Minerva's Breakdown 

Advice for those on the verge

Dear Minerva,

I am the oldest sister of one bipolar, alcoholic sister and one meth-addicted sister who is obsessed with her young boyfriend. I have been estranged from both of them because I cannot tolerate their lifestyles. They both have three children each, whom I love and still talk to. The problem is, they tell their children that I am judgmental and that I think I am better than everyone because I have a college education (which is kind of just a normal thing these days, am I right?). I never talk about their mothers to them. I'm sick of my sisters bad-mouthing me. What should I do?

—Not crazy and Not on Drugs

Dear Not,

Unfortunately, you cannot control what your sisters say about you. However, I can understand how they might feel judged by you. Within the first two sentences, my readers know that both of your sisters have mental health and addiction issues and lifestyles you cannot "tolerate." Since they are struggling with these difficult issues, this would lead me to believe that neither of them are currently in their best space emotionally. Depending on how severe these issues are, they may not be capable of reeling it in at this time and, given your estrangement, talking to them seems an unlikely possibility. I commend you for keeping in touch with their children. Maintain a respectful rapport with their children and show them you are not the person others think you are. Best wishes.

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