Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Dominating older sister

sea waves,

Salam Alaikum.

I am a younger sister, and there is eleven years difference in age. My older sister is dominating in always and at times can make me feel claustrophobic. She is dominating in the sense that in conversation and discussion she leads and can never be wrong, and if she decides she wants to do something or go somewhere, i too MUST oblige.

I try to not be irritated by this and try to be flattered that she wishes to spend so much time with me, but i can´t help but feel resentment and annoyance for I am old enough to make my own decisions, and when I try to take a stand I am guilted.

It is to the extent where if I wish to sit in a particular room but she does not she will make me get up and sit in the other. Or if it is extremely hot outside and I do not wish to leave the house to go for a walk because I wear the hijab and can not tolerate heat, she will make me anyway.

I feel like  a puppet. I don´t feel like my own person, and at the same time I have bad thoughts and feelings towards her and it makes me feel horrible.

I know the typical advice would be to tell her my feelings, but its not possible. Apart from being dominating, she is also extremely sensitive and me saying  such things could send her into a breakdown. I don´t know what to do. I dread having holidays as she comes over everyday all day, and I will do anything to avoid seeing her more than twice a week. One should not feel such a way towards a family member I know. But it is beyond my control.


Tagged as: , , ,

4 Responses »

  1. Salam Alaykum Katkoot,

    I am in a similar situation as you, as my older sister is also always very dominating and harsh towards me. And I also understand that it is hard to talk to them about how you feel, due to the fact that they will take it the wrong way etc. There is nothing you can honestly do, tell you mother..thats what I used to do, and my mum would usually tell my sister. Atleast try and talk to you sister about it, as you cant keep going on feeling this resentment against her. She wants the best for you, trust me 🙂

  2. As salamu alaykum, sister Katkoot,

    As sister maz has mentioned, she wants the best for you. She is so much into being your older sister and so protective of you, that she hasn´t realized yet that you can have your own life, without her taking care of you, you are still her little baby.

    You were her responsibility since you were born, she always kept an eye on you to keep you safe and she still does it, she makes you move from one room to the other, because she is used to take care of you, she wants you close, because this way, subconsciously she feels you are safe, it isn´t more than this.

    In your case, you won´t get any improvement talking to her right now, yes in the future, but she has so strong in her that you are her baby and you are her responsibility that even if you talk to her to explain it, her mind may understand it, but her Heart won´t. Then, little by little, gain a little bit of space to yourself, bring her to you, make her understand through your acts that you are a grown up sister and that she can relax about your safety.

    Love her, make her feel secure about what is going on, because it seems that changes makes her feel unsecure, then with a soft hand stay in the room today, find something to do, tell her to help you, instead of the opposite, listen to her quietly, accept her views and if you have other way of seeing it, let her know, always showing how much respect deserves her opinion to you, this way she will listen to you, maybe shocking for her your attitude at the begining, but you can help her to heal her insecurities about you, and as I told you before, always inside respect, love, compassion and patience, insha´Allah.

    She may have dedicated time of her life to be with you while growing up to care about you, now it is your time to care about her and help her to heal her insecurities, insha´Allah. Once she feels she doesn´t need to be in control of the situation, she will relax and you will be able to have a healthy distance with her, insha´Allah.

    You sound mature enough to understand what I am talking about and being the little one, I am sure you know of many loving strategies to heal her Heart, insha´Allah.

    Please, just one more point, all your steps always in the Name of Allah(swt), none of us by ourselve have any power to solve anything, you know where all the power lies on, then please, keep doing your salat, duas, read the Quran, .... be a Light for everyone that get close to you, included your sister, insha´Allah, Alhamdulillah.

    All my Unconditional Love, Respect and Support,

    María Editor

  3. Maria has given you excellent advice. I have a few thoughts to add, Insha'Allah.

    First, no one can lay a guilt trip on you unless you accept it. Let's say you want to stay home and read a book, and your sister says, "Let's go out for a walk." You don't feel like going out for a walk because it's hot outside. You can say something like,

    "I love going out with you, but not this time as this book is really interesting and I want to finish it."

    If she insists, you stick to your own course of action. Just be polite but firm. If she says, "What's the matter with you, I do everything for you and now you are being rude to me," then you just say, "No sister, I love you, but I don't want to go for a walk right now." Even if she gets upset, you stick to your guns.

    That's the only way to deal with this problem. You must learn to be firm and do what you want to do.

    I actually don't think you should tell her about your feelings of resentment as it will only hurt her. Just begin to take charge of your own time and affairs. Of course you should continue to show kindness to your sister and spend time with her. Don't just cut her off all of a sudden or she will take it badly. Make it gradual. Start asserting your own needs and plans, and ease into your own life gradually.

    No one can manipulate you or "guilt" you unless you allow it. It's really up to you. You have power over your own life. No one can take that away from you without your consent.

    Wael Editor

  4. Sister

    It does sound like your sister's just being over-protective. She doesn't realize that you're all grown up now and can make decisions for yourself. You lucky that you have a sister that cares about you but when she's dominating then just let her know that you're not feeling up to it (whatever she plans on doing). She could also be wanting to spend more time with you or maybe she just needs your company. Whatever the reason is, just remeber that she's your big sis that would most probably be there for you through good and BAD times.


Leave a Response