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Question
Posted by: Bob27 | 2008/09/10

Kleptomania

Hi CS

Im not sure if my diagnosis is correct but I have a sister to who has constantly been in trouble for theft related crimes.I dont understand why she would get into this kind of trouble because she always got was she asked for from my parents.My sister wasnt spoilt she just excelled at school and was rewarded for her achievments.

I' m not sure when it started but I think when she was in grade8/9 she got into trouble with managment from one of the clothing stores for stealing a charm bracelet, she maintained her innocence and claimed the braclet got hooked onto her jersey. We quickly forgave her and the event was forgotten. Over the years we noticed petty theft in our house without catching the culprit, My parents constantly felt it was the domestic,while i obviously felt my sister was the mastermind until one we got a knock on our door from a big burly man looking for her, claiming that he cheated her out of money from credit card transactons that were cancelled by the companies these credit cards belonged to my father. After reprimanding her we made her pay back the money before the man decided to charge her.

My sister was a brilliant academic, she was studying to become a doctor, she claimed to be doing her honours when she apparently was offered to move to the UK to continue was her doctrate, We believed her without asking her for proof. On the eve of her departure there was a robbery at a family business prior to that the keys of that business was ' lost' . during the burglary a lot of money and jewellery was stolen and at the time the finger was pointed to me as i was responsible for the place. After y sister had moved to the UK we had found out that she was involved with the burglary that she was also being accused of theft by people she met in the UK, she had been kicked out of the the apartment she was sharing and moved in with one of her work mates. Who is also accusing her of theft.

I do not know how deep this goes because everyday we hear of a new accusation and its hurting this family a lot, my parents are constantly fighting with each other,she is constantly lying to us about the situation that she is in. We all went to the UK to see what she was up to and she covered up a lot from us only when we got back did we get stories from 3rd parties.

My family and I dont know to approach this situation. If we shut her out we are afraid she might do something drastic, If we bring her back what kind of help can we get for her?

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Our expert says:
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Sometimes such bad behaviour is an attempt to attract attention from parents who are more generous with their money than with their time and affections. I somehow doubt whether this is truly kleptomania, but rather a basic antisocial personality disorder and dishonesty. The only thing that may help is if people stop trying to protect her from the otherwise natural consequences of her acts, and that she face the legal consequences of them --- and then maybe, with the encouragement of a mcourt, she might take her misconduct seriously and see a psychologist for therpay to understand herself better and try to mend her ways. But unless she is strongly motivated to do that, it couldn't work. ONLY if and when she sincerely recognizes that she needs help and sincerely participates in it, could she be helped.
And its awful if she is a qualified doctor --- in such a position of trust imagine how she could exploit and steal from her patients ? And if she is doing postgraduate work in research, she could cheat and fake her research results, too.

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