1. rhduke
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    rhduke Contributing Member Reviewer

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    How to get someone to be responsible?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by rhduke, Jun 25, 2013.

    Maybe you guys have more experience persuasion and discipline. It's kind of a personal family matter. If you care for this kind of thing then I appreciate any response.

    So I have this sister who's in her 30's now. I and the rest of the family struggle to live with her because she doesn't lift a finger in the house. She has this dog and she doesn't take proper care of him. If any of us approach her she lashes out in an immature way yelling and screaming like we're all against her. If I refuse to do any chores in order to get her to do them, the house becomes a disaster and everyone else starts complaining. I have to basically do all the chores just to keep people happy and I wish my sister would just be responsible enough to help out ONCE in a while. She can't even do that.

    Her room is literally a garbage dump. Carpet stains. Pee stains. Poo stains. Laundry everywhere. Dishes and mold and god knows what else. She won't clean it no matter how much my mother yells at her.

    When she leaves for work, the rest of us have to look after her dog who pees in the house all the god damn time no matter how many times we take it out. We can't blame it because it's my sister's fault for not taking it out on longer walks. This shouldn't be our responsibility. Not only that, she brought the dog home even after my parents said no.

    I don't remember the last time she did the dishes. Maybe a year ago? She expects everyone to be happy around her but doesn't understand we spite her because she's so irresponsible. She's literally like a 14 year old in a 30 year old body.

    She buys things on special occasions and takes us out for meals and stuff, which is nice. But she thinks spending money automatically sets her free from responsibility of any kind.

    I'm honestly tired of this family arguing all the time so I just shut my mouth and do all the chores. My dad is working almost all the time and my mom is tired of supporting the family all her life and getting disrespect from my sisters, so she barricades herself in her room. So basically I have no idea what to do. This is no way to live.
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Taking everything you have said at face value...

    The issue here is not responsibility but accountability. I'm not being pedantic; I'm pointing this out because the confusion of the two is often the source of issues like the one you are dealing with. No one is holding her accountable for her lack of responsibility. As long as your family does not take firm action against her behavior, she will continue in this mode because she has decided that tongue lashings are small price for living like a pig.

    Kick her out.

    It's as simple as that. She needs to see that the family house has rules that must be abided else the enjoyment of the privilege of living there is rescinded.
     
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  3. Anthony Martin
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    Anthony Martin Active Member

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    This sounds quite difficult, maybe delicate, and since I don't know you personally know that I tread lightly out of respect. The title of your opening post sounds a lot like co-dependency, a term that I learned about while helping a loved one through a rehabilitation program for alcoholism (in fact, I do believe there was a thread about co-dependency started here on the forums not long ago). Exploring co-dependency and its effects on the people involved might equip you with the knowledge you need to better face your situation at home so that you are not consumed by it.
     
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  4. michaelj
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    michaelj Senior Member

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    She's in her 30s, so yes, kick her out. She sounds like the type of trash you'd get on Jeremy Kyle.
     
  5. Myers
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    Myers Member

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    I agree with what has been said so far - you need to be firm with her. Perhaps a family intervention could be the best way of doing this. Everyone tells her that they're not happy with the way she is being and you tell her that she has to change her ways or be shown the door. She won't like it but it has to be said. And if she doesn't change her ways and ends up moving out then living on her own she will soon realise just how hard it is. But lets hope she doesn't make this lesson too hard for herself.
     
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  6. rhduke
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    rhduke Contributing Member Reviewer

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    [MENTION=3885]Wreybies[/MENTION] thanks for the reply. I have to agree with you completely, but I don't believe my mom has the heart to kick her out. She's threatened to, even yelled those exact words during arguments. But I know she'd never do it.. I think having my sister live on her own is the only way she will correct her ways but she can barely afford her expenses even while my mother is supporting her. Maybe I'm just a coward.
    [MENTION=1441]Anthony[/MENTION] thank you for the words. I will try to look more into this topic of co-dependency.
     
  7. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know all of the details of your situation (obviously, because you haven't posted everything, but I say this, because there may be additional issues that would change what can happen). BUT,

    Really, I would say this is your parents' issue. I assume that this is their house, and the family home that you and your sister have lived in with your parents. Many parents, especially these days, allow their adult children to live with them. I read an astounding statistic that something like upwards of 80% of college graduates return home to live with their parents. This is probably somewhat over-inclusive, because I assume that includes a lot of folks who are there for only a few months to a year, while planning another move to graduate school or perhaps a job in another area, or do it for only a year or two to save some money to enable them to purchase a home. Some parents do charge rent. Others do not. Some request that what would be paid to them go toward a down payment on a home. Whatever the arrangements are, it is up to the parents, who presumably own the home.

