How do you talk to a sister who is abusive all the time?

Whew. Wow. Once again, my complete day was ruined because I took a phone call from my sister.
I just can’t figure out what to do anymore.

Some of you might have read how my niece (my sister’s daughter) got thrown in a center for girls right before Christmas. My sister has been drinking like crazy (during the day) and taking pills for a few years now.
It just got worse and worse after her divorce.

When I try to REMAIN CALM and just talk to her, it builds and builds until she is yelling at me about things I did 30 years ago when I was young and crazy (she is 44) and telling me I did heroin and I am in denial about being happily married. All kinds of complete lies. She’s not making sense anymore and I just can’t figure out… if I take the call I’m shaking and so upset I can’t function well. My life is so peaceful with the new designing I’m doing in my knitting, I’m so happy about it but none of my family cares, they just want to talk about this sister whose husband is an evil demon (he’s not).

I dunno. Do you just stop talking to a relative who is abusive and screaming at you? ? ? ?

Hang up. You don’t deserve to be treated like that. If you have caller ID, don’t answer for a while. Try writing her a note. She won’t be able to argue with you that way. And keep on loving her, despite how she treats you.

Thanks Auburn. I hung up the other night when she was screaming about heroin for some reason… then today my husband said I should talk to her. He always does, “you’re the big sister” ha And then it starts all over again. I am so sick of it. I do love her. Thanks.


:hug: :hug:

You may have to step back and reexamine what all this is doing for you.

Yes that is your sister and you want to be there for her. BUT you do NOT have to take any abuse of any kind. Not even from a family member. I often say that family can often be worse than friends. Sometimes family members know that they can pull any stunt they want and others will be tolerant because “it’s family”. I had to step back from my sister and mother because of the stunts they would pull (long, long story). Their issues would leave me feeling awful and I allowed it. Not anymore. They still try to pull little things here and there but they know I’m not going to deal with it. I have my own life, my husband, and my career. I’m not going to let them ruin what I worked so damn hard for.

For your health and sanity, try to keep knitting and just slowly step out of her “craziness”. Offer outside resources for help, but don’t get caught up in it. She’s a big girl. She can take care of her self.

I hope that all will eventually improve for you. :hug:

I would calmly tell her that you don’t deserve to be treated like this and unless she can talk to you in a civil manner you are going to hang up. Then do so if she doesn’t calm down. I would do this every time you end up talking to her. Your husband has his heart in the right place, but he’s not living it so you’ll have to be patient with him if you can. :hug:

I agree with Jan.

You don’t have to put up with abuse, no matter who it comes from. You have the power to stop it. Just calmly explain to her that (and these words are important) YOU FEEL that the conversation is getting out of control and that you will be FORCED to hang up if she does not calm down. If she still won’t calm down, hang up. Keep doing it, BE CONSISTENT! Sooner or later she will get the message.

Mixing alcohol and drugs brings out all the worst character traits in a person. Their addictions are eating at them and they are unhappy so everyone around them is made to feel unhappy too. Don’t allow that.

Best of luck with your sister!

Easy, ya hang up.

I’m a huge believer in the idea that family are family when they act like it, and if they abuse you then they don’t deserve the tag. A few transgressions here and there are to be expected, but when a family member is toxic to you and does more damage than good, then they have forfeited the right to your good nature. You obviously love her, but that doesn’t make it ok, and you can still love her while taking a step back and letting her do her own thing. When she starts yelling, as the others have said, hang up and don’t take repeat calls for a bit. There seems to be very little you can realistically do for her, so taking the abuse is pointless. Let her do her own thing, be there for her if she decides to get her life together, but otherwise give yourself a break. Someone being family doesn’t give them the right to treat you like ****, and she has to learn that.

I hope you’re able to work things out with her, but if not, don’t be hard on yourself for it hugs
Fi xxx


I’ve had to do that. Your sister sounds like my aunt (only 4 years older than I am) She only called me when she was drunk, high, or so messed up on drugs that she couldn’t think straight. I had to just stop taking her calls. It wasn’t healthy. She called me once because she found out she was pregnant from the guy who burned down her apartment and was in jail and wanted me to send her money for an abortion. I told her I couldn’t do that. She called me all kinds of names and reminded me how I was as much a stoner as she was and that I “owed” her this. Uh, yeah, right. The only reason I ever got high with her is because she would smoke pot while she was supposed to be babysitting me and I had to breathe the air! She’s 47 now and still just as messed up. I refuse to talk to her. It was a hard decision, but I knew that talking to her solved neither her problems nor my own.

sigh Families are so hard. I know you wil do the right thing whatever that is and just know that we’re here for ya :heart::hug::heart:

I think the idea of writing her a letter or note is good, even if you don’t send it to her. It might help you deal with your feelings about the situation :hug:

Family problems are so hard. My entire family has treated me like crap my whole life. I tryed several ways to deal with them and nothing worked. I am 20 years old and I have not talked to anyone in my family for over 2 years now. It was hard at first but I dont even think about them anymore. My life is so much better without them. My best advice to you is to do the same. No matter what you do, some people will just continue to take advantage and belittle you. I am praying for you and your sister and I hope everything works out. :hug:

I am going thru something similar with my brother. I’ve tried working things out with him,but he tells me I’ve “done things to him and his wife for years”, but when I ask what, he won’t tell me. This all started when my mom died last year. I’ve tried talking to him and he gets very angry and nasty. Becomes very accusatory and mean. I’ve finally decided to kick him out of my life. I love his kids and make sure that I don’t miss their birthdays or special days. I ususlly send a card or gift, but I have no desire to see my brother or hsi wife. It is too painful and he has me so afraid to open my mouth that I’ll offend him or her unintentionally. But in his eyes, it’ll be on purpose. The sad thing is he works with my dh. He always asks about our daughter, but not me (does that sound selfish?). He’s made accusations against me to my dh, but dh knows that they are false. I am so torn up over this and that was why I made the decision I did. I feel bad for my dad, but I can’t handle my brother and his opinions or attitudes. So, you’re not the only one having problems with family members. The sad thing is, is that I never expected this to happen. So, I do a lot of praying and crying and asking why this happened to me. Keep your chin up and we’re here for you.

I have to agree with everyone else, hang up. You can only take someone’s abuse for so long and it makes it especially harder when the abuser is supposed to be family. Eventually it gets to a point where the best thing to do is cut yourself off from a person like that. My dad had to do that with his parents. They were always, always mean to him and he tried and tried, gave them chance after chance, but, eventually realized there was nothing he could do to improve the situation despite his efforts and just stopped talking to them altogether. Same thing happened with my sister and law and her mom. Sometimes, even though the people who are causing all the pain are family members, the best option is to just let them go their own way.

I actually couldn’t read any thing yesterday and kept the computer off and knitted all day and walked a lot.

THANK YOU so much everyone, for your thoughts and advice.
And I’m sorry also for you who are going through this same thing.

Yeah, most of this started up when my mum died also, although it’s been a few years now. The death of a parent can really set things off I guess. Make people angry/sad/crazed/…

The sad thing is, this was my little sister (we are 3 sisters) and we were very much alike and very close. I left home at 17 (to get married can you believe it0 and she was only 5 or 6 and after all these years she’s calling up and yelling, how could I abandon her like that? My mum was there for her. It’s very strange.

I think the pills and alcohol combined are really changing her because she used to be… well, she never screamed and swore so much and made things up like this.

I’ts impossible to make someone go get help too. Only a very strong together family can do those ‘interventions’.

The letter thing sounds the best. I think I’ll try that after a while.
Thank you all again so much.:heart: