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Advice:
My sister is emotionally abusive
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We're middle-aged now but I still can't handle it. I hardly ever see her but now she has written me an innocent-sounding letter wondering why...

But - Even the letter was subtley abusive and twisted the truth of important events/actions. It's crazy-making.

A few years back we tried this letter-writing thing to get at the root of the problem, back and forth, with each letter becoming more unbelievably twisted (yet always innocent-sounding)! I don't want to get into that again, for sure.

I don't know why simply avoiding her (except for weddings/funerals within the distant family) is not taking away my anxiety over this situation. I have refrained from writing a letter breaking all ties, because she's "family".. But it's eating me up. She is TOXIC for me.

Thanks for any ideas.
Posted on 01/30/10, 05:14 am
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Advice:
Email me when others reply to this topic help
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Reply #1 - 01/30/10  6:35am
" As in any relationship that is toxic to you, you have to set boundaries. I agree that beating a dead horse is fruitless. Just be pleasant at family gatherings and do not engage her in conversations that bring it all up again. I avoid any and all conversations in my family unless they are about something else. I leave when the bullcrap starts. I walk out when things are being said about me as if I were not there. But I stand up for myself where needed. I do not apologize for anything that I personally did not have anything to do with. I found that stepping back, considering the FACTS and then moving on has helped me alot. Facts take all the feelings and emotions out and allow you to make informed decisions. Good luck! "
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Reply #2 - 01/30/10  9:02am
" Thank you Tamehau! You really helped. The mention of FACTS has been the 3rd time in the last couple of days that I've heard that (so it must be trying to tell me something)!! :)

Thanks again. "
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Reply #3 - 01/30/10  10:27am
" Hi Kattt ---

Have you ever taken this issue into a discussion with a counselor or therapist?

If not, that would be my suggestion.

Ultimately, I had to totally and permanently disconnect from my only sibling. As sad as this was, it was the beginning of my journey to healing. That was a personal decision I made and am not saying that's what anyone else should do. I just mention it because my relationship with my toxic sibling held similarities to other toxic connections in my life, and figuring that one out, helped me in other major areas of my life. "
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Reply #4 - 01/31/10  8:34am
" Kattt,

I have a situation that's slightly similar except my sister's cruelty has progressed to ignoring me and telling others in the family that she is doing so because she doesn't like the way I treat my parents (who are completely emotionally abusive and I set firm limits on them last summer, actually asking them to leave my house after they verbally abused my son). I have completely disconnected from my sister, which I see as the only solution. There is no discussion when the other party is emotionally abusive because they have no interest in acknowledging their role: it is all YOUR fault, always. I know it's upsetting because you want to have a relationship with your sister. That's the way I felt, but now I have come to terms with the fact that it won't happen. She is a narcissist just like my father, and life is all about her.

I agree with just looking at the facts and trying to take the emotion out of it. You get a much better perspective that way.

Good luck! "
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Reply #5 - 01/31/10  12:24pm
" Thank you everyone!!!

I have suspected narcissism for years, along with Oppositional Defiance Disorder.

I have mostly avoided family for years, except when I have to run into them at a big event (like a funeral or a wedding in the distant family that I have chosen to attend). And one of these events is what prompted her letter.

Plus, there is "distant" contact between us siblings (but no logical, SANE communication of any kind) because we are still settling our parents' estate.

I've been in the process of untangling my life from my family's for years, being polite when I do run into them, and then being lectured for being so "distant" etc. It's complex why their cruelty still gets under my skin. I guess it's because i grew up with these abusive people and we did have good times and maybe my self-esteem isn't high enough yet (although I'm in my 40's) that I've internalized that it truly is THEIR problem. Logically, I know, 100%, that I do not deserve the abuse.

I have been doing empowering things for years (self-esteem seminars, counseling, abuse group, etc. etc.) and will continue to build myself up.

Thanks for sharing!!! "
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Reply #6 - 01/31/10  1:12pm
" I can relate to you about your sister I have the same issue with one of my older sisters that has been very abusive to me and she doesn't want to admit that she has been like this and continues at times to be like this.When she feels she is in the mood to be nice that I should just be ok and let things go and everyone in my family feels the same way even though they don't believe she ever has abused me.I have finally gotten to a place in my life that I can keep my distance from her and don't feel like I have to be around her.I can know make myself leave if I am a family gathering of any sort and she starts to go off for any reason.I am hoping at some point I am able to be very open and honest with her and tell her why I am so angry and hurt about the things she has done to me.That she has abused me and it isn't ok and that her making everyone in the family believe she is so innocent is sicking and very hurtful.
If you can just be honest with her and let her know why you are feeling the way you are and you don't have to be in contact with her remember she is the one who abused you.You don't have to write her back and you don't have to get back into writing the letters again with her.She does sound toxic to you and I know for me it has been one of the hards things to seperate myself from my family and choice when I see them and make my time with my parents and other siblings when my sister isn't there very difficult but one of the steps I have had to take for my healing.You deserve to be happy and not to be abused anymore and your sister doesn't have a right to abuse you anymore she needs to at some point admit how she has treated you if things will change between you guys but she needs to want to do that sounds like she isn't there yet and until then you need to take care of youself and don't feel like you have to talk to her if you aren't up to it take care of youself.You are important.I can understand where you are at and I am sorry you are having to go through this if there is anything I can do to help you out let me know. "
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Reply #7 - 01/31/10  7:05pm
" Hi Katt, I can really connect with this. I had two half sisters, that I did not meet until we were grown. They were/are about 15 years older than I. Sadly, one of them passed away last year. She was the one that I had gotten to know the most, although she was rather abusive at times. The other lived out of state but has moved back and for a while manipulated me into feeling like we HAD to be close because the other had died. I bought into the guilt trip and started talking to her more- more than I had ever talked to her. First, she acted okay but then the more I talked to her, the more she became manipulative and abusive. It got recently where everytime I talked to her she had only negative snarky comments directed at me. I know how you can feel guilty - because they are family and if you don't have hardly any left, really guilty - like you should over-look the bad stuff. But, Tame, had some good advice and I am going to take it to heart too. Just wanted to say I understand your dilemma. My friend told me that the next time I talk to my sister and she starts up to just over-ride whatever crap she is saying and calmly say that you are glad she is doing well, or you were just checking on her or something like that and hang up! Of course, this doesn't work in person. The only thing you can do then is like Tame said...leave. I do hope you can feel better about this. Good Luck! "
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Reply #8 - 05/25/11  3:09pm
" Dear Kattt, I signed up to this site just so I can connect with you. I am having the EXACT issues with my older sister and it is driving me to become listless and so sad! I need to talk with you because you can understand the same thing I am going through. I am a very nice person, caring and gentle yet feel I am disappearing due to my sister's abuse. I can't take it anymore! I need to talk to someone who understands. If you are open to talking with me, PLEASE let me know and we can exchange emails.
Thank you!!!

In desperation! "

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