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Sober Sibling Feels Unloved

10 December 2015 Written by 

Dear Edie, I feel no one cares about me. I have to work hard and pay for everything. My parents expect all A’s from me and I have a job. My parents do everything for my sister who has been arrested several times and can't stay sober, and there are no consequences for her. They even bought her a car. Why can't I get over this?  I feel so angry. Sincerely, Sober Sibling

Dear Sober

It is totally understandable that you feel the way you do and there is no need to get over it. Being the ‘well sibling’ with high standards set for you must be incredibly frustrating. Even before your sister’s addiction began, were the dynamics the same in which she was cut slack and indulged while you were expected to excel? 

Family Roles Start Early

Often, parents unwittingly place their children in divergent roles, not realizing they are setting them up for failure. This seems to be so for you and your sister. Even though you are performing at a higher level than she is, you too are struggling in your own way. I encourage you to speak with your parents about your concerns and the impact the unequal treatment is having on your life.  Do you receive acknowledgment for what you do well? What is your relationship like with your sister? She may feel a sense of resentment toward you for being the overachiever who can do no wrong while she feels like a loser who can do no right and uses that as a reason to continue her dysfunctional behaviors.

Is It Ever Calm At Home

How are things at home when she is not using?  Have there been times when calmness and sanity prevail or is it primarily chaos? Does she have any insight into her addiction? Has she been in treatment? It would be helpful for her and for your family to receive counseling, either on an outpatient or inpatient basis.

Enabling Won't Help Your Sister 

Your parents are also doing her no favor by enabling her to continue in unsafe behavior that impacts on every family member. Sometimes people need to learn from natural consequences of their behavior. I wonder if they are afraid that left to her own devices, she will make a choice from which she can’t rebound and are grabbing at straws to keep her from taking a dive. That is a common factor in families in which parents take too much responsibility for their children’s choices.

I would encourage you and your parents to attend Al-Anon or Nar-Anon for additional support and as a means of feeling less alone in your experience.  Al Ateen  would be helpful for you. You'll meet others who are experiencing what you are.

Wishing you well.

Reach Out Recovery Exclusive by Edie Weinstein

Read 532 times Last modified on Tuesday, 08 November 2016 19:58
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Edie Weinstien

Rev. Edie Weinstein, LSW  is an ‘opti-mystic who views life through the eyes of possibility. Her creative, career and spiritual paths have led her to become a writer, speaker, interfaith minister, reiki master, clown, greeting card text writer and social worker. She engages in life fully, inviting others to join her. As a guide, she holds a mirror up to those with whom she works, so that they may see their own beauty and discover their own answers.
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