Sister out of house, what rights do we have with her stuff?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by hamsterdance, Jul 9, 2017.

  1. hamsterdance

    hamsterdance New Member

    Title sounds really selfish .. like "yeah, sister got kicked out of house, and we vultures want to poach her stuff."

    To be brief.... parents (in their 70's) had to call police to get my adult sister (in her 40's) that's diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia out of the house after she confronted my father and it got physical.

    The details are ... well, they're not something I want to go into. She's had opportunities to choose how she deals with her mental condition, and her choices have been to cut back and/or stop taking her medication and downward spiral into passive-aggressive behaviour by threatening people that can't defend themselves (my wheel-chair bound mother) and then blowing up and trying to start fights with people that can (my father).

    I think this time around my father realized he's reaching that age where he can't physically restrain and cope with her anymore.

    Bottomline is that while they took her back in last time (to which she responded by not taking her medications and downward spiraling) they're not taking her in again. So... that's not part of any question. She's out of the house, and she's never being allowed to come back.

    The question is this...

    My parents want to give away or throw out all of her stuff. And my brother and I (both in our 40's) are like "um.. that doesn't sound legal. It's ... her stuff. Her property."

    My brother and I don't live with our parents. He lives closer and visits more often. I live farther away, but in the same metroplex... and since my sister has spent the past 2 decades burning the bridges between us I basically have given up on her. (I tried helping her a lot in the 00's by giving her money to pay bills and stuff.. and she basically threw any help I gave her back in my face... but, not like maliciously... just like... she had no clue that what she was doing was upsetting. She told me she didn't have enough cash to pay her car insurance, in a town where your car is your life. Ok, I gave her the money to pay that. Next we talk, she got a ticket from a cop for driving without insurance. Um.. what happened to the money that I gave you to pay the insurance? Oh.. she spent it... on dumb stuff. Ok.... well... look, here's some money to go pay that ticket off. I'm at their house one night, and the cops show up with a warrant for her arrest because she didnt' pay the ticket. What happened to that money that I gave you to ... you know what... at this point I don't even bother asking. But, I decide to pay bail for her to get out of jail. It was just a bunch of situations like that... where someone else is constantly bailing her out and she doesn't give a you know what because she didn't have to face consequences; someone else paid for them for her... that drove me away years ago.)

    But I digress...

    I knew what happened to my sister after a phone call with my dad one day. Ok, she's out of the house for good. Ok.

    Fast forward a couple of weeks... I get a call from my mom "hey, we've got some pottery and things that you might want... come on over and we'll give them to you."

    I get over there and ... they basically want me to go through my sisters room to pick out :censored2: and take it with me before they go through and just trash or sell everything else.

    The really crappy thing is I brought my girlfriend / fiance with me... because I thought we were just going to pickup a box of stuff (of THEIRS) they didn't want. And when we get there they're like telling her and me to go through my sister's stuff. I felt so awful putting my girlfriend through that. It was like going to someone's house where someone had died and picking through their stuff. It just felt really disrespectful.

    I know my sister is out of the house for good. Fine. Ok.

    But... I have no clue what property rights she has.

    I think at this point from what my parents went through (wheel-chaired mother was dealing with passive-aggressive threats from my sister and my dad had to get into a wrestling match when she blew up at him), they're both done with her. They just want to wipe away everything and move on. They're just both drained and done and I get that.

    But, there's still laws and legality.

    And my brother and I are wondering ... should we box the stuff up and just store it or throw some things out or sell it or ... I don't know.

    I'm at a loss here.

    My sister is currently living at a structured facility ... like a half-way house where they monitor you to make sure you're taking medications and have scheduled activities.

    Does that forfeit her right to her stuff?

    Honestly, her room looks like an episode of "Hoarders". She kept taking things from around the house and storing them places. She setup little mini-shrines and things to make offerings to the ghosts and angels and what-not that she talks to, she has an area where she's been "casting spells" (I recognize this from when she was doing this stuff in the past). My dad just sees "clutter", but I see every inch of the rooms telling a story of what was going on in her mind. Her hygeine was declining again as she went off her medications, so the smell is very... ugh.

    I really want to help my parents clean the room. And I really want to help them organize "trash, goodwill, keep/sell" just as a way to help them move on... but...

    I don't have a clue what kind of rights my sister has over any of this stuff she's collected in her room. Some of it is stuff that she bought using money from social security. Some is stuff my mom gave her. I guess I can start separating that way... but eventually if I end up with a pile of "her stuff"... what can be done with it?

    I'm sorry this is so long-winded. I guess like others there's a history to tell and in a way this is cathartic.

    (to be clear, I'm not looking for "Advice" on what to do with the stuff... I'm really asking if anyone knows the legal rights. She's been living rent-free at home with my parents for like 2 decades. The last time somethign like this happened, she was allowed home and she went on a huge cleaning spree since she was on medication and grounded and level-headed. But, the hoarding / clutter is back... but she won't be back. So... I have no clue, legally, what right we have to sell her stuff or just store it or what. Doctors and police don't exactly tell you this sort of stuff minutia when they're hauling your mentally ill person off. And my dad's too proud to make a post like this to ask, plus he thinks everything under his roof is his anyways. So... I'm stuck acting as a "moderator" trying to defend my sister's rights, if she has any. because as far as my mom and dad are concerned all my sister's stuff can get tossed on a bon fire and burned. They're just really done with her this time.)
     
