Ask Experts Questions for FREE Help !
    gracejourney's Avatar
    gracejourney Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Nov 22, 2006, 09:56 PM
    Boundaries and Co-dependence
    My younger sister just moved into town. Her daughter is a single mother with two small children. Her daughter just found a job that requires her to work weekends, her daughter relies on her as the primary babysitter - even if she has to ask her at the last minute or if someone changes their plans and decides not to babysit. Her hours vary and she often works up to 12 hours a day.

    Recently my sister asked her three sisters including myself to help her by rotating babysitting days.

    I told her that I would pray about it. My other sister asked her details like how long a commitment she was asking for and the work hours and so on.

    When my younger sister read this (email) she blew up, pretty much forgetting all that we've done to help in the past.

    We come from a large family with alcoholic parents, needless to say we are all dealing with issues like co-dependance, enabling and boundaries.

    Personally, I am working on identifying and setting my boundaries. Also, checking my co-dependance issues and tendency to enable.

    Right now I have conflicting feelings - on the one hand, I feel constantly manipulated by my family to commit to situations I later regret. Secondly I feel guilty for not immediately agreeing help my niece who is in need.

    I have always agreed to anything my family asks. My life becomes a mess because I am busy pleasing everyone. I neglect my house and my health. The same thing happens at work sometimes. I am trying very hard to work on my boundaries. :(
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,327, Reputation: 10855

    Nov 23, 2006, 05:19 AM
    This is simple. If you don't want to do it don't. You have a job and a life don't you.
    phillysteakandcheese's Avatar
    phillysteakandcheese Posts: 973, Reputation: 356
    Senior Member

    Nov 23, 2006, 07:57 AM
    It is unreasonable for your sister to have an expectation that all of her sisters will share in working as day care provider.

    If you are willing and able to, then it's great that you can help out your sister and see your nieces/nephews , but you are still doing you sister a favor... something she seems to have started taking for granted.

    Each of you has your own family and your own life. You've got your own things to do. I have no doubt you want to help, and would when possible, but you shouldn't have to bend over backwards and re-arrange your life because your sister needs day care.

    I would be open and honest and simply tell her that while you want to help her, you are uncomfortable committing to this plan. Don't be too blunt and just say “no” without any explanation, but try to help her realize that you can't be the complete solution to her day care problems.
    s_cianci's Avatar
    s_cianci Posts: 5,472, Reputation: 760
    Uber Member

    Nov 23, 2006, 08:34 AM
    Keep working on your boundaries. Your house and family are your first priority. If you're unable to help out because of conflicts, don't allow yourself to be manipulated or made to feel guilty. Such tactics have been perfected by people who thrive on enabling and co-dependence. Don't fall for them. Build up an immunity to it. Sure, people will scream and curse you (another tactic) but stand firm and stick to your guns.
    gracejourney's Avatar
    gracejourney Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Nov 23, 2006, 10:49 AM
    Thank you, I appreciate your advice. Each of your comments have helped me gain perspective and encouraged me that I'm on the right path.

    You're right - I am just beginning to identify and build "Boundaries" - I know now that I must continue working on my boundaries knowing that it will make my family unhappy - hopefully they will understand one day. I appreciate the encouragement.

    Thank you - Expectations are huge in my family - we are expected to sacrifice all for the family - if someone needs money we are expected to juggle financial obligations to meet the financial need of the other family members.

    You're absolutely right - I do have my own life - even though it still has a selfish ring to it as I say it - I can't help others if I am not living my own life and taking care of myself.

    I would like to help, but on my own terms - not dicated by others - I can help - if I can afford the time - if I have the extra money to help - if I feel up to it physically and emotionally.

    I appreciate all your comments and encouragement. Have a great Thanksgiving!
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,301, Reputation: 7692

    Nov 23, 2006, 10:54 AM
    I would say your sister is not being rational on your relationshiop,

    The child she is watching is her grandchild, and only your great niece, while you may want to a couple times a month, many people have no desire to watch children. ( ever)

    The child has a mother ( and should have a father or at least one paying child support) and a grandmother. When people work, they have to find child care, she is wanting free labor, just tell them what the going rate is, and that you need your pay in advance
    valinors_sorrow's Avatar
    valinors_sorrow Posts: 2,927, Reputation: 653
    I regard all beings mostly by their consciousness and little else

    Nov 23, 2006, 10:57 AM
    I can add that, having come from a very dysfunctional family myself, there was a time when their unhappiness was some kind of wacky proof I was recovering, honoring my boundaries and sliding out from under their various forms of manipulations. It wasn't easy but wow, was it worth it!

    Keep working on it! It does get easier...
    gracejourney's Avatar
    gracejourney Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Nov 23, 2006, 03:17 PM
    Thank you - you're right she should be finding a day care and not depending on her family for day care.

    It's so nice to hear from someone who has set there boundaries and come out on the other side. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Have a nice Thanksgiving all! - grace
    nzer's Avatar
    nzer Posts: 10, Reputation: 2
    New Member

    Nov 23, 2006, 06:47 PM
    Boundaries and Co-dependence
    Just ask yourself this one thing - who's problem is it?? Think its your nieces...

    You go girl, you are certainly moving in the right direction, believe in yourself and your own needs.

    All the best.

Not your question? Ask your question View similar questions


Question Tools Search this Question
Search this Question:

Advanced Search

View more questions Search