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Crazy Sister

Mr.Conley

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This is my second summer out of college, and my first back home in a while so I've started to really spend time with my family and, frankly, it's scaring me.

The thing that worries me is my sister. She's 16, and she's completely off her rocker. Over the summer, just this summer, she's been caught shoplifting, joyriding in a stolen car with friends, started smoking cigarettes and joints, drinking heavily, talking back, making up huge, incredible lies, totally and blatantly lied about who she is with and where, and even nearly got in a physical fight with my stepmother. She's refusing to even speak to our mother, and despite attending four therapy sessions a week (for bulimia and depression), and taking prozac, there is nothing the family seems to be able to do to get her under control. Just last week she brought her boyfriend home who, according to her was a 17 year old rising senior at Newman, the best local high school. Turns out he's actually a 20-year old, high school dropout who works part time as a construction worker. State laws aside, that's not right. I don't know what to do. My parents are in shock. She's the total opposite of me and my other three siblings. It's as though I went away and came back to a whole new person. She's doing everything that she shouldn't. Her last school nearly expelled her after she was found on campus drunk. My dad had to convince the school not to expell her so that it wouldn't show up on her college application, but it's the third school where this had happened in the last year. And this is a 9th grader. I don't know what to do, how to act, what to say, does anyone have any thoughts?
 

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Mr.Conley said:
This is my second summer out of college, and my first back home in a while so I've started to really spend time with my family and, frankly, it's scaring me.

The thing that worries me is my sister. She's 16, and she's completely off her rocker. Over the summer, just this summer, she's been caught shoplifting, joyriding in a stolen car with friends, started smoking cigarettes and joints, drinking heavily, talking back, making up huge, incredible lies, totally and blatantly lied about who she is with and where, and even nearly got in a physical fight with my stepmother. She's refusing to even speak to our mother, and despite attending four therapy sessions a week (for bulimia and depression), and taking prozac, there is nothing the family seems to be able to do to get her under control. Just last week she brought her boyfriend home who, according to her was a 17 year old rising senior at Newman, the best local high school. Turns out he's actually a 20-year old, high school dropout who works part time as a construction worker. State laws aside, that's not right. I don't know what to do. My parents are in shock. She's the total opposite of me and my other three siblings. It's as though I went away and came back to a whole new person. She's doing everything that she shouldn't. Her last school nearly expelled her after she was found on campus drunk. My dad had to convince the school not to expell her so that it wouldn't show up on her college application, but it's the third school where this had happened in the last year. And this is a 9th grader. I don't know what to do, how to act, what to say, does anyone have any thoughts?


Wow. I can't imagine what that would be like, though I've known kids that went through those kinds of periods-some ended ok, others not. Has she always been the 'different one'? Is she the youngest? You said a near fight with your step mother, and she won't speak to her mother. (Is your step her mother? Or is her mother non-custodial?)

Ideas: If she's been going to therapy 4 times a week for more than a couple of months and the behavior hasn't improved, try another therapist. It might be time for hospitalization?

If anyone in the family, other siblings or parents are close to any of her closest girlfriends, talk to them. They probably at least have a glimpse of the things most disturbing to her.

I wish you all better times.
 

KarlMarx

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It sounds to me like she needs to dump the friends and the boyfriend and needs to be given some definite boundaries with clear and well defined consequences if she crosses them. Also, she has to be told that she has used up your family's trust in her and that she will have to demonstrate certain behaviors to regain that trust in her. I wouldn't be too quick about giving back her freedoms, either. If you give them back too quickly, she'll get the notion that all she has to do is lay low for a bit then things will blow over. No, it's going to take a while, a long while.

I believe that if you all think about it, you'll find that she's with the same group of people when she gets into her hi jinks. My guess is that she's fallen in with a bad bunch.

I think that Kathianne is right, a different therapist may be a good thing, but the one who should be in control is the family, not the therapist, IMO.

I work with a lady whose step son was a handful. Once he got caught doing something and had to spend a few days in jail. Her husband and her could have bailed him out, but they chose to let him stay there for a few days. Her reasoning, if he's going to act like a criminal, he'd better get used to spending time in jail.

I'm not a big believer in talking things out when people are at this stage. I think she's way past the talk stage and needs something more tangible. She'll just say what you want when you're around, then go back to doing her thing when you're not. If she had my Dad, she'd be getting a good smack and put in her room with no contact with her friends. Maybe the smack isn't such a good idea, but isolating her from those bad influences may not be such a bad idea, either. It may get to the point where your parents have to put her in a different school (from the sounds of it, my first choice would be a convent, but unfortunately, we don't live in the Middle Ages any longer). That may not be a bad thing (changing schools, that is, not the convent), it may give her a chance to meet new friends that will be a positive influence on her.