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Just to let you know, most of us live in the U.S. The laws are probably different here. Where are you from? Maybe somebody from your country can answer.
     
  3. Blighty

    Blighty Member

    If in UK, your parents are under a legal obligation to take care of the possessions and have a duty to act reasonably in regard to the goods left on the premises. The law relating to uncollected consumer goods is covered by the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977. The Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 allows you to sell goods left in a property if reasonable efforts to trace the owner of the goods fail. The Act further states that if you can trace him you must serve notice stating your intention to dispose of the items, how to arrange collection, and that disposal of the items will not begin until the notice has expired

    You may also need to consider her residency status; if the law recongnises her as still resident in the property as not legally evicted properly, that hurdle may need to be overcome first.
     
  4. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    The BEST course of action regarding the law regardless of where you live, is always to contact a lawyer. Even in the US the laws vary from state to state. It shouldn't cost all that much to just ask the questions you've asked here. Good luck.
     
  5. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm not sure of the legality -- and none of us here can give you legal advice. I'd definitely consult an attorney before throwing anything away.

    To be safe, I would suggest boxing everything up (exept obvious trash - even then take photos maybe before throwing it out, to CYA) and storing it somewhere. You'll want to go through it to be sure there are no family heirlooms she may have hidden away. IF (big IF) you confirm you're able to dispose of it, give her a deadline to come get it, or it will be tossed/given to charity.
     
  6. hamsterdance

    hamsterdance New Member

    Yeah, I guess I spent so much time dumping emotionally I didn't give enough facts...

    We live in United States, Texas.

    My brother and I have been in rental situations for the past 20 years (with me renting rooms for about 5 years of that time in the past), which is why both of our first thought is "uh... what's the legal repercussions of all this?"

    Having spoken with co-workers over the years we also know that having an adult child come home to live with you can turn into a "Roach Motel" situation... it's easy to get them in ("yeah, sure, you can come stay with us until you get back on your feet") then you can't get them out ("you need an eviction notice, talk to a court about this and that, and they get to stay and you can't just kick them out"... that kind of stuff which flabbergasts parents when they realize how hard it is to get an adult child to move out when essentially it feels like the child has all the rights to live at the place and the parents feel like they have no rights over their own domicile anymore to just "get this person out.". Kind of like trying to get rid of a squatter.)

    As I said, my sister is in her 40's and can be considered an adult child that moved back in ... for... 20 years...(sigh)

    She wasn't paying rent, there was no lease agreement... but I'm pretty sure she's still in some kind of implied landlord / tenant situation that laws cover. So, my dad (landlord) can't just claim all of the tenant's stuff and start selling it off.

    He had to work with a lawyer for another situation (crazy passive-aggressive neighbor lady that does a bunch of stuff to neighbors to try to get them to act out against her so she can sue them). I'll see if he's up to contacting that guy again and see if we can get a run-down of rights.

    Worse comes to worse, I'll head down to their local police station to see if I can talk to the police and get some advice on her rights, or get pointed to a mental health counselor that can explain it... or see if my dad has the phone number of the mental health worker my sister was seeing before all of this.

    The problem I'm having is I'm back in college full time after exiting work-force of 15 years (just graduated with Bach, but now going into a Masters program). So, I don't exactly have thousands of dollars to throw at lawyer consultations right now. My brother works, but his budget is tight, too... My dad and mom are retired, living off my dad's gov't pension. I'm not sure they have thousands or dollars to throw at a lawyer, and my dad being in the mind-set he's in just thinks "this is my house, I'll do whatever I want to do". So, I doubt he's inclined to want to go seek legal advice over something he's "positive" he has all the rights on.

    My mom and dad are just in full-on "mom and dad" mode. They view this situation as "we're the parents, you're the child, you were living under our roof, so you have no rights and everything under our roof is ours".

    And my brother and I are like "no... you're adults... and she's an adult... and this is a legal situation that you need to keep from mucking up by making rash decisions."

    But... I totally get where my mom and dad are coming from ... They've spent 20 years dealing with this, watching it go down hill as my sister's mental health declines while their physical health declines. They are just done. They want to clean the room out and move on with life. I get that.

    But, the way they handled it... just the over-whelming'ness of it all. They think it's just a matter of us coming over, take 30 minutes to take whatever you want, and they'll just dump the rest. In their minds, they're so detached from the situation now... they didn't seem to realize how overwhelming her two rooms are.

    Like I said.. there is SO MUCH STUFF.. like an episode of Hoarders. There is literally no room to put anything on any shelves or tables. There is a pathway that leads in the door, and splits off over to a chair to sit down in front of a computer tv and the other path goes to the bathroom and into the other bedroom where she slept.. and in that bedroom there is a path near the bed and the rest of the room has stuff everywhere.

    It's insane.

    I finally told my dad there's too much stuff in here to go through in 30 min or an hour, so them pushing us to "just go in and take what you want and we'll get rid of the rest" was not how we needed to handle this. I told him this was at least a WEEK-LONG PROJECT sifting through this stuff ... what's trash, goodwill, keep/sell. And then I told him I would come over every day of the week to be the impartial third-party that sifts through her stuff... trying to figure out what was theirs and what was hers... and to organize and clean it all.

