Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Sisters' solution should start with separation

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I'm the middle of three sisters. We all live with anxiety disorders. My younger sister and I are very close. She and I both live far from home.

We're having problems with our older sister, "Clare." She's always let her anxiety and depression lead her life. Instead of seeking help, she has the attitude of, "Well, I have anxiety, so you need to deal with it." Clare frequently uses it as an excuse to be mean or start a fight.

The only time we are all together is over holidays. Clare's pattern is to start a huge fight at any holiday. She is in conflict with every family member we have in North America.

There's never any discussion or apology; we're just expected to reach out to Clare and let it all go. My younger sister and I have started to retract from this relationship.

I'm almost 30 now, and I'm tired. She says and does hurtful things to me and the people I love, and then expects us to back her up. It's an unhealthy relationship that has caused me setbacks in my own mental health journey.

After her last flip-out at Christmas, I didn't reach out. She'd acted like a child and then got offended when we didn't come chasing after her.

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She's sent my younger sister and me an email outlining why we're horrible people. It reads like a high schooler's revenge letter. I won't be replying for a few days.

I don't want a friendship with her, at least right now. We both need to get mentally healthy before we can try this again. I'm currently waitlisted to see a therapist.

Amy, how do I navigate this relationship from here?

-- Anxious


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