I just can't take it anymore but I don't know how to stop
I'm new on this forum but I'm finally hitting a point where I really believe I need to get some help for my issues. I've known I've had codependent traits for a while but I was improving on them a lot in my relationship with my girlfriend. They stem from my upbringing in a fairly dysfunctional family and I started getting better when I was able to get away from them after moving out and going to college. I've been away from home for a quite a while now, almost ten years, and new issues are causing my codependency to come raging back. My youngest sibling, my sister, has been making horrible choices her entire life. She now has a 1 1/2 year old son with a guy who is no longer with her and was abusive to her. She still managed to graduate college on time and find a job after graduation, but she just lost her job due to attendance issues. I don't believe the story she gave me about my nephew making her late, but I guess I'll never really know what happened. Anyway, because I'm her only family member in the state, she calls me when something goes wrong. I'm not close to her, and in fact in a lot of ways I feel that I hate her for the way she acted toward me when we were growing up. She calls me crying about how she doesn't know what to do anymore and just wants to give up. She has attempted suicide twice in the past, but it has been a few years. I know I can't stop someone from committing suicide if they are going to do it and I'm not there, but I live in fear that if I don't answer my phone when she calls that she'll die. In some ways I just wish she would get it over with instead of drawing out this self-destruction over years and years. I lose sleep thinking about my nephew and how his life already seems doomed to me. I feel sick to my stomach thinking about what my sister is dealing with, even though it is of her own making. The pressure to help her won't go away, even though I know I can't. Today she was invited to spend 4th of July with my girlfriend's family at their lake house. She was late showing up to get a ride with my girlfriend, but didn't call until she was already 1 1/2 hours behind schedule (irresponsibility). She decided to try and find the place on her own and told my girlfriend to go ahead and leave without her. Of course, cell reception was non-existent at the house and she got lost, couldn't find us, and couldn't call us. Eventually I got a hold of her and she was 20 minutes away but couldn't find it and didn't actually know where she was. She had driven 2 1/2 hours to get there, but we were leaving. She was irritated with me and frustrated and had been driving my nephew around all day, and I told her to just turn around and go home because no one would be there when she arrived at the lake house. I feel so awful about her day that I cried on the ride home with my girlfriend about how I wish I could help my sister but she keeps making these terrible decisions and being irresponsible. I'm afraid she's going to kill herself over something like this, because she's all alone and today was her chance to be around other people and get support. But she blew it. I can't stand talking to her on the phone anymore because all she does is cry. Now I AM THE ONE CRYING. I'm so tired of having her in my life. I know deep down I love her, but this whole situation just hurts too much to keep watching her ruin her life. She doesn't listen to me when I try to support her and just goes on about how her life is unfair. I DON'T WANT HER TO DIE AND I'M SO HELPLESS. It is too much for me to take anymore. I just need some support from you guys.
Re: I just can't take it anymore but I don't know how to stop
Start off by meeting with her when things are calmer, and thrash out your boundaries. The first of these is that she calls you only if she needs practical help, not to dump her stuff on you. Do not call her, let her call you and then you decide whether you can do anything for her or not. If you cannot help in some practical way, then say so and do not feel guilty, you cannot fix someone else's life. For unpunctuality, like the incident you spoke of, call her just before she is due and say flat out that she has x minutes to show up, or you go without her. Then go. She is too used to being catered for. So she misses an outing - not your fault. Read all you an about difficult people, game players and assertiveness, there are some terrific books out there. Good luck, Sera