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Younger Sister with Enabling Mother

Old 02-01-2012, 11:03 PM
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Question Younger Sister with Enabling Mother

Hi,*

I am new on here but looking for help. I am 30 years old and work (hard) as a doctor in a specialist training program and married to a great guy who also works hard as a firefighter. My brother is 39 and unemployed for over 10 years due to his dope addiction since he was a teenager. My mother has always enabled him and refuses to see that she is still doing so. He was married and living with his wife and child until she finally left 2years ago. My mother used to regularly give him money for their 'grocery bills', or their 'mortgage payment' when they didn't have enough with his wife's salary, which of course gave him more money to buy drugs. His wife ASKED my mother to stop giving him money but she continued to do so.*

My mother then paid the full mortgage and all expenses to allow him to live in that house for another year after his wife left, smoking pot all day and playing computer games, until his ex wife got lawyers to make the house be sold. My brother rarely saw his child during this year, and my mother would get his "custody time" every week instead.

A year ago my brother moved in with my mother when his house was finally sold. He still does nothing except use drugs all day and has one of my mothers credit cards *for his use for any "expenses". He acts like it is his right to not work and have other people pay for him and his drugs. He does not even get any centerlink payments as he doesn't qualify (wouldn't look for work) so contributes nothing and my mother pays for everything.*

There is now a custody battle between my brother and his ex-wife over my 4year old niece. My mother is paying for the best lawyers available and it is going to a full court battle, at massive expense. This is obviously about my mothers access to her granddaughter since my brother VOLUNTARILY did not see his daughter for months on end and was then completely distant with her on the odd occasions my mother could get him to see her. Even when living with my mother, when my niece was visiting he would lock his bedroom door and rarely interact with her.*

My father also died in the last year, and he was living in a very nice house in another suburb as my parents had been separated but were 'dating' again. The will from 30years ago was not remade so everything went to my mother. She has now decided she is keeping the house for my brother to live in for free. Myself and my other siblings, including a sister from his first marriage, will get nothing. My mother says it is none of my business since it is her house now. *Since the court has ordered supervised visitation with his daughter while the custody battle continues, he still lives with my mother part time, but has a whole other house to go to when he isn't allowed to be in the house during his daughters overnight stays.*

This has become a massive issue more recently for my husband and I since we are now starting our own family. We have struggled to become pregnant via IVF as my husband is a leukemia survivor (so we have had massive emotional and financial struggles of our own in the last few years). My mother was completely unsupportive of us during the IVF process, despite having some truly terrible times with illness and heart wrenching sadness. We started refusing to visit her house as it was always filled with dope smoke and I did not want to be exposed while trying to get pregnant. My mother "put her foot down" and made him smoke just outside the backdoor, where he now has a recliner chair to sit in so that he is comfortable while being 'forced' outside, but of course the smoke is still everywhere. She also insists on telling me in detail about every 'drama' that he is going through although I have told her I don't want to know about it.*We are finally pregnant, and I had hoped my mother would 'get some perspecitive' on this issue with another grandchild being born, but nothing has changed.

It has gotten to the stage where I refuse to see my brother and will not talk to my mother is she talks about him, as I get so frustrated by it all. She tells me I am too harsh and need to be supportive since he is going through a hard time (like we were supported through our hard times?) She says she will NEVER kick him out and that I am a terrible person for suggesting it. She tells me I am just jealous. She refused to see his manipulative behavior, or even that he has an addiction. I do not know what to do to help break the unhealthy situation. Previously my mother and I were very close. And selfishly I am sad that I am losing my mother over this and that she will choose to not know our children if it comes to that to continue her enabling. I cannot understand her choices.*

To complicate issues my other brother is a chronic schizophrenic who also lives with my mother, and she has never set any boundaries with him or encouraged his independence. I don't have as much issue with this, although we have had disagreement on how best to help him in the past, because he does need some help to live a good life (just not as dependably as he is now, I think) .

