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Abusive sister - I feel trapped

  • 22-01-2021 1:13pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭


    Living at home with parents.
    Have 1 younger sibling who is abusive and emotionally out of control.
    They would of suffered with anxiety, socially detached and very negative about other people and themselves.
    I tried everything, brought them abroad, out to shows etc but I just couldn’t take the erratic immature behaviour anymore and it was getting worse.
    I have tried to address it with my parents several times but they just want a peaceful life and feel out of their depth with her. She kicks off and they blame me even though I may have nothing to do with the situation. The house is like a war zone when she kicks off.
    Since the first lockdown, we have become the punchbags and more recently, I am the number 1 target.
    Parents would of been very controlling when we were younger and now the sibling has taken over that role as the dictator.
    Stepping on egg shells and finding it stressful going home @night &days off as the house atmosphere is dictated by their humour which most of the time is erratic and hostile.
    I work on the frontline and tbh, don’t need or want the stress. I want my own life.
    There is very little consideration for me when I am off or at home after work despite all of them being off work/college.
    I am 9 years older, even going out for exercise alone, I am facing temper tantrums when I come home as the sibling tries to dictate and control my routine.
    I found myself completely anxious and depressed in Autumn and suicidal. I had to seek counselling. The hostile situation and control dynamics at home did not help but also it was after a bad experience.
    My mental health improved and I stopped going. But now lately, their behaviour is out of control and I feel hopeless again like I’m trapped.
    The family situation is completely toxic and not sure how to break free peacefully.

    Any advice is appreciated..


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 631 ✭✭✭LilacNails


    That's very tough op, I sympathise with u.

    Have u or could u suggest to your sister to see GP? She needs help, psychiatric help I feel. U definitely need to reach out for help for her, it sounds impossible for just u to help, and if u disagrees, its best to just think of and look after yourself first. Move out if it's possible. No one should go through nthis kind of treatment.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,312 ✭✭✭YellowLead


    Echo the advice to move out. It sounds like you have tried your best to help your sister and engage your parents and the only thing left to do is put distance between you and your sister.

    She will be a lot easier to handle when not under the same roof. You deserve to go home after your hard days work to a peaceful environment - but only you can make that happen.

    If you are no longer a child and are working - there is no reason to remain in the nuclear family home. I understand the concept of saving - but no saving is worth destroying your mental health for.


  • Registered Users Posts: 939 ✭✭✭bitofabind


    Why are you still in the family home if you have a full-time job and the means to rent / house share?

    Only legitimate reason I can think of is you're saving for your own place, but as prev poster said, no amount of financial benefits here will outweigh the impact on your mental health. Your sister is not going to change and it's not your job to police her behaviour or resolve her issues. If you were in a burning building, would you sit still and not evacuate simply because you might have to pay rent in a safer place?

    You've been suicidal and back so it's beyond time to prioritise your health and wellbeing above all else. Get out, get to safety. Start looking into new places this weekend.


  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,189 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx


    'The family situation is completely toxic and not sure how to break free peacefully.'

    As pp have said, you need to move out. It's no life, for you. Your parents and sister won't change, so you need to leave them to it. It might be the short sharp shock that wakes them all up. It might not be.

    But either way, you need to put yourself first, look for a place of your own, break the ties with them, and restart the counselling.


  • Registered Users Posts: 728 ✭✭✭bertiebomber


    Just move into a room in a house share strangers have to respect the people sharing the rent better for you than where you are especially if you are a front line workers you have enough stress to keep safe.


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  • Administrators Posts: 13,423 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips


    Is there a particular reason you haven't moved out?Because it seems like the most obvious solution. A room in a house share should be affordable for you and you would have your own space and a break from the toxic atmosphere that is your home at the moment.

