SZA sister still a source of concern

Hello folks,

I know many of you have read my posts in the past years, about my SZA sister. She is kind of an on again off again source of great stress and anxiety for me and one of the main reasons I still see a therapist myself even though my SZ son has been very stable for a long time (on the clozapine.)

It’s been a couple of years since her and I were interacting. Phone calls mostly, a very occasional brief visit and then it all stopped (again). Not for any specific reason other than whatever delusional one was in her mind but when she cuts someone off, they are cut off in every way. She wouldn’t answer her door (again) and even unplugged her phone and wouldn’t respond to any snail mail I sent so as always after a few months I just slow way down in my efforts to maybe a card once in a while just to let her know she is on my mind for what it’s worth. I had been trying (2 years ago) ever so gently to get her to see a family doctor because she is developing some concerning health issues physically, never mind the serious mental issues she has. She refuses defiantly every time.

I’m not religious but I don’t have a problem with those who are, but my sister is constantly says God is taking care of her and I seriously with all due respect to God loving people I wanted to say to her (and did once), “maybe he’s busy napping or something”, because she is not cared for at all and is in desperate need of a physical and a mental evaluation. I even tried to appeal to her by telling her the parable of the man who is in a flood and he kept praying and praying for God to save him, and 3 times 3 different people came by and offered to take him out of the flood and each time he refused and said that God would save him, eventually he dies in the flood and when he goes to the pearly gates he says God why didn’t you save me? He says I tried 3 times and you refused.

Anyway, I thought it would maybe appeal to her and it did, but not the way I imagined she just said “yeah! I would have been out of there in a flash!!” It never dawned on her that the story applied to anything else-or even to her, I know I was expecting too much with it.

Okay so 2 nights ago I try to call her back after she had broken the 2 year silence again, just wanted to say hello, and I got a frightening shock, she was talking so out of control and so paranoid and just so very scary, people everywhere were trying to kill her, she doesn’t have to “be here” which I assume means alive, and she started saying things I had done to her that I had never ever done and wouldn’t ever do regardless because it’s not in my nature and on a “less ill” day she knows this but this was way over the top.

She screamed and talked so fast and so furious I was just beside myself even after she hung up angrily. I kept thinking to myself what can I do? I have tried wellness checks and adult protective services and they get me nowhere because they aren’t going to break her door down and she won’t open it for anyone.

So - I focused on calming myself down and trying to just take my mind of the disturbing call. Many of my previous posts about my sister explain that ideally if I was able, I would easily be able to get legal guardianship of her because it is obvious, she is not very competent beyond very basic paying the rent and finding food. However, I have legal guardianship of my adult son and I have many issues myself that I work very hard on all the time, and I know myself well enough to know that I can’t handle that responsibility no matter how badly it’s needed or how much I love her-without jeopardizing the great progress my son and I have achieved together.

Anyhow, the very next day she called back and acted like nothing ever happened she was back to the typical level that is known to be “normal” for her which was a relief to me but still obviously concerning (because uh, Jeckel and Hyde?) and she just said it was a bad night, period. That was that.

Now she really wants to come and visit me, mainly because she is very curious about the house I bought last year not to see me particularly, but honestly, I have been dragging my feet. I keep saying I am really busy maybe later.

I know her better than she knows herself and I just don’t want that hair trigger unpredictable drama in my house or around my son. He loves her, he loves everyone, but it would be so beyond stressful if she had one of her melt downs here.

I personally am okay with phone calls, but she isn’t mature enough (at 60) to respect that and let that be enough for now. I feel like she will continue trying to pressure me. I intend to stand my ground until I feel differently if I do. No promises though.

Such a difficult relationship, such as it is, I mean it is so one sided, she gives nothing, literally nothing and will take until you’re a husk of your former self if you’re not careful but I completely get that with her unchecked mental illness and low insight, it is what it is, and I know not to take it personal but wow it still hurts. I mean I don’t expect normal behavior, but I wish I had a sister that I could confide in, it’s just a wish I know, I would also settle for a sister that would go see a doctor.

Thank you everyone for letting me vent, so much appreciated. Wishing well to all.

Oh my Catherine, from what you’ve posted here of the past and present, I totally understand and can agree with your feelings. A friend of mine is going through a bad situation with her sister right now. Both are in their 60s. They were out of touch for over 7 years at my friend’s choice as the sister was a terrible alcoholic and drain on her family. She called my friend a few months ago, stated she’s sober now, came to visit, and now isn’t going home, as she’s ill. My friend is now being caregiver to a person (her sister) who is ungrateful and mean. Terrible situation.

I am afraid that if your sister came, she might not leave, and would suck the pleasant life you and your son have now out of existence.

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I just had this same situation occur with my mom; she came to visit me five months ago, and kept wanting to stay for longer, and I just found out a few weeks ago that she let go of her subsidized apartment where she lives. (She’s been staying mostly in her car, since we don’t have a spare room for her, but comes and goes from the house freely and there’s never any guarantee of privacy, even to talk to my partner and process our feelings without worrying about her overhearing us and being hurt.)

Now, I feel I have to “kick her to the curb” or allow my family life to continue to be orbited by my mom, who is loving, but also needy and negative and - we all know - just difficult.

If you can keep your sister from doing the same, and getting stuck with it, I recommend going that route. I wish that I hadn’t provided the out that got my mom to release her secure housing arrangement.) It wasn’t perfect for her at home, but she has good days and bad days here just the same.

Additionally, for us there’s a codependency component, even before she developed this psychosis she wanted to “come and live with me” in my mid 20’s; and would regularly ask. Now she has that, I suppose, but I’m left with no room to breathe or feel comfortable in my home/on my own rhythm with my life partner!

I’m glad she’s safe and I can keep an eye on her, but I’m not totally sure that it’s worth it - if she weren’t able to feed herself/meet her basic needs on her own, that would feel different, but she does take care of those things when left to her own devices - or she did, until she let go of her apartment.

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Especially with your son; I think it’s wise to minimize that potential impact. Maybe you could visit her, instead. That’s what I wish I’d done!

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It is so difficult to deal with this illness. My sister is also SZ and I have decided that all future visits will be when I go to another state to see her. As the illness progresses or changes, it is almost scary to have her in my home. I certainly do not want her around my kids - even though now they are in their early 30’s.
You are not being a “bad sister” - you are being a good mom. That takes precedence.
Best of luck to you in dealing with this.

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