update (will she, won't she)

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by aninom, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. aninom

    aninom New Member

    Sorry for not being on in a while, work had me swamped and to be honest I've been trying to not-think of difficult child until I absolutely had to :sick:. I hope everyone is good or better!

    So to recap, it took less than 24 hours for the situation with difficult child to spiral out of control when she last was here. After three days I hopped on a plane to visit our parents and didn't fly back until I was sure she was gone.

    I'm not out for spoiling anyone's lunch with descriptions of what state the apartment was in, but not only was it bad - it was the kind of bad where she'd made sure the sweet old man our parents had swing around just to check things out (and we figured, if she knew he was coming and he had a key, she'd at least make an effort) truly would think she'd cleaned up. Thus, the hallway looked normal. The kitchen looked normal.

    LOOKED. She'd pressed three full trash bags underneath the sink. Dishes were in the drying rack - all of them dirty, some with impressive mold, on the inside. She'd left a rottening cabbage head (?) in a cupboard (?!), there was vomit/diarrhea in the bathroom, the bathroom had been flooded and was a general mess, she'd ripped askew my easel and from the looks of it kicked mud at my bedroom walls... it was depressing, mostly the pettiness of it, but hey. Last time she was left alone at grandma's place for three weeks it was literally a disaster area (think left-out food in summer heat and a clogged toilet).

    She's still set on coming here from February-June. Since I was last on here, or more, since I had to get realistic about what things would look like alone with difficult child, I've budged and agreed to mom's idea of paying for either difficult child or me to get a different place, and in the meantime, for grandma to come stay just to make it that bit more manageable. Part of me feels bad for both the money, and even more for having grandma deal with even a part of this, but another selfish part of me just feels sheer relief.

    The plan was for mom and dad to suggest to difficult child her own place, and make it seem as if it was for her benefit, which is the only way we know of to make her agree to anything. It's actually true, too - she'd be able to throw parties, and I think somewhere deep down she's capable of realizing having anyone live with her inevitably makes her explode, and exploding is tiring for her, too.

    Right now difficult child is in the same town as my mom and dad, crashing at grandma's (don't worry, grandma is 99% at their place for the time being) and visiting friends. They were going to have this discussion with her in a public place, but she's not picking up her phone, refuses to have any contact. Grandma can't say anything because we don't want to rile difficult child up when she's alone with her. She doesn't even know grandma will be coming to stay, which I feel is the wrong tack to take since if she did she might start looking for her own place spontaneously, but I understand why they don't want to rattle anything while she's at grandma's place. Grandma is the only person she can somewhat function with, but that is only about 50% of the time (yes, she really can be awesome one second and mad out of her mind the next).

    I don't really want to hope too much, but, she's confided to grandma that she's flunked two of the 14 make-up exams she had to take: she'll be able to re-take those in June, though. If, IF, she flunks enough of the remaining ones for which she's still to see the results, she may actually not be able to do her internship = has to stay in country C for the spring = can't be in country B, eating away my sanity. Sad as it is I'm actually hoping for her to fail.

    Then of course she hasn't been able to lease out her apartment yet (remember the apartment she tricked mom into paying for?), says she "just can't" show it to people as it is, will have to fly back to country C and clean it (oh, on this, I believe you) and then start searching for a subletter. Part of me is going "but why can't she learn to plan ahead, this is not good for her!" and the other one is mumbling "oh but maybe this is that one extra thing to make her change her mind about coming".

    So all in all a stalemate. She hasn't even booked a ticket yet, but her internship is supposed to start February 1st. Hopefully grandma will come a bit earlier so we can have some solid time together before the typhoon blows in.

    I know I've said it before but I still don't know where I'd be without this forum. Writing it out just helps me keep that perspective. Thank you, all of you guys, for being here, for listening.
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Can you just tell her NO? Tell her she cannot stay with you, grandma, etc and that she needs to stand on her own two feet. Let her hit rock bottom.
  3. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I know you can't control what your parents do, but I really wish they would stop doing anything for your sister, especially giving her a place to live. If one of my children trashed a place I was paying for like that, they would be banned, for life.

    I hope you can avoid ever, ever, EVER, staying in the same place with her again.
  4. aninom

    aninom New Member

    I'm with you. I don't know if I'd have the heart to just kick her out, but mom definitely doesn't, which is why I'm holding off on that thought until something severe happens.

