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A Sheltered Sister

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  • A Sheltered Sister

    Growing up, my older sister, older brother, and myself were all home schooled and kept inside all the time, save for the weekly church attendance or grocery shopping. We remained this way until I was 12 when I started attending at a real school, my sister was 19, and my brother 18. I have always been the social butterfly of us three, even as a young child I would openly talk to anyone and everyone, never fearing judgement. My siblings who had spent their teen years cooped up without much social interaction were not so lucky; though my brother did break through his shell once he and my sister began attending community college.

    My sister on the other hand is in need of some serious help. She is now 26, and has never had a real friend. She is desperately lonely but is deathly afraid of social interactions outside of the family. I try to speak to her and help her as much as I can, but even the mere mention of talking to a stranger casually sends her into a panic of tears and stress. I try to give her advice and practice with me pretending I am someone she has never met, but to no avail. Try as I might nothing works, and I'm scared for her. I'm at the point where I am ready to move out of the house and be on my own, and she is dead set on living with me; but I can't let her do that.

    It may seem cruel, but I know that if I allowed her to live with me that she truly would never get out. She would be content with me being the only person she talks interacts with, which isn't healthy. I have a social life and many connections, so I am out and about and often do not have time to spend with my sister, and I am only going to become increasingly busy as the years go on. I am not the only one who thinks her living with me would end badly, to quote my brother, "what ever happened to baby Jane, but in real life." is how things would end up; I care for my sister, but we fight often and it can get physical, and I don't want to live around that. I know if I allow her to live with me, I will never be able to get her to stop living with me, because she would hold onto me as her only source of social life forever. And that is just no way to live.

    Help?

  • #2
    If she is 26, she should be working. If she is working, she should be learning how to interact with other people. Are your parents enabling her problem by supporting her at home? If so, she is THEIR problem and not yours. Don't feel guilty over her. Of course you should let her know that you have no intention of having her move in with you at any point. If she is informed of this fact, she might decide to do something about her life.
    "What lips my lips have kissed and where and why I have forgotten." ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

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    • #3
      Originally posted by SarahLancaster View Post
      If she is 26, she should be working. If she is working, she should be learning how to interact with other people. Are your parents enabling her problem by supporting her at home? If so, she is THEIR problem and not yours. Don't feel guilty over her. Of course you should let her know that you have no intention of having her move in with you at any point. If she is informed of this fact, she might decide to do something about her life.
      She is working as a cleaning lady for a small business. My mother does enable her.
      A few months ago I let her know I had no intentions of allowing her to live with me, and she didn't take it well. She broke down and accused me along with the rest of our family of abandoning her and not caring about her. Really putting on the guilt trip.

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      • #4
        Her 'putting on the guilt trip' is her way of avoiding personal responsibility. Allowing her to make you feel guilty will only hinder her progress. You must stand firm. Tell her you love her but you aren't going to enable her to be dependent for the rest of her life.
        "What lips my lips have kissed and where and why I have forgotten." ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

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        • #5
          Originally posted by time_fly View Post

          She is working as a cleaning lady for a small business. My mother does enable her.
          A few months ago I let her know I had no intentions of allowing her to live with me, and she didn't take it well. She broke down and accused me along with the rest of our family of abandoning her and not caring about her. Really putting on the guilt trip.
          I'm at the point where I am ready to move out of the house and be on my own
          Why don't you cross that bridge when you actually come to it? You may be "ready to move out" but you have not yet so...

          I really think you should start reading about codependency so that you don't fall into the trap of being a caretaker instead of the functional opposite which is a caregiver.

          Google caregiver vs caretaker and educate yourself.
          "First off, welcome to the Relationship Forums, You'll come to understand that I don't pull any punches when giving my opinion/advice and I hope you're not so sensitive to what I see as the truth of the matter." Me!

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          • #6
            I agree that having her live with you is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

            I also agree that if she is still dependant upon your parents then she is their responsibility and not yours. You don't want to make the mistake of her becoming your responsibility. I suggest you follow Phases' advice and read up on codependency so you know what to look out for.

            I've always thought home schooling is a terrible idea, for reasons like this. It's extremely important to a child's development to make sure that they are socialised properly.
            Just because someone's by your side, it doesn't mean they're on your side.

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