    That wasn't the answer he wanted to hear, because he just turned around, turned the lights off and walked out of the room while I was still in it. He just wants to be done.

    They have medical things going on during the week, but I'm going over Tues & Wed.

    I think right now I'll go over and just sit them down and tell them to put a freeze on things until we get the legalities of this worked out.

    The phone call from my mom that day (which turned into us going over there) literally started with "we're redecorating the house!"... which turned out to be "we're getting rid of all of her stuff, wiping the slate clean, and paving over to act like none of this ever happened (my sister must have really shaken my mom up with something, because my mom used to dote on my sister a lot... so for my mom to just completely turn her back on her like this is just... well...)

    I think right now I need to just go over there and talk to them both, perhaps each one in private... and just let them talk and vent and discuss things and blow up and do whatever they need to to handle things right now.

    But, make it clear we need to keep my sister's stuff.

    I mean... my mom wants to redecorate the WHOLE house...!

    My dad got busy remodelling the bathrooms.. he's been wanting to do that since they moved in, and sort of half-started in his own bathroom. When I went over there he showed me how he had torn out the tile, stripped wall paper ... my dad is throwing himself into a remodelling project... which means he's pretty shaken up over all this and is just looking for some kind of positive thing to do to take his mind off things.

    I just need to get them to take a step back and talk about things and look at it from a legal perspective.

    Talk to the lawyer or police or mental care provider... get some perspective on things before they jump the gun and try to wipe the slate clean.

    They are just literally done with my sister this time, though. My dad told me how he went to visit her at the place she's at.. and she's happy and healthy. Which is ironic.. they've got her back on medication, so her mood is good and she's doing structured activities ... so, the irony seems to be how she's the cause of a lot of stress in our family... but she's medicated into bliss and happy and healthy.. while the the rest of us are torn up over the situation and dealing with depression or issues from it.

    But, he told her that she's not coming home this time. Said she said "ok" but didn't seem to react or really understand what that meant. I guess in her mind she's just sitting at that place to "cool off a bit" until she's going home.

    This was her life off-and-on.. she screw up or piss my dad off, so he'd kick her (adult) butt out of the house (she had been living with them since her 20's). Then she'd call my mom and my mom would take pity on her and within a week or two she'd be back at home.

    I remember when I was a teen she'd blow up at my dad and go "I'm moving out!" She'd find a friend to move in with. Well... we all got stuck having to move her junk to the new place.

    Then her friend was either crazy or something upset her about her friend's place... and we'd get that phone call like in teh middle of the night "mom, I don't like it here I want to come home!"... and my dad would just look at me and my brother and before we knew it we were standing around at 1am loading her crap back into the car and trailer for her and hauling it home for her.

    So... she's had great conditining over the years that she can just blow up, leave the house or get kicked out.. then just expect to be let back in.

    I'm kind of wondering if she thinks that's the case this time, too... she hasn't has that "moment of clarity" yet to realize that she's not just at some summer camp / day camp for a bit to have fun before coming home... this is it. This is her life going forward. She's done.

    I cried last night thinking about this. It's like feeling like you lost a sibling...like they died. But, I don't think she's realized her situation yet. And maybe she's too medicated now to do so... or maybe she will and she's too medicated for it to really sink in... or,... I don't know.

    It's like everyone around her is having a moment of clarity except her.

    So, she's medicated and doing fine... and the rest of us are busted up over this trying to deal with the pieces left over. It's just ironic how the person that seems to be the keystone to all the issues in our family is doing "fine" while the rest of us are not. It's like some kind of sick joke.

    Anyways...I'm typing another novel here. I'm the one typing this, because I'm basically going behind my parents back to seek advice / counsel.. because they never will.

    My brother and I are trying to have a more grounded response to all of this, and want to reel our parents in to make sure they don't do something rash.

    I appreciate all of the responses people have given me. I guess I'm being rash to by just going "someone give me legal advice!" when I knew deep down I need to just contact a professonal or such.

    It's just odd the side things you have to deal with form situations like this... I mean.. there's the big "omg, we need to call the cops on her because she's fighting".. but then the after-math stuff just seems to have head-scratching, embarassing stuff like "um... mom and dad are trying to get rid of her stuff... is that legal?"

    You'd think it'd be easier to get answers for this ... like there would be a mental health web-site that would clearly state answers for after-math stuff. But, I googled around and found a whole lot of nothing.
     
  7. Blighty

    Blighty Member

    I guess that getting rid of all her stuff is really the easy part and controllable; which is what your parents might be craving. They are trying to get busy and in control; maybe to mitgate the pain of all those emotions.

    Maybe the discussion that is required (maybe not just right now) is how they are going to handle things if she tries to come back. What are their future boundaries and are they prepared to stick to them. If she does not come back, what does their relationship with her look like in the future...all these things might be hard to envisage and maybe some therapy would be helpful to bring that discussion out some time before anything else happens for which they are not prepared. If they know where they stand then they may be able to handle the situation better for them and for her.
     
