Jealous of Sister

Published: February 28, 2013
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I have a younger sister who just started therapy. I think I'm jealous. All my immediate family talks about is my sister. I eavesdrop on their conversations hoping they'll mention me. It's been days since I've talked to my mom. And when she did call the first thing she talked about was how inconsiderate I am to my sister (she got me a really expensive sweater and I accidentally put it in the wrong clothes hamper and it almost got ruined in the wash). I realize I made a mistake and I said sorry. What I don't understand is why no one seems to notice that I'm upset. My sister won't talk to me. None of them seem to notice that I can't sleep, my mood is terrible, I'm only sober about 35 percent of the time. I even tried going to therapy myself but I feel like it's a waste of time. I care about my sister I don't want to feel jealous I just want someone to notice me too. What should I do?

Dear Jealous of Sister,

It’s clear that the silent treatment or being intoxicated 65% of the time has not succeeded in gaining your family’s attention so a different approach is necessary. You may think you are giving off strong signals that you are upset but it is possible that your parents are interpreting them differently. They may see it as you just being angry or have trouble seeing that you are also struggling in addition to your sister. Blaming you for ruining the sweater doesn’t seem fair and must have really hurt your feelings.

The best way to approach the situation is to let your parents know that you have been feeling jealous of your sister. It would be very important for you to empathize that you really care about your sister and don’t like feeling this way. There seems to be something about the family dynamics that prompts your jealousy. Family therapy would be a great way to understand the underlying issues and help everybody in the family communicate more effectively and show mutual support for all family members

Signed: TeenHealthFX