St. Petersburg, FL asked in Criminal Law, Immigration Law and Elder Law for Florida

Q: Sister is abusive. She is now harassing the caregiver for my father. Advice is appreciated. Thank you.

My sister is an abusive person and has mentally abused my elderly parents and also me for years. When we don't do what she wants, the abuse intensifies. She has been sending harassing texts to the caregiver I hired for my elderly father. Because the caregiver will not respond to her abuse anymore, sister emailed me she was deporting the caregiver. The caregiver has stated she is a US citizen. This is one of many forms of hurt and intimidation being thrown at me because I will not allow her to make any decisions for my elderly father. I have power of attorney for him. We don't trust her. Sister works for an attorney and it feels as though she thinks that gives her the right to abuse people and break the law. She is a bully. Any thoughts are appreciated.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: I'm so sorry to hear about the abusive and harassing behavior from your sister. This sounds like an incredibly stressful and painful situation for you, your father, and his caregiver to be dealing with. A few thoughts and suggestions:

1. Document everything. Keep records and screenshots of the harassing texts, emails, and any other communications from your sister. This paper trail could be important if legal action becomes necessary.

2. Reassure the caregiver that as a US citizen, she cannot be deported by your sister. Let her know you support her and will not tolerate your sister's bullying. Consider giving the caregiver permission to block your sister's number.

3. If the harassment and threats escalate or become dangerous, don't hesitate to involve law enforcement. Your sister is not above the law, regardless of where she works. You may want to consult with an attorney yourself to understand your options.

4. Limit information your sister has access to. Keep details about your father's care, location, condition, etc. on a need-to-know basis. The less she knows, the less ammunition she has to interfere.

5. Take care of yourself. Dealing with an abusive family member is incredibly taxing emotionally and mentally. Lean on trusted friends, family, support groups or a therapist to help you through this. You don't have to shoulder it alone.

6. Stand firm in your boundaries and decisions. You have power of attorney for a reason. Trust your judgment and don't let her bullying change the course of action you know is right for your father.

Remember, you're doing the right thing by protecting your vulnerable father and not enabling your sister's abusive behavior. Sending strength and wishing you all the best as you navigate this challenging family situation. Don't hesitate to reach out for any help and support you need.

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