Tormenting Sister

What Would Debbie Do? Tormenting Sister Dear Debbie, My older sister keeps sending me hateful e-mails. She is blaming me for all of her problems. So far I have received four of them. They are all very long. I let the first three go, but this last one was awful. I told her off. She […]

What Would Debbie Do?

Tormenting Sister

Dear Debbie,

My older sister keeps sending me hateful e-mails. She is blaming me for all of her problems. So far I have received four of them. They are all very long. I let the first three go, but this last one was awful. I told her off. She is causing her own problems but likes to blame everyone else. What should I do?

         —Beth

Dear Beth,

I’m sure there’s a ton of history between you and your sister that’s layered with hurt, pain and more. I can’t possibly imagine the breadth of it. What I do know is that when people are angry, it’s because they’re hurt. And the best way to deal with a hurt person is to empathize and listen. Defending any of her awful statements will get you nowhere. She’s obviously sad and distraught.

I would send her an e-mail that states how sorry you are that she feels so bad. Do not defend any of her accusations, but let her know that you’ve heard all of them. Then, I would offer her an olive branch to try and repair your relationship because it’s important to you, and then tell her that you love her. A new relationship requires forgiveness and compassion. Tell her that if she’s willing to do that, and not stay focused on the past, then you’re willing to open your arms and begin anew. Hopefully, she’ll realize that her rants are getting her nowhere, and she’ll try a new approach. But if all she can offer is vitriol, then there’s no place for her in your life, until she becomes more productive. You might not ever agree on the issues, but if you have respect, compassion and understanding, you can peacefully coexist.

Also remember this: life is short. And family means everything. Do all you can to create some peace both for yourself, for your sister and for your own family. I promise you’ll sleep better at night.


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