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Mark Manley
Mark Manley, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 402
Experience:  Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Over 15 years exp. Married 30 years and happy.
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My sister will not have anything much to do with me because

Customer Question

My sister will not have anything much to do with me because she claims I am too sensitive and yet, when she has spoken with me, she has hurt my feelings. So her answer is not to talk to me. She has a number of mental and physical issues. I am at a loss how to mend the relationship. She also does not get on with my 2 brothers for other reasons. She does not come to Thanksgiving or any family-wide get-togethers. How do I deal with the deep feelings of loss and sadness? She has also voiced suicidal opinions in the past, and always mentions how miserable she is, in the rare communication I have with her.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for your question. I am sorry this situation is so painful for you.

You have three problems here:
I will list the three problems and address each one.

1. Your sister is sick and hurting and you feel bad for her and wish there was some way you could make her well, but there isn't so you are hurting and frustrated.

One of the most painful things in life is to watch someone we care about suffer with illness and pain and not be able to do anything to relieve their suffering. We feel so helpless, so frustrated, so powerless and so distraught. You have been in this situation for for a long time and there is no end in sight.

2. You miss having the relationship with your sister that you would like to have, and this grieves you.

Every body wants the warmth and security and companionship of family. There is nothing like a sister who shares much of your history and your blood to be one of your best friends. You have been robbed of this opportunity because of your sister's illness. You will likely never have the loving bond of sisterhood and friendship, that you naturally long for with her. This is so painful to accept.

3. You personalize your sisters behavior (make it your fault) when it has little or nothing to do with you.

The reason you want to blame yourself for this situation is that it gives you a false sense of empowerment to solve the situation. If you caused it may be you can correct it. The bad news is you didn't cause it and you don't have the power to fix it. It's just a really rotten, painful situation that you can't fix. I can't tell you why your sister is sick, or what her illness is, I can tell you it's not your fault and you can't fix it.

Let her go. Be polite but stop trying to fix her, rescue her, heal her, sooth her, change her etc. Just leave her alone because your contact with her doesn't help her or you. If you are a believer then give her up to God, give her over to God. If she needs help getting help and she asks for that, then you can help her with that, but no more. It is called Loving Detachment.

You may need some help or guidance to learn how to do this. Seek counseling if/as needed.

If you have any questions let me know.

Mark Manley
Mark Manley and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Just as a follow-up, how can I heal the deep pain in myself from the loss, even if I cannot do anything for her? Also I am worried that if she kills herself, she will permanently damage me and especially my mother and brothers who tend to deny the extent of her illness.
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
Great questions.

I have answers for you but they are not brief. We would need to work back and forth on this a bit and I would need to be compensated by you clicking on 'accept' after I answer your additional questions. Would you like to work on this some more together?

Mark Manley
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
yes because I liked the answer you gave to my first question. It was very helpful. When I am ready I will purchase a new question.
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
All right sounds good.