Oh and that boyfriend... if I were Dad, first I'd explain the situation to law enforcement and see what I could do about it, legally. Your Dad is still responsible for her behavior. If I were in my rights to do such a thing, I'd have a man to man talk with the SOB (I guess he's too old to get his parents involved). I'd say, "Break up and stay away from my daughter and I won't have you arrested for statutory rape". I'd put it in writing, too, so if things get nasty, you'll have evidence. I'll bet lover boy will go find another poor soul to get his rocks off on. I believe that you'll find that your state has a law about situations your sister is in. Better that than find your sister pregnant and alone before her 18th birthday.
 

Joz

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For what it's worth, you need to get your sis to a competent Shrink. She needs medication, something that she'll need to be on the rest of her life.

The girl I'm referring to started at the age of 12, by sneaking out of her bedroom window. Not a big deal, right?
She's had 6 babies (one a crack baby), 3 abortions, prostituted to support her crack habit, was a police informat, was beaten by two man & left naked, for dead, on a bridge, was arrested for forgery.....need I go on. And this was just the first 10 years. Get your sister help.
 

Said1

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Kathianne said:
Ideas: If she's been going to therapy 4 times a week for more than a couple of months and the behavior hasn't improved, try another therapist. It might be time for hospitalization?

Good idea. People can't change their behavior unless they understand wtf they're doing to themselves and others in the first place.

Good luck, I hope things turn out ok.

Sounds a lot like myself at that age though. :eek:
 

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Said1 said:
...Sounds a lot like myself at that age though. :eek:
I believe you may have been a bit feisty. I refuse to believe you were THIS way.
 

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Joz said:
I believe you may have been a bit feisty. I refuse to believe you were THIS way.


I was much more skilled at not getting caught, mother approved of some activities and Tim was 24. :wtf:
 

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First I would recommend stopping anything you do that allows or assists her to get by with acting inapproptiately. Set solid limits and guranteed consequences. Do it as a family so she sees a united front. For therapy to be effective at all, one has to be suffering enough to want to invest themselves in it. If she ups the ante, stricter measures may be required to protect her and yourselves from her destuctive style of coping.
 
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Mr.Conley

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Kathianne said:
Has she always been the 'different one'?
Yes. She's more of a music person. My older brothers, sister, and I are more academic people. It's not that she's dumb. She gets mostly B's, a few A's, and the occasional C, but the rest of us were all 4.0 or 3.9ers. She has always been far more stubborn.

Kathianne said:
Is she the youngest?
Yes.
Kathianne said:
You said a near fight with your step mother, and she won't speak to her mother.
Fighting with step mother. Not speaking to biological mother. Biological mother held custody until a few years ago, when she had an issue with depression. Then our Dad and stepmom got custody of both of us. We still had a lot of contact with our biological mom though.
Kathianne said:
Ideas: If she's been going to therapy 4 times a week for more than a couple of months and the behavior hasn't improved, try another therapist. It might be time for hospitalization? [/quiote] She was hospitalized last fall for 3 months at a bulimia/depression center out west. At first it seemed to help, but I think she's slid since then. i don't know all the details. I was at school at the time, and my dad didn't want the information getting out. She changed therapists a few months ago, but this one seems to be doing better.
Kathianne said:
If anyone in the family, other siblings or parents are close to any of her closest girlfriends, talk to them. They probably at least have a glimpse of the things most disturbing to her.
One of our cousins has gotten pretty close to her over the last few months, but either she doesn't know or she isn't telling.

Karl Marx said:
Oh and that boyfriend... if I were Dad, first I'd explain the situation to law enforcement and see what I could do about it, legally. Your Dad is still responsible for her behavior. If I were in my rights to do such a thing, I'd have a man to man talk with the SOB (I guess he's too old to get his parents involved). I'd say, "Break up and stay away from my daughter and I won't have you arrested for statutory rape". I'd put it in writing, too, so if things get nasty, you'll have evidence. I'll bet lover boy will go find another poor soul to get his rocks off on. I believe that you'll find that your state has a law about situations your sister is in. Better that than find your sister pregnant and alone before her 18th birthday.
Problem taken care of. My dad sat her down on the sofa this week with our aunt, and told her to drop the guy. Of course she resisted, but eventually they got her to realize that seeing this guy wasn't good for the family or for her. Then my dad called up the guy, and told him what was going on. We won't be seeing him again. Then again, she might have been lying a will try to sneak out and see him. That's what I think is going to happen. My default position with her know is that whenever she says something, it's a lie. Harsh, but it works.

