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BIG Question for Psychologist
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Anon_11642 posted:
Hi - I'll try to make this short but have had this problem all of my 69 years of age.

My problem is my older sister who is 3-1/2 years older than me - just the 2 of us.

My parents now are both gone. The problem with my sister has always been the same - she pushes me aside and has no time to talk to me - literally - even when growing up - she was more interested in her girlfriends, boyfriends, parties - a real social butterfly. OK - the she marries and has a bad marriage and moves back into the home again - 4 generations and me still there plus her daughter - all the house would talk about was raising her child - the child she had in this marriage. It wasn't until I was 25 that I decided to do something about my life and married and moved away - live 1700 miles away from her.

OK - even now when I call her this is what happens - I get a voicemail and rarely does she answer. Once in a while she will get back to me.

One day a few years ago I got tired of all of this and hung up on her when she called. I told her from now on YOU call me when YOU have time - well it's been about 2 months now - I did text her a few days ago telling her hey - haven't heard from you - what's you up to? Got a response she was tired and worn out which doesn't surprise me and she had to rest but would call the next day which she didn't. I got to thinking she has time for all her friends and she has lots plus her 2nd husband has 2 children and 4 grandchildren - she has the one daughter and 3 grandchildren so she is busy.

My daughter told me it's ridiculous - she has always been this way - accept it and you can't change her - she is right.

My question to the psychologist is this - should I just tell my sister on the phone I'm tired again of her "S H I _" and the way she treats me and that she always puts me on the back burner and sick of it. Other than my husband and 2 children and 4 grandchildren that's it familywise. My sister has a daughter who also never responds to my emails.

How do I stop this or just don't say anything I'll regret - or just pretend I'm ok. By the way, one day a few months ago she called me to tell me she had pains everywhere and is so stressed and has so many worries. I asked her what is wrong and she answers "I'm not going to tell YOU my personal problems." You see how she treats me.

What is the mental healthy way to deal with this dilemna. I have talked to my friends about her and they agree she treats me awful.

There was a family reunion last year I could have gone out for but she said you probably wouldn't know many of those cousins and probably wouldn't be worth the trip BUT after it was over, she says you should have come as we had a great time - I'll send you the pictures which she did.

Have I posted enough - it's getting long - anyway - what is the proper thing to do here? I really would like some answers - I am a sensitive person but after all these years am tired of her putting me off even for a phone call when I know she spends tons of time with her friends and children.

Thanks again for listening to my problem. I will look and see often if I get a response.
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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD responded:
Because I can only know so much about this situation from a post, my response needs to be somewhat general. However, family conflicts similar to this are unfortunately not uncommon. It can help to ask yourself if you have done everything reasonably possible to reach out to your sister. If you have, then continuing to do more of the same will be unlikely to change anything. So, you need to balance this limited hope with what the situation is doing to you. If you find more hope for a happier life in letting go and accepting her and the situation as it is, then you'll want to make that your new goal.


All of this said, I'm guessing that many people - including yourself- have said at times that you need to accept your sister for who she is and how she treats you; and move on. A good question to ask yourself is why you don't take this advice- what keeps you continuing to try? At least part of the answer for what to do might lie in this answer.

You may also find it helpful to ask yourself what you are hoping to get from connecting with her and whether at least some of that can be achieved in other ways. For instance, if you want a sense of connection, perhaps you can develop close ties in other relationships - maybe even with other relatives. Or, being an active part of a church or temple can give you a sense of connection and of being part of something bigger than yourself. Of course, these are not the exact same thing as being close to your sister, but maybe they'll feel good and fill the hole inside of you.

I wish you well with working through this painful situation. Please feel free to come back here for support from out community.


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