My sister and her downward slide in life – Family & People


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Hello. I have a sister who is 36 years old, college educated, attractive, has a good job and who (at the outset) was headed in the right direction in the game of life. Unfortunately she got involved with an individual some time ago, and is currently living with this person who is, in no uncertain terms, a complete loser. Throughout the time span of this “union”, which has unfortunately been in place for going on 10 years now, I’ve watched helplessly as this individual has by sheer force of will brought my sister down to his despicable level of maturity and responsibility. He’s a thirty-something year old high school drop out and has no desire to finish his education at this level or any other. He’s an alcoholic and has lost his driving privileges due to driving while under the influence. He’s been briefly imprisoned for not paying back-illegal parking fines. He’s been strongly suspected of having relationships with other women on more than one occasion. He’s unable and unwilling to hold down a steady job, either by termination or by willful resignation. Consequently, since he and my sister share an apartment together, she’s dependent on his half of the living expenses…which, of course, he is unable/unwilling to provide on a consistent basis. In the midst of all of this strife, 4 years ago my sister became pregnant from this individual and had a son. While everyone in our family believed that this pregnancy wasn’t for the best given the set of circumstances in which the child would be born into, we’ve managed somehow to make the best of things for the baby once he arrived. The love and care as well as financial support by my parents, along with the aid of my two other sisters and myself, have provided the baby with the support that he surely would have lacked had we abandoned my sister and her “partner”, and left them to their own devices. Heck, I shudder to think where the baby would be emotionally if it were left up to only my sister and his father. Even the birth of a son has done nothing to help stimulate any growth or maturity within my sister’s “partner”, nor stop the downward slide of my sister herself. He continues to go unemployed for long periods, contributing to their living expenses and to the welfare of his son only if and when it suits him. There are 2 times that I know of for sure where they were all threatened with eviction from their apartment, and 2 times when my sister’s car was repossessed due to lack of payment. There are also the times when their electricity was turned off – during the winter – and it was the BABY, not my sister, who had to beg this individual to help them get their electricity and heat turned back on. And then there are also the incidents when their son’s daycare was threatened to end because the father wouldn’t pay his share of the tuition. It just goes on, and on, and on…for every instance where this “individual” has refused to step up, be a man, and take care of the responsibilities that he along with my sister helped create, someone from my family has had to step in and take care of things – emotionally as well as financially. My parents have had to keep my sister and her son from being evicted numerous times – and at great financial strain on their part. They’ve dedicated themselves in making sure that the child doesn’t fall through the cracks of this situation, by providing daycare whenever and wherever needed – even at great personal sacrifice. They’re for all intents and purposes surrogate parents. And since they’re both in their 60’s now, I’m sure parenting was the last thing they expected to be doing at this point in their lives. As you can imagine they hate her boyfriend, as do I and the rest of our family. We see him for what he is – a no good bum. Incidentally, he knows that we see him for what he is, and does all that he can to stay as far away from the rest of the family as possible. He tries to keep my sister away from us as well, fearing that we’ll eventually pull her out from under his spell. And while all of this is happening, what is my sister doing to help herself and her child break away from this predicament you ask? Oh, well she’s decided to get pregnant again…with his SECOND CHILD!! Yes, his second child! Despite all of this; despite all of the heartbreak he’s caused her, despite all of our efforts to show her that she can do better, despite all of the incidents that clearly show this individual to be as irresponsible as a thirty-something year old man can possibly be, she goes ahead and does this. I can’t even begin to understand why my sister would be so selfish as to put yet another innocent child in the midst of this predicament. My family was breathing a sigh of relief that so far we’ve managed to keep her first child on the right track despite all of the challenges he faced. Now, with the first child still not quite out of the woods yet, it seems like we’re going to have to do it all over again. I’m trying to find answers to the actions of my sister. Having one child under these conditions may or may not be considered a “slip”. Having a second child under these conditions is just plain inexcusable. All of the situations with regards to her boyfriend I’ve described above still exist; nothing has changed for the better…and I’m of the belief that it never will. As bad as it sounds, I’m at the point of leaving my sister to her own devices, and letting her suffer the consequences of her actions. She’s almost a 40 year old woman so I assume she knows exactly what she’s doing. But, having said that, I don’t want the innocent children to suffer because of the irresponsibility and down-right foolishness of their parents. Any advice, words of wisdom, or insight on this situation would be most welcome by me and my family.

Thank you.


Honestly there is nothing that you can do. The only advaice that I might have is to try to gain guardianship, not custody. Talk to her about this as an option explain to her that it would elp her and her boyfriend out for the child to be in guardianship with someone else right now and that it would help them beable to get completely on there feet, use the excuse that he’ll have time to look for a job without having to find someone to watch the child. I am currently in the position that your sister is in. I understnd the anger and frustration, but try to see it from her point of view, he may be trying to do right but you don’t get to that all of that. That might be why she’s holding on.

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