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My mother passed away recently and we are working through the estate. I am the primary executor (in state) with my brother (out of the country) and then there is my sister. She gets one third of the work I do (the money), but she has been unbearably nasty to me. Irrational comments, yelling, unhappiness, unkindness. I don't know where it's coming from. She is getting MOST of Mom's belongings. She has almost no work to do, and yet she snaps. She seems happy with her community, with her marriage and she has a good job (which she complains about constantly).

I keep telling myself that she must be struggling with something and I should NOT take it personally, but I can't help being hurt. I try to step away from her anger, but even when I try to walk away she snaps at me and insults me. She has gone home, but the hurt lingers for days. I just want to stop thinking about it and stay away from her, but I will have to interact with her again. I do NOT want to talk with her about it because it is just too overwhelmingly stressful, on top of all the other things I need to deal with here relating to the estate.

I tried to ask both my brother and sister what to do with Mom's ashes. Their response is that it's up to me to do it. I'm OK with my brother's position on this, because he didn't insult me repeatedly while he told me he would leave it up to me. On the other hand, my sister just insulted me and attacked me during her last visit, while she didn't offer to join me in sprinkling the ashes. Now it's the last thing I'd want to do with her!

Any advice on how not to take irrational attacks personally will be very much appreciated. Thanks all!!

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Thank you so much for your suggestions!

I think it's a great idea not to be alone with her. My family (my sweetheart, my brother and her husband) witnessed one of her nasty attacks. My brother came to me the next day and asked if I was OK... I just said it was over and I didn't want to talk about it, because I was so raw. It was helpful later for my sweetheart to say he saw it happen and was as shocked as I was.

I never really had a great relationship with my sister. She always criticized my parents (she is 64!... I think it's time to get over that). She is a very negative person, but in the past, she was always kind to me and made an effort to have a nice relationship.

Lately, not so. One of my doctors today said she sounds narcissistic.... Hmmm, I guess so. It was all about her, or she'd snap.

I did spend a lot of time alone with her, going to the bank to get her name put on the account, etc, etc. Hopefully I can avoid that in the future.

Yes, boundaries. I need to get better at boundaries. I need to understand what they are and how to have them. Any advice?

Also, I can't tell you how much it means to me that you have been kind in your answers. I feel like I must somehow be an awful person for her to attack me like that, and you didn't suggest that. :-)
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You're a person and she's a person, so how can you not take this personally? Well, she is a person who is, for reasons unknown, not functioning at her rational best right now. That in effect takes one person out of the equation. I am sorry that she is dysfunctional and that you are getting the brunt of it. If you used to have a good relationship with her, repeat in your mind "This is not the sister I grew up with and love. This is an impostor who has taken over."

Set boundaries. Just because she is not herself doesn't mean you have to take crap from her. "Sis, in this session we'll be sorting through the kitchen items. We'll only talk about the items and about pleasant things." If she brings up garbage, end the session.

And ww9729 has an awesome idea in never being alone with her!

Maybe Sis will get her problems solved and emerge from this nasty persona. Try not to do anything to permanently close options of getting back together. But I suspect there is little you can do to bring this about.
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There are a LOT of dysfunctional families out there (mine included), and it's usually at it's worse when the parent(s) pass away. You will have to detach yourself emotionally from your sister and not let her words bother you. She obviously has some issues going on - she possibly could be jealousy that mom chose you to handle her affairs and not her. Just keep reminding yourself of that over and over - especially when you're around her. Don't meet with her alone anymore. Any time you need to meet with her, make sure your brother is there or someone who can be a mediator or who can help keep you calm. If you're doing the best you can do and it's not good enough for your sister - that's her problem - not yours. If she doesn't like how you handle it, she can hire an attorney to do it - but it will come out of her inheritence or pocket. Good luck!
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