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Hi all,

I decided to edit this because I don't like having info out there that about me and family members, plus I have received a lot of good advice to point me in the right direction. It means a lot to me that total strangers would take the time to read such a long post (I was at my wit's end when I wrote it) and then respond with good advice.

I actually talked on the phone with my sister today for the first time in about a week. I kept it short (a few minutes) and pleasant and she seemed in good spirits. I'll update in about a month or so.

Thanks so much!
I think your second idea was the right one - just do not allow her to go on about him. Having said that, I find it rather weird that your parents are having anything to do with the man who abused their daughter. I agree that politeness is in order, but having him around the house etc etc would be enough to drive your sister crazy - as if he is being given equal rank in the family as it were. Really it is no wonder she cannot break away or move on, he is still very much in her life and HER family. If it were me I would definitely feel unsupported. Sera
Thank you Seraph for your reply, you have helped me think.
I just love this "show a perfect face to the world" family style. In my experience, it usually hides, at best dysfunction and, at worst abuse of the harshest kind. My parents were like this. i can sort of relate to the position that you are in, because my sister, having been sexually abused by our father had only me who would stick my neck out to support her. It is a hard position to be in. My parents, like yours, were churchgoing types, and were very heavily invested in being upstanding members of the congregation etc etc yada yada. We were pretty much thrown to the wolves if we had problems that could have reflected badly on them. In that atmosphere, NOTHING can ever be done to mend things. My parents have both died, and in a way that freed me to actually move on and accept them for the flawed and troubled people that they were. Support your sister. If it helps, accept the fact that you cannot fix things, in fact, it is better for you both if you just listen and make no judgements, and accept that she is just expressing her feelings. Do not give advice, I am sure that she has heard it all before. It would be really hard to be in her position, sort of one against everyone else. Stay in her corner, but do not take on her troubles. A useful mantra that the late great Carl Rogers used is "I am 100% responsible for myself, I am 0% responsible for any one else". It may sound hard, but if you think about it, it allows you to be a good listener and not get too wrapped up in trying to fix somebody else - something that we cannot do. Hope this will help a little bit. Hugs, Sera
Thank you so very much for your kind and nonjudgmental reply.
I was really scared to post about this, afraid I seem like world's worst sister.
You have a lot of insight into this situation.

I'm sorry to hear about your family. I edited out some of my second post before I read your response. I've never posted online before, although I've read these forums quite a bit. I really appreciate your sharing, it's been very helpful to me. Thanks so much.
Perhaps your parents do not feel that their daughter is being abused? I think you said in the first post that the abuse was coming from both sides of the relationship? Sounds like your parents know that your sister is just as much to blame as is her husband.

However, maybe your sister hasn't left this man yet because she feels like her family would not support her if she left him? Just a thought...

Yeah, the only thing you can do is distance yourself. Be a great aunt to those little girls, but don't stand for the whining and complaining your sister wants to do UNLESS she decides to get out of the relationship. You may want to even say, "I am here for you when you decide to leave him...but until then, I cannot keep listening to your awful relationship."
Thank you for your reply BK.

I appreciate your reply, it's been helpful.
Well, I think you are feeling lost because you are making it your problem. It isn't your problem, it is hers. Granted, her talking about it all the time makes it feel like it is your problem, too. That is why it is best to distance yourself.

And I totally agree that she is manipulating you with her stories and comments. It does seem like she is trying to turn the family against this man.

Your sister is an adult and a mother. It is her responsibility to do what is best for her children. Maybe you can even say this to her? Next time she wants to place all the blame on her husband for her crappy life, maybe you can remind her of the control she needs to have in this situation.

Good luck!
Thank you BK.