    I assume you are at least mid-late twenties. You don't need to live at home anymore. Move and leave them to it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    Hi.
    Thank you for the replies.
    I have always been under the control of my parents from a young age. Any time I have brought up the idea of moving out/moving on which is normal progression and well over due for my age, I’m dismissed as if I am “all talk” or a joke. As a result, I wouldn’t feel very confident or savvy going out there and making it happen/engaging landlords as I’ve always been made feel as if I can’t be fully independent. And if I did do it, it has been implied I would be betraying them and I don’t want to be alone. It’s a vicious cycle. I cannot win. They have a negative opinion on everything.
    I am working on the savings but it’s difficult.

    I cannot bear the behaviour anymore. It’s totally abnormal. My sister makes things that should be simple, extremely difficult and unbearable.
    She is quite nasty towards me when she is having a tantrum and says horrible things, mocks me and twists every word or situation to vilify me.
    I often feel physically threatened by her aggression and demeanour. She has anger management issues as well as anxiety and whatever else. I would be afraid to suggest that she goes to a GP. She is that hostile.
    For years, it was her peers in school/college etc that were the problem. Then as her circle got smaller, we became the problem and more so, me these days.
    When she was in “good” form, I would pass a comment casually like an observation etc that was nothing to do with her and she would twist my words, challenge me and I would suffer verbal abuse and aggression. She would throw a massive tantrum, roar the house down and then slam, bang, push past me, ignore me for days after it.
    Then after a few days, she just pretends it never happened and be in “ok” form again and never utter sorry. This cycle keeps repeating itself in that order.
    I feel like I have been vilified at every turn as the sister who works all the time and never spends time with her when that is completely untrue! She treats me terribly when I’m off. Anytime I have a night or day off she starts fights with me or twists what I say to start one etc. Nothing is good enough. She has accused me of giving my time to other people eg my friends or dates when in reality, I haven’t seen them for 2-4mths or they were one time dates and when I do, it’s a lunch or coffee. Very brief. Everything is a problem and I often feel guilty.
    It’s as if I’m not to have outside contacts or I will be treated like a traitor. I cannot win and it has sucked the energy out of me.
    She never genuinely asks how I am, takes a real interest etc everything is about her and she just lives for a fight and bringing me down. Picking on me. It devastates me because I don’t have a normal sister relationship and I wish more than anything things would change.
    The whole situation is a joke.
    I am working on moving out but I’m scared because everything is one extreme to the other. If I move out, I will never be allowed forget it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,087 ✭✭✭lucalux


    Your sister is mentally ill.

    If you can't say that to her, phone your GP and ask for advice
    Ask your parents to get real, and look at the situation for what it is.
    Living with that kind of carry on won't improve without help, and it won't get any easier as they get older.

    Don't engage with them about moving out, make your own arrangements and tell them when it's sorted.


  • Registered Users Posts: 939 ✭✭✭bitofabind


    OP, you are an adult now. What your parents or your sister think of your life decisions is irrelevant. What we do as adults is we grow up and we make informed life decisions based on our instincts and our capabilities and our preferences and if people don’t like it, well, that’s their business. I appreciate you’re had a lifetime of letting them determine the course of your life and having no boundaries whatsoever, but enough is enough.

    If you are able to hold down a professional job and earn a salary, then you are able to go onto daft.ie, select a few suitable houses/house shares, go for some viewings and move out. If your parents/sister decide to barricade the doors and never let you in again, well off with them and their mental behaviour. Being the healthy responsible adult in this situation will probably come with some discomfort and some repercussions here, but that’s what happens when you extricate yourself from a toxic environment. It’ll be short lived and worth the freedom and peace of mind that will come from being out of there.

    OP, this is your life. No one can save you from it except for you. Time to be an adult now.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭Irish_rat


    Move out op. Not sure where you live but if it's affordable to rent then go for it.

    Living at home will hold back your life from progressing imo. Your time off should be stress free.


