What to do...? (or better yet, what to think?)

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 08, 2010 7:56 PM GMT
    I figure this is the equivalent of "miscellaneous" (not exactly a discussion about "All Things Gay"), so here it goes: (bear with me, it's long...)

    My younger sister ran away from home yesterday, sometime between 3 and 6 in the morning, and I, nor my parents, know where she is. She had called me last week to ask me what I thought she should do in her situation. So, sidetrack a bit to explain that:

    My parents are Mormon, and we were raised Mormon (I obviously didn't stick with it...). When my parents found out I was gay, it wasn't exactly pretty at home. I ran away once because of arguments we had which resulted in my dad hitting me. They knew exactly where I was, because the mother of the friend I went to stay with called them and let them know, and that I needed some space. I did go back home, and while things weren't exactly peachy keen, I sucked it up and moved out when I turned 18 (more arguments sparked that, and I ended up spending the last couple months of my senior year at the same friend's house).

    My sister has since then decided that she doesn't believe in the whole Mormon thing either, after watching how my parents reacted to me, and the general attitude that the church as a whole has on life and how you should live it. Not just gays. She told my parents how she felt, and, same as me, they tried sending her to church counseling, forcing her to attend church, sending her to church sponsored activities, having people come over and explain that God loves all his children and his plan has place for us all, and the church is true, etc. etc. blah, blah, blah.

    They have been in several arguments about it. My parents have been planning a road trip to Palmyra, NY where the church started, filled with Mormony things to do along the way, and my sister told them she didn't feel comfortable going because it's not what she believes. My parents pretty much told her to suck it up because she was going whether she liked it or not.

    Back to it: This is what my sister called me about. She expressed that she REALLY doesn't want to go, and that she was considering running away. She also told me that she asked a couple of her friends about moving in with them after she turned 18. I told her to talk about it with my parents, to see if they would let her stay someplace they knew she would be safe. I was not an advocate for running away. Her situation is entirely different than mine. I made that clear to her.

    The last I talked to her, she had fought about it with my mom, who said she had to go on the trip with them. Then yesterday, I get a call from my dad who wanted to know if I knew where she was. Her phone is off, voicemail full, none of the few friends I know will answer their phones. She literally disappeared off the earth, with clothes, a hairdryer, her violin, soap, and a few books.

    The most information I got out of the people I did contact was that she was supposed to go to a particular friend's house, but the plan changed because that friend and her family randomly went to Louisiana. I called that friend's older sister (who I am friends with) and asked to talk to their mom. The mom told me she didn't want to be involved and hung up. I know she knew something, since this was one of the people who my sister asked to live with. My guess is that she knew my sister was going to run away, and decided to get the heck out of town so she wouldn't be involved with anything.

    The only other friend of my sister's who I have the number to will not answer. I was lucky enough to get a text, but she's not spilling anything. I know she's not at her boyfriend's house, because his parents are just as strict as mine about girlfriends/boyfriends being over, even though they aren't Mormon.

    From talking to my mom, it sounds like it's more than just church. My sister's attitude toward school and success has severely diminished. She doesn't know what she wants to do after high school, and won't even try taking classes at the junior college through concurrent enrollment because it's, "too much work." My mom said she asked what she was going to do, and the response was, "Oh, my friends will take care of me." But all her friends (even her boyfriend) have the same attitude! None of them have jobs, or seem willing to look, so they obviously think they can pool together their lack of income and create something out of nothing. This makes me think aside from the religion aspect, my sister is just trying to prove a point, which isn't going to work. I don't know what she's thinking, especially since she still has one more year in high school...

    Her phone is off. My parents and I have tried calling everyone to find her. They were scheduled to leave today, so tried all day yesterday to find her. Calling the police was pointless because she is so close to being 18, and she isn't doing anything against the law. She has so many friends that they wouldn't even know where to start.

