Sister will not speak to my family

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Me and sister always had a great relationship. We were always best friends since we were babies. Everyone was amazed at how well we got along. We did everything together. Sure we got into fights here and there, but we always forgave and forgot, instantly. I am 27 , my sister is 30.

A year ago we went on vacation across country for a cousins wedding. We had a blast. On the way home we got lost. I was driving so I asked her to help me with the map. She refused to help me, and was acting carefree and selfish, while i was very nervous and visibly shaking from fear of the neighborhood. I asked her many more times to help me out. She could sense my anger, looking me in the face yelling, “don’t you dare yell at me, i’m tired”, throwing the map in the back seat. Well an intense verbal arguement happened after that. That was a year ago.

My sister lives with me, our mother and father. She has not spoken to us for one year since that quarrel. Ive tried to speak to her she ignores my, I buy her presents, bake her favorite cake, wash her clothes, smile and say hi how was your day, buy her flowers. Nothing works, she speaks to no one in the family, but i was the one that got in a fight with her. She locks herself in her room, her cell phone bill has 0 minutes used, she doesn’t come out of her room until we go to sleep or leave the house, she has no friends, she doesn’t even answer when anyone knocks on her bedroom door. On a rare time when we run into her she angrily says hi and runs away.

Even when my uncle had cancer, she does not care to ask anything, and when we tell her there is no response. My four year old neice had get surgery, and all I got from her is “OK”. After that argument she will not forgive, is unemotional, selfish, and 100% anti-social, anti-speak to anyone she ever knew. She doesn’t seem to want some kind of solution, she told my mother “i’m happy, i don’t need any of you guys.

Please help I need a solution. I have to live with a dead ghost of my loving sister. Sometimes it feels like i’m the one who is nuts, so i am asking a professional. Please, please help me out, my family doesn’t know where to turn to, and my sister will be outraged and refuse to receive help.

A: What a confusing and painful situation! One argument among people who love and care for each other is not enough for this kind of reaction. It makes me wonder if the argument was, for your sister, some kind of “last straw.” Was something building up over time, do you suppose?

Even if that was the case, your sister’s reaction is over the top and of grave concern. I’m especially worried about her since she is isolating herself from friends as well as family. It’s possible that something snapped during the argument and that she is having a breakdown of some kind.

I strongly urge you and your parents to seek out a family therapist – not because I think you’re crazy – but because you all need help figuring out how to help your sister and how to get her back into the family. I simply don’t have enough information to give you good advice beyond that. You are fortunate to live in a city where there are many qualified therapists. Find someone with an “LMFT” license (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) if you can. Please follow through. Everyone in the family has suffered for far too long already.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Sep 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). Sister will not speak to my family. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/09/07/sister-will-not-speak-to-my-family/