Anonymous asks: My sister has been an addict for over 10 years – how do I know when it’s time to slam the door and say “I’m done!”
The truth is that only you will know when that time has come. When we’ve been putting up with the bad behaviours associated with active addiction, there is an ending point for many people.
That being said, it’s also possible that if you try some different responses with your sister, you might find that she responds differently to you too. For example, a boundary that you can set could be “I love you – you’re my sister – but I often don’t like your behaviour. I love you enough to say “No” to any ways that I’ve helped you stay stuck in addiction – and I’m beginning to respect myself enough to not put up with the feelings of hurt, anger, and devastation that your behaviours cause. When you’re really ready to get some help to come out of addiction and into recovery, let me know and I’ll do what I can to be there for you. But for now, I choose not to do this horrific dance with you any longer.”
If you set a boundary in this way, you are closing the door but not slamming it or locking it. It’s very possible that this might be exactly what your sister needs to hear from you in order to choose recovery for herself. She may need some time to test your boundary and to do her best to shame and guilt you – and my hope is that you won’t give in to her manipulations because that won’t be good for either of you. But as you stay strong in your boundaries, coming from a place of love instead of anger, you may be surprised when she lets you know that she does indeed want help.
If you need some help determining and languaging your boundaries, I hope you’ll reach out to us. At Love With Boundaries, this is what we do and we would be happy to have a free 30-minute call with you to look at what you need and how we can help. Good luck and thank you for your question!
All my best,