NEED ADVICE!! PLEASE. My sister the toxic bully

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Hello, my name is Jennifer and I am 48 years old. I am married and have two children, 7 and 14.  I will only be able to explain a portion of my situation, because it has been going on for so long.  My sister is 60 yrs old and a elementary school teacher.  She is married and has three children.  All of my life my sister has been hyper sensative, controlling, overbearing, critical, explosive and horribly moody.  You cannot talk to her about anything unless it is a good time for her and she is in the mood to talk to you.  If you try to explain how you feel, and express to her something she said or did that hurt you, she screams and yells and just explodes.  She has controlled the mood and aura of every family gathering and holiday for as long as I can remember.  Last year we found out that my nephew her son, was addicted to herioin.  He is now in rehab and doing well.  She and her husband did nothing to help him, until he ended up in the hospital and almost died.  Since this my sister has become ten times worse, my other sister and I tried to talk to her a few months ago and tell her she needs help and we would join her in getting help as a family.  She has caused scenes and family events, such as my daughters Communion party.  She has started wispering and being insulting to my other sisters daughter who is 31 years old.  She has become unbareable!  My sister and I are having anxiety attacks and horible migraines and neck pain.  Things became so bad that my sister and I have cut ties with my abusive sister.  We told her in a text that we could no longer be in her company because it is unhealthy and toxic for the rest of our family especially my children my sisters children and my new great nephew who is just 8 months old.  We do not want the next generation exposed to her.  Please tell me if anyone has been through something similar, and how you have handled it and how it made you feel.  Thank you !!!!! =((


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  • Posted

    Hi Jen, let me preface by saying as always I am not a doctor but have been around a ton of family with mental health issues and worked in a home for people with mental health issues as a caretaker, I also suffer from mental health issues, therefore I have some experience to draw from.

    It SOUNDS like your sister could have mood stability issues and could be helped by taking mood stabilizers. It also sounds like your sister suffers from not being in control all the time and constantly needs reassurance from everyone around her about this. (Terribly draining for everyone else, walking on eggshells around her) wondering if anything you say will p*ss her off. So, it also sounds like your sister could have had a rough childhood where she was put in situations where she had to fend for herself and others where she learned how to take care of things instead of being able to just be a child.  As you got older it could seem as though you other siblings "grew up and moved on becoming adults and taking care of yourselves" but she did not. She is still trying to control her situation around her by trying to control what she thinks she can influence.  I imagine her anger stems from NOT being able to control things she cannot and that must be very very frustrating for her.  In this case I would suggest psycotherapy.  The best thing you as a family can do is be supportive of her and encourage her to get help. Create distance between you if you need to because its causing you anxiety worrying about her. If she gets help great.  If she doesnt thats her problem.  Remember you can only change the things that you influence, not things you cannot influence.  Hope this helps?  =)

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  • Posted

    Wise words indeed from VCSL: "Remember you can only change the things that you influence, not things you cannot influence."

    Sounds as if your sister may well have some kind of personality disorder. However, regardless of whether or not it springs from an unhappy childhood, I suspect that if she hasn't been able to address her problems by age 60, she never will. By all means try suggesting she get help, but I can't see her following your advice.

    I'm fortunate in not having had this problem with a sibling, but my mother and I always had to walk on eggshells around my father. I also had the misfortune to work with several people like your sister, and once even had one as a friend for nearly 10 years. She was very similar to your description of your sister, but we stayed friends because she could be funny and interesting (when in a good mood) and also because we shared a history of growing up in abusive family circumstances. Finally, when she sent me one nasty letter too many out of the blue, I got fed up with being the one who always had to be forgiving and accommodating and pulled the plug on our friendship.

    I realise it's harder to do that within the family, of course, but I don't believe the old adage, "blood is thicker than water". I prefer the other one that says you choose your friends but you can't choose your relatives. I can see no reason for you to feel guilty if you decide you can't cope with your sister's tantrums any more. I know it's sad, but lots of siblings break off contact with each other. It happened in my father's family. During the course of his adult life, all four of his siblings stopped trying to talk to him, for understandable reasons.

    I note you say that your sister is 60. I don't think that bodes well either. As I know from watching my friends (and myself!) move into old age, we all tend to become an exaggerated version of what we were in our middle years. I suspect your sister may only get more difficult from now on.

    I'm also concerned about you and your other sister. You say you're both having migraines and anxiety attacks. Forgive me if I'm speaking out of turn, but that sounds to me like an excessive reaction to a sibling, however toxic - in adult life anyway. I'm wondering whether anxiety, which often causes mood swings and outbursts of anger, runs in your family.

