I have an older sister, 43 yr, who thinks she has Asperger’s Syndrome but never got officially tested. Knowing her for a long time, almost all of her behaviors fall in AS behaviors. I believe she needs to get officially tested and seek professional help, and I’ve told her this many times. However, she ignores the issue. The main issue is that I can’t convince her to seek help. Even if she has some other issues she still needs professional help and I can’t seem to be helping her. She is living a life like she is hiding from everything. She doesn’t like to socialize and has a very low self-esteem. I’ve tried many times to help her with basic life skills such as personal hygiene, organizing and social skills but she doesn’t seem caring for them. She, however, acknowledges that she is different than most and agrees that her behavior is childish. At times she become very stubborn when I confront her about her inappropriate behaviors. I thought that she realizing her unusual behavior being AS, was a milestone in dealing with her but I don’t know how to convince her to seek professional help.
You can’t control other people. You can provide your opinion about what you think your sister should do, but she is under no obligation to take your advice. Everyone has the right to decide what they want or don’t want to do with their lives.
Make your case for why you think she should seek help but after that, you’ve done all you can. It is difficult to watch someone you love suffer, especially when you know that help is available. Unfortunately, there is little else that can be done. The only times that you would be able to force her to seek treatment would be if she were a danger to herself or to others, or if you were her legal guardian. Otherwise, your options are limited.
Also, her not taking your advice is not a personal attack against you. Many people don’t seek treatment for mental health problems because of fear or denial. Those problems can be difficult to overcome.
Perhaps, someday, she will take your advice. People often seek help when they are ready. Until then, try to be understanding, patient and supportive. Understandably, that’s not always easy. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle