More threads by HotthenCold



I've posted about my issues with my sister before, and still need some help. Also just need to vent as this is a very, very, very painful corner of my psyche (my relationship to one of my sisters)

I have two siblings, both older sisters. The oldest is an addict who has come close to death twice and been very hard on the family. I have really released her and no longer have much to do with her, to make a long story short.

It's the other sister I have sever issues with. There are many things going on between me and her that are highly distressing, so I will focus on what just happened that has really hurt me.

We haven't talked much in the last few weeks as we've both been busy. In addition, I often find her very emotionally abusive or just frustrating so I keep her at arms length. I can tell from comments she has made that she feels I am not contacting her enough, but she is not contacting me either. She lives by her phone, yet never answers me on the first call, so I know she ignores me. Yet she insinuates that I am ignoring her and tries to put the blame for out lack of communication on my shoulders.

So today we were talking and she let me know she has been very sad. I want to help her in any way I can, but to me these words are code for "I am going to find some way to get angry with you and/or emotionally abuse you" so I tread as carefully as I can. She told me she had (another) heated conversation with my mom regarding my oldest sister (oldest sister is in hospital for illness related to addiction). This happens frequently because the non-addict sister often complains that anytime she brings up the oldest sister we just "get weird" or "don't want to talk about it". However, we have just detached with love from the situation, because it has been years of torment and trouble, so now my parents have moved to another city, and i don't have much contact with the addict sister, and am at peace with my relationship (or lack of) with her.

So I told the sister I'm having problems with that she always says that we are not doing enough and are not talking about it enough, which I admit was an absolute statement, but one I feel is true. I tried to be as calm and loving as possible, but then I got kind of angry and when she said the same old thing about mom not wanting to confront the issue, I said she always says this and I don't know what else I or my parents can do and that I feel I am confronting it as much as is necessary and am doing the best I can. I went overboard by saying that just because she feels this way is no reason to be bitchy and abusive, and she hung up.

Then I got a text from here saying I was abusive and how could I say that considering all the support she has given me over the last couple years (she has been there for me in my struggles with addiction and my emotional roller coasters related to drugs and alcohol), and said she doesn't want me in her life right now.

I texted her back saying she was abusive as well, which although true was just throwing mud back at her.

Then she texted back that when I get my evangelizing under control we can talk.

She is referring to my involvement in AA.

This really, really, really hurts because I KNOW beyond the shadow of a doubt that I have NEVEr approached the subject with any intention or tone of being "holier than though"....In fact we have only discussed it a few times and not at length.

As I see it she is somewhat jealous and threatened that I have come out from under her controlling thumb and no longer need her spiritual support or guidance. In addition I think she feels alone now that my parents have moved to another city and the relationship between her and I is not that strong anymore, so she feels scared and alone.

I want to help her, and I want to be a good brother, but I find her very abrasive, controlling, and manipulative.

The main issue is I would like to be able to discuss this latest fight as well as our family issues with her, and set clear boundaries about how I feel about the subjects and what I am willing to discuss, with out getting angry.

I know she will stew about this, and find ways to push this line that I am "evangelizing", and find ways to passively aggressively try to re-assert her dominance and control over me as her lil' brother who is not as smart, well spoken, cultured, experience, etc as her.

If you've read this far then THANK YOU!!!

I guess I'm just looking for advice on how to deal with a sister I know is plotting to find ways to blow up at me and make me feel like crap, without blowing up or feeling like crap myself!

I should also mention that I have lost my temper with her at times, and I do not think I am an angel. However it goes both ways, and I did nothing to deserve this latest assault!


MVP, Forum Supporter
Hey there!

It's certainly a shame that your sister seems nowhere near as concerned or interested about your feelings and the way she treats you, as the other way around.

I wanted to post in support straight away, although it might take a bit longer to to think of any good suggestions.

For now,I think it's important at least to remember that when people push or violate boundaries you try to set, in a manipulating or abusive way, it is quite natural and reasonable to feel anger and hurt.

And that there is a difference between someone treating us as if we have done something wrong, neglectful or abusive, and the actual FACT of us having done something wrong, neglectful or abusive. One can happen without the other.

