DEAR HARRIETTE: I have an older sister who has been mean to me since we were kids. We are now in our 50s. We don't talk often, but I can count on her saying something rude or mean to me whenever we do talk. She is so consistent, I honestly don't think she realizes how awful she is.
I used to get very upset about her comments. Now I usually ignore her. But recently, she went in hard, bringing up old memories of me when I was an awkward teenager and pointing out how awkward I was. She went on and on about just about anything she could remember that used to make me squirm. I tried to deflect.
At one point I said, "That's enough." But she didn't stop. I have talked to her about this before, but it doesn't ever end. How can I have a better handle on how she talks to me? -- Mean Sister
DEAR MEAN SISTER: Decide that you aren't going to put up with it anymore. When your sister begins to go in on you, tell her you have to go, and hang up. Literally stop talking to her as soon as she starts to insult you. Even if it feels like you are hanging up on her all the time, be consistent. If you do not give her an audience, her vitriol should lose steam. Either she will get the message and curb her rudeness or she won't, but either way, you will not have to listen to it anymore.