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  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,189 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx


    bitofabind wrote: »
    OP, you are an adult now. What your parents or your sister think of your life decisions is irrelevant. What we do as adults is we grow up and we make informed life decisions based on our instincts and our capabilities and our preferences and if people don’t like it, well, that’s their business. I appreciate you’re had a lifetime of letting them determine the course of your life and having no boundaries whatsoever, but enough is enough.

    If you are able to hold down a professional job and earn a salary, then you are able to go onto daft.ie, select a few suitable houses/house shares, go for some viewings and move out. If your parents/sister decide to barricade the doors and never let you in again, well off with them and their mental behaviour. Being the healthy responsible adult in this situation will probably come with some discomfort and some repercussions here, but that’s what happens when you extricate yourself from a toxic environment. It’ll be short lived and worth the freedom and peace of mind that will come from being out of there.

    OP, this is your life. No one can save you from it except for you. Time to be an adult now.
    +1.

    OP, believe me when I say that many people feel trapped by family dynamics, at one time or another.
    It can be hard to break free but what other option do you have?

    If you are capable of going out every day and holding down a job in the frontline, you are more than capable of going out and finding a place to rent. They won't change, there won't be a moment when they see the light and you all live happily ever after. So, there will be pain at breaking free. But will it be any worse than what you are enduring at the moment? I very much doubt it.

    'I work on the frontline and tbh, don’t need or want the stress. I want my own life.'

    Keep reminding yourself of that, especially the last line. Nobody can organise that for you, except you. Your sister has whatever issues she has. Your parents have opted to go along with that. You don't have to.

    Start with small steps, look at houses/ apartments online. Don't say anything to your family. Just work away quietly at your plans for YOUR life.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,185 ✭✭✭Dark Phoenix


    You are not trapped. Someone in your situation with no job or income would be trapped but you are in a prison of your own making.
    These kind of posts come up so often. It’s an Irish ingrained habit to stay at home clinging to the nest for as long as possible - people saving up for a home for so long that they may as well just wait to inherit the one they won’t leave. That’s all well and good when things are amicable but it’s ridiculous to stay in a situation you hate all because your parents have told you you are “all talk” about moving out. Sorry to be blunt but they are right you are all talk! You are a grown adult with a job.
    Sit down and organise to move out of the home into a location suitable for work that you can afford. And yes people will tell you rent is dead money but living in a toxic environment for the sake of saving money is madness. Life is for living now not for putting yourself through hell just on the off chance things are better ten years down the line. You will not know yourself if you remove yourself from that environment and live somewhere where you can be at peace.


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,176 ✭✭✭✭ILoveYourVibes


    Hi.
    If I move out, I will never be allowed forget it.


    What do you need to have to be able to move out?

    I mean both emotional and physical stuff?

    Make a list.

    xx good luck.


  • Registered Users Posts: 67 ✭✭crazylady1


    Hi OP.
    I really feel for you living in this toxic hostile situation. It's an awful way to have to live your life. You have a stressful job on the front line and when you're at home you're walking on eggshells.
    You have to think about yourself and your own well being now. I know how hard it is to extricate yourself from a difficult environment. You've been controlled and put down your whole life. Of course this will effect your confidence.
    Think about your future now. I mean really think about it. Do you still want to be living in this awful situation in 5yrs or 10yrs time. Or even 20 years time. By then your parents might have passed away and you're stuck with your sister bullying and controlling you relentlessly. I couldn't imagine anything worse to be honest.
    Make a plan for yourself now. Don't tell your family anything. Go on daft.ie and find a place to rent. Any place, even if it's only for a few weeks until you find a nicer place. Your main priority now should be getting out of that house.
    We're programed to believe that our family know what's best for us, and want the best for us. For some lucky people this is true. But for people like you and me it isn't. That's a hard fact to accept but accept we must if we want to find contentment in our own life.
    Right now you are your sisters punching bag. Your parents have turned a blind eye to this because it keeps her focus off them. When you move out she will more then likely turn her attentions to them. This could be a good thing because it might finally make them and her face up to the fact that her behaviour is completely unacceptable.
    I will be keeping you in my thoughts OP. Wishing you all the best


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,486 ✭✭✭✭osarusan


    Hopeless, depressed, suicidal...these are words from your posts.

