Q: My sister married a man 2 years ago who is bipolar and addicted to crack. She did not know all the details when she married him. He has 30 arrests and is currently in jail for breacking into her house after she changed the locks. His mother always bails him out of jail and pays his debts. My sister keeps giving him chance after chance to get help and each time he relapses and is violent and ends back up in jail with the same cycle. His mother blaims my sister for his relapse and is on her to drop charges for him breaking down the door in the middle of the night threating to kill her so called lover – which does not exist. She needs help bad!
A: Your sister is caught up in her husband’s addiction. Her love for him and pressure from her mother-in-law are keeping her in a dangerous marriage. His mother is a classic enabler. She is actually helping her son be sick and be a criminal I’m sure she’d be horrified to hear that. She’s only trying to help. But bailing him out and making excuses for him is only teaching him that there are no consequences for his behavior. Your sister is struggling to figure out how to be supportive of her husband but not fall into the same role as her mother-in-law. She did change the locks. She did press charges. Good for her. Now she needs some support. Please locate the Al-anon group nearest you and suggest to her that the two of you go. There is nothing quite so helpful as being with a group of people who really know what you’re going through and who do their best to stay on track and be mutually supportive.
I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Nov 2006
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2006). Sister is married to an addict. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 8, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2006/11/11/sister-is-married-to-an-addict/