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How come me and my sister talking about it is doing the opposite of helping me ?


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Me and my sister have lost our mother suddenly at the beginning of february. I've written about it in another topic but now I have another important question.

I thought that since we are feeling the same way which is lost and overwhelmed that talking to each other would help us out in the end. I'm surprise to say that it makes me feel worst to the point where I almost had a panic attack tonight. It's hearing her say outloud things that I'm feeling and fears that I also have, it makes me feel like she's validating them and although I'm trying to confort her afterwards, inside I'm suddenly overwhelmed. 

The first time we talked about it , I was having a more normal feeling day, after our talk in the evening i felt a big downer coming on me. 

And well tonight was the second time we talked about it and that brought like a panic attack afterwards. I have a very calming tea that helps me a lot and after taking it, I was calmer. 

I don't understand what's wrong ? I've read it's supposed to help to talk about it , why does it do the complete opposite everytime I discuss it with her ? I'm coming to the point where I want to completely avoid talking about it with her because I'm afraid of what it might stir up inside me. 

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I don't know why to be honest, I don't know your dynamics with her.  It can depend on whether she's older or younger, how you are in other discussions/topics, do you feel protective of her, is one of you a fixer?  I know I have one sister I can talk to about anything, another I'm more guarded with as she has high anxiety, tries to fix all of us, can be overbearing, doesn't listen, screams at us...I rarely talk to her about things.  Our dynamics can make a huge difference!  Do you feel "safe" talking about things with her generally?  I don't want to psychoanalyze as I'm not qualified, but these are possible consideration. ;)  

Also, if you have a difficult family history it can be painful bringing things up (I do, I've had lots of therapy for it but still don't want to hash/rehash it after all this time).  If you've gotten through something, sometimes there's no point in going through it all again.

It's okay to tell her you aren't up to talking about it, maybe talk with someone you feel more comfortable doing so with.

 

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I'm sorry for your recent loss. My family just lost our dad at the end of December. I have three siblings; I am the oldest of the bunch in my mid 60s. We are all experiencing grief in different ways. For a time in recent weeks, my younger sister started experiencing nightmares of not being able to get to my father. Another sibling has had bouts of anger, with old issues surfacing regarding our father and his not having left us any personal items to remember him by. Another sister has times of sadness and the tears can come on suddenly. I think what's been helpful for us is the very thing that you're having a problem with, which is talking by phone (we're scattered across the country). I started out in the early days by scheduling group calls and it was a way to check in with one another, then I started reaching out one on one to see how they're doing. Lately it's been more group texts to exchange thoughts, but just last night I was on the phone with my younger sister and she said the nightmares have ended. We're making progress towards a service for our dad, even though we don't have his remains (long, sad story involving his re-marriage), and now that we're past the two month mark the sadness is fading. Then again, just a few days ago something triggered me and I found myself seeking advice on this forum. I've started writing to get my feelings out. It's helping. I think talking, or texting with your sister is important. Be as open and honest as you can be. If you're feeling sad or angry or anxious, I personally think it's good to admit that that's how you're feeling. If talking by phone is too difficult, maybe just do a quick text exchange. I think I've been more open and honest with my siblings than I've ever been in the wake of my father's death. I hope this is helpful. We all experience loss differently; it seems there is no set formula for dealing with it. 

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Good ideas!

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thank you photoguy and kay for your answers. We've talked again tonight and I think I've figured out the problem. My sister suffers from anxiety and as a result I've always been reassuring with her whenever something happened. And what happened of course made her anxiety worst. And she does take medication for it but don't seek counseling for it not that I haven't tried , and my mother had tried to. But she's scared of therapy, to her going into therapy would be saying that something is "wrong" with her. I've tried to make her see that it doesn't mean that she's broken, that I do counseling right now and it helps me but she's hard set on not going and she said just talking about it makes her feel more anxious. 

So right now, I have begun having anxiety issues too and whenever we talk , I try to reassure her but inside my own anxiety flares up by what she's saying. I can't tell her that because I know it will make things worst for her but everytime we talk, I feel drained afterwards. 

I write a lot,began journaling everyday and it does help getting things out. 

I really wish that I could talk to my sister, but it's so complicated and right now I'm watching out for my dad , I can't keep on holding on the fort for everybody, I need to rest too. I know that I need to take care of myself to be able to take care of others and since the sleeping thing isn't settling nicely, I feel tired a lot. 

 

 

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My dear, it seems to me that even as you recognize how your sister might benefit from professional counseling or therapy, you're working overtime to try to fill that role for her yourself. It's no wonder that every time you talk with her, you feel drained afterwards, as your own needs go unmet.

I invite you to read the following:

How Do I Help My Anxious Sibling?

In Grief: Setting Clear Boundaries

As you say, you can't keep holding the fort for everyone else without becoming exhausted. If you don't take care of yourself first, you'll have nothing left to give to everyone else. ❤️

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OMG, I relate!  I have one sister with super high anxiety/anger issues and you can't deal with her when she's in that mode, she goes off on you!  I don't turn to her or share much with her because if I try, it's always a problem or doesn't go as one would think.  Maybe you could text her and tell her you're unable to talk about it right now, it's too hard, but you support and love her.  You could send her a card "thinking of you" or show support in another way other than compromising what it does to YOU as you need to protect yourself first and foremost right now.  :wub:

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I read the anxiety link but that wouldn't work with my sister.  She goes zero to 100 in a split second and whoever is around/on the phone is the target!  I literally told her a while back, "This is going nowhere, we'll talk another time..." and I hung up.  The next day she was like nothing happened!  She never apologizes or sees her part in anything and I've come to not expect anything.  It's up to me to protect what I allow in.  I love her with all my heart but owe it to myself not to take her crap.  If she was anyone else, I'd cut them off for their treatment, but this is my sister and I know her genetics.  She needs help, more than I can give her.  Instead of cutting her meds in half, she should have had them doubled!  She's never had therapy and likely never will, she's 75.

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Thank you for the articles. I do see the situation as me trying to replace therapy for her. We have a father who was an alcoholic most of his life, and although I loved my mother and father, it made for difficult situations in the household and I took the role of the protective sister although i'm the youngest. 

I really wanted this to work though, I wanted for us to be be able to share and help each other through this but I'm not finding what I need in our conversations. 

The problem is I'm not finding an ear, wherever I look. My sister went back to work and she had people coming to her and talk to her telling her that they went through the same thing and it is hard but they got through it. I didn't have that because i stayed to take care of my father. And I tried talking to friends, but they are not comfortable with the subject so they talk but not often and mostly avoid talking about what I'm going through. Getting something from them is like pulling teeth out of children's mouth so to speak. 

I'm going trough therapy but it's hard to get an appointment, my next one is friday. I'm feeling crippled by fear and overwhelming feelings, mostly I'm scared of not doing enough for my father, he has health issues on top of grief so it's ofent hard to tell if he's having problems because he's grieving or his health and I'm scared of getting too overwehlmed to take care of him. I keep a journal everyday, I read a lot. I'm trying to take care of my health, to take care of me but it's hard. I'M not hungry but i force myself to eat, I take vitamins, I try to sleep enough but it's hard as I wake up several times. 

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Have you read the book Adult Children of Alcoholics?  It helped me greatly!  Even though my father was long gone by then, it helped me see how it affected me AND my siblings!  I bought a book for each of us.  

I know this is a struggle to get through, do one day at a time, you're already doing what you can, keep on, this is a particularly hard time (Covid/social distancing) to get through things, I think one on one sessions is probably best for now, I'm sorry you're having to wait so long!

 

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