My sister has been dumped what do I do now?


#1

My sister is a single mom, only 21 no college. Her “fiance” threw her out this morning. She is on her way home right now with my beautiful niece. She is going to live with me and my husband until she can get on her feet. My question is how do I be her sister through this situation? I have always mothered her and smothered her. Right now shes on her way and I am planning her life. Downloading college applications so she can go to school with me. looking for an apartment at the same complex my husband and I are moving to in May. My husband and I live in a very small one bedroom apartment right now and get by pay check to pay check. now we will have her and my niece to support on top of that while she looks for a job and an apartment. My sister and I are like oil and water. I am a neuratic neat nick and shes a slob. I dont agree with her parenting style and try constantly to raise my neice from the sidelines. So how can I be there for her? how can I support her through this? her fiance was a scum bag, not to mention that he is my husbands best friend. so I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. I now have my niece whom I adore and dream of raising, my sister who is horribly depressed and shaken, and my husbands best friend whom I want to beat down! what do I do now?


#2

Now what do you do? NOTHING. The last thing your sister needs is for you to try to step in and control her entire life. Please don’t try to plan her life for her or feel that you have to financially support her.

Your sister needs someone to listen to her feelings and offer moral support. You can help her by watching her niece occassionally while your sister looks for work or applies to colleges.


#3

You just listed about 10 red flags right off the bat that this is going to blow up in a major tension-convention for everyone.

Why do you and your husband think that this is the way you should help her?


#4

Ok I should clarify that I know what I am doing is wrong. I caught myself so I stopped and started this thread. I dont want to control her life by any means, I just want to point her in the right direction when she seems to be headed the wrong way. This man is my husbands best friend since childhood so that adds another kink in the chain.


#5

[quote=TarAshly]Ok I should clarify that I know what I am doing is wrong. I caught myself so I stopped and started this thread. I dont want to control her life by any means, I just want to point her in the right direction when she seems to be headed the wrong way. This man is my husbands best friend since childhood so that adds another kink in the chain.
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I’m glad that you’re not my sister :mad: :mad: You seem like a very bossy and controlling person.

Please, just listen to her and help but PLEASE don’t suffocate her and try to take over her life. What’s right for you may not be what’s right for your sister.

If your sister ever needed kindness and love it is now.


#6

Gosh, what a hard place to be in right now. Give her comfort and listen to her. Maybe you can all pray as a family and say the rosary together. (Good time to start if you do not already).

You can tell your sis, this is what we do in our house so you can join us.

May she find grace from Our Lady at this time - and you as well because it sounds as if you need a Mother’s comfort!

Lots of love to you this Christmas season.


#7

[quote=TarAshly]Ok I should clarify that I know what I am doing is wrong. I caught myself so I stopped and started this thread. I dont want to control her life by any means, I just want to point her in the right direction when she seems to be headed the wrong way. This man is my husbands best friend since childhood so that adds another kink in the chain.
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TarAshly,
I think you’re trying to be a good sister, which is more than lots of sibs bother with. You seem to be aware of your shortcomings, and as long as you go slow they won’t get away from you and take over. Just be patient, and for heaven’s sake, don’t offer any opinions about the fiance…you never know if they’ll get back together and then you’ll be in a sticky place (both with sis and hubby :eek: ).
Good luck!


#8

However you are able, teach her how to find a good man and about her own dignity as a woman. Commitment. And the next time - don’t shack up.


#9

How about going to an extra Mass a week and offering it for her?


#10

[quote=TarAshly]Ok I should clarify that I know what I am doing is wrong. I caught myself so I stopped and started this thread.
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Good thinking.

[quote=TarAshly]I dont want to control her life by any means, I just want to point her in the right direction when she seems to be headed the wrong way.
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Has she asked you to tell her what the right direction is?

