Hi there! My name is Heidi and I hope to be of some assistance to you tonight. Your situation sounds extremely complicated, and I commend you for reaching out in an attempt to make some sense of it all.
Your description of her behavior certainly points to the concept that she is in some type of emotional pain, and is self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. This is not going to help resolve the problem, but it is all she knows. I am wondering if she has ever been prescribed any anti-depressants or such? Just curious is therapy has ever gotten far enough for a psychiatrist to evaluate her condition...
In cases where the person is of age, you are in challenging territory as far as forcing her to get treatment. And sadly, I must agree with you that a hospitalization or tough love in terms of imprisonment may end up being the wake up call she might need to get the help she needs. Yet, does she respect you and your opinions? You describe enabling behavior by your parents; you are 100% on target there. Boundaries must be put into place and firmly adhered to in terms of what is acceptable and what isn't. Are you capable of being that person for her, as in staying connected to her until she crosses the boundaries of behavior, but letting her know that you are not afraid to call the police or an ambulance if she gets out of control?
She will have to suffer the natural consequences of her behavior in order to feel their effects, in that family will have to disconnect and stop enabling her, and she will have to eventually feel the results of alienating those who love her.
If this seems impossible, given the circumstances, my answer would be that you will have to await some type of action on her part that causes the authorities to have to become involved. I would hope that someone in the family, or outside, could reason with her and convince her that help is available to her and that her quality of life would be improved ten-fold if she took some time to focus on herself and resolve any personal issues she may be facing. Otherwise, she will end up losing the support of her family.
I am truly sorry that you are stuck in such complicated circumstances. Mental illness is real and can destroy many lives; I hope that you have some support for yourself and can separate her behavior from your own life so that you aren't suffering along with her. Time has a way of bringing things to a head, and if it isn't today, it will happen eventually. In the meantime, take care of yourself. I commend you for asking the question, and I thank you for trying to help her. Thanks for using the site today; let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you.
Thank you heidi, it has been very frustrating and heartbreaking watching her behavior rip my family apart. In addition to what i had mentioned, she also habitually steals from all of us and threatens suicide when something gets tough for her to deal with. It is an increasingly common occurrence.
Thankfully my aunt was able to convince her to go back on the mood stabilizer she was taking while in rehab, and got her into a doctor last week. She has just started the medication, so hopefully she stays with it and my parents get her to see a psychiatrist regularly.
I suppose my final question would be if it would be more beneficial for us to seek therapy as a family rather than just her own her own-to fix the awful dynamic we have and also for the doctor to see some perspective from other family members?