    In my opinion, you've done the right thing in breaking off contact with your troublesome sister, at least for the foreseeable future, in order to preserve your own physical and emotional health. I do realise that that could have other effects, like losing contact with her children. However, I think you need to spend time getting your own health order, especially a your age, which can often be an emotional as well as a physical transition time for a woman.

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  • Posted

    Hi Jennifer. I am not a proffessional or doctor but I know what your going through. I have a sister and she's horrible. You could even say that she "bullies" me. She says mean things about my looks and, sometimes, she's violent. My sister threatens me, hits me and says nast things to me. She also makes me feel guilty by saying things about my parents because they have split up. She says I made them split up. I was close to commiting suicide because of this. I can't stand her. I have to put up with school and this. When we're in front of my nan and aunties and the whole family, she acts polite but when at home, she is a whole different person. The worst thing is that I feel no one understands as my mum is getting too old to do anything. My dad isn't in this country and hasn't seen me in 6 or 7 years (pretty much my whole childhood). I may not be an adult like you as I am only 11 but I am experiencing things just like you. I honestly don't know what to do. I'm sick of it. My sister orders me to do things and if I don't do them than she will shout at me. If I still carry on refusing then she will threaten me and then hit/push me. My sister apparently has anger issues and it isn't fair for her to take all her anger out on me. I cry every night in my bed, worried about what might happen the next day. I need advice. Please help and reply if you have some tips.

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  • Posted

    You are lucky to have the support of your sister. I feel for your situation. 
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  • Posted

    I have a toxic older sister. She was abusive (I.e. breaking my nose, teeth, burning me, cutting off my hair twice with her bully friends, tainting my soap so Id breakout only after washing my face with only preopened soap, bullying people until they gave into leaving me as friends, stealing my money and food, ruining my clothes with her hot curling iron etc All this just to keep me isolated and under her thumb for her purposes: 1) doing her degree whenever it was take home essays, labs and doing her exams at Langara College since they never ID you there. She needed this as she spent 2 years failing 1st year courses so she was going to be expelled. To do this, she made our mother force me to not go to my university and go to this community college instead. Who goes to community college to get into university when you're already there? Our mother did this because they always worked in tandem. So, our mother owed her a big favour for helping her court case against our father who they lied about and sent to jail overnight for nothing. I was there and he did not do anything. 2) I also had to help her stay out with her boyfriend and other loathsome company if I corroborated her story that I was with her the whole time at a park or McDonald's. 3) she took advantage by smooching off of me as she refused to work or clean etc. Despite my Independence, her trick was to have me believe that I needed her and her friends to keep other worse racist bullies (in neighborhood and school) who had harmed me. Turns out, these bullies were her friends bullying me but she told me they were supposedly her enemies who saw us together and now knew to bother me too. I learned of this ruse after seeing them sign her yearbook. Of the racist bullies, she basically 'noosed' them so to speak. Meaning, she would help keep their racist attacks quiet if they also did things for her including bullying me. I was alleviated from her mental health issues which she was diagnosed with as well by leaving home. So, you are right to leaving the toxicity behind. However, hard to say with your sister but my older sister's evil ways still didn't stop there. Despite being warned by the police not to contact me directly or indirectly, or else she will be arrested, she still tries to find out where I'm living by following me from my school; contacts me on FB and email; she even made a false missing persons report to locate my new place and mocked it on a FB message to me. She and particularly her friends who she chooses due to their slow minds and unstable nature, still bother me in public places. She always tells me how crazy and dumb her friends are to harm anyone she asks them to harm. Moreover, she tells me that my previous contacts are stupid people because they listened to her and her group of friends' lies about me. These are her ways because she is sick and wants to ensure I don't report her having an illegitimate degree. You see, she used the history degree that I did for her to go into teaching ( for which I wrote her daily logs while our dad helped her do her work too).So, she "teaches" by reading out facts out of a book like we would for a presentation. What's worse is that she is conniving by trying to do a survey of 7 former teachers for a Masters degree that she never had a chance to do without my degree. This will make her look interested in academia but she's not. She's just a fake teacher. Poor students...Her druggie friends also had others do their history essays and went into teaching too and sold drugs to kids and were caught by the police. You can read about it in the news. Vancouver student teachers (all buddies from Sir Charles Tupper Secondary) selling drugs to kids in elementary schools. There you have it. She is I'll and has no conscience so maybe avoid your sister if she has no conscience too. Thank you.

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