  8. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    As I said, the laws differ from state to state and I'm not in Texas, so I don't have a clue what to tell you on this other than to be safe, don't toss everything away. I think I'd follow @CrazyinVA's advice and pack it up. Is there a garage that boxes can be stored in? A closet? A junk room? Box it up, put her name on it, hide it away somewhere and try to forget it. Then if she gets settled and wants it, you can give it all to her. Maybe rent a storage unit...a very small one shouldn't cost that much and you can pile it to the ceiling with stuff. Then when you find out what can be done you already have it out of the house. Your parents reclaim their house and the need to do anything permanent is delayed until they feel up to checking with a lawyer. Although, if she needs to be evicted, you should get that ball rolling while she's out of the house and not able to come back.
     
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am sorry you are going through all of this. It must be difficult. I know it will be more difficult when her moment of clarity comes and she realizes she cannot come home and she starts exploding/melting down because you have all made this decision. Of course she will not at all, ever, she how her behavior contributed in any way to the situation and the outcome. Luckily, she is with people who can handle her behaviors, and you don't have to.

    You shouldn't have to spend a fortune on lawyers for this. Many lawyers give a free consultation and this should be the kind of thing that could be answered with one. Use the yellow pages online, or the real one if you can find one, and call around to lawyers to ask for a free consultation. Then ask what your rights as her landlord are in this situation. It is a landlord=tenant situation, basically, so that is what you need to know. It would only get expensive if she sued for her stuff after you got rid of it.

    If you are in doubt, you could get a cheap storage unit in her name, pay for a couple of months, and give her the keys. Tell her that after those months expire, you won't be paying for it. She will either have to find the money to pay for the unit, or move her stuff, or they will sell her stuff. It will be up to her. Depending on the amount of stuff, storage units are maybe $40-$100 a month, and many places run specials if you pay for several months at once, so you could maybe get a small unit and do several months for $100. That way her stuff would be safe for her for 2-3 months, and out of your dad's house. Just a thought.
     
  10. hamsterdance

    hamsterdance New Member

    Update ... Chatted with my mom today.

    The reason she felt like she had rights over most of the stuff in my sister's room.. is because my sister was basically going around the house and taking things that didn't belong to her and hoarding them.

    She was taking crystal bowls and things to make offerings and stuff in to the ghosts / angels / demons / etc that she would have conversations with. I guess she figured the fancier the bowl or knick-knack that she made the offering in, then the more likely it would be appeased. She had pictures and stuff around her room that, when taken down, had spells and what-not written on them... like she was warding off evil spirits.

    But.. getting back to property rights...

    Sounds like the next couple of days will just be me bringing things out of my sister's room to show my mom to determine what she stole from around the house and hoarded.

    She had money, but was spending it on knicky-knacky stuff.. she had her own food, but was buying movies, knick-knacks and what-not.

    I think the issue I'm going to have with my mom is she thinks that things she's given to my sister are now her property again. I don't think you can just turn around and claim something you gifted someone as your own again without the gifted person's say so. So, that's going to be a sticking point for my mom to work through.

    The aggravating thing about all of this is you have someone that lost track of concepts like "property rights" and such (my sister) and was technically breaking the law by taking things that were not hers or given to her... but now we, the family, have to be very legal and by-the-book in dealing with all of this now. The aggravation arises when you feel like they got a free pass to do whatever they wanted due to a mental illness, but you have to walk on eggshells in cleaning up their mess since you'll be the one facing repuercussions if you don't.

    So... yeah....

    I'm probably preaching to the choir here. I've read other peoples' posts on here and it's like a record put on repeat... you read the same things going on over and over in other peoples lives having to deal with the same kind of stuff. It's just so aggravating, frustrating, etc... they did whatever they did... laws and peoples' feelngs be-damned... but we have to respect their rights and such after the fact.

    This next week is going to suck. :(
     
  11. hamsterdance

    hamsterdance New Member

    So... as others have stated... storing the stuff would be the best bet for right now until legalities get sorted out.

    My mom is in a "clean out the house" mode.

    They have a big attic that my dad laid plywood down in to use as a massive storage space (I was always the one that had to run up and down there, because I was the youngest and skinniest...so, I know it well).

    I'll probably spend this week organizing my sister's things out from my parent's things... throwing out what is clearly trash and boxing up what is not. Then be the one hauling stuff down from the attic for my mom to decide what to get rid of and what to keep. There are some things that my mother spent money on to work on with her and my sister as a "Team building" exercise I guess hoping it would be a positive experience that my mom now just wants to get rid of.

    eg: she has a huge christmas white bisque-ware village that she bought and her and my sister painted up and worked on. She asked me if I wanted that. She just wants to get rid of it. Told me it's up in the attic... so, my mom is wanting to just blow through the house and get rid of EVERYTHING and start fresh. That was something she bought, so she wants to get rid of it. That's how done my mom is with everything. That's like ... wow. O.O

    So... I figure I'll be cleaning out the attic... which will free up space... to store whatever I box up for my sister to store up there until my dad and I (or my brother and I) figure out legalities.

    Fun times. :/

    Appreciate all the replies folks have given. Haven't personally responded to anyone, because there's just a lot going on and to take in. But, getting great advice and I thank you for the sympathetic shoulder / ear to talk to.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017
  12. hamsterdance

    hamsterdance New Member

    The interesting thing about mental health care in Texas... they spend a lot of time and money taking care of the patient... but no one offers any help to the caretakers, family, etc.

