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dearmargaretDear Margaret: My sister and I have always had a difficult relationship. There have been so many times when she's pushed my buttons, and I've vowed to never speak to her again. I always let things slide after I have a few days to calm down. I'm not even sure she knows how offensive she is. Each time we're together she makes cutting remarks, and I say nothing. I don't want to get to the point where I explode and our relationship ends for good, but I don't want to continue this relationship as it is. How can I handle this?

Dear Torn: If your sister consistently makes cutting remarks, I find it difficult to believe she is unaware of how she affects you. I suggest your real struggle is speaking up for yourself. If you're unaccustomed to questioning someone's negative behavior towards you, it might be a challenge to come to your own defense at first. Before you decide to end the relationship entirely, try vocalizing to her what you're feeling. Next time, try saying something like, "That felt sharp. What did you mean by that?" You may have trained her, by your silence throughout the years, that it's acceptable to mistreat you. It's advisable that you call her on her ill behavior. It may take practice, even courage, initially. However, it's a step towards your own personal growth.

Click Here to write to Dear Margaret.  Margaret Snow is a Life Coach in Ithaca, NY.

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