Family Counseling Dilemma

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Family Counseling Dilemma
4
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 5:44pm
Hi guys. This is a little long! But maybe you can help w/some advice. I've posted about my sister b4, but real quick just to refresh, we found out she was addicted to prescription pills, mainly vicodin, about 1 1/2 years ago. She never really got any treatment for it at that time so never stopped using. Her husband sent me an email earlier this year saying she basically hasn't stopped and he wants my mom to stop calling her or coming over until my sister can get some treatment. He attacked my mom, and my dad to an extent, in the email, basically blaming them for my sister's problem. He accused my mom of being addicted to drugs(although his only "proof" was that he heard her tell my sister she sometimes takes benedryl at night so she can sleep, puleeeez). This email was very hurtful, not to mention the fact that he also sent it to my sister's friend, copied her on the email, which wasn't really her business to begin with.

Anyway, jump to the present. I haven't seen my niece(4yrs) and nephew(8yrs) since Christmas, when b4 I would see them maybe once or twice a month. The only communication I have w/my sister has been thru email, and that is not very often. And most of the time she is making excuses for herself by blaming our mom and not taking any responsibility for herself. I don't know what problems she has w/my mom but those are not my problems. She has basically cut my mom out her life, and my mom is just devastated. She misses her daugher and her grandchildren so much. From what I gathered from most of my sister's emails, she is mad at me because I don't feel the same way about our mother as she does. I love my mom and I don't have a problem w/her. She doesn't understand that her relationship w/our mom is her business not mine and to not mix all that up w/me and my dh!

As far as I know, she was in an outpatient treatment program last month, but I think she's finished for now. Right after the email from BIL I suggested, or rather my dh suggested for me because I was too upset to communicate w/them, that we all need to have some sort of family counseling, but they would not agree to that. Whenever she would bring up getting together to talk, I would tell her I wasn't comfortable w/that right now, unless there is a counselor present, too many heated emotions to deal w/on our own. They would not agree to that either. So we just basically stopped communicating up until a couple of weeks ago. She sent me an email wanting to know if my dh and I would like to meet w/them to "see where everybody stands" and if I still wanted a counselor present. My counselor suggested I offer to meet w/them maybe w/someone she knows from the treatment facility, so she wouldn't feel threatened, like if I only offered my counselor to do it. So I did that and now she is going to ask her marriage counselor to do it. I was glad she finally made this next step w/us but now I'm kinda uncomfortable w/the whole idea! But I said that was fine, since any communication w/them at this point is something.

Now I'm nervous, wondering what in the world do they want to talk to us about and w/their marriage counselor?? I feel like they're going to be attacking me and my dh, like they're going to gang up on us. And we're not the ones w/the drug problem! I'm so sick about all this. I understood what my counselor suggested, but she meant maybe someone at the treatment center, I don't think she meant their marriage counselor. To me that counselor is going to be more biased, as mine would be I guess, because she only knows their side of the situation, of course. I can't help but wonder what all my sister has told her counselor, what lies mostly, because w/all the stuff that came out after she was found out about the drugs, we found out she was lying to her dh about me and my dh and my mom, about money, how she got the drugs, etc...so we know she will lie when she's pressured. I know I shouldn't occupy my thoughts with all this and just wait to see what happens. I know I'm just wasting my energy on this worrying but I'd like to know what you all think about having the counseling session w/their counselor? And shouldn't my mom be included? Thanks so much for your advice.


Edited 5/21/2003 4:46:32 PM ET by jenidarlin

 baby

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
Wed, 05-21-2003 - 11:15pm
I remember you, and how much you wanted to see your niece and nephew, and worry about your sister. It's encouraging to hear they are at least seeing a marriage counselor, and that your sister has sought some treatment. So maybe there is hope after all...

By all means, I think you should go to the meeting! The marriage counselor may not be trained in treating drug abuse, but at least this is a start. I'll bet the marriage and drug abuse problems go together somehow, and there is an awful lot to deal with at one time - I dunno, but I'll bet it would be difficult to find ONE counselor trained in both specialties. If this counselor is properly licensed, they would know at least a little about drug abuse.

I wouldn't worry about them "ganging up on you." Your sister and BIL maybe, but the counselor knows (I'm betting) they are biased and may not be telling the whole truth. Betcha the counselor asks for some time to speak to you and your DH alone, and if she/he doesn't, I'd ask for it once you arrive at the meeting. Or you could ask to schedule an appointment of your own with her/him.

Anyways, I wouldn't worry so much. Instead, be encouraged. Your sister is taking a step toward trying to resolve the family issues as well as the drug abuse and her marital problems.

As for your mother being present, probably not a good idea for the first visit. Seems your sister has some volatile emotions concerning your mother - so maybe having all of you there at one time would be too much. One thing at a time, my dear. If the session goes well, having your mother at another session later might be an option.

So go! Be positive! But be honest and keep your cool even if your sister loses hers. I'll be thinking of you. Let us know how it turns out.

Msfit

                  &nbs

Avatar for cl_2and1more
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 10:24am
I have been catching up on the board. When I read your post, I wanted to respond. Have you had the meeting yet? It is so odd how two people can grow up in the same house and have totally different views about what happen.

A lady I know was remembering how their dad would hit her brother. He spoke right up and told her that he (the brother) would hit the walls when his dad yelled at him. So she always pictured her father hitting her brother and grew up living with that and it didn't even happen that way. So listen to what she has to say (without interupting) you may really learn something. Then youy can offer that you never saw the things that your mother did in the same light. Take one example (maybe one she used) and calmly, without telling her that she is wrong, explain your take on the same situation. If you are able, justify her feelings. (But I see how you could feel that way) Or even explain that you in your own life have been able to forgive and go on even when your mother did make mistakes.

Please let us know how your meeting went. And try to not tell your mother about the details. She will have her own road to walk when reconnecting with your sister, when your sister is ready.

Melissa

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 5:48pm
This is all very good advice! Haven't had the meeting yet, but I think it might be coming up soon, like this Friday. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks again!

jenny

 baby

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 06-04-2003 - 11:31am
Looks like it's going to be next Friday. My sister emailed me to say that her counselor can't do this Friday like she thought. At least there's a date set now!

 baby