    Your parents are the ones who need to take charge here, and as such, it is up to them. It sounds as if your sister is certainly taking advantage of them, but as Ann Landers used to say very frequently, "No one can take advantage of you without your permission." Your parents are choosing to put up with this situation and behavior. The only thing you can do is move out. You need to remove yourself from this situation -- it is unfair to you. If you are deriving some additional benefit from living at your parents home (such as being able to save money to move out) then you are making the decision to put up with this environment in order to get the other benefits. You need to choose for yourself whether you can live with this or not.

    Your parents are adults. You cannot tell them what to do -- sure you can suggest, but if they choose not to follow your advice, that is their decision.
     
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  8. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that the solution is probably going to be to throw her out. If your parents won't do that, then the long-term solution for you is probably to move out, when you can.

    Some thoughts:

    - She won't do the work. But she has a job. Will she pay for the work? If she paid for a landscaping service to do all the lawn work, bought takeout food for the family at regular set intervals, hired a maid to some in at regular predictable intervals, hired a dog walker for her dog, would that content the family? Is there any chance she'd do that? I realize that quite likely this is about entitlement and her sense of entitlement won't let her pay any more than it will let her work, but Just In Case it's truly about some problem with doing housework, it could be worth a try.

    - Is your family doing things for her? For example, there's no need to do her laundry. There's no need to ever make her favorite foods. And so on.

    - "Not only that, she brought the dog home even after my parents said no." Your parents are enabling. They have every right to get rid of that dog. As long as they insist on enabling, this problem is not going to get better, which is why I suspect that the solution _for you_ is to move out. Once you're no longer doing most of the housework, perhaps your parents will finally be motivated to do something.

    Unfortunately, "do something" will very likely mean actually throwing her out, not just threatening to do so. I doubt that she's going to change her ways just based on looming consequences - the consequences will probably actually have to happen.
     
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  9. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    How old are you? Maybe the problem is that you aren't taking accountability for your role in her co-dependency. Maybe you need to move out. Keep in mind that I don't know the particulars of your situation. I'm just looking for different perspectives.
     
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  10. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Having broken up with a guy like that years ago that I think now I might have been able to work out our differences with, I'll share my too late solution.

    Hire a housekeeper and make her pay for the service.

    We were both working full time and the guy wouldn't even water the lawn! I tried cleaning half the bathroom sink, he just ignored it. It's a shame because the sex was good, we even continued that after I bought his half of the house from him and made him move out. ;) In retrospect I think, had we hired a maid it might have helped.

    As for the dog, doggie diapers might be feasible. Kind of a pain to launder, but better than cleaning the carpet. Also, any way to confine the dog to a room without carpet?

    Usually peeing like that is a solvable problem, but I have one that relapses every once in a while and I have to keep vigilant. I keep her in the kitchen with a baby gate (a nice one, easy to open and close) when I'm gone, and there's a waterproof pad I allow her to pee on. That way if I'm gone for too many hours, she has an option. The drawback is it interferes with training but it's been very successful for me. She rarely uses it. I have to make her go outside when the weather's bad, but I tell her, "go pee", with the gentle shove and she likes getting a towel rub when she comes back in.
     
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  11. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    Make a story about her and from your POV and have her read it or you read it to her. Or you can have the entire family read it to her.
     
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  12. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    Some people never grow up. Just be happy she hasn't spiraled into drugs and alcohol, but I don't think she'd make it on her own anywhere. If you kick her out, she might become accountable, but she might also flounder. Some people weren't made to swim.
     
  13. Rafiki
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    Rafiki Active Member

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    Get a job and move out.

    I moved out three days after my 18th birthday, my mother moved out when she was 16, my father when he was 17. Living on your own is a great way of holding a mirror up to yourself and getting a good close look at your flaws. There's no reason a 24 year old person should be living at home, all that does is reinforce poor behaviour and limit your own personal growth. If you're not careful, you might end up in your 30's with a laundry list of character flaws of your own (albeit slightly different).

    If you're looking for a case study, look at your sister.
     
  14. Cydramech
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    Cydramech Member

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    Exactly this.

    You're not a coward, if she's living with your parents then it's not even your problem in the end. Maybe her lack of responsibility & accountability is there to teach your parents a lesson themselves, it's life that the teacher still can learn new things. If your parents keep bitching about it, tell them straight up about how action is what matters (and not words); if they are going to threaten to kick her out again, tell 'em either they do it or shut the hell up because whining about it really does no one any good - not even for themselves.

