Help with younger sister

Hey guys...I don't know what to do. I've had a big fight with younger sister, let's call her K.
Here's relevant information.
I'm late 20s. K is 18 at the end of November. Both of us were raised by our mother. K never really knew our father, because he was kicked out of the house when she was around 2, accused of sexually abusing our mutual older sister.
I went through school, got my school leaving degree and went into work. Two years into that, (when I was twenty and K was ten), I myself got kicked out of the family home (for stupid reasons I won't get into). For four years, I was unable to see K, as our mother forbade it. I tried several times over that period to get in contact, even involving social workers, but nothing.
K from what I hear, didn't even get through 1st year of secondary (high) school. In 2013, she wrote a letter to me, that managed to get to me at work (although given the handwriting, grammar and spelling, I suspect it was her social worker, and not her herself).
We arranged to meet, and although a bit awkward, we managed to hit it off. We got close again, and I even helped her to get braces, which left me about 4 grand out of pocket, and I'm not exactly what you would call well off.
Fast forward to the earlier half of this year, and this is where things just start going downhill. Our mother I have mostly patched things up with (to be honest, I only talk to her for the sake of the sisters, keeping it friendly). The mother rings me up one day, and asks me if I can talk to K, and I ask why.
Turns out K went out and got herself a boyfriend, and not only that, but she's sleeping with him. He's 19 Apparently K told the mother herself. Worst of all, K is for all we know, not taking precautions against pregnancy. She had dropped her dancing classes (what she had been doing instead of school for the past few years).
So I invite K out to my place, sit her down and I tell her the reason why. I ask her, in as calm a tone as I can manage, is it true that she has a boyfriend, is it true she's having sex and what she's doing to to prevent pregnancy (since no-one in our family is in any position to look after a baby).
She stormed out. I sat with her at the bus and wouldn't talk to me.

After this, is when shit really hit the fan. Apparently, she for all intents and purposes moved in with the BF. She stopped going to dance classes, stopped talking to anyone from the family, and on the EXTREMLY rare occassion she'd come home (we're talking weeks in between visits), she'd just go to bed, and be out the next morning.
Both the mother and I have tried to talk to her. On the rare occassion I do get to talk to her, its...how do I describe it? Apathy? Lack of empathy? She doesn't want to do voice calls, so text or f'n Youtube videos are about it (honestly, it's that bad, that I've done it twice, since I vastly prefer voice conversations, preferably in person).

Now is where it officially hits the fan. Today, once I finished work, I booked K's birthday off. Manager okays it. I get home and on Facebook, I hit up K and I tell her I've got her bday off. In my head, I'm planning things to try and do something about our strained relationship. Maybe a cake, her first legal drink.
K says she won't be at home.
I'm struck dumb at that. While this is usual over the past 9 months or so...I didn't think her first response to talk about her birthday would be she wouldn't be home. I ask her what she's doing and she says nothing. Says she didn't think anyone would do anything, to which I sarcasticlly point out that something should have clicked when her big brother tells her he's got the date of her birthday booked off from work.
Apparently, she doesn't want to do anything at all, she just views it as any other day. I'm hurt at this, and also greatly worried. Over the past year, there's been what I might describe as teenage apathy, but she takes it to extremes.
On the rare occassion I do manage to talk to her, and tell her that what she's doing hurts me, she doesn't express much emotion other than annoyance. She doesn't seem to care. I try to arrange dates to hang out with her, and when the day comes, she's elsewhere, blaming it on me for not having checked in the day before to double triple confirm (my words).

Today, I blew up at her. This is all done via text, since again, she doesn't like voice calls. I told her that she was blocked on Facebook and not to come near me, for her own good, since I really really want to slap some sense into her.

So Escapist...I don't know what to do. I'm trying my hardest to have a relationship with my younger sister...but she's letting it all drift away out of apathy. She doesn't go to college, as far as our mother is able to tell.
Anyone got any ideas? I'm at my wits end with her.

Well, if you were never exactly close to begin with, and the last time you met with her it was blatantly to try to tell her what to do, it's understandable that she'll be a bit iffy about the whole thing. Especially since she was probably getting harangued by her mother at the same time.

There's no advice anyone can legitimately give you, because nobody knows what your relationship is. But my (illegitimate) advice would be not to be too overly prying - that's her mum's job - and when you do meet to keep the conversation casual and away from the dodgy areas.

And possibly try to be the more accommodating one - maybe she did genuinely have plans for her birthday that she just didn't want you to know about.

Thanks for the reply Cat. Yes, we weren't what you would call close, but I did try to provide for her. The problem is that she has essentially broken off all contact with us. When I spoke to my mother yesterday, I was told that K hadn't been in the house in three weeks.
We're all worried about her, since she has essentially done nothing to prepare herself for when she finally hits 18. She has no job, hasn't bothered trying to get her college grants, she owes our mother money for living expenses. She's studying dancing in college, but according to our mother when I talked to her, she doesn't even take her dancing gear with her to the boyfriend's. She just left it in a pile in our 8 yr old sister's room.
As for plans for her birthday, I doubt it. K doesn't have any friends, other than the BF. If this were a normal situation, as in she had friends and all this drama hadn't been happening over the past year, I'd have been disappointed in not being included in her plans, but wouldn't have gone beyond that.
It's the fact that she's effectively moved out and cut us off from her that is the problem. About the only thing she hasn't done is say to us she doesn't want to see us anymore. There's a coldness, an apathy. I told our mother that when I'm talking to K, it's like I'm on fire and she's staring at me confused wondering why I'm in pain. It's like something doesn't click for her, it doesn't click that her drifting away from us is causing us pain.

RikuoAmero:
snip

Okay, that does sound awkward. Wish I could offer more useful advice, but there isn't much I can think of that you can do if someone doesn't want help. Pushing too much is likely to make things between you worse.

Have you or your mother considered what exactly the BF's side of the whole thing might be? I know for sure than some guys can get... protective of their partner, so maybe that should be part of the equation you consider. Does anyone know him? Is he some sketchy ass lanky dude with a drug problem? I wouldn't ask your sister about him, but maybe someone else knows. It's something I'd be concerned about, considering a lot of this started when the bombshell dropped. Not to put more worry into you or your mother, but this is always an important angle to consider

Elvis Starburst:
Have you or your mother considered what exactly the BF's side of the whole thing might be? I know for sure than some guys can get... protective of their partner, so maybe that should be part of the equation you consider. Does anyone know him? Is he some sketchy ass lanky dude with a drug problem? I wouldn't ask your sister about him, but maybe someone else knows. It's something I'd be concerned about, considering a lot of this started when the bombshell dropped. Not to put more worry into you or your mother, but this is always an important angle to consider

I found the bfs Facebook last night. Pure happenstance, K tagged him. I plan on talking to him tomorrow. As for drugs... He does weed. Theres no mention of a job. Basically the sort of lad a father would be entitled to point a shotgun at, for daring to touch his daughter.

Okay, so let's go through the important things.

* Do you have any reason to believe her boyfriend might be coercing her or deliberately trying to isolate her from her friends and family?
* Has she shown any other signs of dangerous or risk taking behaviour beyond unprotected sex, like self-harm or binging on alcohol/drugs?

Like, those are the really dangerous things. If there's no evidence that that's the case then honestly, it doesn't sound that unusual for someone in her position. I'm going to guess that what happened is that she fell out with her mother, who brought you into it (which was a shitty thing to do) and now you're lumped in with her mother as just another person trying to control her life.

Young women often do have unprotected sex. Often, it's not apathy so much as the result of cumulative fears and insecurities, which does hint at some possible dangers but ultimately it tends to be a temporary thing which people grow out of. Having to ask for the pill can be an intimidating experience when you're very young and worried about being judged, and a lot of women that age don't feel secure enough to ask their boyfriends to use condoms. Basically, it sounds like both you and your mother came in from quite a punitive angle, which is obviously not what she wants to hear. It's like when someone has addiction problems or is in an abusive relationship, often confronting them directly just makes them dig in because they feel like they're being persecuted. I know it sucks, but sometimes a person has to hit rock bottom before they can see for themselves the harm they're doing to themselves.

So, I'm going to give you the hardest advice, and it's going to make me sound like a dick, but I genuinely do think it's the best thing you can do for everyone. Walk away. Let her know that you'll be there if she wants your help, and then cut yourself off from it. If your sister is not giving you anything good, then you don't need to have a relationship with her right now. It's clearly having a negative impact on you, and it doesn't sound like it's helping her either. You aren't a parent to her, so you're not in any way responsible for her behaviour and you don't have to accept any consequences from it.

It's not entirely selfish either. Put yourself in her position. She's in that weird stage between childhood and adulthood, but in her own mind she's an adult and she's frustrated that people don't treat her like an adult. The issue is, she's not behaving like an adult because she hasn't yet figured out that being an adult means she'll have to deal with the consequences herself. She needs to learn that, and the best way to learn is by realising that other people won't stick around to watch her mess things up.

It's not perfect, but families like yours (and mine) aren't perfect.

evilthecat:
Okay, so let's go through the important things.

* Do you have any reason to believe her boyfriend might be coercing her or deliberately trying to isolate her from her friends and family?

Not any based on any kind of fact, as I have yet to meet him or talk with him. Any information I have on the guy is completely second hand. I don't know what he and K get up to, as K doesn't talk to anyone.

* Has she shown any other signs of dangerous or risk taking behaviour beyond unprotected sex, like self-harm or binging on alcohol/drugs?

I have not seen any physical evidence of cutting or of her taking substances. However, I cannot say for certain either way because she just plainly isn't around.

If there's no evidence that that's the case then honestly, it doesn't sound that unusual for someone in her position.

To effectively move out, do the closest thing to cutting off all contact? I had phases where I didn't talk to anyone...but not for nine months!

I'm going to guess that what happened is that she fell out with her mother,

Yes, both the mother and K (on the extremely rare chance I get to talk with her) have confirmed this.

who brought you into it (which was a shitty thing to do) and now you're lumped in with her mother as just another person trying to control her life.

I have already considered this myself. To borrow from debate parlance, while it would be a valid argument, it would not be sound (I hope you know the difference between validity and soundness).
However, on the rare occassion I do talk to her, I have stressed as good as I can that I am acting as my own person, that I don't necessarily believe all the things the mother is saying about her (I have bad history with the mother, and K knows this), but that it is very hard for me to take K's side if she shuts me out.

Young women often do have unprotected sex. Often, it's not apathy

I'm not saying that I think her having unprotected sex is due to apathy. When I mentioned apathy before, it's how I perceive her acting towards me. She shuts me out, doesn't even want me around on her 18th birthday, and whenever I bring up just how little I've seen or talked to her this year (considering we spent 4 years apart)...there's not a sign that she cares. "So what?" is something she's said on more than one occassion.

Having to ask for the pill can be an intimidating experience when you're very young and worried about being judged, and a lot of women that age don't feel secure enough to ask their boyfriends to use condoms.

Nothing much I can say to this...

Basically, it sounds like both you and your mother came in from quite a punitive angle,

The mother yes, she's the shouty type...but me? All I did was bring her to my house, sit her down and say (paraphrasing because it was about 9 months ago), in as calm a tone as I can do, that I had talked to the mother on the phone and was it true, and upon confirmation, what precautions she was taking.
At that point, that was basically when she started shutting me out.
However, I will not deny that it is possible that in her mind, the mother and I are somehow acting in concert on this, that we more or less act the same and thus deserve the same treatment from her.

I know it sucks, but sometimes a person has to hit rock bottom before they can see for themselves the harm they're doing to themselves.