    I wish they'd found a way to put the foot down sooner -- I mean difficult child is 30, and STILL doesn't do an inch of her own basic economy. Seriously, mom still has the reins on both her bank account and student loan dealings! difficult child feels she doesn't "have time". I know in some ways this is a good thing since she'd run both into the ground unsupervised, but at the same time, how is she ever going to learn to be independent like this?
  5. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE


  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This in my opinion is your parent's fault. I wouldn't enable them by helping them enable her (if ya get that) :tongue:.

    I don't know how old your grandmother is, but she deserves peace and quiet. I am appalled that anyone would draw her into this. If it were me, I'd tell my kid to go fly a kite. I'm 56 and it doesn't get easier to live with that kind of stress.

    Hon, I think you should let your sister go. You are an adult and no longer need to listen to your parents. Truly, they don't sound very healthy...at least not mentally healthy. Everyone sounds totally messed up, and you should be free of that. You deserve a healthy life.

    Good luck, whatever you decide.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am sorry. I must say that the plan you have is crazy. There is every reason for you to get a restraining order from her. You really NEED to do that. Gma and parents also NEED to do this. She WILL violate it and you should then call the police. Every time.

    The ONLY way to deal with a sociopath is to get away and stay away. No calls, no letters, no phone calls, walk away if you see her in public.

    If she gets tricky and gets a restraining order against you, that is fine. More reason for you not to be near her.

    Change your locks. She WILL have a key after being left alone there. Make sure you are deadbolted, with windows locked.

    If your parents will not see logic and get a restraining order, they are adults and that is their CHOICE. In time they will have to as she will get more and more abusive. Same for Gma.

    SAVE YOURSELF NOW!!!!!!!!!

    Others here have dealt with similar. The ONLY way to handle it is 100% break from her. Period. Otherwise you will end up dead or crazy from the way she manipulates you - a mental breakdown is entirely probable.

    Get a restraining order first thing Monday. I am sorry. If a restraining order is not possible, change your phone number and do not give it to her or your parents or grandparents. Have it blocked so it does not show when you call them. See a lawyer about what your options are. That is IMPORTANT.

    You are an intelligent person and keeping your sister in your life is a stupid move, a scary, dangerous, stupid move. I hope you can take this advice.
  8. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    I agree with SusieStar 100%. She'll NEVER get it together on her own, I had to get a restraining order against my own difficult child. You have to save yourself, let her figure it out. She's just figuring out how to be the same "bad girl" she always is. It's her difficult child fun. You are not the parent and poor grandma!-
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    She has already done really severe stuff. What she just did is severe. You're all so immune to her that you don't think it's severe. Do you want her to kill one of you? Will that be severe enough?

    I have no idea why any of you put up with her, but you came here for advice and you're getting it. I don't care what culture you come from. She is dangerous and a criminal and there are times when you have to use plain old common sense. I agree with Susiestar. Get her out of your life. It's an accident of birth that she is your sister...you didn't choose her, it just happened. You would never put up with this from a stranger. If you put up with it from your sister, there is really nothing any of us can do to help you. As an adult young woman, you need to see for yourself that this is something you WILL walk away from, even if your parents are angry at you. Otherwise, there is nothing we can do for you. Good luck.
  10. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    I think it is extremely important for us to try to understand that not all cultures and ethnic groups will have the same values and laws as we who live in the USA.

    I don't know which country aninom calls home. I don't know if restraining orders exist there, I don't know if any of our advice would turn her into a leper in the eyes of her culture. Many cultures would consider her turning away from her family to be an act of treason toward family values. No one wants to be shunned by their ethnic group.

    Maybe aninom just needs to vent to stay sane.
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    3shadows, I think you make a very good point.

    I have had that feeling for quite some time that when aninom posts that she is maybe from a country or culture that is so different from ours that it makes what we offer as advice just not very applicable.

    Even though she may not be able to follow our urgings, I hope aninom knows we support her and this is a soft place to land.
  12. aninom

    aninom New Member

    Sorry for dropping off the forum for a while, I didn't think that many people would respond. Three is right - I need to vent to stay sane. But I do consider this a place for advice and perspective, even when it's hard to hear.