    You have been damaged to the point that you feel beholden to, and don't want to 'betray', the toxic people that make you feel that way.

    Get out as soon as you can.

    Get a room in a shared place and you won't need to deal with landlords much at all (until you feel confident enough to rent by yourself, if you want to go down that road).

    It is all easier than you think, and it will leave you a much much happier person.


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,371 ✭✭✭✭rainbowtrout


    Hi.
    Thank you for the replies.
    I have always been under the control of my parents from a young age. Any time I have brought up the idea of moving out/moving on which is normal progression and well over due for my age, I’m dismissed as if I am “all talk” or a joke. As a result, I wouldn’t feel very confident or savvy going out there and making it happen/engaging landlords as I’ve always been made feel as if I can’t be fully independent. And if I did do it, it has been implied I would be betraying them and I don’t want to be alone. It’s a vicious cycle. I cannot win. They have a negative opinion on everything.
    I am working on the savings but it’s difficult.

    Stop discussing it with them. Their controlling nature means they have brought you up to believe that you have to ask their permission for everything and that dynamic can be hard to break out of. You don't need permission to move out. Stop asking their opinion, they're not going to say what you would like to hear because it would mean you would move out, gain independence and they will lose control. Start looking for a place to live, do not tell them you are doing this. When the time comes just move out your stuff. They will be nasty about it because they are losing control, but your life will never improve if you don't move out.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,911 ✭✭✭Jequ0n


    I don’t mean to sound rude but you might need some help to move out/ cut them out of your life.

    Leaving my family behind and witness the carnage from afar was the greatest gift I ever gave myself. I hope you get to do the same


  • Registered Users Posts: 28,561 ✭✭✭✭Wanderer78


    Your family requires professional intervention but your own well being comes first, contact your GP, and request a therapist, your sister more than likely has some sort of undiagnosed disorder(s) that requires immediate attention, possibly autism or something else, but you come first for you, best of luck


  • Registered Users Posts: 457 ✭✭com1


    I never post on these topics... but, OP read up on coercive control, because what I have read here is almost textbook. While it may be difficult to resort to legal recourse, at least understanding what they are doing might help you to tackle it.

    A major take away here is that the abuser is extremely unlikely to change and your best / only option is to remove yourself from the environment. Sorry


  • Registered Users Posts: 28,561 ✭✭✭✭Wanderer78


    com1 wrote:
    I never post on these topics... but, OP read up on coercive control, because what I have read here is almost textbook. While it may be difficult to resort to legal recourse, at least understanding what they are doing might help you to tackle it.

    Ah people that unwell don't necessarily mean to be controlling, it's ultimately just a 'maladaptive' method of dealing with their situation, but it can cause severe damage including trauma to themselves and others in the environment, I certainly wouldn't entertain legal action at the moment, that would probably cause an inferno, just get out and address the psychological issues


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  • Administrators, Politics Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 25,947 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Neyite


    Plan your move yourself - don't ask, discuss or explain. Go find somewhere and put your deposit + rent on it to secure it. Ask around work - a lot of my early flatshares were with colleagues and it worked out very well.

    Gradually move your belongings. Drop off a bag or two going to or from work. Start with the more important /irreplaceable stuff - valuables, sentimental stuff, documents, etc. You can always say you are de-cluttering if anyone asks questions in your family. Women's Aid would be able to advise you, domestic abuse can be perpetrated by anyone in your home, not just a romantic partner.

    There's a few freecycle groups on Facebook where people want rid of all sorts of stuff so if there's any extra bits you might need after you move you can just ask in your locality.

    You can't fix your sister. Nor can you change the dynamic in the house. The only thing that you can do is to put yourself first and get out. Honestly it will be brilliant.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,930 ✭✭✭spaceHopper


    You are not going to be able to fix this your sister is probably never going to change, she may have mental health issues or some kind of personality disorder - that's not for you to diagnose leave it to the professionals.

    You don't need to engage with landlords look for a house share with another front line worker, maybe somebody you work with. Have you been vaccinated yet that opens up a world to you?


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,703 ✭✭✭Xterminator


    Hi Op

    You need to look after yourself, and i feel you have been amiss, in letting things go this far without taking action. You need a safe space to rest and retire to. you need to remove yourself from the situation at home.

    i completely agree with neyite that you should arrange a move without letting your family know youe plans. once you have landed a place to move to, you can then break the news, but not before, in case they attempt to interfere with emotional blackmail.

    I have no doubt that you love your parents, but they are adults who are making choices of their own, to indulge your sister, for the sake of a peaceful life. They have the right to do this, but you have the right to seek you own happiness too.

    I think you may be better placed to improve your relationship with your sibling once you have your safe space where they can exert no control.


  • Registered Users Posts: 449 ✭✭Pixied


    Maybe think about practising some acceptance?
    In your own words, but along the lines of..

    Accept you can’t change your sister.
    And that’s ok. You can’t.
    Accept you can’t change your parents.
    And that’s ok.You can’t.
    Accept you can change where you live.
    And that’s ok. You can.
    Accept that you cannot share your plans with them.
    And that’s ok. You deserve to be happy.

    Give yourself permission, even if you don’t really believe it at first. Baby steps will get you there.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,055 ✭✭✭Emme


    OP your parents don't want you to move out because you probably take the pressure off them with your sister's moods. You staying is stopping them facing up to the fact that your sister is abusive and mentally ill. It's doing nobody any favours - you, your parents and your sister.

    Decide to move out but don't tell anyone until moving day. Have your stuff ready to load into a cab and tell them you're moving out when you're walking out the door or when you're in your new place. If they're not happy about it tough.

    You won't know yourself when you move out and you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner.


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    Neyite wrote: »
    Plan your move yourself - don't ask, discuss or explain. Go find somewhere and put your deposit + rent on it to secure it. Ask around work - a lot of my early flatshares were with colleagues and it worked out very well.

    Gradually move your belongings. Drop off a bag or two going to or from work. Start with the more important /irreplaceable stuff - valuables, sentimental stuff, documents, etc. You can always say you are de-cluttering if anyone asks questions in your family. Women's Aid would be able to advise you, domestic abuse can be perpetrated by anyone in your home, not just a romantic partner.

    There's a few freecycle groups on Facebook where people want rid of all sorts of stuff so if there's any extra bits you might need after you move you can just ask in your locality.

    You can't fix your sister. Nor can you change the dynamic in the house. The only thing that you can do is to put yourself first and get out. Honestly it will be brilliant.

    Follow this advice, OP. Get onto daft, find a place, and say nothing to them until you’re fully moved out. Given the dynamic of your home environment, I wouldn’t tell them in person you’ve moved out. Send them a message or ring them or something, but GET OUT!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,272 ✭✭✭qwerty13


    You feel trapped because you are letting yourself be trapped.

    Trapped in your family toxic dynamic. Trapped because your independence is thwarted. Trapped because your learned mindset is that you will fail if you try to get away from your family. Trapped because your self belief has been completely eroded.

    While I have every sympathy, you are totally focusing on the wrong thing. You are focusing on your sisters behaviour, and examples of how she has been horrible to you. That is utterly pointless. She is not going to change. So you can continue getting upset about it, but that is basically a pointless rant or expression of sadness, and achieves or changes nothing. These people are not going to change. Ever. So you either accept your current situation (which I really think you should not), or you get away from these people.

    So what if you pick a house share that is less than ideal on your first move. It sounds like anything is preferable to your current situation. You can’t continue to live like this. For your own mental health, you need to move out from your family home. As soon as you possibly can.


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