[quote=TarAshly]This man is my husbands best friend since childhood so that adds another kink in the chain.
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Yikes! Add another 15 red flags and a giant sign that says, “DON’T DO IT, TAR!” :eek:

Just imagine the splitting that will go on. She’ll cry on your shoulder, he’ll cry on your husband’s shoulder, and then when they (inevitably) get back together, both you and your husband will somehow end up the bad guys.

It’s your baby sister. I know it hurts–I’ve got a baby sister, too.
You know the wise saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”? Well, I think you need to wait until your sister gets hungry enough to say, “Tar, will you teach me how to fish?”

I’d suggest that, as a newlywed, your husband be given absolute veto power for any ideas you have to help her. Protect your marriage first; then, based on that strength, the two of you can extend a hand to others.


#11

Thank you all for the charitable advice. I love my sister very very much and realize that she is not a little girl anymore. I raised her and my other sister while we were growing up because my parents worked so much so sometimes it is very hard for me to turn it off so to speak and realize that I dont have to raise her anymore. I just want whats best for her and my niece and her way of coping with things is not always the best most responsible way. She doesnt believe in God, but does let me take my niece to Church with me when shes here visiting. I am hoping to get her to go to church with me as well. Thats where I always found my comfort when things went bad. Shes a good mom but still very immature and I worry about her because of that. She has zero self esteem and I just want to build that in her so she feels good about herself and will quit waiting for some man to come and make it all go away. It is so frustrating. She asks for my advice, when I give it if she doesnt like what I have to say then she gets mad and conversation over. So i often feel as if I am walking on egg shells around her. I just dont know how to be there for her but at the same time I feel like she needs to get up dust herself off and make some positive changes. I dont know how to communicate that to her. She is a brilliant writer and could make a career out of it if she really focused hard on it and got the proper education to nurture that. But I am afraid she will waste her life waitressing because she enjoys it and makes descent money. I just want her to be happy and successful so that she doesnt slip back into her old life style which I had to yank her out of twice before. I thank God everyday for my niece because I am afraid that that is all the keeps her on the straight and narrow.


#12

Thanks so much Steph! thats great advice! I definately will give my hubby complete veto power, he has a clearer head than I do in these situations. He is of course my first priority and always will be. I just want to help my sister find her feet, but like you said maybe back off is the best way to do that.

[quote=StephanieC]Good thinking.
Has she asked you to tell her what the right direction is?
Yikes! Add another 15 red flags and a giant sign that says, “DON’T DO IT, TAR!” :eek:

Just imagine the splitting that will go on. She’ll cry on your shoulder, he’ll cry on your husband’s shoulder, and then when they (inevitably) get back together, both you and your husband will somehow end up the bad guys.

It’s your baby sister. I know it hurts–I’ve got a baby sister, too.
You know the wise saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”? Well, I think you need to wait until your sister gets hungry enough to say, “Tar, will you teach me how to fish?”

I’d suggest that, as a newlywed, your husband be given absolute veto power for any ideas you have to help her. Protect your marriage first; then, based on that strength, the two of you can extend a hand to others.
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#13

[quote=TarAshly]Thank you all for the charitable advice. I love my sister very very much and realize that she is not a little girl anymore. I raised her and my other sister while we were growing up because my parents worked so much so sometimes it is very hard for me to turn it off so to speak and realize that I dont have to raise her anymore. I just want whats best for her and my niece and her way of coping with things is not always the best most responsible way. She doesnt believe in God, but does let me take my niece to Church with me when shes here visiting. I am hoping to get her to go to church with me as well. Thats where I always found my comfort when things went bad. Shes a good mom but still very immature and I worry about her because of that. She has zero self esteem and I just want to build that in her so she feels good about herself and will quit waiting for some man to come and make it all go away. It is so frustrating. She asks for my advice, when I give it if she doesnt like what I have to say then she gets mad and conversation over. So i often feel as if I am walking on egg shells around her. I just dont know how to be there for her but at the same time I feel like she needs to get up dust herself off and make some positive changes. I dont know how to communicate that to her. She is a brilliant writer and could make a career out of it if she really focused hard on it and got the proper education to nurture that. But I am afraid she will waste her life waitressing because she enjoys it and makes descent money. I just want her to be happy and successful so that she doesnt slip back into her old life style which I had to yank her out of twice before. I thank God everyday for my niece because I am afraid that that is all the keeps her on the straight and narrow.
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So she does not believe in God - you can still say the rosary as a family. Make it your house rules. Period. She can listen quietly and absord some of the graces but she must participate - no hiding in the kitchen.