Thank you very much, I've never spoken about this to anyone so the advice I've received here is the most I've ever had. It's been a huge help.
short and sweet.....your sis is a drama queen.....if you don't want to get sucked into the drama, stay out of it as much as possible......don't make her problems your problems.....
she's made choices, let her live with them.
Thank you Rosequartz.
Reading through my own postings it is clear to me that I have become sucked into her drama. And that isn't right or fair.
I appreciate your input into my situation, I've read many of your postings on this board and I think you have pretty sound judgment.
Thanks so much for taking the time to help me out with this.
I can see both sides. I have been the kind of sister who vents and vents to the point that my sister has been sick of it and tries to stop giving advice, and it doesn't feel good to feel like your sister doesn't care anymore. Sometimes people have problems that consume everything and I'm sure it gets real old. But I think she's trying to keep you in her claws by trying to get you addicted to the gossip and drama, which is sort of toxic. She sounds sort of like an emotional vampire where she's sucking the life out of you. Like someone else said, you need to just listen and not try to fix her marriage. She probably could stand to have a counselor so that you don't have to listen to it all, but she's your sister, and if you cut yourself off from her, that's going to upset her when she already has enough problems. She might also feel like you're telling her she's nuts if you say she needs a counselor. Also, if she's a venter, any one thing she talks about may not be that big of a deal. She's just trying to get it out of her system. Maybe she's the kind of person who doesn't tell you when he does something good. He must have some redeeming qualities otherwise she wouldn't have married him and had kids with him. I've also been on the other side, where my sister was sucking me into her own problems, and at some point you have to stay out of it if it starts affecting your own mental health. But, in the end, she's your sister and she needs your support. But it sounds like you have lots of siblings, and you can't be curing all of them yourself. You have to put yourself first, but try to do it in a way that doesn't make your sister worse, because if you cut her off, she might get desperate and try to be an emotional leech even more. I don't think you should just like stop answering her calls. You can make it clear you can only take so much of it before it overwhelms you, but you can try to not get overwhelmed by keeping your own boundaries, realizing it's ultimately her problem, you can't fix her, and that all you can do is listen. Does she have any other friends or people she can vent to? I feel like she just needs to get it off her chest, but she also needs to learn not to pay attention to and revel in every negative thing. She seems to enjoy it somehow.
Thank you mugwump.

Thank you very much for replying to my post. I'm so glad I posted this, it's been a huge relief.
One of the things you can do is to simply validate her feelings, then move on. For example, she has her current vent; you say, "Yes I can see how that would make you feel............(insert appropriate word), and I am sorry about it, but I think that it would do us both good to talk about something else. Remember the time that..........?" Along those lines. I don't know that she is being manipulative, I don't know her, but she sounds like someone who is desperate to get her feelings heard and acknowledged. In my experience, if the listener acknowledges the pain, anger etc, the venter, feeling heard and understood will be easier to move off the topic. The listener need not buy into the actual subject, validation and reflection are all that is required. I find that the people who get stuck like this often do so because they feel they are not being heard. Your parents don't want to know, you are trying, but if you are anything like me and any other big sister, are free with the judgements and advice. Forget totally who may be right or wrong in this situation - it is only her emotions that need a response from you. Every incident or complaint she says is only saying one thing "I am angry, grieving, afraid, alone, without an anchor, nobody understands, please listen to me" It is childish, I know, but a lot of people drop into child mode in times of stress. Let her vent, reflect back on her emotions, then gently (but openly) change the subject. Remember too, that it really doesn't matter whether she is right, wrong. good or bad, your listening will not enable, encourage wrong thinking, or in any way worsen the situation. You will also notice that your own stress level will drop as you detach yourself from the "fixit (but only if she is deserving)" mode. I hope this helps you, I have no opinion on whether your sister is right or wrong, your question asks more how YOU can deal, and that is what I have attempted to answer. Cheers, Sera.
When you say she doesn't take no for an answer, that reminds me of people without boundaries who are so needy that they don't care about your feelings, they just care about their own. In that case, they put you in an awkward position where you have to say something that feels rude or mean, just to get them to realize that what they are doing is not okay and that you feel disrespected.

If she has no friends, and is sensitive about it, it sounds like maybe she has social anxiety, or at least is so negative and nitpicky that she can talk herself out of wanting friends. At least her husband encourages her to make friends, and at least there are people who try to befriend her. If she has no friends, maybe her husband and kids are the only things she has going for herself, besides her freelance jobs. I'm starting to feel sorry for her now...maybe because I can relate to some of this--she complains alot, nitpicks, is obsessed with her own problems, doesn't really want to or is afraid to make friends, and only has her sister to vent to. If she had friends or a more steady job, maybe the husband issue would loom less large in her mind. I guess I'd try to find out if she's still seeing her therapist. She should be talking to the therapist about her lack of friends too, because if she is sensitive about it, she probably finds it painful. I wonder what good her therapist is though if she's like this after going for years. Maybe try getting her to talk about things she is good at, or maybe there is something she could do that is positive like take a class or learn a new hobby, and get her out of her rut of negativity and dwelling on her problems. She might want to stick to her bad habits because it's comfortable. She won't change til she wants to or is ready to.

Thanks so much for your response.
Thanks mugwump:)

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