My sister is stressing me out!

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Ok this has been a long time coming….in a nut shell my sister is a caring,giving,sweet and a nurturing individual but….there is always these mood swings…theres always something atleast 2 to 3 times a week….during the mood swings she gets real excited she’ll get mean,sarcastic….and then when it’s over she puts it off as….she was disrespected or she just angry….i think because of this disorder or whatever is wrong…she has become a pro at finding excuses….anything to blame but… herself….no relationship has ever worked for her…..she always thinks people are against her…..when you get into a conversation with about these things that go on in her life……if you don’t agree with her she’ll keep going on and on as if she’s trying to convince you…until you do agree with her …and if just simply don’t agree with her….she’ll say you dont understand……please help!!!…yet another relationship is failing right now…..and she has always felt that i’m the only person she can talk too…and i realize now…that it’s because….i’m helping her NOT come to terms and realize she has a problem….by not helping her get help…..her current boyfriend told her he thought she needed help…..and she said… yeah i might get angry….and i might yell but i’m not crazy…. PLEASE HELP!!!! because i’m the only one she’ll turn too…..i get it all….and she will talk and talk and talk….oh gosh….please help!!
stressed sibling

A: You sure sound stressed! Unfortunately, you can’t make someone get help who doesn’t want it. All you can do is be steadily supportive and just as steadily insistent that she think about the effect she is having on those who love her. My guess is that she cares about you as much as you care about her. Maybe you could ask her, as a favor to you, to just get an evaluation so that you can be less worried about her. By all means, ask if you can go with her. She probably is so unaware of what she looks like when she’s wound up that she’ll minimize it when she talks to the psychiatrist. Let her know that going to see a psychiatrist for an evaluation doesn’t commit her to anything. The doctor will make some suggestions and she is free to act on them or not. If she does allow you to go along, the doctor might also have some suggestions for you.

An important resource for you is The National Alliance on Mental Illness(NAMI). This is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of persons living with serious mental illness and their families. (www.nami.org) Click on your state and you’ll find a list of support groups for family members. There is nothing quite as reassuring and helpful as talking with others who get it and who often have good advice for how to help.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Jun 2007

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2007). My sister is stressing me out!. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/06/05/my-sister-is-stressing-me-out/