What Should I Do About Stubborn Family?

Reply Fri 24 Dec, 2010 08:09 am
Hello everyone.

Well, I have not been getting on with my sister lately. She often loses her temper with me for no reason, and I don't know what to do about it now; I've had enough.

For example, today I asked her for change for 10 bucks.She gave me some coins, and one of them was very scuffed and had black marks on it, so I said "Hmmm, giving me all your rotten coins, hey?". Then she got angry at me, she told me to shut up, to go away, and to stop irritating her. Now this might seem like a small thing, and it is, but she is always losing her temper with me. The one moment she is happy and joking with me, then next she is shouting at me and getting angry. Sometimes she punches me or scratches me. I just walk away and leave it alone.

When I lose my temper with my sister, I always go back and apologise to her later, even when I was in the right. To this day, my sister has never apologised to me for getting angry, shouting, or hitting me. And we are not children any more, I am 21 and she is 23.

This has been going on for a long time, but now I have had enough. My father has been in the hospital the past few weeks, so I have been running his house and business. I go out to the sites (my father has a small house-repair business), I drive the workers around, buy equipment and material, pay the workers, look after his garden, do repairs around the house, take his car for repairs etc., which takes about 4 or 5 hours a day. This was even happening while I was writting exams. I visit my father twice a day most days. My father has never so much as thanked me. I can forgive my father because he is in poor health.

A few days ago I went to the library to get my father some books to read. My library card was expired, so I asked the librarian to keep the books for me. I asked my sister to pick up the books, as she is on vacation now. She got angry with me and didn't want to get the books. She eventually went three days later to get them.

Today when she lost her temper with me I had had enough. I left the room quite angry. A few minutes later I confronted her about this. I told her she is always losing her temper with me for no reason, as in today with the coins, that I always apologise to her when I get angry at her, and that she has never apologised to me. She just pulled a face and shook her head. My mother was in the room and she told me sister to apologise, but she refused. When my mother asked again she said flippantly "Ya, ok then I apologise" while she waved me off with one hand, which made me even angrier. As I was walking down the passage she repeated her insincere apology and I shouted at her to shut up. I left for a walk, came back, and now I'm asking for your advice. When I came home she was pulling her face and shaking her head whenever she sees me. I even bought her a gift which is expensive for me, all the more because I have just graduated and do not have a job. I am thinking of returning it and not giving her anything for Christmas.
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Type: Question • Score: 3 • Views: 2,522 • Replies: 6
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Reply Fri 24 Dec, 2010 10:25 am
You two are a little old for this kind of behavior.

By now you should know that your sister is not approachable on a lot of issues.

But, IMHO, your remark about the coins was uncalled for.
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Reply Fri 24 Dec, 2010 10:31 am
Your sister might be a wee bit bi-polar. I wouldn't return the gift but I would stay away for awhile, give her space and tell her that is what you are planning to do because you can't seem to get along. Time and distance often make the heart fonder and small things can then be forgiven or forgotten.
I don't think the coin thing was uncalled for, in my family sarcasm is an appreciated art form, it would be considered funny.
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Reply Fri 24 Dec, 2010 11:00 am
Hello Quincy,

could it be that your sister is jealous of you? You seem quite accomplished,
you help with your father's business while writing your exams and find time
to visit your father and cheer him up and get him books to read.

Your sister is 23 years old and still living at home? Perhaps her life is not
going the way she wants it to and looking at her younger sister and seeing how
she is accomplishing things quite nicely, might spark jealousy instead of healthy competition.

Just sit back and observe her a bit more and you might find your answers.
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Reply Fri 24 Dec, 2010 11:12 am
I would treat your sister exactly as you would someone not related to you; in other words, if you wouldn't put up with that from a friend, don't put up with it from her.

It sounds like you feel unappreciated - maybe go to a church counsellor or someone like that to talk this out.

People with a healthy self-esteem don't allow others to treat them like this. Maybe you should stop doing all these things for your father until he starts appreciating you.

Being family doesn't mean you have to be a slave.
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Reply Sun 26 Dec, 2010 06:11 am
Hi Quincy,

This must be a difficult situation for you. It's not easy or pleasant to be in a family conflict. Usually we just wish that everything would work out smoothly.

That said - most times we contribute to family conflicts that we are in, even though most people involved in conflicts aren't fully aware of this. This 'contribution' could occur in many ways - passive aggressive responses, lack of respectful assertion (lack of respectful assertion probably THE major contributing factor in many conflicts), disrespectful anger (you can be respectfully angry), pettiness etc.

If I may - it sounds to me like you are trying to be a good daughter, but that you carry resentment/anger with you that you try not to show. You will probably find that, because of this, your sister, who opennly displays her emotions, finds you hypocritical. It's fine to be have emotions, and to be angry - just keep them respectful (your sister apparently fails at the second half of this in the instances you described - but you are failing to show them at all, until you can't help yourself anymore).

To help improve your relationship, you will need to learn respectful assertion...if you don't get it right the first time (and even if you 'fail' over and over again), that's alright - keep trying with every new opportunity, because eventually it will work for you and sort things out for you.

Try and stay free from pettiness - but again - show your emotions, and channel your emotions into useful solutions.

Lastly, given the above, be careful not to make her emotions more important than your own...find a balance that is about 51% to you, 49% to her.

Good luck.
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Reply Sun 26 Dec, 2010 07:19 am
Some TVs come equipped with parental controls;
see if u can find one that has sisterental controls on it.
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