And that those people who like to make others feel guilty and keep people in a certain position that suits them, will be used to insinuating that a person has done something wrong, even if they have not.

The person always being willing to believe that and/or act in accordance with that, keeps the whole thing going and makes this behaviour 'work' for the manipulator.

Sorry I can't be more helpful just yet but those are some things to think about in the meantime....

Sorry you're dealing with this.

---------- Post Merged at 09:34 PM ---------- Previous Post was at 09:00 PM ----------

Actually an excerpt about boundaries was recently posted:


MVP, Forum Supporter
This is very common within families that have issues as deep rooted as yours.

What is going on is you are shifting to a more centered you... a happier more balanced person to me it seems you have worked hard on living more like you want.

So when you sister pokes at you with the evangelized line you are right she is "scared and alone" because who you were has changed and she now cannot quite work out what is and what is not okay between you.

Within families and particularly tight bonds like siblings there is a sense of always wanting things to be as they were ...familiar... and when this changes you get what you are getting just now.

Like when you were children and you reached out on your own and found a new friend it would create reactions with your siblings or if you got something they never.
It is essentially that same emotion just in adult form but with addiction and life struggles this can become quite an erosive behavior because as adults we choose our own path and do strike out on our own away from our siblings.

To get back on track I think your doing really well under these circumstances and if anything you have bags of empathy for your sister. You may simply be dealing with someone who is jealous of the inner strength you have found and as when you were children she is trying to bring you down a peg by making you feel it is actually something else.

My own personal experience is similar to your with regard to siblings I speak to neither of mines to protect myself and my children YET if you are to speak to them I am the one in the wrong... I am the one who has caused what has happened between us and they would certainly give no credit to the fact of how hard I have worked to change my life and would as you are experiencing try and negate and bring it down to a few simple bitter sentences.

I admire the empathy and care you have for your sister and I understand it totally but you need to keep your own forward momentum going at the same time.



Thanks Wooby.

I'm pretty sure I'm not a horrible person, but man am I having hard time fighting that feeling. She knows exactly how to demean me and make me feel like I am just her stupid little brother who's opinions are garbage.

I'm worried though because she actually invokes rage in me. When I think about her games, or even the way she look when she says this stuff, I get this rush of severe, severe rage. Just thinking about confronting her causes great panic in me. I know she will spin the situation around so she is the victim and if we are in public she will say things in a way that makes me look like an ogre. I actually have a phobia, or a fear that comes damn close to a phobia, about seeing her in public when I'm on her bad side. The fear is that she will spin things or bring things up from our past to get all of the strangers around us to be on her side and to hate me. I actually envision these scenes playing out violently, with some stranger or friend of hers getting on a high horse and wagging their finger at me and maybe even slapping me, which results in me exploding with rage and beating the crap out of them. I'm scared and do now know how to feel confident that when I see her I will keep my cool and not be provoked by her attacks.

F#*$*ng Family!


MVP, Forum Supporter
It can take a bit of time/practise/assistance to figure out how we're going to deal with these things if we have a relationship with one of these kinds of people.

While we are still getting our bearings with it - and worrying if we will lose it! - one option to keep in mind is to remember that we have the RIGHT to just simply get away from a situation, if someone begins treating us in a bad way or pushing buttons.

Sometimes swiftly turning around and leaving a situation sends the appropriate message quite effectively after a few instances.

It won't be a message she likes or accepts straight away. But it takes you out of the situation and also cuts you off from further abuse.

On the phone, its possible to simply say "I'm ending this conversation now because you are treating me in a way that is unwarranted/treating me disrespectfully. I'll talk to you later." Then hang up, and talk again only when you are ready.

When you are accused of not wanting to talk about an issue, you could say it would not be fruitful because you have found she does not respect your views and can only see her own viewpoint, and also does not use courtesy and respect.

These things are very hard to do. But some people find that practising out loud helps. Or if you can get someone to roleplay the tactics and manipulations she will use, you can practise simply re-stating your unwillingness to get into further discussion at this time - standard response that can be repeated and repeated, if you know that discussions are fruitless, one sided, and only a way to create drama, bait you, and play out a role she wants to play.

