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Home / Relationships

How do I repair relationship with my sister?

 We’re not talking, avoiding one another, sending rude texts and communicating through friends (Shutterstock)

Hi Chris,

My sister and I have fallen out. It all started with something so small, at least to begin with.

I caught her in a silly lie. I thought we’d soon be friends again, but gradually my feelings of hurt have become bitterness, resentment and hostility.

I can’t stop dwelling on what happened. And I guess she’s the same.

So we’re not talking, avoiding one another, sending rude texts and communicating through friends. It feels like that can go on forever.

I know I should just let it all go, but I can’t. Somehow the feelings are just too intense.

What can I do?

How to Reconcile

——

Hi, How to Reconcile!

First of all, be patient. And don’t expect things to go back to normal quickly. Give each other enough time for feelings to cool, and reflect on what happened. Like how bad was the lie, really?

Then you can reach out, if your sister doesn’t first. Phone her and suggest a meeting. Gently tell each other why you should try to sort things out, because of the nature of your relationship. And remind each other of some of the good times you’ve had together.

Once you’re talking calmly again you can discuss the issue. Carefully avoid personal criticism or insults, or you’ll just end up in another fight. Be gracious if kind things are said, or apologies made. And try to see where the root of the problem lies. Probably with both of you to some extent.

Accepting what happened and moving on doesn’t mean condoning your sister’s behaviour. Or forgetting. What happened will always be a part of you. But you need to learn from what happened, rather than letting it rule your life.

So decide to accept your sister just the way she is. It will take time. You’ll run through a whole slew of emotions: anger, depression, denial and animosity. But gradually you’ll find that whatever happened is no longer intruding into your thoughts. You no longer think about how you’ve been hurt. Instead, you understand how it happened. From both sides.

Now you can forgive. That may seem impossible to begin with, but it isn’t, and makes the difference between life controlling you, and you controlling your life. Because without forgiveness, your anger and bitterness seeps into everything you do. You’re so wrapped up in what went wrong that you can’t enjoy the present.

Not that forgiving is easy, or quick! It takes time, and you may have to start over several times. But so long as you’re willing, it will happen. Start by no longer thinking of yourself in terms of how you’ve been hurt. And start empathising with your sister. So that gradually, your relationship can be re-established. Not quite the same. But with your new insight, perhaps deeper and more meaningful.

 

All the best,

Chris

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