No. of Recommendations: 7
I SO agree with everyone who is telling you to STOP "helping." The key to the question "can't I help a family member" is YES, you can help by not doing what she needs to do for herself.

Unfortunately, I've been in a similar situation with my own sister. I don't know any of your details so I won't assume but let me say that I gave my sister every benefit of the doubt. My sister has some severe addiction type problems (spending, debt, men) but she is very smart and very strong and that combination is so lethal. She finds man after man to sob in their arms about her broken life, and money woes, then when she sucks them in, she spits them out, calls the police on them, paints them out to be the bottom of all humanity, etc. etc.

I helped her for years by listening and giving rational advice, but never did I tell her that she needed to buck up, I just listened, over and over. I found out that many many times she lied to me to get me to sympathize with her.

Finally, I told her what I thought she needed to do, in a loving but firm way. She went ballistic and we are no longer speaking, my choice and decision. This had already happened with every single other family member (another sister, a brother and our parents) so that she no longer has any relationship with any other family member.

We are praying for her as that is all that is left to do. It hurts us all so much but we just got to the point where we could not help in any way. I have never given her money but my father did a few times after she told him she couldn't pay her rent, car payment, whatever (she bought new clothes with the money). Her ex-husband pays her $3000/month in child support and she is in debt, cannot pay her children's "private school" tuition, can't keep a job...etc. As you can see, some complex issues.

So, I only tell you this because I believe you may have to make that tough choice of letting her learn to help herself but you will risk a rift in the relationship.

The hard part is how tough to be while still being caring and loving. That's the problem I had. I do love my sister but I hate what she is doing with her life. She lied and manipulated me so many times that she permanently ruined the relationship we had.

Good luck!! Sorry if this was a bit melodramatic, just trying to cite and example.
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