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Katherine Brengle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 08:52 PM
Original message
HELP ME before I KILL MY SISTER!
Okay, I am really pissed right now and I need a little DU love&guidance before I go postal...

My husband is in Iraq, right? So, my younger sister (she's 20) came up to stay with me and help out with my daughter while he's away.

In the beginning, I really appreciated it, because I was depressed all the time and really needed the help just to get through the day. And I still need it, to some extent, BUT--here's the kicker--

WHen she got here initially, I told her to take her time getting a job and let herself get settled and try to be around the house because I was having a really hard time and her presence alone was very helpful to me.

Then about 3-4 months ago, I told her that I was starting to get into a groove, and it would be okay if she got a job. Around this time, finances also got a little tighter around the house, so it was no longer practical for me to support her entirely.

Fast forward to today--no job, and her best friend (with whom she is supposed to be getting an apartment) is now living in my apartment bc her mom kicked her out (she's a good kid, honestly, her mother is a little insane, and I am sensitive to that--hey, I'm a liberal, I don't want to leave anyone out in the cold, ya know?), and she seriously just asked me to pay for a computer for both of them.

You have got to be fucking kidding me.

So I said, "I really don't have the money to pay for that--Adam (my husband) is going to be back in 4 weeks and I need to save whatever money I can so that we aren't flat broke when he gets here."

Then there was some small discussion of the friend paying for half...

I said, "Don't you think it would make more sense to save that money and use it for your apartment?" And she just gave me the death stare...

Also, the friend's boyfriend, who is the third in their roommate scenario, has a very nice computer, and when he came into the room to remind them of that, they completely blew him off--this is when I made my escape before my head could explode.

I am so sick and tired of being taken advantage of--she's been here since July, and doesn't have a job, has made no headway in looking for an apartment, and now it's not just her mooching off of me and my family, but her friend as well.

I love my sister, I really do--but how am I supposed to deal with this? I don't want to alienate her, but I am very uncomfortable with the situation and she doesn't seem to care even though I have told her that it is very important for her to get a job and find an apartment before my husband gets back. Our apartment is very small and there is not enough space for everyone as it is. He has event talked to her on the phone about it and shared his concerns and feelings about the situation.

Still, she does nothing.

HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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YellowRubberDuckie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 08:55 PM
Response to Original message
1. Like Dear Abby Always says...
Tell her she has until a certain date to get a job and then a certain date for her to get an apartment. Stick to it. Tell her either way they're all out by that date. Legally, the date she has to leave only has to be 30 days out.
Duckie
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crispini Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 08:57 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Rightyho
time to set some boundaries.
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Floogeldy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 08:59 PM
Response to Original message
3. Looks like you are handling it well.
Stick to your guns and tell them to get an apartment immediately. You are the adult in this mix.

:)
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Katherine Brengle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 09:05 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. Clearly, I am the adult, since she seems utterly incapable of...
acting like one. She doesn't seem to have any concept of how much it costs just to survive in this world.

As it is, the money coming into the house from my husband's military pay is just enough to pay the bills and put food on the table with a little left over for things like internet service and having fun every once in awhile.

I have been paying for her to live, essentially, the entire time she has been here. Rent, bills, food, free of charge--all she has to do is change a few diapers and babysit when I am doing errands and occasionally spending time with my friends.

If push comes to shove, I don't NEED her to do those things--I can set aside my social life and bring my daughter with me grocery shopping--lots of parents do just fine with this.

I've bought her a bed, and clothes, and other things that she needed since she got here, and it's like she thinks that I owe her something for her help. What she doesn't realize is that I pay a couple of thousand dollars in rent and bills and groceries to support her and the rest of this house every month--I challenge her to find a job as easy as the work she actually does around here (which is honestly minimal) for free room and board.

ARGH.
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Floogeldy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 09:30 PM
Response to Reply #7
14. I'm also a little worried about your husband . . .
. . . When he returns, he will probably appreciate lots of alone time, peace and quiet.
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Katherine Brengle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 09:36 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. Exactly -- and both he and I have expressed this to her, in no uncertain
terms. She either doesn't understand or doesn't care...
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Laelth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 10:13 PM
Response to Reply #7
24. I understand that you're upset.
I have been in a similar situation, but listen to yourself for a moment. It's true that many 20-year-olds do not have any concept of how much it costs to survive in this world. Sounds like your sister is in exactly this place. She's taking advantage of you, but she doesn't even know it. From my own experience, I can tell you you're in a no-win situation, here. It will be several years before she can understand why you had to "kick her out," but you're going to have to do it. Don't even start to think that if you give her a little more time, you might be able to avoid hurting her feelings. That's almost certainly not going to happen. Here feelings will be hurt either way. Best plan is to make sure your husband doesn't have to deal with it as well.