    My parents have dealt with her for 20 years... but only the past 5 has been with her being diagnosed and getting help and then spiraling out of control again.

    Nobody has offered any counselling to my parents. It could be that it's because my parents are the kings of "we don't talk about that kind of stuff to strangers". My dad does not discuss things. Former military, engineer, left-brained... he does not discuss his feelings or emotions or such. My mom is very pent-up. Even when she was having her stroke, you asked her "what's wrong?" and her reply is always "everything's fine... it's fine." Speaking with my mom now, she's finally opening up to me. Turns out my sister was verbally abusing my mom for about a year now... my mom didn't tell my dad. She just put up with it... but it was escalating and getting to the point that she was worried about being physically attacked. In a way, she kept her mouth shut because ... the way my dad handles things is "we'll deal with it", so I guess my mom figured if she told on my sister then my dad would try to handle it himself... my sister would get an earful and some threats of calling the cops... but then my dad would have to go to the grocery store some time... and it would be weeks or months... but he'd eventually leave my sister and mom alone at home ... and my mom figured that would be the time when my sister would come out and make her pay for telling on her... it was like my mom was living at a prison and worried about one of the inmates threatening and harming her and the correctional officer (my dad) not doing enough about it, so she just tried to keep things quiet and smoothed over for a long time.

    I'm speaking with my mom on the phone off and on over the past day or so... and there is just a lot to talk about.

    I have so much anger right now.. but then I feel guilty for being angry because it's like my sister has this special "get out of jail free card" with her condition to where I'm not allowed to be angry. So, then I feel guilty.. then I want to cry... because it's like she's died. My family is done with her, and just going to treat her like and adult that the state has to deal with.

    Her and I used to be close when we were younger, but she was a jerk and bully growing up... always had to get her way. And her and my dad butted heads a lot.

    She was the only daughter, so my mom doted on her a lot, to the point of spoiling her... so then I get it in my head that she's just a spoiled brat that's had all her problems handled for her by her family, so she's just learned she can do whatever she wants and others will deal with the repercussions...so I get angry again.

    Then I get angry that my brother and I busted our humps to grow up, get jobs, get out into the real world and take care of ourselves... and my sister turned into this 40-something living at home... and she made life hell for my parents... and now she's out and medicated and happy and oblivious... and we're all stuck dealing with the fall out.

    It's like "oh, we doted on your sister... and she grew up to be a nightmare...you guys left the house early and learned to take care of yourselves and be responsible... now we need you to come back and deal with all this with us."

    I was mostly ignored as a child growing up (last child of three). So, I just have this feeling like "you know what, screw you guys... where were you when I was a kid and needed some attention and help and support? Where were you? Oh, right... doting on my sister. Where were you when I was busting my hump in college as a middle-aged man trying to make my life better, and you were talking down to me like I was an idiot for going back to college and trying to make something of myself? Oh, right, dealing with my sister. But now that you need me...you're all 'hey, come back we need you!'"

    I just want to yell at them so bad.. and it just makes me angry again. I'm just so bleeping angry. About everything!

    Then I wonder if I'm going to turn into my sister. She and I inherited a lot of the same health issues, so I worry if I'm going to spiral downward into paranoid schizophrenia as well. I'm back in college after being in the working world for 15 years and hitting glass ceilings and walls due to not having a degree. I was trying to stay out of debt, but I decided to go back to college fulltime, because I got sick of no career advancement. I'm in a masters program, and will be like 45 when I graduate with a masters and then I have to worry about rebooting my career and seeing how far I can go... and then I just shudder in fear that ... what if I end up with a mental disorder like my sister...and it throws a huge wrench in my plans. My girlfriend / fiance is in health care, and assures me that mental health disorders manifest in 20's / 30's, so I'm worrying about nothing. But... I still worry. I want to marry my girlfriend, I want to reboot my career... what if I get a mental health disorder and become a nightmare for my girlfriend? I dont' tell her this, but it's one of the main reasons I dont' marry her yet. I'm so worried she will get locked in to a situation that I just don't want her to be in ... I want her to be able to leave me if I go off the deep end like my sister.

    I'm just so angry about everything and at my sister... then I get so guilty and blame myself...like maybe if I did more for her... but when I tried to be there in the past it just emboldened her to screw up more because she realized other people would deal with her problems and repercussions. There was no accountability. There was no reason to grow up or be responsible. So, I distanced myself thinking "the best help I can give is no help at all"...plus I was hoping by me not being there to deal with my sister, my parents would finally step up and do so. My dad kept asking me "what should we do with her?" I don't know! She's your daughter! Youre' the parents! Why are you passing all this responsibility on what to do with her off on to me?! How the bleepity bleep should I know? You're the parents. YOU do something! I haven't told them, but that's also part of the reason I distanced myself from my family... I got tired of them looking at me like I was supposed to fix their situation for them.

    Just so much anger then guilt then I want to cry. And them I get upset because I feel so selfish..like "boo hoo me" when my family needs me. But, I'm just upset that once again I have to be the responsible one to come in and clean up a mess my sister made. And she's so medicated that she's oblivious to it all. It's like .. it's not fair... the innate sense of fairness people have in them just screaming "she gets to blow up, screw things up, break things in the house, make threats, etc, etc... but I have to be mature and keep my mouth shut and come back and try to be a positive influence and help resolve things... so grow the F up and get over yourself, dude." But my inner fairness is like "this is a raw deal and you know it, so screw them, screw her." But, the situation is what it is.