Karl Marx said:
I'm not a big believer in talking things out when people are at this stage. I think she's way past the talk stage and needs something more tangible. She'll just say what you want when you're around, then go back to doing her thing when you're not. If she had my Dad, she'd be getting a good smack and put in her room with no contact with her friends. Maybe the smack isn't such a good idea, but isolating her from those bad influences may not be such a bad idea, either. It may get to the point where your parents have to put her in a different school (from the sounds of it, my first choice would be a convent, but unfortunately, we don't live in the Middle Ages any longer). That may not be a bad thing (changing schools, that is, not the convent), it may give her a chance to meet new friends that will be a positive influence on her.
That's what I want my dad to do too, but he's concerned that she'll run away. Plus he doesn't want the bulimia or depression to come back. I really think he's being to lack though. He "grounded" her for two weeks, but let her talk to people over the phone and computer, which, in this day and age, is the same as letting her out of the house. Plus, if it was our cousin, he'd let her break the grounding so they could get closer. Hopefully the cousin is going to be a good influence, but a couple of weeks ago my sister said she was going to spend the night at our cousin's. Although she was technically grounded, my dad let her o in hopes that the cousin will be a good influence. The next day dad finds out that the said cousin is in New York.

As for school, she's going to be attending an all-girls school starting next year, and if she fails out of their, then it's off to the all-girls Catholic convent in town. My dad wanted to send her to boarding school last year, but they kicked her out.
 
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Mr.Conley

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Frankly, I don't get her. She's a completely different person. I'm beside myself. She's really hurting herself and her future. It's painful to watch.
 

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Mr.Conley said:
Frankly, I don't get her. She's a completely different person. I'm beside myself. She's really hurting herself and her future. It's painful to watch.
She sounds out of control alright, with some serious issues that your dad is correct to be concerned about. I think getting into a prestigious university is the least of her troubles right now, even going to college out of high school. Just getting her through high school, alive and without child.

My guess is smacking is not a good idea. Grounding a 16 year old is pretty hard, without a guard to watch over her, probably not the best idea. Military school would be great, if she were a boy, but she's not. I think you're right regarding boarding school, she'd probably run away or get kicked out, again. She's gaining lots of power with that behavior.

With eating disorders and all sorts of power issues going on, not to mention her control of the whole family, a great therapist or perhaps your aunt are the best resource I can think of. Someone she'll open up to, who can show her how she is in the long run, only hurting herself.

Prayers for you and yours.
 

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Mr.Conley said:
Frankly, I don't get her. She's a completely different person. I'm beside myself. She's really hurting herself and her future. It's painful to watch.
Would I be right quessing you're the oldest?
 

dilloduck

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Mr.Conley said:
Frankly, I don't get her. She's a completely different person. I'm beside myself. She's really hurting herself and her future. It's painful to watch.

The "I'll show you, I'll kill me" is one of the most powerful game that "dysfunctional" people use. You have to take risks that are scary to help them. Her behavior could be resulting from a number of sources ; emotional, physical, substance abuse, etc. Right now the toughest job for your family is going to be making her suffer the consequences of her behavior until she is willing to try to change it by what ever method works. An accurate diagnosis is vital.
 

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Mr.Conley said:
Frankly, I don't get her. She's a completely different person. I'm beside myself. She's really hurting herself and her future. It's painful to watch.

She was hurting herself with the bulimia even before this started. You don't mention how she dealt with that problem, but the core issue with people who have eating disorders is control -- they can't control their environment (kind of like your sister can't control that she isn't the academic that you and your other siblings are) -- so control what they put into their body.

If I had to guess, the issues which are underlying the depression/bulimia haven't been fully resolved. Just because she isn't exhibiting symptoms of those things right now, doesn't mean that the problems are gone. No one is ever really cured as a bulemic, much like alcoholics don't get cured, only controlled.

If her therapist isn't skilled in eating disorders, she might have the wrong therapist.
 
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Mr.Conley

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jillian said:
She was hurting herself with the bulimia even before this started. You don't mention how she dealt with that problem, but the core issue with people who have eating disorders is control -- they can't control their environment (kind of like your sister can't control that she isn't the academic that you and your other siblings are) -- so control what they put into their body.

If I had to guess, the issues which are underlying the depression/bulimia haven't been fully resolved. Just because she isn't exhibiting symptoms of those things right now, doesn't mean that the problems are gone. No one is ever really cured as a bulemic, much like alcoholics don't get cured, only controlled.