    I wish I could be more precise about what country and culture I come from, but it's small yet well known, and I'm scared of someone I know stumbling onto it in some improbable way (the family paranoia of "no-one must ever know!" is still deeply embedded, but I'm working on being more open about the situation to friends, for example - I think this sense of a family secret is just making things worse).

    But yes, in this culture, family is everything. You're judged by how the rest of your family does and behaves and looks. You're judged by how well you treat your elders and children. Back when difficult child was still under the legal age and my parents did call the cops, did put her in a program, and so forth, they became gradually but magically isolated from the rest of the small refugee community. They still didn't know the language of the new country, either, so you can imagine.

    Now that we can visit our country again - and that mentality of Family Is You is even stronger after the conflict - I have a feeling they both take that value set for granted, AND are scared of losing the friendships they have here if someone would notice how far off the reservation their oldest kid is. 10 or 30, it doesn't matter - it's not that unusual for middle-aged people to still live with their parents, grandkids and all.

    I can't change that about them. And while I have a somewhat different perspective, I completely get where they're coming from when they say they can't just kick her out. To them it's not an option. Not speaking to your kid is ok, but denying them food and shelter is not. Hitting your kid is ok, but denying them food and shelter is not. Taking out a restraining order... It's just not feasible, practically, socially (and while it might be theoretically possible nowadays, I can tell you that unless there's very, VERY severe violence involved and someone outside of the household called, the police wouldn't even show up).

    I don't remember if I said it already, but I'm uneasy with grandma getting involved too. It was her idea to come and mom thought it perfect, but it just feels to me like spreading the misery around. I've been looking for an apartment since a few weeks back, and I'm thankful for her being there in the overlap with difficult child since she is marginally calmer around grandma, but still.

    Ironically, when mom finally told her grandma would be in the apartment too, difficult child exploded and called up (she forgot her cellphone SIM card - AGAIN - and didn't give anyone the new number she had to get... we actually have her phone numbers marked as "GFG2008Sep, GFG2009Jun" for every time she loses a phone or card), cried and said that we were trying to ruin her life - she couldn't possibly study for her make-up exams in June with grandma around (yeah, grandma is just a party animal like that), there'd be old people running in and out, wah waaah. Mom offered to pay for her to get her own place for the next six months. I won't believe it until I see it, though, so I'm still scouting myself and keeping up with the freelance jobs.

    I've started to really talk to mom about enabling, about setting limits, about this simply being a bizarre situation that's not healthy to ANYONE, least of all difficult child. I don't know. She agrees to a point, but sometimes I feel she's not prepared to actually stand her ground, and I don't feel comfortable being in that role of telling her how to handle her other child. I do think she gets that we have to change our own behavior if we expect any change in difficult child - even if it's true that her problems won't go away, maybe ever, she's still smart enough to know that if we stop responding to her usual behavior routines she will have to change them around us.

    Apparently she's been brutally honest with difficult child the last few times she e-mailed and talked to her... but then she adds something like, "she doesn't know we have internet, don't let it slip!" or "I told her grandma was coming because of health issues". I see the practical need for not having a difficult child explosion on your hands, or keeping her above the anger level where she's completely incommunicado, but seriously - this is ridiculous. I don't want to live like this. I usually live on another continent to NOT have to deal with this tangled, weird web of fear and conspiracy.

    I hope nobody is too worried about me. difficult child has had some severe outbursts, yes, but when she was supercharged on puberty. Might she hit me? Maybe. If that does happen, and I hope she or I won't be in the apartment long enough together for that, I've made it clear both to my parents (and to myself) that I'll grab that as an opportunity to call the police and say it's an emergency, and get out of there with grandma whether they show up or not. Mom thinks this horrifying on my part, but I'm serious. I don't know if I would have been before I found this place, but I am now. The gossip line can pariah me all they want, I have no plans on retiring here after my internship is done, and everybody can blame my foreign ideas to their hearts' content.

    I have to run now, but I'll check this thread later! Thank you, everyone, whatever your thoughts on this, for being there.
  13. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Dear aninom, I can only imagine how hard it must be for you to break out of your family mold. My grandmother, a Polish immigrant, allowed her husband to beat the Hades out of her daughter and decided not to involve the police because "this was Family Business!", and "we can't involve the Outside World". I wholeheartedly support you in your attempts to become who you were meant to be. I know this will be a real revolution for you. You may lose your family in this process but it is a woman such as you who might change things for the generations to come in your family.

    I will be thinking of you often.