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Suzanne, Therapist, LCSW
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 919
Experience:  Experienced in treating trauma, relationship issues, co-dependency
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Hello Suzanne - Your advice was very helpful to me. My sister

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Hello Suzanne - Your advice was very helpful to me. My sister is about to get her eviction notice anytime now. She says she will have to move in with me and store her things in my garage if I won't pay her rent. She also is saying that when she moves in here she won't be able to look for a job because she will not have a place to get ready. She could share a bathroom with my daughter. I don't know why she says she won't have a place to get ready??? Should we let her move-in and for how long?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Suzanne replied 7 years ago.
Hello again!

Wow, she is certainly giving you an indication of her intentions...if she moves in, it will be your fault that she doesn't have a job because she won't have a private bathroom.

I believe there will be nothing but heartache, stress and if I remember correctly, problems with your husband if she move in.

She is setting the conditions for living in your house! That's your right, not hers.

You will end up supporting her, as she has no intention of finding a job. She has a private bath now in her own place, and she hasn't found one. The bath issue is an absurd excuse.

Once she is in your house, can you afford to give her money, put gas in her car if she has one, feed her, and cover the extras utilities without her contributing? Will your husband agree to this?

Please don't convince yourself that if she is under your roof you will be able to encourage or change her. It won't happen. Period.

You could end up supporting her until the end of her life...another 20 years or so. Is this what you want your children to grow up with as a role model... That it's okay to just sit back and let everyone else take care of you, and to take no responsibility for your own actions?

Although your intentions are to help, allowing her to move in will be enabling, and will cause a great deal of stress in your personal life. The idea of having someone living with you is very different than the reality of her being in your living room day after day for years.

Your first duty is to the family you have formed with your husband. Will they be happy when there is less money to go around because you're now supporting your sister?

My strong advice is to say "No, we can't accommodate you living here. I know that you will be able to figure out something else." And then be quiet. She will rage, but don't be bullied or emotionally blackmailed. She is a fully functioning adult, and it is her responsibility to act like one. And it is yours to stay focused on those who really are your responsibility--your children and husband.

Here is a link to an article on enabling (I like the article, but have no knowledge of the things for sale on the site) . Much of what you will find on co-dependency and enabling will refer to alcohol or drugs...just insert the word "entitled" or "manipulative" instead while you're reading. Here's another good article as well.

Hopefully these descriptions will help you realize that your intentions, although good-hearted, will in the end cause only more problems for both her and you.

Take care of you and yours, and give her credit for being able to take care of herself if she chooses to...
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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I forgot to mention that my sister has bi-Polar symptoms. One of my brothers has been diagnosed as bi-polar. One day she is in a good mood and then the next day it's bad. I often turn off my phone to get some peace. Then she leaves rude messages on my cell phone.
Expert:  Suzanne replied 7 years ago.
Bi-polar disorder does tend to run in families. If, in fact, she has it, she would seem to be a rapid-cycler. Typical bi-polar tends to involve long periods of serious depression alternating with periods of euphoria, and going for days with no sleep. Some people don't follow this pattern and cycle much faster.

Perhaps your brother should talk to her about may be easier to accept from someone else who has it. He could tell her about treatment options. Without medication, if she is bipolar, she will continue to be unstable.

She should apply for Medicaid while she is on her own...and then she could--if she gets a psychiatrist to confirm the bipolar diagnosis--perhaps move into a group home or assisted living for people with mental illness.

However, the fact that she may or may not be bipolar doesn't solve or change the problem at hand. Moving her with her unstable moods into your home sounds like a recipe for disaster.

I know this is hard for you, but not as hard as the consequences in the future if you take responsibility for her life...
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