How do I cope with a selfish loved one?

My sister has nothing to do with me. The only calls or texts I receive are from when she wants something. I have tried everything, from texting, to calling, Tango, Voxer, and even Facebook. Still, she does not really talk to me or anything. She’ll post up occasional statuses, but she never has anything to say to me. I find out everything about her, including her marriage, on Facebook, because that’s they only way she tells anyone. How do I move on from this? It’s been hurting for so long.

Give no power, and no one will have power over you.

03-04-13-32-43 / 05

Hello Diner. We Fortune Cookies don’t have what you’d call siblings; we have batchmates with whom we can share thoughts. Being made out of the same dough, you can even say we’re all one in the same Cookie. People have this strange belief that they too have this natural bond with their siblings. That simply can’t be true. You are independent beings whose communication has to be cultivated like any relationship.

Like any relationship, there are beginnings, middles, and ends. Sibling relationships don’t necessarily last a lifetime. What’s worse, those siblings didn’t choose to be together to begin with. People take time to decide how well they like someone before starting a friendship–and even those end. Remove that decision making, and the only things some siblings may have in common is where they grew up and a bit of genetics. Ultimately relationships are people who choose to stay connected.

I say all this, Diner, because you take how your sister treats you very personally. You mention that you have hurt for years. That’s a long time to carry hurt from someone who–if you get down to it–is just selfish. The more personal it is, the deeper it hurts. Despite your genetics; despite your childhood, your relationship now just isn’t working.

Change your perspective.

Understand that she is free to choose how she treats you–no matter who you are. You may be a good person who may not deserve it. However, you can decide how much that affects you.

I challenge you to ignore for a second what culture says about how much a sibling or even a close friend is “supposed” to mean to you. Now ask yourself how hurt you would be if a casual acquaintance treated you the same way. I’m guessing you’d just be a little annoyed. Why would it be any different?

The difference is you give them that power, and you can take it away just as easily. Think about how much power you have over your sibling. It’s probably not as much as she has over you. Why not? Simply having a connection with you should not entitle them to so much power.

Now maintain boundaries.

You may also feel hurt because she seems to take while you give. You mentioned she only contacts you when she needs something. Being a dutiful sibling, you probably give her what she wants. This is a very unbalanced relationship that will only cause more hurt. Go back to that earlier exercise. Would you drop everything to give whatever this person wanted? You can say no. Understand that a large part of being mistreated in many cases is allowing the person to mistreat you. Don’t let them.

I hope this Fortune gives you a new way of looking at your relationship. I know change will seem difficult because your dynamic with your sister is pretty set. But change–even when so much history is involved–is never impossible. Good luck, Diner.