How should I respond to hostility from my sister?


I have been having huge difficulty lately with my fifteen-year-old sister who is two years younger than me. There are occasional moments when we get along, but the rest of the time she is very negative and acts as if she loathes me. At everything I do she insults me, and she shoots down every opinion I have. I try to be friendly to her, but she tells me not to speak to her or be around her or ever smile at her. I have tried doing what St. Therese did with the difficult nun in her convent, but if my sister sees that I am making an effort to be nice she becomes furious.

She acts with this hostility to the whole family, including the little ones, who understand that they are not permitted to touch or kiss her. But the strange thing is that once she is in public or interacting with anyone outside our family, she becomes as docile as a lamb and extremely quiet and even unsure of herself. When she speaks about these other people at home she proclaims how much she doesn't like them. And in her strange rare moments when she suddenly becomes nice, it's as if she is a totally different person. I like her a lot during those moments. But then she goes back to acting as if she hates everybody, especially me. And I just don't know how to respond to it.

Should I just leave her alone? Since she acts this way I feel that she can't be very happy, and so leaving her alone doesn't seem right. Or should I try the same thing St. Therese did, being especially kind and acting as a friend? When she tells me not to speak to her or look at her should I obey out of tact? Maybe if I irritate her so much that would be the kindest thing to do. I just don't know. Since she is my sister, and we do have to be around each other every day, what is the best thing to do?

As for why she hates me, I don't know. Perhaps I have big personality flaws I'm not aware of. Most of what she says is, "You're stupid," because I have different ideas about things than most people our age do. She also doesn't like it when I display any enthusiasm about anything.

I wish we could be friends, like we were when we were little. I wish she would change so that our family could be peaceful, and so that my 9-year-old sister would stop copying her behavior. She's beyond my parents' discipline. Is there anything I could do to help her become happy again? She's so guarded that she doesn't let anyone get close to her. She hates it when anyone tries mentioning prayer or anything to do with God to her, but I feel that God is just who she needs. But I feel that I am the wrong person to try reaching out to her. I know I should pray for her, but when it comes to dealing with her in daily life I am at a loss.


Be a good example to her.

Leave the discipline to your parents.


Yes, be a good example and leave the discipline to your parents…

But - maybe strike up a conversation with your parents… Could she be depressed and/or going through some tough hormonal/emotional times in life? Personalities that are that fragile and fickle may benefit from seeing a physician…

Pray for her… a lot. :slight_smile:


[quote="Em_in_FL, post:3, topic:191276"]
Yes, be a good example and leave the discipline to your parents...

But - maybe strike up a conversation with your parents... Could she be depressed and/or going through some tough hormonal/emotional times in life? Personalities that are that fragile and fickle may benefit from seeing a physician...

Pray for her... a lot. :)


Oops, sorry for the poor wording on my part, but I never meant to say I had thought of disciplining her myself! I had meant that my parents simply don't know what to do either, and have no control over her. I have talked to my mom about it, but she feels it's beyond her, too.


I was more reiterating what kage_ar said… but also notsomuch “discipline”, but maybe “judging” her attitude… ??? Still not exactly the wording I’m looking for, but I understood your point… :slight_smile:

I still suggest you bring up the idea of seeking medical help with your parents… especially if they are also at a loss…


For all of us on here, it's easier said then done, because we are not you.

Try your best to be a happy solider in Christ. Be happy, non judgemental, and pleasant. If she continues to be hostile and unpleasant, it shows bad on her-very bad.

Don't let her bad mood bring you down! The unhappy seem to hate the happy, don't return hate with hate.

Return hate with either love or indifference. ;)


what a difficult position for you to be in…I am so sorry.
I think for your peace at home avoid confrontation with her.If she wants to pick a fight
or be moody or pushy try not to retaliate and walk away.I know thi sis easier said than done
but if she gets no reaction from people she will soon stop with the attitude,as she gets no response from you.
Sometimes people act out like this because they are trying to get attention or because they are
having emotional difficulties.Maybe her hormones are playing up …
It would probably be agood idea for your mother to take your sister to the doctors and check her hormone levels etc and maybe your sister is needing help.

On the other hand it may be a phase of growing up on her part and she may grow out of it.
As others have said be an example to her, and avoid confrontation, walk away if problems arise.
Good luck and God bless


Your sister sounds a lot like my son when he was 14. His behavior changed almost overnight. Eventually, he was diagnosed as bi-polar. Of course, your sister could just be hormonal too. But if your parents are finding her behavior to be atypical they should probably consider some sort of medical or psychological assistance. She may have a hormonal imbalance that’s easily corrected, or may need to talk to someone about what ever is bothering her.

If I was you, I’d keep being nice. If she tells you not to look at her, you can just break contact, but your eyes have the right to go anywhere in the room. Don’t let her emotions change your behavior. You sound like a very nice girl, and if you were 10 years older, I’d want to introduce you to my other son. By the way, the bipolar one is doing just fine now. Sometimes he’s kind of a downer to be around, but he’s functioning, holds a better job than I have (and I have a college degree to his GED) and is married to a decent girl. But it took a lot of work and patience to get him through those horrible teen years when I didn’t know if he was make it through another day.


To some extent such moodiness is somewhat normal for teen girls, although your sister sounds like an extreme case.

One thing I do not see you mentioning are your parents. How do they respond to such behavior from your sister? Are your parents still together? Does one of them have substance abuse or anger issues? Often when there is some family trauma that children grow up in, it can lead to such moodiness, where the “real problem” is always someone else because that is what they would rather believe than deal with actual problems that are affecting their lives and their happiness.


What Dulcissima said.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit