don't like my sister and the dynamics of our relationship

by Jeannie

why is it my sister feels comfortable saying whatever nasty thing she can think of to me? Up until the past year, I have allowed this to go on. that's when I decided that I am not letting this happen any more. I have been distancing myself from her and, as a result, am feeling better about myself and my life. I am not allowing her to get away with such self-centered and nasty comments. But it seems to make her even angrier. So much so, she now complains that I am the nasty person. But I know I'm not. I just don't want her affecting my emotions as much as she has in the past. And yet her horrid comments still have me saying to myself "maybe she's right. Maybe I am at fault." How do I stop her from really getting to me? I can't change her. I just don't want her to have so much impact on how I feel.

Ben's Answer:

It sounds like you are doing just exactly what you need to to take care of yourself emotionally. Distancing yourself may be the best thing you could do in this situation. But the voice of doubt in your mind that says "maybe she's right, maybe I'm at fault," needs to be quieted.

I'd strongly recommend trying EFT (Meridian Tapping) as a self-help method to clear your mind of this negative self-talk. Refer to the EFT Basics page to learn the points on the body to tap (with the fingertips). Once familiar with the basic routine and tapping points, use the following script to work on this issue:

1. (while tapping the karate chop point):
"Even though my sister says these hurtful nasty things to me, I accept myself as I am."

"Even thought my sister verbally abuses me, it's not my fault."

"Even though my sister blames me for her nastiness, I know it's not my fault and I choose to accept myself and my feelings."

2. Now, tapping each point 5-10 times (say one phrase below for each point that you tap, and then move to the next, on down the list):
- My sister says such horrid things to me
- I don't understand why she attacks me this way
- My sister hurts my feelings
- I'm blaming myself for her bad behavior
- I feel like it's my fault somehow
- I feel hurt and angry about how my sister treats me.
- I don't know how to make her stop
- My sister blames me for her feelings
- She doesn't want me to be happy

Now - another round...
- My sister's nasty behavior is not my fault
- I did not cause this
- I don't have to play this game with her
- I forgive myself for blaming myself
- I choose to be happy even if she is trying to hurt me.
- I don't deserve to be treated this way
- I deserve to be happy
- I want us both to be happy and I accept myself as I am.

Take a deep breath and see how you feel. You can always do this more or modify it as needed. You will probably start to feel more clear, more confident and more free and you might even find that your sister starts to change her attitude too.

Take Care,
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist

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