    But... state of Texas... apparently no mental health checkup for the folks DEALING with this stuff... just help for the patient.

    That's one reason I want to go see how my parents are doing... I feel like I need to act as an ear for them to vent and talk to... but they like to ignore elephants in the room. So, how futile would that be? And then I wonder why that's my job... like... am I able to deal with that. I'm not a professional counselor. I am their son, and I'd like to be there and help them cope, but...

    In regards to her coming back... she's basically done.

    My dad and brother changed security codes around the house (like there's a code panel to the garage you can punch in a code to get in.. they changed all that).

    My first thought was "well, she's not in jail... she can just walk off from the halfway house and walk across the metroplex all day and night back home...sooo..."

    And my dad was "if she shows up here I'm calling the cops for trespassing. done."

    Everyone in my family is just done. I guess I was just done sooner then everyone else... but now I have to go back and clean up things ... like how people hear about a hurricane on the news then head over to help cleanup and go "holy (bleep!), I did not know things were this bad! I'm overwhelmed!"
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017
  13. hamsterdance

    hamsterdance New Member

    I guess I didn't really answer the "how do you know she's not going to be allowed back" question.

    So, basically.. my dad is head of household, but he gives in to my mom's wishes. This is the reason my sister has been given so many chances in the past. She would blow up at him and they'd get into a verbal fight. He'd get sick of her. He'd kick her out. She'd find a friend to go move in with. This entailed all of us moving her crap out of the house for her. Then a week or two later, my mom would get a phone call. Either she couldn't pay rent when (god forbid) someone asked her to pay rent instead of sacking out at their place for free, or she didn't like the living arrangement (living with a friend can make you hate them fast). So, my mom would smooth things over.. and we'd be over at that place at 1am (yes, 1am in the morning) packing up her crap to haul it off.

    All of this taught her that she could blow up and "I'll show them!" and the rest of us were basically just her slave labor to deal with the fallout... because my mom was the one organizing it all and talking my dad into giving her another pass and "we're family and we need to pitch in".. that whole spleel.

    That's done with.

    My sister basically burned her bridge with my mom over the past year by making my mom live in fear of her life. From escalating verbal abuse when my dad wasn't around, passive-aggressive behavior to show her "who's boss", stealing her things and hoarding them in her room without permission, making my mom wonder if my sister was going to escalate to physical abuse/violence....

    My mom has been living in fear for a year now. Quietly.

    She's done.

    And since she's done... that means the whole family is done.. or at least in regards to my parents. My mom was the one that would sway my dad into taking her back. Even if my dad wanted to take her back now, my mom is now the one that will sway him to not take her back.

    And even the logic of the situation has my dad not wanting to take her back... you have a person that has been known to get violent, you find out they've been escalating things against something that is elderly and wheel-chair bound and can't defend themselves... it makes no sense to bring that person back into the house and risk recreating that kind of environment.

    I'm done with her. I was done with her back in the 00's before she got diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Just a series of events made our relationship go south and I was done.

    I'm currently living with girlfriend / fiance, and she has an extended family that involves young kids (nieces and nephews).. and I sure as HELL do not want my sister involved with any of that. She has not been around little kids, so I have no clue how she would react and I don't want the possibility of her potentially scarring some young kids for life with threats or out-bursts or other things.

    I especially did not want my sister mixing with my girlfriend or her family after my sister made an angry phone call to me one day basically going off on me about how my girlfriend/ fiance was the root of all evil in my life, she wanted me to dump her.. she called her "the new girl" (the new girlfriend)... I had been with my girlfriend for like 5 years now, us living together for like 3...and my sister's grasp of time was so distorted that she was talking like I was just starting to be with my girlfriend / fiance. She spent about 3 minutes blasting me on the phone and berating my brother for being a wimp that she walks all over (red flags all over the place)... I just laid right back into her.

    What I find disconcerting in looking at online resources about how to deal with someone with mental health is a lot of them say "the person can't help it" and "try to help out"... all of the advice seems like it's designed to turn you into a doormat that the person can walk all over... "they're going to have out-bursts.. just weather the storm". No. I wanted her to know that she was not allowed to do this and this was not ok. If she wants to have outbursts, then there's going to be repercussions. So, I just told her "this conversation is over, don't ever call me again... we're through. I'm done dealing with you." And I hung up.

    Next phone call was me talking to my dad about what the heck that was all about.. and turns out my sister was off her medications (had gone from "taking medication regularly" to "only taking it when she thinks she needs it" apparently... so, basically.. not proactively maintaining and instead reactively dosing as she saw fit). And the out-burst to me was just another in a series.

    So, then my dad asks me when my girlfriend and I are coming over for Thanksgiving, and I pretty much told my dad bluntly that after that phone call... neither my girlfriend nor I would be coming over any more. I was not going to risk bringing my girlfriend into an environment with someone that's going off their medications and is prone to getting violent .. especially after my sister just out-right told me she hates her and she's the root of all evil. I didn't want to come over anymore, because the last few times was just my sister staying in her room never coming out at all. I'm in college and middle-aged, and under a lot of stress and walking a fine line between success and failure.. and i just didn't want to deal with the junk going on at their place anymore.

