It creates confusion for you when you see your sibling dealing with substance abuse and one of your parents is enabling your sibling’s addiction. Since these conversations can get very emotional, you may feel the need to step aside for a moment when telling your parents how to better handle the situation. While it may not be your responsibility to save your sibling or your parents, the approaches you take in getting involved in the situation mustn’t drain you mentally.
Practice Empathy Towards Your Parents
While you may not approve of the choices your parent is making, put yourself in their shoes and understand how hard their position is as the child they raised is abusing drugs. Instead of confronting your parents in a judgmental tone, talk to them and show concern about what you have observed and ask them about their feelings. If your parent shuts you down, it may indicate denial in admitting they are making a mistake in how they are approaching the problem. Recognize the reaction for what it is.
Set Boundaries with Your Parents
The only way you can feel better about this situation is by setting boundaries. You can let your parents know that you do not need updates on your sibling’s life or behavior. It can be overwhelming for you to listen to the details when you want to help but feel helpless. Your parents may be asking for your help and trying to do their parental duty and solve the problem but they can’t do it alone. They may be placing the burden of fixing the problem on your shoulders. Ask your parents to find another source of support like another relative or a counselor instead of talking to you about it. Remind them of this boundary, change the subject, or just end the conversation entirely if necessary.
Know You Are Not Alone
If you are experiencing any negative feelings in regards to your sibling’s or parent’s behavior, make sure that you are attending to your own needs. You can also find comfort in Al-Anon which is a support group for people whose loved ones are dealing with addiction. To hear what other people are saying can make you feel less alone. You can also turn to friends and family that will remind you to take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself will always be the number one priority. It is best to have a calm discussion with your parents about how to better deal with your sibling’s addiction.
Knowing your sibling is struggling with addiction and your parent is enabling it can put you in a difficult situation. Helping out can take a toll on your mental health if you’re shouldering the responsibilities of everyone around you. Alta Loma understands that addiction cannot only take a toll on the person struggling with it but the family as well. Located in Georgetown, Texas, we can equip you with the tools you need to get through addiction as a family such as family treatment, 12-step programs, life, and coping skills education, and more. Please call us at (866) 457-3843 for more information.