How Do I Start Caring Again?

Shortly before the COVID-19 global pandemic forced us all to shelter in place, I received this write-in.  Truth be told, I put it aside, because I had no idea how to respond.  Over the past two months, tucked away at home, life as I knew it gone in an instant, my own demons began to make appearances—anxiety, existential dread, grief—sure, some days felt liberating, but many others unraveled me.  I must acknowledge that the column to follow is no exception to the insight: we teach what we need to learn.

Dear Liz,

How do I start caring again? What I mean is that as a rule, I find I don’t want anything, and if I do sort-of want something, I don’t care that I want it. I do like my Sunday mornings out for breakfast as my only me time, and “Oh hey, you want join me…okay…” Or, I may need to buy a car part to make my car better, but “oh, you need money to get a hotel room so your daughter can tour the college she has been accepted at…okay, here is $150…whatever…doesn’t matter…I don’t really need it…”  Hell, I don’t really need anything, or really anyone. Continue reading

When a Sibling’s Abusive Behavior is Breaking the Heart of the Family

Dear Liz,

I am a college student having serious family problems centered around my high school aged sister. I don’t say this lightly, but my sister is basically an extremely narcissistic and manipulative person who has hurt me time after time. She has stolen from me more times than I can count, puts me down in any way she can, lies to me, has stabbed me in the back, and has basically taken the attention away from me, and my parents give all of their energy to her. She suffers with anxiety and depression which I completely understand contributes to why she acts like this to me. My parents also say to me that the reason I’m the target of her terrible words and actions is because she’s always been jealous of me and I understand that too. However, my parents always excuse her behavior because of her mental illness and that really hurts my feelings because they’ve always held me to a higher standard than her, even when I suffered with serious depression in high school. She never gets in trouble for her language or behavior, or even seriously abusing drugs in the way she does, but if I came home five minutes past my curfew in high school, I’d be grounded for a week. This has made it extremely difficult to come home from school ever and be in my house, and it sucks because I want to spend time with my parents, but this is making me resent them and especially my sister so much. I’ve completely lost hope in repairing my relationship with my sister (at least for now) because I don’t feel as if it’s my job to do so anymore, but how can I save my relationship with my parents and get to a place where I can enjoy coming home again without letting this affect me so much? Continue reading