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What Should I Do With My Sister Who Is Always Angry?

by Susan

I have a sister who I believe is either very insecure or jealous of me. I have had issues of her sticking her nose into my business when it was not necessary and causing more problems.

She gets mad if I spend time with my friends and don't ask her. I ask her to go with us or sometimes I ask her if she wants to go somewhere with me and she says she is too tired. Then she turns around and says I am ignoring her. I don't understand.

Each time I get something new she tries to get something close to what I have even if it puts her into debt.

I have had a lot of issues in my own life and worked through most of them, but as always there is more to be done. I now live in another state from her. This also offends her.

She says I don't want any part of her or the family. Some of this might be true but I really never wanted to stay in my home state. I like where I live now.

My question is should I continue to avoid her or should I try to discuss our issues and clear the air so we can be family again?

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Susan, and thanks for telling your story here. I'm really glad you have worked on your issues, and feel good about your success.

A good boundary setting technique for family relationships is to "find the distance from which you can love them." That means you manage visits, phone calls, emails, texts, etc. in such a way that allows you to stay in a very positive loving feeling toward that person.

With a healthy person, you can have a lot of frequent contact, and still feel love for them. With a person with issues like your sister has, however, you will feel frustration and discomfort if the communication is too frequent. When these negative feelings start, the love becomes more difficult, and the relationship becomes dysfunctional.

So, in answer to your question, I suggest that you only discuss the issues with her if you think this would bring a positive outcome. From what you've written here, I don't think you're going to see eye-to-eye with her, but that's your call.

Instead of thinking in terms of avoiding her, make up your mind that you're going to give yourself the space and time you need to allow the negative feelings to dissipate and the love to return. Then contact her when you can do so with only positive, loving feelings toward her.

You might also benefit from reading this page on personal boundaries.

You will succeed in this, Susan. How your sister feels is entirely her business. Your focus needs to be on how you feel, and making every effort to stay connected with your loving heart.

I hope this helps.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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