I currently live in my parents’ house with my 1-year-old son and husband. We live here not because of unfortunate circumstances or events, but because we help my elderly and disabled parents with things such as bills, rent, groceries, etc. Unfortunately, my lazy sister also lives under the same roof. She refuses to get a job or help around the house, and often creates extreme drama. Benign events seem to set her off.
I have told my parents on numerous occasions that I can’t deal with the madness, and either she goes or we do. But I end up feeling such immense guilt at the thought of my parents struggling with bills and daily rituals that I end up pushing those feelings of anger and resentment aside.
I don’t know what I should do. Should I free myself from my sister’s unhinged behavior and move out, or should I stick it out and suck it up in order to be a good daughter and help my parents?
From Cambridge, Massachusetts
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Sometimes living with adult siblings can create sustained stress. In your case, you have to figure out what to do to send that freeloading worthless sister of yours, packing! Here are some ideas for your consideration. Lock up all of your food, and only bring out what you and your husband need or what you’re feeding to your parents, and gradually starve your sister into submission. Or, if you have cable there that you’re paying for, other than the tv in your bedroom, put a lock on the rest of them that only plays movies and shows from the distant past, with nothing in color. Find black and white tv shows from the 40s and 50s that are relentlessly corny, in which your parents will enjoy, but will drive your sister crazy. Tell your sister that you plan on calling a 24 hour locksmith. Or this idea. Warn her that as soon as she leaves for any length of time, you’re going to have the locks changed, and she won’t be able to re-enter without showing a timecard proving that she is employed. And finally, give your parents an ultimatum, promising to leave the following day if your sister isn’t thrown out. Then remind them because your slothful sibling won’t help them, soon after you’re gone, they’ll be homeless or in heaven, and either way, they’ll be hanging around a lot of people that don’t have any money. I hope this helps.