Ms. Mix and Bitch,
I feel like I’m constantly being criticized and monitored. We have talked about her snapping at me, and she tells me that I have to tell her when she’s snapping at me in a calm manner because she doesn’t know she’s doing it. I have been doing that, in fact my control on my anger has become amazing.
I don’t know what kind of advice I’m seeking from you. I know that most of this letter represents my sister in a negative light. I can sincerely tell you that I love her. She cares fiercely for the ones she loves, she has a wicked sense of humor and she’s very smart. I just wish she saw these things in herself so she could find her own happiness. I think I tried to save her by letting her in my social life. I feel like our problem right now as a whole is my fault, but I don’t know what to do. I want her to be happy. I hate that she has to go through this after everything she has had to deal with. It’s not fair. I want to help her, but when I do I get hurt. Once gain, a Catch-22. I think what I’m asking you is if I’m doing the right thing, or am I really being selfish? I’m also very bothered by my father telling me you don’t have to be friends with you siblings, just try to be civil. I have wished for a friendship with her for so long, must it really be this way? I want to feel hope again.
Dear Sad and Frustrated Sister,
I received this letter months ago, and I am sincerely sorry I did not answer you sooner. I have no excuse.
I am hoping by now you and your sister have been attending therapy with a counselor specializing in PTSD because that’s exactly what your sister is suffering from, Ms. Sis. I am also hoping that by now you have continued to enforce the boundaries between you two (such as NOT having her hang out with your friends, having separate social outings, etc). If neither of these two strategies have been implemented, then I seriously urge you to do both.
It should go without saying, but here it goes regardless: you deserve your own life. A happy life. Really. That doesn’t mean you are not suppose to be there for your sister and your parents, but not at the expense of your own dignity or needs. And another thing – about the whole ‘model daughter’ deal…while there’s no need to get all self-destructive on their asses, just because you’re sister’s a disaster doesn’t mean YOU have to be perfect. I hope you have some people in your life you can count on. If you don’t, and you feel you must handle everything on your own, then I would seriously urge you to start taking some risks and begin reaching out and relying on people. Whether that’s your family or friends, hopefully both, that’s up to you.
As far as your sister is concerned, if she’s going to make any sort of life worth living for herself, she’s going to have to learn the social skills needed to make her own friends, pick appropriate men, and -most importantly – work through her PTSD. Expect this to take years.
Meanwhile, be good to yourself. I’m rooting for you 🙂
10. “This Woman’s Work,” (Kate Bush) The Sensual World.
09. “Edge of the Ocean,” (Ivy) Long Distance.
08. “Cracking,” (Suzanne Vega) Suzanne Vega.
07. “Sister Winter,” (Sufjan Stevens) Songs for Christmas.
06.”I Live on a Battlefield,” (Nick Lowe) Untouched Takeaway.
05. “Roads,” (Portishead) Dummy.
04. “Acid Tongue,” (Jenny Lewis) Acid Tongue.
03. “Crooked Legs,” (The Acorn) Glory Hope Mountain.
02. “Good Woman,” (Cat Power) You are Free.
01. “So Sorry,” (Feist) The Reminder.