August 4, 2021
Ask Deepak

Responsibility for Mentally Ill Sister.


When your mind and heart are truly open abundance will flow to you effortlessly and easily.


I have been studying yoga meditation and mind-body practices for years and have read many of your books and CDs. After listening to an abundance meditation of unity I had a crisis over my responsibility for my mentally ill sister. She refuses to see she has schizophrenia and get help. She’s in such delusion she can barely take care of herself but expects her family (sisters) to give her money on demand and help her “get on her feet” again. This has been going on for over 6 years and I see no change coming. The system doesn’t help unless she accepts her illness and asks for help. Where does my responsibility to help end? I care but I cannot take care of her, support her when she refuses to get medical or financial assistance. It’s a spiritual dilemma when we practice love and compassion and giving. I’m no Mother Teresa and I feel she will drown me if I continue to be available to her. Any suggestions on not feeling guilty and manipulated by her? Where does spirituality come into a real-life issue like this? Thanks.


Spirituality impacts our daily life issues where our growing self-awareness meets our old unconscious patterns in life. Family relationships are fertile ground for such growth because we have learned and locked in so many dysfunctional behaviors from an early age– before we even become fully self-aware. Family members are often quite adept at manipulating those unspoken roles for their own advantage. Your sister is using the tried and true formula of guilt and shame to manipulate you.

The first step in applying a spiritual solution to such an issue is bringing your conscious awareness to it and simply recognize the unhealthy dynamic in the relationship. From there new, healthy boundaries can be established that reflect who you are now as an adult. For instance, in your sister’s case, she says she wants financial help to get on her feet again but won’t admit that she needs medical/psychological help. You know that just giving her money will not help her get better and function better in society. So tell her the only way you can help her is if she agrees to get treatment for her illness.

If she won’t agree to get help with her schizophrenia, then your financial support will not be helping her “get on her feet”, it is only prolonging her illness. Giving her money is just encouraging her mistaken belief that her problems will go away on their own. They won’t, and enabling her fantasy that they will, is doing her an injustice at the very least. You need to come to a place of real clarity inside where you know what you need to do for your sake and hers, and from there you will find the conviction to stick to your decision amidst all the turmoil that is sure to follow. Keep in mind that these challenges present themselves in your life as your way forward to spiritual maturity.



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