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Sis’s behavior way outside the norm

Wed., July 24, 2013

Dear Carolyn: This past June, my son graduated from high school. My sister and brother-in-law have been very involved in my son’s life. 

About a year and a half ago, they separated.

Two weeks before the graduation, my sister introduced us to a “new” friend and said she was bringing him to the graduation. I said that would be no problem, and that we would still be inviting her husband. My sister threw a fit. She went on and on texting me how horrible and insensitive I was for inviting her husband.

Her husband sent a very sweet graduation card, explaining that he had decided it was best not to attend the graduation.

The day of the graduation, my sister did not even show up.

I can’t help but feel differently toward her now.

Since she told me to stay out of her life, that is what I have been doing. I still feel saddened and angered that she chose to turn this into an issue about her rather than celebrate the accomplishments of her nephew. – Disappointed

Your bond with your sister is lifelong, and your affection for her apparently lifelong minus one month.

Meanwhile, her poor behavior – awful, really, there’s no excuse for it – coincides with what may be the most emotionally fraught period of her life.

This isn’t to excuse your sister’s middle-school-quality meltdown, but to isolate it. In an otherwise functional lifetime friendship marked by her rallying for everything your kid ever did, surely she’s accrued enough credit for you to see this as an exception vs. an end? If not today, then after you’ve both had a chance to step back and breathe your way to some kind of perspective?

Please consider, when you’re ready, approaching her not with a “What were you thinking!” but instead: “That wasn’t like you. Are you OK?”


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