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    Growing up my sister was always the 'dominant' one - she was older than me and had behavioral problems (violent + ADD + depression) which mostly resulted in me being her punching bag and emotional toy. I used to feel sorry for her because of her issues, but lots of people have issues and don't take it out on others.

    She's been on benefits since school. She says it's because she can't find work which I might have sympathized with in the first year but that was a long time ago.

    She met a guy (who doesn't have a job) a few years ago and had baby together almost immediately and got a flat together. Her dole money and his 'freelance' (AKA, untaxed) work payed for the flat together with money from both of their parents (his mum and dad and my mum and dad). They broke up. She came crying to me - suddenly BFFs. I was naive and thought she was my friend, she was just using me (I bought her a brand new laptop that she said she needed to apply for work and I even took her on a holiday I'd booked for me and my BF to help her get away from it all). That was just over a year ago. They're back together and now she's got a newborn plus the toddler - still unemployed. Now she speaks to me when she needs something or when she's bored. I no longer initiate contact.

    She's got no idea what hard work is and she gets everything handed to her - she's got a 3 bed flat, a car, a new TV, holidays booked for the year....

    I see her when she visits my parents because I live with them now (I work full time but can't afford to move out yet). When she sees me she puts me down about things e.g. last time she was saying how much better her BFs car was than mine - I don't really care about my car but it's that fact that she thinks she can put me down over little things and think she can get into my head (which I guess works). She talks about 'pay day' (when she gets her dole) and keeping up with the bills and says 'you don't understand yet' because I live at home.
    She also brings up the past a lot - our childhood - and says that I had it easy (I'm younger) and I got her into trouble by playing innocent. My side of the story is that she bullied me and I told my parents and they would punish her for it. She seems to think I was some kind of evil little child who got her into trouble but I always just wanted to be left alone and she wouldn't. She never brings this up in private - she does it at family events in front of people as if she's about 10 years old. It's hugely embarrassing because I either defend myself and also look like a 10 year old or I let her talk rubbish and people get a bad impression of me.

    I don't respond anymore even though I want to tell her to grow up, move on and focus on her present - I just let her say what she says and I change the subject - it's hard not to lose it with her though.

    The older I get the more I realize that she a manipulative user who only cares about people she can benefit from. She used to be intelligent with a future ahead of her, I think that's what annoys me most - she's thrown it away and acts like she's hard done by and the world owes her but it's all her own doing.

    How do I distance myself and handle things when I have no choice but to be in her company? Should I maintain contact for the sake of her children since I'm their aunty?

    Thank you.
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    The bold is the important part. I personally wouldn't bother staying in touch with her outside of the occasional conversation as I would see no reason to have her as a relevant part of my life. She seems unkind, and unwilling to amend her behaviour. Unfortunately experience tells me that that she is probably unlikely to either. It is possible that she does not mean any harm but is accidentally cruel, but even if this is the case I see no reason to maintain a non-superficial relationship with somebody like that. If you feel some obligation to her children then that is something you need to navigate but you can restrict your contact with her without being cruel and causing her to stop you seeing them.
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    For family meetings, you could try to retaliate with more sarcastic replies. Something like "oh sorry, didn't know you were clumsy enough to punch someone in the face by accident", or whatever she did. Basically try to throw the negative attention at her so that she would hopefully learn and stop? Careful though, she might decide to turn it agains you by saying it hurt her feelings or something, and use depression to strengthen her argument etc.

    I guess you'll have to bear with having to see her though until you move out. Maybe you could try to avoid larger family meetings, or time how long you're there to avoid her as much as you can. I wouldn't bother keeping in contact for the children, they will probably end up as bad as her anyway. It's not like you can have much of a good influence on them since you still wouldn't see them much. Or if you want to see them, then do it by inviting the children to spend time with you, take them out somewhere without their mother.
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    You probably need to stay out of her way as much as possible. She's shown she isn't grateful and she will clearly never learn to be self sufficient if she's had everything handed to her on a plate. Why work if she's doing better financially than you are? At family gatherings I would just roll your eyes if she makes a comment and say 'anywayyyy' and move the conversation onwards. Don't engage with her and drag yourself down as well. Alternatively treat it as a joke and pull out a 'funny' story about her (read: something which will embarrass her and make her think twice about bringing things up). That is probably how she genuinely sees your childhood, she probably doesn't think she's ever done anything wrong as she is so convinced that the world revolves around her and her needs. Other than forced meetings you need to make the decision about what you want to do, I would maintain civility but be clear in yourself that she is manipulative and you're only being civil to see the kids.
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    That sounds really tough! Sorry to hear you have had that experience with your sister. I guess a lot of the reasons for her being the way she is come down to her behavioural conditions. What do your parents think about it all? Do you have a nice relationship with your nieces / nephews?


