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Living With An Angry Relative

by Angie
(Birmingham, Alabama USA)

I am 66 years old and live with my sister who is 68. We get along great. The problem is her 45 year old daughter that lives here also.

The daughter--I'll Call her M, is a diabetic with peripheral neuropathy. She has a very unhealthy diet for a diabetic and is sick a lot from what she eats, but she won't change her eating habits.

She is verbally abusive to my sister all the time. She gets mad and slams doors, screams and yells. Basically it drives me crazy. My sister doesn't know how to deal with her and I don't either.

My sister is afraid of M, I believe. She is afraid of M's anger and won't say or do anything. She just lets M do as she pleases.

I would like some help on how do I deal with that. I don't like to see my sister abused. If my sister ever says anything back to M on her rampages, M says "you don't understand. I have this disease and you just don't know the pain I'm in.

She gets no exercise. She stays drugged up on pain killers and mood elevators. I'm at my wit's end. Please, please tell me how to deal with the situation. Neither one of them will change. I am willing to.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Angie, and thanks for telling your story here. You're in a tough spot, but you're not a helpless victim. It is great that you are willing to change. I will try to help.

Your sister and M are locked into a dysfunctional pattern, and as you're aware, there isn't much you can do about it. It could be that the best thing for you to do is to move out on your own, if that's possible for you. That will communicate a clear message to the two of them that you will not be around their behavior as long as they continue to be so destructive to each other (yes, your sister is as much a part of the problem as her daughter).

If you can't move out for physical or financial reasons, I suggest that you read the following page on relationships, and follow the guidelines you find there:

how to deal with abusive relationships

What you will get from this page is that you have to put yourself first, if you expect to be healthy in your relationships. I think you're smart, Angie, and I'm confident that you will do the right thing for yourself. What your sister and M do is up to them.

Believe the best of them, while doing exactly what you need to do for your own well being.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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