I am very sad and struggling with how to manage this. I am sure I can't be the only one dealing with this, but it feels like it. Are there any suggestions?*
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:28 AM
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Huge hugs to you. It sounds horrible. I have a partner with an AS and get strength from these boards to focus on my own life and to keep a healthy distance from the problems which AS causes. It is the only healthy way to deal with the situation.

Whatever you say and whatever advice you give your mother and brother will be ignored as neither of them want to change the situation. They have to work it out for themselves and that doesn't look as if it will happen any time soon. Unfortunately, you have to find a way of accepting this and start to focus on your own life.

It is not easy to watch someone completely mess up their life, I know. One thing I have learned is that addicts will suck the life/money/time/kindness out of somebody for as long as they can get away with it. They are experts at finding a weak spot in somebody and will use and abuse it for as long as they are able to.

Stay strong, don't get involved with any of the drama and focus on YOUR life.

Congratulations on your pregnancy!
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Old 02-02-2012, 06:30 AM
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Sorry about your mom's codependence. I am a mom of two: an aspiring med student and an addict. I love both of my kids, but things haven't always been fair between the two of them. However, I have done the best that I can from my perspective.

You will become a mom soon and learn that the mother-child relationship can be complicated. If there are several children, you can be torn in many directions. I take it that your mom knows your views so it is up to her how she will decide to handle things. I would make sure you had info about where she could get help/support for codendence in case she comes to a point where she wants help.

Otherwise, the only thing that you can do for yourself is set your boundaries with regard to your mom and brother. Is there a hobby or interest that you share with your mom that never involved your brother? Maybe you can focus your conversations/visits on that and make it clear that you won't discuss your brother. Try to meet your mom away from her house. Distance yourself from your brother's drama.

Good luck.
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Old 02-02-2012, 08:18 AM
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She is living her life as she sees fit to do.

Only thing here you control is your reaction. Have you considered getting some grief counseling to learn how to cope with the loss of the relationship you wanted to maintain with your mom?
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Old 02-02-2012, 02:52 PM
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Welcome to Sober Recovery. You will get great advice here as what you are going through we have also been through.

There is light at the end of the tunnel - for you. I highly suggest you get involved in Alanon. Alanon is a 12-step recovery program for family members of addicts. In Alanon you will find ESH (experience, strength, and hope) and learn techniques on how to deal with your situation.

You are going to be a mom soon (hopefully). Being here and in the rooms of Alanon can give you healthy ideas on how much your child is going to be exposed to the drama of this particular part of your family.

Your mom cannot love you, and that is heart-breaking I am sure. You know in your heart that she also does not love your brother (because she is stubbornly helping him stay sick). Many of us here have experienced that same thing. But that is not the be-all and end-all of your life and your ability to love your husband and your future children in a healthy way.

This problem did not flare up overnight or even in the last year, and so the resolution (for you) is not going to come quickly. But keep coming back and try those Alanon meetings. You are worth it, your husband is worth it, and your future children are worth it!
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Old 02-06-2012, 04:27 AM
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Thanks

Thank you for replies. Part if me was hoping someone could tell me exactly what to say so she would have her own "ah-ha moment" and want to change. Intellectually I know I can't change her thoughts about this, but I keep hoping she will change. So, to try and explain myself one last time I sent my mum a very carefully worded and unemotional email a couple of days ago about what i think is happening and how it is affecting me and our relationship. It predictably got a response that it's none of my business and that it doesn't affect me. I tried to let her know that it actually does, but the exchange ended up degenerating and she still hasn't accepted that I'm even allowed to have any emotional response to about this situation, or that it could be affecting me or the relationship with her at all. She doesnt accept that I need to withdraw from my brothers issues, and lectured me about my self-centeredness.

I guess I don't know how to withdraw or make my boundaries be respected. I miss what I want her to be, but know being around her at the moment isn't healthy. I'm crying a lot and much more stressed than I should be half way through pregnancy.

I am going to look into counseling, although I really need to look hard at finances to see if it is possible right now. I am not sure alanon or naranon are going to be right for me as I'm a pretty firm atheist.

Feeling tired and sad about any outcome I can see at this point.
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:19 AM
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Welcome...there is nothing you can say or do, your mother is just as sick as your brother, perhaps sicker. Unless she wants help, which it appears she doesn't, there is not going to be any improvement.

Truthfully IMHO, parents always play favorities, although they won't admit it, it is obvious to the other siblings, and, parents don't understand how their behavior impacts the other children and in many cases really don't care. Your mother sounds like mine, she
doesn't care.

Perhaps it may be time to distance yourself from your mother and brothers and concentrate on you and your family.

Your mother will never be the mother you want her to be, sometimes we need to let go of our fantasies and face the truth head on.

I wish you the best and I do understand.
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:20 AM
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Duplicate post.
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by YoungerSister View Post
Intellectually I know I can't change her thoughts about this, but I keep hoping she will change.
If it weren't for the fact that you're an atheist I would have quoted the Serenity Prayer for you, but as you are, I can only offer you the following profound advice that someone once gave me:

If you're powerless to change something, the only choice left open to you is to change how you decide to look at it.
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Old 02-07-2012, 12:31 PM
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Same Story - Different Mom

You could have written your post about me and my mom. My mother has been enabling my younger sister since her teenage years. The "hook" was that she couldn't allow her grandchildren to do without, so even though my sister was working full-time, and my sister's husband was also working full-time, my mother paid their rent, car payment and utilities for years until they divorced. My sister has been addicted to everything at one time or another, i.e., compulsive shopping, abusing ephedra, cold medication and now prescription painkillers. Currently, my mother is 75 years old and has spent her entire 401K savings on supporting my sister and has gone into debt by purchasing a $150K home for my sister with a 20-year mortgage. My mother pays for everything even though my sister is capable of working (she's been unemployed for 10 years now), her husband works full-time, one daughter has moved out and the other daughter works full-time and gets child support for her child (yes, it's three generations now).

For the past 30 years, my mother has called me several times a week and emailed me daily to regale me with all of the drama, stress, aches and pains of the household in Florida that she supports. If I called with good news about myself or my husband, her response was "oh that's nice" and then she would launch into the details of my sister's latest trip to the emergency room for her "back pain" or how she was taking a trip to Florida to help redecorate the house down there. Her latest visit included my sister taking my mother to her dealer's house so "she could meet her". My mother participated in the drug deal and paid for the pills. Then, my mother went home and decided it was time for an intervention. Of course, she called me and asked for my help, then when I suggested we go down there as a family and take along a professional for the intervention, she freaked out, told my sister what we were planning and blamed it all on me as if it were my idea. That was my breaking point.

I came to realize that I was enabling the enabler whenever I listened to her rambling on about my "poor sister" and how "all we can do is pray", blah, blah, blah. I tried repeatedly to enforce boundaries with my mother and she disregards them. She has visited in our home and I and my husband have asked her not to discuss my sister in our home and five minutes later, she is talking about it again. After the intervention fiasco, I just told my mother "you and I no longer have a relationship" and I haven't spoken to her in almost a year. After I told her I was cutting off communication due to her not respecting my boundaries, she continued to call, crying and pleading with me on the phone because she wanted me to stop "making up lies" about my sister's addiction. It's nightmarish and unreal to have to deal with an enabler who has become delusional and paranoid. I've been attacked verbally by my mother because she is so defensive of my sister that she will not listen to common sense, she refuses to go to counseling and is in complete denial.

At that point, I turned to self-defense mode. I have a wonderful husband, three step-children, a nice home, a good career and much to be thankful for. I chose to embrace the good things in my life and close the door on the negative things. Stop enabling the enabler. Stop listening to the garbage and lies and stop participating in the madness. Move on with your life and let go of toxic relationships. Good luck to you. I also wish I could afford counseling, but I find it therapeutic to come here and read other's posts and write my own. Best wishes in your pregnancy and your boundary setting.
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:18 AM
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Just as there is nothing you can do to change or "fix" your brother, there is nothing you can do to fix your mother because she doesn't think she's broken.