    So.. my sister moving in with my girlfriend and me.. that's a definite no-go.

    My brother is the one I worry about. He's the kind of guy that is all about family, and he will give you the shirt off his back if it would help you. I have always been respectful of that and made sure I never over-stepped or took advantage of him (eg: if I had to borrow his car, I would wash it and fill up the gas, and I pitched in to help with maintenance on it). My sister has been basically walking all over him and taking advantage of him right and left. After christmas if she got any money, she would expect him to take her out shopping to go buy ... stuff. And he would. This is when I stopped giving her money for christmas. I got sick of her acting like she was queen of the world because she suddenly had a few bucks in her pocket and could escape her hermit existence.

    On the phone call with her she made it very clear she didn't respect him, and was trying to bully me until I pushed back on her and told her to basically shut up and get out of my life.

    I called and talked to my brother and asked him if she called him.. would he take her in? He lives alone in an apartment. No girlfriend, no wife, no kids... no pets even. (My whole family is very reclusive and introverted..which I dont' think helps when somene is dealing with a mental health disorder... my sister was isolating herself and downward spiraling, and my family just kept it as an elephant in the room).

    He says he's not going to take her in. But, I can just imagine one phone call where she's crying and pleading.. and he's going to give in.

    I told him flat-out that if he takes her in.. his life is pretty much over. She's going to walk all over him, bully him, threaten him.. and he folds too easy. 10-20 years from now he is going to be living in an apartment that looks like an episode of hoarders... downtrodden and haggard as he's had to work to keep paying bills while she stays home and ruins the place and they both turn into a crazy run-down bitter sibling "couple".

    He sort of paused on the phone to consider that for a few seconds. And when I asked if he was still there he said "yeah.. just thinking."

    So... I think this is a hard situaiton for him the most.

    Is my sister going back into the house? No.

    Is my brother going to take her in? ... wellll.... It's like Lord of the Rings ..."I would do this blinded by the best of intentions... but it would have the worst of outcomes."
     
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You seem very distressed. Actually, this is not your problem. You seem to think you must care for everyone in your family. In truth, you can only adequately care for one person....yourself.

    Have YOU ever been in therapy? Do you take as good care of yourself as you try to take care of other people? You can talk to parents, but not change them or force them to do anything. How is YOUR personal life? Do you make time for one?
     
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  15. hamsterdance

    hamsterdance New Member

    Yeah... I'm sort of getting back into all of this after distancing myself for years and being frustrated at nothing happening but my sister going downhill.

    As I was typing comments, it was just a lot of stuff coming out... more cathartic then emotional plea for help.

    What you say about the parents is true. I spoke with my dad, and he's decided that it's best if I don't come over...he'll just sort through the things and take his time and store them instead of getting rid of them. He knows some lawyers at the gym he goes to, so he's going to ask them for legal advice. (One is a family legal guy).

    I told him I knew things were upsetting and emotional right now, but he needs to focus on the legalities and CYA stuff. because what they don't need is for my sister to come back and ask for things and then get sued by her when she realizes they threw it out and she has state support for everything now.

    His opinion is that ... my sister has no place to go. She's living in a furnished room now. Her only living situaitons are that, or being homeless or being in jail.. so he thinks that she has no use for things anymore.

    But, she's at a place that's teaching her vocational skills... which means that she may be having some kind of structured job that she's overseen at some time later. This means she will have an income.. and possibly end up in her own apartment some day.. and she'll be wanting stuff.

    That seemed to sink in... but, there is still just so much garbage in her room.

    And the "gifting" situation gets murky.

    When I was a kid, my parents bought a wooden rolltop writing desk for me. It was raw wood, and my dad and I put stain and finish on it to make it a real piece of furniture. When I moved out of the house at 18.. that stayed behind. If that was considered "my property"...well.. my mother decided to shuffle it around to different rooms, then it went with them when they moved.. and ulitimately has ended up in my sister's room (it was buried under a bunch of junk.. I didn't even notice it).

    So... who's property is it now? Is it mine? They bought it for me. I never gifted it to anyone. But, my sister has it and has been using it.

    It's just stuff like that which muddies the water.

    My dad is talking like "well, your mom gave your sister some clothes, so we're going to bag all that up and take it to goodwill" and I'm like "those clothes are her.. you gave them to her.. you don't own them anymore." And he's "but... we gave them to her. She doesn't even wear them anymore."

    I feel like I'm talking to Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy.

    "But... you don't understand.. she's not here."
    "so"
    "But... she doesnt' wear them."
    "So"
    "but... I'm the one that really wants to get rid of them now."
    "So."
    "you don't get it... we gave them to her... we want to get rid of them now."
    "they're not yours to get rid of."
    "But... you don't understand... she's not here."
    "ARGH!"

    It's just a convo that keeps circling around.

    He agree to box things up and keep them, though.

    And I told him if he wanted me to not come over... he can at least call me if he wants to talk.

    I guess I'll leave the ball in their court.
     
