My dyspraxic sister constantly turns the central heating off

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My dyspraxic sister constantly turns the central heating off

Post by jasonn »


We've been having a rather odd family problem that involves my younger sister who was recently diagnosed with dyspraxia so I'm not sure if this is even relevant but if anyone could shine any light on this it would be much appreciated. I'll try to be as explanatory as possible:

For at least the last 10 years or as far back as I can remember my younger sister has had this acute problem with central heating in the house to the point where she’s constantly turning it off without asking anyone. Obviously by this point she knows well and truly how much this annoys everyone else who lives in the house - my dad, mum, sister and me (son / older brother) and as you can imagine this drives us absolutely insane in the autumn and winter months.

There have been endless arguments over it and never any resolution, in fact my parents start to get really stressed and upset towards the end of the summer knowing that this dreadful stress point is soon to return.

The most frustrating thing is that she adamantly refuses to tell us why she has such a problem with the house being heated and she refuses to go and talk about it with a professional. This leaves little room to for us to understand her or reason with her about it.

The problem has reached such unmanageable proportions that all we can conclude under the circumstances is that its some kind of anomaly of control freak behaviour - I mean its just so RIDICULOUSLY SELFISH by any sane persons standards, surely? Aside from the fact that she is putting her parents (and me of course) in discomfort for the sake of her own comfort, our mother was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of years ago and she has been on various courses of chemo since. Fortunately the treatment seems to be working but she is still fighting it and needs all the strength she can get and therefore unquestionably NEEDS a heated environment to rest during the colder months. But this doesn't seem to phase my sister in her relentless obsession with turning off the heating when we're not looking, it just suddenly starts to get noticeably colder and we all look at her and a very tiresome age old argument promptly follows.

She says there is a reason but she doesn't wish to discuss it with us. The really odd thing is that she has classes and spends time in many other heated environments where she seems to have no issue with the heat. Surely, this suggests that its not a physical problem and its something psychosomatic, like some kind of control complex or insecurity.

My parents have tried everything from sitting her down and having a calm discussion about it, to shouting at her and punishing her and then even being democratic and organising a system whereby certain radiators can be on at certain times. Nothing has proven to be successful. She still sneakily turns all the heating off at any opportunity and she just blackmails my parents into getting her way by refusing to eat if the heating is on. They kicked her out once because it all got too much and she went to live with her boyfriend but they eventually broke up and she had to return because of the exact same issue at his house.

Physical discipline is the only method my parents haven't tried, they won't use it because they don't believe in it and I don't agree in it either but we really don't know whats going to make her stop these silly games, or at least improve. As much as I do want to hurt her sometimes for her complete and utter selfishness she shows towards our parents, I'm also really worried for her because unless she finds a man who shares all these bizarre tendencies she’s never going to be able to have a functional relationship and she'll be alone and unhappy in a freezing cold house.

Please can someone say if they know anything about this; what it might be - could it be a legit disorder of some kind or could she just a stubborn control freak? The summer is approaching so we should be ok for a few months (although we’re not getting our expectations too high as we live in Britain lol) but we simply can't hack another winter of this bulls**t. I know this is a real 1st world problem “my nice family house isn't as warm as it could be boo hoo” but I would really appreciate any help on this matter.

Thank you
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Re: My dyspraxic sister constantly turns the central heating

Post by desertboy »

Yes, it does seem ridiculously selfish, especially since your mother is sick. I really can't see any justification for this behavior, dyspraxia notwithstanding.

I am dyspraxic and I admit that I don't like overly warm rooms (>22 degrees C), while my father did. However, I would never have been allowed to turn off the central heating when I was living at home. Actually, I would have been kicked out straightaway for trying any nonsense like that.

You mentioned that she blackmails the family by refusing to eat if she doesn't get her way. Perhaps your family could try some reverse psychology and not allow her to eat if she continues to do this (especially while she refuses to get treatment).

Have you and your family seen any appropriate experts to discuss this matter with? Even if she won't go herself, they might be able to shed some further light on the matter, so at least the rest of you will know more.

I'm sorry that I haven't been able to give you a simple solution to this complex problem. Good luck with trying to resolve it.
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Re: My dyspraxic sister constantly turns the central heating

Post by Jim »

It possibly sounds more like OCD.

It might be an idea to refer her to a psychologist (if she'll accept).

With the heating issue, my suggestion would be to restrict access to the heating controls, if it's in a cupboard put a lock on the door and hide the keys, if it's on the wall in a hallway box it in (and hide the keys).

If she refuses to eat, call the bluff. Unless she's really serious she'll eat when she's hungry.
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Re: My dyspraxic sister constantly turns the central heating

Post by Tom fod »

I'm going to come at this from another angle. I don't mean any disrespect.

Being diagnosed as dyspraxic and finishing with a partner and also very possibly the fact that deep down she is seriously worried about her mother and no doubt herself too. Perhaps she is seeking attention but obviously and sadly doing it in a way that is really driving you all up the wall.

I obviously don't condone what she's doing but is there another way you might be able to get through to her about giving her a chance to (try to) express what she is feeling.

I understand your concerns that 'unless she finds a man who shares all these bizarre tendencies she’s never going to be able to have a functional relationship and she'll be alone and unhappy in a freezing cold house.' However, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if this fear is very much prominent in her own mind and may be behind some of the bizarre behaviour. As far as the refusal to eat goes. Is she bordering on anorexic?

What if any support, has she had post dyspraxia diagnosis? Perhaps we should consider losing this thread and get her on here to learn that she's really not alone. Would she read and take in a letter or email better than being talked at?

I appreciate that I have come in very much on your sisters side here, but perhaps turning the problem on it's head, so to speak, may present a workable solution rather than the off/on cycle you've all ended up in which is unhelpful to all of you.

Kind regards

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Re: My dyspraxic sister constantly turns the central heating

Post by Bacon »

I used to have my radiator off and my window open all year round through snow, wind and rain, but I always had my door shut to keep the cold contained to my room and never turned off any radiators other than mine. I understand how uncomfortable heat is and how comfortable being cold is to some but your sister just seems selfish. Is your heating dial in a cupboard so you could put a lock on it or something?
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Re: My dyspraxic sister constantly turns the central heating

Post by lauraECFan »

Get something to cover the heating controls that require a code/key and ensure she cant get into them as for the refusal to eat it sounds like a guilt trip so I would not take much notice as she will undoubtly eat when she is hungry (trust me going hungry can get painful and make you feel sicky so she will eat to avoid that). If she does refuse to eat however take her to the doctors/counciler and don't take no for an answer even if you and your dad have to carry her into the car and lock her in (sounds harsh but you have to be cruel to be kind sometimes). Hope that you get this sorted soon and hope your mum gets better soon as well good luck :ghug:
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Re: My dyspraxic sister constantly turns the central heating

Post by calumfsinclair »

I hate hot rooms, so in my own room I have the window open, as long as the door is shut. Therefore if it's too hot in the house I retreat back to my room so that it's the right temperature again.
Sticks and stones will break your bones, but more often if your dyspraxic!!!
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Re: My dyspraxic sister constantly turns the central heating

Post by joy »

I find it uncomfortable in hot rooms many Dyspraxics are sensitive to heat or sensitive to cold. Even in the winter I have to have a fan on all night in the bedroom with no heating on otherwise I wouldn't be able to sleep ,which drives my husband mad. As he said its like living in the Arctic.
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