Dear Annie: Sister seizes on sickness to manipulate the whole family

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Stop the insanity. (Getty Images)

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Dear Annie: My problem is twofold. My nine-year relationship with “Louis” is usually a joy. We are both 59 and have only ourselves to tend to daily.

We both contracted Covid during the holidays. It was rough, but we helped each other.

His sister is always the bearer of bad news. She exaggerates for effect. Their mother lives in the apartment underneath Louis’ sister.

Louis’ sister knew that we were sick. I had sent her a message with the positive tests.

She called him on New Year’s Eve. She wanted to know what time we would be there. We could not go because we were sick and have underlying health conditions, as does his mother. His sister called him to tell him that he ruined her traditions. She said horrible things that made this grown man cry. He was already having breathing problems, so she in turn didn’t help the matter.

He has been sad ever since her call. He loves his mother, and his “manipulative” (his word) sister is really hurting him. I try my best to keep my thoughts to myself.

His sister has been doing these things before I even knew him.

She seems to thrive on adversity. I would love to hear your opinion. I read your column, and I respect your advice. I feel that she owes him (and me) an apology. Which will never happen. He really wants to be closer to his mother, but her head is filled with Sis drama.

We both know that Sis will never change. -- Stop the Insanity

Dear Stop the Insanity: The best way to stop the insanity is to stop doing the same thing and expecting a different response. This is who your husband’s sister is. Her actions are very narcissistic and controlling, but you know to expect that. If you go into any conversation or encounter with her knowing who she is, then you will be better able to have boundaries in place. If she starts in on your husband, just have your husband have a plan of action that stops her before she tries to make him feel guilty.

His mother is a different person than his sister, so he is free to have a different and closer relationship with his mother if that is what he wants.

Annie  Lane

Stories by Annie Lane

“How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to


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