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Question
Posted by: Anon | 2011-02-08

Family matters (My apologies for the long post)

I am the second from 5 kids. Our mom died 13 years ago when my little sister was 3 years.Fast forward a couple of years I am the only who is successful and live on my own in another city. My old sister of 35 is pregnant for the 6th time (1 abortion and 1 child passed away due to lung problems) - she lives with my dad with her 3 kids and doesnt contribute a cent. Gets drunk every weekend to the point where the neighbours see her throwing up in the street.

She hates my guts because she says that I think to much of myself, she hates my daughter because she is the result of a multiracial relationship (my daughters father is zulu). She doesnt know that I monthly send money to my other younger sisters just so that they can eat every month.

After me I have a 29 year old who is married - living on her own but having financial problems. Then there is the 24 yr who is umemployed - she fell pregnant at 16 and has a daughter of 8 - she tries hard, is willingly to do everything but she just has to much responsibility on her shoulders. Then we have the youngest who is 15 got mixed with the wrong crowd, expelled from school etc.

Now the 24 and 15 year old have asked if they could come live with me (in a different city) because they want a normal life. Many days these kids go to bed without any food because there is a battle with my dad and my older sister.

He says that she should have some responsibility and she says that its not her kids (she lives rent free and comes and goes as she wants) Little things like having toothpaste or bath soap is a luxury to these kids.

I am 32 years old and live a very good life, but I cannot sleep because their situation bothers me all the time. My dad is also not in good health. If I let the two move in with me I have to be responsible for 3 extra people although my sister of 24 says that she will get a job and contribute to the household.

I will have to be a mother to a teenager as well whereas my LG is only 4. I feels its unfair that they put all this pressure on me as I have my own life but at the same time I cannot have a good life because I worry everyday what my family is eating and if they are eating at all. What do I do?

I have spoken to all my sisters to come up with a plan as they cannot continue going through this every single year, but they just done change. Your advice will be appreciated.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Your sister's behaviour, as you describe it, is disgraceful, and highly selfish. She should seriously consider a sterilization ( I'm surprised if nobody has suggested this before ) 35 is a bad age at which to still be having babies, with an increased risk to the health of the mother and the baby.

And her drunkenness is also able to damage the foetus and then the child. One wonders whether she can really be considered able to properly care for her existing children. To have reached 35 without being able to support herself is really sad.

I understand your strong and admirable sense of loyalty to your sisters, but it would surely be a really major burden on you to have to care for the two extra sisters at your own home ?

If you have been sending money home to your father to support these sisters - why are they going hungry ? Is your money being used in other ways ? If they move in with you, surely the younger one needs to finish school, and of course the other one should get a job and help support herself and the household. Why do so many people expect to have other people work and support them ?

You are entirely right to suggest that the sisters and your father should work to come up with a plan to make them self-sufficient - why can't the 35 year old work and help support herself and her children ? Who pays for all her alcohol ?

Pat's example is a good one, worth considering. Simply agreeing to support someone capable of work forever, is bad for them as well as for yourself.

And Pat is right to emphasize, as you should to your sisters and father too, that if they rely entirely on you, and anything happens to you, who would then look after them ?

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3
Our users say:
Posted by: Kate | 2011-02-10

They are you siblings for heavens sake.
How can you worry about the burden its going to have on you when they go to bed with empty tummies!
You have a responsibility to care for the younger one at least! Not really the 23 yr old.
I''m glad it keeps you up at night wondering about them!
Let them stay with you, the older one has to work to contribute until he/she gets on their feet and the younger one needs to complete their education while being cared for and he is still a child. He has no mother... you should be the one to look after him. You sound terribly selfish and only worried about how your own comforatble life will be affected by this!

Reply to Kate
Posted by: Pat | 2011-02-08

It is a very difficult situation. My husband's sister who is 28 was very spoilt by her parents, now they are dead and she has a baby with no fianncial income.

She can't hold down a job, her relationhip with the baby's father is non-existant and he refueses to help her with the baby and costs.

My husband and I have come up with the following plan for a period of six months:

We pay her rent and electricity as well as the childs creche fees, only for six months. During this time she needs to find a job, and pull herself together. However, this method is costly but has a time limit.

If she is not able to pull herself together in six months, she must find other means as we will no longer support her.

I think you need to lay some rules down, give assistance but with conditions. if the conditions are not met, then you should firmly withdraw.

I know it is hard, but who will look after them and provide for them if you are longer there or able to do so?

Good luck my dear, I hope you find a suitable solution.

Reply to Pat
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011-02-08

Your sister's behaviour, as you describe it, is disgraceful, and highly selfish. She should seriously consider a sterilization ( I'm surprised if nobody has suggested this before ) 35 is a bad age at which to still be having babies, with an increased risk to the health of the mother and the baby.

And her drunkenness is also able to damage the foetus and then the child. One wonders whether she can really be considered able to properly care for her existing children. To have reached 35 without being able to support herself is really sad.

I understand your strong and admirable sense of loyalty to your sisters, but it would surely be a really major burden on you to have to care for the two extra sisters at your own home ?

If you have been sending money home to your father to support these sisters - why are they going hungry ? Is your money being used in other ways ? If they move in with you, surely the younger one needs to finish school, and of course the other one should get a job and help support herself and the household. Why do so many people expect to have other people work and support them ?

You are entirely right to suggest that the sisters and your father should work to come up with a plan to make them self-sufficient - why can't the 35 year old work and help support herself and her children ? Who pays for all her alcohol ?

Pat's example is a good one, worth considering. Simply agreeing to support someone capable of work forever, is bad for them as well as for yourself.

And Pat is right to emphasize, as you should to your sisters and father too, that if they rely entirely on you, and anything happens to you, who would then look after them ?

Reply to cybershrink

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