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by Abigail Van Buren

Mentally Ill Sister Delivers Lifetime of Abuse

DEAR ABBY: I'm 55, and my sister is 50. She has always been mean and hateful toward me. Even though I have done my best to keep her from going off the deep end, she has always struck back at me even meaner. She is schizophrenic, paranoid and bipolar.

Despite my making her my maid of honor at my wedding (Mom forced me) and making her godmother at my child's baptism, she has continued to be a beyond-evil demon because I didn't do some things right, according to her. She has tried hard to turn my 19-year-old daughter against me and slams me for being a grandma to my grandchild. (She can't have kids.) Family has always let her slide due to her mental illness. Please advise. -- BEATEN DOWN IN MISSOURI

DEAR BEATEN DOWN: Your sister is a sick woman. If your daughter doesn't understand that, make it clear to her. I don't know how much input you have in your grandchild's upbringing, but if there is any truth to what has been said, it may be time to use a lighter touch if you are being perceived as heavy-handed.

By letting your sister's behavior "slide due to her mental illness," the rest of your family has contributed to the person she has become. However, this does not mean you must be involved with her, and if you are smart, you will start to disengage.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Mental Health | Abuse