First off, I feel that I must say that I have no professional training whatsoever in counseling. Also, this is my first post. I don't have all the answers and have plenty of problems on my own, but I've helped others at times so here is my advice, for what it's worth...
I'm not certain but it sounds like what you are saying is that you have a sister that has caused some division in the family to the extent that you have not spoken to a _different_ sister for 20 years. And the sister that you are "trying to understand" is one that you _have_ been talking to regularly (which is part of the problem because she has lied about
other family members resulting in the loss of a relationships with them)? I hope I'm understanding you correctly, please clarify if not.
I've definitely known people similar to your sister. People who make themselves out to be the victim, and who refuse to take responsibility for their (or others') problems, etc. I've also seen those same people make unsuccessful attempts of "suicide." But I feel that it is safe to say that they don't actually intend to kill themselves, otherwise, like you already said, they just would've done it. I don't mean to argue against the other replies (coming from those obviously more experienced than me in this forum, and probably in general) but I don't think you should completely avoid contact with your sister. Her behavior obviously shows that she is crying out for attention. Of course, you should not encourage her self-destructive behavior (the lying and the suicide attempts and so on) but if it were me, I would try my best to be there for her whenever and wherever I could possibly manage to do so. And forgive her. Forgive her without limitations. I don't mean just ignore the problems and forget about
them, but try your best to communicate to her the fact that you do forgive her, and you want to be there for her. She might know full well what the root of her problems are, and perhaps she'll
open up and share that with you.
I suppose I could ramble on and on, but I think the first step would be to tell her how she has hurt you and your family, and tell her that you forgive her and that you love her, and you want to help her if there's any way you can, and move beyond these problems towards a better relationship between the two of you and the rest of your family.
P.S. I know from my own experience these things can be difficult because you probably have all sorts of other things going on in every day life, but don't forget the "big picture" and the things that are the most important in life, like your relationships with your family and friends. Your sister is probably too consumed with her own problems right now to even realize that this is just as hard (maybe harder) for you and others. Try your very best to hang in there with her, and be honest enough to admit to her that you're not perfect either, and ask for her forgiveness when she feels that she's been hurt as well.
"When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long in the first place."
Post Edited (ipock) : 11/1/2010 10:17:57 AM (GMT-6)