Dear global counselor,
I am 50 years old and my sister is 52. Our parents were immigrants and they are both dead. Eversince we were children I felt my sister was jealous of me and always tried to put me down. That feeling has never left me but yet I cannot seem to be able to not have her in my life on a regular basis even though after most of our encounters I am left feeling worst than when I met her. To get her to share anything with me is like pulling teeth. She rejects my attempts to hug her and brush it off as me being too emotional. She has everything – the perfect family house, husband, children, grandchildren and her lily-white picket fenced yard. She has her Sunday family dinners at which I am never invited. I on the other hand am a single parent never married spinster of sort. Thank God I have many good friends who make me feel like a human being but why cannot I shake this need for approval from my sister, why do I put myself in harm’s way with her. Many of my friends say that I have to let it go but it is not that easy. I seem to want to be part of a family and she is the only family I’ve got. I should say that I have four nieces and nephews whom I love and very close with but I feel my sister gets in the way of that relationship too. How can I get over this feeling of insecurity and break free.
You are not alone. There are many people who experience this sort of family dynamics which is unhealthy. You are hooked on an idea and cannot let it go. You are hooked on the idea that sister should love each other and be there for each other. Just remember you do not choose your sister, you choose your friends. Your friends approve you so what’s the problem. Where does this need for approval of your sister come from? why is it so important to you? Is your sister picking up on this neediness and so push you away. How do you feel about yourself? Do you approve of yourself, do you love yourself? If you do not approve or love yourself it will be impossible for anyone to love or approve you. On the other hand if you love and approve yourself, people will pick up on that and will love and approve of you. Instead of looking outside of yourself for approval, try going inside and embrace yourself including all the things you think are faults. You would be surprised how others perceive you will change. I believe that the problem is not with your sister but it within you and you have the power to change. You have to see yourself as worthy of love and approval because you are. When you change the way you look at yourself, the way you see yourself will change.
Dear global counselor,