Mental Disorders

Ask Dr. Dombeck
Ask Dr. Dombeck
Psychotherapy and Mental Health Questions

Histrionic Sister-in-Law

My family has been struggling for some time concerning my sister-in-law. I don't believe she has been professionally diagnosed as having a certain disorder, but what we really see in her is the histrionic personality disorder--and may have a couple of disorders combined with that. She is on medication for anxiety and depression but is not seeking counseling--She is very dramatic, everything is all about her--she is 40 and does not work--she has a disabled son that she sends to respite care almost every weekend so she can go party and drinking in the bars--she basically keeps him for the money from the state--she just got a drunk driving and disorderly conduct from her so-called boyfriend. She can't keep a relationship--always creates turmoil in her life. She always talks about suicide--everything is everybody else's fault--not her own--We disown the way she lives her life and basically don't want much to do with her because of her actions--BUT, on the other hand, our question is--How do we show her that we love her and care for her without "approving" of her actions and the way she lives her life? How do we set limits with her to not allow her to take advantage of us and yet still get across to her how much we love her and we do care for her? Our concern is are we doing enough for her? Is there something more we can do? We have talked her ears out about getting counseling, etc., but she sounds like she is listening, but she never changes.

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