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by Abigail Van Buren

Volatile Younger Sister Must Reach Out for Help on Her Own

DEAR ABBY: My younger sister, "Tanya," is 22 and a single mother. Her son is 2. She's pregnant again, and this time her baby will be a girl.

My sister is very dramatic and emotional. She gets angry easily and has a short fuse. She's great with her son, except he picks up on her drama and is somewhat dramatic himself. My worry is that girls are more likely to imitate that behavior, and I'm concerned my niece will be just like her mother. Although Tanya has a good heart, her emotional issues have caused her to have horrible relationships with men, as our mother did.

When I suggested to my sister that she talk to someone about her anger, she flipped out on me. We were both sexually abused as children. I have dealt with those issues and she has not. Was I rude to suggest she see someone about her emotional problems? -- JUST TRYING TO HELP

DEAR TRYING TO HELP: Suggesting that Tanya discuss this with a professional wasn't rude; it was a loving thing to do. Your sister reacted defensively because she isn't ready to admit she needs help.

What you must do is hope that one day she will be receptive, but also accept that it may never happen. Not everyone is strong enough to face the fact that they need help or willing to reach out for it.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Mental Health