - consumers and family members - who know what it's like and who've "been there."

I hope they can help. Keep us posted.                               







































Dear Sister:

Ah, good ol’ escapism: it certainly is a powerful defense mechanism. And most likely, your sister is using it. It seems like she didn’t feel she could handle the life she was in. And this new beau? He’s allowing her to take a vacation from it all.

The problem with escapism is that it never lasts. The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence. At some point, your sister is going to recognize that life’s problems don’t just disappear when you run from them, and once you get onto that other, lusher-looking grass, you start right back into looking over the fence again. Unfortunately, by the time most people realize life ain’t grander just because it’s different, they’ve already made decisions that makes their life even harder – such as abandoning children and the repercussions, either legal or emotional, that will eventually come with that.

But I get it – she’s your sister and you want to be there for her. The family bond should not be broken lightly. But here’s the thing. You can be there and be supportive while still not be enabling.

For instance, I’ll be all kinds of supportive to a friend who wants to go all Francis of Assisi and give up their worldly possessions, but I won't be hooking them with 3 grand to fly to India and live in an Ashram for 2 years. As crazy as any idea sounds, I adore my friends and family and I'm there with all the advice, love, and support I can possibly muster. As long as what they're doing doesn't physically or irreparably emotionally scar somebody, they might as well just get me some pom-poms because I’m their biggest cheerleader. That’s what it is to be supportive.

You‘ve done all that with your sister. You’re validating her need for this new relationship and you’re trying to respect her need for privacy. But that’s all you can do. Once you cross that line into actions, such as lying for her to your family, providing her with money or aide that allows her to continue the abandonment of her children, or frankly anything that assists your sister in doing something you feel is wrong, that’s enabling. You’re no longer just being there and being the voice of reason to guide her into making proper decisions; you’re allowing her to act in a destructive way.

The Speak Easy is formed on the idea that people aren’t judged – only their actions. Don’t allow yourself the fallacy of mixing the two. Don’t allow your sister to make you do things you’re not comfortable with, and don’t allow her to hurt the ones you love. Don’t enable her destruction by taking action you regret. But, do continue to love and be a supportive ear for her, because you may be all she has left when she’s ready to come back to her side of the fence.



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