I just read some of your letters and answers. It made me think about my sister because she reminds me of Mother Teresa’s quote about “love till it hurts then love some more.”
The problem, at least for me, is seeing how tired she always seems. She works at night, sleeps a few hours, and then visits our mother in the nursing home. My mom is mentally ill and this pains my sister.
My sister is always there for everyone in our family. We are lucky to have her. I’m concerned about her health because she hardly gets any sleep. I have suggested counseling but she won’t do that, so I thought I would run this by you and see what you have to say.
If your sister is doing so much out of love, all she needs is to take a rest to restore herself. You and other family members could offer to visit your mom and give your sister a vacation for a few days.
If your sister is doing all of these things out of guilt, then there isn’t much we can do. One thing you can do, though, is try to get her to talk about her reasons. Let her know that she is “burning out, not up.” Is she married? If she is, ask her husband to help you, too.
Suggest that Mom isn’t the only one who needs her, and that before she can take care of anyone else effectively, she must take care of herself. Losing sleep is very hard on the immune system as well as the spirit. Your sister may be subconsciously setting herself up for getting ill just so she can feel entitled to take a rest. Tell her you don’t want to see that happen and you will help her by sharing the responsibilities.
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