Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How To Deal With A Passive Aggressive Younger Sister

How To Deal With A Passive Aggressive Younger Sister

Earlier, I said to Sueyan : "So, are we meeting tomorrow morning to work?" She said okay. But I sensed her anger about something. I wondered whether I'd said something wrong or she was feeling angry because I'd not appreciated her for spending a few hours creating, editing and uploading YouTube videos today... So I said to her : "You seem angry about something. What's going on?" And she kept quiet.

She was being a passive aggressive younger sister again.

Frankly, I feel at a loss when my younger sister behaves passive aggressively... 

I find myself not knowing what to do or say. Sometimes, it feels like I'm walking on eggshells. It feels like she's a ticking time bomb - ready to explode at any time. And it scares me.

So, pacing around my room, I asked myself the question : What do I do about a passive aggressive younger sister?

Here are the answers that came to me :
  1. Remember that you are not responsible for your younger sister's feelings.
  2. Answer the question : What is it that I prefer?
  3. Send her a text message to appreciate her. It works for your boyfriend. Maybe it'll work for her too...
It seems like three simple ideas but they are very powerful! They worked! After sending her a text message, she replied :

"You're welcome. Good job cutting the sections :) I love you. Sorry that I don't feel like talking. Sorting out my inner stuff."

I felt relieved after receiving her message.

Now that I knew the reason for her passive aggressive behaviour, I can put my mind at ease instead of wondering about our relationship for the rest of the night.

In addition, knowing that she was struggling with her own inner challenges, I knew what to do next. I can give her my love, encouragement and support. So I sent her another text message saying :

"Thank you for letting me know. I know you'll feel better soon. Hugs."

To clarify, here's my first text message to Sueyan :

"Thank you for creating and uploading the videos, business partner. I love you."

The reason I'm sharing with you our text messages, is so you can have a better idea of exactly what words you can say, write, text, or email your passive aggressive younger sister. I know too well how hard it is to communicate love and compassion for your younger sister when you don't know what to say.

So, to simplify it for you, say "Thank you for ..., Sister. I love you."

When your younger sister is being passive aggressive, don't push her to tell you what she's thinking.  Give her time and space. That's what she needs right now. But let her know that you are here for her if she needs to talk. If she trusts you enough to reach out and open up to you, please keep quiet and LISTEN.

Listening carefully and quietly to your passive aggressive younger sister without reacting is the best gift you can give to her.

I'm sharing this from personal experience.

In the past, I would jump in and give my advice instead of listening to my sister share her thoughts and feelings.

It was a big mistake!

I say this, because after a while, she stopped trusting me.

Each time she shared her feelings, I would cut her off before she was done by giving her my advice. This made her feel bad. It became a negative experience for her. And it became harder and harder for her to reach out to me. After all, who wants to do something that makes them feel bad?

Of course it would have been easier for the both of us if she just said : "Sister, I need you to keep quiet and listen to me. I don't need your advice. Can you please keep quiet and listen to me?"

But there's no use pushing the blame onto your younger sister. If she could say it, she would. I choose to take responsibility and do what I can to improve our relationship. What do you choose?

If by keeping quiet while letting her talk is what it takes, then I am going to do my best to do it. It's what I need to do, so she can trust me again. Maybe, eventually, she will learn how to tell me to keep quiet. But in the meantime, I'm going to remember the three things I did today the next time she behaves passive aggressively towards me again...
  1. Remember that you are not responsible for your younger sister's feelings.
  2. Answer the question : What is it that I prefer?
  3. Send her a text message to say "Thank you. I appreciate you. I love you." 
I hope this method works for you too. Let me know.


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