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    (Original post by tinkerbelle2)
    That sounds really tough! Sorry to hear you have had that experience with your sister. I guess a lot of the reasons for her being the way she is come down to her behavioural conditions. What do your parents think about it all? Do you have a nice relationship with your nieces / nephews?


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    Thank you. I know she has mental health problems - she always has. But in adulthood her general behavior seems to have worsened to a point where she doesn't seem to understand what is and isn't socially acceptable. Either that or she does realize but just genuinely doesn't care at all.

    I'm not sure if this is wholly to do with depression to be honest because I don't think that has much to do with social intelligence (maybe I'm mistaken). I think that it has a lot to do with being unemployed for years - she has had no rules for a long time and doesn't have any boundaries. Plus, this whole seeming lack of social intelligence may just be her not giving a monkeys about anyone's opinions on anything at all since she's gone from being a university graduate to being a long-term benefits claimant. In her own mind, maybe she's just given up caring?

    She'll say and do such inappropriate things and often times those things are aggressive so there's a mixture of her violent tendencies plus her lack of self-control/boundaries. For example, if someone bumps into her in the supermarket she will literally shout at them and swear into their face. Then there's family events and inappropriate attention seeking e.g. sexual innuendo/behavior and obviously belittling me in front of people. She also does that to her boyfriend. I've noticed she doesn't do it to anyone else - just people she feels that she has control over I suppose.

    As for my parents, they've been frustrated by her behavior since she was a child and taken her to various counselors but no improvements. Now she's an adult they do what they can to help which is mostly financial but they recognize that she has issues. They still love her though. As do I which is why I'm finding this hard to just cut contact. She can have moments where she is lovely and funny and kind etc. But they seem less and less.
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    It must have had a huge impact on the family! And I can imagine it feels horrible when she makes these things up about you in front of people. If you really think cutting her out would make you happier then maybe you need to do it for your own sanity. Ask your parents in advance to let you know when she'll be coming over, and make arrangements to be out. Maybe things will improve in the future. It must be hard and like you said you do love he, she's your sister after all. But it's a very difficult situation. I know how hard mental health issues in the family can be!


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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Growing up my sister was always the 'dominant' one - she was older than me and had behavioral problems (violent + ADD + depression) which mostly resulted in me being her punching bag and emotional toy. I used to feel sorry for her because of her issues, but lots of people have issues and don't take it out on others.

    She's been on benefits since school. She says it's because she can't find work which I might have sympathized with in the first year but that was a long time ago.

    She met a guy (who doesn't have a job) a few years ago and had baby together almost immediately and got a flat together. Her dole money and his 'freelance' (AKA, untaxed) work payed for the flat together with money from both of their parents (his mum and dad and my mum and dad). They broke up. She came crying to me - suddenly BFFs. I was naive and thought she was my friend, she was just using me (I bought her a brand new laptop that she said she needed to apply for work and I even took her on a holiday I'd booked for me and my BF to help her get away from it all). That was just over a year ago. They're back together and now she's got a newborn plus the toddler - still unemployed. Now she speaks to me when she needs something or when she's bored. I no longer initiate contact.

    She's got no idea what hard work is and she gets everything handed to her - she's got a 3 bed flat, a car, a new TV, holidays booked for the year....

    I see her when she visits my parents because I live with them now (I work full time but can't afford to move out yet). When she sees me she puts me down about things e.g. last time she was saying how much better her BFs car was than mine - I don't really care about my car but it's that fact that she thinks she can put me down over little things and think she can get into my head (which I guess works). She talks about 'pay day' (when she gets her dole) and keeping up with the bills and says 'you don't understand yet' because I live at home.
    She also brings up the past a lot - our childhood - and says that I had it easy (I'm younger) and I got her into trouble by playing innocent. My side of the story is that she bullied me and I told my parents and they would punish her for it. She seems to think I was some kind of evil little child who got her into trouble but I always just wanted to be left alone and she wouldn't. She never brings this up in private - she does it at family events in front of people as if she's about 10 years old. It's hugely embarrassing because I either defend myself and also look like a 10 year old or I let her talk rubbish and people get a bad impression of me.

    I don't respond anymore even though I want to tell her to grow up, move on and focus on her present - I just let her say what she says and I change the subject - it's hard not to lose it with her though.

    The older I get the more I realize that she a manipulative user who only cares about people she can benefit from. She used to be intelligent with a future ahead of her, I think that's what annoys me most - she's thrown it away and acts like she's hard done by and the world owes her but it's all her own doing.

    How do I distance myself and handle things when I have no choice but to be in her company? Should I maintain contact for the sake of her children since I'm their aunty?

    Thank you.
    I'd cut contact with her. I get on with my brother. But my aunt and uncle both have severe mental health problems and my Mum found cutting contact was the only way to halt the endless flow of stress and ******** that they spurt. Honestly you get nothing positive out of the relationship I would be inclined to think about cutting ties and then ignoring her / saying as little as possible in any situation when you are then together.
 
 
 
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