If her therapist isn't skilled in eating disorders, she might have the wrong therapist.
Her current therapist is a bullimia specialist so I think we're covered in that catagory. Her bullimia started about 2 years ago in 8th grade. I was getting ready to go off to college, she had just moved back in with my dad after spending a year with our mother, who had fallen into a serious depression. This required her to change schools for the 4th time in as many years. She'd had a very hard time socially at her previous school, and really wanted to fit in. I think it was a combination of all these factors that made her bulimic. She somehow thought that people would like her only if she was thin. The bulimia lasted all of 8th grade, and through the beginning of 9th. After Katrina, my dad had to send her to a boarding school so that she could get a good education, but the bulimia and depression, along with some alcohol and smoking issues, got her kicked out of there. She had to go to a three month long inpatient program that got the bulimia and depression managable. I don't think (think being the key word) that she has purged in several months. However, a lot of the other issues are still there. Plus now she has to live in post-Katrina New Orleans, which isn't good for anyone. I think it's the stress. New school, bulimia, Katrina, very demanding parents and siblings, and a bunch of other factors have just caused her to crack. It really worries me to see it happen. It's sad too. We used to get along really well, practically nevre had fights, but now we barely speak.
 
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Mr.Conley

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dilloduck said:
The "I'll show you, I'll kill me" is one of the most powerful game that "dysfunctional" people use. You have to take risks that are scary to help them. Her behavior could be resulting from a number of sources ; emotional, physical, substance abuse, etc. Right now the toughest job for your family is going to be making her suffer the consequences of her behavior until she is willing to try to change it by what ever method works. An accurate diagnosis is vital.
That's what I'm worried about. I don't think my parents are pushing her hard enough disipline wise. I frankly don't think my dad knows what to do, the rest of us never had any problems like this. I think he's kind of in shock, and I'm not sure if he can handle it. He's 66 tomorrow, and is trying to teach, run the family business, keep his marriage together, rebuild the house, help pay for my tuition, and now keep her under control. It's not good for him. He's been in the hospital three times since January. He really wants to help her get back on track, but I think he still can't understand that his "process" for turning out good kids isn't working for her. He's wants to get her well, but I don't think he can see that she's different from the rest of us (he gets a bit too excited about the fact that Stanford doesn't count freshmen year grades on an application). She's more a music person, and she's very good at it and loves it, and he's encouraged her, but now she's just completely off road and he doesn't know what to do and he's running scared. I think he needs some lessons on good parenting for bad kids or something, but my biggest concern is for his health. I just hope that she gets better than she is now, for everyone's sake.
 

dilloduck

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Mr.Conley said:
Her current therapist is a bullimia specialist so I think we're covered in that catagory. Her bullimia started about 2 years ago in 8th grade. I was getting ready to go off to college, she had just moved back in with my dad after spending a year with our mother, who had fallen into a serious depression. This required her to change schools for the 4th time in as many years. She'd had a very hard time socially at her previous school, and really wanted to fit in. I think it was a combination of all these factors that made her bulimic. She somehow thought that people would like her only if she was thin. The bulimia lasted all of 8th grade, and through the beginning of 9th. After Katrina, my dad had to send her to a boarding school so that she could get a good education, but the bulimia and depression, along with some alcohol and smoking issues, got her kicked out of there. She had to go to a three month long inpatient program that got the bulimia and depression managable. I don't think (think being the key word) that she has purged in several months. However, a lot of the other issues are still there. Plus now she has to live in post-Katrina New Orleans, which isn't good for anyone. I think it's the stress. New school, bulimia, Katrina, very demanding parents and siblings, and a bunch of other factors have just caused her to crack. It really worries me to see it happen. It's sad too. We used to get along really well, practically nevre had fights, but now we barely speak.


I hear ya--I had to take what I thought was a normal sister who was married with 2 kids to a psychiatric hospital because she was using the blood from her slashed wrists to write words on the walls of her home. She can get better but I know it's a hard thing to accept.
 
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Mr.Conley

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Mr. P said:
Would I be right quessing you're the oldest?
No second youngest, but the other three are all 15-20 years older than we are. Out of college, married with children, and everything. I barely remember when the last of them was in the house, so I'm practically the oldest.
 

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The truth? Write her off. You can't save people from themselves.
 

Mr. P

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rtwngAvngr said:
The truth? Write her off. You can't save people from themselves.
And that is called tough love. I don’t always agree with it in every situation, but from what I’ve read in the thread so far I think it would be best for Mr. Conley.
 

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