In the “Consulting Therapist” series, I will answer all your questions about mental health and psychology. Whether you are struggling with a mental health condition, coping with anxiety about living conditions, or just seeking the insights of a therapist, you can submit a question. Please pay attention to my answers to your questions in the Healthy Mind newsletter every Thursday.
Our readers ask
“After I told her that she could no longer live with me, my sister stopped talking to me because I was getting married and felt that too many adults could not live under one roof. Am I wrong? “
You can decide what type of health boundaries you want to set in your life. If you think it’s best not to live with your sister, that’s your choice. Just because she is angry with you doesn’t mean you did something wrong.
Make the right decision for you
You can decide what rules you set at home. As far as you are concerned, you decide that you don’t want too many adults to live under one roof. This makes sense. Wanting some privacy after marriage is healthy for you and your partner. Asking your sister to move out is a reasonable request, and this decision may be good for your marriage. Obviously, your sister doesn’t like you to set this limit. Now, she either tries to punish you with silence, or she hopes her silence will change your mind.
It may be painful to think of your sister not talking to you. After all, it sounds like you are kind enough to open your home to her. Her decision to stop talking to you means to some extent that your relationship is conditional-if you give her a place to live, she will talk to you. She ignores the fact that you now feel that it is not in your best interest.
However, your decision may also lead to better results for your sister’s life. If she encounters financial difficulties, this situation may motivate her to create positive changes for herself. Or, if she feels lonely living alone, she may choose to make some changes to her social life. In any case, her problem is not necessarily your responsibility.
She may not talk to you now, but that doesn’t mean she won’t come back eventually. She may just be hurt, embarrassed, or anxious, and she chooses to be angry with you to avoid taking responsibility for these emotions.
At the same time, you may grieve for the loss of your sister. If you live together, you may be really close. Not having her around can arouse all kinds of emotions.
Don’t let your emotions convince you to shrink
Whether you feel guilty, worried, sad, or angry, these feelings are okay. They do not indicate that you have made the wrong choice. Those emotions may be irritated only because of your sister’s reaction, not because of the choices you made.
Asking your sister to move back may temporarily relieve your guilt or anxiety, but it doesn’t sound like you want to do it. Therefore, look for healthy ways to deal with these feelings-such as physical activity, journaling or leisure activities.
When you show that you take your limits seriously, your sister may decide to talk to you again. You can of course contact her and invite her to talk, but if she is not interested, don’t feel obligated to continue trying to talk to her.
Focus on your marriage and move forward
You’d better put your energy into your new marriage. Try to establish a close relationship with your partner. Perhaps over time, your sister will find that even if she does not live in your home, she can still maintain a relationship with you.
Avoid the temptation to let other people participate. Asking family members or mutual friends for help and trying to get them on your side will only prolong the problem.
If someone asks your sister why she moved out, you can simply explain it, such as “I’m getting married”, or you can simply say, “We think this is the best.” You don’t necessarily need to be angry with your sister Reasons for lengthy conversations. If someone mentions that they know she is angry with you, tell them that you know, but don’t talk more about the tension in your relationship.
Talking about this situation with other people will only draw the distance between you and your sister. If you find that you need to talk, please consider psychotherapy so you can get some objective feedback from a mental health professional.