Please be careful not put her job down , especially in front of her.
Waitressing can be a very satisfying lifestyle and is not a waste. Not a career that you have selected, but many people love it. If she loves something she is doing, that puts her gads above many of us here who toil daily in jobs we dispise - and at least she has a job.

You are strong Tar, you can make this into a positive (yet challenging) experience for all.


#14

I think I would just remind myself that she has had a major upheavel and is probably feeling extremely upset and confused about which direction to take next. She needs a few days to relax and think things through before making a lot of decisions in this emotional state. Let the next few days slide by, enjoy Christmas, do not say a word about her choice of employment or lack of college education or where she’s going to be living in May. Don’t speak badly about “the scumbag” and don’t encourage her to go back and/or stay away. Any decisions you force upon her now (intentionally or not) will be ones she probably will not stand by since she isn’t thinking clearly and can’t possibly know what she wants. If she wants to talk or cry, you listen, but merely do so in an active sense and without any opinions. (Such as, “I hear you saying…” “So, what you’re saying is…” “Yes, I can definitely see how you might feel this or that way…” etc.) NONE of which should include “Well he’s a disgusting scumbag who doesn’t deserve to kiss the dirt on your feet. Be glad he kicked you out! He’s horrible! Your daughter needs someone better! Now you can go to college and be rid of him!” etc. Write that all down in an email to yourself if you can’t stand it, or vent on here, but don’t say it to her. All of it will come back to haunt you when she goes back to him and let’s him know exactly what you said. This way you just listened and allowed her her feelings without making her feel defensive about him.

If she’s actually going to stay, since typically these little blow-outs end in whoever got tossed out being asked to come back, then next week, after she’s had a few days, I would ask her what her plans are. If she says she doesn’t know, keep probing and ask her what the next logical step is to her. (Hint: get a job.) If she’s going to live with you, then there is no reason she can’t be contributing to your household. This is not a burden to HER, this is simply protecting your marriage, your stability and creating some security and independence for her. However–getting this job is up to her and not you. If she wants to waitress, great.

Let her come to you with the rest of what she may or may not do. This is part of growing up, being an adult and making decisions for onself. I doubt she’s going to want to stay in a one bedroom apartment with her sister, brother in law and daughter for the next five months. She needs to make a plan, but it needs to be HER plan–and it may or may not be one you like.

You sound like a very caring person with the best of intentions. I’m sure you love your sister and I know exactly how fierce a love can be for a sister whom you want to ‘save.’ But, in the end she’s an adult and she has to make her own decisions. You can support her, but not control her–and make sure you don’t support her to the extent that it hurts your marriage. If it starts getting extremely crowded, then you and your husband need to talk about that and suggest to her that she have a plan to live on her own by such and such a date. But, in all reality, she’ll probably be back with her fiance sooner than later.


