Dear Annie: My 32-year-old sister, “Ashley,” got herself into trouble. From my earliest memories, she has always lied. She recently got out of drug rehab, but it doesn’t seem to have helped. My parents and Ashley’s biological mom consistently bail her out of trouble, whereas my other siblings and I have to learn from our mistakes.
Ashley is jobless and collecting government assistance and is on Facebook all day long, but says she is “trying.” Ashley is a manipulative con artist. I believe there also may be some mental illness. She is divorced and has three children, and her actions are not in their best interests. I’ve caught her in a few lies since rehab, and I’m at the point where if I see her again, I may blow up. I have a big heart, but I cannot find it in me to forgive her for the terrible things she has done and the hurt she has caused. The stress is causing me physical pain.
Ashley is still my sister, and I love her. How do I help her without getting angry about the poor decisions she continues to make? – Ashley’s Sis
Dear Sis: You cannot help Ashley until she is willing to help herself, and that may never happen. We understand your anger and frustration, but you’ll feel better if you can simply accept that this is who she is. Please concentrate your efforts on those children. They need stability and solid role models in their lives, and you can provide both. Can you take them to the park after school? Help with homework? Cook them a meal or take them out on the weekends? Whatever hours you can give them will be time well spent.