At 52, Carla finally started to get along with her mom. Then her alcoholic sister moved in and ruined everything. Carla feels cursed…but who is doing the cursing? knows….

Dear spirit,

I am 52 years old and have lived with my mother since 1987. I have always done everything Mom’s way with very little arguing. I alcoholic-sisterfelt it was her home and she was the boss. Mom is 74 years old now and always had a drinking problem until five years ago. Something scared her and she quit all of a sudden. My life was a lot better after she quit.

When I first moved here, Mom wanted me to promise her that I wouldn’t leave her alone, as she’s scared of dying here and no one would find her for days. So I promised her I would stay until the end. Problem is she was drunk at the time and doesn’t remember this.

Anyway, my sister has moved in now permanently. She’s been here for three months and she’s an alcoholic! For the last two years my sister and her husband have been fighting and bringing it into this house. Every time I got a job they would start fighting and it would end up here. I would get so upset that I couldn’t function. She’s stopped drinking (fell off the wagon only twice). She goes to her AA meetings. I guess that helps. But it doesn’t help me. My sister has taken over the house. She has her nose in everything. And my mother allows this. Everytime I try to do anything Mom puts me down for it but praises my sister. The relationship we once had is no more. What I mostly feel now is hurt and pain. I know that things will never be the same here for me. And when I even look at my sister or mom I sometimes feel hatred.

This is all tearing me up inside. I’ve been out of work since my sister moved in. My desire, motivation, everything have left me. I use to fight for the things I believed in, but I feel dead inside now. Can you tell me how to get back on course? I’ve been doing what everyone else wants me to do for so long that I don’t know anymore what I want and I don’t know how to find out what I want. I just feel like someone has cursed me. I’ve had so much bad luck in the last two years that it’s unbelieveable!Can you help me?


Dear One,

Oy, have you got tsurris (that’s Yiddish for Troubles)! That’s one way of looking at it anyway. But there’s something else going on. You are being tested out of your complacency.

You say that your life was better after your mother stopped drinking. That’s giving her an awful lot of power over your life. You say your sister’s fights with her husband made you sick for two years. Again, you are giving away your personal power. You say you feel that someone has put a curse on you. That someone is you. This may sound cold and unfeeling, but stay with me for a few moments….

You wrote, “I’ve been doing what everyone else wants me to do for so long that I don’t know anymore what I want and I don’t know how to find out what I want.” I wonder: have you really been doing what everyone else wants? Didn’t you want to live in your mother’s house? Hasn’t she forgotten that she extracted a promise from you? If so, then why do you feel obligated to keep that promise? It’s not because of what she wants; she doesn’t remember that she ever wanted that, and now, apparently, she no longer wants it. Face it, Carla, you are staying because of what you want. You want to be Mother’s favorite baby. Apparently your sister has usurped your position, and yet you stay there.

So what do you really want, Carla? You are clinging to something you wanted but that you know you can’t have. Hopeless. What will you opt for instead? You might begin by looking at what you don’t want. I assume you do not wish to be abused. But you stayed in your mother’s house allowing your sister and her husband’s fighting to upset you. You stay there now with your mother and sister being abusive to you. If that’s not what you want, why stay?

You say your sister has taken over, and that your mother allows this. It’s clear what your mother wants: for your sister to be in charge. If you don’t want to be the doormat, run far and run fast.

Things will always look hopeless when you stay in a hopeless situation; because they are. Fight with reality and you lose every time. This does not mean that you, Carla, are hopeless. Remember, when God closes a door, he opens a window. The window is wide open. It’s not to late for you, Sweetie. So go to that window and fly, robin, fly!