Dear Annie: Stop enabling sister
Dear Annie: My sister, “Nancy,” had COVID-19 back in March and ended up spending three months in the hospital. However, before she became ill, she was evicted because of her youngest son’s drug habit. The landlord knew he was using drugs and wanted him gone. Nancy refused to make her son leave, so both were kicked out and homeless.
At the time, I didn’t invite her to stay with my husband and me because of my nephew’s drug use. Well, long story short, she lost everything, and after she got out of the hospital I ended up letting her come stay with us. When she was sick, I was feeling regretful for having turned her away before because we almost lost her. But now that she’s in my house, I’m really regretting allowing her to stay with us. I cook all of her meals and am constantly picking up after her, cleaning up her messes around the house. She is lazy and refuses to help.
I keep telling her that this is temporary and she should be looking for other living arrangements. She has a daughter who drives her around, but my niece says that Nancy can’t stay with her because she doesn’t have room.
Nancy pays me nothing and doesn’t offer to help with anything. We got her signed up for unemployment assistance. I have to keep telling her not to touch the money, that she should be saving it for rent somewhere. But Nancy likes to spend and counts her chickens before they hatch.
I’ve tried to make life miserable for her here so that she would be eager to leave. But no matter what I do, she expresses no interest in leaving. She’s 60 years old, for crying out loud. I’ve worked hard my whole life for what I have. I saved every dime to be able to afford my own home. My sister used to work in the same field as me but now seems perfectly happy to be unemployed. What do I do about my lazy sister? — Feeling Overwhelmed
Dear Feeling Overwhelmed: A free apartment that comes with a live-in maid and chef: Why would anyone give up that sweet deal?
Yes, your sister is taking advantage. Her behavior is selfish and rude. But you’ve played a part here, too, as an enabler. Give her a deadline by which she needs to move out, and stick to it. She’s a capable adult and can care for herself. If you continue your current approach, dropping hints and trying to make life less pleasant for her there, you’ll only be making your own life miserable.
Dear Annie: In response to “Witchy Woman,” who is feeling self-conscious about being unattractive: I am also one of those women. Annie, you were correct on the topic of loving oneself. That can give you some confidence to a certain degree. But you did not give her any tools, and she wants to know what to do physically. I wear makeup and better clothing than I did at the beginning of this year, and that also has given me confidence. I just think that ignoring that in your reply wasn’t helpful. She is obviously looking for more. — Been There
Dear Been There: You’re right. While inner beauty is what counts, there’s nothing wrong with taking steps to feel better about your appearance, too. If you’re not feeling too cute in quarantine, treat yourself to a DIY spa night; buy a little something you’re excited to wear; get all dressed up even if you have no place to go.