Jump to content

Overbearing younger sister


Recommended Posts

My younger sister is incredibly overbearing and controlling. Most of the time, it's about things that I let slide (for example, she can be quite bossy in the kitchen, telling me how to do things, what ingredients to use, trying to control every aspect etc.)...but her overbearing and bossy ways are specifically challenging when dealing with my father. The backstory:

He was diagnosed with cancer several years ago. He is in treatment, and his condition is not deteriorating too badly right now, but since his diagnosis, my sister has started monopolizing all his time. I know she loves him and wants to treasure the time we have left with him, but she is so dominating and overbearing that I feel like I am being pushed over to the side. For example, when we go over to my parents house, she is ALL over him, constantly touching him, hugging him, taking the seat beside him so that she can always be super close to him. She is so cuddly and touchy with him that I barely get a chance to sit with him or spend time with him without her also being there. Since covid, she has been out of work, and on government funding, so she is over at their house practically every day. I am in school and don't have as much free time, and when I do have free time to spend with him, she is always there.

I totally get her wanting to be affectionate and close with him, but I feel like she wants to assume the role of his primary caregiver (despite the fact that he lives with our mom, and my mom is there to provide a lot of care). I feel like she is being competitive about it, wanting to be the main, most important, most involved person...like she is trying to prove that she loves him the most and is willing to do the most for him or something. I also want to help out, show him that I love him and want to help him with things, but I feel so knocked out of the way by my sister that I hardly ever get a chance. I think it's nice that she wants to support him so much, but it seems like there is this competitive, domineering aspect of it that is really hard to deal with.

He recently had spinal surgery, and I went over to the house today to visit him after he got out of the hospital. My sister was already there, trying to control everything, bossing him around about taking his painkillers, writing out medication schedules, jumping up to be the one to help walk around because he needs to walk around every so often to help with his post-op recovery. She basically wants to be the one to do everything and won't let me or my mom be as involved.

I don't want to cause any tension, so I mostly just stay out of the way, and try to show support by coming over and offering to help with things anyway, doing whatever small things that I can, and showing my support and love for my family. I am trying to not let these dynamics bug me, but sometimes it really irritates me. I know if I bring it up with my sister she'll just get defensive and deny it, and I don't want to fight with her about it, since we all have enough stressors about it as it is. I guess I just wish she would get out of the way and let me help too, and stop trying to control everyone and everything. I don't know if there is some way I can change the situation...do I just learn to live with these dynamics? Do I talk to them about it? Do I just accept that this is her personality, and live with the fact that we all have our faults? I dunno...it's just frustrating.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Hollyj. I haven't mentioned my annoyance with my younger sister to my mom specifically regarding my father, but I have made a few offhand comments about my sister being a control freak, more in a sort of lighthearted way. My mom did say today "Your father doesn't listen to me when I try to get him to do things...he only listens to your sister." She said it in a way that sounded frustrated and sad...so I don't know if maybe she is bothered by my sister being super controlling or if it is more that she is bothered that my dad won't listen to her when she tries to help him out. Maybe both. My mom's temperament is more like mine...more on the gentle, docile side. I think that is why my dad listens to my sister...because she simply doesn't let him say no to things.

I dunno, I do think it probably bothers my mom though, because she's his wife after all...it's kind of weird for the little sister of the family to be acting like the head of the family. It's a family dynamic that is probably actually quite common, but it's still hard to handle, all the same. Do you think I should talk to my mom about it more in depth? In a way, I think sometimes that my mom is just grateful that my sister wants to be so involved because it takes some of the burden off her. I do get the sense that she has some complicated feelings about it though.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I do think you should have a convo with your mom, then the two of you can sit down calmly with your sister and share how you feel.   I will give your sister the benefit of the doubt and assume that she is not aware of her behavior.   I would start off the convo with how you appreciate all that she is doing, but also tell her you would also like to be a part of his care during these difficult times.  Perhaps, you can take shifts while tending to him.   You and your mother need to also be able to share in these precious moments and is just as important for you.  Unless your sister is a monster, she will understand and back off.  I have a feeling you may to a few reminders after the talk, as it sounds like her personality.  Difficult times can bring out both the good and bad in folks, as I experienced dealing with my brother's cancer. 

