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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5762
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I have an abusive married sister with a child

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I have an abusive sister who isgoing thru a rough phase with her husband. She is at my place and demand that we take care of her and her child. Me and my brother are financially supportung her but she has high demands. She hits at me , verably abuse and threatens to leave the house with the child or that she will commit sucide. Lately she is all the time annoyed and and hits out if anyting annoys her. Its hard to talk to her as he is very head string and obstinate. she does not want to meet anyone who does not agree with her. I have a close bond with my nephew and he alos loves me alote. She uses him to threaten us . I am helpless as my brother have also distance themselves form her. she is at my plvae and demand that I gree to every little request of her to all the irrelevant request as paying high school fee for her child.She knows that all her siblings earn well and she wants her child to also live a lavish life stle otherwise she threatns us if we do not fulfll her wishes.She has increased in her violent lash out on all teh family memeber. Her husband does not want to take her back as he cant control her and she hates him for that. I dont know how to take care if teh situation , all i do is take cae of her amnd talk to her a lot so that she eases out her worries but she uses the softness towards her as weapon to agree to her demands as otherwise she starts yelling and hitting. She does not want medical help

Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like your sister might have a personality disorder. Personality disorders are typically ingrained behaviors that someone develops, usually in response to being raised in a dysfunctional home or a type of trauma the person suffered. The person could not get their needs met (for unconditional love and attention) so they developed other ways to get what they needed which usually involved dysfunctional behaviors. When they grew up, they continued these behaviors even when they were no longer needed.

Treating someone with a personality disorder can be difficult. For one, they have to recognize they have a problem and be willing to get help which you mentioned your sister is not. Also, personality disorders are hard to treat because they are ingrained in the personality of the person. So treating them is altering the person's perceptions and some basic personality traits. That does not mean they cannot be treated, but the effort it takes on the part of the person is more intense.

The fact that your sister is using her child as a weapon and is violent towards you is worrisome. These are signs that she is out of control and as a result she may end up hurting someone. Because of that, you might want to consider limiting your contact with her or only seeing her when you are with someone else who can help you. If your sister demands or protests, let her. Block her out as much as you can. You might also want to see if it is possible to offer some protection to your nephew, maybe through legal means.

Your family may want to try these ideas:

Try sitting down with her and talking about how they feel. Use "I" statements, such as "I feel bad when you...." It helps keep her from feeling defensive. And this gives everyone a chance to see if they can achieve the same results you did when you spoke to her.

Consider a family intervention. This is when all family members get together, preferably with a therapist, and gently confront the person with what they are doing. It is highly suggested that a therapist is used so the situation remains fair to everyone and no one ends up feeling hurt. And it also increases the chances that it is successful.

Learn more about personality disorders to help you understand how to react to your sister. Here are some resources to help:

Unlocking Your Family Patterns: Finding Freedom From a Hurtful Past by Dave Carder M.A., Earl R. Henslin, John S. Townsend and William Henry Cloud


You might also want to consider therapy for you and your family. It is very stressful to deal with someone who is acting out like your sister. Talking through your stress and having the support of a therapist to help you navigate your sister's behavior would help.

I hope this has helped you,

TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello Kate,

Many thanks for your advise.

I wanted to ask you a couple more questions but cant seem to get through the " reply to an expert" . Do I contact you in confidence on this email address or kindly advise.


You are welcome. Your message did come through so if you have a follow up, you can just post it here. Just so you know, once you rate the answer you have already, you can continue to ask questions related to your original question. However, if you have a new question, the moderators ask that you begin a new question for that. Thanks!


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