#15

[quote=TarAshly]My sister is a single mom, only 21 no college. Her “fiance” threw her out this morning. She is on her way home right now with my beautiful niece. She is going to live with me and my husband until she can get on her feet. My question is how do I be her sister through this situation? I have always mothered her and smothered her. Right now shes on her way and I am planning her life. Downloading college applications so she can go to school with me. looking for an apartment at the same complex my husband and I are moving to in May. My husband and I live in a very small one bedroom apartment right now and get by pay check to pay check. now we will have her and my niece to support on top of that while she looks for a job and an apartment. My sister and I are like oil and water. I am a neuratic neat nick and shes a slob. I dont agree with her parenting style and try constantly to raise my neice from the sidelines. So how can I be there for her? how can I support her through this? her fiance was a scum bag, not to mention that he is my husbands best friend. so I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. I now have my niece whom I adore and dream of raising, my sister who is horribly depressed and shaken, and my husbands best friend whom I want to beat down! what do I do now?
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OK - stop downloading applications and take a breath. I absolutely understand how you feel and how you now have plans to ‘fix’ your sister’s life. I have fallen into this trap before myself and it takes a tremendous amount of grace not to do it over and over and over again.
Pull yourself back into the moment. Right now, what does your sister and niece need, right this moment? Love, care and comfort. She has been tossed out by a man she loves. It doesn’t matter that he does not deserve her love, he has it. And she is abused and scared and shaken and shocked. Her daughter has been tossed out by an adult man who was supposed to protect her from harm. What do they need right now? Comfort, love and care…a warm bath, a cup of tea, some hugs, maybe some favorite comfort food…once the waves have settled and the water is calm, then plans can be made…

And the plans have to be HER plans, not your plans. You can help her by putting her in touch with the appropriate organizations…Catholic Charities, St. Vincent de Paul…but you cannot run her life…you cannot make her choices for her…if you do, or you try to, the resentments will start to build and before you know it KAPOW…explosions start again…


#16

[quote=TarAshly]Thank you all for the charitable advice. I love my sister very very much and realize that she is not a little girl anymore. I raised her and my other sister while we were growing up because my parents worked so much so sometimes it is very hard for me to turn it off so to speak and realize that I dont have to raise her anymore.
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It sounds like you need to first see your sister differently rather than as a surrogate “mom” to her. Even though you raised her and your other sister, you are not the parent here. You are her sister, just listen to her: if she needs a shoulder to cry on, have yours ready; if she needs to rant, just let her go on and do so. Do not offer any advice; just be there to hold her when she needs it.

[quote=TarAshly]I just want whats best for her and my niece and her way of coping with things is not always the best most responsible way.
[/quote]

Her way may not always be the best way, or how you would handle a particular situation, but it doesn’t necessarily make her way the wrong way.

[quote=TarAshly]She doesnt believe in God, but does let me take my niece to Church with me when shes here visiting. I am hoping to get her to go to church with me as well. Thats where I always found my comfort when things went bad.
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Just offer to her the opportunity to go to church with you, every time you go. When she says “no”, don’t give her a look that says you disapprove or are disappointed. Just continue to offer; if we stop offering the opportunity, that may just be the one where you will have company.

[quote=TarAshly]Shes a good mom but still very immature and I worry about her because of that.
No “buts”. If she is a good mom, leave it at that. This is a learning process for her, and she needs to learn what works and what doesn’t as a parent on her own.

[quote=TarAshly]She has zero self esteem and I just want to build that in her so she feels good about herself and will quit waiting for some man to come and make it all go away.
[/quote]

Does she really have zero self esteem? Or is this what you think is true? You cannot be the one to build self esteem for her. She has to do it herself. This is coming from someone who has been there/done that.

[quote=TarAshly]It is so frustrating. She asks for my advice, when I give it if she doesnt like what I have to say then she gets mad and conversation over. So i often feel as if I am walking on egg shells around her.
How is she hearing your advice? Is she hearing it something like: “well, you’re doing that wrong; you need to do it this [my] way.”? If so, try changing your wording. “This is how it worked for me.” On the other hand, if she continues to get mad when she asks for advice, just tell her that she was the one who asked. It also could be that perhaps she is seeking a little support in how she has handled something, not learning that maybe it possibly could have been done differently/better.

[quote=TarAshly]I just dont know how to be there for her but at the same time I feel like she needs to get up dust herself off and make some positive changes. I dont know how to communicate that to her.
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By just being there to offer your shoulder, or a hug.