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would stop trying to fix your family. You cant. Whether its good for your sister or not or you dont like how your parents are handling things or whether you dont want sister there or not it is their house and people do what they want to do. It doesnt sound like Dad will let sister go. And you cant stop it. Why even get involved in the drama? You spoke your mind and explained legalities. Now it is up to them. Or not. You cant force it.

    You can talk until ypu are blue in the face. The fact is, the ball IS in their court, not yours. It never was in your court.it doesnt involve you, which is good. What a mess! Be happy it is not your mess.

    My suggestion is to let it go and build your own life. You have a valuable, precious life but are not urilizing it while you try to fix your family.

    I feel its best to tell yourself over and over again to let go.if you have a higher power give the problems to the higher power/Universe/God/anything. It is a problem too big for one person to fix. You must have personal friends, interests, goals....focus on YOU. This is not your problem. Your own life matters.

    I wish you the best of luck ;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017
  17. More2Life

    More2Life New Member

    I went through this with a past conduct disorder husband who refused to pick his stuff up claiming he had nowhere to put it.Really he just wanted an excuse to keep me tied to him so he could call or drop by using as that as an excuse. I called the police in my state and they told me it was my responsibility to keep his stuff "safe" for something like 6 months and that I needed to tell him in writing with his acknowledgement in writing that he knew he had to get it first before the 6 months could even start. Ridiculous! State- Utah
     
  18. Blighty

    Blighty Member

    Hamsterdance, What I am getting is the feeling of guilt you are having over some of your feelings. A lot of that may be misplaced. It sounds like you have gotten yourself some healthy boundaries in the past to deal with the family problems. This crisis gives you an opportunity to reassess the boundaries you already have and possible extend or adjust them with other people. You may also want to explore where your duty towards your aging parents begins and ends

    There is an excellent article about detachment in the parents emiritus forum you may want to read.

    you need to find a level of detachment that works for you
     
  19. hamsterdance

    hamsterdance New Member

    Well... the conclusion I came to is that I need to let my parents sort it out.

    They're the ones that lived with her for 20 years. They need time to go through things and sort them out in their own way.

    By offering to step in and try to act as a mediator to sort through her things and organize them and such... I realize I'm sort of depriving them of an avenue of closure.

    I mean.. for me... the reality of my sister being out of the house and having no other options then what the state or streets could provide her didn't really hit home until I was at their house staring at her room and just taking it all in, and seeing how my parents were trying to deal with the situation (like "no big deal, just take some stuff").

    It had been 2 weeks between when my sister was hauled away by the police to when I went to their house and spoke with my parents and saw her room and really got into the situation.

    And I think I felt like maybe my parents were shutting down their feelings and distancing themselves from everything and maybe I needed to step in and help.

    But, over the past couple of days... what I realized I needed to do was just let them deal with this on their own... mostly so they have to deal with it and it can be a coping mechanism for them.

    My dad is very aloof about it all right now, but I know him. After the conversation I had with him I know he's going to take his time making decisions now, and while my sister is not allowed back in the house he's still an advocate for her. He still has her well-being in mind. He's going to sort through her things, get rid of the trash she's collected, box up stuff to keep, etc. I think that's something he needs to do, and he can get my mom's input on it... and it's just something they need to do as part of a way to come to terms with what the past 20 years has led to. As a realization factor I guess.

    I wanted to jump in and help and try to solve some problem I saw.. by taking on this burden and dealing with it so they could stay aloof and distanced. But, I feel now that would just deprive them of a slow, methodical activity (cleaning out her room) that could give them some kind of closure on something.

    My dad has this saying "when your hands get tired your brain goes to work".

    He uses that a lot when we're working on something tedious, and when you get tired of doing it the hard way you sit down and try to think up an easier way to do it.

    Well... I think that's what cleaning out my sister's room could do for my mom and dad... if they're the ones that take the time cleaning it all up.. they're going to get tired (there's a LOT of stuff).. and he's old, so he works for a bit then sits down and takes a break.. and that's the time when his brain will go to work and he'll mull over what's happened, take time to think it over... after he's worked out the frustration from physical labor, I think he'll have more clarity on the situation, come to better terms with it, make better decisions... and realize that rushing to haul all her stuff out isn't the answer. I think he felt that the sooner they got rid of her stuff, the less likely they would be inclined to bring he back home. But, I know for sure they're not bringing her back home this time. I need to give them space and time to work through her room and by doing so to work through everything they've gone through for 20 years and have their moment of clarity and come to terms with things.

    It's just one of those situations where you want to be there for someone and you feel like you need to do something... but there's not much you can do. So you feel helpless. and it's frustrating.

    I think a lot of what *I* was going through was the cathartic purge of all the anger and stress I had built up and bottled up over the years from dealing with my sister, hearing about what she's doing, hearing about how at every turn she decided to make poor choices that didn't help her situation, etc, etc.

    I really got through a lot of that by just writing an epic ****-ton of posts on here. LOL

    I had a good purge and cry. I spoke with my parents and advised them on how they need to step back on the situation and look at it from all angles (legal) and not just "parent / child".

    So, now I need to just step back and let them have time to work through things...physically with the room which will hopefully help them work through mentally and emotionally as well... and not deprive them of that.
     
  20. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    It's amazing how much "writing it out" can help. That is one of the things I love about this site, we can vent, and purge through our posts to people who get it.

    So glad you were able to work through your emotions here.