- This topic has 14 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 6 months, 2 weeks ago by Lisah.
November 21, 2019 at 2:16 pm #860760Dear WendyKeymaster
From a LW:
“My sister is incredibly jealous of my boyfriend for getting to spend time with me and it’s becoming a problem.
My SO and I have been together for roughly 10 months, and we’re planning on moving in together in about a month.
I currently live with my older sister. My mom wasn’t very present in our childhood, so my sister took care of me for most of our childhood and we really depended on each other. When we were older, we went to therapy and they said we were codependent, except it was basically one sided.
I was always much more social, so I had other friends and people I spent time with, which my sister would only take issue with if she wasn’t out with her friends. Now that she’s finished high school 5-ish years ago, and her only 2 friends are living across the country and “living their dreams”, she doesn’t have friends and she isn’t interested in meeting new ones.
She’s in therapy and has been for pretty much her whole life. I’ve also been to therapy but my insurance doesn’t pay for it and I couldn’t afford it without. I know she lies to her therapist about me and makes it seem like I’m a self absorbed asshole who is choosing her flavor-of-the-week boyfriend over her loving, perfect sister who has given her life to care for me.
She has always been obsessed with what I’m doing, here I’m going, etc, and throws tantrums when they don’t include her. It’s usually a silent treatment, nasty texts insulting both me and whoever I’m going out with, and then when I get home, another array of insults. She doesn’t want to do group things with anyone, and it needs to be several hours of one on one, where I pay, and she talks about absolutely nothing for several hours.
My mother kicked me out of my house and my sister was letting me stay, but only if I stayed on her good side by doing exactly what she wanted to do, when she wanted to do it. It was too much for me and I couldn’t handle it.
I understand her doing this, because she struggles a lot with new people. I try to introduce her to my friends, and she says incredibly nasty things about them and says she doesn’t want to. I host parties so she can meet more people, and she doesn’t even show up. I’m at a loss, because she constantly talks about how she’s a friendless loser and then refuses to meet new people.
She was also in a car accident several months ago. I was asleep when she was in the accident, but she called me. I know she still blames me for it. She needs me to do all of her laundry, take out trash, and household work. If I say, “sorry I’m at work,” or “I’m out with SO,” she seems to invent a new broken rib or back injury and demand that I drop everything to do whatever.
My sister also doesn’t work. She quit her job in April and I paid her car payments and gave her roughly $3,000 between then and now. I know for a fact that she’s turned down paying jobs because she didn’t feel like working. Right now, she works for my step dad, 15 hours a week. Anytime I mention the money, she says that I don’t deserve to have it back because I would only use it to go out with my SO.
I just can’t deal with her self pitying behavior or her intense jealousy of my SO. She hates him solely because I spend time with him and not with her. I set aside days to spend with only my sister, and I give her my full attention. She constantly complains about how much I talk about him, so I don’t bring up anything in my life that he’s involved in (literally only work.) I try to accommodate so much and it does NOTHING.
Anytime I bring up that this is too much for me, she talks about how we’re going to be estranged and she doesn’t even care. If I’m going to leave, I should just GO. Cue sobbing, screaming, wailing, guilt tripping etc.
I also tried to make her like him by having positive experiences. He tried doing whatever she wanted, buying her dinner, listening to her talk for literal hours; nothing! She still hates him! I’m just done trying at this point but I don’t want to just not have a sister anymore because of this.
I don’t know how to break the news that my SO and I are moving in together. I don’t know how to deal with my sister anymore. I just can’t do this.”November 21, 2019 at 3:15 pm #860768MaltaKanoGuest
How tough! (A) I don’t think it’s wise to move in with someone you’ve only dated 10 months. Too soon! (B) But I get why you’re desperate to move out of your sister’s. I recommend doing it sooner rather than later. As for how to tell her – she’s going to handle it very poorly. But that’s on her. Maybe it’ll motivate her to do the work she clearly needs to do to get healthy.
Don’t feel bad about making moves toward breaking this codependent pattern. Your sister will be upset, but in the long run it will benefit her too. It sounds like your sister is always going to handle your acts of independence with tantrums, negotiating, whining, and other bad behavior. Please keep going out with your friends and boyfriend and DON’T FEEL BAD. I think it’s great you dedicate some time to give your sister your full attention. I’d cut that down to once a week at most. Keep talking about your life, including your boyfriend, and if she pitches a fit, act confused and a little detached, because of course any normal, healthy person is happy to hear about her sister’s social life. Get as much distance as you need to feel solid and happy yourself. Good luck!November 21, 2019 at 3:36 pm #860771PeggyGuest
Hi-I agree with MaltaKano. Your sister is being controlling and manipulative,using emotional “blackmail” on you etc. She is clearly a very troubled person and no matter how you try to appease her,nothing is ever enough. So,distance yourself as much as you can. If you get berated,hang up/leave or tell her that her behavior is driving you away.
Sorry,this is tough, but she seems unable or unwilling to craft her own balanced life and is a leech on yours-be “busy” a lot more.November 21, 2019 at 4:08 pm #860775CarliGuest
Wow this is nuts! Your boyfriend sounds lovely if he was willing to try so hard to get your (obviously manipulative and controlling) sister to like him. I hope you have a good foundation as moving in together is tough but you sound like you have a good head on your shoulders. I agree with Peggy, you should repeat that she is driving you away with her insane demands and controlling ways. If she actually cares about your relationship at all she’ll hopefully take this as an opportunity to go get help. I wouldn’t hold your breath tho. I would also encourage you to seek low cost therapy. I’m not an expert but I know in my city there are several options for low income people who need mental health guidance. What you’ve been through between your mother and your sister is more damaging than you may realize. Please try to get whatever help you can manage and good luck!November 21, 2019 at 4:57 pm #860787anonymousseParticipant
You definitely should stop trying so hard. You can’t fix your sister, and her abusive tendencies towards you. It sounds like she was put in a difficult position in childhood in which she was responsible for you and maybe felt like a parent to you and she’s been struggling with the reality that you are your own person. I’m not saying she’s blameless, she clearly isn’t. You relied on her in childhood and now you don’t. And it really sounds at this point that she’s pushing you away in many respects. It’s sad. I’m glad she’s in therapy. I hope it helps her gain some perspective before she totally alienates you.
She needs help, but she has to want it on her own. You can’t fix her. You’ve put enough effort into it, and now it’s time to work on setting boundaries. I would normally definitely agree that you shouldn’t move in with a bf so fast, but compared to your sister, it honestly sounds like it could be a better choice if you’re in a pinch. I would encourage you to look for a room in a shared apartment on your own first.
You can google around and find articles on how to start setting boundaries with family members. I’d put her on an information diet, meaning you don’t discuss your relationship or really anything personal with her at all. If she starts being mean or nasty, just tell her you don’t want to hear it and go to your room, leave, whatever you have to do. Rinse and repeat. Try to stay calm and kind of poker faced. Don’t engage with her attempts to hurt your feelings or talk badly about your bf or friends. Remain neutral and give her absolutely boring responses.
I think you can probably kiss that money you gave her goodbye. Apparently, she really is trying to hit rock bottom. If there is anyone in your family that is in contact with you and somewhat responsible for her, it might be a good idea to contact them, ask them to help her get on disability or maybe encourage them to help her find a new therapist or whatever she needs. I don’t think you should do that work. But maybe a parent or aunt could take the initiative for her?
I’m sorry your dealing with this. It will hopefully get better after you are able to move out. When you do move out, bring a friend to help. Sometimes a third party is good to have around to diffuse the potential for last minute blowups. I wish you good luck with your move and hopefully some peace.November 21, 2019 at 5:13 pm #860790CurlyQueParticipant
LW, i would recommend moving in with a friend and not your bf since 10 months is still a pretty new relationship. I agree your sister’s acting weird but wanted to bring up a couple red flags of your own behavior.
*Do you pay rent? I know you said you helped her with her car payment and loaned her some $ but are you ALSO paying her rent for letting you live with her? If not, then i would stop bothering her to pay you back.
*Why are you hosting parties that she doesn’t want to happen in her home (obviously by her not showing up) with people she’s told you she doesn’t like? You acted like you were doing her a favor by having a party but in reality it was a selfish move. But again, if you’re paying rent then you should be able to throw parties, so this goes back to my first question.
*You state your sister doesn’t work and then state she works part time. You obviously look down a lot on your sister. I don’t know if that’s a new thing or if you just feel entitled to her home and assistance while also still wanting to look down on her and apparently judge her for being able to go to a therapist?
TLDR: Move out (with a friend, not your bf), start seeing a therapist (find one that works on a sliding scale, offers reduced rates, etc.) to help you deal with your family history as well as help you create healthy boundaries with your sister.November 21, 2019 at 5:51 pm #860800dinocerosParticipant
You said the codependence was one-sided (I assume they were referring to your sister?), but you seem like you’re basing all of your life decisions on whether she likes it or not. You’re your own person. You’re an adult. You can (and will have to) make decisions based on what you want and not just what she wants. I think you’re looking for a way to do this without upsetting her, and that’s not going to happen. Sometimes in life, you upset people.
I would caution you not to get into a situation where you are dependent on your boyfriend. You need to remain financially independent, or if things don’t work out with him, you’ll be trapped there because you will have no other place to go.November 23, 2019 at 10:48 am #861086AnonymousGuest
I do pay rent, yes, and I pay her rent. I would host parties at my boyfriends apartment, to not invade her space. She doesn’t own the home, I pay 100% of the rent and utilities. If I move out, my parents will pay for her. She doesn’t ‘assist’ me, unless I’m missing something.November 23, 2019 at 10:55 am #861088AnonymousGuest
My sister works for our parents. She brags constantly about how she just watches Netflix all day and doesn’t do anything. She works 10-15 hours a week.November 23, 2019 at 2:31 pm #861121anonymousseParticipant
Why don’t you live on your own, then? You can clearly afford to.November 23, 2019 at 2:49 pm #861123ronGuest
So, LW: if you pay 100% of rent and utilities on the apartment you share with your sister and your parents will cover your sister if you move out — then you can afford to move into your own apartment and should do so. It sounds like your parents realize your sister has developmental/mental health issues and see you as her live-in care-giver. I’ve seen this dynamic in too many families. Just say no. Move out. Your problem is solved.November 23, 2019 at 3:08 pm #861125SkyblossomParticipant
I agree with living on your own. If you can afford the rent by yourself go ahead and get your own place. You can visit your boyfriend and he can visit you and still you each have a place if it doesn’t work out.
One of the Friday links posted on the main page on this site said that the average relationship lasts 17 months. Keep that in mind. You might have a relationship that really works but you are more apt to have a relationship that falls apart somewhere between 12 months and 2 years. If your relationship lasts you can move in together in another year or two but if it doesn’t work you aren’t stuck living together because you got a lease together. Having your own place will also help to insure that you don’t need to move in with your parents or your sister if your relationship fails. Your own place is your insurance policy. It provides you independence but doesn’t in any way hinder your romantic relationship.