Good luck.

-Laelth
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Katherine Brengle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 10:27 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. Thanks--this is what I am going to do I think...
Okay, after reading what everyone had to say, I think I just have to kick them both out.

What it has taken me awhile to realize is that she has already bypassed every time limit I have given, every suggestion has been ignored, and it would be fruitless to give another limit or suggest any more alternatives.

Tomorrow, when I wake up, it's, "You have four weeks to be gone. If you are not out in four weeks, I am going to box up your stuff and put it on the lawn. End of story."
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Whoa_Nelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 09:02 PM
Response to Original message
4. Dear Katherine
You're only as taken advantage of as you allow yourself to be.

If you are still in your comfort zone having sis and her (hopefully) soon-to-be roommate living at your place, then take things as they come.

However, if you are done with being viewed as the patsy (and it sounds as if they view you as an easy mark), then tell them your terms and your expected schedule for them to move on and out.

It's up to you, dear heart :hug:
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Katherine Brengle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 09:13 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. Thank you---
You are exactly right, and I came to this conclusion a few weeks ago. At that point, I told her in no uncertain terms that she had to find a job and an apartment immediately--because 1) I can't handle being responsible for her anymore (not to mention her friend) and 2) my husband wants them out when he gets home.

I told her that at the very least, her friend needs to be moved out by the time my husband gets home (April 5th), because he (while supportive of my decision to let her stay here temporarily) is not comfortable with the idea of having a stranger in the house when he gets home--he needs to come back to a place where he will feel comfortable, not one where he feels even more like a visitor than he already inevitably will. We made an exception for my sister--if she literally has nowhere to go, she is family and we will not kick her out, but want her to get out as soon as she humanly can.

I am just at the end of my rope tonight--every time I mention moving out, or getting a job, I get a line or the cold shoulder--this is MY home, and MY family, and she seems to think, rather selfishly, that her needs are more important than mine and the needs of my husband.
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Whoa_Nelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 09:25 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. Dear Katherine
Edited on Sat Mar-04-06 09:38 PM by Whoa_Nelly
Cold shoulder or no...you have the right to make sure your home is what you and your husband want. So, when given the cold shoulder, don't back down. Be firm, loving and direct.

:hug:

Keep us posted on the outcome. Am sure you are excited, and worried, about the homecoming of your husband in regard to the dynamics that exist right now in your home. Will be keeping you in my thoughts.
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Katherine Brengle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 09:28 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. thanks again -- sage advice. n/t
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Yavin4 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 09:02 PM
Response to Original message
5. Where Did Your Sister Live Before She Lived With You?
May be she should return.
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YellowRubberDuckie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 09:03 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Yavin is right.
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Katherine Brengle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 09:08 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. She lived with our parents--
and that situation is very complicated (suffice to say that one of the reasons I offered for her to come here was so she could get out of their house) in itself.

I think a lot of this sense of entitlement she seems to have comes from never having lived on her own--she doesn't understand what it takes to survive on her own, and therefore, assumes that it is easy (as most of us do before ever really having to do it).

I wish I could just send her back, but I can't. The reasons I had for bringing her here are still valid, but it's time for her to learn to stand on her own two feet, ya know?
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Yavin4 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 09:11 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Then, Here's Your Solution
Give her a time limit to find a job, and if she doesn't, she will have to move back in with your parents. Also, give her a reasonable time. I don't know how easy/hard it would be for her to get a job or an apartment where you live, and if you see her making a good faith effort, you can extend the deadline.

Use the "move back with your parents" as the stick.
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Katherine Brengle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 09:17 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. I am really uncomfortable using that threat as ammunition, though...
And believe me, I have considered it, more than once. I honestly don't know if they would even let her move back in, and I am beginning to understand why.

I've had problems with my parents in the past (don't we all), but I made one crucial mistake. They warned me that this would happen--that she would take advantage and wouldn't contribute--and I vouched for her because I really believed that she had my best interests at heart when she said she wanted to come and help with the baby (the "baby" is almost 2 now, lol, but at the time she was only a year) while my husband was away.

