My sister (79) calls every day and repeats, almost verbatim, what she has said for months? - AgingCare.com

My sister (79) calls every day and repeats, almost verbatim, what she has said for months?

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Is it best to end the relationship? I have tried everything. She is extremely self-centered and bitter about the past--e.g., her husband dying, our parents' treatment of us, our other sister, who was the "favorite child." I cannot get her off these subjects. She calls her neighbors names such as "idiot" and "tweedle dum and tweedle dee." I have depression and she makes it worse. She won't get help, as nothing is wrong with her, as far as she's concerned. Am I fighting a losing battle?

Thank you.

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My first thought was, if my sister who's almost 70 started calling me daily to complain I would laugh my *ss off, then hang up never to pick up her call again...

It serves her right if she now has neurological problems..

Pay back for ignoring our mother and being selfish..He..He..

But seriously just tell her you don't want to hear the complaining.. If it continues block her number and go on your merry way..
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There's a term for people who are always depressing, complaining, critical, mentally dragging other people down, etc. They're called Energy Vampires. They literally suck the energy out of you because it's so demanding to listen to the constant complaints.

I don't know the rationale or psychology that causes someone to become an Energy Vampire, so I don't know what or whether there's any cure for it. You just have to address the behavior and decide whether or not you're going to allow it to continue.

This is not a criticism of you, but perhaps your sister feels enabled to complain freely if you haven't said anything about this in the past. There are various ways, some already suggested, in handling this and backing out.

You can tell her without being accusatory that from here on out you've decided not to listen to anyone who's negative. You might even share a tale with her that you've decided not to accept the phone calls of a longtime friend who complains constantly because it's so depressing. Your sister might get the hint.

If not, you can tell her you're not in the mood to listen to anything negative, but be prepared for a negative reaction. You can turn the phone on speaker and just continue to do whatever you were doing before. Or you can tell her you have about 5, 10, 15 minutes, or whatever number you choose, then abruptly cut the conversation short and tell her you have an appointment, are behind schedule on some project, or whatever.

Or you can sweetly tell her that you're concerned about the negative focus and think it would be helpful for her own health if she found something good in each of these people she dislikes.

At one of my jobs, our lunchtime educational program was a visit from one of the Dale Carnegie "How to Win Friends and Influence People" seminar programs. After the lecture, we were instructed to turn to the person next to us, get acquainted with him or her and find a number (I think it was 5 or 10) positive things we had observed about this person in a short conversation.

It was a challenge - I remember worrying about how best to do this when I didn't even know the person - often positive traits aren't discovered immediately but rather over time.

But with the firm direction to "get it done", it turned from an uncertain challenge to a quest to meet the challenge. We all did it, and left feeling so much better about ourselves and our co-workers because we had discovered something not seen during the ordinary course of work.
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She's not likely to change, if this has been how she is for most of her life. There are mental conditions that cause people to fixate on past wrongs done to them. I think it's called Rumination Disorder. It can be treated, but if she won't acknowledge the need for help, there's not much you can do.

Sometimes, we have to look out for our own mental health and happiness, even when family members are involved. I don't think I could take it. You might take note to see if anything else is going on with her. For example, does she remember all the phone calls? Maybe, she doesn't remember that's she told you all this before. If that's the case, then there may be something else going on with her.
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Your sister is 79 so I assume you are in the same age group.and you know how closed off you can feel when you are older and alone.
I would hesitate to cut ties with someone as close as your sister but certainly agree with trying to deflect her conversations. I understand how depressing this can be for the listener but either ignore her calls on some days and let the answering machine pick up or make her think you value her contact. "Hi Emily, I am glad you called I wanted to tell you about the new recipe I found for apple pie, it's so easy it only takes a few minutes to put together then you just bake. you could make yours as individual servings and freeze the extras" Or talk about anything else that might get her attention. Don't listen when she interrupts just keep on talking. if she does not have dementia something may get her attention. If she persists with the negativity just agree with her and sympathies but cut her off. "I left the kettle on" or some other excuse. Maybe even start initiating the calls yourself at a set time and stick to that timing.
What I am trying to say is that she desperately needs this contact with her loved ones, however negative she seems.
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I think it is up to you to decide whether or not you need to cut her completely out of your life. Listening to repeated negativity is definitely a downer, but you have managed to put up with her for almost 80 years.
Perhaps before completely excluding her you might want to try a little experiment in boundary setting. When she starts the negative rants tell her you don't want to rehash it all again and that if she can't speak of something else you will hang up. Then do it. Every time.
She may stop calling altogether, she may continue her rants (if she has early dementia she may not be able to stop herself), but you may start a new, healthier relationship with her. Stranger things have happened!
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It is possible that she has some mental health issues too and has become obsessed with the past and what she perceives as the wrongs done to her.
You must do what is best for yourself. Set some limits, tell her that you won't be able to talk to her anymore about some subjects and when she begins just say, "I can't talk to you about this, I have to hang up now". Hopefully she will get the hint and realize you are not a punching bag for her to abuse with her whining.
Best of luck to you.
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Yes, you're fighting a losing battle. If these are her only topics of conversation then you've probably heard them all a thousand times. Why take her call everyday?

Have you expressed to her how negative her phone conversations are? And how unpleasant it is to hear about this stuff everyday? Maybe she doesn't even realize that she's coming off so negatively.

Before you sever all ties to your sister try explaining to her how her phone conversations make you feel. Give her a chance to change.
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