How to deal with a new sibling

posted 4 days ago in Family
Post # 2
7599 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Honestly, going from regular phone calls to an extended visit is a rough adjustment for anyone, let alone two people with the array of health challenges that both of you have. You may share some DNA but you’re still essentially strangers, and you’ve got very different backgrounds, styles, needs and wants. It wasn’t realistic that you’d become fast friends and have a fun relaxing visit. Chalk it up to one of life’s lessons, and move on. If you want to stay in touch with her (and apart from being high maintenance, I don’t see any reason not to), set some boundaries: let her know that you might need a couple hours or overnight to respond to a text, or tell her that you’d prefer to stay in touch by email. And if you plan to meet up again, make it for shorter visits on neutral territory.

Lastly, if she’s suicidal, then she needs professional help. Provide her with the number for the suicide hotline.

Post # 4
7964 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Bee, if she’s already suicidal you must know you are not the cause. When you do engage with her continue to suggest therapy and resources. That’s all you can do. 

Your health is your first priority. Be honest–tell her your energy post-cancer recovery energy is limited and you will not always be able to respond to calls/texts/whatever immediately and will let her know when you are in a position to host her again. When you repeatedly do not respond for a day or so she will eventually become accustomed to you not responding for a day or so. Recent Covid surges will place any visits or travel on hold for now. Regardless, a short-term, neutral location sounds best for any future visit. 

You’ve been through so much, don’t let this person drag you down just because you share DNA. 

Post # 6
3417 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

Ugh. You definitely need boundaries with her!! Do what you need to do–it is ok to limit or cut contact!! Do not fall for her manipulations. If you are concerned for her safety, call emergency services in her area and have them to a wellness check. Otherwise just bow out. Sorry it sucked. I have a half sister and we weren’t raised together so our meetings tend to be awkward!! Don’t invite her to your home again. If you do meet up with her, have a getaway plan! She sounds a lot like my mom and I really had to learn to establish boundaries with her. 

Post # 8
9275 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

Firstly congrats on being cancer free! That is awesome.

Second this may be harsh but just because someone is family or you share DNA with them does not mean you have to have a relationship with them. Aside from her annoying personality, she was actively bullying you and emotionally manipulating you. She actively didn’t give a shit about her immunocompromised half sister and demanded going to the mall during a pandemic. That would be enough in my book to not give a stranger (because that is essentially what she is) a second chance. 

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Post # 9
1739 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2020

I’d cut her off completely or do a slow fade. This woman is toxic.

“I have a lot going on right now, and I’m very concerned in the rise of the delta variant. I won’t be able to meet any time soon.”

“I have a lot going on, I’m not available to talk on the phone.” 

DNA isn’t everything

Post # 10
7347 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

That all sounds outrageous and ridiculous. My SIL has many of the same characteristics you described (minus the rudeness to service staff) and, over the 15 years I’ve known her, I’ve learned that I have to have crystal clear boundaries with her. When she wants to share her latest drama spiral, I listen briefly and then I stop responding once I’m full. She ALWAYS has some drama going on and it’s usually self created AND it always works itself out – without me listening to her for hours, giving helpful tips and advice. She’s addicted to her own stress hormones. My intervention (or allowing her to torture me with her constant catastrophizing and ruminations) isn’t going to do anything. We’ve talked about her need for therapy, her poor boundaries, how she gets taken advantage of, how negative she is and so on and it would be extremely arrogant of me to think I could “fix” her. She’s a grown woman. Her life and her choices are her own. The same goes for your sister. She’s a grown woman. Her life and her choices are her own. You cannot fix her, heal her or save her.

Regarding your sister’s comments about suicide and self harm – I would let her know that she needs to not talk about planning/considering/intending suicide to you again or you will call authorities in her area and she will be placed in an involuntary psychiatric hold. Her constant referencing is abusive and it’s emotional manipulation of the people around her. It’s not okay. (Also, it would be different if she was genuinely expressing a need but it sounds like a thing she’s started using to get attention after years of escalation has been ignored).

All of this is only if you intend to maintain any kind of relationship with her. I would actually probably just cut ties with her in your position. She’s an energy vampire and you are the next life force she’s decided to siphon.

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