I am mostly really mad at myself for letting this happen the way it has--if I had made a stronger effort to nip it in the bud when I saw it unfolding, months ago, maybe things wouldn't have gotten to this point...

I will consider your suggestion, though, because I am not sure I have anything else in my arsenal at this point. I've set limits, and tried to help, and everything is ignored...
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LostinVA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 09:31 PM
Response to Original message
15. Tell her she has three weeks to get a place and get out -- period
My sister did the same thing to me. An ultimatum is needed.
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Katherine Brengle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 09:35 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Question for you, since you have dealt with this--
Did the situation ruin your relationship with your sister, or did she get over it?

This is my greatest fear, and I know it is keeping me from doing what needs to be done.

She is leaving for the day tomorrow very early, so I am going to write this all down and leave it for her to read when she gets up--I am much better at expressing myself in writing than I am verbally--I get flustered and let fear get the best of me when I have to confront someone--it is very difficult for me.

My plan, formulated in the past half hour, was pretty much to do exactly as you have suggested, so I think it is the right path.

I just really don't want her to hate me, at least not for the long term--I need to let go of the fear and take control...
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LostinVA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 10:08 PM
Response to Reply #16
21. She was pissed for a while, but got over it
I was 26, she was 22... she asked to live with me, she'd work part-time and go to school. She wound up stopping both, and her Bf somehow just moved in. I gave her one month. SIX weeks later, I changed the locks, and packed her stuff up very neatly and placed them on the porch under a tarp. I had talked to my mom about this. She moved home, and my parents gave her one month. She an her BF got a place.

Helping someone is one thing, but she is using your love for her against you.
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Katherine Brengle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 10:09 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. Thank you--hearing your story really helped. n/t
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LostinVA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-05-06 08:07 AM
Response to Reply #22
33. PM if you want to ask anything -- seriously
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 10:22 PM
Response to Reply #15
25. I agree with Yavin and LostinVA
My family had a rule when I was growing up; you had until age 19 to find a job and an apartment, period. At 19 I was living in Reagan's America and jobs were scarce. I found a minimum wage busperson job at a Bob Evans, and when my 19th birthday rolled around I was kicked out of the house. I spent two years living with an abusive boyfriend and trying to get through college (luckily, I had quite a few scholarships)but eventually things improved. I dumped the boyfriend and got a part time job at an ad agency while I was still in school that paid quite well. Five years after graduation I was pulling in six figures. I'm not bitter about being forced out into the world; I think it taught me quite a few valuable survival skills early on that helped kick start my career. Once your sister lands on her own two feet I think she'll soon learn gratitude for the "nudge" into the Real World, and in time she'll thank you for the tough love.
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richmwill Donating Member (972 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 09:48 PM
Response to Original message
18. Tell her that in two weeks, she'll have to pay rent...
At least a few hundred a month. And if the friend is still there, it's double the amount.
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Katherine Brengle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 09:52 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. Not bad--
I think I am going to go with a mix of the past two suggestions--out by April 1st (both of them) or start paying rent while aggressively making an effort to get out.
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ikojo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 10:05 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. I suggest that you tell the friend to leave before
April 1. It's going to be hard enough on your husband when he returns from Iraq if only your sister is there, it should not be made more difficult with a total stranger.

Your sister should commence paying rent ASAP. Does she help at all with the food bill?
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Katherine Brengle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 10:12 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. No help on any bills whatsoever. She's treating me like an ATM.
My best friend (who is much less worried about pissing people off than me, lol) already offered to take the friend in if it comes down to her having nowhere to go come the 1st--and I communicated this to my sister. I told her that if they are still here on the 1st, her friend can either go there or find somewhere else to stay, but absolutely cannot be here.

I'm getting rid of both of them, though. I'm 100% maxed out on this. It is emotionally draining (which is the opposite of what her being here was supposed to be) and she has shown no commitment to making a change.
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Dem2theMax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-05-06 12:24 AM
Response to Original message
27. Your first concern should be for your husband, not your sister.
He's been in Iraq. I'll take a wild guess and say that he's been living with STRESS 24/7. The last thing he needs is to come home to this mess. I'm sure he's looking forward to coming home to his wife and child. He'll want to spend private time with you, without your sister underfoot. He'll want to be able to get back to 'normal' - whatever 'normal' will be for him, after living through Iraq. Don't let your sister make it harder for him.

You said you didn't want your sister to hate you for tossing her out. Let her hate you for a while if that's what it takes. Hopefully, she'll mature and as she grows up, she'll understand why you had to do what you have to do.

