Just asked my sister to move out...did I do the right thing?


I had posted on the old forum several months ago and never got the chance to thank all of the supportive people who gave me advice and encouragement.

I need it again.

I am taking care of my older sister. Even though my dad is her payee, they are both living with me and I support them both. My sister has a shopping problem that we’ve been trying to address over the last year. I thought we were doing well but have recently found out that she has a lot more debt than originally thought. She opened credit cards without anyone’s knowledge and now as 30K in debt. When asked her what she plans to do about it she said “nothing”. She has creditors coming after her, late fees, and now some fraud charges. It’s so bad that she actually has my dad thinking that he needs to sell his car and cash in some of his retirement to pay off her debt.

The problem I have is that she doesn’t think she’s done anything wrong. She says it’s my Dad’s fault for allowing her spending to get out of hand. She says it’s my fault for allowing her to open credit card accounts and she say’s it’s the credit card company’s fault for issuing her credit. She is “mentally disabled” and is not responsible for any of it.

I’ve had enough. If she cared and wanted to do something about it I would help her, but she thinks that the rest of us should pay off her debt because we allowed her to accrue it. I told her that if she can’t be responsible for her own actions then she needs to move out. She has opted to move out.

I love her, she is my sister, but she has a shopping addiction and refuses to acknowledge it or get help.

I don’t want to kick her out, but don’t feel that I have any other option since she truly feels that the rest of us are at fault.

Did I do the right thing? What other choices do I have?

Thank you for listening. I’m so emotionally drained right now that I can’t even think straight.


I think you did the right thing by asking her to move out. This is the first step in compulsive spending addiction: forcing the addict to take responsibility for their actions. You’re showing her the consequences of her behavior.

And your dad needs to be on board with you too. Certainly, he shouldn’t be paying off her debts with his retirement account. He needs to be firm with her too.

Ultimately, she needs to find professional help in the form of therapy. This is an addiction and should be treated as a medical problem. Also credit counseling is helpful in treating compulsive spending addiction.

I know you’ve had to make some difficult decisions, but now it’s time that she take responsibility for her behavior.

Stay strong and stay firm!




I think I remember your story from the old forum.
I think you are doing the right thing. You gave her a choice and she made it.


I think you only have to ask yourself two questions to find your answer. First: Was I able to help her when she lived here? Second: When she lived here, was I able to maintain my own mental health?
It will take time for you, your dad, and your sister to digest your (and your sister’s) decision. You are used to being responsible for your sister, so everything will feel strange for a while. Your dad will feel this transition too, but it is only a transition. It will end and then things will feel more natural to you. Your sister will slowly come to terms with the new reality too, but you may be surprised at how long it takes her. Just give it time. Stick to your guns. If you back down now, you’ll be doing this again two years from now and it will be that much harder.


Thanks to all of you for your support.

After having a final conversation with her, I am convinced I did the right thing. She denies having any kind of spending problem. She was happy to move out because, she believes, she can pay off her debt with her small amount of disability money once she starts her now job and gets her own place. Her new “job” pays $50/week. I tried to show her a budget sheet and she seemed to have a solution for everything. She seems to think that when you rent an apartment, all utilities are included in the rent. That’s when it hit me that I did the right thing and have to let her work it out for herself.

It’s just really hard to stand by and watch it happen. It’s like a train wreck that you know is going to happen but can’t stop.

Thank you again for the support!


I recommend checking up on her now and then. Living alone and supporting yourself when you have poor insight is difficult. Perhaps this situation will lead her to have better insight, but until the cause of her spending is treated (the mental illness) she might get worse. It’s not like she’s doing it on purpose, she just doesn’t understand because she’s delusional.


I think if you kicked her out of the house, then your dad would be more convinced into helping her, he might feel sorry for her situation and do exactly what she had asked him to do in order to pay her debt.
you must find another way to solve the situation, kicking her out would only make things worse. Maybe you can force to find a job to pay her debt, get her something to waste her time with instead of wasting it on shopping.


When one’s troubles are greatest, only then the real friends are known. You should not kick her out, but to be her friend. The first thing is to cut all credit cards. Over 10 years ago when I arrived from America back to Finland, I had this Citi Bank Platinum card with the 100000-dollar credit limit and then I just cancelled it. I would have a need for a credit card today to take some Y-DNA tests, but I have no credit card and so I must figure out something else. Tell your father never to accept other people’s debts.


And the nightmare continues.

She has somewhere to go right?


I feel tense and stressed when I try to reply to your post. I have an elder sister whom my mom asked her to move out about two years ago under similar circumstances. I believe my mother wants to make her face her spending problems. She used to rely on me a lot but I did not successfully influenced her. She broke into rages and threw real hot temper when I asked her to cut the credit cards every time. I tried to go over budgeting and financial planning with her but it was never happening. She just can’t withstand the idea of having to self control.

But she did successfully influenced me. She made me buy and stock up a little so that she got a discount and took away the products for no costs. She did a lot of blackmailing to my father to squeeze some cash out of us. She made us did a lot of things. Not nice. For a long time we all know she has a problem. My parents pour their hope on me. I was the guy they relied on for support and problem solving. But I was also the one who broke down into a mental health condition. She still manages an employment. Not really stable but she has an income.

I can’t tell right from wrong. It is really stressful to me. It is also very tough for my mother. Another sibling of me is very supportive of my mother. Yet there is still one other sibling of me who says she is unwilling to reveal anything about her opinions and she just wants to cut off from all of us. Mom says let her try out independent living. She needs to know what it is like having to make ends meet. Mom says she cannot rear her for life. I know she makes sense. My sis never contributes anything to the running of the household. She however often requires financial assistant even though she is in employment and the income is not bad.

I know no one should be responsible for other’s own behaviors. She kept attributing anything happening to her to us. I wish my mom doesn’t need to make this decision. I know my mother is doing it partly to protect me, partly to help her. Mom says i will live a really painful life if im going to live with my siblings. This is what she thinks.


Hi, thank you for your suggestion. The problem is that I DID cut up her credit cards. This has been an ongoing problem for a few years and I have tried to cut up her cards but when I’m not home she just gets online and on the phone and applies for another. If I turn off the internet then she walks down to the coffee shop and uses the free internet there. If I take away her laptop then I’m cutting her off from skyping and emailing her friends and that’s abusive and not good for her mental health. I cannot watch over her 24-hours a day.


Oh, yes! I wouldn’t have asked her to leave if she didn’t have somewhere to go. I’m watching over her,she just doesn’t know it. I would never let her go hungry or homeless. She’s staying with friends who will let her stay indefinitely as long as she sees her doctor on a regular basis. I have already called her doctor to inform him of the situation. Frankly, I think she might be happy to get away from her family too. She thinks our paranoia over her finances is just a “family” thing. I’m hoping she will see that her problem is very real and not just the product of an overprotective family.


I have never asked my parents to give me any money and they have never done so, instead I have given them my time, some money and items. I lost the trust with my mother in 1991 when I discovered they, my mother and my brother, had taken illegally 4500 dollars from my bank account, when I was in America. I can never trust them truely. During the divorce in America in 1999/2000 they seemed to be on the side of the American woman instead of their brother or son. I have really difficult times to trust anybody.