And all the time, remember you are not doing something wrong, and are not even approaching the way she has treated you!

It's very hard stuff. So be sure to get further support or assistance with it when you need to. Any reading you can do about boundaries, manipulation, 'guilt trips' etc will help.

Thinking of ya!


Thanks Jo.
I have to see her at brunch tomorrow. I don't want to cancel because my uncle invited us to easter brunch a while ago and I haven't spent time with him in a while. Not looking forward, but I guess the (tarnished, barely visible) silver lining is that it's a chance to practice standing my ground and practicing patience and awareness....hopefully I can stay on stable ground tomorrow.


MVP, Forum Supporter
Good luck!

I guess in a situation where you feel you have to spend time with her while wanting to not make too much of a scene or affecting others too much, while still not taking on her bad behaviour into yourself.... Maybe if she baits you then, you could practise trying to force your mind onto the track of:

"Oh dear. How sad for her that she has this problem. Which is not MY problem, and has absolutely nothing to do with me, or my worth and value and MY self.

Isn't that fortunate, that imperfect humans are imperfect and therefore equal, and have the right to individuality. Just all on a different complex journey, facing different complex situations in an individual way. Therefore another imperfect human has no real authority to put down or judge me. They are just no better than me and have no more value than me.

These things happening here are just meaningless words coming out of a very imperfect human mouth. They're like a boring TV show that happens to be playing near me, but one I'm not particularly interested in getting engrossed in. Oh well. And in a while this boring meaningless show will finish for the time being."

While this happens you may be able to just stay silent and practise making this barrier between her behaviour, and you.

If you stay silent, politely clear your throat, or just say "I have no response to this right now" or "I'm not able to talk about this right now," and refuse to give responses, what can she really do but see that her behaviour creates nothing for her, and gets no fuel. And any scene she makes to unsuccessfully get a desired reaction - well, it'll be just her doing it, and you'll have no part in it. Good for her. What a fascinating (but sad) way for someone to spend their time. :)

You could even keep a little note in your phone, of this thinking track to take. When she does her thing, or if you are struggling with her emotions, you could look at your phone and excuse yourself abruptly as if you have some message or something. Then just see if you can use it as a reminder or a time-out.

(You may in fact be quite surprised at the value of physically writing the words. It's amazing how writing something can help it sink into the brain, especially if done repeatedly over a bit of time.)

I think it could be a cool practise, to just test out going into the situation with a bit of a different mindset.... or keeping that different mindset nearby....:)

And don't worry if it's still really hard or doesn't go as planned... It definitely can take time or getting used to.

I can see you doing well though... :)
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Thanks again Jo. I'm really going to have to practice practice practice my ability to remain detached and compassionate with people when I feel put down or intimidated. I'm actually kind of excited to practice my self esteem building in public more, and with my sister.

There is some good news, also. She texted me and apologized! I did NOT expect that to happen. I think it's actually a first in our relationship. I can't think of a time where she acted this way and then took full responsibility and was really kind about it. She can be really kind, but not usually when it comes to taking responsibility for a blow out that she created.

I tried a technique called Ho'oponopono to bring love to the situation.

What you do is you put your hand over your heart, think of the person you are having conflict with, and say "I love you, I'm sorry, please forgive me, thanks you" as many times as you feel you need to (I did it five times) and then it just turns it from a positive in to a negative. I have never tried it until now, and it worked! Not really much of a scientific trial, but I'll be trying it again for sure.

Also, she's not going to this brunch anymore, so even though things are cool between us I can still have some space to let things cool over a but more :)


MVP, Forum Supporter
Wow, cool stuff! Nice that you got that apology! ... Sounds like a bit of a novelty. ;)

That technique sounds interesting! I'm going to try that sometime. Hmm, I wonder if those strings of words tap into some weird brain pathway... like the brain pathway that WOULD be activated if the other person DID applogise or say good words, or if both people could suddenly see totally into each others brains and see every deep vulnerability..... Like sudden magical 'empathy' pathways in the brain, or something?..... Fascinating. (Spock moment. :D)

Your attitude is great. You'll really build some pride practising these things. Even if the results take time and won't ever be perfect.

Best wishes!
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