Laws prohibit any form of abuse.

How to Protect Yourself From an Abusive Adult Sister

by Alysia D. Roehrig

In any household where children live together, there can be sibling abuse, according to the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. The abuse can go on to adulthood if parents ignore and make excuses for it instead of addressing it. If your adult sister is abusive, it can cause you depression and anxiety, affect your ability to trust and make you hate your sister. It can also cause a lot of damage to your relationship as a family.

1. Set Ground Rules

Set ground rules against your sister’s abusive behavior and stick to them. Make it clear that you will not put up with her harassment, stalking, intimidation or disrespect. Identify places and times your sister is most abusive and prepare in advance. For example, if your sister abuses you when you are alone with her, make it clear to her that you can only meet her in the presence of a third person. If she does it when she is angry or frustrated, speak to her only when is calmer.

2. Involve Your Family

Sibling abuse is more likely to happen when parents aren’t involved in their children’s lives, according to University of Michigan Health System’s article “sibling Abuse.” Letting your family know about your sister boosts your support mechanism. Your parents may also have a role in your sister’s behavior, and informing them about the abuse can make them more aware of their contribution. The notion of parental comparison or favoritism can cause sibling rivalry between siblings, which can escalate to an abusive level, according to author Jane Mersky Lederin, in Psychology Today. Involving your family also prepares them for any steps you take against your sister, such as severing your relationship or seeking legal action.

3. Seek Professional Help

Abuse can start with small things such as pushing, criticizing, teasing or scaring, but this can escalate to serious violence. Seek help when your sister starts acting abusive towards you. You can attend counseling sessions or join a support group. Your sister’s abusive behavior can also be a symptom of emotional problems she has. Involving a professional ensures that both of you get help and gives you an opportunity to mend the relationship before it is too late.

4. Get a Restraining Order

Depending on the level of abuse, you can get seek a restraining order against your adult sister. A restraining order is a court order that protects you from being abused, stalked, threatened or harassed. The court can stop your sister from contacting, calling or sending you texts, stalking or harassing you or disturbing your peace. You can also get a stay-away order where the court orders your sister to maintain a certain distance away from your home or work place.

About the Author

Alysia Roehrig began writing in 1997. Her work has been published in various online publications. She is a teacher and educator with experience teaching first grade and special education. Roehrig holds a Ph.D and an Master of Arts in psychology from University of Notre Dame.

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