    And this is the horrible part to me: my parents actually had the nerve to leave without her, even though they didn't find her. To me, that is just bad parenting. Even if they did find her, they would have made her go, and probably taken her to more church counseling, which obviously wasn't helping.

    I really don't know what to say to either my parents or my sister. My parents are stubborn and won't let her see anything different as long as she lives there because they are hellbent on keeping as many of their 3 kids Mormon as possible, and my sister is dumb for even going through with this in the first place... I feel as if she looked at me as a model, even though I left for a completely different reason. My parents have only contacted me to find her, and they have made it clear they don't value my opinion as far as how they should raise my brother and sister. My sister probably felt she couldn't tell me because I ratted her out to my parents when she took a drinking binge one day and passed out at a stranger's house (rebellion is ok in moderation, but that was off the charts for me). She hasn't trusted me as much since then.

    I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. Does anybody have any suggestions? Should I just wait and ride it out, or try to actively help? Even so, what would I say to either party?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 08, 2010 9:07 PM GMT
    Your sis handled religious rebellion like my brother. Your best bet is to back off and let her find her own way in life. Just don't forget to show her you still care from time to time.

    As for the Mormon thing, I'll leave off my [vehemently opposing] views of that fucking cult. Oops I meant "church." icon_wink.gif
  • EricLA

    Posts: 3461

    Jul 08, 2010 9:16 PM GMT
    You need to pull back. Sound like you've had a level head in all this, giving your sister very balanced advice. But, you can't live her life for her. And you can't make your parents into better parents. I agree with you -- the fact they went on this trip without your sister is reprehensible. Where are their priorities? But, again, this says everything about them and nothing about you. Your sister and your parents need to fix this relationship, not you. I'm pretty sure you have enough going on in your life. Be the support that you can be to all of them, but they need to work it out between them.

    Out of curiosity, maybe I missed it somewhere, but how old is your sister now?
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    Jul 08, 2010 9:29 PM GMT
    EricLA said

    Out of curiosity, maybe I missed it somewhere, but how old is your sister now?


    Sorry, she's 17... Going to be 18 in mid-September
  • EricLA

    Posts: 3461

    Jul 08, 2010 9:42 PM GMT
    OK, so in a couple of months she's going to be an adult in the eyes of the law. In that case, I'm not going to be as harsh on your parents. She's technically old enough to care for herself. And maybe given their experience with you, they know a losing battle when they see one. Maybe their leaving on this trip is showing they accept your sister's decision.
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    Jul 08, 2010 9:48 PM GMT
    It sounds as if you still don't know where she is, though you have suspicions. At the very least I would try to find out where she is and confirm she is not in any danger.

    I understand that she needs to be allowed to make her own decisions, but at her age it is possible that she could make some very poor choices as evidenced by the drinking binge you mentioned.

    I think you need to make her safety a higher concern than your parents displeasure with you helping her.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 08, 2010 9:53 PM GMT
    UGH. this is a tough situation. obviously, your sister needs her space to find herself. she's rejected that only life she's known and is trying to make it on her own. she will contact you when she is ready. be supportive and offer help if she asks. but back off for now. i also wouldn't discuss it with your parents either. she will contact them, too, when she is ready.
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    Jul 09, 2010 1:02 AM GMT
    When my youngest sister decided to run away at 15, I took her. After 3 days I took her home. We made a pact, that whenever she ran away she'd call me first, and that I'd take her. This evolved quickly into weekends spent at my place. I was able to influence her, her grades soared, and Mom and Dad's anxiety levels (and threats of disciplinary action) dropped.

    Today she's married with two teens, has an excellent managerial position, and we are very close - she made us godparents and legal guardians of her kids, should the worst occur.


    -Doug
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    Jul 09, 2010 4:25 AM GMT
    Thanks for the replies so far icon_smile.gif Still trying to locate her... I agree that she probably wants some space, hence the lack of communication. At this point I just want to know where she is so I can know she's in a good place.