| 6.8°C Dublin

Close

Premium

Ask Allison: My sister's kids are mean and my family won't deal with it!

Our resident psychologist answers your queries about life and relationships

Close

Stock image

Stock image

Stock image

Q I am finding it very difficult to deal with what I see as the hypocrisy of my family. I am a 45-year-old woman and I have two younger sisters, both in their 40s also. My sisters would always have been closer to each other than with me, but I am OK with that. All three of us are mothers to pre-teen children. My youngest sister's kids are quite mean to their cousins - my daughter, who is the same age as her oldest, and also their other cousins, who are a year or so younger. I have spoken with my other sister about this and she agrees that their behaviour is appalling but she won't say anything to my sister's face, and when I bring it up, she stays silent or agrees with my youngest sister when she says my daughter is too sensitive. I feel like I am the only one who ever tells the truth and I am a bit of an outsider because of it. What should I do?

A What do you want to happen? Have you thought about what a good outcome would be for you? Start with this as your intention to start seeing what can be done. When faced with a big problem, it can be helpful to identify potential solutions.

Starting with the end in mind can help break a big problem down into something that you can tackle one step at a compassionate time, as you are really hurt. This is an old problem, with its roots painfully and deeply in the past. I hear you, when you say you don't mind that your other two sisters are close and you are OK with that, but is that fully true? Inevitably that must have felt and still feels hurtful? It is only natural to want to belong and there's no place we feel this more than at home. It is very common for a pair of siblings to form a strong bond at the exclusion of the other; three's a crowd may still hold true.