So...what to do.....aetheist or not, there are some very useful tools you can use from the various 12 step programs. The first of which is "take what you need and leave the rest". So take some of the tools and adapt them to your beliefs. There are quite a few atheists in these programs believe it or not.

Instead of "let go and let God" you can use "let go or be dragged" for instance.

The serenity prayer can simply be an affirmation statement to yourself rather than a prayer by eliminating the word God....speak as though you are speaking to yourself or a dear friend. Or change it up a bit like......find the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the people I can, and the wisdom to know its me.

It all boils down to self care. Taking care of one's self FIRST is best. Not in a narcissistic way without care or thought of others but in a self loving manner. If its not good for you to be around your brother....make no excuses and do what's best for you.

Life changes. Things change. And people change but not because we convince them to do so. It's the events around them that change them. You have a right to state your boundaries clearly to your mother. A great example of a boundary in your case is "I will not go anywhere where pot is being used.". There is nothing mean or angry about that and you shouldn't feel obligated to say anything more. It's pretty clear and it's about YOU. Not about your brother and not about your mother. Another boundary "I will not listen to conversation that revolves around brother. I will terminate the conversation if it heads that direction.". Again....nothing mean about it. Its about you. Say what you mean (state your boundary clearly), mean what you say ( boundaries are not negotiable) and don't say it mean (be nice about it). If someone has a problem with that, they own the problem....not you.

Congrats on getting pregnant after so much difficulty. You have wonderful things ahead as you grow that little one in your womb and prepare for birth. You'll be way too busy to participate in the dance of addiction.

By the way, I'm the mother of an addict and nearly lost the relationship with my daughter due to my son's addiction. She detached from her brother and began vehemently detaching from my codependent nonsense. I changed to preserve that relationship with my daughter. She's every bit as important to me as my son. But it took a while for me to realize what was happening. I am very grateful that she took a stand for herself.

Bottomline here......take care of you.

gentle hugs
ke
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Old 12-29-2015, 08:02 AM
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Younger sister with enabling mother

I'm also new on here. I've been dealing with the same "song & dance" now, for as long as I can remember. My younger sister is 40 & has been addicted to heroin, for 10 yrs now or better. She has been in & out of treatment programs. I even let her come live with me for a yr to get her out of her environment. I'm married- have a teenager & subjected my family to this change as well. I live in a different state & we all thought it would help. She went to AA meetings the whole time she was here & stayed sober. She makes a trip home for a court date , decides she's going to stay & is on drugs again! My mom is a constant enabler & refuses to take any responsibility for her actions. She even took my sister to get a packet of heroin so she wouldn't be dope sick. I was speechless! My last straw was when I found out from a friend of my sister's - all the lies she has been telling for yrs about our family. She made up so many horrible lies ......... just completely shocked! We didn't have a perfect childhood, but the lies she told are unforgivable! I really think all the horrific lies are a cover up. I think she just wanted a really good excuse to do drugs. My mom says, that she's mentally ill from drug use & doesn't know what she's doing? Sorry, but that's hard for me to believe. I'm just tired & am ready to disconnect as well. My mom doesn't want me to confront my sister about all the horrible lies she has told everyone, because it might send her over the edge & she might hurt herself! My response was "REALLY"?! She's worrying about her hurting?! What about all the people my sister has hurt?! She's hurt her 2 daughters that are older & struggle with depression! Our family, EVERYONE! When does the bubble wrap come off? We are the ones who need the bubble wrap to protect ourselves!

I am new on here but looking for help. I am 30 years old and work (hard) as a doctor in a specialist training program and married to a great guy who also works hard as a firefighter. My brother is 39 and unemployed for over 10 years due to his dope addiction since he was a teenager. My mother has always enabled him and refuses to see that she is still doing so. He was married and living with his wife and child until she finally left 2years ago. My mother used to regularly give him money for their 'grocery bills', or their 'mortgage payment' when they didn't have enough with his wife's salary, which of course gave him more money to buy drugs. His wife ASKED my mother to stop giving him money but she continued to do so.*

My mother then paid the full mortgage and all expenses to allow him to live in that house for another year after his wife left, smoking pot all day and playing computer games, until his ex wife got lawyers to make the house be sold. My brother rarely saw his child during this year, and my mother would get his "custody time" every week instead.

A year ago my brother moved in with my mother when his house was finally sold. He still does nothing except use drugs all day and has one of my mothers credit cards *for his use for any "expenses". He acts like it is his right to not work and have other people pay for him and his drugs. He does not even get any centerlink payments as he doesn't qualify (wouldn't look for work) so contributes nothing and my mother pays for everything.*

There is now a custody battle between my brother and his ex-wife over my 4year old niece. My mother is paying for the best lawyers available and it is going to a full court battle, at massive expense. This is obviously about my mothers access to her granddaughter since my brother VOLUNTARILY did not see his daughter for months on end and was then completely distant with her on the odd occasions my mother could get him to see her. Even when living with my mother, when my niece was visiting he would lock his bedroom door and rarely interact with her.*

My father also died in the last year, and he was living in a very nice house in another suburb as my parents had been separated but were 'dating' again. The will from 30years ago was not remade so everything went to my mother. She has now decided she is keeping the house for my brother to live in for free. Myself and my other siblings, including a sister from his first marriage, will get nothing. My mother says it is none of my business since it is her house now. *Since the court has ordered supervised visitation with his daughter while the custody battle continues, he still lives with my mother part time, but has a whole other house to go to when he isn't allowed to be in the house during his daughters overnight stays.*

This has become a massive issue more recently for my husband and I since we are now starting our own family. We have struggled to become pregnant via IVF as my husband is a leukemia survivor (so we have had massive emotional and financial struggles of our own in the last few years). My mother was completely unsupportive of us during the IVF process, despite having some truly terrible times with illness and heart wrenching sadness. We started refusing to visit her house as it was always filled with dope smoke and I did not want to be exposed while trying to get pregnant. My mother "put her foot down" and made him smoke just outside the backdoor, where he now has a recliner chair to sit in so that he is comfortable while being 'forced' outside, but of course the smoke is still everywhere. She also insists on telling me in detail about every 'drama' that he is going through although I have told her I don't want to know about it.*We are finally pregnant, and I had hoped my mother would 'get some perspecitive' on this issue with another grandchild being born, but nothing has changed.

It has gotten to the stage where I refuse to see my brother and will not talk to my mother is she talks about him, as I get so frustrated by it all. She tells me I am too harsh and need to be supportive since he is going through a hard time (like we were supported through our hard times?) She says she will NEVER kick him out and that I am a terrible person for suggesting it. She tells me I am just jealous. She refused to see his manipulative behavior, or even that he has an addiction. I do not know what to do to help break the unhealthy situation. Previously my mother and I were very close. And selfishly I am sad that I am losing my mother over this and that she will choose to not know our children if it comes to that to continue her enabling. I cannot understand her choices.*

To complicate issues my other brother is a chronic schizophrenic who also lives with my mother, and she has never set any boundaries with him or encouraged his independence. I don't have as much issue with this, although we have had disagreement on how best to help him in the past, because he does need some help to live a good life (just not as dependably as he is now, I think) .

I am very sad and struggling with how to manage this. I am sure I can't be the only one dealing with this, but it feels like it. Are there any suggestions?*[/QUOTE]
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Old 12-29-2015, 09:54 AM
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Welcome to the Board. As this thread is an old one, I'm going to have your post moved to its own thread. Hang tight...
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