Can you help me with my sister?


I have a sister who doesn’t practice any religion. I’m Catholic. She has now an occupation that compels her to be firm. She comes off as aggressive when she if off duty. It’s like she brings her occupation “home”. However, being religious like I am, I find it hard to accept her somewhat “mean” behavior even if she doesn’t mean it. I have had to ask her to rephrase her words, so that I could understand her better. The tone of her messages online for example is aggressive and mean sounding. In person, she is aggressive and I have had to stay calm when she is like that. She does make the effort to adjust herself only if I speak up.

Now, being religious means that we have a caring sensitivity toward the others and when someone like my sister doesn’t worship or exercise her faith like I do, a relationship with this person can be hard sometimes…quite “dark” from time to time. I have had to deal with my parents about this and am doing my best to avoid conflict because I want to keep our family united. I have had calm and intelligent discussions with her and she has adjusted herself to me somewhat, but it’s work especially when I have to manage something that includes her.

Her aggressive or mean behavior surfaces when there is a serious “chore” to do. For example, when I have to manage a task and I have to ask her help, it can be tough because we don’t work at the same pace. In her own job, she works alone and doesn’t have to share her work with anyone whereas I, have to. I have to think of others and work closely with others.

That said, my religious side makes the rapport between us tough because she can be direct whereas I, control myself in order not to hurt her feelings.

Any ideas on how to deal with a sister who is not a believer in a strict sense? How can I be a godly sister? How can I get her respect? She’s tough and her occupation encourages it. She’s on guard sometimes and needs help.

Can you help me?


Reading this I don’t really see it like you do. It’s not a Christian VS non-christian thing, it’s the difference between personalities of two sisters.

Your sister is a firm leader who’s job demands she take control. Sometimes it can be hard to get out of that mode. Have you ever met a thrid year kindergarden teacher? They talk to EVERYONE like they’re five beucase that’s what they do Alllll day. Eventually they grow out of it.

I don’t think that being Godly has anything to do with it. You should turn to God for prayer and support. But you should feel free to correct your sister when it personally annoys you.

“Kate you’re not at work, please don’t treat me like an employee”
“Junnie, I really need my space, you’re doing a great job, but let me finish washing the dishes”
“I know you mean well, Malorie, but I think you’re being too hard on the guests”

Use her name, be positive and kind, but correct her. Again, don’t bring God in it if it isn’t relevant…this is about a personality conflict, not a religious one.

When she sees that you are kind and not forcing God into “every” situation (even if you’ve been silently praying) then she will relax.

I have found that the more I work on myself the more peace I have within myself and my relationships within my family are becoming quite healthy. One thing that I have learned is that no one needs to understand me but that I need to understand them…in a nutshell: say the prayer of St Francis and try to practice it. I also work the 12 steps of AA and perhaps you can find someone to work with you to work the spiritual exercises of St Ignatius-don’t do it alone, you need to learn from someone who knows how to do the exercises. When I completed my 4th and 5th step, I was told to work on my relationship with my older sister, so I did and it was difficult. I knew all the pain that she caused me and all the trouble we’ve had throughout our lives. But I had to learn to meet her where she is at and the more I tried my best to do God’s will "for me"and the more I tried to understand and the more I practiced working the steps…the more it happened. When things would happen that I didn’t like I started to ask myself “What is God trying to tell me?”

God sometimes has to use 2x4 therapy with me and one of things that happened that really gave me understanding and compassion for my sister was giving room & board to her 2 sons (who are grown men)…well now I know why. But now all I’m seeing from my sister who only is able to express any type of affection through fb is a very desperate need to know that she is loved and accepted she especially wants my love and all this time she has been trying to reach out to me but I didn’t realize it…which absolutely blows my mind.

Sorry this is so long…work on yourself…you will be amazed at what you learn and the peace and love you will receive

Is your sister in an occupation that is more male-oriented? she could be over-compensating for being a woman in a field where males are the norm. Acting more like them, in other words. If she just started this job, she likely feels insecure and is trying to figure out how to do the job and still be herself. If this is way out of character her, then rest assured, she isn’t comfortable with it either and probably needs someone to talk to about it.

I think SeaShoreGirl had good approaches, just try to deal with each instance separately and not as a global problem. But if she keeps being aggressive when it’s not necessary or could be counter-productive, you could also say something like, “Hey, Sis, I’ve noticed you seem less patient than before you took this job - is it me, or is there some stress now…” Something like that, anyway. She’ll either yell at you or tell you, “As a matter of fact, now that you mention it…”

Oh my, have you ever talked to a soldier just back from Iraq? The level of aggression is off the charts. You know, 'cause they could have died at any given moment over there. And many watched that happen to some of their best friends. Many… VERY RELIGIOUS…

It’s not a religious thing. It’s her environment. I like the suggestion… Hey sis, I’m not one of your employees…

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