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Is My Sister Playing Mind Games with Me?

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From a young woman in the U.S.: My sister and I are 11 months apart. We have always been close growing up, like bread and butter. I didn’t realize it at the time but as the older sister I always felt like it was my responsibility to stand up for her. Every battle that she started with someone else I always had to end it for her even when I didn’t want to. That’s just how close we were.

Now we’re in our 20s and things have taken a complete 360 and at times I regret being there all the time for her become I’m wondering if that has become a cripple for her. She has become such an anxiety at times in my life to the point where I don’t even want to be around her at times and I almost feel bad for feeling that way because I am aware with how precious and short life is and I hate this feeling. I just want things to be okay.

To sum things up, my sister got out of a relationship and I opened my doors to her because I love her and I knew how toxic it was. She then tried to go back with the guy and get me thrown in jail because I tried to stop her (I am aware what I did was wrong, but I just wanted to help her from being with someone who was ruining her) she hurt my feelings so bad to the point that I did not want to be a part of her mess anymore.

A few months later he leaves her on Easter with nowhere to go and who has to pick up the pieces? Me. She lived with me for a year, rent free, and still treated me so wrong where it is causing me to have a nervous breakdown. I’m so hurt.

She talked about me to her friends, manipulates stories to benefit her, used my expensive camera to benefit her, and always ask me to help her but when I ask for something simple she’s way too busy or not feeling well. My partner and I couldn’t afford a two bedroom but she said “I am tired  of sleeping on your couch and need my own space”.  I told her if she feels she can handle that responsibility then sure. We did it and now that she’s back on her feet I’m trash to her again and I feel so hurt. There’s so much more, but that’s just a small example of all that she is putting me threw.

Is My Sister Playing Mind Games with Me?

Answered by on -


There’s an old saying: “Let no good deed go unpunished.”  It’s a cynical acknowledgement that sometimes a person doesn’t appreciate what another does for them, no matter how many times they have received the help. Your sister is a classic example of someone who feels entitled to take and take and take without being appreciative of the enormous gifts of time, help, and attention you have given her.

It doesn’t matter why it started. You are both adults now. Part of growing up is to put aside childish patterns and to assume adult roles with siblings and parents. I don’t know if she is simply selfish or has a personality disorder. I can’t know what goes on with her without more information.

But I do know that it is long past time for you to draw some clear boundaries about how she can treat you. You don’t owe her a thing. You don’t have to accept responsibility for her bad choices or to tolerate being put down.

You can’t change her. She sees no need to change. After all, you have continued to be helpful regardless of her disrespect.

You can change yourself. If you can’t find the inner strength to start saying a big “no” to her (and mean it), then you would benefit from getting some therapy to help you. A therapist can not only give you good advice about how to handle someone like your sister, she or he can also provide you with the support you need to change how you respond to her provocations and her pleas for sympathy. It would probably be helpful for your partner to go along to learn how to support you at home.

Please follow through and get the help you need. With better boundaries, you will feel better and it might even help your sister grow up.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Is My Sister Playing Mind Games with Me?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

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. (2019). Is My Sister Playing Mind Games with Me?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 5, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 29 Dec 2019 (Originally: 1 Jan 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 29 Dec 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.