What to do

What do you do with a middle aged sister who 100% ignores you and avoids all eye contact with you at a family dinner. She asks zero questions to you and your husband. And the only time she addresses and looks at me is by making a demand about her upcoming birthday. I bought her birthday present months ago and honestly don’t even care to wrap it or spend $ on a birthday card. I’d be fine with not seeing her for a year or three…

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It's legit to set your boundaries

Nov 27, 2023 at 7:08pm

with anyone who disrespects you, but we do so in a way that lets them know the nucleus of love still remains and when they have dealt with their own traumas, your door will be open to them.

2 1Rating: +1

Well, since you asked…

Nov 27, 2023 at 8:17pm

You should just ask her what she’s upset about. Hopefully that will at least begin a conversation. Try to listen with an open mind, because it might be that she has some legitimate beef with you. You might also have one with her, but unless you actually communicate neither of you will find out. Good luck. Family connections can be very hard.

8 2Rating: +6

Sounds like

Nov 28, 2023 at 11:17am

Your sister isn't in a great place. Maybe her self-esteem is shot, maybe she never had very good self-esteem to begin with. Maybe life isn't unfolding how she hoped or planned. Unless you've done something truly offensive, people's behavior is about them. Asking about a future birthday present strikes me as childish and self absorbed. I would expect that kind of behavior from a young child. Kudos to you for having already purchased it. But you're allowed to take a step back, op. Evaluate this relationship. Is your sister a constant source of enervation? Does the relationship go up and down, depending on how well she's doing or feeling in life? Is there anything you can do to help her or does change have to come from within her? If she's constantly draining and stressing you, it might be time to temporarily distance yourself. And that's okay. Not everyone is blessed with kind or supportive family members. You have to look out for your own well being and that of your husband as well.

9 1Rating: +8

Leave them behind

Nov 28, 2023 at 8:51pm

If some family members bring you nothing but negative energy, don't be around them. Best not to stay in contact with them anymore.

5 2Rating: +3

Great Advice Above

Nov 29, 2023 at 8:59am

The first two responses seem really helpful. I would add that before any interaction with her, take some time to kind of find your centre and do some self-talk about not owning the shit that doesn't belong to you. For thirty years, I have had to do this with a mother who thrives on crisis and makes every - single - thing - about herself and I sail through family holidays as serenely as possible because I do a whole centering / meditation before arriving at her house. I just surround myself with an invisible drama-shield, like Wonder Woman. Good luck.

4 5Rating: -1

@sounds like

Dec 2, 2023 at 7:25pm

I’m not entirely comfortable with this popular idea that “people’s behaviour is about them”. That’s only true if they’re not reacting to past or present abuse. Sometimes the person who seems to be behaving badly, is actually just finally losing it after dealing with the other person’s bad behaviour for ages. It’s called “reactive abuse” because what often happens is that they get labelled as abusive, when all they’re doing is reacting to things that have been done to them, often when no one else has been there to witness it.

2 2Rating: 0

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