My family and I have been trying to set up our COVID Christmas visit. In our family’s social media chat, my fiancée, who works in public health, suggested that we do a distanced outdoor event to be safe.
My younger sister (in her 30s) wanted to host the event indoors at her house while still keeping a distance.
After seeing that most of the family agreed with my fiancée’s suggestion, my younger sister unleashed through text an appalling tirade directly to her.
She was extremely rude, included several personal insults, saying that she’s not yet part of the family and should stay out of our affairs.
The two weren’t previously close but my fiancée now wants nothing to do with my sister. I fully agree with her and support her decision.
This has happened before. My sister sent insulting texts to my other sister's husband after a disagreement last year. He’s not spoken to her since.
Is it anger management issues, immaturity, or maybe a more serious personality disorder?
I do get along with my younger sister but am unsure how to proceed and whether I should a) put effort into seeing her; and b) try to rebuild bridges between her and my fiancée.
The pandemic’s affecting traditional Christmas plans for many families. Your sister, having decided what she preferred, and how she’d handle it for the whole family, didn’t privately ask others first how they felt about it.
Your fiancée, working in public health, would obviously have strong feelings/knowledge on the topic.
To be fair, she also didn’t first discuss her approach privately and brought her idea to the whole family group at once.
When the majority agreed with her, your sister, wrongly, took it as a putdown.
It’s right that you support your fiancée against the tirade, and thoughtful that you wonder if there’s a history of your sister having some mental health issues.
But neither this incident nor one more, call immediately for a diagnosis.
More likely, her reaction is circumstantial due to the traditions and emotions surrounding a family-style Christmas.
Your sister’s reaction was extreme. But a thoughtful relative like yourself doesn’t have to sever all contact.
Talk to your fiancée, saying that you have some worries about your sister’s overreaction but recognize that she was embarrassed and upset at a time when everyone’s more strained than usual.
You respect your fiancée distancing from your sister. But, with support from you and the family, she’s secure and can rise to be civil to her at this Christmas event.
Meanwhile, keep a caring watch over your sister’s wellbeing. If there are more over-the-top reactions to individuals and events, that’ll be the time to encourage her to seek mental-health help, including a psychologist’s diagnosis.
Here’s my pet peeve: Covid or otherwise, I hate it when I go to a doctor/dentist appointment at a set time, have to sit in a waiting room, then move to a private room, JUST TO WAIT SOME MORE!
If you dare open the door and ask when the doctor/nurse is coming, they say, “s/he’ll be right there.” MORE WAITING.
When it comes to impatience and anxiety, there’s no “Covid or otherwise.” Also, the doctor/dentist/nurse is under more pressure than you.
It takes time to sanitize every chair/table/room from a previous patient. Also, health-care workers are overrun with scared patients fearful of catching the virus.
You’ve vented here. But I advise against doing so in a waiting room.
I recently logged onto a Zoom call early, my video and audio turned off. Only the host was logged on, also with video off.
Suddenly I heard her answer a call and speak ill of our boss.
She gossiped for five minutes before someone else joined the Zoom and she ended her call.
I don’t think she realized that I was logged on OR that she wasn’t on mute.
Do I tell my boss? Or do I tell this woman that I heard everything? Or keep quiet?
Accidental Fly on Wall
Since the person’s comments were derogatory, you’d be repeating negative statements likely to offend your boss. Unfortunately, you’d be associated with this embarrassing reveal.
However, if the host bad-mouthed the boss’ management style or workplace plans, you’d be supplying the boss important information.
Unfortunately, you’d still end up being deemed a “snoop” because you didn’t sign off when you heard the “private” chat.
Tip of the day:
Try to prevent COVID-19 from destroying family relationships. Tension/fear can weaken needed energy to stay safe.