 Good luck and stay strong.

Edited by Hollyj
Link to post
Share on other sites

Let your father recover in peace without dealing with this sibling rivalry. It's hard to imagine what he and your mother are already dealing with then having to deal with petty egos.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

Let your father recover in peace without dealing with this sibling rivalry. It's hard to imagine what he and your mother are already dealing with then having to deal with petty egos.

I agree with this.  Don't make a big deal of it. if you're there and not able to sit with dad. Just say, hey, sis, you've been sitting with dad all afternoon.  May I sit with him for a bit? Say it in front of everyone calmly and nicely with a smile. teach your sister to share.  

Edited by Lambert
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

^I agree about being simple and clear about your desire to spend more time with your dad.

Also, you mentioned your dad can't say no around your sister. I'm curious if he resists with you and your mum? Can you provide some examples of what he resists or says no about? If they're important details like his medications or care it would make sense that someone is a bit more forceful or take-charge. Is there anything that she's doing that's dangerous or negligent to your dad's health? Over-medicating etc? If there's nothing damaging or negligent about what she's doing your dad may feel safer around your sister caring for him. Bitter pill to swallow but it also offers a bit of reprieve for your mum who lives with him and you. 

I wouldn't bother your mum about this either. Just be with your mum, sit with her, have a cup of tea, ask her how she's doing and if she spoken to her friends. Make sure she has a support system too and it's not just you and your sister. When your dad passes she will lean hard on friends and family but encourage her to talk to her friends and encourage her hobbies too. 

For your sister, I'd go for a one on one lunch and spend some time with her. Do things outside of caring for your dad. You may not be close with each other but you can try to rebuild that bond. Maybe things are tense now but it doesn't have to be that way. Support each other if you can and take down those walls. 

Edited by Rose Mosse
Link to post
Share on other sites

I would totally look the other way.  So often a sibling doesn't want to help at all.  As long as the actions she is taking is helping your father, I'd put all else aside and focus on your father's best interests and health.  I'm sorry it's frustrating -you can only control you so find ways to release the frustration and stress like brisk exercise.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

This may not fly in your household, but in my own case, while visiting with Dad, I'd say to Sister in front of Dad, "Hon, I have something I want to ask Dad's advice about. Would you give me a private moment with him?"

This would put her on the spot to not come off as an infant. Once she exits, I'd lean in close to Dad, kiss his hand and whisper, "There's nothing wrong. I just wanted a bit of cuddle time with you. Can this be our secret?"

I'd repeat as necessary, substituting, "I just need to report some progress on my issue to Dad..." only from that first time forward Dad would be in on it.

And I agree with you, I would NOT stir the pot, with Mom or anyone.

 

Edited by catfeeder
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/26/2021 at 9:28 PM, Eliza84 said:

I don't want to cause any tension, so I mostly just stay out of the way, and try to show support by coming over and offering to help with things anyway, doing whatever small things that I can, and showing my support and love for my family.

Do this: ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^  See your above quote. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Be gracious and yield.  Now is not the time to create discord and strife.  Maintain a calm atmosphere for your father and everyone.  No sense fighting.  Pick your battles.  It's not worth the extra tension in the household.  Do what you can and if this is your sister's show, then so be it. 

My sister monopolizes my mother's time and attention.  At first I, felt jealous and resentful.  I don't anymore.  I let her wear herself out while I expend the least amount of energy, time and effort. 

Change the way you think and you will feel relieved and secure. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/27/2021 at 1:13 AM, Eliza84 said:

My mom did say today "Your father doesn't listen to me when I try to get him to do things...he only listens to your sister." She said it in a way that sounded frustrated and sad...

This makes it look even more like she's the, "Golden Child."  Your dad listens to her more than his own wife he ignores, the way you put it.  That's not healthy, and no, not normal at all.

The unfortunate thing is that, even though this clearly bothers your mom, it's not enough to where she'll actually do anything about it.  Her own husband listens to her (respect your sister) more than her. 

And recently your mom took your sister's side on something that was ridiculous (the social media post she was vague about).  They are fitting into the enabler role.  No matter what she does it sounds like, even if they're not really ok with it, they'll go with it to keep her happy.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...