Family Help with Demanding Sister


My sister has been divorced twice and has custody of her two children for the past 6 or so years. She hasn’t really worked all these years (some odd jobs on and off) and has apparently relied on the alimony & child support of her ex-husband. My parents helped her to get into a townhouse several years ago, and have helped her quite a bit, including buying her her last two cars, furnishing the kids bedrooms, financial support on and off for many many years, etc.

Basically, the problem is now that she’s trying to manipulate my parents (and me and my brother) into paying her way thru life. She quotes the bible verse from 1 Timothy 5:8 which says If any one does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. She has basically alienated her entire family because she is not kind and demands that we ‘support her’ and is trying to guilt, especially my older parents, into taking care of her. My life is very stable and I am the younger sister - I have been happily married for 22 years. She has always been resentful of me, it seems, and it’s getting worse the older we get. She cut all ties with me last year when she demanded of me to help her (with threats using God’s word), and when I challenged her on the reality of what SHE needs to do, she said she wanted no part of me anymore and hasn’t spoken or responded to me in over a year. I accept that part because I really don’t want a ‘relationship’ with someone who isn’t kind or loving and is only a taker, even if it is my sister. I love her, but I really don’t like her. I pray for her daily. She is very confrontational and is a very angry woman who thinks the world owes her and she won’t be ‘happy’ until she gets what she wants, which is to NOT work and take charge of her own life and to have everyone else pay her way thru life. Oh, and she also says very unloving, hateful things about her kids in front of her kids and says ugly things about the kids dad in front of them. It’s child abuse, I think. Sometimes I wonder if she is mentally unstable.

MY QUESTION IS: IS it the ‘responsibility’ of her family (her parents who are 72, me who is married and has 3 kids of my own to raise and support with my husband, or my brother who likewise is married and supports his own family of 2 kids and his wife) to support her and give her money to live in the lifestyle she wants but doesn’t work at all in order to ‘make her way’ in life. I have prayed and discerned that it is NOT my responsibility to do this and don’t feel bad about it anymore, but if I am wrong, I would like to know. Also, I am seeking Godly advice to help my parents too.

Thank you for any advice.

I am a convert to the faith in 1997, and my parents are Methodist, and my sister doesn’t go to any church at all and hasn’t raised her children in the faith.


No No No, you and your other family members are not responsible. She needs to learn to provide for herself, and there’s no time like the present. It is in no way your responsibility to support someone who is able-bodied and too lazy to take care of herself. In enabling someone like this, you do nothing but cause her further harm.


Take the verse and apply it to her…she should provide for her family. There’s your answer. :slight_smile:


I agree with Chovy. I think it is especially wrong of your sister to quote the Bible in such a “slanted” way. She clearly needs guidance from the Holy Spirit. I would just pray for her and not feel guilty about not helping her. I will pray for her too. God bless you.


I would rebuke her misuse of 1 Timothy (which was specifically talking about care of old widows enrolled in the order of widows-- the forerunners of nuns) with this:

2 Thess 3:6-15

6In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers,** to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching[a] you received from us.** 7For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. 10For even when we were with you, **we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” **

11We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. 13And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.

14If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. 15Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.


I’m glad my family was there when I really needed them, but there were times I think I would have been better off kicked out on my ear.


thank you all for you informative, kind responses. I sort of was thinking along these same lines, but wasn’t sure because my sister is still ‘quoting’ this and now making my parents question themselves, even though they DO help her. It is never enough, it seems, for her, and recently she quit her job that she had because she wasn’t making ‘enough money’, yet now she has less money than she had before coming in. Go figure. I actually spoke w/my priest a year or so ago about this same matter, and he said the same thing you all said…to pray for her, and it was NOT my ‘duty’ to provide for her. I will keep you posted. My parents are wanting to do ‘what is right’, and are hopefully going to talk with their pastor of their Methodist church very soon. They are good people and I know that their meeting w/their pastor will provide them with the proper guidance. God bless.


your’re so honest and I hope that someday my sister can see all the BLESSINGS she does have in her life. I shared with my parents some articles on ‘enabling grown children to stay as children’, which is exactly what it seems my 48+ year old sister is doing … they did their job, raising us kids, and now we ALL are adults and have the responsibility to BE adults and move forward in our lives. I hope that someday my sister can see her life as you have yours and apologize to my parents for the strife she has caused in our family. She is teaching her children to be just like her, but it’s so funny even how my sister’s 15 year old daughter recently said to her mom to just ‘get over it - it’s been 6 years’. Ah, the wisdom of kids! :slight_smile:


smack her in the face, tell her to stop making bad choices, and grow up.

if that doesn’t work, listen to the others:-p


best advice i’ve heard in years! :thumbsup:


thank you so much. Through this whole thing, it has deepened my own prayer life and has taught me to pray for her and to allow God to ‘see her through’ if she is willing to open her heart to Him. I do not feel guilty any more but this came up again recently because now she’s ‘playing this card’ on my parents of why they are ‘worse than unbelievers’ because they aren’t doing what she wants them too…it’s almost surreal, but I think they are ‘getting it’ and realize that they are not under any obligation by God Himself to enable her to continue in this self-destructive path. Thank you for your prayers - my family really needs them. God bless you, mom4truth! :slight_smile:


I would if she really would listen, but she’s not interested in what SHE has to do - she seems to be only interested in what WE ALL should be doing for her…:shrug:


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit