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04/27/2012 06:19 PM

Floundering as sibling

Posts: 2
New Member

Hello everyone. I hate to take advantage and just jump in, but I really need advice. This will probably be long (as few problems are ever cut and dried), but I appreciate anyone willing to wade through to the end and comment.

My dad had BP & schizophrenia and took his life in 2001. My sister, who is older than me, has probably had it her whole life but was diagnosed at 18 (32 now). From what Ive read/heard it can be genetic. I believe she mentioned once that they thought she might also have BPD. Given that my mother also has some undiagnosed form of mental illness, I feel at times lucky that I dont have it but at times very isolated.

My sister has had a rocky life and a rocky relationship with my mother always. I feel like I have always been the glue between my sister and anyone else - my mother, our guardian, my husband, etc. I try to protect her feelings and never unduly upset her or let my anger get the best of me and say anything that might hurt her and send her into a depressive episode. I try to handle her gently, but I feel now that she is once again hurting me purposefully and I dont know what to do about it!

Besides her mental illnesses, she is also severely overweight and has PCOS, and cannot conceive because of these health issues. I am pregnant with my second child. Since she has found out I am pregnant, shes been acting like everything is ok mostly, but refuses to tell me she loves me, in passing or on purpose, at all. This has been going on for 7 months now, and its finally started to affect me so much that I am worried about my stress level affecting me and the baby.

I wrote her an email asking her about it, if I had done something to upset her or what. I tried to just explain how I feel and not be hurtful, and to let her know I didnt want to end our relationship, I just wanted to get past this, but of course I am very emotional. I have not had any response back from her in days. What do I do?? Give her more time? Call her on the phone? Assume this means SHE doesnt want a relationship at the moment? I am heart-sore about this, and its on my mind so much its affecting my mood and sleep. I love my sister and I have done so much to maintain a relationship with her that I feel like I really dont deserve this. I'm starting to feel guilty for having another child, feeling guilty for letting this affect me so much, for not just letting it go due to her illness. DOes anyone have any advice for me? Either for myself or for dealing with her?

Many thanks in advance.


04/28/2012 01:46 AM
Posts: 141

Hi pecanhead,

How did she handle your first child? Have you ever had anything like this happen before with her?

04/28/2012 11:49 AM
Posts: 2
New Member

She did not handle my first pregnancy ideally either. Our families lived together, and I delivered a 2 1/2lb baby 2 months early due to severe complications. I was in the hospital 10 days, but stayed there since my daughter was in the NICU 7 weeks, and she only came to see us once. At the time I obviously had greater concerns than her emotions over my pregnancy and birth, but later on her attitude at that time bothered me. When we came home, my little one was only 4.5 lbs and on oxygen and heart monitors, had trouble eating etc, so I was still very distracted and careful not to let anyone else take care of her since she was so small. I did not have much time or energy to give my sister the attention she seemed to need. She still holds a grudge about me "ignoring her" all the time. My sister at that time was also not on her medication and seemed in a depressive state. The one time I left her alone to babysit, I came home and she was holding my baby in her arms sobbing like (in my mind) something awful had happened. It scared me, so I didnt let her watch my daughter alone until she was much bigger. I know that hurt my sister's feelings, but I wasnt sure I could trust her to pay close enough attention while off her meds, and it seemed like all my baby did was make her sad and cry since she cant conceive.

Every few months we seem to have something come up that makes things tense. Last year while I was recovering from a life threatening illness, she told me that she didnt want to visit in person again, or chat anymore on the phone or the computer, and would only ever email me, basically because I didnt give her the amount of attention she wanted, so she didnt want any at all, because it hurt her too bad to be an "afterthought". I told her when she got back on her meds and changed her mind, I would love to see her again and she was more than welcome to visit me. She said that was a low blow, but I was really just trying to let her know Id still be her sister after all that when she felt differently.

Many times a year she calls and complains to my mom that I dont ever talk to her even though I make a point to do it at least once a week.

In my first trimester, I was working long hours and extremely sick with all day sickness, and had to come home and clean and tend to the family and was just so sick and weak, and we didnt talk much for a month or more, just small 2 or 3 line messages back and forth, and my mom mentioned several times that she was very upset at me for not giving her the time of day.

My father being ill for his whole life, and compared to other things she's done while ill, I know this does not seem like a huge deal or that serious. It just feels so purposeful at the time I should be happiest to try and hurt me, and it works. I want to get past this and talk to her again, I just dont know whether to pester her until I get a response, or leave it alone until she comes to me, which probably wont be until after the baby is here, I have 7 weeks left. Which is problematic because I cant seem to get over it (maybe an illness of my own), and after the baby is here I will have less time for her than I do now on maternity leave.

For the first time in a decade or more she is holding down a job and I am very proud of her, but she went off her meds because of the way they affected her and because of no insurance and their financial situation. She's been off them over a year. I feel a little afraid that by me bringing it up, that Ive sent her into a depression. I almost called her husband to see if she was ok, except she is still sending me drawings in Draw Some! That is the only contact she has initiated.

My husband is of the mind that I should cut her out of my life, my mom doesnt want me to do or say anything because it jeopardizes her relationship with my sister if Im not there as a go between. I have no one else to ask, I hope someone her has some reasonable insight.

Thanks for your response.


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