[quote=TarAshly]She is a brilliant writer and could make a career out of it if she really focused hard on it and got the proper education to nurture that. But I am afraid she will waste her life waitressing because she enjoys it and makes descent money.
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If waitressing is something she enjoys, and makes a decent living at, this in itself, will help build that self esteem you feel she is lacking.

She may be a brilliant writer, but that doesn’t mean that she views it as something to do. My son, for example, is a very talented trumpet player and musician. He would make an excellent music teacher someday, but this is not his path, and as a parent, I have to let him make that decision. Your sister is an adult, she needs to make her decision, and you need to let her.

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#17

continued…

QUOTE=TarAshly]I just want her to be happy and successful so that she doesnt slip back into her old life style which I had to yank her out of twice before. I thank God everyday for my niece because I am afraid that that is all the keeps her on the straight and narrow.
This has happened twice before? It sounds like she is expecting you to bail her out everytime. I suspect the both of you will fall back into that surrogate mother/surrogate daughter relationship, nothing will change because it is entirely possible you both are replaying the previous incidents. Perhaps think about how the other two situations were and how they turned out and see if you can do things differently this time. Maybe set some rules like she has a certain amount of time to get her apt, etc. Let her know you will help her, but also let her know that you cannot enable her anymore.

Previously you wrote:

[quote=TarAshly]I dont agree with her parenting style and try constantly to raise my neice from the sidelines. I now have my niece whom I adore and dream of raising…
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Please stop trying to raise your neice from the sidelines. Contradiction in parenting can cause an unstable atmosphere for your niece. My mom would try to do this and I finally put my foot down and told her to stop. She didn’t agree with my parenting style, but it didn’t make it wrong.

Also, please stop dreaming of raising your neice. This is not your child; it is your sister’s. Just be the favorite aunt, which is easier than being a parent sometimes.

Good luck!


#18

The first thing is, “Sis, I am so sorry. This must be so hard for you.” Dealing with the end of a relationship is like dealing with a death. You don’t know how they feel, no matter how tempted you are to think so because of the many times you’ve been through something similar. Every break-up, like every death, deals out a unique grief. Resist the temptation to make the best of it, make less of it, or any of that. Let her be in mourning in whatever way she sees fit.

Do not bad-mouth the boyfriend or talk about the old relationship in either glowing terms or not-so-glowing. Unlike a death, you were not an intimate. Trust me, as someone who had an engagement break-up, you do not want to go there. The number of ways to shove your foot in your mouth are endless. If you have to say something, talk about her and what a wonderful sister she is, and how you wish this was something that you had any help for at all because nothing this hard should happen to someone as nice as her. Period.

Let her talk all she wants about him, but all you are allowed to do is listen. Proper responses should be limited to brief variations on reflecting back the feelings you are hearing: that must have been hard for you, it would be awful to feel like that, it would feel so good to have things that way, and so on. If she asks your opinon about what you think, say, “Oh, you know, every relationship is so different, I couldn’t say. I’d rather let you do the talking for now.”

I would admit to her that you know you try to do too much. Give her permission to tell you to ease up if you try to do to much and ask her forgiveness for the times you have done it in the past. (The correct form of apology is “This was by reason, but I was wrong and I apologize” rather than “I was wrong and I apologize but this was my reason”, incidentally. The second way is kind of letting yourself off the hook.)

Then tell her, “If it is okay with you, I think we should do our best to enjoy each other over the holidays. Once you have had time to think, if you want any help from me, you let me know. If you want to be here with us, we’d love to have you. If you think we ought not, I am okay with that. You don’t have to have give reasons. For right now, just do what your heart and gut tells you.”

If she makes up with her intended, by the way, keep your opinions about it to yourself. You did not have the smoothest trip to the altar yourself, after all! (As very often happens! ;)) As you yourself hate to be told what to do, applying the “Do unto others” yardstick ought to do the trick.


#19

BOY IS THIS GOOD ADVICE


#20

[quote=LSK]BOY IS THIS GOOD ADVICE
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The fact that one makes a mistake never negates the truth of the message. Learning from our mistakes helps others.


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