- 3 years ago
- Wedding: September 2012
This will be long, but I have to get it out. Short version at the end:
My younger sister (26) is the middle child of us three “kids.” My parents, particularly, my mother went out of their way to avoid the typically middle-child syndrome of being overlooked, which I think may have backfired. To this day, if my sister achieves something, my mother calls me and my brother to make sure we congratulate her, whereas she has never received that type of call for us. Now, to be fair (and at risk of sounding arrogant), my brother and I have more successes usually. We both got jobs right out of school, we both did well in school, my brother excelled in sports, etc. We are both independent adults at this point, and we’re happier that way.
My sister is codependent. As children (and even young adults), my parents made my brother and I take her with us when we met up with friends (to this day, I avoid telling her when I go back to PA for a college friend meetup/football game because she’ll want to come), so she doesn’t have much experience making friends, though she does have some. She thrives on drama, so she tends to create it in her relationships, which has ended most them. According to my mother, I should feel sorry for her and I will never understand as a married person with friends. (I usually point out to my mother that DH and friends didn’t just fall in my lap – relationships require work.) My parents have always done most things for her – and still do to an extent.
My sister is also…something. She’s moody, sulks quite a bit, and mild problems are disasters. These terms are understatements – she is sick. Even my mother acknowledges it, though she won’t say it to my sister. I think she may be bipolar, DH thinks it might be mild BPD, but neither of us are psychologists. She did attempt suicide in college (and called me, so I had to rush her to the hospital, tell my parents, and spend the night taking care of her until they showed up) and saw a counselor briefly following that, but it didn’t really help. We can’t force her to get help – she’s an adult.
Here’s the thing – I feel like it’s destroying our family. I don’t like her as a person, and I resent her because I never get to see my parents without it being about her. Her moods cause fights and tension when we are together. My brother feels like he’s the problem because he only sees us when the whole family is together, which is when she’s at her worst. My father feels guilty and stressed out because he’s watched his brother fall into serious depression; my sister’s problems are aging him quickly. My mother doesn’t know what to do, so she worries about and caters to my sister to keep her from crashing and taking us all with her.
I’m her older sister, and I did too much for her as kids, too. I live the closest to her by far (1.5 hrs away). I feel like I’m supposed to do something, but I don’t know what, and I’m tired of her calling me when she’s having a bad day and taking it out on me. I’m tired of having my relationships with my family revolve around her. It took years before my heart stopped pounding every time she called in case it was another suicide attempt. I’m tired of feeling like I’m supposed to apologize for being successful and having a happy life.
TL; DR – My sister’s issues (and possibly undiagnosed psychological condition) are taking their toll on my family and have made me resent her, but I don’t know how to fix it.