    There's nothing wrong with an adult living with their parents, it's why they do it that may or may not be the problem. After all, it's usually the kids thinking they know everything that leave their parents' house so early only to get into trouble, so to argue an adult should leave their parents' house regardless of context is just as stupid.

    That said, it does sound like the OP here may as well just leave their parents' house.
     
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  15. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    Oh hell no. A 24 yr old living with his parents and complaining about how his parents run their house? It's time you moved out.
    If your parents want to be co-dependent to the calamity your sibling is, the last place you should be is in the middle of it, especially if this mess is getting to you. The fact that you haven't been a child for years and are complaining about how your parents run their house speaks very poorly of you.
     
  16. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    If your mother really won't throw her out - and that is a really tough thing for any parent to do - then you have to remove yourself. I've seen this. It doesn't change. You are not in a position to "be firm" with her, and you will only become more frustrated with her if you stay. It will also seriously damage your relationship with your mother. But most of all, it's just plain bad for you.

    Move out as soon as you can manage it.
     
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  17. Cydramech
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    Cydramech Member

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    Even if the 24 year old is being responsible? Sure, what we have here may be a one-sided issue, but if he's being responsible and holds himself accountable, there's nothing wrong with him talking about his adult-sibling being neither responsible nor held accountable when he's responsible himself.

    (But as I said on my previous post, he still should leave since it is obvious his parents won't do anything about it.)
     
  18. 7thMidget
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    7thMidget Member

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    Your sister probably knows it too.
     
  19. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's not unusual for the children of dysfunctional family situations to stay in the home _to take care of their parents_, out of an excessive sense of responsibility. I don't disagree with the conclusion that the OP should move out and let the dysfunctional members of the family work out the issues themselves, but I think that you're making some too-quick assumptions about this situation.
     
  20. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    I thought about this some more and there's several mitigating circumstances which would change my position. Maybe his parents are medically or financially dependent on him. Maybe he's disabled and can't live on his own.
     
  21. rhduke
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    rhduke Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I don't really feel like spilling out all the facts of my life so you can "understand me". I hold nothing against my parents, they spent many years supporting us and I'm grateful. I have a job and I am in my last year of university. I give my parents rent now and then so I'm not a complete burden. When I graduate, I hope to move out and leave all these problems behind me. If you still think poorly of me well there's nothing I can do about that.

    Thanks everyone for the support. It's good to know there's a place where people will listen to you when no one else will. I think I'll just have to bear it until I move out because as you've mentioned, it's my parent's issue. Despite your welcomed support, talking about these things get me depressed and I just don't want to think about this anymore.

    Thank you all again.
     
  22. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    I hold nothing against someone living with their parents while attending school - not unless they can't accept the way their parents run the house.
     
  23. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    For the record folks, as the mother of a 24 yr old who had a BS in applied math and now a masters in the same field, it's not that easy for young people to get work. In between degrees my son worked a year at Whole Foods. Working full time as a cashier he made almost, but not quite enough to live in a studio apartment with a tiny kitchen cove.

    His friend who graduated at the same time lived at home for a year while he worked as an unpaid intern at a firm until it finally led to them hiring him.

    If my son didn't have college funds including a significant loan to supplement his income, he'd have no choice but to live with me.

    The 'get a job and move out' isn't that easy for everyone. Some people, sure, but it's not always a matter of, if you want to you can.


    The more I read about the problem here, rhduke, it's you mom's enabling that sounds like the key to the problem. It's too bad because she's probably not doing your sister any favors. I'd still go with the 'hire a maid and charge the sister' avenue if it were me and I had the ability to do it.
     
  24. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I've just read all the posts here, and while I was doing that, I wondered...

    I'm sure there are lots of websites, groups, etc, that exist to offer support and advice about co-dependency and/or coping with bad behavior in adult children.

    As many others here have said, this is really an issue for your parents, not for you. You don't have any clout here. Sounds like you already have a plan for leaving that unpleasant environment, as soon as you're finished with university.

    However, why not check out some of those groups and/or advice, and alert your parents to them? If you can find printed material, gather it together and give it to BOTH your mom and your dad. Perhaps they are struggling to understand that they are doing your sister no favours, putting up with and encouraging this horrendous behaviour. Maybe they think if they kick her out she'll die or something. As parents, maybe they think they just 'can't' do this. I think advice sites might help with this issue.

    Worth looking into, anyway? Meanwhile, you might feel better yourself, knowing that you've at least done SOMETHING to move the situation forward. There might be some strategies to make your own situation easier as well.

    Good luck. This is NOT an easy situation.
     
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  25. Anthony Martin
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    Anthony Martin Active Member

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    I hardly think the OP was asking us to editorialize his situation.
     

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