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Why Is My Sister Telling Me I’m Mad Since the Death of My Child?

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From the Uk: My situation feels very complicated and is confusing me. Perhaps writing it down will make it clearer to me. I feel I am losing my mind.

I suddenly and unexpectedly lost my daughter in September 16. She was 25, She had a brain hemorrhage. I am a survivor of childhood abuse, physical and emotional by my mum sexual by my dad and brother. As well as my brother i have a younger (48) sister. I expected nothing from my brother when my child died and I wasn’t disappointed.

My sister is causing me to feel crazy. She has 4 children. Her oldest daughter is 27, and was “disowned” by my sister, her mum, at age 14. She was actually sleeping on the streets. Since losing her cousin she had been lovely to me and my husband and other children. She’s regularly visited and been really supportive.

Every time she has asked me what she can do to help, I have said please try to make peace with your mum. Last week she asked me to read a message she planned to send to her mum. It was brave, it was conciliatory, she said she wanted her mum in her life, that she was sorry and invited her to her flat. I said I was proud of her and fully supported her in sending it.

Meanwhile, my sister has been so distant since my daughter died. To the extent that I wrote to her in November having not seen her since the funeral. It was literally my heart breaking to her. I explained that I needed her to face things that were so painful, my daughter’s room, maintaining her grave over winter… anyway.. I did those things alone. She did visit occasionally but no more than before September. She lives 4 minutes from me.

So my niece sent the message. It didn’t say anything at all about me. She then rang me to say her mum had replied and it had made her really angry, so she sent me the full conversation. Basically everything my sister says is about me. It’s a complete character assassination… of me. She doesn’t acknowledge her daughter’s words at all, just replies with lies about me.??

I sent her a message saying, I have seen everything that you have said about me to K. Over the course of the next day she sent 6 horrendous vile messages, telling me I’m venomous, a lier, punishing people for my daughter’s death, that my daughter would be disgusted with me, that I apparently have lost the use of my hands as well as my brain because I cannot operate a phone to call her, that I have too much time on my hands and should do something more constructive than ***stirring in her life as he said in Capital letters” it’s 8 months” since T died…Yea, it went on and on.

I’m so full of anxiety and so stressed by it. I m questioning everything iv said to anybody. I v not been able to work since September and feel guilty.

After the terrible shock losing my wonderful inspirational girl, I was ill with Graves disease and had a Thyroidectomy in March. I need some perspective on this, I hate myself. I miss my daughter so much and can’t grieve because of this situation

Why Is My Sister Telling Me I’m Mad Since the Death of My Child?

Answered by on -

A.

First, my deepest condolences for the loss of your daughter. There are few things harder than for a parent to lose a child. It is no wonder that you are having such a difficult time.

As for your sister: I can only guess that there is something about your loss that is triggering regrets and griefs of her own that she simply can’t handle. The accusations she is leveling at you may be “projections” — things she feels about herself. If that’s the case, there is no way for you to deal rationally with something that is deeply psychological.

This is complicated. I suspect that she, like you, was abused as a child. Unlike you, she may not have recovered enough to parent differently from what she herself experienced. She has to come to terms with the fact that she has a living daughter that she failed when the child was only 14 while you are grieving a daughter you loved and parented in ways she couldn’t do for her own daughter.

Please stop looking to your sister for comfort at this time. That emotional well is (at least for now) empty. Arguing with her (or explaining, or even sympathizing with her) isn’t going to help either of you. You can and should grieve in your own way and with the support of people who can support you. There is no reason to hate yourself. There is no reason to take in the venom that is a reflection of your sister’s issues, not yours.

You didn’t mention whether your daughter’s father is in the picture. If so, I hope the two of you can comfort each other. If not, I sincerely hope you have a good friend or two who can support you in your grief. If you don’t have friends who are emotionally available, please consider seeing a therapist to help you during this very difficult time. A therapist can provide a place to feel your feelings and to heal.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Why Is My Sister Telling Me I’m Mad Since the Death of My Child?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Why Is My Sister Telling Me I’m Mad Since the Death of My Child?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/07/24/why-is-my-sister-telling-me-im-mad-since-the-death-of-my-child/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.