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Jean
Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience:  Masters degree in counseling, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
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My sister in law, is a manipulative drug addict, her brothers

Resolved Question:

My sister in law, is a manipulative drug addict, her brothers have had enough of her behavior, but the Mom is always in her corner, defending her ways. Once she even said ' She can't help what she does, she is crazy". The family is always at odds. My sister in law had AIDS for almost 20 years.. she is 50 years old. How can I help them find peace?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Jean replied 4 years ago.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Hello, this is Jean, a mental health therapist to assist you.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You describe a lot when you say "a manipulative drug addict". That comes with a whole lot of crazy making stuff for the entire family. What you describe is very difficult since the rest of the family can not "make her" stop using or to stop acting in the way she does. What the family can do is find ways to not enable her like you have tried to do.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Her mother, I'm sure has good intentions in supporting her, making excuses etc. but she sounds like the major enabler. It's a tough balance between caring and loving an addict, but not enabling. She sounds like she is taken care of with regular money coming in, others having to manage her money. Something in this formula needs to change in order for change to happen. However, again you are powerless to change her.

Customer:

How do we get the mother 'onboard'? She thinks we are ganging up and plotting against her baby girl, we are no longer accepting bad behavior.


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Others around her will need to make those changes. Your partner may want to consider giving up his job if the mother continues to enable- she will only continue doing what she is doing unless, like I said, someone changes something. She has a pretty "nice" set up with others taking care of her business, regular money coming in etc. She will need to feel uncomfortable in order to be prompted to change- others not catering to her every need.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Hello, by the way. The discussion with the mother needs to be done in a very kind and loving way. Providing the mother with information about addiction, enabling, recovery etc. may help her to begin to understand. I'm sure her mother is very afraid if she "lets up" her daughter will suffer, get hurt, die... Would all the siblings be able to meet together first to come up with a plan of how and what to say to their mother? It's a great start that you and your partner and others are not accepting the bad behavior.

Customer:

Her monthly allowance can be cut off, but it have to be directed to her children, who will continue to enable her and/or control her. My sister in law has been scamming everyone for years, and her kids are good at it also.///As a group, the 3 of them are a destructive force of nature..


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Her children have had a good teacher. More than anything you and your partner identifying those things you can change or have an impact on and the many things you don't such as her and her children. Sometimes someone, or a family has to hit a buttom to realize "this is not working" and something needs to change.

Customer:

Her overdose scare only lasted a few weeks, she is only happy when she is in a self destruct mode, and causing havoc with all of those around her..she remains the center of attention.


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

If there is no movement nor motivation for change with her, the children, and their mother- you and your sig. other may have to remove yourself from this toxic environment for your emotional health.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Sadly, as you are experiencing, this is a family illness. Each of those involved have to decide for themselves what they will allow, and participate in. She sounds pretty chronically ill- emotionally and addiction.

Customer:

That is what we have tried to do, along with other family members..we have all seen the light.. and now it is all my partner's fault, turning everyone against the sister///


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

I know you asked how do you help them find peace. That would be the ideal conclusion to this situation, I'm not so sure the prognosis is so great.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

The projection of blame onto your partner makes sense if he's the one taking a stand- he's doing the right thing- putting even a small change into play.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Your partner is to be commended for taking those steps, brave, stepping out the sickness, while some stand around silent and enable the hot mess.

Customer:

I am afraid that there will never be a happliy ever after... maybe a good screen writer would help us turn this mess into something entertaining for others!


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Yes- reality is better than t.v. In addiction and the family there are many unspoken rules, such as don't talk nor have an opinion- your partner is breaking that- GOOD.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

This woman is 50 and continues this insanity- very sad for her and the family- destructive too all around her.

Customer:

I will pass it on, he feels like he is the bad guy, and hurting his mother hurts him, I wish someone would take his side in this


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It would be awesome if the mother would seek out Alanon- support for those who love an addict.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

I'm rooting for your partner to be brave, take a stand, honestly it may help her in the end.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

For now the two of you removing yourself from this as a way to take care of your self is the best you may be able to do. Good luck reasoning with the addict and the coaddict with her mom and children right?

Customer:

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX all we can get!


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It's plain ole insanity because you are not dealing with a rational and reasonable person- look at its as so different from how you operate that she could be from another planet.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

What you believe in your world is not the same in her world- foreign

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You and your partner could also consider Alanon- those that attend focus on working their own steps coping with the sickness in the family. Wow what control she has as the center of attention.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

What happens though others around her try to control- begins looking like codependency- putting her and the illness ahead of self and the rest of the family.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

She's in the center and the family is running circles going nowhere fast- tired just thinking about it!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Is there anything else you wanted to comment on?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Sadly, and I'm sorry, but the "being apart" as a family may be needed, at least for now.

Customer:

all this is starting to take a toll on our relationship as well, I;ve learned to be quiet and voice my opinion


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It's very taxing for all of you- that's where the separation may be healthy- but your partner will have to make those hard decisions himself. No matter what shape our family is in- it's still our family. The family is driven truly to help her, but it gets messed up and can be more enabling cuz it allows her to keep on keepin on.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

If there is nothing else.. Thank you so much for posting. Let me know if I can assist you again. Please rate me so I can get credit.

Customer:

I agree, you have been most helpful, and my partner says he feels validated, knowing a professional is on his side..maybe that will take some of the stress away


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Good- any little bit can help!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Best wishes on this journey for you and your partner.

Customer:

good night! thanks again

Jean N/20pluscounts :

My pleasure!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It would be most appreciated if you rate me in order for me to get credit Thanks!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You can continue to view post even after you accept.

Expert:  Jean replied 4 years ago.

Please let me know if you needed further assistance, if answer was satisfactory by hitting rating button, I get credit for the info and time. If not satisfactory, I'd like to offer any additional help. I'm glad I had the opportunity to chat with you. I hope things begin to go better for you and the family you described.

Thank you,

Jean

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