Wedding Woes
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Start by keeping your distance.

Dear Prudence,

My sister is three years younger than me and has crippling anxiety. She will not dip a toe out of her comfort zone, which is basically just our family. She has zero friends besides me. My male cousins were able to get out of babysitting her by the time they were in middle school. I was stuck until high school graduation. I couldn’t have friends over and not include her. I couldn’t go out with friends and not include her. My parents forced me to rearrange my lunches in high school when she started so she wouldn’t be alone. I went into 4H because my sister has an intense fear of animals and birds (she will have a panic attack if a chicken wanders up near her). Supposedly, she was in therapy and on medication, but she only got worse as she got older. She threw a fit when I went to community college near a relative rather than stay here. My parents threatened to not help me pay and only backed down after my grandmother got involved.

Now, I am 23 and in a serious relationship. My sister managed to graduate high school but she has never had a job and going to community college is too “hard.” I brought my boyfriend home for the first time, and my sister acted like a jealous ex. She wanted to be velcroed to my side and hated if my boyfriend even touched me. She cut him off in conversation and even told him to shut up when someone asked about our future plans. I finally pulled my sister aside and told to stop acting creepy and needy or we would be leaving. She had a very public fit, so we left. My parents are furious and accused me of deliberately triggering my sister. Honestly, at this point, I don’t know if I should cut my immediate family off. My sister is an adult even if she is dysfunctional. My parents refuse to hold her to any reasonable standards, and I am sick of my life being held subordinate to her whims. I am also scared of being alone and on my own. I just want normal here. What should I do?

—Sister’s Keeper

Re: Start by keeping your distance.

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    mrsconn23mrsconn23 member
    First Anniversary First Answer 5 Love Its First Comment
    Another terrible family trying to manipulate a LW into caving to their whims.   I get LW's feelings about their sister may be complicated, but LW is not responsible for any of this shitshow.  

    LW is on the right path in looking to set boundaries.  I honestly think going low to no contact for a period of time may be the right direction.  Definitely never bring the BF back (I can't imagine he's raring to visit again) and keep your distance for as long as possible.  I think I'd state my boundaries before ever setting foot back in their area.  If they chafe against it, there's your answer. 

    Oh and therapy? 
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    It seems like the parents have done a disservice to both of their daughters.  The problems the sister has goes beyond "anxiety", but it seems like she's never been diagnosed.  The LW doesn't even know for sure if the sister has every had therapy and medication.  Just that she "supposedly" did, which makes me think it happened after the LW moved out and that's why she isn't sure.

    I feel bad for the LW who was forced to take on way too much of the burden of her sister.  But I am horrified for the sister.  She should have been in therapy since she was a child.  Maybe she could have grown to have some semblance of  independence.  And/or had an official diagnosis and potentially be eligible for disability payments and other services.  Including ones that help prepare people for independent living.

    Now the sister is stuck being 100% financially and emotionally dependent on her parents.  But they aren't going to live forever.  Then what?  I don't think the LW will take her in, who shouldn't be put in that position anyway.  But you know that is what the parents are already planning.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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    Set boundaries and communicate them, then follow through. So if sister is rude and cuts people off say “sister that’s not a respectful way to speak to NF, if this continues we’re going to head out”. Then do it. 

    You can’t control what your parents do or don’t do for her. And it’s not up to you how she was patented. It is up to you how you respond to her behavior. You can’t change her, or your parents, but you can decide what you do now. 
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    banana468banana468 member
    First Answer First Anniversary 5 Love Its First Comment
    Set boundaries and communicate them, then follow through. So if sister is rude and cuts people off say “sister that’s not a respectful way to speak to NF, if this continues we’re going to head out”. Then do it. 

    You can’t control what your parents do or don’t do for her. And it’s not up to you how she was patented. It is up to you how you respond to her behavior. You can’t change her, or your parents, but you can decide what you do now. 
    I totally agree with this.  The parents have done everyone a major disservice by requiring everyone else to change to deal with the mental health issues of their other child.  

    Now that LW is an adult she needs to be clear with HER boundaries.  Don't bring up the past in the moment.  Be clear with what you will and won't tolerate.

    And maybe later talk to the parents but heat of the moment dredging up of the past only makes everyone more frustrated. 
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    levioosalevioosa member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    Well, that isn't just anxiety. That's a personality disorder. 

    LW is supposed to be having a great time learning and growing and dating at 23, not worrying about carrying the emotional burden of a family who isn't addressing the deeper issues. If it keeps up, decrease contact.


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    levioosa said:
    Well, that isn't just anxiety. That's a personality disorder. 

    LW is supposed to be having a great time learning and growing and dating at 23, not worrying about carrying the emotional burden of a family who isn't addressing the deeper issues. If it keeps up, decrease contact.
    I love that your comment reads like a prescription. 

    “If boundaries aren’t respected in 7-10 days, decrease contact until issues are resolved.”
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    levioosalevioosa member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    levioosa said:
    Well, that isn't just anxiety. That's a personality disorder. 

    LW is supposed to be having a great time learning and growing and dating at 23, not worrying about carrying the emotional burden of a family who isn't addressing the deeper issues. If it keeps up, decrease contact.
    I love that your comment reads like a prescription. 

    “If boundaries aren’t respected in 7-10 days, decrease contact until issues are resolved.”
    That's what happens when I speed read Prudie in between writing actual prescriptions and patient instructions. lol


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