You have a husband and a child. You have enough on your hands taking care of your own family. And yes, your sister is family, but she isn't a part of your family 'unit.' She's 20. She's old enough to take care of herself. Don't enable her anymore. Help her to grow up by telling her to move out. In the long run, you are doing her a favor if you give her the push she needs to become independent.

In a nutshell, stop worrying about her and take care of you and your hubby and child. Your marriage comes first. Period.
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Katherine Brengle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-05-06 12:36 AM
Response to Reply #27
28. Thanks--
I agree, although it took me a few hours of headache-inducing concentration to come to this point.

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Dem2theMax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-05-06 12:47 AM
Response to Reply #28
30. Hey, you'll get through it. It may not be fun, but you'll make it.
And you've got all of us to help along the way. :grouphug:

I've had to deal with difficult roommates, although they weren't family. So I know it's not easy, no matter what the situation. It always boils down to you gotta do what's best for YOU. And I don't mean that in a selfish way. You have to do what is healthy for you. And stressing out about anyone who refuses to grow up, even if they are family, is just not worth it.

You deserve to have a happy home life, especially since hubby has been away. So think of joyful times to come with him and your child. It will all be worth it in the long run. For everyone. :)
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Katherine Brengle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-05-06 08:37 AM
Response to Reply #30
34. thanks --
She was leaving the house vey early this morning, before I got up, so I left her a note so I wouldn't lose my nerve.

I told her that I love her, that I appreciate all of the help she has given, and then I told her that for the sake of our relationship and my sanity, I needed her and her friend to find an apartment and move out by April 1st.

I tried to be kind, but also told her that my decision was not negotiable.

She called a little bit after she had left and told me that she was going to stay with a friend down on the Cape tonight (we live in MA, and grew up on Cape Cod) but she didn't mention the note (I know she read it though, as it is still sitting on the desk in my living room).

So, hey, she might be mad, but I am willing to deal with that. This is going to be better for both of us in the long run, and I agree with you that it is always important to do what is healthy for myself (and for my daughter and my husband)--to do anything else is simply insane.
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JackDragna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-05-06 12:45 AM
Response to Original message
29. Your first mistake is saying "before"
Don't wait. Kill her now and make the next few months that much more bearable. :)
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Katherine Brengle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-05-06 08:38 AM
Response to Reply #29
35. LOL thanks for the laugh -- almost spewed my coffee! n/t
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-05-06 07:12 AM
Response to Original message
31. right now -- no matter what -- you're gonna be the bad guy.
you need to set WHATEVER boundaries you need to set for yourself.

i know that you needed to help her get out of your folks house -- but she also came there to help you.

living off you when things are tight is not helping.

you're a good person -- you're not going to do the wrong thing -- have faith in that and move forward decisively.

be very, very direct in this instance -- because of her age.

she can and will handle it just fine.
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Katherine Brengle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-05-06 08:40 AM
Response to Reply #31
36. thanks.
:yoiks:
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-05-06 09:09 AM
Response to Reply #36
38. lol -- yoiks indeed.
well, -- ya know being a guy i have expertise in being a bone head.


just remember you're a good person.
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LaurenG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-05-06 07:49 AM
Response to Original message
32. I really do relate
There was a time when the world came crashing down and I had my daughter, granddaughter, son, brother in law, and hubby ALL without work and ALL living in a 2 bedroom apartment. I was OK with hubby as he had just gotten out of the Army, but the others! I came home from work one day and every last one of them were sitting on their backsides, watching tv with a huge mess, everywhere. I went to the kitchen to start dinner and I kid you not, there was not one clean plate or glass in the cupboard. I LOST it. I gave them all two weeks to get jobs or I was taking them to the homeless shelter. (Not granddaughter or hubby). You wouldn't believe how fast they got their stuff together. That was one of the most horrible times of stress I ever went through. People eat a lot of food when they're sitting on their butts sponging off of others. I almost had to file bankruptcy.

Bottom line, insist they move asap. You deserve to have a nice life with your husband and child without the added stress of others. :hug:
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Katherine Brengle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-05-06 08:43 AM
Response to Reply #32
37. thank you for sharing that -- i can't believe how expensive it has been
having her here, not working -- as pointless as it is, sometimes i just sit and think about all of the money that i have spent to feed her and whatnot and how much i could have in the bank right now -- but i guess that is what life is, learning as we go and taking lessons from our mistakes...
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