It's not just the sex that has both the mother and I on edge about her. See...she basically doesn't have an education worth calling such. As I indicated before, she didn't go through what Americans call high school. She dropped out in her first year. Couldn't handle it.
As of this moment in time, she has no job, and the only thing she is basically doing (at least onstensibly) is college level dancing (which she honestly is very good at, she's performed live on stage before and has won trophies).
Come K's 18th birthday, which is at the end of November, K will be legally an adult. This means that my mother will be charged rent for her (it's a thing with our local housing authority, kids aren't charged separately, but adults are), and my mother doesn't work, she's on social welfare.
The problem with this whole situation though is that with K's silence, there is no documentation to prove K is no longer living in the house. Mother has indicated her extreme reluctance to pay the extra rent for someone who for all intents and purposes is not there. And if she doesn't pay it...well I hope you can imagine what might happen.

So, I'm going to give you the hardest advice, and it's going to make me sound like a dick, but I genuinely do think it's the best thing you can do for everyone. Walk away.

Don't feel bad. It's what my best friend thinks. He loathes my family with a holy intensity because each member (apart from the youngest sister who is 7) has fucked me over royally at one point or another in the past.

Let her know that you'll be there if she wants your help, and then cut yourself off from it.

The problem here is that K is in no way able to survive on her own, once she hits 18. At some point, she and the boyfriend will break up and then what will she do? She'd literally be on the streets and I honestly doubt that she could physically literally survive.
She'd either commit suicide or someone will take advantage of her.
My oldest sister I haven't seen for twenty years, she willingly removed herself from contact. While that is her decision and I respected it...I don't want to have to go through the same anguish all over again.

but in her own mind she's an adult and she's frustrated that people don't treat her like an adult.

The funny thing is...we are! We're telling her all these things about getting a job, turning up to work on time every day, not skipping days (I've been shown proof that she didn't turn up for large portions of her teenage dance classes, which were basically the only structured activity she did during those years), getting paperwork done for grants, rent...basically the things adults have to worry about, but stuff she's shown no interest in resolving.

The issue is, she's not behaving like an adult because she hasn't yet figured out that being an adult means she'll have to deal with the consequences herself. She needs to learn that, and the best way to learn is by realising that other people won't stick around to watch her mess things up.

Mother has already resigned herself to this, but my real fear is that if this continues, she will with a very high likelihood end up dead sometime within the next year or two, if I wash my hands of her.

-----
Thanks for all this advice.

RikuoAmero:
Mother has already resigned herself to this, but my real fear is that if this continues, she will with a very high likelihood end up dead sometime within the next year or two, if I wash my hands of her.

I was in this position with my brother a few years back, which is where a lot of my feelings on this are coming from. People can change and they can make incredible progress, but they need to want to change and sometimes that requires hitting rock bottom, whatever rock bottom is for them.

Like, most of the things which might cause her to end up dead aren't going to happen overnight, so while things might get worse (a lot worse) it's likely that survival instinct will kick in and she'll do what it takes to avoid ending up dead. There's a reason I asked straight away about domestic abuse, self-harm and addiction.

If you're worried about her ending up on the streets, that's why it's very important to leave the door open so that if she ever needs help she can ask for it. I don't know about the situation where you live with regard to support for youth homelessness, but assuming your mother wouldn't take her back then your sister definitely meets the criteria for being a vulnerable young person so referrals to a shelter are possible. It's even possible she could be referred to a women's shelter due to your family history and the fact she's in a lot of vulnerable brackets.

But the real danger is that if your relationship with her continues to turn sour, then she might not be willing to talk to you if/when things go bad. That puts you in a really impossible position because on one hand you want to help her now and talk her out of making mistakes, but on the other hand doing so is pushing her away. That's why I think the best thing is to recognise when you need to walk away and when the strain of dealing with this is getting to you. You don't need to cut her off or actively burn any bridges, just be a bit less proactive and wait for her to come to you for help, rather than trying to force her to accept it now.

But I'll freely admit I don't fully understand your situation and I may be reading it through my own life, so obviously trust your instincts first and foremost. Hopefully this is just something to think about.

 

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